I'm 45 and my Catalina 25 is my first sailboat. I chose it because my criteria for a first boat was:
1. Affordable - Pay cash for it
2. Easy and forgiving to learn on.
3. Big enough to spend the weekend on. (reasonable cabin)
4. Small enough to singlehand for a newbie.
I'll keep her for 3 years then move up to a bigger boat, probably a 32 -36 footer that will be my boat until I retire, (20 years away) and buy my big blue water home to explore the world.
I haven't dropped alot of coin on my C25, nor will I....and the next 3 years will teach me so much more of what I really want/need for my next boat. I'm setting my budget up so that I'll have $30 - $40k to spend on my next boat, and by the time I retire will have $150k to spend on that boat plus $50k or so for refit/repairs, etc....
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1982 Catalina 25 #2897
Eagle Mountain Lake, Texas