Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Thoughts on Your First Offshore Performance Boat...

There’s no doubt, the economy is not so good. But it’s inevitable that there are still people who are considering taking the plunge into performance boating. As bad as things might be for many, there are still plenty of folks out there with enough dependable income that they can think about getting into the “boating lifestyle” this summer.

If this is your first boat—or your first performance boat—there are some things you must consider. The best advice can be gained by joining some of the offshore forums, like Serious Offshore, or Offshore Only, where you can do a post search on buying tips, manufacturers, or types of boats. Members of these forums have years of experience and are quick to share solid advice for newcomers to the sport...just remember to do a search first, since many of the questions you need answered have been asked dozens of times before.

A 1999 Baja Outlaw SST - 25': Not a Bad Place to Start / PHOTO CREDIT: Boat-World

One basic approach is to get your feet wet in performance boating, and then move up to something larger. For a new boater, a 24-26’ boat may be a lot to handle at first, but if it is a good offshore hull, it will also provide a reasonable level of safety if you’re out on a big lake and the wind kicks up.

Think honestly about how you’re going to use the boat. Are you planning on doing overnights onboard? Are you docking it at a single location, or hauling it from place-to-place on a trailer? Are you planning on attending a lot of poker runs? If you’re bringing kids along, you’re going to want a boat with some kind of cabin and a porta-potti.

For the first-timer, a single engine may be the way to go; especially in light of operating and repair costs. True, two engines gives you more speed, and a backup if one goes down, but if you’re new to boating, we’d hope you wouldn’t put yourself in a situation where you couldn’t get a tow if you needed one in an emergency.

The Old-School Approach: 1987 Formula 242 LS

Smaller boats are easier to haul and easier to launch as well. Though a newer boat may cost more at the outset, it may be cheaper in the long run than getting an older boat and trying to make it into the boat you want – especially in terms of speed. Making a 60 MPH boat into an 80 MPH boat can be very expensive. But you have to weigh all the factors: cost, performance, maintenance, etc. Try and stick with factory power and the lowest number of hours you can find for the money.

When I bought my first boat last year, I was sorely tempted to buy something bigger, and I could have spent a little more. But as it turned out, the older Formula LS I bought, which is 26’ long – is all the boat I can handle—especially if I am launching, retrieving or docking it by myself. It looks sharp, runs good, feels safe and has all the amenities I need...as well as a reasonable cost of ownership. And if I happen to bump the dock and put a mark on the hull, I can buff it out and not feel guilty, like I would with a new boat.

As for new boats, I really don't know who's buying them these days. Manufacturers are still building $500+k boats, and magazines like Powerboat keep running features on boats and equipment like people have money to spend. I guess some still do...and those that don't aren't letting on.

No comments:

Follow [B3] by Email

Search [B3], Links & the web

  © Blogger templates ProBlogger Template by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP