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Boat recommendations for harbor cruising

Old 06-11-2019, 10:51 AM
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Default Boat recommendations for harbor cruising

The time has come for my wife and I to start looking for a boat to complete our dream of spending more time on the water. We have a 6 month old son who already loves the water and is plenty big enough to fill out an approved life jacket (23 pounds already!). The plan is to find a marina on the northern side of Boston harbor that is easily enough to access within a 20 minute drive from the house.


My wife and I have spent many weekends on boats of friends and family but have never owned our own. I've left from the mystic river marina on several occasions with my uncle in his 21ft Trophy and traveled out as far as the outer side of Deer island, so I am somewhat familiar with the harbor itself.


Our budget is in the $20-$30K range (24-26 ft or so) and we are mainly looking to just go cruising with other members of the family, with an occasional fishing day mixed in. We also plan on making a few trips each year to Hyannis where my parents have a summer rental. I welcome any and all suggestions for boats and/or marinas. I am mechanically inclined and have friends/family with experience that I can lean on in a pinch. Thank you in advance and I look forward to getting out on the water soon!
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Old 06-11-2019, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by MVM1989 View Post
The time has come for my wife and I to start looking for a boat to complete our dream of spending more time on the water. We have a 6 month old son who already loves the water and is plenty big enough to fill out an approved life jacket (23 pounds already!). The plan is to find a marina on the northern side of Boston harbor that is easily enough to access within a 20 minute drive from the house.


My wife and I have spent many weekends on boats of friends and family but have never owned our own. I've left from the mystic river marina on several occasions with my uncle in his 21ft Trophy and traveled out as far as the outer side of Deer island, so I am somewhat familiar with the harbor itself.


Our budget is in the $20-$30K range (24-26 ft or so) and we are mainly looking to just go cruising with other members of the family, with an occasional fishing day mixed in. We also plan on making a few trips each year to Hyannis where my parents have a summer rental. I welcome any and all suggestions for boats and/or marinas. I am mechanically inclined and have friends/family with experience that I can lean on in a pinch. Thank you in advance and I look forward to getting out on the water soon!
i'd start by searching all the main boat for sale websites, plugging in your requirements such as budget, and seeing what supply is. then go get eyes on, make a short list of boats that interest you. then start researching the individual makes/models/years for known issues. its really an exercise that you need to spend some time doing. maybe even go to a boat show, look at newer/current models just to get a feel. you really need to figure out what style suits you and your family best whether its CC, walk around, etc.
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Old 06-12-2019, 05:48 AM
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I suppose I should have stated that we have already started the process a bit and have limited our selections to either a walkaround with decent seating or some sort of a dual console. We were initially thinking an express cruiser, but with there being a slight chance of fishing, that just wasn't going to work. The goal is to fit up to 6 adults with a separate head compartment. The 20-30K ballpark is our target, but we would consider up to the mid 30's if the perfect option comes along.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:03 AM
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With a wife and youngster in tow, you might want to up your budget a bit so you can find something solid w/newer power. Nothing will sour your family's attitude towards boating faster than having a budget boat that's constantly having issues. A fun day on the water goes downhill quickly when something breaks down. One of my daughter's bridesmaids and husband bought what they thought was a great used boat (21 ft. walkaround O/B). They found numerous mechanical issues that the PO didn't disclose and of course, they didn't have it surveyed. Hopefully you do your due diligence and keep in mind that your family's safety may be at stake when you're out there. Best of luck in your search.
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:24 AM
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Agree with prior poster get the newest engine thatís been used you can get
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:40 AM
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18' Maritime (sea worthy, fuel efficient, low HP requirements inshore/backwater cruising & fishing)
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:43 AM
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Look at a dual console Cat . My brother had a 246 word cat that he used for both

Seating in bow area where u can keep you eyes on kids and smooth ride

Hard to fine in your price range

as to engines I would look at age plus reliability- my 2002 OX 66 has had no engine related issues with almost 1200 hours. Will run it till it dies Just add OIL and gas run ringfree
F225 had the corrosion issues as well as some f250's
250 and 300 HDPI had their issues
early model etecs in the 225/250 range had theirs
don't know enough about mercs
HONDAs seem reliable just not as many mechanics that work on them
newer suzukis seem the rage as repowers-we shall see how that works out
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Old 06-12-2019, 06:57 AM
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High freeboard (don't want kids falling out). Full transom. Cabin to duck into to change clothes or get out of sun. Top and enclosure to duck out of weather.

Everything else is a tradeoff.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:05 AM
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If it were me some type of walk around or pilot house, full transom with outboard power. As examples look at the 22 foot Grady White Walk arounds and the Parker and Steiger Pilot house boats budget is going to be an issue. To stay in your budget look for nothing over 25 to stay with a one engine boat, less to maintain and lighter to tow. Older higher quality boat with a more recent repower is better than a moderately used lower quality older boat that looks prettier.

Don't let the wife go view the boat with you the initial time or she will want the junk boat with all of the pretty cushions and nice seating. It is not like those things don't matter but the important things on a boat are: quality, type of the boat and the power once you pick those 3 correctly the rest is easy than you get the pretty soft goods. Pretty boat with junk power and crappy wiring = money pit, disaster that you can't use because it's always broken. For the most part you want: Yamaha, Honda or Suzuki power, older Mercs and OMC's you can be running into some of there not so greatest technologies.
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Last edited by captpepin; 06-12-2019 at 07:14 AM.
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Old 06-12-2019, 07:20 AM
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I appreciate the the feedback thus far. To address the matter of budget, we could certainly delay the purchase by a year and continue to enjoy my uncles boat while we save and up the budget. We are not in a huge rush, I was just trying to balance the budget with the fact that it will be our first boat. I purchased a cheaper first car betting that there could be some "learning" and was taking a similar approach to boat buying. If we delay by a year, we could move the budget up into the mid 40's. If upping it into that range will increase the caliber/safety that significantly, it is certainly an option.

We don't plan on trailing the boat. It will either be in the a slip or in storage. We don't down suitable tow vehicles (Jeep Wrangler and Jeep Cherokee) and don't have a good place to store it on our property.

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Old 06-12-2019, 07:44 AM
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Consider a small whaler, I learned on a 13' whaler and beat the crap out of it as a kid. You can easily tow this and the resale value on them is pretty good for when you want to get a larger boat. All you really need to worry about is a wet core from water seeping in and if the power is good which you should have checked out by a pro anyways. This way you can learn and also have time to save up for a more ideal boat.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MVM1989 View Post
The plan is to find a marina on the northern side of Boston harbor that is easily enough to access within a 20 minute drive from the house.

Where do you live? I also live on the North Shore. I would research the local marinas first and find out what the likelihood is of getting a slip and what size boat they can accommodate.
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:06 AM
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My wife and I currently live in Chelmsford, but will be moving to Wilmington early next year. I've emailed several marinas and am waiting for a callback from some of them. From Wilmington to my uncles marina on the Mystic is less that 15 minutes (you cant beat it!).
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Old 06-12-2019, 08:35 AM
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Use your uncles, save the money and do more research $10k more is a big jump up in overall quality.
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:10 AM
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MVM: You mentioned that you want to mainly cruise around the harbor. I think you could find a decent 23-26' cruiser for $20-30k. But as others have said, it will be older and possibly unreliable. You mentioned that you are mechanically inclined so that helps. I would go on Yacht World and type in your criteria. There are SO many different brands and layouts.

There are a few Sea Ray Sundancer 260's in my marina. Decent size for an entry level cruiser. There are lots of older ones within your budget.

https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/200...dard%20listing
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Old 06-13-2019, 04:25 PM
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When our kids where young we kept our boat in Charlestown and cruised the harbor in a Grady 208 (walk around). It was nice to have a walk-around with small kids to give them a place to hang out and get out of the elements. There is a 23' Grady on craigslist asking $31K.
We moved to a CC as the kids got older.
The harbor is a great place to boat with your family.
Cheers,

https://boston.craigslist.org/sob/bo...903163715.html

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Old 06-13-2019, 05:28 PM
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Originally Posted by MVM1989 View Post
My wife and I currently live in Chelmsford, but will be moving to Wilmington early next year. I've emailed several marinas and am waiting for a callback from some of them. From Wilmington to my uncles marina on the Mystic is less that 15 minutes (you cant beat it!).
what club? Iím at mystic Wellington.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by PERSISTENCE_22 View Post

what club? Iím at mystic Wellington.
He is at the same club! I personally think it is a great location and value.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:37 PM
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Yea itís real convenient for me. Despite the travel time to the harbor.
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Old 06-13-2019, 06:47 PM
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MvM...welcome aboard! I am local and juat went thru this exact hunt with pretty much the same requirements (tho I admit I didnt want a dual console).. My price range was slightly lower but my stretch range was right in your target.

I would strongly recommend you look at an early to mid 2000s Formula 27 PC. Walk thu transom with fold up transom seat for fishing, but stand up headroom in the cabin (over 6 feet) aft cabin for the little one, (trust me you are going to want somewhere quiet semi dark and out of the sun for the kiddo), full galley for munchies, easily sits 6, and its a solid sea boat (9k lbs and 20 degree deadrise). Can be had with either single or doubles and LOADS of them for sale, a lot with 600ish hours on the motors. Look for them for sale in Winepeauksee, Lake George or the Finger Lakes...freshwater boats close to home. I would have bought one but kept missing the deals. Very good build quality.

Mid 2000 SeaRay Amberjacks have a very similar layout to the 27PC but lack an aft cabin and have a slightly lower build quality.

You can also get Tiara 27 Open, Albemarle 26 or Carolina Classic, but fresher motors are hard to find in your price range and usually have a saltwater history.

Not trying to fully change your direction, but if the majority of the time is cruising, I might suggeat u look for a fishable cruiser.

Check out my threads lots of information you may find helpful. Ask away and welcome aboard.

Last edited by TechieTechie; 06-13-2019 at 06:55 PM.
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