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Liveaboard seeks new sailboat? - Courtney Kirchoff Liveaboard seeks new sailboat? - Courtney Kirchoff

Liveaboard seeks new sailboat?

puget sound sailingWell. I have a lot to catch up on, and not to worry, I’ll cover everything from the last three weeks as best I can. When time permits, I’ll document my experience with BoatUS (that will be a longer post) and catch up on posts I meant to write before the Ramming of 2012. For now I must prioritize, and this post is dependent upon you, the readers of my blog, all of whom are fantastic. These past three weeks have been difficult, but the letters from you have been tremendously encouraging, supportive, funny, and have made me feel less alone in this disaster. Later, I’ll be dedicating an entire post to you, the readers, highlighting some of the funnier moments and the power you all can wield. Anyway, to business.

Despite my plea/explanation out into the blogosphere and universe that I want to keep my beautiful Islander 30 Libby, the numbers suggest I should keep my options open. The cost to repair the damage is high– Libby was official totaled. I still have the option to repair the boat, which makes emotional sense, not financial sense, as the process for me is a logistical nightmare. I’m seriously considering purchasing a new boat. To save you from having to look over the past year of posts, here are some of my boat’s niceties which I’d like on Boat #2:

Things Libby has that I love

  • Stainless steel self-tailing winches (my pride and joy!)
  • Yanmar freshwater cooled diesel engine (big bragging point)
  • New rigging 2007 (new mast, boom, shrouds)
  • LectraSan sanitation unit. No holding tank.
  • Full battened mainsail (newer)
  • GPS navigation system
  • Tiller steering (nice to know where the rudder is)

The above are things I’ve grown accustomed to, and if I am to purchase a new boat, I want as many of those things as I can get.

Important note: This post is seeking boats that are not listed for sale. I can and have browsed Yachtworld, Craig’s List, sailboat listings, etc. daily. I’m putting this post out there to see what, if anything, comes back, in an effort to expand my options further. A great many, possibly a majority, of sailboats sit in a marina and are taken out once or twice a season. It’s possible that one of those owners has thought about selling his or her boat, but has held onto it, waiting for a better economy. Then there are sudden and unexpected life changing situations that force the sale of a boat. I’m putting out a weather balloon and seeing what’s around. Because hey, you just never know.

Features I want

In addition to the points outlined above, there are many things Libby does not have that I was planning on adding. If the next boat has them, great. They are:


  • Propane stove and oven (my boat has kerosene)
  • Refrigerator. I know they’re battery killers, but nice to have when I’m docked for winter
  • Additional counter space


  • Bulkhead diesel heater (I want a wood burning stove by Navigator, but I’ll settle for diesel if it’s already installed)
  • Long settee for reclining and reading
  • Warm and cozy interior with character (decked out in teak or mahogany preferred)
  • Open floor plan


  • Dodger
  • Windlass

Rigging & sails

  • In good shape! Main sail with battens and reef points
  • Boom vang
  • Variety of headsails if hank on
  • Lines led aft (if not, I can do this later, but would be nice)

Before going on and listing boats I’d like and boats I’d not like, let me state that this post is entirely about me and what I want. We humans naturally judge based on ourselves, and can sometimes get defensive and think someone else’s choices somehow reflect our own. We all do it, myself included. There are lots of great boats out there, but not all of them are right for me. When I exclude a boat from my list, and it’s a boat you love or have, please don’t take offense or try to defend the boat and why you think it’s the best out there. It may be the best for you, but not a good fit for me. Boat buying is subjective.

Types & limits

Monohull cruiser

Living aboard means I need the space and the comfort a cruiser affords. I’m not interested in day sailers or racers, though I’ve seen some racers which look quite comfy cozy. I also like a boat which heels, so no catamarans or trimarans para me.

Sloop or cutter

Over the weekend I got the chance to sail and, for just long enough, single hand a Cape George Cutter 36. The hardest part of single handing is what I consider the quick sailing maneuvers, like tacking. I had no problem with the larger boat and found it a joy to sail. I like the look and options a cutter provides, and would love to own one.

No pilothouses. They’re not for me.


Full, fin, 3/4 or cutaway. I’m not going to be too picky here, but I want a good, solid keel, nothing shallow.


30 to 40 feet (not including bowsprits). Beam of at least 10 feet.


Traveling to a boat, then shipping (if too far or impractical to sail home), is expensive. For that reason, I’m looking at boats in the Pacific Northwest. I know there are some great deals in Southern California, but it’s a logistical nightmare and costly.

Boats I Love


A big duh, who doesn’t love them? I have fabulous and expensive taste. Of course, most of the Ta Shing boats I’d relish owning are well out of my price range, but like I said before, you just never know. A few months ago someone here in Seattle was selling their Baba 30 for $29k. It might have been wreck, but life happens and so do quick sales. In that vain:

  • Baba 30
  • Baba 35
  • Tashiba 31
  • Tashiba 36


I love my Islander 30 and how well she sails. She’s sturdy, points high, hauls @ss on the water, takes wakes with ease, and is a total blast to sail. Islanders have a reputation for being sturdy, well-built, and reliable boats, and now that I’m looking at other boats, I find myself longing to have another Islander.

  • Islander MK II
  • Islander Bahama
  • Islander 32 (a Perry design)
  • Islander 36

Boats I might like

I’ve been browsing around at different listings and learning about other boat manufactuers. Below are some that pique my interest and I’d like to learn more about or take a look at them. If you have personal experience with the boats below, I’d like to hear from you. This list is not exhaustive.

  • Aloha
  • C&C
  • Cal 40
  • Crown 34
  • Halberg-Rassy
  • Pearson
  • Ranger
  • True North
  • Morgan

Boats I don’t want

I have my reasons, but I shan’t list them here. Again, please don’t take offense if you have one of these boats or try to convince me I’m a moron for not wanting one. There are probably boats I’ve missed that should be on this list, and I’ve simply forgotten.

  • Catalina
  • Cascade
  • Columbia
  • Coranado
  • Ericson
  • Hunter
  • Macgregor
  • Newport

Please share this post with people you know who either are into boating, know of someone who sails, or even people in the yacht sales business. I’d really appreciate it if I could find a great boat that I love just as much or more as my first, if that’s possible.

This has been a heartbreaking process. I wasn’t ready to be parted from Libby. True, she probably wasn’t my forever boat, but she was a fantastic one and became a big part of my identity, to be honest. When I get calls from brokers, I get a pang of guilt in my gut, feeling as though I’ve cheated on my boat. We breathe life into the boats we sail and call home, and while it might sound silly, these boats become our companions on our adventures. One liveaboard I chatted with a week ago said the same thing: boats become our friends. She was right. Yes, I know a sailboat is an inanimate object, but my heart feels otherwise.

Like what you read? Please share!

Copyright 2018. Courtney Kirchoff.