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  #1  
Old 01-18-2007
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Potential first boat purchase

Hello everyone! I've been interested in sailing for quite sometime, and am finally at the point where I'm ready to "take the plunge" and buy a boat. I was hoping to get some advice on where to start. My sailing experience is limited to a dinghy course I took in RI a few years ago and then the ASA 101. I plan on taking the 103/104 combo class, as well as spending some hours with a one-on-one instructor.

My questions:

Should I go ahead and buy a relatively inexpensive boat now, do the course and then pay for an instructor to give lessons on my boat (option 1) or

Should I do the course, rent a boat for lessons, and then buy a bigger, pricier boat after I have become more proficient (option 2)?

Of course if I do the first, I'll have the added headache of trying to sell the first boat when I upgrade. OTOH, I'll have a better idea of what I like/don't like in a boat.

Particulars:

The wife likes to sail, but we have a three yr old as well as 8wk old triplets (yes, you read that correctly!!) so we will likely be limited to day-sailing or short overnight trips for a few years.

My current ceiling for spending is $80k

Even if I go with a nicer boat now, I will still be upgrading again at some point further down the road.

We will be sailing mostly out of Clear Lake, TX and Galveston Bay with perhaps some short trips down the TX Gulf Coast.

If I go with option 1, there is a 1967 Cheoy Lee 27' Cadet I've been looking at. Would this be a good boat for a novice sailor? Also, what would be a reasonable price for that boat in good condition? Thanks in advance

sonofason
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Old 01-18-2007
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Kinda hard to give advice on that. Our issue with kids was a place where they could go to that they would be safe and comfortable. That means an Air conditioner and generator, which rules out many boats. Getting rid of a boat is not a pain... it is a REAL PAIN! On the other hand, I would hate to dump 8o k into something before you know for sure if you will really like it. In my opinion, with the children you have, if you do not have an air conditioner & generator, your sailing period in Texas will be quite limited.

Just a side note: Why 80k? Why not a note at 100k. The reason being is that you get better terms and generally a better interest rate. An 80k boat may cost you more/month than a 100k boat. If you are paying cash, you might consider taking a loan anyway since you will have more liquidity and will be able to write off more on your interest for seond home.

It's not my money... just some thoughts.

- CD
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Old 01-18-2007
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My personal preference would be option #1. By learning on a small boat, <22ft, you will learn may boat handling skill that you can't learn on a bigger boat. Spend some of the extra money on a babysitter so you don't ahve the added stress of the kids on board right from the start. (I think sailing with your kids is great, but could be stressful on a small boat when just learning.) Then, find a local yacht club and see if any of the boats need crew. This would allow you some time on a bigger boat as well as an opportunity to learn from others. (like we do here when we aren't making fun of CD's boat!)
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Old 01-18-2007
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Are you planning on keeping the boat in the water at a marina or on a mooring?

If so, then you might want to look at something like an Alberg 30, which is large enough that you can have room for you, your better half and your kids, and yet small enough to take out on daysails and singlehand. Also, it is seaworthy enough that it can handle almost any weather you can sail in. Finally, it is going to leave you a fair amount of room in your budget to upgrade and re-fit it to your specific needs, and pay for the mooring/marina slip and maintenance costs for a few years.
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Old 01-18-2007
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One more qualification I would put on the small boat, NO motor.
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Old 01-18-2007
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No motor? Probably not a good decision in those sailing grounds. I have been there. Heavy freighter traffic. I bet PB can attest to that.
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Old 01-18-2007
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I was assuming he was more likly to be sailing on Lavon Lake???? Nothing will help you boat handling like manovering in tight quarters and docking under sail. I was also assuming a smallish boat to start that likely wouldn't be out close to any freighter traffic.
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Old 01-18-2007
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No offense to Clear Lake... but the whole thing is a giant feighter manuerver ground and very shallow. PB can give more info on that versus me since he lives there. It is a long haul to get anywhere to anchor out. Lots of restaurants though. I actually like Clear Lake area as it is very cheap... but there is a lot of traffic down there.

- CD

PS Clear Lake is not a lake, per se, it is the gulf side of Houston (not sure I explained that right).
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Old 01-18-2007
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I would echo the thought that you should sail on as many different boats as possible before deciding what to buy. What works for me might be too much or too little for you. If you have some experience, you will be able to determine what factors are most important to you. Then, you can come to a place like this and ask "My budget is $x and I want a boat that is really stiff and has a big cockpit. I need berths for four and only a minimal galley" etc. You can guess now as to what those factors might be, but you won't really know without some sailing under your belt. For me, I wouldn't drop 80k on anything unless I was reasonably sure it would meet my needs for the foreseeable future. Now, if you wanted to spend 5-8k and buy an Oday 23 or a Catalina 22 or 25 just to get sailing now, that would be a pretty good option in my book. You will get out there and start learning, and because of the perpetual market for those types of boats, they are relatively easy to sell. btw, I don't think I ever saw my wife as stressed as when we went sailing in a small boat with our toddlers.
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