The Boat

Well, I’ve done it. I bought a boat. I should say that I have an agreement to buy, because no money has changed hands yet.No, it isn’t the Cape Dory. It seems that the relationship between the broker and the buyer isn’t going well. So I moved on


I saw this Shannon 28. This design is considered to be the best 28 ft sailboat to come out of the U.S. Shannon is still in business, building several models of sail and power boats. The design comes from Walter Schultz, a highly respected designer and builder. In total around fifty-five boats were produced between 1978 – 1986, after which they continued to be available from Shannon on a semi-custom basis right up to 1999, by which time the price had risen from $55k to $175k. ($175K???) The Shannon 28 remains one of the classic models of the Shannon line, and continues to be sought after in the used boat market with their prices holding up very well. This is hull 44 and was launched in 1982.

Presently, there are two offered for sale in Maine. A 1980 is listed at $48,500 and a 1984 is listed at $57,000. So why am I able to buy this boat for $10,000?

Well, it’s because I bought it “as is, where is.” Here’s what the interior looks like now.


It’s not as bad as it looks. I have done my best carpentry work with my wallet and plan to do so with this project. The present owner is a boat builder, marine surveyor, experienced sailor, and delivery captain. He and his employees will be doing most of the work. There are several things I can do, especially the electrical and plumbing. Most of the parts are in his workshop, just a few feet from the boat. His part of the job will be about another $10,000. I’m sure that I will spend several thousand more by the time I’m done with new batteries, canvas, dingy, outboard, etc, etc, etc.


In the meantime, I will be saving some money because it is at his dock at his home and workshop. It will remain there at no charge until the job is complete and there is also a cabin for my use at no charge. I stayed there one night and it is very comfortable and has a toilet and shower.This will save marina, boatyard, and hotel costs. The completed project should run $25,000 – $30,000 and will depend upon how many extra things I want. I am confident that the boat would sell at a profit at the end of the refit, but I don’t intend to sell it.

Everything will be done by the end of 2016. It will be live aboard ready before then. I’ll be posting the progress.




Finding the Boat

I did a lot of searching for a boat on the internet. I know what I want in a sailboat, but have not limited myself to a specific model. My basic requirements are:

  • Seaworthy. For me that means well built with a good reputation.
  • Hull, deck, and rigging in good condition.
  • Mast climbing steps or ladder.
  • Sails in good condition.
  • Hank on head sails (no roller furling).
  • 30 ft +/- a couple in length.
  • Tiller steering.
  • Sloop or cutter rig.
  • Fiberglass or steel.
  • Has to have a good sea berth.
  • Inboard diesel engine.
  • Minimum 2 burner propane stove. Alcohol possible.
  • Spray dodger and bimini (canvas).
  • Good rowing dingy.
  • Small outboard engine.
  • Strong ground tackle (anchors, chain, and line)
  • Auto tiller.
  • Good compass.
  •  Depth sounder and GPS.
  • VHF radio.

It’s not likely that I will find a perfect fit to this list, but a sound boat that can be fitted out the way I want it can be found. Some of the ones I will be looking at have extra things that are not on the list like radar, refrigeration, larger stoves, and wind vane steering. These are nice to have, but not essential. There are also a lot more details that I won’t write in this post. It would get too long and boring. I would write forever and never look for the boat.

I’m in Rio Dulce, Guatemala and think that I found “the one.” I looked at 3 possibles and narrowed it to a Cape Dory 28. The Cape Dory 28 is a solid and sound ‘pocket blue water cruiser’  with the famous Alberg full keel and moderate, well-distributed sail plan that result in a yacht that is easily handled by a minimum of crew. Her hefty displacement of 9,000 pounds, and her long keel with attached rudder allow the Cape Dory 28 to hold her course in a seaway

I’ve made an offer, contingent on a marine survey (inspection) and am waiting for a response. My offer is near the asking price of $14,000, so I think I will be able to close this deal soon.