Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: New England
Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
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Agree and Disagree with others
I agree that you should generally stay away from a new boat in this size range, unless you have wads of free cash, and look for used. There are PLENTY of exceptional boats, that have been well maintained, in your size range for a fraction of the money for new. With all the extra money you save from not buying new, you can upgrade a quality used boat wit the latest and greatest stuff.
I don't necessarily agree with starting with something smaller and moving up. My first sailboat was/is a 33 ft boat. Sure, I learned to sail on Lasers and Sunfish, helped crew on my Dad's 22 ft Catalina when he had it and crewed on a 34 ft O'Day and 40 foot Sabre occasionally, but my first boat is the one I currently have. I also think that for a start multi-sail sailboat, a 28 to 34' ish boat is a good starter boat for a coastal or weekend cruiser. If you start smaller, you may be limited into the number of folks that you can take out on a day or overnight sail and soon may want a bigger boat.
The other thing is that if you buy smaller, then upsize, you need to go through the process of selling your smaller boat and then buying a larger boat each time you upgrade. This can be a hassle. Some folks here do it all the time, but I only want to do it once, maybe twice in my lifetime. Paying for a survey, taxes, etc. for each transaction is not my idea of efficient use of my money.
One thing I highly recommend is to take basic keel boat lessons first before you plunk down the money on your cruiser. Sailing a sunfish or laser (one sail) sailboat is a different than a multi-sail sailboat with a keel. Also, learn on a tiller boat to understand the fundamentals and the feel of the boat. Even though I learned on tiller boat (laser/sunfish), I relearned on a Soloing for my basic keel boat lessons before I bought my boat. There are some finer points that I never worried about on a Laser/Sunfish that are important when sailing a multi-sail boat.
Good luck in the search.