Young couple seeking advice, buying first time cruiser - Page 3 - SailNet Community
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post #21 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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An eternal optimist, I am not; however I do have dreams of taking 10 days and triple the cost to get the same place a plane could take me in 2 hours. On the east coast, I am talking about Bermuda. We are also a relatively young couple, what it was like to be just out of college... the potential, who would like to do some extensive cruising. Regardless of what boat you purchase as I don't think it matters that much to you at this stage, here is how we have gotten started.

1. Establish the passion, I love the screen shots of a heeled vessel pinching the wind. This does happen, but definately not all the time. After a few charters and day rentals, we have managed to abuse other peoples property and learn sailing in heavy weather, discovered my wife gets sea sick, Real seamanship sailing the same waters as large ships, tugs and fishing vessels, Really long nights where you pray for daylight, heavy weather at night scares the ***** out of me. You get the idea, we have been through a lot and we are both 100% joyed to keep going.

2. Devise a metered approach. We have yearly goals building up to the big trip. These are fun trip which build our skills and knowledge of the boat while keeping things intresting. Cant say much about this we are just starting this stage. I can say I was quite comfortable pushing the big trip out a few years. The boat you use for this is like you first girlfriend ... if only I know what I know now. I am only on my first mine all mine boat, so again only initial reaction.

3. Love you youth and take advantage of it..... you have time, use it to your advantage. belive me when I say being a little older does not decrease the enjoyment. I still listen to SKA and reggae with an extra dose of Bob first thing in the morning as the wake up call "Three Little Birds". If its important to you and you have the passion, you will do it. Awsome you are starting so soon in life.

Reread ERBS posting, I can very much relate. With that said there was a great book I believe by Casey or Sailing Mag which reviews 20 inexpensive boats you can sail anywhere. You can find this and several others on Amazon. Try to go and look at every one of them, you will know very quickly what you like and dont like, get what you like you will have to live with it. With that said, go to it and one day we may meet around the Horn of Africa. Hope this helps.

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post #22 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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The book Flatfoot is referring to is John Vigor's "20 Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere".


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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #23 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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Have the boat surveyed by a reputable agent of YOUR choosing. You pay them and they have a fiduciary responsibility to you. Second, you don't really want a so called "fast" boat unless you are going to be racing, the difference in speed won't make much difference to a cruiser, that said, faster may tip the balance if all the other considerations are equal. Extra equipment is always a plus, an inflatable, newer electronics etc, you can spend a bunch here and not have a lot of hardware to show for it. Finally YOU have to like the looks of your boat, no one else(until you go to sell it), you want to look back down the dock for the years to come and think she is still as pretty as the day you bought her. Both are fine boats, which do you like? Wes Carroll
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post #24 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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Thanks for the correction Sailingdog.
Check out the book and look at the boats. We ended up with a Catalina 30, realatively inexpensive, easy sail, and looking forward to keeping her aproximately 20 miles offshore. I know... I know, we each have our definition of coastal cruising. wife like it, I like most things about it, easier than most to sell later on, accepts 1 more crew easily (I dont know how folks can just start out doing, these insanely long watch standing). The biggest shock for me is how lonely and scary are cold big waves off the NJ coast at a night. Easy to sail is very important to me, keep in mind, I have to sail on my own if no other crew and wife wants to relax. I make a point to keep her happy, her company and positive mental attitude is worth more to me that her crewing ability. good luck.

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post #25 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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I would not leave the Puget Sound waters with either boat until each of you learned to sail YOUR sailboat well. There is so much to learn about sailing that you NEED to learn completely. Where are you going to moor your sailboat?
The entire Puget Sound area is difficult to find affordable moorage. You might think about securing boat moorage BEFORE you purchase anything. If you are thinking about a liveaboard vessel, purchase the one with the most interior storage and plan on renting another storage facility to house all the articles you can't bring onboard. Either the SJ 30 or the Islander 30 would be fine to learn to sail in the PNW waterways.
There are many vessels available in the PNW. You might also keep an eye out in the Portland metro area. Boats are several thousand $$ cheaper there. Keep looking a while longer until you have seen the Good, the Bad & the Ugly boats in your area. You will know which boat is for you after the survey is complete.

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post #26 of 31 Old 04-09-2008
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A side note on that heavy weather at night comment. Yeah, definitely. No pause button. Not even a shoulder to pull off the road and take a break til it passes. If you're gonna make passages, you're gonna catch rough weather at some point. It wouldn't hurt to get in with something smaller and see if it really sticks before getting in deep with a cruiser.
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post #27 of 31 Old 04-10-2008
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Do you have a way of earning $$$ while underway? If so, many of the upgrades can take place over time and as you travel.
I agree that you should stick to the PNW while learning your boat and how to sail. As they say, there's no substitute for experience.
In the price range you are considering, ANY boat will need upgrading and as it has been pointed out, your upgrades will quickly erode that 10k that you have budgeted for the upgrades.
small liferaft: 2.5k
watermaker: 2 - 3k
sails, main/jib 4k
new depth/speed/wind at least 1k
vhf $200
radar 3k
anchor/rode 500-600 depending on selection
Dodger/bimini 3-4k

As you can see, you can rack up some serious $$$ without getting into the details, such as fasteners and maintenance
Don't loose the dream, just keep a realistic vision.
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post #28 of 31 Old 04-10-2008
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Most of my 40-years of sailing has been offshore (Marion to Hamilton, Galveston to Vera Cruz, etc.) I've been caught in two Force 10 storms, in parts of the Gulf of Mexico that I would never have expected them, one storm we were only about 30 miles offshore, but no place to pass through the barrier islands to reach safe harbor, so we were stuck in the storm for 36 hours. So, if you eventually plan to sail outside of the big bays - long voyages, buy whatever want now - become good sailors, then later spend what it takes to get a boat that if you do get caught in a gale (and if you sail offshore long enough, you will), you'll make it through. Stronger bluewater boats don't have to be big, 40-footers, they just need to be built for extended offshore sailing, strong enough to carry you safely through really bad weather. The couple of boats you are looking at now, won't do that.

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Slipped in Bahia Marina, easy access to Corpus Christi Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.
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post #29 of 31 Old 04-10-2008
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I don't want to contradict any of the excellent advice that has been offered so far in this thread, but I did want to offer a little more encouragement regarding what you can do with your budget. You're blessed to be living in the Pacific Northwest. You're in the middle of some of the best cruising grounds in the country and the perfect place to learn about yourselves and sailing. No need to head down the coast or to Hawaii just yet. That's the big dream for a lot of people, but this isn't really an endeavour where jumping right in makes a lot of sense.

I think what has been said about planning to buy two boats makes the most sense--one for the next few years, to kick the tires and learn on, and another a few years down the road once you have enough experience to decide for yourself what to look for. You'll probably never find the best boat for you based on advice from others; you'll get great advice here, don't get me wrong, but everyone has an opinion in sailing, and as you will learn, at lot of them differ!

But while you should be cautious investing your 10 grand, and make sure you get the best boat you can, I think your budget is absolutely reasonable to do some great and exciting sailing. The numbers that other people have cited here aren't wrong, but they aren't necessarily reflective of what you really need if you modify your immediate goals somewhat and make some compromises. Lose the watermaker, the liferaft, a lot of the electronics, make do with some of the existing systems. There's no question that boats are expensive and that you'll end up spending way more on repairs than you ever imagined. That said, I have found that many people will tell you that you need to do a lot of things you really don't. I wouldn't suggest you compromise your safety (although just leaving dry land does that to some extent; you have to decide what you risk tolerance is) but people have been sailing for hundreds of years without the bells, whistles, and intensive maintenance programs that some people now prescribe.

My GF and I are a couple years ahead of you and yours. We got a 33 footer for $15K and we've put about another $10K into it and had great fun on Puget Sound and in the San Juans for the last few years. This year, we're taking her to Alaska. So there is every reason to believe you can get a good start on your dreams for what you have to spend.
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post #30 of 31 Old 04-10-2008
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Great post Scuzz my family made its first trip when I was 3 from Victoria BC to Mexico across to Hawaii and back in a 32” boat with no fancy GPS not even a VHF just a sextant some charts and a lot of good seamanship on my parents part. If my father’s memory is correct the boat cost approx $1300.00 and another $1000.00 to fix before they set sail.

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Last edited by jimmyb116; 04-10-2008 at 12:28 PM.
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