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lans0012 08-13-2008 02:31 PM

Ideal SW Florida "pocket?" cruiser under 27'?????
Hi all,

I've never posted to the forum but have been reading up on here for a few months. I recently relocated here from Minnesota and I'm trying to get out on the water here. I've sailed on a bunch of smaller boats on lakes in MN including Lake Superior, but I still consider myself a novice especially to salt water.

I'm looking for a small, but capable, suitable for beginner etc...sailboat. In order to afford the slip rental, which is pricey here, I can't have a payment for the boat so I'm looking in the 5-10k range. My home port will be St. Petersburg. I found a slip on Boca Ciega for $300/month as long as it is under 27 feet then it jumps to 450. I'm looking for something that I can take down to Sarasota or around the bay or maybe to Ft. Myers on Vacation or stuff like that. I'd also like to go offshore up to 10 miles or so for some fishing and scuba diving on some of these manmade reefs and wrecks outside of Tampa.

Can anyone give me some ideas on which types of sailboats to go for? I've looked at a hunter 25, pearson 26, bristol 24. The hunter was the cheapest but I have doubts about what it can handle offshore. Having no offshore experience I really don't know what "offshore" really means. Not looking for a passage maker but might want to take some trips up to Crystal river and as far down as Sanibel.

If I watch the weather carefully should I be really concerned about taking a hunter 25 or a J24 offshore?

Any Ideas or personal experiences around Tampa in small boats greatly appreciated.

camaraderie 08-13-2008 04:11 PM

Offshore into the Gulf of Mexico on day sails or point to point coastal cruises should be no concern whatsoever wih a good forcast. You can also use the ICW in rougher conditions.
The only point where you'll want to have a good boat under you is if you really head offshore to key west or the tortugas or mexico. Check our Catalina 27's as well as the boats you are looking at.

lans0012 08-13-2008 08:07 PM

thanks for the confidence
Hey thanks for the suggestions. There are a couple of Catalina 27's around and I haven't checked on out yet. I've sailed on Catalina 25's before and they seemed alright.

On the fractional sailing thing. I know that that is a sensible solution for many people and I did a similar thing on Lake Lanier when I lived in Atlanta that was a lot cheaper, but on older boats. I've owned and restored/made usable fiberglass powerboats before and been burned in the pocket on all of them but I do enjoy the "ownership" aspect. Although sometimes it is not entirely clear who owns who:o I also want to be able use it whenever I want and not have to fill out a chart or plan way ahead.

I thought the catalina would be a smart choice, but all the C's that I've seen listed so far around here are fin keels with 4.5' draft and I was hoping to get under 4' and closer to 3'. The Bristol is 3'3" and the Hunter is 2'11". I may just be paranoid after reading too many posts on groundings in S.FL.

PBzeer 08-13-2008 08:15 PM

Swing keel may be your best bet, particularly if you use the ICW much. I've been through the area with my 4'6" draft without problem, but I stayed offshore except going from Tampa to Maderia Beach.

Iflyka200s 08-13-2008 09:48 PM

A Catalina 25 or 22 with a swing keel sounds like the ticket!

lans0012 08-13-2008 10:44 PM

Catalina 22
Funny you should mention a Catalina 22. I love those boats, fun, cheap, plentiful but would you take your 22 into the gulf? After reading some of your posts I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not.;)

souljour2000 08-16-2008 04:47 PM

I dont know why you wouldn't ..the gulf is not the Atlantic but it can be the Atlantic sometimes...If you have a good head on your shoulders I think you can go into the gulf with anything..I have taken a 12' rowboat through Longboat pass and I have taken an 18 foot buccaneer through Big pass and all the way up around Anna maria into Tampa bay..then up the river into Bradenton.Spent a night doing it .... came back to my beached 18 footer the next day to go around Anna maria and into Tampa bay.

sanjuan2R 08-16-2008 07:19 PM

SW Florida pocket cruiser
I agree with PBzeer: choose a swing keel sailboat. I first sailed a 24 ft. Laguna swing keel into the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the late 1970's without any problems or fear of the current and/or waves. It gives you the best of both worlds. Keep your depth finder on continuously if you fear shallow waters where you intend to sail. Know the tides around Tampa Bay.

Good luck in your hunt for a decent "pocket cruiser". There are many dependable, capable sailboats. Take an experienced sailor with you on your search for your sailboat. Then weigh their advice before you purchase it.
Have your prospective boat [U]surveyed.

arbarnhart 08-17-2008 08:06 AM

How small is too small? A Potter 19 or San Juan 21 would meet your needs and it in your budget and slip.

Iflyka200s 08-17-2008 08:24 AM


Originally Posted by lans0012 (Post 353900)
Funny you should mention a Catalina 22. I love those boats, fun, cheap, plentiful but would you take your 22 into the gulf? After reading some of your posts I wasn't sure if you were kidding or not.;)

Well I would, I guess I thought you were asking about a coastal cruiser.

I wanted a Catalina 25. I grew up sailing a Tartan 30 & 37 so a 25 was as small a I wanted to go.

I ended up with a Catalina 22. It fits in my driveway, and I end up actually sailing it. I'm not sure a bigger boat would work for me. (not that I don't want one!)

I think as a pilot, safety is 99% judgment & 1% equipment. People fly Cessna's around the world, it's not my idea of fun or smart, it has been done though. Knowing your limitations as in not putting yourself into a position that relies more on your boats strength vs. you ability to sail her.

So since you are getting back into things, a C-22 might be a good way to go. Certainly a Catalina 25 is a more capable boat than the 22 and I do not plan on leaving the waters of Biscayne Bay (unless I move)

Either way a 22 or 25 just be safe no matter which boat you choose!


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