How to choose a family sailing boat (1)

Boat shopping.  It’s not like house shopping.  Or car shopping.  It’s about buying a lifestyle, a home, a caravan, a car, a depreciating asset, a maintenance project and money pit.

We must be crazy.

Oh, but I’m so keen to have a home again, to own little things that make life easier – like a bike (OK, that’s not such a little thing), tupperware and good kitchen knives.  I want my own space, routine and refuge.  I haven’t slept on my own pillow in over a year.  I WANT MY PILLOW!

Where do we start?  What makes a good floating family home?  We started with what was important to us:

  1. A Solid ocean-crossing boat
  2. Bunk beds
  3. Usable kitchen and a bedroom that didn’t feel like a cave
  4. Windows
  5. Within a budget.
DSC08601 (2) (640x426)

Bunk beds for kiddo’s

Oyster 435 Ancasta Galley 1 (2) (640x426)

This is my definition of a workable kitchen (or galley for the nautically minded)

Oyster 435 Ancasta Aft cab 1 (2) (640x426)

Aft cabin – my refuge

DSC08616 (2) (640x426)

Windows: so I can see what’s going on outside when I’m stuck inside with kiddies.


What is a solid boat? I dunno (ensue LOTS of research).  I made a list of bluewater boats that don’t cost the earth, have bunks and a nice aft cabin .  That list was surprisingly short.  In fact only three boat ‘brands’ made the cut.  One brand was probably too expensive (44ft Contest), another brand was not quite solid enough.  That left the 44ft Oyster (with a centre cockpit and deck saloon).

In the whole wide world there were three of these boats for sale.  One went under contract to another lovely family while we were searching, congrats to Growing a pair.  Two left.  One in France needed a lot of expensive work done before she could be lived on.  One left. The last in Ipswich, England – that might be a goer?  So three days after landing in Scotland, we waved bye to the kids and drove seven hours to look at her. We were so nervous and excited, could this be our new home?  We only had one boat on ‘the list’.  But first a good night’s sleep.

As we walked along the pontoon in the crisp morning air she looked lovely, the beautiful navy hull fairly glowed and she enticed us on.  The cockpit was cosy and safe, looking good!  Then I stepped inside and my heart sunk.  She was not homely, but I put the thought out of my head.  I’d make it work, I convinced myself.  We put in an offer we thought was reasonable, jumped in the car and drove 7 hours home.  Our offer was rejected.  Not even a counter offer came back.  Oh no!  Should we increase our offer?  My gut feeling was no, but then what? Back to the drawing board.

More to come…


  1. Hi Lynita! I’ve just found your blog! Awesome! I’ll be following your adventures and hopefully we’ll meet up somewhere out on the sea one day. We’ve moved our boat down to Portsmouth from Ipswich now and she’ll be coming out of the water next month. Loads of work to do, for us and you lot! Keep in touch! And thanks for the link to our blog too.x


  2. It is big decision. Good luck with it.I am sure you will come with a right solution . Love to both of you and kids. Lillian xxxx


  3. Dear Lynita, I can understand you craving having your own things around you, but I’m sure, before long, you will have the opportunity to create your own space again. You are doing the sensible thing and thinking about your needs thoroughly, so things will come together soon. We are in Dublin for 3 days, loving exploring ( and buying grandchildren gifts!). I can hardly believe we’re really here, apparently my birth background is Tipperary, so being here is the nearest thing to roots that I’ll ever experience. Hope all your plans evolve as you’d hoped, looking forward to reading your next installment, with love, Wilma & Eric.xx


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