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Keyne 02-11-2007 03:59 PM

Looking For First Boat - Columbia vs Others
Well, finally saved up some money to buy the first boat! Some background and criteria:

- Basically I have a max price of $10,000
- I am 34 years old and have sailed off and on since I was young on sunfish, etc. but the last 3 seasons I have been sailing Cape Cod Mercuries on the Charles River and reading as much as I can on navigation etc. I plan to take a coastal navigation course in the Spring.
- I live in Boston and will sail most likely between north and south shore, cape, islands, etc
- Looking to use for mostly day sailing with the occasional overnight or weekend
- Looking for a decent sailing boat but I do not plan to race or need crew on the rail to keep the boat stable
- Standing headroom would be nice but not required
- Plan to single hand the boat 99% of the time
- Looking for simplicity - want a boat that has an outboard motor and not an inboard, and would be happy with (prefer) hank on sails instead of roller furling.

Based on those criteria and my level of sailing experience I thought some good candidates would be:

- Columbia 26Mk2
- Cape Dory 25 (not the D model)
- Pearson 23 (not the cat model)
- Bristol 24
- Bristol 27

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated.



PBzeer 02-11-2007 04:20 PM

You might want to look into the older Catalina 25 and 27's.

7tiger7 02-11-2007 05:59 PM

Hi K -
I'm in Boston too, and in pretty much the same situation as you are - looking under $10,000, etc. Shoot me an email, maybe we can chat.

sailingdog 02-11-2007 09:40 PM


I would look to spend about $7500 on the actual boat, and leave about $2500 for upgrades, repairs, re-fitting, etc...

Buying a boat is not like buying a car in many ways. Boats, even brand new ones, generally have some things on them that each owner will want to change or customize to allow them to more easily sail the boat the way that works for them. Whether it is leading lines aft to the cockpit, or adding a solar-powered ventilator to help keep the interior cooler... there is going to be something you'll want to change, modify or customize on any boat you buy. Leaving a bit reserved for that will make your life a whole lot simpler.

I'm guessing you've been sailing at CBI, on the Charles River, since they have a pretty large fleet of Cape Cod Mercuries.

Other good candidates are Pearson Ariel, O'Day 23, Westerley Nomad, Bristol Corsair, C&C 24, S2 7.3, or the Compac 23. If you want something a bit might look at the Ranger 26.

sanjuan2R 02-11-2007 10:00 PM

Looking for a First Boat
I agree with the previous post... I would highly recommend the Ranger 26. Easy
to single-hand; very stout built boat and much better quality over a Catalina. Look around and you will find them around $7K or so on either coast. Plus, it is fast and responsive for a novice. And if you like to learn to sail fast >>> buy a Ranger 26. ;)

cardiacpaul 02-11-2007 10:04 PM

I'd go with either the ranger 26, or catalina 27

Wayne25 02-11-2007 11:17 PM


If you run a cross a Helms 25, it would be worth a look. Good in heavy weather, better rigging than most in her class. I like mine alot and use it as you plan to use yours.


labatt 02-11-2007 11:50 PM

Out of curiosity, are you looking for a trailerable or something to keep at a marina/club? Dockage can get very pricey immediately around Boston - just in case you haven't factored it in. There are a lot of great trailerables out there too.

jdsackett 02-12-2007 10:09 AM

cal 25
i dont know how available they are in your area, but give a cal 25 a look. i have one, my first bigger boat also. good light air boat. mine has a pop top that i probably wouldnt like in open water, but i sail on a lake. with the top popped i have standing headroom, im 6'1" in my sox. small dinette, small galley. small head with porta pottie. birth is big enough for 2. nice sized cockpit, enough room for 4 easy. good weekender. pretty good storage, big lazerettes. been out in 25 mph winds with 95% jib and reefed main, no problem, sailed nice. mine has a 6 hp outboard, which is adequate for my situation. only down side is the tiller is forward of the transom. a real pain to steer and change gears and throttle settings. need to rig up some remote controls for the motor and should be a lot better. could throw a party on the foredeck. hanked on sails. good , solid little boat and can be had pretty cheap in good shape. good luck on your search. sail one if you get a chance, i single hand all the time, no probs. best regards, j.d.

sailingdog 02-12-2007 11:51 AM

While trailerables are far less expensive, especially if you have place you can store them on the trailer that is convenient and free... you will find that if you keep the boat in the water, you will find sailing far more enjoyable, and find yourself doing more sailing. If it takes you two hours to get the boat in the water and rigged, and almost that long to get the boat out and unrigged... you have spend four hours each time you go sailing in prep work... if the boat is rigged and in the water... you can usually get out sailing in under 30 minutes, and the same when you get back.

It depends on your financial situation as well as your time requirements. With a boat at a slip or a mooring (which is usually a good deal cheaper than a slip, but far less convenient) you can opt to go sailing on a free afternoon or morning... with a boat on a trailer, that is usually a non-starter.

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