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post #1 of Old 12-30-2006 Thread Starter
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First boat advice solicited/mid-Chesapeake

My wife and I are new to boating. My problem started with visits to both Annapolis boat shows a year ago when I signed up for a subscription to Sailing magazine (the young girl was persistent). Though we've lived in MD or VA all our lives, we've never had anything to do with the bay that didn't involve eating. We've just hit 50 and I think I'm hitting a mid-life or something.

Well, last year we actually managed to swing a weekend/eventual retirement cottage with a dock and 4 1/2 feet of water and an easy 2 mile transit to the bay (opens into Fleets Bay). The dock, of course, has a big empty place that's killing me. We took an intro to sailing course last year on a Flying Scot that we both enjoyed (though my wife may possibly be prone to seasickness). We even bought a little stinkpotter (15' whaler) in April that we both love. We have ventured out a little bit in the bay on her (between the Potomac and Rappahannock) but she's really too small to go out very far except on a very nice day.

The problem is that I keep hearing some sort of subliminal siren call from over the horizon (are there sirens in Onanconk??). I've got 4 (4!) quasi-grown daughters aged 20-28 (who I'm finding were overly influenced by "Jaws" and "The Perfect Storm") who think that I've lost my mind. And I have to admit, I'm beginning to drive myself crazy.

My illness was greatly exacerbated by an article I read a couple of weeks ago by John Kretschmer in Sailing that talked about the plethora of used boats currently available for great prices. The Tartan 37 (with its 4' 2" draft which just so happens to match the gaping hole on the dock had smitten me). Jack Horner's review didn't help (though most of the T37 reviews seem to be about 10 years old, I've noticed). I've been fixated on her from afar for a couple of weeks now.

I've been absorbing Calder's "Intro to Cruising" and Kretschmers "Used Boat Notebook" over the holidays and we've actually gone to see a couple of T37s. The thing that bothers me about her is: 1. The lifelines only come up to my knees. 2. The nagging gut feeling that maybe we're getting in over our heads.

Which led me to start to fixate on an IP31 or a Nonsuch 30 (motivated by Kretschmer's book) over the last day or so. But then I saw the Catalina 30 vs IP31 thread on this forum last night and the seemingly good advice of focusing on light wind performance in the Ches. My oldest daughter also pointed out to me that Flying Scot owners seem to be rabid about FS's, Tartans about T's, IPers about IP, Nonsuchers about nonsuch, Catters about Catalina. Arrghh!! (<--- cry for help). How is one to know??

Neither my wife nor I are particularly athletic (both out of shape but not hopeless). We are interested in daysailing/weekending in the Chesapeake. We don't REALLY know if we're born to be sailors (she confesses in weaker moments she's probably a closet stinkpotter) and I the last thing I want to do is to buy something that will be a chore rather than a pleasure. We don't want to sail the world. I can probably scrape up $60k or so through a home equity loan to feed my disease, though would prefer to spend less.

Given these criteria (daysail/weekending mid-Ches), not a boatload of maintenance, good seakindliness, good safe platform for bay sailing, beginners - willing to learn but more interested in daysailing or cruising than the fine points of racing, ticking testeronical clock (I knew men must have one), and the siren call of the Eastern Shore, what SHOULD I be looking at for a shortlist of boats (again, T37, IP31, Nonsuch 30 is my best shot so far)?

Any other sanguine advice from this august group gladly solicited.

Joe F. (aka "Pops" wannabe)
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