Our latest secondhand boat buyers guide shows you can get an awful lot of boat for less than £100,000
New boats become inexorably more expensive, but £100,000 can still buy you a very desirable secondhand boat. As ever with used boats, there’s a broad triangular trade-off between cost, age and size so if you fix one element (in this case the price) then the other two sides of the triangle move in relation to each other – lengthen one and you will lose out on the other. After that, the finer value considerations surround build quality, engine choices, performance and condition.
So let’s take a look at very different examples of those parameters, from an almost new but necessarily compact and petrol-driven 28-footer through to an older 45ft twin diesel cruiser that you could happily spend a month on board, via a beautiful sports boat with a strong celebrity connection and ending with what may just be the perfect compromise. Get your chequebooks ready!
Sealine 450 Statesman
The Sealine 450 Statesman is very much a product of the Kidderminster-based company’s early 1990s period, from the dolphin nose (which neatly hides the anchor) to the very rounded, slightly over-inflated shape.
But the 450, then the flagship of the range, carries it off well. Better, in fact, than some of the smaller models of the time. It still looks pretty fresh today, ageing more gently than some of the harder-edged alternatives of its era.
The 450 is a classic example of some really innovative thinking that was coming out of Sealine at the time, and a perfect demonstration of this is the aft cockpit/aft cabin layout. On most boats of this size you have to choose between a proper integrated cockpit or a more exposed raised aft deck to fit a cabin beneath. This has both.
Sealine cunningly placed the bed at the forward end of the aft cabin and then lowered the ceiling overhead, giving standing headroom where you need it, but creating a proper cockpit above it and adding a separate ensuite toilet and shower into each aft corner. There’s a generous guest cabin in the bow and on this boat a third guest cabin forward.
So the big news, for an aft cabin boat, is the proper aft cockpit with seating wrapping around it and a transom door. Sealine were able to extend the flybridge above it to provide some shelter and make it easier to rig an aft canopy – this was the best of both worlds! GRP stairs (rather than the ladder most boats of this era featured) take you to the flybridge.
The vast majority of Sealine 450 Statesmans got Volvo Penta’s 70 series engines, from twin 71s through later 72, 74 and 75 evolutions giving 358hp–430hp and in the region of 30 knots. This boat has been re-engined with newer TAMD 63P 370hp units.
12 tonnes of boat with two shaft drive diesel engines makes for steady progress rather than lightning-fast direction changes, which suits the style of boat very well.
However, it’s worth being aware of the windage of those high topsides, necessary to accommodate that aft cabin, when in close quarters.
Length: 45ft 9in (14.0m)
Beam: 13ft 11in (4.2m)
Draught: 3ft 9in (1.1m)
Displacement: 12 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 1,320 litres
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta TAMD 63P 370hp diesel
Contact: One Marine
Take a glimpse at these two sportscruisers on the water as part of our used boat test
A 40ft flybridge is a great cruiser with enough space and clever layout. We review four secondhand boats on the…
Regal 28 Express
The Regal 28 Express was launched in 2013 and this smart modern sportscruiser is still in production. Like most boats of this size and style, the beam is limited to 8ft 6in as a sop to the Americans, who do like to drag them around behind their pick-up trucks (it’s the maximum towable width allowed in most states) but it utilises what it has well.
The interior is entirely conventional with a dinette forward, heads opposite the galley, and a double berth back under the cockpit. All areas are a decent size, but maximising living space inevitably compromises storage space, so there are no hanging lockers for example.
However, Regal has been quite clever with some of the storage solutions. The saloon table has a dedicated storage slot beneath the middle dinette cushion, its leg clipping neatly into a locker, and the dinette backrests are cunningly shaped to create the infill required to turn it into a double bed without recourse to more cushions.
In common with many of its contemporaries, the narrow beam means no side decks, the full width being used for the cockpit, so access forward is through the smart stainless steel framed windscreen.
Like the interior, the cockpit layout is conventional but with some nice touches, such as the double-ended chaise longue and the multi adjustable aft seat backrest locking into different positions to create a seating, sunbathing or lounging area. The powered folding arch is handy for reducing air draught.
The standard engine option is a 5.0 litre V8 Mercruiser petrol engine, but most (like this boat) were upgraded to Mercruiser’s 5.7 litre 350 Magnum motor, which punches 300hp through its Bravo 3 twin prop sterndrive for a top speed of about 33 knots. Volvo Penta is also on the options list, and there is a 300hp diesel option.
For a necessarily tall yet narrow boat the 28 Express is surprisingly stable at planing speeds, with little need of its standard fit trim tabs unless it’s particularly windy or unevenly loaded. Reasonably quiet with the V8 petrol engine too, it’s a smooth operator.
Length: 28ft 8in (8.7m)
Beam: 8ft 6in (2.6m)
Draught: 2ft 7in (0.8m)
Displacement: 3.4 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 276 litres
Engine: Mercruiser 350 Magnum 300hp petrol
Contact: BJ Marine
Sunseeker Tomahawk 41
I don’t need much of an excuse to include a classic Sunseeker in this feature – its back catalogue is positively dripping with super desirable, high-quality boats that always perform well. But this particular example is extra special because the first owner was none other than Sir Roger Moore!
He bought it new in 1995 to replace his Tomahawk 37, kept it in Monaco and ran it along the French Riviera for years. He called it K, no doubt after Kristina Tholstrup, whom he had married two years earlier.
Very much part of Sunseeker’s high performance range, the interior is unashamedly compact, squeezed by both its narrow beam and low deckhead. Despite its dimensions you still get great weekending ability, a galley area, a separate heads, a saloon with two social settees and a double berth in the forepeak – everything a man on a mission requires.
The original cell phone that Sir Roger had fitted (an expensive novelty in 1995) no longer functions but is still installed – a great talking point for 007 fans!
That narrow 10ft beam, squeezed still further by the side decks, makes itself felt again in the cockpit, which has a double helm seat with a further single alongside and the same again further aft ahead of the sunpads.
The helm seat ‘backflips’ to create aft-facing seating around a cockpit table as well as converting the helm to stand up bolsters.
Sir Roger had the original engines replaced with a pair of Cummins 6BTA 250hp engines and drives, which give a top speed of about 31 knots, with a 25-knot cruise.
From the 1980s Hawk 27 upwards, all of Sunseeker’s Hawk series boats are performance orientated, with more than a passing nod to race boat hulls. This Tomahawk 41 might not have race boat speeds, but that narrow beam and deep vee cleave the water like one.
Length: 42ft 1in (12.8m)
Beam: 10ft 1in (3.1m)
Draught: 3ft 11in (1.2m)
Displacement: Approx 7 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 780 litres
Engines: Twin Cummins 6BTA 250hp diesel
Contact: Sunseeker Poole
Fairline Targa 34
Fairline’s Targa 34 was in production for almost a decade, spanning 1997 to 2006. It was launched as a smaller alternative to the Targa 37 but ended up killing off its larger sibling. By the time production ceased, over 300 examples had been built.
The Targa 34 features a classic two-cabin layout split by the dinette and galley. It was launched with vee berths in the forward cabin to differentiate it from the larger Targa 37 but Fairline soon changed it to an offset double, which the boat ran with for the rest of its production life.
The stand-out feature is the finish – a riot of rich cherry wood (a proper veneer, not a fake wood laminate), thick upholstery and expensive carpets. Check out the brushed stainless steel on the bulkhead ahead of the dinette – simply wonderful.
White topsides might be easier to maintain but most people want the dark blue, it looks fantastic (there was also a rarer and less desirable turquoise option). There’s masses of seating in the cockpit, from the L-shaped settee next to the helm at the raised forward end of the cockpit to the large dinette aft.
Side decks are generous once you’ve ducked under the steeply raked radar arch, with rails that run to the cockpit.
All twin installations, Fairline offered the old Volvo Penta AQAD 41 200hp as the base diesels but I’ve never seen one, most getting the newer KAD series in 43 (230hp), 44 (260hp) or 300 (285hp) variants.
There were even two twin V8 petrol options. The larger petrol and diesel options knock on the door of 40 knots, with the KAD 44 EDC motors fitted to this boat you’ll still be in the high 30s – ample.
Despite the emphasis on accommodation, the Targa 34 is a great drive. Fast, solid and confidence-inspiring, the Bernard Olesinski hull scythes a Solent chop and carves confident turns, or point it cross Channel and revel in its capable offshore performance.
Length: 34ft 5in (10.5m)
Beam: 11ft 4in (3.4m)
Draught: 3ft 0in (0.9m)
Displacement: 6 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 592 litres
Engines: Twin 260hp Volvo Penta KAD 44 EDC diesels
Contact: Burton Waters