Advise on 30'-35' first boat - SailNet Community

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Old 05-25-2010
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Advise on 30'-35' first boat

Hello,

I apologize if this question has popped up a thousand times, I hope this has a different spin that justifies the new thread. I have posted a few questions before. This time I am seriously considering making the move towards sailboat ownership.

Unfortunately I work full time and don't have much time left in the day to make a thorough research on the subject, so I usually end up going by recommendation and rely on other people's experience. Besides the few people I am talking outside this forum, I would like to get some of your opinions too.

I am looking to start sailing again, this time owning a boat myself. Very likely at Lake Erie, looking for these specific items:

a) relatively easy to sell in case of relocation
b) more performance than cruising (80%,20%), but probably will never race
c) must have a head (wife requirements)
d) able to spend a weekend on it (just sleep, shelter, eat)

I read good things about Pearsons 31' & 33' ('74 and '78 on YW) and of course I heard good things about J's (a couple of J-30's in the area). Budget is $25k for purchase, have extra $ for maintenance and repairs.

Since a) is the main driving force and I don't have much experience on the sailboat market, I would appreciate if anyone can give any advice on this. Not expecting the perfect boat that fits all 4, but willing to make compromises. I would like to make the move before the summer comes and the year is over... once you start researching, you could easily spend a year just looking!

Experience level: beginner/intermediate, me and the wife (1.5 person crew).

Thanks!
Mariano
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Old 05-25-2010
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Buy something like a Catalina 30, of which many were made and there is still fairly good demand for. I would avoid the j/30 or other j-boats as most are primarily racers, rather than cruisers, and often priced higher than pure cruising boats in better shape.
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Old 05-25-2010
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Catalina

I have a Catalina 25 and love it. It has a head. It is very wife friendly. Easy to sail. Not sure if its a racer. The PO kept it on Sodus bay Lake Ontario. As far as resale goes, that is going to be determined in part by the economy. Right now its a buyers market. Do I need to say more? Peace and Good hunting.
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What is the best way to get an idea of market value/resale value? For example, Zillow for real estate, KBB for cars, NADA for powerboats... but sailboats? Dealers? Other experienced people?

How about boat surveyors?

Last edited by mariano; 05-25-2010 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 05-25-2010
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Boats to add

Pearson 10M - Quick, stiff, boat that is room, and comfortable. Can go anywhere.

Sabre 30 0r 34 (Mark I) - Nice boat, well respected design. can cruise or race.

Cal 30 to 34"

Can't go wrong with a well maintained Catalina as SD mentioned. I also agree with him to stay away from J-boats unless you know for sure that they weren't heavily raced.

DrB
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Be careful. While the boats everyone has mentioned are great(I would add Tartan 27 and 30) they take a lot of time to maintain. If, because you are working, you don't have time to research a boat to buy, you won't have time to maintain and enjoy it, unless you can pay someone to maintain it for you. It will take far more time(and money) than you expect. There are many ex-owners who didn't understand what they were getting into. You may want to take courses on sailing and charter. That is predictable and a lot of fun. Good Luck.
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Thanks for the quick replies!

Last post brings up a good question. Being unexperienced in owning, I do not know much about maintenance other than asking people. I'd like to bound the costs and assuming around $150 monthly for dock/storage, plus $2k/yr of maintenance. Is this a reasonable number? I am planning on having someone else do major maintenance, I can work over the weekends on some.
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I don't know where you are but 150/month in dock fees is probably not realistic. Dock fees are calculated by the foot with a high degree of variance between locations, ammenities, etc. Annapolis City Marina charges 18.75/ft during the peak season but that drops to 13.75/ft (I think) in the off season....that is if you pay month to month. If you want to pay your annual fee up front you'll see a bit of a savings at 4,175 for the year. These prices are live-aboard and reflect some ammenities that you may not want/need if it's just a place to keep your boat rather than a place to live.

This is just an example. A quick phone call to any of your local marinas can give you more accurate information.

I would add a 30' Tartan to the list of "good boats" in your price range. Catalinas are roomy and can be found cheap. Tartans have a great reputation and will hold value well. They can be a bit more expensive than the Catalinas but they are still within your budget.
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Old 05-25-2010
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Mariano, you have identified a major obstacle in owning a boat: TIME enough to maintain it and all that goes along with that. Have you looked into fractional ownership, like Sailtime - or are there any sailing clubs near you that own and maintain a fleet of boats??

Personally, I would join a club that has a fleet rental program if one were available near me (I'm in the central plains).

Good luck with your search.
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In most places further north, docking and storage are charged by the season. Summer slips run anywhere from $85-130 PER FOOT...so a 30' boat would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $3000 for the season, usually May 1 to Nov. 1. Winter storage is also per foot and usually a good deal less...

If you get a boat in VERY GOOD shape, you might be able to get away with $2,000 for maintenance for a couple of years, but likely, unless you're going to either do all the work yourself or neglect the boat, you're looking at more than that. A rough estimate is 5-10% of the boat's new value in maintenance a year—please note, this is based on the original NEW SELLING PRICE not the price you bought it for.

You will save yourself a lot of money if you learn to do most of the maintenance yourself. Most marinas and boatyards charge about $100 per hour for labor and there is very little chance that they will do the job properly in many cases. You can often do the work yourself to a higher standard for far less money.
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Originally Posted by mariano View Post
Thanks for the quick replies!

Last post brings up a good question. Being unexperienced in owning, I do not know much about maintenance other than asking people. I'd like to bound the costs and assuming around $150 monthly for dock/storage, plus $2k/yr of maintenance. Is this a reasonable number? I am planning on having someone else do major maintenance, I can work over the weekends on some.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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