Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Bayfield 29 (1984)
The Bayfield should meet all of the requirements that you have outlined. The Bayfield 29 should be a safe, dependable, cruising boat, that is fairly forgiving for a novice. That said, if you are new to the sport and really want to learn to sail well, (and learning to sail well is not important to everyone),you might do better buying a boat that is more responsive so that you can learn what works and what does not work. I would equate buying a Bayfield for a first boat as being a bit like buying a truck to learn to drive. You may learn how to get around but you won''t learn the finer points of driving as easily as you might in a smaller sedan.
The other issue is the venue in which you will be sailing. Depending on where you sail you can expect to live with the prevailing wind conditions. As a beginning sailor it makes sense to try to find a boat that is suitable for the typical conditions your sailing area. Areas like the Chesapeake Bay and Long Island Sound typically have light winds. Other areas are known for higher winds. The Bayfield 29 is a boat best suited for moderate conditions. They are a bit heavy and under-canvassed for good light air performance and a bit under-ballasted for heavy air conditions.
Welcome to sailing and good luck with your first boat.