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jp375 01-27-2010 06:39 PM

Minnesota boat shopping
Okay, so I've been shopping for my first boat and found a few potentials which the sailnet community had given me good feedback on, but now these boats are gone. Most importantly though, I've come to my senses with what my budget really is, and now I need some help finding a boat that I can get going with right away in the spring. Problem is, I'm not seeing much sale activity here in the Twin Cities. Plenty of larger boats, but not many dinghies or something under 19 feet.

Here is what I'm after:
- I took an ASA 101 class at the end of last summer, I just want a boat I can get started in and get some time on the water, I would love to take more ASA classes, but feel like I should get the basics down before moving on

-I'm pretty handy and can definitely spruce up a fixer upper, BUT, I want to get as much time on the water as possible this summer so I don't want something that isn't functional right out of the gate

- Ongoing expenses aren't too much of a concern, just trying to balance the one time expense

- I've decided $2000 is the upper limit, is this realistic?

- I would prefer a boat design that isn't going to get me soaked (water is cold up here in both spring and fall), so I'm not sure a sunfish or other 'wet' dinghies fit the bill

- I have a full size truck for a tow vehicle, boat on a trailer that can travel reliably is required

I'm asking for help in finding a boat, or telling me I'm crazy. Whichever descprition fits the bill. Some have suggested joining a club, but local sailing organizations seem to have a membership base a bit on the older side, (I'm only 26) or they are focused on racing, which right now, I have zero interest in.

So if you got any leads on a boat in MN, WI, ND, IA let me know. Otherwise, if you think $2k isn't realistic, I'm fine with that too. Just seems odd that I can find hundreds of powerboats for sale in that price range that really aren't too bad, but when it comes to sailboats, even small ones are commanding big money.

sharps4590 01-28-2010 05:56 AM

jp, I'm in the same place as you...except I'm quite a bit longer in tooth. I'll be watching your thread to see what transpires. Thanks for posting it.


Faster 01-28-2010 09:28 AM

Tough order, as you've noticed, at that price limit.. esp considering that usually you want to keep back some of your budget for the inevitable fixes that will be needed. You may need to adjust that

You should be able to find something, somewhere - if you'd be satisfied with a laser type daysailer that'd be no problem.. if you need accommodation or room for friends that's more difficult..

The sad fact is that anything you find at such a bargain price may need so much work and money that in the end it's no deal at all.

That said, there are often gems hidden in the many 'free' on line sites like Craigslist and others, so keeping a sharp lookout there might be the way to go. Also try to get to know some active sailors in your area who might have their ear to the ground, and might dig up some deals.

Lastly I'd encourage you to rethink your 'anti racing' stance.. if you can get yourself on a local race boat as crew, you'll essentially get to sail for free, you'll learn much more in a shorter span of time, you'll meet like-minded people and gain an appreciation of what makes a good boat or not, even if only by word-of-mouth from your fellow sailors. You don't need to buy a race-able boat, or race your own boat, but this is a way to gain skills at minimum investment.

Best of luck

JimsCAL 01-28-2010 09:53 AM

At that size and price range, you are looking at private buyers. Sites such as Craigslist and Ebay are a good place to start. I took a quick look at Sailboat Listings - sailboats for sale for listings in Minnesota and there is an '73 ODay 17 with trailer that looks nice and in your price range.

BarryL 01-28-2010 10:28 AM


For $2K you should be able to get a decent small trailerable boat in sailable condition. I would look at boats from 16' to 22'.

some particular boats include
O'day daysailer, mariner, 22
Catalina 18, 22
Tanzer 22
Columbia 22
Macgregor 21

The reason you aren't seeing advertised this time of year is because it's winter. No one is really going to buy or sell a small boat in winter. Wait until spring and there will be plenty.

Good luck

jp375 01-28-2010 04:20 PM

Thanks for the thoughts everyone. Hopefully spring will bring more boats on the market here. If not, I might have to settle for a sunfish type boat and just shorten my season to when the water temp is tolerable. If anyone has any leads on a boat in MN, let me know.

Mark1948 01-28-2010 09:43 PM

Go down to the marinas as in Stillwater and talk to the management, they may be aware of a boat. Great time to buy and you can work on it during the spring thaws. Check with Crowsnest as well they may have a trade-in or be aware of an available small boat.

NateCP16 01-28-2010 10:04 PM

jp - I'm 26, live in MN, not interested in racing or clubs and went from a dinghy to a small cruiser for exactly $2,000 last year. The activity on Craigslist will pickup considerably as the weather warms up, by May or June there will usually be 2-3 new sailboats posted everyday. I wanted something that would be easy to trailer, would be dry, and would have enough room for the wife and I to spend the afternoon on. We ended up with a Com-Pac 16. If your antsy to start seeing boats now, check out Hooper's Yachts in Afton, or Johnson Boat Works in White Bear Lake (though their boats are now in winter storage, not sure if you can still view them or not).

There are plenty of boats that will fit your needs around here, but subzero temperatures and a foot or two of snow tends to be a drag on boat related activities (including buying and selling). Take the time now to research possible boats and what they should sell for, then keep a close eye on Craigslist and you'll be able to pickup the right boat at the right price. A good place to look at what different small boats are selling for is the Sailing Texas classified archives (Photo Gallery), and their classifieds are also a good place to keep your eye on too.

sailordave 01-29-2010 10:32 AM

Well, I would suggest starting out in something like a Laser/Sunfish or slightly larger dinghy type boat for all the reasons I'm sure you've already heard... you learn more about sailing, faster etc. You will learn how to act in conjunction w/ the wind/waves v. REACTING to them.
Virtually every really good "big boat" sailor started in dinks.

That said, here is my smart@$$ answer.... You live in Freaking Minnesota: SHOULDN'T YOU BE BUYING AN ICEBOAT? :laugher :p

What about a Hobie 14 (monohull)? I just missed out on one for 1K that a friend was selling.

Good Luck.

jp375 01-29-2010 12:24 PM


Originally Posted by sailordave (Post 564949)

That said, here is my smart@$$ answer.... You live in Freaking Minnesota: SHOULDN'T YOU BE BUYING AN ICEBOAT? :laugher :p

What about a Hobie 14 (monohull)? I just missed out on one for 1K that a friend was selling.

Good Luck.

:laugher An iceboat would be fun, but from what I can tell you probably get about 3 days a year where you could use it. Lakes quickly get covered in snow and go through freeze/thaw cycles that make the ice very poor quality.

I guess I'm just going to have to wait until spring when more boats get on the market. I've thought about a Hobie, but I'm not really interested in a monohull to start out with. From what I hear, they are a blast on the water though.

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