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  #1  
Old 10-23-2009
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CaptKirk is on a distinguished road
Advice on Beginner Boat for Chesapeake Bay?

Hey all!

Ok, so a couple of months ago a friend took me out on the Chesapeake on his 27' Nonsuch - and I'm hooked. Obsessed. In trouble.

I'm sure I don't need to explain anymore.

My plan is to take some ASA classes next year and, finances and continued interest permitting, to purchase my first boat.

I've read through some of the prior recommendations and feel like I have a good overview but still wanted to ask for specific advice for my search. Sorry if this feels like a repeat but I felt like the previous responses didn't address 1. single-handed capability 2. space issues 3. cost (too expensive - people are going to start by spending $60,000 on their first boat!?!?)

Here are the criteria/factors:

Use
- Chesapeake Bay (live in Maryland and will rent slip space by Annapolis - don't want trailerable)
- Daysailing and weekend overnighters
- Potential longer trips as I figure out what the heck I'm doing
- Space for me and wife; take out 2-4 friends as well at times

Me
- 6'2" (and wife 5'10"): berth and cabin space important (but I'd rather duck than sleep crooked)
- complete novice but quick learner
- will mostly sail single handed

Boat
- considering 27-30 range
- wheel steering
- marine head
- again, single-hand capability

Price
- I'd love to get in as inexpensive as is wise. $5000-$10,000 would be a great range.

I've been trawling craigslist, yachtworld, etc most days for the last couple of months to get familiar with boats and prices and it seems my list might be doable.

I'd love to hear specific boat recommendations - and any other feedback you might have.

Thanks in advance!

Kirk
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  #2  
Old 10-23-2009
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Hi Kirk,
Unless you feel you must own a boat to enjoy the sport, we at SailTime recommend you go for a season in a program like ours. You take ASA lessons on the boat you become a member of so that you learn to sail and sail something that you learned on which ramps up your confidence once the instructor leaves you to your own sailing. Less confusion in those early stages!

We find our membership breaks into two groups; 1) people looking to gain experience and confidence who plan to own their own boat some day after they understand what the sport/lifestyle is all about more fully, ie. purchase a boat with much more knowledge than a never-ever would - and - 2) people who come into the program feeling like they are (#1) but find out that the SailTime membership covers their wants and needs and fits their busy lives.

While you are out hunting its pretty simple to sit down and talk with the Annapolis, Baltimore or Havre de Grace base manager to learn more about our program for sailors. There's never any pressure to join but if you hurry you could probably see the boats offered before they are poulled for the season.

Good luck in your deliberations - any way you slice it, sailing is a fun thing to do with family and friends !

Chris in Cali
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  #3  
Old 10-23-2009
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Hi Kirk:
A twist on the Advise from Chris. It make lots more sense to sail on other people's money as a start. With all the sailors and racers in Annapolis you should be able to find opportunities to crew for others. If you could crew on a racing boat you will learn more in one seasonthat any other way. More important, if you do crew on a boat on a semi regular basis, you soon will become known around the waterfront, and will get to know other sailors, their boats, etc. All on OPM. Find out what the racing schedules are, and then just show up at the waterfront on race days a couple of hours before start time, saying "anybody need help?"
Don
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Old 10-23-2009
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badsanta is on a distinguished road
5-10k is what it cost just for your docking fee.
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Old 10-23-2009
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PalmettoSailor will become famous soon enough
Some points to ponder from someone who was in your shoes just a few years ago.

First, Annapolis is absolutely the most expensive place you could choose to keep your boat on the Chesapeake Bay. You can cut your ongoing costs by half or three quarters by looking further afield for a slip. There are places like Herrington Harbor where 1/2 the cost of Annapolis will buy you a slip in a truly beautiful marina facility and that is just one example. Annapolis is very cool if its in your budget though.

Second, crewing is a great option to get on the water and learning a ton about sailing, but "crewing" is about racing and your spouse may not care for that aspect of sailing which could end the larger dream, if she gets the idea that all sailing is like racing. That said, my wife and I did crew on another boat (after we'd bought our first boat). Since us guys sometimes don't think on the same wave length as our SO's I'll relate that as we were walking down the dock to meet the owner of the boat we'd volunteered to crew on my wife wondered aloud how she'd be accepted by the all male crew. Uh Oh! It had never dawned on me that the rest of the male crew might not like a female along or she might be uncomfortable as the only female onboard. As it turned out, the owner was a great guy and when my wife immediately coiled the lazy sheet after our first tack it became apparent the rest of the crew was glad to have us aboard, which is likely to be the case most times but you might run into a crew of curmudgeons. Crewing for us proved to be a great way to make some new long term friends and greatly accelerate our learning curve. We are on our second boat now (a Catalina 36) but still sail with this group as often as we can.

Sailtime or other sharing options could be a good way to get a taste of the experience of owning a boat without some of the downsides. The issues I see here are it may be hard to convince your spouse to buy a boat you can afford to own, after they've gotten used to fairly new "rental" boats, if you decide you want to become an owner. A time share boat will at least let you experience the joy of a sunset at anchor in a peaceful anchorage which is the absolute best way to sell sailing to your spouse IMHO. I like being able to leave all my "stuff" on the boat so I don't have to haul my own charts, foulies, etc, etc, etc to the boat every time.

Lastly, you are probably going to need to up your budget or downsize your boat. We started out with a 32' Oday and 0 sailing experience, so I don't think its unreasonable to start out on the size boat you are considering. We took ASA 101 the weekend after closing the deal on our Oday, then took another day of private instruction on that boat and haven't looked back since. We still make mistakes and occasionally have a "character building" experience, but we love sailing on the Chesapeake.

My advice would be to stick with one of the well known production boats from the early to mid eighty's for your first boat (Catalina, Oday, C&C, Cal, Sabre, Tartan, Beneteau, and Hunter are some brands that come immediately to mind) and buy the most pristine example you can find regardless of brand. The nicest boat always sells faster if you want to move up later.

Good Luck in your search,

Bill
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Last edited by PalmettoSailor; 10-23-2009 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 10-28-2009
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Here you go. CATALINA 25 CLEAN GREAT BEGINNER BOAT SAIL SOUTH SAVE$$:eBay Motors (item 200397185965 end time Oct-28-09 17:36:03 PDT)
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Old 10-30-2009
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CaptKirk is on a distinguished road
Thanks for the input so far!

I'm planning on taking classes at the Maryland School starting next May. That will both provide an education and confirm interest. And be fun!

Badsanta:
As far as the Annapolis area goes, the friend I last sailed with pays $1200/year for his dock, which he rents privately. Maybe I won't have the same luck but at least it's not impossible.

midlifesailor:
I'll start getting on deck of 'for sale' boats next year. Looking online I've found a number of 27-30 boats in the $5000 range. Yes, they may not be worth it. It'll take more investigating for sure. One piece of advice I received was that, in the lower price ranges, to expect to double cost on refits and servicing. So a $5000 boat would be $10,000 when ready. At this point it seems a Sabre 28 might be the way to go.

Does anyone have additional advice/experience on sailing single-handed? I don't know if some boats are easier than others or what I should be considering. My wife will love being on the boat but is not as interested in operating the boat.
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Old 10-30-2009
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Yeah, there's a lot to consider for single-handing. Sit at the helm and try and reach the jib winches, the mainsheet, and traveler. If you're single-handing, you'll need to adjust all of those. If not, does the boat have a good auto-pilot? Modern boats often have the mainsheet and traveler on the coachroof to keep the cockpit unobstructed. That's not a good setup for single-handing, but it can be overcome somewhat with a good auto-pilot.

An auto-pilot or tiller-pilot is handy regardless, because you can use it to keep the boat pointed into the wind as you work on deck to raise/lower the main.

Does the boat have a jiffy-reefing system that leads back to the cockpit? That's really helpful for single-handing.

You should also consider the boat's sailing characteristics for single-handing, though this is very difficult. A boat that's tender or "spirited" will be a handful for a single-hander that isn't in the mood for a workout. A slower, steadier boat will be easier on the single-handed skipper (and the wife). Choose the characteristics that match your idea of fun.
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Old 10-30-2009
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Kirk,
I have tried this route and found that the work needed and money turns out to be considerable. Here is an idea, after you have a feel for sailing think about a monthly payment amount you can afford for the newest boat possible.You basicly pay for the use of the boat while retaining some equity. When its time to trade you will have a larger amount to put down on the next one.. Hope this helps.
Have fun sailing.
Len
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Old 10-30-2009
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But don't be discouraged, Kirk. You can get a boat in your price range. Don't worry too much about upgrades or repairs at first. You're not heading out for Bermuda just yet. Just sail the hell out of it and fix one thing at a time when you can.

My first boat was 1978 Cal 3-29. I paid $15k for it which was probably $10k too much. It was an old, stanky, musty, spider-infested, broken ol' beater, but I learned a lot on it. I'm sure glad I ran THAT boat into those pilings, mud, etc. than my current boat.
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