|Your First Yacht - Some Ideas and Advice|
This is to help newcomers to yachting who want to buy their first yacht for private or recreational use. The following ideas and general advice will hopefully be of assistance. As you experience yacht ownership, you will become familiar with the variety of the facets involved. These are similar for all yachts and vary in complexity with size of the yacht and the equipment it carries.
In this article, I'll use examples boats that I am familiar with and concentrate on yachts rather than catamarans, sailing dinghies and other types of off the beach boats. In general, most people are best served initially buying the smallest yacht that fits your parameters:
Should you wish to sail by day, close to your base of operations; a day sailer without long term live-aboard accommodation would fit the bill.
For recreational sailors, who would like to do some live-aboard cruises, a yacht with accommodation and equipment to support this is needed. In our region, which is thankfully blessed with fairly tranquil weather conditions, these yachts are often able to do quite long coastal trips.
The location where the boat will be based will involve costs and may have limitations with reference to depths of the water and access constraints.
Also elements involved with maintaining the yacht need to be considered.
Quite often, marinas offer storage on land for smaller yachts combined with a launching service, ideal for day sailors. This affords owners ease of maintenance and means their yachts do not need to be painted with antifouling paint.
With the larger yachts, berths in marinas are ideal as they afford easy access. In the water maintenance is easily done at the yacht's berth. Proximity of facilities must be considered for the highly-recommended annual haul out.
Many owners opt to have their yachts kept on moorings, which necessitates access by boat or dinghy. While this option is far less costly than the options above access may prove a hassle for spontaneous use and maintenance can often prove difficult. In addition, some insurance companies do not offer comprehensive yacht insurance on moorings.
The cost of buying the boat is always of paramount importance. Most production yachts are built to a specification set by the manufacturer, who then offers options and extras that enable you to have the equipment on board that will suit you as an individual. These options vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and in the best cases include selections of timber finishes on the internal structure and floors, upholstery, deck equipment, sails and associated equipment, engines, instruments and communications equipment, accommodation type fittings and more.
Most manufactures offer equipment in packs that include their most popular options at a cost savings. The price of the yacht as specified, with the options selected, is what you pay when the yacht is completed at the factory. To this price you need to add the cost of freight to your location and commissioning, which is the cost of readying the boat for use as well as the equipment you will need for the safety and maintenance of the yacht. An important factor that is often overlooked is the costs of owning the vessel; things like insurance, storage, maintenance and an allowance for the repair/replacement of equipment. The last allowance is not an issue in the warranty period but budgeting for it can avoid surprises in the long-term.
The number of people (and their skills) required to sail the yacht always needs to be considered too. As most recreational sailors sail with their families, or maybe a friend on board, a yacht that is easily handled with two people on board maximizes the yacht's use. Profiles on a variety of entry level yachts follow. Approximate landed costs are based on average equipment fitted and commissioning is included.Day Sailer - Varianta 18
This small yacht is an ideal day sailer. It is easily sailed with one or two people and has camp-aboard type accommodation and auxiliary power from an outboard motor. The landed cost in Thailand should be around 600,000 baht, but at the time of writing freight rates had not been finalized.
Two-Cabin Live-aboard (Dehler 29)
Dehler have always enjoyed a reputation for quality and performance. Over 400 of this model, with minor updates along the way, have been built over the years and their popularity continues. She can be sailed by one or two people and at a landed cost in Thailand of 3,600,000 baht approx, represents excellent value.
Two-Cabin Live-aboard (Hanse 325)
A physically big 32' boat, the H325 has plenty of live-aboard space for four people and features the usual high standard Hanse fit-out. She is easy to handle single handed, aided by her self-tacking headsail and an auto-helm. Hanse has a promotion running on these boats, at the time of writing, so the landed cost is just under THB 4,000,000 - and that includes optioned up B&G instruments.
Three-Cabin Live-aboard (Hanse 345)
This is one of the newer yachts of the evolving Hanse range. A breeze to sail single handed, she has the space below you'd usually expect from a 36'+ plus boat. Sparkling performance, with innovative quality all around enables many days of care-free sailing.
Her landed cost, with quite a few extras, is approx. 5,600,000 baht.Three-Cabin Live-aboard (Varianta 37)
This is one of the no-frills type boats built by Hanse. The philosophy behind the Varianta brand is value for money and cruising performance. It needs two people to sail but at the approximate landed cost of under 5,000,000 baht the VA37 provides exceptional value for your money.
New boats are usually sold by dealers and they should provide new owners with the assistance they require. It's wise to inquire about the back-up the dealer offers and make sure that it meets your needs.