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chaztobaz 10-31-2004 04:44 PM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
Hello All,
I am 20 year old college Student at Brown University and with graduation just around the corner a friend of mine and I are planning to try and buy a boat between 25-35 feet for under 20,000. We are willing to devote a huge amount of time to repair, refurbishing and customizing (though the sooner we can head South the better!). I work at Goetz Custom Sailboats so for someone my age I have very good knowledge for repairs. Could you''all suggest any makes to look into. We want a very strong, stable boat that is capable of making it down to South America. I have heard that Rawson 30''s are very good????? Someone told me that I need to get a boat with mast stepped on the keel not on the deck, is this accurate? Are the numerous Catalina''s and Pearson''s around worth considering? Is a 20,000 budget unreasonable for what we want? Any and all comments will be GREATLY appreciated. Thanks for your time.
-Toby Mueller

Jeff_H 10-31-2004 05:25 PM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
You do have a lot of questions....Here are some quick answers.....

Can you find a good cruising boat for under $20K?-
Yes, but you can expect to put quite a bit into it. Your boat repair skills will go a long way here but material and gear is not cheap. If you can keep it simple you have a better chance of making it.

Rawson 30- They are a mixture of the good and the not so good. From a construction stand point many of the not so good things are the kinds of things that a handy person can repair but from a design stand point these are pretty mediocre boats at best.

Some of the Pearsons that are around under $20K are reasonably good boats and certainly are better built boats than the Catalinas. Pearson has built a lot of different 30 to 32 foot models so you need to pick carefully since some are totally ill-suited to long range cruising. Pearsons generally tend to be more expensive than Catalinas.

Catalina 30:
Catalinas are very common.They can be bought pretty cheaply but are comparatively poorly built and when used rigourously can be a real pain in the butt to maintain.

Keel stepped mast:
In the size boat that you are considering a keel stepped mast is not a necessity but it would be a good idea to make sure that there is a solid kingpost and a well engineered tie between the mast and the mast step on a deck stepped mast.

Good luck,

WHOOSH 11-01-2004 12:39 AM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
Toby, I did a simple search for 28-30 footers under $20K and found 688 of them. Even when factoring out all the boats that you will geographically be unable to consider, you would seem to have much to pick from.

You and your friend apparently are planning a Caribbean run, and it sounds like you lack strong preferences for boat type. In fact, one could say you are looking for criteria (to use when selecting a boat) at least as much as for the boats themselves. So my suggestion is to start with what the trip requires and use that to filter out from the large field the few choices that will meet your needs best.

Presuming you two deal with the hurricane season sensibly, there are few other dangers you''ll face. As you sail to & then down the eastern chain, you will see every imaginable brand of boat...and a portion of them will have crossed an ocean to get there. So just about anything gets down there, altho'' it''s better to choose wisely, enjoy the trip more and suffer less. So...let''s look at a few criteria that I think are important, and then move to a few suggestions off that list YachtWorld produced.

1. Excellent windward sailing ability. If coming back is a dreamlike run, getting S and E to St. Martin requires you to work the boat against fairly relentless winds, wave action and wind driven currents; it can be a tough slog. Many deal with this by relying on their diesel engines but your boat will be smaller, lighter, and the engine less powerful for your load-out displacement. So you''ll end up doing it by combining slippery windward sailing ability with thoughtful weather watching. (So you need to think about how you get good wx info down there as well; see below).
2. Working sails in better-than-good condition and sound, basic running rigging & hardware to trim & reef them. Sails can be expensive (tho'' you can buy used with care and without regret) as can hardware, and sails will be your basic ''engine'' when getting down there and then moving between the islands. You''re not looking for a large inventory, but rather for perhaps 3 really good sails: a main properly set up for reefing, a working headsail (ideally, that you can reef somewhat, as well, and have a good shape) and a light air headsail.
3. Water is available almost everywhere down there but can be expensive at times. Meanwhile, it''s often hot, always humid, and the sun can be pretty tough so hydration is important. You want to make sure you have decent water tankage (40 gals +/-; more is better) plus some jugs to carry & fetch more.
4. A decent sea berth will come in handy as it often makes sense to grab a good forecast and make a 2- or 3-day passage, both when going down and when returning. For the size boat you''re considering, a quarterberth is probably your best bet if you can keep all the crap off it when underway. (Beware the dinette opposite linear galley layout unless it has a good quarterberth).
5. The U/V in the Caribbean can be insidious and destructive, moreso to people than boats. And working hard against the wind & spray can be very tiring, making a dodger a wonderful accessory. But working canvas can be expensive to add to a boat (just like sails). So altho'' it may seem an incidental consideration, were I you I''d be hoping to find some choices that include at the least a decent dodger and think about adding a simple awning. If the awning is rigged to catch rainwater, so much the better.
6. The last two criteria are meant to protect your pocketbook more than enhance your cruise. It''s savvy ownership, from Day 1, to think Resale and so your want to make your final selection with the feeling that the boat will move relatively easily when you are the seller and not the buyer. And weak, needy engines can consume more of one''s cruising kitty than almost anything else on simple boats, so you''ll need to insure the engine that comes with the boat is as unquestionably reliable and has as decent a maintenance history as you can find for your price bracket. (Diesel is safer and helps resale; an Atomic 4 is less desireable).

I''m sure there are other criteria worth considering but, based on the above and looking at that YachtWorld list, here are a few of the 30 footers you might consider:
-- Albin Ballad 30''s, which are routinely raced in the North Sea, have a very functional layout, are fast and well built
-- C&C Redwing 30; I see one for well under $20K that looks immaculate, has the needed canvas, and should sail nicely
-- Cal 9.2 (or 30''), good sailing boat with a functional layout and lousy tankage
-- Dufour Arpege 30'' which have been sailed all over the western hemisphere
-- Morgan 30 (if you can add a water tank and still have room for provisions and personal effects)
-- Newport 30 (worry about resale as they aren''t known well on the East Coast)
-- Tartan 30, which has decent build quality and a functional layout.

You''ll end up considering Pearson 30''s, Catalina 30''s and a flock of Hunters if only because the marketplace is flooded with them and some will therefore be very price competitive and also be pushed by brokers...but I''ve intentionally left them off the list. You probalby won''t find a selection of Rawson 30''s on your coast and so irrelevant. And don''t worry about having a deck-stepped mast; for you size, that''s appropriate. It''s the age and condition of the rigging and the condition of the mast support structure in the cabin where you should place your focus.

One caution: ALL these boats were built so long ago that their equipment can be aged and unsuitable for your plans. As Jeff suggests, you can pour money in oh-so easily after buying what may at one time have been a suitable boat but is now a refurbishing project. (I corresponded recently with one young man that had exactly your dream; after buying the ''right but aged'' boat, he upgraded her appropriately and then found he couldn''t even cross the Gulf Stream to the Bahamas before having to stop. His boat ate his cruising kitty - very sad, indeed). For that reason, I would place evidence of the boat being ''well maintained and upgraded regularly'' at the top of my list of criteria. If an owner has a spotless engine bay, the cabin is clean and visually appealing, and the minimal electronics are of newer vintage, then it''s unlikely he''s skimped on replacing his rigging or servicing his engine.

''The Bible'' for sailing down to the Caribbean is Bruce VanSant''s Passages South; I believe it''s in its 8th edition now. It will provide 1,001 helpful pointers on things like the weather info sources I mentioned above, but buying and reading it now would be well worth your time. He has a lot to say about the kinds of boats taken down there, and in what ways they - and the methods used by their crews - are unsuitable. Reading it will give you a realistic context in which to place your boat selection, I think.

Best of luck, and keep us posted on your progress.


Paisan 11-03-2004 02:23 PM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
Jack, wow. You got some serious time on your hands - that''s more detail than I''ve read in some sailing rags, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

I have a question... What is the danger in the dinette being opposite a linear galley (unless it has a good quarterberth)?

WHOOSH 11-03-2004 03:27 PM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice

Actually, I''m a bit strapped for time right now. But some of us have been lucky enough to get a lot of help from others when we were essentially clueless and hungry for info, and so we try to help others. And it sounds like you need help, given the task you''ve set for yourself.

There''s no real ''danger'' to a dinette + linear galley (IOW the sink/icebox/stove amenities are lined up along one side of the main cabin with a table and seats on the opposite side). But you really should have at least one decent seaberth (two would be better...but so would lots of things) and if the boat''s layout doesn''t offer a quarterberth, your only other option is to sleep on a long settee with a lee cloth holding you in the berth (which won''t exist in your dinette layout). You probably won''t be able to sleep up in the V-berth while at sea, as there''s too much motion up there for most folks to get comfortable, let alone drop off for some good rest. That''s especially true going against wind and waves while working your way down island.

Don''t forget you owe us a revisit from time to time, to let us know how The Plan is coming together...


greenrayled 11-11-2004 02:25 PM

20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
Keep in mind that in the hurrican hit areas, deals can be ahd right now, somebody here by Pennsacola FL just bought a 5 year old 28 footer that had lost its mast, he paid 1,500, the engine works but some electrics need replaced, most of the wood is ok but some water other words, he got the boat for about 10 cents on the dollar!-Ken

Huxley 09-27-2012 11:48 AM

Re: 20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice

Re the Dufour Arpege 30'. Great boat.

My parents are just getting too long in the tooth and are giving up the game.

They have a Dufour Arpege 30', ready to go / in great condition and in budget.

I have all the details on DropBox if your interested.

Yacht is in Greece

SlowButSteady 09-27-2012 01:36 PM

Re: 20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice

Originally Posted by Huxley (Post 927207)

Re the Dufour Arpege 30'. Great boat.

My parents are just getting too long in the tooth and are giving up the game.

They have a Dufour Arpege 30', ready to go / in great condition and in budget.

I have all the details on DropBox if your interested.

Yacht is in Greece

Check the dates on the thread.

Huxley 09-30-2012 03:43 AM

Re: 20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
Hi all,

Apologies, was trawling web sites for Dufour Arpege info as my folks are hanging up their wet weather gear once and for all and saw the thread without looking at the date.

scratchee 09-30-2012 09:34 AM

Re: 20 Year Old Needs Boat Buying Advice
This is like a time machine. The OP is probably about 30 now.

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