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Keith9c1 09-27-2009 11:33 PM

First sailboat for the West Coast of B.C. Vancouver, Canada.
I'm looking to buy my first sailboat for the West Coast of B.C. Vancouver, Canada.

My budget is $6,000 canadian.

Preference's are a small cruiser sailboat that I can learn to sail on , ( after I have taken some professional lessons ) and easy to sail singlehanded and spend a few weeks cruising on. Most of my sailing will have to be done solo, in the winter months, Oct till May as I plan to do summer seasonal work next year June till Sept. My sailing will be around Vancouver, south coast Vancouver Island and Desolation Sound area.

After doing lots of research. I came up with 2 small cruisers that seem to match my budget and preference's and style that I wanted, a mid 1970's Mirage 24 or a mid 1980's O'Day 222.

I'm leaning heavily towards the O'Day 222 here's few reasons why I like it.

Newer sailboat, more modern design then the Mirage 24, inside and out.

Spare parts seem to be readily available on the Internet ( not so with Mirage 24 )

The O'Day 222 is a swing keel and draft down to 1.8 feet.
( this will be ideal for getting into shallow inlets and sheltered bays in Desolation Sound , where other sailboats can't go )

NOW I ALSO REALIZE THAT SAFETY MEASURES AND WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE GOING TO BE MAJOR FACTORS ON SAILING BOTH OF THESE SAILBOATS ON THE WEST COAST, but as I am completely new to sailing and never bought a boat before, I was hoping I could get some advice from the forum and I do have a couple of questions.

1. Will the O'Day 222 be OK for these coastal waters ?

2 Is it even remotely possible to buy a O'Day 222 on the West Coast of Canada. ? ( most of these boats seem to be for sale on the East Coast or Mid West USA, even the Mirage )

Any futher information I could get would be very helpful. Thanks Keith.

Faster 09-28-2009 12:36 AM

Welcome to Sailnet!

You seem to have thought all this through pretty well. Given your budget and intentions, your choice of suitable boats is going to be a bit limited.

While the shoal draft capability of the Oday may seem attractive, in reality in our waters it's rarely needed. The other side of a centerboarder is that it's likely trailerable. In Vancouver, with its moorage shortage, this will be a larger advantage.

Will the O'Day be OK for our waters? Possibly, but to be honest you see few boats that small (esp swing keels) cruising/crossing the Strait. While the weather forecasting is quite good for the most part, they don't always get it right and I'd be a bit concerned being halfway across Georgia Strait and have an unexpected serious breeze pop up. The stability of a slightly larger fixed keel boat would be nice to have in those conditions.

If you planned to trailer the boat to the islands, or to Desolation, then it gets to be a more viable proposition, but you're into some hefty ferry fares for a vehicle and a trailer - being a bit cash strapped that'll be a problem.

As you noted, O'Days are not exactly common around here and will be difficult to find. For similar money you might find a decent Shark 24, or a Thunderbird. Either of these will make much better BC cruisers (IMO) than any centerboarder. But - then you have to find a place to moor it. You will have better luck in that size range than over 30 feet, but it won't be cheap.

Another good candidate not so rare here is a Tanzer 22, they are available both swing and fixed keel. The Cal 22 in the link below looks like a nice boat too. These three came up in a YW search for boats in the PNW between $4-6K and 20 - 25 feet.

btw - it's very common nowadays for Vancouver buyers to bring boats up from the NW United States (mostly because of the much larger selection). Importing is not complicated.

(Sail) Boats For Sale

Keith9c1 09-28-2009 02:03 AM

first sailboat for the West Coast
Faster thank you for your honest advice

to go into a little more detail in my situation, I planned on moving to Vancouver Island next year, so I could be closer to my summer seasonal job, for when I get days off.

So I did more research (I’ve been doing lots of this lately) and found a cheap moorage at Deep Bay Marina, just before Comox. So I planned on keeping the boat there. I thought also it would be a good place to practice sailing.

Wouldn’t this eliminated the worst of Georgia Strait sailing over to Desolation Sound from Deep Bay ?

I also did the research on importing, and it seems really simple.

I checked out your link on the Cal and it does look like a nice boat.


Faster 09-28-2009 09:55 AM

The Deep Bay marina is a pretty good one - are you certain there's space there still? That's a great part of the Island to live.

Getting to Desolation from there is more sheltered - going up Baynes inside Denman and then out over the Comox bar - generally in summer you have relatively calm conditions.

Getting down to the Gulf Islands, however, may be less comfortable. Check any summer day with a decent NW wind and you'll find that area from Winchelseas to Entrance Island will have the strongest winds. This is a common summertime pattern that can sit for days, so you'll be wanting to wait for the appropriate weather window. In a SE system it really whistles up there and Sisters is usually the high spot. It is close to 50nm from Deep Bay to Dodd narrows, the entrance to the Gulf Islands. That's a long way with a 20 something footer - not a one day jaunt.

Learning to sail in Baynes Channel is sheltered, watch for currents during larger tides - and sandbars.

Anyway - I don't mean to sound discouraging, if you get a good boat all this is doable with patience and some experience, and it's a great place to start. Summertime is Desolation is more about the destinations than actually sailing, so the boat you're on is less of an issue. The next thing to find out is how long can you live without standing headroom down below?

In all likelihood if this goes well for you you'll be looking for ways to upsize before you know it!

tjvanginkel 09-28-2009 11:38 AM

OK I just can't help myself.....
Our first boat was a Columbia 26, it was a great learn to sail boat for us. Simply equipped and easy to sail. We have sailed it to Cortes Island from Saltspring. Had loads of fun....always felt safe and it really gave us alot of confidence as our handling skills improved. They have great deck space, cozy below, but not too tight. You should be able to find one within your budget and there are many on the west coast. After 3 years with that we now have a 31 foot boat and the jump has not felt at all intimidating.

Regards, Tanya

Faster 09-28-2009 11:51 AM

Hey Tanya... long time no see!

She's right, Keith, that's another decent coastal cruiser, and you might well get one for close to your range. They were built locally under licence in the 70s and there are quite a few around.

What they are not are swing keel boats.... and since you plan to moor anyway, don't get hung up on shoal draft for its own sake. Around here a keelboat is the way to go.

.. and see what I mean about moving up soon enough??

Keith9c1 09-28-2009 02:38 PM


I phoned Deep Bay about a month ago and the Harbour Manager told me, there was moorage available for 24ft or less, no problem. I also informed him I would not probably need it till around February, he thought it still should be OK.

I did find out the current at the south entrance to Baynes Sound can run as high as 3 knots at spring tides, and a nasty chop can develop if the wind opposes the current. ( what ever that really means, I’m not quite sure ? )

I have worked in Desolation for 5 months a few years ago, but I really don’t know the area in detail, so I bought 2 books for the south coast ,

South Coast Of B.C. by Don Douglass and Reanne Hemingway-Douglass
BC Atlas Coastal Recreation for Kayaking and Small Boat by John Kimantas

This is where I get most of my information.

I do like that Cal22 , it seems very similar to the O’day 222. Has that modern look to it
that I’m looking for. Question though.

I noticed the Cal22 draft on the fixed keel was 3.5 ft and the O’Day 222 swing keel down was 4.8 ft , wouldn’t the boats be similar in bad weather or would the Cal 22 with the fixed keel still have the upper hand ?


casioqv 09-28-2009 03:18 PM

Are you planning to trailer?

If not, I'd look at a 25-27 foot boat with a fixed keel. More room, more seaworthy, and lower maintenance than a swing keel. Cost is about the same as 22s- I've seen plenty of Catalina 25-27s for less than your budget.

Faster 09-28-2009 04:09 PM


Originally Posted by Keith9c1 (Post 527037)
.....I do like that Cal22 , it seems very similar to the O’day 222. Has that modern look to it
that I’m looking for. Question though.

I noticed the Cal22 draft on the fixed keel was 3.5 ft and the O’Day 222 swing keel down was 4.8 ft , wouldn’t the boats be similar in bad weather or would the Cal 22 with the fixed keel still have the upper hand ?

The fixed keel will have better righting moment because it is heavy, probably at least a third to a half the overall weight of the boat (actually 775 lbs against 2100 lbs overall displacement). The swing keel is light so that you can raise it, and needs more draft to better eliminate leeway. 3.5 ft of draft in BC will get you into pretty well any hideyhole one-boat nook you could ever think of.

So yes, the fixed keel still has the upper hand. Also, in a serious knockdown swing keels can flip back into the hull if not pinned in place... then you lose completely any of the minimal righting moment they may have had.

The Cal does look like a nice little boat....

djodenda 09-28-2009 08:19 PM

Faster and I have both owned Sharks and loved them.

You might look here:



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