Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Riverside, CA
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Re: Trailer sailer
I want to encourage you to look the other direction, and consider an even smaller boat for trailer sailing. There is a tradeoff between size and quality on a fixed budget- and I think a good sailing experience comes more from having a good quality and well set up boat, than a large boat.
It's a well established phenomenon that smaller boats tend to get sailed more often. I recommend buying the smallest boat that will possibly work for what you plan to do in the short term future.
I was in a similar situation as you (sailing with my wife, car that tows 3,500 lbs) and went with a Catalina 22. I initially thought this was a bit small, but after sailing for 5 years I decided that it was way too big for these reasons:
-Towing close to the weight limit of the vehicle makes for a stressful drive, and is hard on the vehicle. Loaded for a week long cruise, your boat can weigh close to 1,000lbs more than empty!
-Rigging and unrigging a 22 footer is really a 2 hour job up, and a 2 hour job down from arrival to sailing off. This makes trips less than 3 days not very fun. My wife especially hated the long rigging job in hot crowded parking lots.
-Maintenance costs (and effort) scale with boat size. Although I could easily afford to buy a 22 footer, I couldn't afford to maintain it in bristol condition with the best quality gear. It turns out the initial purchase price is pretty much inconsequential compared to other costs in the long run.
-Sailing effort scales with the size of the boat, so you can do a better job sailing a smaller boat longer, and with less fatigue.
-In a trailer sailor, you spend all your time in the cockpit- the cabin is less useful than it looks for anything but sleeping. Smaller boats with sleeping only cabins can be actually more comfortable than larger ones with bunks cramped to make room for a galley and enclosed head. It's more convenient and fun to cook on a propane barbecue or backpacking stove in the cockpit, even if you have a galley.
-Engines can be the opposite of a safety feature: they fail when you need them most, and act as a 'crutch' that prevents you from learning how to handle difficult sailing situations like docking, light winds, and heavy weather. Smaller boats are easier to learn engineless sailing on, and can be rowed easily. I started with an engine, but after a few years found I had more fun if I left it home. I eventually sold it for enough to buy sails that let me handle all weather: a light nylon drifter, a heavy built storm jib, and deep reef points in the main.
-Marina slips are typically billed per foot length overall
-You can anchor closer to (or even on) the beach with a smaller boat
-Smaller boats can anchor securely with a lighter easier to haul anchor
So I recently dropped down to a Montgomery 15, which weighs only 750lbs. It sails better than a Catalina 22, has much larger and more comfortable bunks in the cabin, and I can afford to outfit it with the best equipment money can buy.
Last edited by casioqv; 11-06-2013 at 04:04 PM.