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  #1  
Old 10-12-2008
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Looking at 25-30ft boats suitable for weekending on the Great Lakes

Hello. I'm fairly new here. I have some sailing knowledge and own a single-person dinghy that I've been sailing for a bit. I want to do some small-time cruising and sailing with my wife, so I'm looking to get a 25-30ft boat suitable for weekend cruising on the Great Lakes. I'm located a couple of hours away from Erie, PA, so that would likely be my home port.

Our budget for a sailboat is meager, considering that we also need to get a slip and winter storage. I have two boats that I am considering right now that are about in the same price range. One is a 1979 Hunter 25, and the other is a 1975 O'Day 27. Both seem to be ready-to-go (I say "seem" because I have currently only seen pictures, and have not had a survey or personal look at either boat yet). The Hunter is a sale-by-owner, and the O'Day is through a broker. The O'Day is slightly more expensive, but I've had an easier time getting information on the Hunter because the owner is actually responding to my email. The broker on the O'Day has been OK, but generally not all that forthcoming.

I realize that any boat of this age might need some extra care and definitely some extra attention during maintenance time. I would like some honest opinions on these sizes based on my desire for a weekend boat that will live in a slip during the season and will play overnight host to at least my wife and I, and sometimes another couple.

Any opinions are welcome, including, "forget it and just look at pictures."

jonathan
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  #2  
Old 10-13-2008
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The O'Day 27 is not a favored lake boat IMHO. O'Day has a beautiful finish and gets all "A's" in the gel-coat grades but the sailing performance is lackluster. If performance isn't your bag this may not be an issue. The inboard diesel version looses a lot of room vs. the outboard version and is stodgier still.

Now that said, we had an O'Day 27 in our marina and the owners loved it and used it almost every weekend.

Personally, the Hunter may sail a bit lighter on it's feet but I'd take the O'Day 27 over the Hunter 25, if only for the added interior.

Keep an eye out for a Pearson 28 or a Catalina 27.
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Old 10-13-2008
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You should buy in April, not now. Let someone else pay for the haulout and storage...they will be softened up a bit on price in the spring and you can request a seatrial then, meaning they have to do all the fitting out, mast raising, etc.

It's cruel, but fair, particularly if you're on a budget. Also, if they haven't winterized the engine properly, the doom will be on them!
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Great Lakes Boat

I bought my Catalina 27 last Superbowl Sunday in Milwaukee. Not the best time to look at boats, but it is a good time to deal. I started negotiations in October and it took three months to get to my price. I have averaged about twice a week sailing in Michigan. There are a lot of boats that never made it out this year, talk to storage yard owners for leads on who might be interested in selling. That's where the negotiation starts, take a hard look at good boats. Don't let the accumulated dirt deter you, but do plan a couple of week cleaning you new fiberglass tub. Crawl through the boat and note every possible item you can see or can't see because it is not in the boat, e.g. radio, loran. Don't let your list deter you unless there are major issues. Must are that the engine starts, and the hull and other equipment (winches ect) are functional. What is the sail compliment, check the condition of the sails as part of the negotiation. When you reach a price, set a repair withhold or if the price is real good go as is if it passes inspection. My particular boat had not been in the water for 5 years and collected a lot of industrial dirt. It cleaned up well but took some work.
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Old 10-13-2008
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Just look into the cost of keeping it as when you creep from 25 to 30 feet the cost of STUFF rises pretty
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Thanks for all of the replies, folks--feel free to keep them coming!

The cost to keep it slipped and in storage are two things that I'm thinking about as well. I have quotes and figures on a few different sizes to get me ballpark ranges, and things do start to increase a bit when I start looking at 30+.

I'm still keeping an eye out for listings, too. I appreciate the comments on the O'Day with regard to performance. I'm not out to race anything, but I still want to be able to go places.

Thanks! Anyone else?

jonathan
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Old 10-13-2008
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Short on headroom, but long on cockpit space, sailing performance and good manners - and I'd say the quintessential Lake boat - would be a Viking 28 from Ontario Yachts. We owned one for 10 years here on the West Coast and we still have a soft spot in our hearts for that boat. Good all weather performer, it's only real drawback is the lack of headroom - but we spent our 10 years with a growing child on board and enjoyed that many summers cruising and racing with her.

Some were owner-finished (could be good, could be bad) so watch for that. Solid glass hull, balsa cored decks. Pretty boats that go for a budget price by today's standards.

On the list with better headroom would be:
C&C 27 or 25
CS 27
Hughes/Northstar 26
Grampian 26
and of course the American mainstream brands.
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Let me say a bit more

In this neck of the woods while a boat is stored buy the foot there is a BIG BUT and that is the boats beam when you jump from and 8'6" to a 10' to a 12' ect it puts you into different price ranges


When i say stuff i mean things like sails and rigging

For example all new standing rigging on a J24 is 500 dollars my friends standing rod rigging on a 35' boat was 5000 dollars

So you have to be carefull as things can go up in price buy being just a little bit bigger
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Old 10-13-2008
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Think Headroom

You say you're a couple of hours away from what'll be home port. Okay, what happens when your planned weekend sail gets cut short by a passing cold front complete with hourly downpours? Gonna turn around and drive home? Stay aboard? Check into a nearby motel?

Point is, some of the smaller boats you're looking at have no standing headroom. Or maybe pop tops, which can be quite open to the weather. Consider how this might play into your weekend-cruising plans. You may not find it objectionable to spend several hours in cramped quarters where you keep bumping your head. Some of us do.
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Old 10-13-2008
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jwoytek, I was in the same position last year at this time- looking for a smallish "erie- capable" boat, and considered a Hughes 25, Grampian 26, etc., and ended up buying a well-kept well equipped Georgian 23. Shorter than some of the designs on our shortlist, the Georgian better suited our needs- diesel inboard, wheel steering, standing headroom below, enclosed head with holding tank, acceptable galley, and surveyed well. It ain't fast, it ain't pretty, but it's tough, comfortable and cheap.
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