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Old 06-21-2011
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Penguin1, a last word of advice,

My kid sister recently asked me if I would go with her to inspect a Sunfish she had found on Craigslist and wanted to buy. She knows how to sail and I am confident in her abilities to safely go out alone in such a boat. I told her I would go but not before I questioned a few points.
Did the boat have a trailer?
How much does a trailer for the boat run for?
Do you have the money for a trailer and/or replacement parts/gear if the boat isn't in sail-ready condition?
Where are you going to keep the boat and trailer?

Long story short, we never went to look at the boat. You need to think past the sunny days and warm breezes to the practicality standpoint as well. Owning a boat (even a small one) does cost money and often times cost a hefty portion. This is one of the reasons I advise people wanting to get into the sport of sailing to check out local clubs and such that allow you to rent THEIR boats. You get the sunny days and warm breezes, they get the maintenance and storage costs.
If you want your own boat, any of the above listed will work out for you. Truth is there is no perfect boat for you right now because you don't know enough about the different styles and their performances to know which would be "perfect."
I cannot sit here and pretend to KNOW the difference in swing-keels vs fin keels, vs full keels vs centerboards vs multihulls ect I know what I have read, I know what I have been told and heard. It will take years for someone to acquire all the knowledge they need to even begin to consider boats in terms of perfections. Besides, your not even sure if you like it out on the water yet!
Go take a look at the boats you see in your price range. Do not concern yourself with performance downwind or sail areas. Look at the boat, note its condition, note hot much room is in the cockpit. Is their a cubby hole for storage? Or is it just an open **** pit (One of the main dislikes of mine towards the lasers btw). Do you like how the boat looks? (aesthetics DO play an important role in boat ownership and subsequent happiness with the boat.) Does the boat have all the sails it is supposed to have? Does boat have the equipment you need to go out sailing and not require more money and time to "restore her."?
Chances are if you look at three boats one will be pretty much ready to go. Buy the boat, get in the water. Figure out the rest later, when its not breezy and cold preferably =)
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