Buying a boat is an exciting and somewhat difficult task – the difficulty coming from knowing what you want, what you need, and what is going to be the perfect fit for you and your family. Attending boat shows adds to this excitement, and can be informative, but there is a definite need to look at the boats through a filter that blocks out some of the sales pitch. Here’s some key points you need to know about buying your first boat.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better
Find a catamaran that fits your needs and experience. You may dream of sailing out across the open seas in a large multihull, but if the reality is that you are only going to be moving between bays and keeping the shoreline close by, then a smaller cat is better suited and will be much easier to manoeuvre. Bigger boats will generally also come with lower performance ability and before long you might find yourself watching other boat move through the water with ease while you seem to be pushing your way through.
Try Before You Buy
If you’re able to charter the boat you are interested in, it’s a great way to really get a feel for how the boat handles and what it can do, hopefully in varying conditions that will test its capabilities and give you a taste of things to come.
Carry That Weight
Consider the load capacity that the boat has been built to handle. Catamarans with larger hulls will be slower, however one with narrow hulls that is overloaded will be difficult to handle and not respond well at all. Consider how you want your boat to be able to perform. Although speed is rarely considered a safety factor, having the power and ability to quicker maneuver out of trouble can safe you from getting caught out. Just like in a car on the roads, sometime having that power and speed to get out of harm’s way can be a huge benefit.
Check Your Calendar
If you know that you’re only going to be able to take your boat out a few times a year consider all buying options or look at chartering your new boat. A lot of people share their boat, dividing the year into segments when the boat is in their control, while others work with owner charter programs that makes a lot of financial sense if you’re only going to have the time to take your boat out a few times a year. So you need to be realistic, and make sure you get the most out of your catamaran.
You should also think about the upkeep of the boat, and how much use it will get. If it won’t be used much, will it lead to any chronic mechanical problems? Just different things to think about and consider, as to how often it is used, to see if getting one is going to be worth it.
Owning a boat is expensive, and it’s generally going to cost more than you expect, so it’s always good to over-budget. If you think you can do a lot of the maintenance work yourself, you’re probably wrong unless you have a lot of experience and a lot of time on your hands. A multihull is going to cost you for any repairs or refittings, refurbishings, and additions you want to make. Always over budget for anything that has to do with your boat. You might hear stories of people paying far more than they need to, and that does occur, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll work out cheaper for you to try and do the work yourself.
Basically you have to know what you want. Carefully consider what you, or others that might also be using the boat, intend to do and what capabilities are important to you. Once you know what you want, do your research and test what you can in a range of conditions. Buying a boat is not something you want to rush into, otherwise it may result in a very costly and disappointing exercise. Make some careful considerations and enjoy your days at sea!