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jp375 10-31-2009 03:20 PM

First Boat? Any of these: O'Day Mariner, Balboa, or Capri 14.2
So I took an ASA 101 course this summer and had a great time. Now I'm looking to get my first boat before next spring so that I can get started as soon as winter clears out. Will be mostly trailering around to nearby lakes. Found a couple of boats for sale, and was hoping to get some opinions. I was originally completely set on a Catalina Capri 14.2, but the more I look around, you are almost paying the same price for a used one of those as a nice 20 foot boat with some interior space. I'm just not sure that getting a 20 foot boat would be wise as a first boat. There is a 1974 O'day Mariner 2+2 for $4,500 in the area, and a Balboa 20' for $3,495. Or a nice 2003 fixed keel Capri 14.2 for $4,895.
Any thoughts?

I'm still leaning towards the capri so that I can start small, but I worry I'll soon outgrow it when I want to bring a few people with.

klem 10-31-2009 09:20 PM

From a boat handling standpoint, I think that you should be fine with the larger boats but there are other factors as well.

What will you be towing with? Can it take the weight?

What are you providing for alternate means of propulsion, an outboard or oars? Outboards are expensive and not 100% reliable(is your back?) but they are really handy.

Does going boat camping on something like a mariner appeal to you?

I have sailed the mariner a bunch and really do like the boat. It isn't the fastest boat but it is not slow and it feels good and has a nice cockpit.

jp375 10-31-2009 10:42 PM

I've got a full size truck with a V8, so towing any of these shouldn't be an issue. The Mariner comes with what looks to be a very nice 2.5hp Yamaha 4 stroke, which is a big plus.

Going boat camping appeals to me alot, that is kind of why I think it would be nice to have the bigger boat.

I guess I'm mostly concerned that I won't learn to sail correctly, or learn the fundamentals without first learning on a smaller boat. I hate to be the guy with a 20 foot boat that can't sail worth a darn. Is size much of a factor in learning?

The dealer's site is down, but I'll post a link to the mariner when it is back up.

thesnort 11-01-2009 01:13 AM

There are plenty of opportunities around for renting the Capri, not so much for renting the larger boats (at least not without having to pay a heavier fee). The Capri isn't a boat you'd go sailing in with heavy winds. I don't know the others you mentioned, but, generally speaking, you can reef a bigger boat and still do fine in a larger boat. I can't imagine camping on a Capri, so that's out of the question, in my mind.

klem 11-01-2009 07:55 AM

In my opinion, you can learn to sail well in any of the boats you describe. In general, boats that respond quicker are easier to learn on but all of the boats are small enough that it won't be that big of a deal. What it really comes down to is you being observant and trying different techniques to see how to get the boat to sail faster.

jp375 11-01-2009 09:12 AM

Thanks for the advice everyone. Here is one of the boats I'm interested in. What do you think?

Being new to sailboats, it seems odd that anyone would even consider a boat this old, but age doesn't appear to bother people when it comes to buying boats. Don't they wear out from the stresses put on them over time?

jp375 11-01-2009 09:16 AM


Originally Posted by thesnort (Post 537375)
There are plenty of opportunities around for renting the Capri, not so much for renting the larger boats .

I'm located in the Minneapols/St.Paul area of Minnesota, and so far I haven't really had any luck finding ANY sailboats to rent. I've heard the Capri's are very popular rental boats elsewhere, just haven't seen any around here.

Waltthesalt 11-01-2009 06:40 PM

I think all the boats you describe you'll learn to sail just fine on. A factor may be the ease of trailering,set-up, launching and recovery. The larger boats will give you a greater sense of security.

MarkCK 11-01-2009 07:00 PM

If you really like the idea of camping out on your boat I would go with one of the bigger boats. After learning the basics on a dingy I bought a 21 footer and did just fine on it.

poltergeist 11-02-2009 08:22 AM

Go with a bigger one
At about 20 feet, neither of those is going to be more difficult to learn on, and you'll certainly be able to sail more often (in higher wind conditions) and do more (room for stowage and friends).


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