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post #1 of 11 Old 10-06-2007 Thread Starter
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I Need Advice - Help THIS Newbee

I need some advice.

I have been a boater for years. I know my local Ohio River stomping grounds and motorboats very well.
I know nothing about sailboats.

I have a 16mon old child and a wife.
My sister has a husband & three kids ranging 1.5, 8, and 9 yrs. old
My inlaws have three older kids.

My mother is going to buy a sailboat for the family.

My mother wants to have a place for the family to go and enjoy themselves and develope strong relationships.
My sister's husband has wanted a sailboat for years, my mother likes sailboats, my wife likes sailboats,
my father and uncle likes sailboats. I just want back on the river!

I would sail once a week, my brother-in-law would sail once a week, father & uncle would sail once a year.

Nitty Gritty:
I have $30,000 to spend and up to $35,000 to spend including all transportation, rigging, bottom paint, taxes...etc.

My mother wants a comfortable cruiser that sits well and doesn't get thrown around in the waves.
She has mandated at least 25 feet.

I have found that I could buy lots of boats in this price range.
The newer the better with an emphasis on cockpit comfort.
Wheel steering, mainstay out of the way, rear rail seats, walkthru transom, etc.

I have received some opinions so far.
-don't go less than 25 foot long or you will want to sail immediately.
-go with an S2, Irwin, etc...for performance reasons. (not comfortable cockpit setups)
-If you buy a Catalina 30...get the tall rig for performance reasons.

I could buy a brand new Catalina 25 keel boat with this amount of money.
I have also found a 1992 Catalina 30 standard rig & standard equipment for this amount of money.

I have not been impressed with the Hunter's deck ergonimics so far.

So...here are my questions:
All of us have VERY limited sailing experience.
We want to be able to single hand the boat after we get some time under our belt.

Staying in the 25-30 foot range....
What is the best boat that $30-35K can buy for our needs?
What is the real performance advantage (speed) of a tall rig vs. standard rig?
Why is it that I can find a better deal on a Catalina 30 than a 27 or 28mkII in the same year range?

Henry in Louisville
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post #2 of 11 Old 10-06-2007
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sounds like a good way to start a family feud! Your Mom may have the best intentions but unless someone really knows how to sail said boat and the rest of family really will go about learning how to sail, it could become the wedge that drives the family apart! Little kids can't run around unchecked on a sailboat and Moms with infants have already have there hands full. Sitting down below while under way is never much fun either. Possibly you could go sailing on a few boats that need crew? or take lessons? some people never go sailing after that one time the boat "tipped".
good luck!

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post #3 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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Wow, what a loaded question! Everyone (pretty much) will tell you to get what they have...I have a Newport 30

Denise030 has a good point, sometimes that "tipped' over will put them off, small kids and moms on heeling sailboats don't always go together. However, I appreciate where your mother-in-law is coming from...

I think I have a somewhat unique perspective in that I have a wakeboard boat and a sailboat. So I've a question...are you footing the bill??? This will limit what you're looking for.

So, if you're footing the bill, let me start the family wedge. Take your family and spend a bit of time while looking, all on the prospective boat.

If you don't all fit with comfort then "it ain't it". If you foot the entire bill, it will be your boat. No matter how much you want it to be the family boat. Plus, if you're not racing, and it's just a fun for a day or two boat, do you really care how 'fast', what kind of rig, etc. she is/has? The big question really is WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF THE BOAT???

The Catalina 36 is a nice boat. My friends have one with a walk through transom and enough room 'inside' for 7-8 several people. Plus the cockpit is ok for up to 5-6 people.

I love my Newport 30 but it's too small for what you say you need. She sails with a big boat 'feel' and I love that. But inside and the cockpit is just too small...although, great for a couple!

Are you all dying to sail? If not here's an off the wall for this forum suggestion. If you can do this (I could if I wanted) buy a small trailer sailor to run around in and enjoy sailing (I bought one for $5K and while a bit tender she was great)... and buy a patio boat for the family. Oh...I can hear the outrage from the hard core sailors!!!

If you get a good used patio boat it will have 1. a place out of the sun for everyone. 2. It should have cooking facilities, all be it small but great when kids are involved...you just can't believe how hungry they get on the water. 3. It should have a port-a-potty something near and dear to every Mom's heart! 4. You can 'raft up' a sailboat and maybe tow it as well. 5. In shifts, adults can escape the small kids. 6. It might have a slide for the older kids. 7. Games can be played while others are goofing off in the sailboat. 8. It might be more in keeping with what your mother-in-law is hoping for...family wise.

Ok, so if you can't do the above? Who's footing the bill??? Who ever that person is...it's their boat. Get what you/they want. Everyone else is a guest. They come when invited and deal with what's available. Yes, my family would love for me to have a 50 footer with at least two staterooms and heads...do I have that??? Nope!

Are they upset when I take them sailing? NOPE! No one complains about the galley when their mouths are full of food. Kids don't gripe because, gasp...I have a DVD player for them...and a dingy and a kayak, and a swim ladder and...and...and.....

You make the boat what you want and need. Shore/beaches are available and there are lots of options. Don't get in a hurry. Look at lots of different types and styles of boats. Get a survey! Take your time. Think about how you'll use the boat. Remember...there are lots of friends who'll want to go as well...X's how many family members?!?

Best of luck!

I got my boat (I boarded about 800 to find her) I hope you get yours! Take your time. Get a survey. Have fun. Good luck!

Last edited by sailhagg; 10-07-2007 at 12:24 AM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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Get a daysailer that four can fit reasonably. A boat that will fit Mom's annual family reunion will not be sailed, sitting alongside the dock until the reunion. And then it will be actually sailed by the few with most experience.

A smaller daysailer will allow all to try their hand with a more manageable size crew on board, ideally two. At this size, mistakes will be made and learned from, rather than just observed by bored relatives. It will also lighten the burden of all being willing to go sailing at the exact same time and willing to get along while learning to sail.

After a few years, all involved will have much more definite opinions on the next size boat up. For now, I'd stay under 27', preferably under 25'. That ought to about halve the cost of admission and, if this doesn't really work out, make it much easier to sell a boat that has become a source of contention amongst people you cannot ignore.

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post #5 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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What is the best boat that $30-35K can buy for our needs?
I don't know much about the Ohio river, but if that's where you are going to sail, you ned to find out about things like current, prevailing winds, narrowest points, etc. and especially, average depth, if you are going to get a boat of any size. What immediately comes to my mind when I read about who is going to sail, is that you would do well to look for weekenders with large cockpits and small cabins rather than boats that are designed primarily for cruising. You spend 90% of your time in the cockpit, and if there are more than four on board, most boats get a bit cramped. You need more space on a sailboat than a powerboat, as weight needs to be shifted and people have to get out of the way of lines and booms, etc.



Boats with nice cabins usually don't have large cockpits until you get up to about forty feet, and those boats are out of your price range. Catalinas are decent boats, but I think you're going to find the cockpit a bit cramped for everyone.

What is the real performance advantage (speed) of a tall rig vs. standard rig?
The tall rig boats are meant for areas where the winds are lighter, the Great Lakes for instance. The standard rig boats are more suited to windy areas such as San Francisco Bay. There is no constant correlation between the amount of sail area and speed. In light winds, iut is likely that the tall rig will do a bit better, in heavvy winds, the standard rig will do better, as the boat will not heel as much, hence you will not need to reef as early.

Why is it that I can find a better deal on a Catalina 30 than a 27 or 28mkII in the same year range?
I would guess that it's because there were so many of the 30's built. It is one of the biggest selling sailboats of all time.

Last edited by Sailormann; 10-07-2007 at 01:52 AM.
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post #6 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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Wow , lets take a look at this whole thing for what it is . You got you mom n baby (mom n baby are to be considered passengers busy with themselves and not crew). Sis plus hubby plus 3 with two of the 3 as good potential crew , again Sis and baby (pax not crew). Plus in laws (2 ?) plus 3 more older kids. As well as your mom that wanted to get this thing going in the first place .You all want to get into sailing on a boat big enough to hold all of you and build strong family ties. Ok 30ft is not going to be enough boat for you all . All sailboats have heeling action to them unless you consider multihulls and you may have to up your budget to get into the multi hulls big enough to accomodate your clan . Comfy cruiser with lots of space , large cockpit . Easy to sail . Forgiving for new sailors . Stable and safe .

1970s 41 ft Morgan Out Island Sloop

Big fat sailboat , wont go to wind but very nice beam reach to downwind , plenty of room to have a big fight not speak to each other for days and still live in relative comfort. Thats the only boat that comes to mind in your budget that will fit the needs of your family. Now , what you are asking for at this point in time may be a very different story once you all get going on this new adventure . Do you want a boat that sails (performs ) or a sailboat you can all fit on to grow closer as you stated your mom wanted ? I think the best course of action is to go look at a bunch o boats with all the $$$ people with you . If thats just you then just take whoever you want to have input on your decision . Climb around a bunch of em see whats available , find out what you like then come back here and ask questions about the ones you liked and why . Chances are someone on Sailnet has had one loved it and will tell you why or five to ten will tell you should not to go near one with a 12ft barge pole and why!

Happy shopping

Its hard trying to nap with that bilge pump alarm going off all the time
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post #7 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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Sailaway's got the right idea ...

I come from a big extended family, and while I laud your mother's intention of getting everyone together sailing, I'd recommend spending $25,000 on X years of vacations at some nice cottage on a lake. Take $5000 and buy a day sailer with the biggest cockpit you can find and tow it to that cottage.

If everyone turns out to love sailing and they're all fighting about getting time on the water, then start the fight about what bigger sailboat to get.


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post #8 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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My first thought was that this is a really nice thing that your mother is thinking to do for the family.

My second, third, etc thoughts were along the same lines as Kurt's above.
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post #9 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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Buying a boat

Quite frankly the best boat for the money is the Catalina 30, they have a tremendous amount of space and can be gotten for not a lot of money, the biggest complaints regarding Catalina 30's are the performance and possibly resale. It sounds like you are a long way away from worrying about either of those if ever. Don't sweat the tall rig and buy the newest boat you can afford Jim
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post #10 of 11 Old 10-07-2007
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If you are going to get a family boat with young kids involved and inexperienced sailors, I would get one as large and stable as I could afford. The Catalina 30 fits that bill nicely but there are dozens of others.

I would second the caution noted by some about whether this is really a good idea with so many involved and inexperienced and not knowing if they will like it.

Finally...about your question on price. If you saw a 1990 Mercedes at the same price as a 1990 Chevy...what would be your conclusion about the condition of the Mercedes?? You will need a competent SURVEY of any boat you settle on to avoid such issues. Catalina 30's go for significantly more $$ than Catalina 27's in the same condition and age range.
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