|Choosing Your First Boat|
|So you have decided you want a boat. Which model form the vast list of manufacturers and models will you choose? Well this is governed by a number of factors, foremost how much you want to spend. Fisrstly you have to decide wether you want a brand new boat or a second hand. New boats are shiny and very pretty and to the first time buyer who is probably ignorant to the whole game seems like the best bet as they feel more confident in a new set up.
This is fine if you have the cash and all the boat anglers on this site and indeed around the counrty salute you! Realisticly it makes far more sense to go second hand for a number of reasons. A new boater in his first boat tends to have a few rumps and bumps in their first season as they become used to handling the vessel. This is due to currents, launching/recovering, mooring and tieing up. Couple this with a brand new boat and you will be a very angry boater! Think of your first scratch on a new car! Secondly, A boat for angling is a messy boat. It is inevitable and thus a skipper of a new boat will be hard pressed to enjoy himself as thoughtless angles trow rigs and bait all over the place- as inevitably they will. Cleaning this up is a never ending job! Most importantly however, is the fact hat a new boat is a hell of a lot more expensive than a second hand model and for the money you will spend on a new small 15 ft boat you could buy a far superior set up second hand. A boat after all is just a lump of fiberglass and once the hull is sound, can be made sea worthy with a bit of sweat and dedication.
So, You have decided to either go new or second hand. The next consideration to consider BEFORE you buy the boat is WHERE are you going to put it. You must choose to either moor the boat or launch and retrieve it each trip. If you choose to launch it each trip, this will allow you to target different areas for fishing and there are pros and cons to this. Firstly you wil not have to antifoul paint the bottom of you boat each year and so will save money there. The boat will take a lot more rough treatment to the hull with constant launching however and depending on where you do this, could compromise the health of your boat. Also, being able to fish different far reaching locations around the coast may sound great, but a lot of 'guessing around' and experimenting while angling often results in little knollage in a wide area. A boat kept on a mooring can always be retrieved for big exotic trips but anglers will benifit from having indept knowledge of their area and learn over a few seasons 'WHERE THE FISH ARE'. This is not to be sniffled at. Getting a mooring however is not as easy as it sounds. In populated area all moorings will be taken up and are like gold dust. Getting a spot in a harbour is even harder! Often these lists are longer than you are likely to live! Check out your situation in your area BEFORE buying your boat as the attitude 'Ah we will sort it out' will leave you very unimpressed in the long run.
Now you must consider this. All boats must be taken out of the water for the winter months. This is usually between October - April. During this priod you will need to store the boat somewhere and this will require a good trailer and define just how big a vessel you are considering. You may now rethink your size ideas as you imagine trying to fit the boat into your driveway. Maybe you will be able to find somewhere that will house your boat over the winter but if you do then tell everyone on this site because no one here knows anywhere! Boats have to come out in winter because high rainfall and high tides can cause both boats to break their moorings and sink from swamping. At the end of a season all boats need mainteance also and there is much work that will have to be done if you are to maintain you boat for the next season.
There is no contest here. Wooden boats may look nice but are heavier and thus less fuel efficient. Also they are harder to manuver onto a trailer. Beleive it or not, it is easier to perform repairs to a fiberglass boat than a wooden one. In short wooden boats are a nightmare that would take too long to describe here. Beleive me you want GRP.
Cabin or Cuddy
Your choice here should be governed by the set up you expect to use. Cabins with a door are obviously superior to a cuddy shelter but do take up more valuable deck space for fishing. However, if you are planning to moor your boat they make much more sense as you will be able to leave much of your essential equipment on the boat permanently which makes a huge difference to getting down there and getting out not to mention cleaning up and going home in time for tea! Hauling all your gear (And there is a lot) and then thaving to bring it all back home again really is not an option on a moored boat. If you are launching your boat constantly you will find that a fishing trip is much more of an ordeal as you have to load all your gear into the boat, launch it, retrieve it and then unload all your gear again. Fishing trips are often cut short for this reason and so as you can see there are advantages to both set ups.
Hull type / Engine type - What do I really need?
This is a key factor to choosing your boat. We all like the macho idea of having a big powerful fast boat, but do we really need it? In some areas like Dublin for example, the standard of fishing is so bad that a good deal of distance must be travelled in order to get to the good fishing grounds. A slow boat in this situation makes no sense at all. One must be able to get out, have fun and then get back again in reasonable time. Also you must be able to get back should the weather turn for the worse... On the other hand an angler in somewhere like Courtown or Cahore need not travel far at all to reach superb fishing grounds and might choose to launch his boat and a small engine and speed would be ample!
There are basicly three types of hull. In boats there is no perfect design. What makes one feature great for one reason causes a draw back in another. The 'planning hull' is a flat bottomed boat that is built for speed. In good conditions it will lift out of the water and skim along the surface and there is no beating this boat. It will zoom along very economicly. It does suffer at anchor however as it does tend to lean somewhat with weight to one side. Another type is the 'V hull', This is the opposite. This boat hull is built for displacement speed. They tend to be uneconomical at high speeds but are very stable at anchor and lean very little. Then there is the 'Cathedral Hull' this is formed by one large 'V' in the middle and two smaller ones on the outsides. At high speeds it will ride on the V's and reduce drag and the bouyancy in the outside V's will create a very stable anchor. They do tend to be very noisy on the move however and are like a compromise between the other two. It is rare a boat will have a hull strictly of these designs. It is far more common that they will be a mix of two of these designs, to balance out the overall shape of the boat and weight displacement etc. It should be noted that the majority of boats perform well and well designed and that these designs are only a model to judge by. Some boats out there would surprise you just how they perform!.