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Old 03-21-2011
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Buying 1st Boat & Have Special Requirements

Quick background: I've sailed on lotsa boats but always as a passanger and have never owned one. I'm going to sailing school in Newport this summer. My husband and I would like to buy our own sailboat and (as I'm sure most folks do) have some idea of what we need for the sailing to be pleasant for our family.

We have two autistic boys (ages 9 and 12). We're only able to sail on relatively small lakes here in Kentucky (ex: Acton Lake in Houston Woods). Ideally, we'd like a small cruiser so the boys can go inside if they go into sensory overload. I'm thinking maybe 19' or so.

Chief concern to me is stability. I don't want anything that is too "tippy" so I think I'm probably looking at something wide and heavy. We're not looking to race. We'd like to buy used in the $3,000 to $6,000 range. I'd need the ability to go it solo.

Given this information, I would hugely appreciate any boat suggestions and feature considerations anybody might have.

There's a 1983 Compac 19' that I have my eye on...

Thanks bunches for any help you might provide!

Kathy
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You must do some further investigation on "stability." Put simply, A sailboat that heels over initially and easily does NOT make it an unstable boat in itself.
Conversely, a sailboat that initially refuses to heel/get tippy is not neccesarily
a stabil boat
In the case of your kids anxiety may be the determining factor. That would mean a boat that has strong initial stability.
In that you will be doing no open water passages, you may want to get a
wider beam boat that gives you AND kids a safe feelng.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Based on online pictures, a Compac 19 looks like a good answer to your question. I was going to suggest something like a Sonar or J/24, but they don't seem to offer as much dedicated comfy space down below as the Compac, despite both being quite a bit larger. The deeper keels of the Sonar or J/24 might get you more stability, but they might present launching ramp problems if you plan to move around much from lake to lake. Deep keels can also be excellent small lake rock-finders, setting the boys off whenever you hit one. The Compac seems to avoid this problem by having a long, shallow keel instead. (Is there a centerboard in there too? Giving one of them the job of raising the board if it scrapes would distract them and keep them busy before they could go into meltdown from the surprising "Bang!".) If the price is right and the boat is in good shape, the Compac may be a great choice for you.
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Old 03-21-2011
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There is an article in the current edition of Good Old Boat on sailing with a child with autism.

A slightly larger boat than a compac 19 will be more stable and more comfortable- in your price range, look for a Tanzer 22, a Seaward Fox, a Matilda, or a small Catalina or Hunter. I also like Venture Newport 23s- a character boat which appeals to those of us who refuse to grow up.
You can take some of the guesswork out of the buying process by comparing the specifications of various boats through the calculators here:
SA / D Ratio
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Last edited by bljones; 03-21-2011 at 06:19 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011
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The Compac 19 is a very cute boat. Also, very heavy. However, there isn't much room down below for two young kids. Technically, yes. Practically, they would be sitting on top of each other. You're best to decide.
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Hello. ( I am In Kentucky) Have you looked at Sailnet boat reviews. Compac 19 has 5 reviews, one I read talked about how stable it is.---are you looking for a trailerable sailboat ??
I saw that compac 19 on craigslist $5000. DO you want STANDING HEADROOM ? Is more room better for your children ?
If you want standing headroom, and not on trailer there is a 25+ Ericson and Oday 25, and probably others nearby in your price range. -Which boats did you sail on, sunfish type or Racing boats that were tipped to the side rail ? -- My opinion is that it will be hard to find a boat that is "tippy" in your situation. --You will learn maneuvers to stop the tipping in higher winds, especially on a small lake without BIG waves. Just start a new thread asking how on sailnet. I do not sell boats. If you want to ask me questions just email me.

Last edited by sidney777; 03-21-2011 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 03-21-2011
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Hi, my youngest boy, now 20, has aspergers syndrome and was 13 when I bought my first boat. She is a fairly stiff Westerly Centaur and as a bilge keeler doesn,t heel as much as a single keel boat.
Barry has sailed with me since then and has always preferred the engine to sails. He is a great helmsman and has developed a lot of confidence as my regular crew.
He was always attracted to mechanical vibration, used to spend hours with the hover when he was younger, and I believe that is part of the reason for his preference for the engine, although he also likes to helm without the need to mind the sail even though he,s well able to hold a course either way.
I don,t know what make or model will suit you best but I would certainly recommend sailing as a great way to develop confidence and self esteem.
My boy has come on in leaps and bounds and while I cannot claim sailing, even motor sailing, is responsible, I am sure it played a significant part in his development.
He hasn,t time to sail with me at present as he currently away during the week in his first main stream school, which has facility for children with autistic spectrum disorders. Doing very well in a class of 17 year olds, something I never expected to see when he was first diagnosed at 7 and had to leave junior infants and go to special needs school for children with severe learning disabilities.
I know he is very lucky and I saw kids much more severely afflicted than him at the special schools he attended before this. If you can manage to get your boys out sailing then I,m sure you will all share a unique experience that I didn,t find with any other activity we got involved in over the years,
I hope we can still get a couple of trips in during the summer, the rest of the time I generally sail single handed, and thats a skill you need if you are going to take the your boys out on your own.
Appologies for running on a bit.
Safe sailing
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Thank you all eversomuch for the wonderful and thoughtful responses. You've definitely given me much to consider and asked some interesting questions that I'll need to find answers to. What a terrific community!!

As for the types of boats I've sailed on, they range from various large schooners (GO TEAM TABER!!) to small cruisers. I've never had the pleasure to sail cats or Hobie's but hey, I'm not done yet!

Omaho5, your statement:

"You must do some further investigation on "stability." Put simply, A sailboat that heels over initially and easily does NOT make it an unstable boat in itself.
Conversely, a sailboat that initially refuses to heel/get tippy is not neccesarily
a stabil boat" kinda confused me, sorry. Could you please explain further?

paulk, yep, thanks kinda where I'm leaning too.

bljones, I'll check out the article (THANKS!!!) and the link too. I have given thought to the Tanzer and Hunter and am still considering. I'll look into the others as well, thanks!

Minnewaska, I wanna live where you do when I grow up!

sidney777, hello fellow Kentuckian! Thanks for the suggestion! I'll be sure to check out those reviews. And yes, a trailerable boat is preferable but not a deal breaker. If we have to pay to have it deposited in the pond and put in storage for each season I suppose we could.

Centaursailor, my 12yo has Aspberger's also. He's currently living in residential care though we get to have him on weekends. We're hoping to have him home for good around August. Thanks for your encouraging and supportive words. I too feel like this may prove to be a wonderful experience for both boys. How wonderful for your son that he's in a mainstream school setting now! I'm sure you're pleased beyond words.

Thanks all!

Kathy
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Kathy, It is gererally accepted that there are two types of sailboat stabilty.
1. Form stabilty
2. Ballast stability.
For me to explain the difference between the two would take up a large area.
This in NO way is meant to slight your inqury. Rather a better explanaton[s]
Will be available if you " Google" Salboats, ballast stability/fprm stablity.
I, personally, own a Cape Dory 22. It is a narrow beam sloop that heals over to 15 to 20 degrees when going into the wind.However it has a full lead keel
is very seaworthy in rough conditions. BUT "Tips" to 15 * readily
To a newcomer, this will be unsettling.
A boat of similar length with wider beam and bottom shape will have an initial
stability greater than my CD22. Their ultimate stabilty is usually lesss than mine. Again Google wll give good sites to explain to you.
I hope that you find the boat..and I will keep your kids in my prayers
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Kathy, there are some sailboats up to max(usually) 26ft that you can trailer, depending what weight you are capable of towing. But, you wouldn't want to put up mast and take down every time. Some boats have a mast raising system or homemade ideas that helps. - But,still smaller is easier and quicker.-You might sell tickets to people watching you struggle launching, and then putting up a large mast.
**there is a thing called 2ft. itis or 3ft fever that boaters get. Someone Buys a 19 ft boat and then a yr or 2 later wants a bigger boat. Maybe not for you. Thank you for all your replies. That was an unusual good surprise.
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