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alan_21_us 02-19-2006 08:28 PM

Mayday - Overloaded with Emotion

I live in phladelphia suburbs and have the sailing bug pretty bad. I took a sailing clas in '93 in annapolis but sailed little since then. Well this spring I am taking another 2 day class and hope to get on a 5 day intermediate sail down the Delaware and thru the C&D canal.

I need some help. Should i buy a boat,or find a place to rent. In either case I need some guidance. I am currently going on web sites and looking for boats size 25-27 feet.

I know that in order to really enjoy the sport I will need a lot of time on the water. Thus my consternation on just how should I do that.

I feel a little overwhelmed right now as I do not want to jump and make a mistake on my first attempy at boat ownership.

I will appreciate all comments.

PBzeer 02-19-2006 09:17 PM

Are you looking to spend time on the boat, or just daysail? A 25'-27' boat most likely means you will need a slip to keep it in, so you're not just looking at the price of a boat, but a place to keep it as well...summer and winter. If you have a vehicle you can tow with, you might want to look smaller, something that you can rig easily and by yourself.

You could also look around at the marina's and yacht clubs in your area for crewing opportunities and get some more experience before you make an investment in a boat.

There's no one "right" way to start. All you can really do is ask for advice, then choose what is right for you.

Good luck,

samchristo 02-20-2006 12:59 AM

Is there a sailing club in your area? One that would let you experience sailing various types of boats? That's a great way to experience the differences in how different types of boats handle and to find out what appeals to you. Also, walking the docks at your local marinas is a great way to see a lot of boats, and talk to the owners. Most boat owners are more than happy to talk about their boats with people who are genuinely interested. Best wishes...and remember, the boat that is right for you is the one that makes your heart sing every time you see her.

Irwin32 02-20-2006 01:01 AM

Do you have the time?
I think boat ownership makes sense if you have the time to spen using your boat. If all you are doing is daysailing and then coming home, some type of a sailing club membership makes a lot of sense. I have seen some new programs that cost about what yearly slip/storage/maintenance do. The advantage is you don't have the work, which on any boat is considerable.

If you are going to be spending most weekends on your boat and going for week (or more) cruises, then you really need to own. I think that to make owning a boat worthwhile one has to have the time available to use it. If your weekends are tied up running kids to soccer games, etc, ownership won't be worth it.

You could join a sailing club for the coming season to find out just where you fit in and if you find you want to spend more time on your boat then buy one for the next season.

Jim H 02-20-2006 11:01 AM

Irwin32's advice is what worked for us. We joined a club for about $150 a month and then sailed almost every week for the entire year. We started in 20 footers (and got the first ASA sailing certifications) and then moved up to 27 footers. For day sailing, we'd normally just take out a Capri 22 or Cal 24, depending on conditions.

Don't be mislead if you look into "renting" boats and find that everything is $150 for four hours. We'd never have gotten into sailing if we had paid that every weekend. Find a sailing club that has classes and boats that you can use for a flat rate. I'm in Portland, Oregon, but a friend of mine in Washington, DC has found a similar club for the same price or even less than what we paid.

Finally, don't be too picky about what boats they have. If they only have some old Rainbow 24s or Catalina 22s or Santana 20s, that's fine for a start. Even the oldest boats we've sailed (including the '67 Cal 20 we restored) had a lot to teach us, and if you don't own the boat then you'll just be moving on anyway. When I was younger, Lasers and Vanguards were fine, and some still argue (well) that starting with dinghies is the best start for the long run. Nowadays, I personally prefer keelboats, but I'm glad I started on a 20 footer.

Let us know what you find out.

Jim H

alan_21_us 02-21-2006 07:49 AM

Thanks for the help
I appreciate the input from all who replied. In early June I will take the 2nd course (2 days on the water). After that I will feel more comfortble on the water. There is a sailing club in philadelphia and may join.

I have an aquaintance who has a 33 footer, not certain what type, who needs a second hand in the evenings. I will become a venerable mooch.

I also found a place that rents J24's about 1 hour from my home. This may be good for a week day.

Any other comments please send them my way................


CrusCaptDan 02-21-2006 05:45 PM

I would ask myself if I wanted to spend some time working on the boat.

Washing ,Waxing, refinishing teak and general maintainance are all part of ownership. If you do not want or don't have the time to spend just putzing around the boat you would be better of to Join a club or rent/charter.

feta 02-22-2006 02:27 AM

i have been lucky, here in australia i asked on sailnet if anyone wanted inexperienced crew and was sent an email by another member to try botany bay yacht club.
i did and im not sure what you mean by money but here i have been welcomed and i am a true beginner at sail trimming and money has changed hands and we have a ball ,friday nights socially and saturdays point/handicap races.we are getting better and better in all kinds of conditions.we came 5 on handicap in the national titles.and the next week we came third in club regatta,on handicap.and the skipper has given me a job with his all i can say is get in amongst it to, i am living my dream for nix.

LyleRussell 05-03-2006 03:19 PM

Idea for you.
In Annapolis there is the J-Port Sailing Club. Basically you pay a fee and get use of J-80's (26') I think a J-32 cruiser, and a J-105 (34'). They will make all new members take a weekend sailing course just to be sure you have the minimum skills.

My experience over 4 years was excellent. No trouble at all getting a boat when I wanted it, well kept, far cheaper than ownership, all the hassles of slips, insurance, registration and repairs taken care of for you.

They have an excellent web site.

sailingfool 05-03-2006 04:34 PM

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Hey its May and many folks in PA are out sailing every day. My advice is find a local club, get signed up and be out sailing on Saturday. Within a few weeks you can be moving smoothly along the learning curve. Don't work about classes hrer or there, get a few weeks at the tiller and enjoy.
What seems long ago, I started sailing with a 30 day June membership at - real cheap and unlimited boat use. I bet Philly has something similar. By September I was much better prepared to buy my first boat, you will be too.

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