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Buying a Sailboat? Helpful Tips to guide you to the right one

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Are you in the market for a sailboat? If so, these tips can help you find one that's suited to the type of sailing you'd like to do.

Consider the Features Needed

Begin by considering what features your sailboat needs. For example, do you go sailing alone or with the family? How many nights (if any) will you spend on the boat at a time? Will the boat be in shallow water? Each of your answers will influence what models are suitable for your needs.

A small Sunfish or Laser might be fine if you sail alone on a protected body of water, but you'll have a hard time fitting more than one or two people on these. They'll also struggle in areas such as the Great Lakes or in an ocean.

On the other hand, a fixed-keel monohull with multiple berths may work for overnighting at different ports and handle adverse weather better. Its draft, though, will probably prevent entering shallow bays that a centerboard model can access.

Assess Your Sailing Abilities

Once you know what boats you’ll be looking at, assess your sailing expertise. Do you have the sailing knowledge and experience required to safely navigate waters with the type of boat you’re getting? In the waters where you’ll be sailing?

If you aren’t confident in your abilities, enroll in a sailing class. Classes are offered at many locations throughout the country and cover different aspects of the sport. Classes will usually cover navigation rules on the water which is especially important for your safety as well as your guests.

Find a Boat You Like

There are many places to look for a sailboat when you’re ready to purchase one. Search for boats in classifieds, at local yacht clubs and at boat dealers. Marinas may also have boats for sale.

Calculate the Full Cost of Ownership

After you have a specific boat in mind, don’t forget to include additional costs that could include:

  • taxes and registration fees
  • boating safety course fees
  • mooring or docking fees
  • maintenance and storage fees
  • trailer and dinghy costs
  • fuel, gear and safety equipment costs
  • insurance premiums

Get a Boat Survey

Unless you’re purchasing a small sailboat that costs very little, invest in a boat survey prior to actually purchasing the boat. A boat survey will give you an accurate understanding of the boat’s condition and anticipated maintenance/repair needs.

Insure Your New Sailboat

Before setting sail, speak with an insurance agent who can discuss coverage options for your boat. It’s important to make sure you and your property have the right protection.


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