A cruising sailing boat is one of the more expensive options you can go for if you’re in the market for a boat, but it’s also the one that can give you one of the most rewarding experiences in the long run. While most smaller boats will simply give you the option to enjoy the ocean for short trips, the long distance cruise boats will offer you the chance to do a round the world trip or cross the oceans if that’s what you’re after, or to take part in regattas that do the same kind of long routes.
One of the first decisions you will have to make is on the type of hull, either mono or multihull (catamaran for example). A catamaran will give you extra space to work with, more speed, a shallower draft and you can beach them with ease. They’re not that fun to maneuver in a marina though and they can be more expensive options if you have to berth them. The typical monohull boat is still the more prevalent choice.
The decision to either get a used or a new boat will depend on your budget. A new boat will mean a completely new and mostly problem free acquisition. You get more bang for your buck if you choose the second hand option, especially since they often have extra fittings.
A typical cruising yacht will come with a long keel while the beam is kept narrow. The stability will be better with this kind of design and the motion of the boat is better for the crew.
Three types of rigs are most popular among cruising sailboats. The sloop would be the one most popular, followed by the cutter and the ketch. The sloop would be the simplest one, with the other two giving you a sail that has multiple areas that are easier to manage on their own.
The sailing performance of the boat is an important aspect to consider, as is the easiness of use. The better the boat is designed, the higher the speed and the less time you have to spend out on the open seas while risking bad weather.
You’re going to spend a lot of time inside the boat’s quarters and you will have to make sure that they’re as comfortable as possible. While some of it is of your own design, since you can improve the interior of the cabins with your own touches, there are things that you should still look out for. You want an attractive interior that isn’t too dark or deep, a place where you can relax whenever you’re not cruising.
Size & Price
These are two factors that are among the most important to consider. The bigger boats will not only cost more, but will also require more money to maintain, to use, outfit and insure. Boats that are used for long distance cruising also require a lot of funds when they are outfitted for these voyages. It’s considered that if you get a stock boat that you have to outfit for a cruise you will spend an extra 30% at the minimum for that purpose (more sails, life rafts, tender, safety gear, etc). If you’re working with a limited budget, get a smaller boat that is well made and get the important equipment and the rest of the provisions that are going to be required for any extended trip.
A common practice is for two people to do this sort of long term cruise that can take more than a year. A boat that’s anywhere between 35 and 45 ft long will do fine for two people, especially if they’re still mostly beginners.