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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Help a newbie please...

    I'm a newbie here and hope this question is appropriate...not only for this Forum but also this website. Here goes...

    I'm new to boating. We're moving to Fernadina Beach, Florida and we've decided we want an Express Cruiser. We're more into a relaxed boating mode rather than a speed boat yet moving fast to accomodate a tube/whatever is necessary for the grandchildren who'll visit us.

    It seems the size boat that would best accomodate us and our budget is a 27 to 32 footer. Question...which is best? Now before answering, please understand...

    We've owned RV's and am seeing some real similarities between RV's and boats. That said...which is better, diesel or gas? In an RV, for me at least, it was a no brainer....Diesel! Yet it seems that limited use in a diesel boat isn't a good thing. Also, diesel boats are slower. As to the latter, the acceleration of a diesel RV was slower than gas though better/stronger once one is moving on the Interstate. Is that the case with a boat as well? Bottom line...from what I read it seems a gas engine for an Express Cruiser would be better than a diesel...true?

    The other thing is, I never like to buy anything brand new. I see depreciation in boats take a big whack just as they do in RV's. Generally, I like to get something that's 2 or 3 years old. I also see there are plenty of quality Express Cruiser's out there for sale but would like to know how effective a "marine inspector" is in determining the overall condition? What other resources are out there to help a novice buyer be sure they're getting a high quality, nearly new-like boat?

    Also, when buying an RV, I refer to NADA for determining the value. Because the market is flooded with RV's...just as it is with boats...I never factor in the RV's options in determining final dollar value. I simply go to the RV in question and click on the value. I then see what the "Low Retail" NADA value is and look for the highest quality RV below that price. And believe me...there are plenty of them out there. Is the same true with boats? (Please, if you're a dealer, I'm sure what your answer will be but am looking for the reality of it all). Is there a particular website (other than that is good for buying/selling boats?

    With all the above in mind...which boat manufacturer is best? I see J.D. Powers awarded it's "best" to the Regal express cruiser for 2007. Is J.D. Powers a good judge? If so, can the same be said for a 2004 Regal express cruiser? Someone told me Cobalts are the best yet they seem very pricey...true?

    Any and all input would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

    PS If I'm on the wrong Forum/website...humble apologies. Any suggestions where I could ask the above questions? Please provide links if true. Thanks again.

  2. #2
    Sunseeker, Formula or Cobalt would be my choices. always always get a survey!

  3. #3
    Registered RedDog382's Avatar
    My Boats:
    '99 Formula 382 Poker Run Special/'05 Formula 260 SS
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Toledo, Ohio/Las Vegas, NV
    I would also look at the Formula line. Good solid all-round quality boat with the best factory support in the business.

  4. #4
    Registered VIP Member
    My Boats:
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Boca Raton, FL
    SeaRay would be my recommendation. Good value, many to choose from and good resale.
    Florida has always been blessed with a strong dealer network and many SeaRays are out on the water, so people feel comfortable buying or used.

    Stay away from outdrives if you plan to keep it in the water. If you're going to keep it at a marina out of the water you will not need bottom paint and an outdrive boat will work.

    I just surveyed a late model 300 Sundancer with Bravo III's that was an excellent boat.

    Regal is building some nice boats too, but they don't get the respect they deserve on the resale market. Some of their smaller beam express cruisers are not good handling boats, so make sure you sea trial in waters you plan to run in.

    There are many repos on the market now and National Liquidators has some great values on this type of boat.

    The main thing is do not be in a hurry and find the right boat, have it properly surveyed and enjoy it.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    I would look at Sea Ray and Formula. Both brands are nice practical boats.

  6. #6
    Registered Mark's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Ohio / Florida
    Formula builds one of the best for the money (unless you can afford a Tiara). The quality of Formula easily beats Sea Ray in my opinion. Cobalt builds an excellent prodict if you want something smaller. Sunseeker is also excellent and pricey. If I could have any cruiser I wanted, it would be a Tiara hands down.

    Good luck and always get a survey.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    My Boats:
    1990 28 Apache SOLD!, 1990 16 Wahoo DC, 1973 40 Kingscraft
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Mansfield, TX
    Sea Ray, Formula. Doral, Cruisers. In no particular order.

    If I was ever going to get a yacht in that range I would have to go with the 35ft Sea Ray express bridge. They plane out and can hit 34mph from what I have read and I love the extra headroom you get out of a bridge. The cruisers make me a little closterphobic because there are not enough windows. If somebody comes cruising buy I want to see them without running to the cockpit worried. Plus you can get one for around $50-70K for a 1989-1993. I don't think they have made them for quite some time, but the old ones look just as good if not better than a lot of the newer ones. Since your new to boating this would get you in cheap and if you didn't like it you could get out of without losing much money, or maybe upgrade down the road after you gain some experience.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Denton TX
    Amelia island… From my experiences there is hardly any back water and all you really have is the Atlantic Ocean and big rivers…. On a good day your looking at 3-5 seas…You may want to look at something that could handle the seas in that area… I would call some dealers in Jacksonville and ask them about what kind of boat would work for Amelia… Its different there than lets say Daytona or so…But if you plan on just sticking around the island then there are lots to pick from I guess… Also the tides move by the yard there and not by the ft!!! Huge tide change making the use of boat ramps and docks a pain… I could be wrong but that’s what I have notices and I have been going there every year for the past 25 years… Mainly to work on that dang beach house!!!

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