Looking for guidance on model of sailboat to buy - SailNet Community

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Old 05-10-2010
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Looking for guidance on model of sailboat to buy

Hello,
This is my first post here, I apologize if this isn't the most appropriate category to post this under.

I'm looking to get a small day sailer and I'm overwhelmed by all the models out there. I sailed a bit when I was in my early teens on Blue Jays and Lasers and Sunfish. Then a few years ago I took a fairly intensive course in the SF Bay Area that licensed me to sail up to 48 ft boats.

I'm looking for something I could likely sail myself eventually, but that would have room for a couple other people or more. I'm thinking somewhere around 20-25 ft, but I'm open. I live in Portland, Oregon, so I'd likely sail in the Columbia as well as other nearby lakes if I end up with a boat I can easily trailer.

Ideally I'd only spend a couple thousand dollars, but again, this is a little flexible. I want to get something that I'll really enjoy.

Does that seem doable? Any suggestions on makes or models to look for, or top steer away from? What else should I look for when I'm checking out boats?

Thanks for any advice to this newbie sailboat buyer!
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Old 05-11-2010
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My advice would be to go look at local boats in your price range. On this budget your selection is limited to what is for sale in your area. You may find out that you can't afford what you are looking for or you may find out that you don't like what you see and need to wait for more boats to come on the market.

Pretty much any boat in the 20-25 foot range will allow you to sail yourself and also sail with a couple of other people.

Just look what's available, what you can afford and then research those boats. You will learn a lot about boats by researching. Most likely you will buy the wrong boat, but that's part of the learning process and the "right boat" is probably not available at your price range. The wrong boat will most likely be good enough for a few years or maybe even forever. Most boats in this price range will be in need of repair. I advise you to buy the boat in the best condition as they pretty much can all day sail. If you are looking to do overnights >25% of the time, then pay attention to the accommodations for that. Don't look for a boat that will or can "do it all" because you won't find it.
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Old 05-11-2010
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A good book to look at is Henkel's The Sailors Book of Small Cruising Sailboats, which discusses a large number of the boats under 27' LOA. Not a perfect book, but a good resource nonetheless.
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Old 05-11-2010
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Thanks! I'll check out that book!

I don't have plans to sleep on the boat much, but the option sounds nice.

I have been looking locally on craigslist at what comes up, and I've been researching those, and I'll keep doing so. It's hard to sort through everyone's opinions on the web, as they can be so varying. I'll keep at it though. Thanks again.
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Old 05-11-2010
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I'm in the exact same position. I'm in the process of completing an ASA sailing course, and I just bought a used beater day sailer. It's an Islands 17 from the 1970's. The boat is in decent overall condition, with all rigging and newish sails, so it needs very little to be ready to splash and sail. The trailer is pretty rough, but I can easily fix it up. I paid $700 for the whole kit and kaboodle, which is a pretty good deal - I've been looking at boats on Craig's list and other boat sales sites for a long time now, and this type of boat (in good condition) typically fetches more.

My plan is to fool around with this boat and learn how to sail solo, get comfortable with it, and then maybe next year buy a larger boat to take the family out cruising on the Chesapeake Bay and adjacent rivers and such.

You're right - there are a lot of boats out there. In Virginia anyhow, the used boat market is full right now - there's a lot to choose from at decent prices. I don't know about where you are, but I've seen some quite good-looking, if basic and not very fancy, boats for anywhere from $2,500 to $6,000. I figure for a few thousand, I can get a boat to again get comfortable with and learn what I like and don't like, and then in a few years, maybe upgrade.
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