I'm in the exact same position. I'm in the process of completing an ASA sailing course, and I just bought a used beater day sailer. It's an Islands 17 from the 1970's. The boat is in decent overall condition, with all rigging and newish sails, so it needs very little to be ready to splash and sail. The trailer is pretty rough, but I can easily fix it up. I paid $700 for the whole kit and kaboodle, which is a pretty good deal - I've been looking at boats on Craig's list and other boat sales sites for a long time now, and this type of boat (in good condition) typically fetches more.
My plan is to fool around with this boat and learn how to sail solo, get comfortable with it, and then maybe next year buy a larger boat to take the family out cruising on the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent rivers and such.
You're right - there are a lot of boats out there. In Virginia anyhow, the used boat market is full right now - there's a lot to choose from at decent prices. I don't know about where you are, but I've seen some quite good-looking, if basic and not very fancy, boats for anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000. I figure for a few thousand, I can get a boat to again get comfortable with and learn what I like and don't like, and then in a few years, maybe upgrade.
- Bill T.
- Richmond, VA
"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
- Mark Twain