Originally Posted by drynoc
While reading all these posts about people looking for their first boat, I always wonder if the posters end up doing the kind of sailing they thought they would. Many of them are searching for relatively deluxe boats as their first ownership experience assuming that their sailing life will be what they imagined. I know that my plans changed after I bought my boat, and would like to offer this:
Many people don't hold on to boats for very long anyway, so, while figuring out what you need, why not buy a boat designed for racing? They tend to be simpler inside, have a more intriguing rig, and a smaller price tag. They can be fun to learn to sail well on, can usually accomodate some short cruising, and give you time to decide what kind of sailing will actually be happening before spending the much bigger bucks on a more complicated boat. They tend to be set up to be sailed by a crew, as mine was, but minor adjustments can fix that. You can find them as stripped out hulls and including some minor sleeping arrangements, so they can be a way to get into fun sailing without spending the big bucks before you know how to spend them.
A prospective boat buyer has to think things through at least in general terms of how they will use their boat. That includes considering where they will keep it, and how that will impact what boat works best for them.
When we were looking for our first boat, I fell in love with the Sabre 28 which is a great boat and would be an excellent starter boat for lots of people. In our case though, we'd decided that rather than keep our boat in the northern part of the bay closest to where we lived, we decided we liked the mid-bay area better as a get away. We knew going in that we'd be staying on the boat pretty much every time we used it. We eventually decided that a bit more room would be important to us. As it turns out, I've never been to my boat that I didn't spend at least one night usually two or more. Chosing a boat with a bit more room was the right choice for us.
In a case where the person lived within a hour of their boat and planned to mainly daysail it, only ocasionally staying aboard, your suggestion might be a good one. Learning to make a sailboat move as fast as you can is fun and challenging and the type of boat you suggest offers a lot to learn. Still, if you drove 3 hours or more to get to your boat and had to spend the night on it every time you saw it, you might start to dislike it pretty quick if it wasn't pretty comfortable.