First boat: Columbia 22 or Columbia 24? - SailNet Community

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Old 05-30-2006
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First boat: Columbia 22 or Columbia 24?

I grew up on power boats, but have never owned or piloted sailboats before (well, other than Lasers).
I'd like to get into sailing, in Boston, and have the option to buy either a 24' Columbia Challenger, for about $1,700, or a 22' Columbia for about $500 (or maybe even free, since the person needs to get the boat off of his mooring).
The difference is as follows:
The 24 has new hull paint, decent condition sales, full electronics, decent motor, dodger, new lines, etc. Its about 1,700.

The 22 needs a full new coat of paint, possibly new gel coat on the deck, has no electronics, has a torn mainsail, needs new jibs, and has an older motor. It can be had for maybe 500, or maybe even free, possibly.

What, in all of your opinions, is the better boat to get?
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Old 05-31-2006
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Anyone have any thought? Comments? Please?
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Old 05-31-2006
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I've never sailed either boat, but I would say go with the 24. It sounds like it's in much better shape and you would probably spend as much or more bringing the 22 around.
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Old 05-31-2006
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"Free" boats usually fall into the "you get what you pay for" category, and in any case "free" is a misnomer.
If you can get a decent boat in decent shape for under $2G then I say go for it, but do what you can (ask around, get some expert advice on specific boat) to ensure that it, too, is not a waste of money. Spending on a survey is the best way, but at that price you may have a hard time justifying a $3-400 fee even though that is the way to go.
One thing to keep in mind - as a cheap starter boat it may be fine for a while... if this works out for you, "2-foot-itis" will rear its head in short order. Will you be stuck with a hard-to-sell knocker as you try to move up? One thing you don't want to be is a reluctant 2-boat owner.
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Old 05-31-2006
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I'd go for the boat with the best hull shape beneath the waterline, the better sail/displacement ratio, and the better performer in light air.

I've seen a Columbia 24 Challenger, and it's a cute pocket cruiser design, but the wetted surface beneath the waterline is pretty major, and I got the sense that it would be anything but a light air boat. You should check a copy of "Royce's Sailing Ilustrated" out of the library, since that author owned and taught sailing lessons for years on a Columbia 24 Challenger, and loved it. He was in So. Cal., however, and had plenty of wind.

I've never seen a Columbia 22, but from pics online it appears that they are more of a fin keel design with less wetted surface. If the sail/displacement ratio was better, and the underbody was more modern, I'd likely go for the 22 for a first keel boat. It will likely be easier to sail in light air conditions, easier to dock, and possibly more responsive and fun as a first boat.

Going for something heavier with more room below may be what you want in the future, but be aware of the drawbacks before making it your first boat. Let us know what you decide.

Jim H
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Old 05-31-2006
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Another good place to check is the Practical Sailor magazine Sailboat buyer's guide. Most people I know say it is worth the money, about $50 or so.
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