SAILING: How did we choose our boat?

Choosing a boat was hard, but a fun experience. We learnt so much


We were clueless when we started.

We looked online and shortlisted a few boats we liked. It was mostly based on looks and a little on the specs, although we had NO clue what to look, we had a general sense of what we liked – old school, simple lines. We watched videos, read reviews, asked around but always had a feeling we wanted to go MONOHULL and NOT catamaran. In our opinion Monohulls are more classic and old school sailing and AS A MAJOR BONUS, they handle the South African waters and stormy water in general, much better.

Cost: Sailing can get expensive and although we are confident we will be able to work on most of the boat ourselves and not spend money on external labour, as a general guideline and consideration: a 20% bigger boat will have 20% more expenses … bigger sails, bigger winches, bigger areas to antifaul…. The list goes on.


We wanted something manageable for just the two of us and potentially single hand too.

We have no specific desire to charter. We have also just come from a property that was way too big for the two of us and we didn’t want to end up with a similar situation with the boat. Comparing to vanliving or camping in the land rover, we wanted slightly more space and convenience. Whatever does not get used, is unnecessary.

We love camping in our landy and in searching for a boat, we used this as a measure of space needed. Anything more is a waste

Our research:

We viewed all sizes between 36-45ft.
We felt more comfortable in the 36/38 (under 40ft range), not only in the actual size, but also in the unknown expenses. It would be much more fun having enough money to keep going to more places, than less, purely because the boat is sucking you dry.

From all the boats available in SA, and all the reviews we read and advice we received, Lavranos designs came out tops. Angelo Lavranos is a VERY well-known boat designer (he worked in the US, UK, SA and now in NZ). Known for well-designed, trusted boats that can withstand the weather and test of time.

Why would you opt for anything else?

Our Tosca 36 was the very first boat we viewed, although we had to see a dozen after to realize she was the best bet for us.

There are a few around that have done circumnavigations, in fact, there is one at our marina that has done 11 years. The couple even managed up and into rivers in The Gambia as well as Patagonia with her.


We also heard more great advice from others: GO small, GO now!

We trusted our instincts: So, a 36ft monohull it was! And we have only heard great things about her since.

Technical Drawing of the Tosca 36.


  • To read a great view on our boat, and her sister designs, read here. Justin was great when we emailed him too for some additional opinions on our options.
  • A more technical overview here
  • Many have gone all over the world, a detailed blog from one of them here: a Tosca 36’s journey 
  • A gamer, designer living in China, that made a Tosca his home
  • Our neighbour yacht in the marina is also a Tosca, and was interestingly enough, owned by the now owner of the magnificent Urchin  – he still raves about her

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