After going to the US Sailboat Show in the fall, we knew that making it to the Spring Sailboat Show this year was a priority. What we didn’t know was that spring wasn’t going to be quite ready for spring-like weather in the middle of April! No matter, we braved the chilly temperatures and made our way to Annapolis, with a long list of boats that we wanted to check out.
We did our homework with the show’s program before the show so we had a pretty good idea of what boats we were looking to board and which one’s were too big and / or too expensive to even think of falling in love with. We jumped right in and got busy, boarding, evaluating and making some notes.
Jeanneau 42 DS – This was the first Jeanneau we have been on and it was really nice. Downfalls of this boat for us was price; the top-load refrigerator; and the kind of cramped space in the master stateroom. Didn’t hate it, but didn’t fall in love with it either.
Catalina 425 – This was also the first Catalina we boarded. The Catalina 425 is at the upper end of the length that we’re looking for, but it was a very nicely laid out boat. Nothing really stood out about this boat for us, other than the price for a brand new one!
Pearson 37-2 – This was an unexpected awesome! We figured we might as well get on it because it was here, but, didn’t expect much from it. We were both pretty surprised when we really liked it! It was older and the finishes needed updated but it had a lot of character; a full-sized sink and a completely separate shower. It also had a heater than worked really well! Downsides were the v-berth cabin being the only sleeping area; really limited storage and the steering wheel that made maneuvering in the cockpit really challenging. I’m not going to lie, we spent a few minutes trying to figure out how we could make this one work because we both really liked it. At the end of the day, it just doesn’t offer enough storage space for what we need.
Catalina 400 – The Catalina 400 was a really clean boat, but, the extra, really steep steps going down into the interior didn’t earn high marks. There wasn’t anything about the Catalina 400 that got our attention or drew us in.
Bavaria Cruiser 34 – Despite being the Boat Of The Year Winner, we found that the Bavaria Cruiser 34 was just too small for our intentions. It was beautiful on the inside, but, there just wasn’t enough space and the galley was tiny and much more suited for a weekend vacation boat.
Bavaria Cruiser 37 – The Bavaria Cruiser 37 was another really nice boat, with a lot of natural light, but neither cabin felt suitable for long-term residence. Both cabins were just kind of “meh,” and we didn’t love either one, which would probably get old pretty quickly. The galley was pretty small for full-time use, too.
Hunter 38 – Well, the show was kind of over for us after this one. We suspected that the Hunter 38 would be a good fit for us and we weren’t disappointed. Tons of natural light, a legitimate queen sized bed, an expansive cockpit and a steering wheel that folded in to make it easy to navigate the cockpit were the all great points of the Hunter 38. The galley felt spacious, with plenty of storage space, but this specific boat lacked a freezer, which we would probably add. The v-berth offered additional storage space that some of the other boats lacked, while offering the separate, queen-sized master stateroom. The salon offered plenty of seating options and space and we’re pretty sure the dog’s numerous beds would find spots on the Hunter 38. It was well within our budget and it’s sitting pretty at the top of our want list right now. It’s going to take a pretty solid competitor to dethrone it!
Hunter 39 – The Hunter 39 was really similar to the Hunter 38 we fell in love with, except the 39 had dual helms. The dual helms may be a plus, but, the darker interior and less natural light may be a minus. It’s a close second to the Hunter 38 and a boat that we definitely wouldn’t mind having!
Hanse 388 – The Hanse 388 had a huge galley and it was beautiful, but, both cabins on the boat were just okay. Neither cabin seemed really suitable for long-term living. The Hanse 388 was also really, really modern, which felt almost not “us.”
Dufour 350 & Dufour 360 – The Dufour 350 and 360 were beautiful boats, but both had the same issue: both cabins were just okay and neither seemed suitable for long-term, extended living. Both the 350 and 360 were really linear inside, too, which made it feel much more like living in a hallway than a cozy living space
Dufour 412 – The Dufour 412 had a different, less linear layout inside than the 350 and 360, but, both cabins remained just okay. Everything was a bit bigger, but neither cabin seemed equipped to deal with daily, long-term habitation.
Jeanneau 39 – The Jeanneau 39 seemed really similar to the Beneteau’s that we had boarded previously, and, unfortunately, both cabins, again, just seemed okay. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a large master stateroom that could hold a really comfy bed, which is something we’re really looking for.
Being able to board and evaluate so many boats during this boat show made this boat a huge success for us! It was nice that it was much less crowded, too, which made it easier and more fun to be able to check things out. Now, it’s time for more research!