Buying the first boat . . . - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-06-2007 Thread Starter
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Buying the first boat . . .

Would like to ask for advice on the purchase of the first boat. We are fairly new to sailing (chartered for couple years, took some ASA classes [wasted $$$], sailing trips on the weekend, etc.). Currently, we are considering a boat in 31 to 34 ft range, which we'll use primarily for day sailing, occasional long weekend overnighter. Sailing grounds - Chesapeake bay. As our first boat, we would like to get something with minimal maintenance and maximum sailing time. Having looked at online postings and local boatyards, we have narrowed down to two groups of boats: either a 2004 - 2005 Beneteau 323 or early 1990's Tartan 34 / Pearson / Island Packet. Having read postings on Sailnet, I understand that "Bendytoy's" don't have much of a reputation amongst serious sailors. However, most of our sailing [for the next 4 to 5 years] is not likely to qualify for serious sailing. And we certainly appreciate the comfort features of newer boats. On the other hand, I would like to have a boat that does not need to be turned back to the marina whenever the wind gets up to 20-25 knots. Thus, my question is whether I should go for a fairly new "Bendytoy" or an older but more serious boat. Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-07-2007
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At 32 - 34 feet, it's a pretty substantial "first boat", but seeing as you've done some chartering you're probably saving a step by going for that size off the bat.

For the type of sailing your are describing, any of the mainstream production boats will likely do, as would the older higher end products. Newer boats may depreciate more than the older boats, which have likely plateaued if they are well maintained.

I'd go for the boat that captures your heart.... keeping in mind relative value, and comparable condition and equipment level. You will likely know which one that is once you step aboard.

If your shopping has been on-line listings to this point, then I'd suggest you go out and "kick some fenders"!
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-07-2007
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I would second the idea of going out and looking at a few boats. I really would recommend you not buy a boat you don't absolutely love.

I would also recommend you get a slightly older boat, so as not to take the hit on the depreciation. BTW, most people will buy their first boat, keep it for a few years, and during that time figure out what they're really looking for in a boat as well as what kind of sailing they're really looking to do, and then buy their second boat based on what they learned.

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post #4 of 10 Old 11-07-2007
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Pretty well any boat out there can handle the kind of sailing that you want to do. There's nothing wrong with Beneteau's. They are not the best designed or built boats out there, but there are far worse.

If you want to spend the least amount of time on maintenance that you can, I would suggest buying a 2 or 3 year old boat, if you can find one you like and can afford. The boat will have been outfitted with the necessary add-ons, and nothing will have had the chance to really deteriorate.

The next best option would be an older boat that has recently had extensive upgrades done.

Last - and this is a very distant third place option - look at older boats that have had some maintenance but not a lot of upgrading. You'll spend time and money on these boats, replacing and repairing.
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-08-2007
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Go for the Beneteau and be sailing instead of fixing stuff. They are ideal for the bay.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-08-2007
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I'm probably going to get some stick for this, but have you considered an Alberg 30? They're stone-simple, practically indestructible, and there are tons of them on the bay (and they have a great owners group). For about $18K, you can find one in good shape, probably repowered with a diesel (nothing wrong with a properly maintained A4, though), and updated rigging and sails. They're not as roomy below as a Benny or Tartan, or as quick, but they're an affordable classic CCA boat.

(Cue Jeff and his CCA lecture )

Also, a Tartan 30 would fit the bill nicely.

Life is too short to sail ugly boats.

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post #7 of 10 Old 11-08-2007
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If you're going down the A30 road I'll pitch my vote for a nice Pearson Vanguard. Both of these properly maintained are take you anywhere boats that love 25mph plus winds..

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post #8 of 10 Old 11-08-2007
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Dog8it,

Welcome. I've been sailing (racing and cruising) on the Chesapeake for almost two decades. The last ten years or so almost all my Chesapeake sailing has been in the "heavy cruiser" variety of sailboat. I like the the way this style boat sails, not to mention the aesthetics. But that is just my PREFERENCE.

That said, I really agree with those folks who encouraged you to go with the newer Beneteau. It is a great boat with which to get started -- and over time you will probably develop a better understanding of what features you'd like in your next boat. I can confidently say that the Beneteau is entirely adequate for Chesapeake Bay sailing. With a bit of practice, there is no reason you can't sail that 323 all around the Bay in 20-25 knots of wind. There may be days when I'm still out sailing in 30-35 knots and you're ducking for cover, but those days are so rare it's no reason to pass on the Beneteau.

If you decide to follow this approach, I would compare the 323 to something like the Catalina 320 or another comparable-sized Catalina model (CD, help me out here). I'm not recommending one over the other, but I do think it would be worthwhile to compare them before making a purchase. Best of luck to you.
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-09-2007
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minimal maintenance=minimal wood.

G~

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post #10 of 10 Old 11-11-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks for everyone's input. Will go "kick some fenders" and may come back with more questions.
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