Looking for a versatile shoal draft pocket cruiser for shallow local waters. Mostly for day-sailing initially, much of that single-handed or with inexperienced “crew,” with a few overnights and weekends (1-4 people) tossed in. Ideally, this boat would also have the capacity for longer-range coastal cruising as my skills improve – FL west coast to the Keys and Tortugas, and perhaps even to Bimini/Bahamas, and up the US east coast to mid-coast Maine. (I can dream!)
Looking to keep LOA below 27 feet, and minimum draft as close to 2 feet as possible, and preferably even lower. My dock is half-dry at low tide (I’ll probably put in a lift and may have to dredge, which affects the budget). The boat must have a swing keel, keel/centerboard, lifting keel, dagger-board, or twin/bilge keel, etc. Boat budget is $5-10K.
More cruiser than racer (I don’t plan to race):
Com-Pac sloops - 21/23/25, Eclipse
Com-Pac cat boats - Horizon/Suncat
West Wight Potter 19
Yankee 24 (Sea Horse or Dolphin)
More racer than cruiser (don’t mind a fast cruiser with decent accommodations):
San Juan 21/23/24/26
From what I’ve read – and please don’t be offended if you own one of these – the Hunter and MacGregor/Venture boats are built a little less sturdy than I’d prefer.
Would like a low-maintenance boat that sails pretty well at all points of sail, is forgiving of operator error/inexperience, is reasonably comfortable, is fairly fast in light/moderate winds, and is sturdy enough to handle the occasional 25-40 knot winds and 5-8 foot waves that sometimes appear suddenly in the Gulf. Not looking for a boat that requires a lot of owner repairs, replacements, or add-ons (unless a prior owner has done them) – I’m not that handy.
All that being said, any comments or recommendations on any of the above? Or perhaps another boat not on the list that fits the bill? Many thanks in advance!
You've got a good list here, but you won't find a Tanzer 25 drawing 2' or less, although it would be my choice for heading to the tortugas or bahamas of the boats on your list. Same with the westerlys,although the twin keels may solve your tidal issues.
Find the best boat on your list for $5K. No more.
Yeah, I know, you've got a $10K ceiling, but you really don't. EVERY boat you buy will want something,or you will want to throw something at it,so you gotta figure that in,and human nature rears it's ugly head because everyone always exceeds their boatbuying budget. Always. If you think you have $10K you spend $12, because well, what the hell, you're already spending $10K.
I know,I know, you're different.
Everybody thinks they are.
Plus there all sorts of sneaky hidden costs like tax and registration and trailer bearings and Murphy has his shopping list too. This is your first boat- you need to have an "oh, fudge" fund because you will quickly discover that cheap stuff floatsm but expensive stuff sinks when it falls off your boat. And it will.
The difference between a great first sailing season and a lousy unfun first sailing season is that reserve budget. Getting that drowned outboard rebuilt isn't such a big deal when its' in the budget, for example.
Have fun, and we'll see you on the water.