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Old 08-27-2006
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Don't start too big or with one in need of too much work...

Starting with a big boat and/or one that "NEEDS WORK" is the downfall of many folks dreams. IF your DREAM is to SAIL then GO NOW on a smaller cheaper boat..... . MOST FIXUP PROJECTS FAIL! You might be the exception but why bother to find out the hard way if your goal is not to have a project but is to go SAILING! There are capable affordable boats that will get you started. Once you have crossed a pond and weathered a blow you, or you and your partner will be in a position to beat the odds and find one of those great ?big? great deal 'FIX-ER-UPPERs' and keep going in grand style. They are out there for sure. As a way to start out it is almost a sure fire prescription for failure. However, once you are 'ON THE WATER', and 'LIVING THE LIFESTYLE', you will be in the best possible position to find those great deals and also you will have the experiance to know which of the deals is the RIGHT ONE FOR YOU. They will nearly JUMP out at you and the folks you meet will tell you all about them time after time. Dashed dreams that can be bought for pennies on the dollar, blown op on the shores of 'Bit off More than I Could Chew'. The folks you meet in the anchorage know these things, NOT the folks on the street.

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My suggestion is to get a boat that (1) has a track record of doing the kind of things you want to do, (2) is well documented , (3) has a history of being reliable, (4) is inexpensive, (5) has good resale value, (6) Sail it for a while and then you can (a) sell it and move to the mountains and buy a farm or (b) get another boat suits you better or (c) just relax, hunker down and go or (d) ? .

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For Example:
Pearson Triton 28' (Carl Alberg design)

(1) James Baldwin: two circumnavigations
(2) James Baldwin and a Mainer that has a 10 STAR web site on a stem to stern total refit.
(3) generally considered to be simple/bullet proof
(4) $15,000 with diesel, new paint and sails seems to the rule
(5) It's not a Cape Dory or Pacific Seacraft but they do have a good name and a devoted following.
(6) Your call a or b or c or ?
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James Baldwin's Website:
http://www.atomvoyages.com/
See his LINKS page for all the Triton info anyone could want....
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The Maine'r:
http://www.triton381.com/
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SHALLOW DRAFT: (30" to 36")

The Triton is a great boat but has a draft of about 4' + few inches when loaded down to travel.

My person preferance is to try think SHALLOW DRAFT ( 30" to 36" )

Consider shallow draft and how much the 'fun world' of boating expands when you can slip into the little bays and creeks. Consider how much more secure you will feel when the list of possible 'safe shelters' expands to double or triple or more in size. Consider the cost savings if you can beach the boat on the tide and check, repair, paint the bottom. Consider the comfort, ease if you can let the boat dry out with the tide for storage of when anchoring for the night. Consider the peace of mind when running the ICW that is now underfunded and shoaling up. Consider that with marinas becoming fewer and MORE expensive that a boat that can sit at a dock most other folks (4'+ draft) can't use has many more options and can save a LOT of money on dockage.

Consider that Commodore Monroe (friend of L.F. Herresoff) sailed his round bilge sharpies from FL to New England regularly. James Wharrm cats cross oceans regularly. Most boats don't sail the North Altantic in the winter time, in fact most boats don't sail regularly. The dream is to sail from A to B to C. The reality is that 99% of the boats life is spent sitting (hopefully, beautifully/comfortably but never-the-less SITTING) at A or B or C. Deep draft does not EQUAL seaworthy or capable by itself and most folks get deep draft for the wrong reason and pay dearly for it. Ever notice the boats in the marina that JUST SIT! No where else to be/sit and too hard to use. Imagine a home that can slip up a creek like a big kayak and can be left almost anywhere.

Consider:
Shannon shoal sailer
Westerly bilge keel model
Gemini cat
Wharram Cat
Reuel Parker sharpie design
etc, etc.

Right now we draw just under 6' and it is VERY limiting and VERY expensive and we are not doing justice to the boat. We expect that to change but in the long run for live aboard (as opposed to traveling/voyaging) we will change to shallow draft. That is not at all to say that shallow does not voyage. We have a character boat (gaff pinky schooner) and that is a big part of it. Trying to make the 'piece of history' work and figure out the 'old ways' is our goal for now and that drives the choice of design/deep-draft.
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