By eMerrill, eHow
If you’re shopping for a cruising sailboats, you first have to decide whether you want a classic monohull sailboat or a catamaran design. Then you have several other key choices, including sailplan, cockpit location, interior layout and keel depth. Here’s a guide to the major choices.
o 1 Decide whether you want a monohull sailboat or a catamaran design. A catamaran’s two main advantages are level sailing attitude and spaciousness. A monohull’s two main advantages are lower purchase and operating costs and a more temperate and quieter interior which is partly below the waterline.
o 2 Prepare to make more decisions if you choose a monohull, because there are more design alternatives than for catamarans. With a catamaran you will virtually be assured of getting a sloop rig, an aft cockpit, little or no teak on the topsides, and a shallow draft. For a monohull, your next choice will be a center cockpit or aft cockpit layout.
o 3 Choose a center cockpit design monohull sailboat if you want better forward vision, or if you want a ketch rig with two masts. Choose an aft cockpit design if you want a more spacious feeling layout with easier access to the water.
o 4 Next, decide if you want the simplest sailplan-a sloop rig with automatic furling, or a cutter rig with two headsails, or a ketch rig with mainsail and mizzen sail as well as headsail, or even a cutter-ketch rig if you’re really into sails.
o 5 Decide on the minimum length sailboat that you will be comfortable on for long-range cruising. For monohulls, 35 feet overall length is about the minimum that most people are comfortable with for long voyages. Catamarans have nearly twice the living space as the same length monohull, so any sailing catamaran from 28 feet long and up will be roomy enough to cruise in.
o 6 Attend one of the major sailboat shows if you can possibly manage, to become familiar with the different designs and layouts. If you can’t get to a sailboat show, you will have to visit multiple brokerages to familiarize yourself with catamaran layouts and all the monohull designs.
o 7 Decide whether you want a new sailboat or a used one. A used monohull in the 35-foot range from the early 1980s can be bought for as little as $35 thousand in reasonably good condition. Used catamarans typically cost at least 50 percent more than a monohull of the same length. A new monohull in the 38-foot range or a new catamaran sailboat in a 33-foot length starts at around $160 thousand.
bonus video : Boat Companion- Choosing the right boat (Sailing Yachts)