Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Mass. and RI
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Boat for new old sailor - first and last?
I am 55 yo in good physical shape and sailed sunfish when I was 10 years old - nothing since except I just took the ASA first intro course. I am very mechanical and understand all of the concepts and safety measures - I have owned and operated a few powerboats over the years.
I intend to sail mostly single handed or with the wife or a friend on inland coastal RI - mostly the Sakonnet River and Mt. Hope Bay. The water is plenty deep and I can get a free mooring from the town........
I am not interested in racing, harsh conditions, etc. (I am semi-retired and live 1/4 mile from the mooring so can pick my weather). I envision going out for couple hours most of the time....no overnights or forays to Block Island, etc.
Given the that weather and water can be chilly, a boat which is not too wet and that has a cabin would be nice. A portable head would clinch the deal for when wife and friends come along - with a bit of headroom in the cabin so folks could actually get in there.
I have been looking at small boats....say 17 to 21 feet. The ones that jump out at me are the potter 19 or Sannibel 18, the Mariner 19 (like a Rhodes) and the Montgomery 17.....maybe a Precision 18 or 21 also.
I could scrape together the money for something new or at least relatively new - but I don't want to go through a couple boats before I get the right one. My needs are pretty simple and likely to remain similar - just getting out on the water and enjoying myself.
Used sailboats appear to be extremely inexpensive and that scares me somewhat. I don't want a "project" boat, just one that works!
Given all of the above, do the experienced sailors think this is possible - to get one boat and have it be a "10 year" boat that will make me happy when learning and keep me happy for a decade or more? If a person intends to do this, is a new boat the best way to go? If I did go used I would want 1994 or newer and excellent condition.
Any comments on these pocket cruisers - various brands, etc.? They seem to all have followings.
And, lastly, given the deep water and mooring and fact that I don't have to trailer much or at all, would a real keel be the best way to go? The Mariner, for instance, is only 39" full keel, which is very unlikely to ever find a place to bottom out in the waters I will be sailing in.
Thanks for any advice! I was almost about to buy a sailing dinghy and launch it off the beach...just so I can learn more. But the instructor and even the boat builder said I am likely to capsize such a boat....even with relatively normal use.