Our Ideal Boat: The Outbound 46

“A Southerly 38 ticks many of the boxes you listed.”

“A Frers-designed Swan 36 that I raced from SF to Tahiti impressed.”

“This sounds an awful lot like the musings of a future catamaran owner.” 

These were just a few of the many, varied comments we received in response to our “Is It Time for a New Boat?” blog.  Other guesses were an Oyster 495, the new Island Packets (an IP349 or 439) with the Solent rig, a Pacific Seacraft 40, a Valiant 42, even (jokingly) a Lord Nelson.  All very capable, comfortable boats.  But, the ideal boat we eventually landed on—the one Phillip and I consider a premiere ocean-crossing, comfortable, capable cruising boat—was …

the Outbound 46.

So, how did we get there?  As with our first boat, our 1985 Niagara 35—which was the perfect boat to fulfill our needs at the time—it all started with Kevin Barber, an exceptional friend and an even better boat broker.  We often joke that “Kevin doesn’t sell boats, he sells friendships,” because he often becomes very good friends with clients.  Likely because the process of finding the right boat for people starts with getting to know them very well.  Once Phillip and I had reached the conclusion that a newer, probably slightly bigger, boat with a few more complex systems would be the better choice than an upgrade of our Niagara for our next full-time live-aboards chapter, we brought Kevin on board to have him help us find and vet our options, poor guy.  I say that because we (well, honestly more Phillip) put him through the ringer.  If you haven’t guessed this already, Phillip is a very (very) picky man.  For good reason.  He wants what he likes and he knows very well what he wants (and does not want).  I’m incredibly lucky that he picked me!  But, when it came time to pick our next boat, it was simply a tough call to make. 

Having cruised rather comfortably for years on our 35-foot Niagara, Phillip and I initially believed any boat over 40-feet would be too big, so we had Kevin start shopping in the 35- to 40-foot range and the 3- to 5-year-old range, or newly built if that appeared the better option.  Kevin dialed in.  He began sending us listings for slightly used Tartans, Island Packets, even an Ovni.  Unfortunately, each one had something we didn’t like.  The saloon location not right by the companionway, a cockpit that did not look comfortable (or that it was clear you could not lay down comfortably in), no better tankage than our Niagara.  None were checking all of the boxes, and we did not want to compromise.  This was a huge, “next chapter in our lives,” decision and we were all in.  This would be the boat we would live on and sail the world in.  It simply had to be the right one.  Honestly, the “best boat” in the 30- to 40-foot range, in our opinion, was our boat upgraded, but we had already made the decision to adjust our tolerance for systems and finances in deciding to get a newer boat.  But, it seemed, our aggressive hunt had come to a bit of a lurch. 

Insert Kevin again.  Fortuitously, we ran into Kevin (and his awesome wife, Laura) one evening in downtown Pensacola and sat down to have a pretty fun, but frank, conversation about how many “nos” we had given him.  Kevin joked that Phillip had proven to be his most difficult client of the year!  But, in so doing, Kevin also gave us (I suspect) just the right nudge we needed.  He reminded us of the other list he had sent us.  You see, Kevin, wisely, had also sent us a “dream list.”  Initially, Phillip and I had dismissed it because the “dream” boats had all been in the 44- to 46-foot range, if not bigger (which just seemed massive for two people), and more than we thought we were willing to pay for our next boat.  But, it seemed in order to meet our high demands, we would have to let our tolerance for size, systems, and sticker shock “grow.”   The next morning over coffee, Phillip decided to take another look at the other list.

On the dream list was a Passport, a Hylas, and an Outbound, all in the 45- to 46-foot range, all pricier than we had wanted.  And, the Outbound 46 listing Kevin had sent was a much older model than we wanted.  A 2007, which was why we hadn’t given the Outbound a thorough review initially.  But, after talking with Kevin the night before and re-reviewing the dream list, Phillip decided to launch his own search on YachtWorld the following morning for any Outbound 46s on the market.  “Oh sh*% honey!” his voice bellowed through the living room, startling a splash of coffee out of my cup.  It seemed my picky man had found the type of boat he wanted, and it was an Outbound 46.  Once we finally dialed into this boat and began to learn about the construction, performance, the overall thoughtfulness of the design of the Outbound 46, it was a sealed deal for these sailors.  Plus, everything Phillip and I were prepared to devote to, invest in, and give to our next boat simply called for it.  The Outbound 46 is (pardon my French) a damn fine vessel.  But, Phillip and I are damn fine boat owners, too, fully aware of the time and money it takes to maintain a boat the right way and ready to pour our blood, sweat, dollars, and time into the newest member of our family.  We knew whatever Outbound 46 we did acquire would be one lucky boat, and she would also make us two incredibly lucky, live-aboard sailors.  And, money is something we can make, or borrow.  Time and a boat this beautiful, we cannot.  The Outbound would definitely require us to strrreettcch our budget and our brains to fit 46-foot boat into our lives.  But, with the beauty of hindsight, I’m so glad we did.  Sometimes you just have to take a bit of a terrifying leap, to land in paradise.  So, why the Outbound 46?  Just look at this thing!

First, the Outbounds are not mass-production boats.  They generally only build between one to two Outbounds a year, because they build them right.  Phil Lambert commissioned the design from Carl Schumacher, with the idea that every feature be designed to be capable while comfortable.  One word sold us.  MODERATION.  Lambert wanted a boat that was exceptionally strong, with a fully-glassed hull and encased keel, that did not sail like a tank.  Schumacher fulfilled with a moderate draft, beam, and mast height that proved a fun day sailer, a capable ocean-crosser, and a spacious, luxurious liveaboard home simultaneously.  Sailing in brisk winds and choppy seas, Lambert described the experience below as “being in a library.”  In addition to the immensely impressive tankage and power/water generation systems that would allow us to go comfortably off-grid at any time, a thousand other little commendable features sold us: clear visibility from the helm, no ducking down the three, wide companionway stairs, locking floorboards, a crash bulkhead in the bow, fuel vents located high on the stanchion posts, curved counter edges, an island queen vberth bed.  All of this in a boat with a beam of only 13’6” and a draft of 5’6.”  Every element spoke to a commitment to moderation, which I feel speaks to so many elements of life: work, play, food, wine.  Enjoy, imbibe, thrive, but do them all in moderation. 

Now, the water maker, generator, AC, heater, hot water heater were all systems we would have to learn, troubleshoot, and maintain, but Pandora’s box had been opened at that point.  Phillip and I knew we had found our ideal boat.  While 46 feet did sound a bit large, I did have a sage follower advise it is the actual length on deck that is the true measure of a boat and its accommodation potential, and the Outbound 46 is really a 44-foot boat with a 2-foot swim platform, so it was really just a skosh out of our comfort length.  In addition, after we began exploring the Outbound option and talking with other owners, Phillip and I learned Phil Lambert is truly hands-on during the entire build and post-purchase process, addressing issues, helping with repairs and getting parts, welcoming feedback, even adapting later models to include owner ideas and upgrades.  Manufacturer support was key for us, and it seemed the Outbound offered this in droves.  Plus, she is just a gorgeous boat.  Do not miss the exceptional design details in these videos Phil Lambert filmed showcasing this amazing boat.    

Exterior Video Tour:

Interior Video Tour:

Now.  The next tough decision.  New or used?  While we knew commissioning a new Outbound would likely take a year, perhaps longer, and cost a heck of a lot more, we knew that might have to be an option if we could not find a slightly used one on the market that ticked all of our boxes.  But, the moment we pulled up listings for a used Outbound 46 on YachtWorld, our fates were joyously sealed.  We didn’t know it at the time, but the hunt was already over.

You might say we didn’t really find our “next chapter” boat.  She found us.  Stay tuned!

16 thoughts on “Our Ideal Boat: The Outbound 46

      • As always, working with you guys was a blast! I am so excited to see where this amazing boat takes you. This was definitely one of my favorite experiences as a a Broker. Thanks for allowing me to be a part of it!

      • We couldn’t have done it without you, Kevin! It was fun to bring you along on the process … again! : ). You were definitely a key player in the whole process.

  • Beautiful boat, excellent choice! I’ve been checking in every day to find out what you’ve selected, suspense has been killing me!

    • Awww, thanks! We definitely fell hard for this boat once we learned about the design and build quality. We’re excited to share every step of the search and are glad to have you following along.

  • Congrats on the purchase! I really love what I’ve seen of the Outbound 46. I’m jealous!

  • Well I think I’m in love too. The Outbound 46 Was definitely not on my radar what a brilliant find. yes it’s built in China but that doesn’t matter they have been making really good boats for a long time.
    I poured over the specs and I agree it’s a wonderful boat
    if I had one slight reservation it would be at the lightwave 48 Oyster ( same designer). My father complained slammed rather a lot going up wind in a blow which he did from Fuji to New Zealand some years ago as part of the delivery crew, one of which was so full of his own self importance to catch a Flight from NZ that they could not wait for better conditions !
    But the Outbound yes I think probably a more moderate version so will have some of those vices removed.
    There was an interesting thread on sailing idiots (anarchy) which included bob PERRY chiming in so here is the link if you have not seen it ( I would not normally look at or share anything from SA but since BP was commenting I’ll let it go!)

    Oh also FYI I like that the boat has a plain spade rudder and not a dumb Skeg. Nigel Calder did a long write Up in professional boat builder mag about how he damaged his rudder on his 40+’ boat with a skeg in the Mediterranean and ended up having to fix it twice because of the serious damage it did to the hull.
    Instead of just bending a spade type Rudder shaft which would require much less work to repair and the entire rudder can be replaced in the water on many yachts ( did that on a Jeaneau 43).
    Wonderful choice and perhaps you got something ‘almost new’?????
    Cheers Warren

    • Always sage advice from you, Warren. Outbounds were definitely not on our radar (at all) when we started shopping. We had never seen or even heard of them, but darn if they don’t impress, right? I’m glad you agree. Funny, Phillip said he had read that Bob Perry thread, too, when researching the boat. Interesting (valid) thoughts there. Phillip also said (although this will reveal a bit …) that Carl Schumaker had passed away by the time the Outbound we got was built, so Bob Perry actually handled the design of our deck, can you believe that? We feel like incredibly happy new boat owners. Can’t wait to share!

  • Captain Annie, you will have no problems docking this yacht as it has a bow thruster.
    It’s just a great yacht for you and Phil.
    It’s a big step up but with in no time it will fill just right.
    Just look at all the space you have.
    Just a note about two things, now I could be wrong because you don’t see every thing and you don’t see how it works sometimes.
    I was thinking about the fuel breather being where it is thought that maybe better in the cockpit area, just a thought.
    Also he mention he didn’t like a pump in the anchor locker but rather have drain into the mains bilge . Not sure I would like that because you have now a hole in the bulkhead. But as I said he may have a I sea cock on it.

    It’s a very lovely yacht and I am very happy for both of you.

    • Thanks Captain Mark. We certainly were impressed with the design and quality of the Outbound. We’re excited to share this next chapter. It is my understanding the location of the fuel tank vents was to make it exceptionally rare that water could ever get into the tank via the vent. I’m not sure where in the cockpit might be a better location and I’m not sure those fumes would be helpful in the cockpit, just some thoughts. Thanks for the nice thoughts and well wishes. We’re excited to share this boat with you all!

  • I can’t believe you’re saying goodbye to “baby girl”. But, the Outbound is stunning! Absolutely beautiful. Good for you two for taking the leap. With your knowledge and experience gained from Plaintiffs Rest, you’re up for the challenge of a bigger boat and new systems to maintain. Big rewards and confidence will follow. I’m very happy for you two and I look forward to future blog posts documenting the transition to live aboard cruisers.

    • Awww … you get it! It was a very tough decision to think about getting a new “baby girl.” But, without disclosing too much, I can tell you baby girl’s next chapter is going to be awesome. How everything played out with the transition was really an inspiring and touching turn of events. It all worked out in such a wonderful way. We can’t wait to share. Thank you for the kind words and following along. The Outbound will certainly be an impressive upgrade! : )

  • Annie and Philip: I have seen several Outbounds in cruising areas of note over the years. They never look out of place! Some craft do.

    A Bob Perry tip I always loved and adopted is to make certain the cooking equipment fits into the galley storage and onto stove. This came up during a design review once and Bob’s a good cook so I paid close attention. Yes, you’ve a stunner and I hope you move in comfortably.

    Perusing the Maine craigslist, I think I found my next heart-throb. A great feeling, no? Going up next week for a look.

    Keep sailing, writing, sharing your adventures please.

    All the best, Norman
    Cape Cod

    • Thank you! We were certainly pleased with this make and build as well. Outbounds were never on our radar before so we were so glad Kevin brought them to our attention. Everything relating to the galley is always super important to us because cooking aboard is a huge part of our lives and enjoyment as liveaboards. Thanks! We will do it, Norm, don’t you worry! Have Wind Will Travel is about to travel further and in far more style! : )

  • I am reminded of all the wonderful things I have found that were not on my radar screen! And, all the “perfect” things that weren’t…

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