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post #1 of 6 Old 01-03-2005 Thread Starter
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Wood boat for first time cruise...

I am getting close to the dream of buying a boat to live on and soon after go cruising. I have been wondering if a wood boat would be good for someone who has sailed very few times and would be learning to sail once we purchase a boat. I believe myself to be fairly handy with woodwork and feel I could possibly handle many of the repairs but am really not sure. Does anyone have an older wooden sailboat and know if repairing them is much more difficult than most people can handle. Also is it more dificult to sail an older wooden boat compared to a fiberglass one? Any help about older wooden boats for cruising would be helpful.

Also if this helps we plan to cruise the ICW and bahamas then working our way down the carribean islands. Thanks for all the help.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-03-2005 Thread Starter
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Wood boat for first time cruise...

I also forgot to mention that my budget for this boat is under 25,000.
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post #3 of 6 Old 01-03-2005
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Wood boat for first time cruise...

Sailing a wooden boat is not fundamentally different from sailing a (similar) design boat made out of another material, ie a sloop is a sloop, wood, steel, or plastic. The upkeep is a whole different story. A neglected plastic boat looks bad, a neglected wood boat rots and sinks. In other words, the plastic is more forgiving. Wooden boats have an ambiance that can not be replicated in any other material. Like life, it''s all trade offs.

It sounds like you''re just starting out. I would highly recommend taking sailing lessons, there are ASA schools everywhere. I would start reading everything I could get my hands on.

If you think you like wooden boats, get "Wooden Boat Magazine" Go to the wooden boat shows, take some of the boat building classes. Make friends on the docks, bum rides, get to know the boats, find the one you want, with the owner that wants to sell...

Same with plastic boats (I have one) Take lessons, meet people, crew on a race boat, rent, learn.

In other words, It''s like "should I get married"....no one can answer the question for you, get involved, learn, You will answer your own question.


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post #4 of 6 Old 01-03-2005
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Wood boat for first time cruise...

Slim, I don''t think you would be making your best choice if you selected a wood boat for your first boat, knowing you hope to live aboard it and subsequently cruise it.

Handling the boat isn''t going to be substantially different (if comparing a heavier glass or metal boat with a wood boat), but there are other issues that make wood a less desirable choice for you.

First, you are not really sure what you''re looking for, or want, or need - and you can only expect so much help from a surveyor re: thoroughly understanding of what you''re accepting as your new/first boat. Most folks inevitably learn a lot as they go thru their first ''purchase/sail/sell'' cycle, but I think it''s fair to say that more knowledge is needed to end up with a suitable, affordable (to keep, not just to buy) wooden boat.

Secondly, storage space is especially important on a liveaboard/long-term cruising boat. Traditionally-built wooden boats will inevitably be either larger (longer and perhaps deeper) than a glass boat for a given amount of storage space or will offer less space than a glass boat for roughly the same size. And size is critical for a wooden boat, because it defines the amount of care, attention and occasional repair that wood will demand from you.

And then we get to the other risk, given your budget. The very common ''first boat'' cycle when shopping for a boat that doesn''t cost a lot but of which a great deal will be asked is to buy an older boat, not particularly well kept, while thinking that a lot of sweat equity and a bit of replacement and/or additions will make up the difference. (''Old'' and ''wood'' are probably synonymous, given your price tartet). This does on occasion actually work out. But more often, the old boat is found to contain (surprise!) old systems - pumps, wiring, lights, batteries, standing and running rig, engine, tanks and I could go on. And so one ends up inheriting a chronic fixer-upper, to which is added the inevitable use/abuse of using the boat full-time while cruising/living aboard and stressing the systems far more than would be true of a local daysailing. In short, you''ll often find folks cruising older (and especially wooden) boats almost always *needing* to work on their boats (as opposed to the rest of us, for whom the work is at least partially optional, as e.g. topside wood care, scheduled engine maintenance, etc.)

It sounds to me like you are an ideal candidate for a smaller/simplier boat that has recently been cruised successfully, is well maintained, is modest insofar as its amenities are concerned but still seaworthy and ready to be sailed. Accept the smaller space (tho'' larger than what a wood boat of similar length would provide), and accept the simple nature of the boat as that which your cruising kitty will be happiest with.

Good luck on your search, and on joining the sailing ranks!

Jack
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post #5 of 6 Old 03-09-2006
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I say hang on to the house you have right now and practice your techneques. That way you will have all your experience by the time you are ready to purchase your boat.
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post #6 of 6 Old 03-09-2006
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Jack has some good advice. Also, if you're headed to the Bahamas, you should be aware of toredos (shipworm) and how they can turn what was solid wood into swiss cheese in fairly short order. Fiberglass boats have their problems with osmosis and delamination as well. Old boats (wood or fiberglass) are often quite inexpensive to buy because they need major repairs or maintenance to keep them seaworthy. Buying any boat requires keeping both eyes open and getting a GOOD surveyor to go over it before you buy. Carpe Diem, but Caveat Emptor as well.
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