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BRCincy 04-04-2008 03:01 PM

Looking for a small cruiser, easy to single-hand sail
I have set a goal for myself, that in approximately 3 to 5 years, I will be able to purchase a used boat, and pay cash for it. The type of boat that I would be interested in would be a small pocket cruiser, able to accommodate 1 or 2 people for brief overnight stays, and small 2 or 3 day cruises on the Great Lakes, or other large inland lakes. It should be easy to single-hand sail, have decent lines, and have good balance. At this point, the search is beginning, I am hoping that many of you would comment on different boats that you know of, or have experience with that you believe I ought to consider, and why. These comments will be of great use to me as I research different boats, and begin to look at boats, primarily used boats, that are on the market. Thanks in advance for your comments.

PBzeer 04-04-2008 03:11 PM

You might want to include a proposed budget for the boat. It would make recommendations much easier.

BRCincy 04-04-2008 03:17 PM

Yes, of course. Thank you. $22,000.

sailingdog 04-04-2008 03:20 PM

There are alot of boats that fit the criteria you've laid out... and a lot will be up to your personal preference.

The criteria as I read it are:

Trailerable pocket cruiser capable of housing two people for short cruises, say up to a week, and daysailing, on the Great Lakes and other large inland lakes.

Compac, Catalina, Hunter, West Wight Potter, S2 and several others all make boats that would be suitable for those criteria. Your budget will determine a lot of what you can choose from. What kind of vehicle do you have as a tow vehicle, since the tow vehicle will also have a lot to do with what size boat you can get.

I'd also highly recommend that you reserve about $4000-5000 of your budget for refitting, repairing, modifying and upgrading any boat you look at. This is because boats, unlike cars, often need a fair bit of customizing to be best suited for the individuals sailing them. Some will want things like autopilots and lines led aft, to make the boat more suitable for single-handing, others will want refrigeration and cabin electronics, to make the boat more comfortable when at anchor, etc.

GreenEgg 04-04-2008 03:42 PM


Originally Posted by BRCincy (Post 295123)
Yes, of course. Thank you. $22,000.

What do you mean by small boat?

We have spent up to a week in our 21' Sirius.

It is a very stable boat, and both both my husband and our 16 year old son have taken it out single-hand.

I would imagine they go for between $3500-$7000, with a trailer, depending on the condition.

eMKay 04-04-2008 03:52 PM

Decent lines meaning decent looking? How about a Precision 21, or Com-Pac Eclipse, you could buy one nearly new for your budget...


Com-Pac, she's a beauty...

PBzeer 04-04-2008 04:52 PM

The Precision 23 is a very well laid out pocket cruiser. You might also look into the Seaward line. As well as the Com-Pacs as mentioned.

If trailerablity isn't a big concern, you could be looking at even larger boats. Of course, then you have to factor in dockage costs as well.

Best of luck in your search.

AlanBrown 04-04-2008 04:55 PM

Years ago someone told me that when buying a boat, buy the biggest one you can afford. The reason being that after a short time you'll wish you had extra room for storage, guests, etc., etc. These sage words are still true today.

It is just as hard/easy to learn to single hand a 30' boat as it is a 21'. After all, nothing is really different. However, for that extra 9', you get space to move about, space to store your gear, space for your crew, space to retire to if the weather turns nasty, and the size to handle much heavier seas than a smaller vessel. Lets face it, you are going to spend almost as much time below decks as topside. If you've ever been stuck in a tent with a couple friends during a rainstorm, you'll know what I mean.

Why not purchase a boat that will suit your needs far into the future? As you and your crew become more and more experienced, you will probably want to spend lots of time aboard and your day sails will become 2-week vacations. Does it really make sense to have to go boat shopping all over again?

As far as having $22K to spend, you'll have hundreds of used boats to choose from. I've been single handing around the Keys and the Bahamas for the past 7 years in a Hunter 30.

If trailerable boats are what your looking for, don't overlook the McGegors and the Westerly's, and the other twin-keels.

Good luck!

sanjuan2R 04-04-2008 05:25 PM

You could purchase an older 1970's era boat for around $10K to $15K with money left over to add other options, if needed. I agree with the above comment on buying a larger boat now to avoid having to upgrade very shortly.
Try a 27 ft. Catalina, Ranger,San Juan, Cal, S2, or others. They sail well and are easily single-handled. You will find that a trailer-sailer boat gets tiring each and every time you have to put the mast & rigging up & down before the days end. It is much more enjoyable for you and crew to merely arrive at the marina and board yourselves and supplies for a fun day of sailing. Bu, if you don't believe you will be sailing much each year - buy one that is trailerable.
Ask someone pulling a sailboat how often they get down to sail their boat.

Best of luck...

buckeyesailor 04-04-2008 06:05 PM

Nice budget!

I plan to buy, provision, and spend three months in the Bahamas on less than that........AND in a bigger boat.....

Best of Luck to ya!

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