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SteveA 11-30-2008 10:28 PM

25-27 ft SF Bay boat recommendations
I've been sailing for several years now in the San Francisco Bay area, and I think it's time to get a boat of my own. I'd appreciate some advice on what sorts of boats to look at.

I've had the good fortune of being able to sail on a number of different boats, including Santana 22, J/24, Santana 525, Wyliecat 30, Yamaha 30, Tartan 34, and Tartan 42. Most of my sailing has been on a J/24 and a Santana 525, which are decent enough for racing, but I'm looking for something a little more comfortable. Something that will be a bit nicer for taking out non-sailor friends.

Here are the base requirements I've come up with for my new boat. I'm looking for something around 25-27 feet with tiller steering. Outboard preferred, although I *might* consider an inboard diesel for the right boat. Fin keel and at least modest performance. Enclosed head area (with fixed head or porta pottie) would be nice. I'll be using it mostly for daysailing, so I don't really need things like a stove or ample berth space.

Price-wise, I'd be comfortable spending up to $10k or so for the boat plus immediate repairs/upgrades.

My sort of baseline model at this point is the Ranger 26. (The Gary Mull design, not the Kent Ranger.) It's got everything I want and not much that I don't need or want. And it's a pretty nice looking boat, in my opinion.

I've also very recently started looking at the Newport 27. I haven't seen one in person yet, but based on the number and pictures I've found, it seems like a nice boat.

There's also the Catalina 27, of course. I can't quite put my finger on it, but these don't have nearly as much appeal to me as the Ranger 26. Although I could probably be talked in to one that's in great shape and selling for the right price.

I'd appreciate advice about other boats I should be looking at that fit my criteria.


sailingdog 11-30-2008 10:31 PM

There's also the Tartan 27. :) However, you're budget of $10,000 is going to severely limit the choice of boats.

SteveA 11-30-2008 11:02 PM


Originally Posted by sailingdog (Post 409529)
There's also the Tartan 27. :) However, you're budget of $10,000 is going to severely limit the choice of boats.

No thank you on the Tartan 27. A friend has a Tartan 34, which has a similar centerboard, and he's had mechanical problems with it. I prefer to keep the number of moving parts in the water to a minimum.

As for the budget, I realize that I could spend two or three times as much and have a lot more boats available to me. But why do that when I know there are boats out there that I'll be happy with for under $10k? Especially for a first boat. Besides, if I buy a more expensive first boat, that'll just make my second boat even *more* espensive. :)

ahab211 11-30-2008 11:13 PM

25-27' C@C's and Mirages are well built and can be found for a good price for the 70's into early 80's boats. good luck

nightowle 12-01-2008 12:42 AM

in your price range, I wouldn't be thinking so much about 'brand' but rather condition, improvements, and amenities that you prefer.

sailboy21 12-01-2008 01:53 AM

I test sailed a Ranger 26 once. My impression was that was a very tender boat, probably more tender than would be fun in SF bay conditions. How about a Thunderbird? You can find them, or variants, in fiberglass every now and then. S2 7.9 is another boat that would be fun in SF bay. Of course there is the venerable Cal 25.

Mikeyfireman 12-03-2008 08:20 PM

I was in a partnership on a cal 27. Great bay boat. Lots of fun and does everything you want it to do. Look on craigslist. People are dumping prices and many good deals are out there.


Faster 12-03-2008 09:56 PM

For 10K a Ranger 29 is do-able.. more stable, a bit "cruisier" than the 26 but essentially similar (Mull also). The Ranger 28 is another possibility, more performance but not as well behaved esp in heavier breezes.

In that range, 27ish Cals, Odays, Ericsons, C&Cs etc might all be had in your price range with careful scrutiny.

KeelHaulin 12-08-2008 04:29 AM

Newport 28 would be a nice choice; or a Newport 27. The 28 is a C&C design. IIRC there is an Islander 28 also that would be similar to the Newport 28 or equivalent Ericson.

Prices on used boats are down/dropping right now so you might even find a 30' boat in your price range that might need some minor fixing. As far as "comfortable on the bay" goes; most sub-36' boats are going to be wet on days when the wind and chop is up. I think if you are looking for "comfort" while sailing a sub-30' boat on the bay the best thing to do is to find a marina that is not directly in the wind of The Slot when you head out. Marinas like Brickyard Cove, Marin, Alameda, TI, Richmond (Marina Bay), or South of the Bay Bridge would be good places to get a slip. If it's too heavy on the central bay there are always places to sail and stay out of the direct wind coming in through The Gate. I'm at Marina Bay and it's great because if we don't want to sail on the central bay we can sail up into San Pablo Bay or over to Marin via Raccoon Strait without sailing in the 35kt winds.

jbwoodbury 12-10-2008 03:22 PM

I recently purchased a Ranger 26 and I sailed it on the bay (SF) yesterday. I think it is a great boat. My plan is to teach my young sons on it. It has a tiller and sails up wind well.


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