This is a question that I have wondered about many times while spending yet another Saturday working on the boat in the driveway. It was around this time last year that we were narrowing our choices of boats to replace our beloved West Wight Potter that we had sold down the river the previous fall.
The old saying that the happiest day of owning a boat is the day that you sell it or is it the day that you buy it?
This had some truth to it in our circumstance. We were very happy with our 19′ West Wight Potter and we pretty much got everything out of the boat that we had hoped for, so it was time to sell. We bought a small “pocket cruiser” because we wanted a boat that that we could learn to sail on, would be fairly forgiving, and not cost a fortune. We also wanted adventure and we got that, sometimes a lot more than we had bargained for.
We certainly learned a lot of hard lessons from that boat, even a demasting… While nobody got hurt there was plenty of pain to our pocket book. That is one lesson that is going to stick with us though.
Our WWP19 Prudence on the beach in the Columbia River Gorge
After selling we looked at everything… and I mean just about every type of sailboat that you could come up with on the internet. The constant internet searching was very time consuming and frustrating at times. We finally decided on the traits that we were looking for in a boat and we also came to terms with what the near term looked like in our sailing careers.We decided we needed to go bigger but not that much bigger. We both have a lot of experience with boats however, the first boat that I had ever sailed was our Potter. We still had a lot to learn about working as a team on a small sailboat…
The Potter had a lot of characteristics which we did not want to do without in our next boat:
- Shallow draft. The Potter had a dagger board while the Macgregor has a swing keel. This is extremely advantageous in the Columbia River where large sand waves are known to migrate on the river bottom and sandy beaches beckon on a hot summer day.
- Trailerable. We like the option of going beyond our “backyard” and experience different areas with the limited time that we have for our outings. This puts a size limit on the boat.
- Affordable. We drooled over some very pretty boats…Like the $40,000 Seaward in the dealers lot. If it were to be the last boat that we were going to buy then maybe. However this boat is a stepping stone to “The Big Boat”.
Webfoot with her feet in the sand in Hood Canal
So far, owning Webfoot has been a great learning experience. These boats come with very limited options from the factory and as one other MacGregor owners put it “Think of a MacGregor as a canvas on which you may draw any type of boat that you would like”. Check out MacGregorsailors.com there are some definite artists there. Our own artwork is going to be a subject we revisit regularly in our blog.Our library contains some of the resources that we found helpful in buying our boats. We encourage your ideas on what was helpful in deciding on purchasing your own boat as we are in a never ending search for “The Big Boat”.