I’m going to apologize right now. If you are looking for a list of the best cruising boats, you’ve got the wrong post. Choosing a cruising sailboat is like choosing a good pair of shoes. They have to be comfortable and they have to function in the way that you needs them to function. Similarly, your choice of cruising sailboat will depend a lot on you and what makes the cruising lifestyle fun for you.
We talked in generalities about buying a larger sailboat before, but when you are going to liveaboard a boat full time or even for extended periods of time, it really deserves some deeper examination. Beyond the budget for your boat, because that dictates a lot right out of the chute, you have to think more about everyday life and the little things you like to do to best determine the most important features and amenities of your boat. Do you like to cook? Maybe a boat with a bigger galley will be important to you. Do you know a lot of people in your cruising grounds? Will you be hosting them a lot? Will it be comfortable enough to host them on deck or will you probably be inside? Then the cockpit and the settee arrangement will be important to you.
One of the big ones is are you going to still work from your boat. In that case, what do you need to do that? Most remote workers these days just need a solid cell phone and internet connection, but is that going to be available if you are traveling in Mexico or the Carribean? More importantly, what will it cost? Satelite communication is horribly slow and expensive by today’s broadband standards. Marinas can offer this service as part of your fee or as an additional fee. In any case, if you need to be connected, be sure you know before you go, or you might be caught with a hefty bill. Also, are you going to make one of the cabins the “home office?”
Personal hygiene is exactly that…personal. Another consideration is your toilet habits. I don’t want to get gross here or anything, but just to point it out, will you be okay sharing a bathroom with someone or should you opt for a boat that has facilities for each of the residents. And storage space is always at a premium on a boat, so find one that meets your needs.
Of course, where you are going to be cruising will also weigh heavily on the style of boat you choose, but once you settle on the type and style of craft, it is really important to consider these smaller details. And if you get it wrong, don’t be afraid to admit it and make a change!