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dbatjr 08-22-2001 12:22 PM

To trailer or not?

I''m getting back into sailing after a ten year absence. I used to sail a Sunfish on a lake in New York but never anything bigger than that.

Now that I''m married and have a family (3 girls under age 10), I would like to buy a bigger boat for easy sailing off the coast of Connecticut in Long Island sound. Mostly day trips but if everything goes well, perhaps several overnighters a year. Since this is going to be a family boat I''m more interested in comfort than performance.

Just so you don''t think I''m going off half cocked, I have signed up for Colgate''s sailing school next month, and don''t plan on buying a boat until this winter or early spring.

The reason I am posting this is I''m having trouble deciding between a trailerable boat with a swing keel, such as a 25'' O''day or Catalina, or a larger boat that will have to stay at the marina. I would like to find something between 10 and 20 years old and under 20k.

Any suggestions for my first ''big'' boat?


rbh1515 08-22-2001 01:26 PM

To trailer or not?
If you bought a boat with a swing keel would you keep it on a trailer and only launch it when you wanted to go sailing? If this is the plan, I would recommend against it. It is a hassle. It is so nice to just hop in the boat and go out on a moments notice. If you are going to keep it in the water it really doesn''t matter which type you get, unless you are going to be dealing with shallow water. I bought a Colgate 26 recently (the boat you will be training on). It has a keel, but is easily trailered (2600#). It is nice to be able to trailer a boat for winter storage, or if you want to take it to go cruising somewhere. The cabin on the Colgates is kind of small for cruising but you can''t beat the cockpit size (about 13'' long) for daysailing. You could probably get a used Colgate thru Offshore Sailing School for under $20k.

dbatjr 08-22-2001 01:57 PM

To trailer or not?
Hi Rob,

Thanks for the info.

I have only been reading this board for a couple day, but I am well aware of your fondness for the Colgate 26 ;).

If I buy a boat that is trailerable, my intent would be to leave it in the water during season, and pull it out only at end of season. I don''t mind renting a slip for the season but I don''t want to pay
off-season storage fees. I also like the idea of being able to work on it in my back yard when necessary.

Here''s another question. What is the max "managable" size for a boat the would be infrequently trailered?

Thanks again,


BWithum 08-22-2001 02:25 PM

To trailer or not?
i have a older Columbia 24 that I really would like to ge ride of it sleeps 4 ,port a potti 3 sails and is in structurally good condition but needs TLC. I got it because some one owed me money.I was the yard manager of the boat yard it is in.I have a larger boat and don''t want this boat .It''s a very soild sea worthy boat. I would like to get about $ 1800 and am open to bo. the boat is in Newburyport Ma. 978 363 1533, Bill

rbh1515 08-22-2001 05:45 PM

To trailer or not?
You don''t see many trailerable sailboats over 26-27''. This is mainly because of weight and beam. I used to live in Branford, CT on LIS. Whatever you get, make sure it sails well in light winds!!

divad 08-23-2001 08:37 AM

To trailer or not?
hi Tom,

I sail LIS off the CT shore also. Don''t let the winter storage issue be the determining factor in chosing a keelboat vs. trailersailor. Shop around and you can find places to winter the boat for a small fraction of what the slip costs. I haul out at a different yard than my summer marina, storage is about 1/3 of what I pay for a slip in the summer, including stepping the mast. Added bonus: the winter yard is several miles up the CT river, better protection from nasty coastal storms.

Go with a keelboat. We sail a 28 footer with three kids, also all under 10. It can get "cozy" and I expect it will be downright uncomfortable as they get older, but I''ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

Long Island Sound is great sailing, but I''d be nervous in a light trailerable boat, particularly with kids on board. I like the sense of security that comes with a fixed ballast keel.

divad 08-23-2001 08:39 AM

To trailer or not?
Oh yeah, I second Rob''s suggestion to get a boat that sails well in light air! While LIS can turn nasty, particularly as you head towards The Race, 99% of the time you''re wishing for more wind.

dbatjr 08-23-2001 03:19 PM

To trailer or not?
Thanks for the feedback divad. I''m truly torn between getting a boat that potentially could be parked in my backyard, and one that although not as mobile, would be certainly be more comfortable for family sailing.

What cruise boats in the 25/30 foot range do well in light wind? I certainly don''t want to end up with a sailboat that has to be motored around the sound.


divad 08-24-2001 03:59 AM

To trailer or not?

I can relate to your desire to have your boat in your backyard! Mine is a two hour drive from home, which isn''t a big deal in the summer when we''re going there overnight, but it''s a drag during the short days of the off season when I just want to go down and get some work done on her.

Regarding light air, I like Sabre, C&C, Ericson, and J/Boats for LIS. They''re all well-made fin-keel boats that do well in light air.

IMO, the biggest problem with light air in LIS isn''t the wind, but the big powerboats that think nothing of blasting by you with only a few boatlengths of seperation for no reason, when you''re ghosting along trying to keep airflow attached. Just something you have to get used to, I guess.

MikeMoss 08-24-2001 08:42 AM

To trailer or not?
Don''t get a trailerable boat for LIS. It''s too rough there and the boat will be too small anyway.

Get at least a 30'' sailboat and winter store it in a boatyard. The cost for winter storage is $27 at foot, mast in, where I store.

The wakes from motor boats is severe. The bigger boat will help some but some tactics are not to sail bouy to bouy and to turn up into a wake from the stern if under power. Wakes from the bow are just a bump and not that bad.

The trailer boat will fail to do the job on the sound. Even a big one will be too small in the end. However if you already have a 4WD and would tow it to other places for day sailing it would be ok I suppose.

In the end you are either going to own a 34'' + sailboat or give up. Keep this in mind. Buy or charter with this in mind. Bigger boats are easy to handle too. With just three people on our 30'' boat it was adequate for a long time. But a larger family needs more room.

So here is a rough budget. Winter storage $1000, Mooring at Noank $700, Insurance/registration $500. Now we get to "stuff" you want and need. You can see you need $3000 a year for a budget at least. If you go dockside then the cost goes up by a lot.

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