Need advice on buying first boat (please!) - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 15 Old 01-03-2010 Thread Starter
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Need advice on buying first boat (please!)

Hi everyone!

I recently received my ASA sailing certifications and am now about to purchase my first sailboat. It will be a used boat and I have found several possibilities in the area that I live in. I am not interested in racing at the moment. Just cruising / living aboard when necessary.

I was wondering if you could provide me any advice regarding the following possibilities:

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Boat 1: Catalina 25 (1982)
Link: Catalina 25 1982 Sailready… Price REDUCTION !!! Must Sell!!
Description: Classic Catalina 25 sailboat with a Great Sound fiberglass hull, is very comfortable and sails great! for all types and experience levels. A very stable, a safe family boat for intercostal cruising, in good condition.

Boat 2: 28' Cal Jenson Sailboat
Link: 28' CAL JENSEN SAILBOAT-- READY TO SAIL $3950 OBO!!!
Description: Just reupholstered; custom v-berth mattress; stainless steel fridge and microwave; Ready to sail- enclosed outboard motor, 5 sail

Boat 3: Sailboat 26' Ericson
Link: REDUCED ** Sailboat 26' Ericson This Boat Rocks, Super Shape
Description: This pocket cruiser was designed for comfort, speed and strength built at time when the hand laid fiberglass was much thicker. It has full encapsulated keel (no keel bolts to maintain) resulting in a very smooth ride. The deck and hull were refinished with Awl Grip and Bottom was sanded and paint only 2yrs ago. Rich Mahogany Wood Interior, 110v Shore power, new battery charger, professionally maintained. 6hp longshaft Evinrude and Autotiller autopilot

Boat 4: Columbia 26 ft. (Inquiring about details)
Link: Sail boat for sale

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Would you recommend / not recommend purchasing any of these boats? Or do any of them raise any concerns with you? Do any of these boats have a reputation for being reliable / non reliable?

Any help / guidance would be greatly appreciated. I am excited to be a first-time boat owner, to be a member of this community, and for the adventures that rest ahead!

Best.
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post #2 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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The Catalina and the Cal could be the easiest to re-sell.

Both the Catalina and the Cal can have rot in the coring of the decks-- be sure to check.

I've sailed the Catalina 25 for a weekend, and we found the forward V berth surprisingly comfortable (perhaps more so than the Catalina 27).

The Cal 28 would likely be more seaworthy, and easier to work on, and have arguably the best sailing performance. Rework of the interior could be a benefit or a deficit.

Standing rigging on all could be an issue, but not difficult to replace.

Of the four, I'd visit the Cal 28, but that's just one opinion. (Disclaimer: I half-own a Cal 20).

Jim H
London, UK

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post #3 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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Any older boat can have a wet core. Before purchasing, no matter the price of the boat, get it surveyed. This will limit the surprises you will have after taking ownership. I also reccommend not buying a boat right at the top of your budget. This will allow money to be left for repairs or new equipment. In the first year you will either need to fix something or will want to upgrade something after sailing for a while.

The Cal 28 MkI will probably be the most fun to sail. It is also a solidly built boat. I am partial to Pearsons. If you come across one I suggest giving it a serious look.
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post #4 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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the better made boat is the Ericson,But there are other things to look at or think about,do you want a wheel,tiller,inboard,outboard,gas 2-stroke,4-stroke,deisal,how is the standing rigging,sail's they are the motor,roller-furling,And I think that I can safely say after you buy it your going to think 2 MORE FEET wish I had 1 MORE FOOT OF BEAM
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post #5 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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I'd take a look at them all.......it's like going on interviews, the more you go the better you get....

Once you get out there and start kicking the tires, you begin to see what you like and don't like about layouts and features. You get to see the actual condition of the sails, running rigging, cushions, ground tackle etc..check for leaks..etc

Bring someone with you who knows boats, and can check the standing rigging, the hull and deck etc. to help you narrow things down.

I happen to like the layout of the Ericson, The dinette is useful as a chart table, dining, and a berth...it's a Crealock design. I like that the owner is willing to stick around and teach you to sail it.

The cat 25 doesn't have an engine or a trailor..if that's important to you..

Which brings up the question...do you want a trailorable vessel? Are you prepared to pay for a slip and winter storage...

I'd want to see all the sails...what shape are they in.

Picture yourself living aboard for the weekend...are the berths comfortable, how's the head, stove, refrigeration?

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Morgan, NJ
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post #6 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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Go see as many as you can, educate yourself on each make. Don't buy anything until you're researched the hell out of everything.

Catalinas are okay boats. Many out there to choose from. The main complaint that I've heard is that they tend to leak...stanchions, chain plates and at the rub rails.

Each boat will have its pros and cons. Don't fall in love too quickly Research, research, research.

Don't forget that this is your first boat and you many want to sell it within a few years to get something bigger. Good luck on your search.
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post #7 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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Welcome aboard.

What is your real world, this-is-how-much-I-can-afford-to-spend-on-a-boat-this-year-TOTAL-without-getting-divorced/evicted/disowned?

Each of those boats will need some work. If you get lucky and find a boat that surveys well with no immediate trouble spots... you will still find some work to do to improve the boat. either way, the purchase price is only the price of admission.

Either the Cal or the Ericson would be my choice, and they are almost neck and neck. The Cal has more interior volume because of the flush deck design, but it is also a darker gloomier boat for the same reason.

I've never sailed either one, so I can't offer an opinion on their performance.


Since you have used the phrase "live aboard" in your opening post, I wouldn't even consider the catalina. Nice trailer boats, but not anyplace I would want to spend more than a weekend at a time.
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post #8 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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$500 to $4,000 for the boats listed, not sure I would hire a survey for a $500 vessel??
I think you can read from this site many articles and threads that will give you a list of what to survey yourself for your first boat that is such a low $ investment. If you make a mistake, you learn and move on wiser and not that much poorer!
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post #9 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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Be sure to read Boat Inspection Trip Tips on this site for sure!
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post #10 of 15 Old 01-03-2010
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The odds are this will not be your last boat...

So make sure the engine, decks, and hull are sound, but figure that you will be learning sailing and fixing on her.

Don't worry about hull scrapes - you will be learning docking, and we have ALL goofed that up.

Don't worry over the interior too much. You will re-decorate and you most likely will be day sailing.

Don't worry too much over the rigging. On an older boat you will be fixing and changing anyway. Try to make it sail faster and easier. These will be good lessons for when you buy another boat. Even for non-racers, we ALL need to know how to get the most from our boats in tough weather.

Buy a sound boat, do some fix-up, and you will get back what you paid for her. But don't make a project of it; sail often! Don't fix every thing the first spring; you don't know her or your likes yet. Sail a season, first, fixing only the safety related and basic issues.

(when asked how he reached the starting holds on a difficult rock climbing problem that clearly favored taller climbers - he was perhaps 5'5")

"Well, I just climb up to them."

by Joe Brown, English rock climber




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