Some very good information on here. Mack and I are shopping for our first boat. We plan on doing the loop a chunk at a time. We have been shopping for a used cruiser around 27-30ft under 9000 lbs and less than 10ft beam. We have looked at Bayliners, Sea Rays, Regal and Rinkers. We have an appointment to go look at a very nice Donzi Tomorrow. We have looked at 100's of boats online, but only touched a handful. So far haven't found the right one. So far my favorite boat has been a Sea Ray 280 Sundancer.
We started out thinking BIG boats, 40ft, but figured out that it would be too expensive to maintain and run, so we are going smaller. A boat we can trailer with our truck.
This has been a very informative journey so far. We have learned a lot talking to some great boaters.
Look forward to hearing from you'll,
Walter and Heather McIntosh 2000 Ford F150-7700 In the market for our first 27'-29'ft motor cruiser
Loc: PA and Smith Mountain Lake
Welcome Heather and welcome to BABC. You are certainly jumping in right away and going big.
Keep in mind that boats over 8'-6" wide often require towing permits, check your state laws to verify.
Looking online is a great start however actually touching as you say is very important. There are lots of boat shows going on now where this is possible to sit in many boats at one location.
I notice you have a F150 7700 which is basically a F250 in a F150. We have a 2003 F150 and it tows our Regal 2400 but is almost maxed out. Towing with my Dodge 2500 diesel is so much easier. Make sure you check the towing limits and know what the boat weighs. Boats tend to gain weight once you start adding personal belongings to it.
Keep in touch as there are lots of experience on this board.
Welcome to BABC. This is a great place to hang out and get your questions answered without being flamed like you get on some boards.
When talking with people who are buying a first boat, I usually tell them to buy their second boat first. By that I mean that too many people don't take their time when they're looking for a first boat. They want to hit the water so they buy one that turns them on without really thinking if it will fit their needs.
Then they use it for a year, decide it's not what they want so they trade it in on one that DOES suit their needs. That can be very expensive.
So my suggestion is take your time, walk on a lot of boats, find what you don't like about them and start a list of things you like and don't like.
Then, after you've done your due diligence, buy the boat you would have bought second, only make it your first boat.
Keep us informed on your search and ask lots of questions.
Again, welcome to BABC.
"Beachcomber" 1995 Sea Ray 550 Sedan Bridge
Loc: Cape Cod, MA
Welcome, as well
I would recommend here (boatingabc) and forums.iboats.com for general searching, assessing and buying guidance. May we assume that you are buying used (sounds like it)?
The Sea Ray 280 is a nice boat . . . I would say Sea Ray and Regal are the better brands from what you listed. You may find a Formula 27 interesting as well.
Key things with buying used is the mechanical condition and the structural condition. Lots of folks don't realize that there is a lot of wood in many/most fiberglass boats and at about 15 years of age the wood can be rotting.
You can always have a pre-purchase survey done to verify that you have a good boat before you buy.
The great loop is on my bucket list. Not sure how realistic a goal at this point, but I still keep it out there.
As I've done my looking I keep coming to a trawler, but hard to find those that are trailerable. I really want a fly bridge, I don't want the option to enjoy the weather or not depending on conditions.
1989 Larson DC 190 2007 Saab 9-7x
Loc: Lake Geneva, WI
One big decision in the 27' to 29' size range is twin engines or single. Twins sure are nice on the water for 1) maneuvering, and 2) back up in case one engine fails. If you are doing the loop, then 2) becomes an important factor. Of course, twins cost more to purchase and maintain, and are heavier to tow.