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post #1 of 16 Old 06-18-2015 Thread Starter
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Boat shopping for a newbie

I know this is probably posted about a million times, I have read through about half of em. And some of the polls and boat reviews. I have went out and looked at 2 boats so far and I am not really 100% sure what I want/need. There are alot of outside factors. Ideally I want to get the best boat I can afford. The prices on sail boats very a ton. I have never sailed before but will be learning, likely taking a class, and I am joining the local sailing club. At the bare minimum I want a 24 ft boat. There appears to be a pretty distinct difference between a 23-26 ft boat and a 27-30 ft boat. It may just be the ones I am looking at but the 27-30s have a much different layout. They generally have a head, sleeping quarters, fridge, stove, AC, and inboard motors.

I want something I can spend the night on for the weekend at first, maybe more later but that could be a dream. Its going to be kept 20 minutes from my house on Lake Conroe in Texas. Its not a massive lake but I am about 1.5 hours from the gulf which could come later.

I am not overly into racing or anything like that. I just enjoy being on the water, swimming, maybe fishing, even cooking.

I am married so my wife would also be out and about with me. We enjoy entertaining so I would assume at some point we would want to take small groups of friends out, likely 2-6 people. Another catch is I want something I can possibly handle solo.




I have a soft budget of around 6k. Soft meaning if I found something cheap, that was a great deal, my wife would likely let me get it now. If it was 6k or better, shed likely make we wait or something of the sort.

The 3 boats I have my eye on are a 1975 ft lancer for $2500. This one is priced right... I have no laid eyes on it because it a hike from my house. It seems to be in decent shape. Has a low draft which I believe would be a pro for running around on the lake but I am not 100% sure. Looks like it could use some work or updating which seems like it could be fun. houston.craigslist.org/boa/5073172933.html
A 1983 O'Day 25 ft for $5900. This is a very nice boat. Make and Model wise I don't know as to the quality but its well kept, well maintained and in presitne shape. Has a few upgrades and everything is there. It doesn't seem to be priced bad but its twice the price of the Lancer above. It is conveniently located on my Lake. I have physically saw it and the owner is a great guy. It has a 4'6" draft. Sailboat data shows it to be a swing keel but I asked on the keel and the guy didn't mention that so I assume it isn't. houston.craigslist.org/boa/5042139926.html
And a 1979 Bayliner Buccaneer 29 ft for $6800. This one seems like it needs the most work and upkeep. I don't know if an inboard motor is a pro or a con. It started and ran fine tho. I saw a slight leak in the rear cabin coming from the deck. There were some damp spots, and some of the plywood on the bed shown signs of rot. The AC needed to be "recharged" etc. So yeah, lots of work, but I could stand up in the cabin (6'0) and it was basically laid out like a small camper which would be neat. So as an extended stay type thing it had the most potential. The buyer also seemed motivated to sell so the price seemed to have some wiggle.
houston.craigslist.org/boa/5028470059.html

Any help at all is appreciated. I do not have to buy any of these 3 boats, I just through em up here because those are some things I saw and opinion I had.
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post #2 of 16 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Keep your eyes open for a Catalina 27. It's a very popular boat, and for good reason.
While O'Day went out of business some years ago, they made good boats and sounds like it is the best of the 3.
I don't know much about Lancers, but the Buccaneer never had much of a reputation. Sounds like a lot of work on that one...I'd definitely pass on it.
If you're not going to spend the money to get it surveyed, and I strongly suggest you do, at least find a seasoned sailor buddy to go over any boat you are looking at.

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post #3 of 16 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Of the three mentioned, the ODay 25 is the one I would pick. It fits your needs and is one of the best selling boats from a well-known builder. They came in both a fixed keel and a keel-centerboard version. The Buccanner is the one I would clearly eliminate. Not known for quality and this one sounds like it's been poorly maintained. Not too familiar with the Lancer, but I don't recall them as been very well built.
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post #4 of 16 Old 06-19-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Agree on the Catalina 27. Very simple boat that will do what you say you want. At 6' 0" you'll be able to stand in the center of the cabin & won't feel too cramped in general. Can sleep 4 for a weekend if you all get along. There's lots of them out there, so you ought to be able to find one in good shape.
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post #5 of 16 Old 06-19-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Both I and my wife appreciate the help. I refined my search this morning and just searched for Catalina and just happened to find one in my area for dirt cheap. What about a Catalina 25 houston.craigslist.org/boa/5063585656.html Hes asking $1500 and it looks like may need some work. I am going to try and get out today or tomorrow to check it out but does it look like something that meets some of the stuff I spelled out? Its very cheap, wife would let me jump on it now. And if it took a grand or 2 to get it optimal that would still be cheaper than the O'day and it would be easier to ask for forgiveness from the wife than for a bigger purchase price.
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post #6 of 16 Old 06-19-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Yes, it is worth looking at.
One word of advice from a seasoned boater, and a lot of others here on sailnet will back me up on this....
cheap boats can easily become very expensive boats. Look for value, not cheap. What will give you the most bang for your buck.
There are reasons why the O'Day is $5900 and the Catalina is only $1500. When all is said and done and the dust has settled, the O'Day might be the better buy, or the most bang for your buck.

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post #7 of 16 Old 06-19-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

You want a bargain, buy this boat:
S2 7.9 racer/cruiser sailboat

Sorry, I have no affiliation, but honestly that's a bargain basement price.
Truth in posting... I own an S2 7.9... if you stretch and buy that boat over your $6000 budget, you can thank me later for getting you into a boat that is both safe to learn on, great to sail fast, and even better to take your family/friends out on.

Just thought I'd scour the craigs near you.

if you consider that boat, bang the deck near the chainplates (where the stays attach port and starboard)... bang it with a box wrench or something, working your way out, listen for THUD (that means wet core)... BANG means solid.

Do the same for the mast step.. check that the mast step is level (lay a 2'x4'x18" across the width and length of the step, if it doesn't deviate more than 1/8" the mast step is probably dry)...

Check the rudder, and the cheek plates (alum plates the rudder sits in and connects to the tiller)... make sure the hole is round...

Look at the bottom for blisters (bottom will have what looks like large zits)... the early production years 1982 and 1983 (that's a 1982) were more prone to these (not the end of the world, but would be work to fix)...

Also lastly, that's the BMW inboard model... make sure it runs! Getting parts for the BMW inboard is tough these days, but one that runs and looks clean/cared for, should hold up (we have 2 in our club)...

The S2 7.9 is nicely trailerable, but is also stable with daggerboard up. I think others here will testify, its a better boat than all three you mentioned.

By the way, that Lancer looks like a decent boat as well, but its on the large side for "trailerable." I have a friend who did it for years with his, but even he would admit that he only ever would want to trailer it twice a year. The Oday 25 is easier than the lancer, and about the same amount of work as the S2 to launch, however the S2 is slightly easier to get in and out of the water, with both of them about the same for raising the mast. The S2 is an infinitely better sailing boat though.

If that S2 is structurally sound at that price, it's a bargain, they still draw about $10k or more, boat/motor/trailer... Especially if the sails in his pictures are in any kind of shape.

Also if you buy the boat (and you should put that one at the top of your list - for the others here, I couldn't find a bargain Cat 27 near him, which I'd agree is a nice starter cruiser), consider joining the S2 7.9 association, they basically warehouse all the owners in 1 place, and there are resources from everyone there that can help you find replacement parts, and how-tos to maintain the boat. Nice people. http://www.s279.org

By the way if you were talking about THIS Oday 25? http://houston.craigslist.org/boa/5042139926.html That's actually an Oday 26, and even the Oday 25 is 4100lbs, not 3850, the Oday 26 is 4800... I'd say that the Oday 26 is a slightly better boat than the Oday 25, but you MUST look also at the mast step on it (same way as I stated above)... the Oday 26 is prone to rot under the mast step (as is the S2)... the layup is trickier to repair on the Oday though.

"Rum Line" a 1982, S2 7.9 - Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.

Last edited by SHNOOL; 06-19-2015 at 09:48 AM.
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post #8 of 16 Old 06-19-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Thanks a ton man! That is a very nice looking boat that hasn't popped up in any of my searches yet! At $7900 the wife will likely make me wait though.... I have surely ruled out the Bayliner based on the advice given here. The O'day is starting to sound really nice but I haven't ruled out that Lancer yet, the $2500 price point makes it easier to get it now and keep a happy home. The shoal keel seems preferable for lakes and trailering but that could just be my inexperienced opinion. If I look to spend my max budget I am likely shopping prematurely. The main reason I started looking now was because a friend at work sold his Cat 25 for $2000 and said if its in a slip, and they aren't using it, you can find boats for $1500-$3000 in that size that aren't bad. The main fear I have with the O'Day is the draft. My friend who has sailed the lake said he had a fixed keel Cat and the 4 ft draft kept him out of alot of spots on the lake. The owner of the O'day says its a deep lake and never been a problem.

And that is the O'day I was talking about!
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post #9 of 16 Old 06-19-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

Hey,

If you want to spend nights and weekends on board, then you really want something 27' or bigger. If you want to day sail and spend a FEW nights aboard, then 22-25 might be OK. The big difference is headroom and accommodations. The smaller boats won't have standing headroom, or a real head, decent water tanks, etc.

My first boat was a Catalina 22. Lots of fun, great for daysailing. But then I got hooked on sailing and wanted to go away for the weekend. The C-22 didn't have standing headroom, had a porta potty, no water tanks, and not enough storage room. After a year I sold it and bought a Newport 28. The Newport was a 'big boat' in that it had standing headroom (for people under 6') inboard diesel engine, pressure hot and cold water, real marine head with shower, galley, decent table, etc.

The smaller boats will be trailerable, which saves money, but trailer sailing sucks. The bigger boats are really too heavy to trailer, and even if you can, trying to launch or recover one will be a real drag.

Don't get hung up on any particular make or model yet. Just go out and get on as many boats as you can. You need to decide if you need a decent interior, or just want to sail for the day and then go home.

Good luck,
Barry

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #10 of 16 Old 06-19-2015
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Re: Boat shopping for a newbie

I noticed there is a Capri 22 for $1000 near you too... no trailer though... but they are great learning boats too. Oh and if $6000 is your max outlay, offer $6000 to the S2 guy, you never know.

"Rum Line" a 1982, S2 7.9 - Production boat limit tester, blue-water bucket owner, with wine taste on a beer budget.
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