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Old 09-20-2013
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Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Hey everyone. I'm taking my first few steps into the idea of getting a sailboat, though this won't be for a few years now, as I have a lot to learn about sailing.

My ideal boat would be something dependable, on the lower end of the maintenance side of things, and easily rigged.

When I was a kid at summer camp, we would sail Lightnings to the different islands in the San Juan. Those were some of my favorite times, and I'm really looking forward to doing those kind of trips again. We would bring some gear, and camp out on the island, cook food, etc.

So I think a boat similar to a Lightning might be good, or at least be a good starting point for recommendations. A San Juan 24 seems like it might be nice, as far as being bigger, and sleepable.

What does everyone think? Would a Lightning be ideal for island hopping with 3-4 friends in Gulf/San Juan area? Thanks!
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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Jay:
I'd recommend you look at the San Juan 21. It has a small cuddy cabin and it would give you a stability cushion that you won't have in a Lightning.

I'd also recommend The Ranger ( Kent Ranger) 21. It also has some ballast for stability and a small cuddy.

I have raced Lightnings and they are nice boat for an afternoon sail but not the kind of boat I'd choose to even camp cruise.

The San Juan 24 is an old IOR quarter tonner design and in its day a very popular little race boat. It has a dinky cockpit and it will have some sailing characteristics autochthanous to the typical IOR type. Meaning, by virtue of it's IOR origins it could be a cranky little boat in a blow.

If you really were after more of an unballasted dinghy type I'd look a round for an old Raven. They are 24' LOA with a big open cockpit and no cuddy. They sail fabulously but I suspect one would be hard to find.

If you consider a hard to trailer launch ballasted boat I'd say an Etchels would be a very good boat for you. They are fast and quite benign in the handling characteristics.
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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Agree that the SJ 24, while a nice looking boat, does have some habits and the cockpit is quite confining..

In addition to BP's good suggestions, in this area a Haida 26 is readily available, they come in a variety of deck styles with varying headroom, Ranger 23/26 (California Rangers), the various Cals 23/25, the venerable Catalina 22 and 25 (fixed keel versions for around here unless moorage is a challenge).. there's a long list of readily available boats that would allow some relatively comfortable cruising without resorting to tents ashore.

Personally I'd probably avoid an Etchells as a 'first boat'... not self bailing, and too many strings to pull to start. Rewarding, though, when you get it right!
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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Haida? Great choice but be careful abouit deck condition onthe original version.

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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

We had a Cal25 in the Gulf Islands for a few years and loved it. You can find them cheap but be sure to inspect for a soft deck.
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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Quote:
Originally Posted by svmaclas View Post
We had a Cal25 in the Gulf Islands for a few years and loved it. You can find them cheap but be sure to inspect for a soft deck.
A Cal 25 (the original, "flat-top", version) would be a great choice. A WWP 19 would be smaller, but very trailerable. Ditto for the Balboa/Ensenada 20.
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Old 09-21-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

Since you are a few years away I'd say join a sailing club and get time in a lot of boats and see what appeals to you. You won't be renting exactly the boats mentioned here, but you'll be sailing similar ones and get the idea.

You can rent Lightnings at the Center for Wooden Boats on Lake Union, they have 2 of them. If you can already sail then you can just do a check out test with them.

I had a Catalina 25 and it's a good boat. The tall mast version is recommended for around here and does well in our light winds. It is a really simple boat and easy to maintain, meaning you can spend more time sailing. However it and the San Juan 24 don't really pass the "simple to rig" test. They can be trailered but would require a hefty tow vehicle and will take an hour or longer to get the mast up and rigged.
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Old 09-22-2013
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Re: Ideas for a first boat? West coast (BC/WA), day cruising, island camping.

C&C24 would be a good alternative to the SJ24, more room in the cockpit and quite a lot more room below, plus it has better sailing manners (and better built I would guess). Like an SJ24 it is not a trailer boat (3500lbs or thereabouts), but you can easily sit all four of you below comfortably on those inevitable rainy days, plus in a pinch you could all sleep on it too.
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