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  #1  
Old 04-08-2011
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Student Seeks Sailboat

As with many people on here, I'm looking for a boat. Here's my situation, requirements, intentions, and current plans. Tell me I'm an idiot (if you think so), point me in the right direction if you know it. Mostly, recommend a course of action or a model of boat for me to go look at.

I'm a 23 year old male university student in Victoria, BC, with limited funding, and a loan from my parents. I'm looking for a live-aboard for myself, that will let me learn to handle a small boat, get comfortable single-handing, and get closer to the water. I'm not intending my first boat to be my dream boat, nor my final boat. I'm perfectly content to have this one for a few years while I learn the ropes, and decide exactly how I want my dream boat laid out. Then I can spend another few years looking (and of course I won't be able to buy it for a darn long time after that!). Eventually I'll sail the seven seas, but I've got a lot of learning to do before then.

I'm no stranger to boats, but my experience is a little abnormal. Most of my time at sea has been on a 140' gaff schooner by the name of Pacific Grace (google her, and the SALTS organization). I've circumnavigated Vancouver Island, and sailed from PNG to Japan, including sailing up the Huang Po river into Shanghai. That being said, I've never sailed a boat with winches (the Grace was commissioned in 2001, but she looks and feels like 1920, and only uses belaying pins and blocks). I've only very limited experience dinghy sailing. However, I've already explored the local yacht club, and should be out racing on OPBs once a week to get a feel for the vessels around, and am going to explore some other folks live-aboards over the weekend.

I'm very handy, have worked as a finishing carpenter extensively, and am perfectly willing to work on my boat. I will not, however, buy a complete project, because I simply don't have time (as a full-time student I have enough time for maintenance and learning, but not for large refits). I would rather buy a smaller, better appointed boat than a larger, injured one. I do get catastrophically seasick for the first day or so of a passage, but I'm not sure if it would make a difference to get a boat that rides smoother. After all, I got seasick on a 140 footer that drafts 11'6" and has a beam of 22'. I can't imagine a 'little' boat being any gentler.

I'll be spending most of my time onboard just living. I'm a student, I work part-time, and I'll be sitting at the dock a fair bit. Therefore, I need a galley, AC shore power, a (small) table, and a heater. I don't need a fridge, I don't need AC, I don't need the latest and greatest shiny whats-it. If I have space to work in (set up my computer, lay out my textbooks) that's a bonus, but I'm assuming that will only happen on a boat with a nav station, which is likely outside my price range.

I'm anticipating needing one double berth and one single berth: I live alone, but I want my steady girlfriend to feel welcome when she stays with me (hopefully enticing her to stay with me more often, and come with me when I go out exploring). I will be hosting my parents for at least weekend sails, hopefully week-long trips. We have all spent a lot of time in the alpine (storm-bound in tiny tents) so we know how to live small, but if I can I'd like to be able to leave the berths made up during the day and still have space to live. There will almost certainly never be a couple living onboard full-time (If I move in with my SO I'll likely move to her apartment, and the boat will become either a summer cabin, a refuge for me, or be sold on. She hasn't expressed the desire to live aboard and I haven't asked). Stowage will be reasonably important (I have my own tools, etc), but I don't need oodles of space for my shiny toys and prized possessions. There's nothing I can't fit on a boat that I wouldn't be willing to part with.

Of course, while I'm busy living onboard, I will also be putting to sea as often as possible. I'll be staying local for the first long time, but I want the boat to be seaworthy. I will not be crossing oceans on my first boat, but I would like it to be tough enough to circumnavigate Vancouver Island (so that I can join it once I gain enough skill. It's a convenient goal to work towards). I must be able to single hand the boat, and I'd welcome opinions on whether or not roller-furling headsails and self-steering are particularly necessary. Shiny gizmos like those are things that I would be comfortable adding after the fact. I'm not overly fussed if the boat doesn't fly through light air, but I would like to be able to point nicely. There are many narrow channels in my area with noticeable currents to fight or avoid.

My decision will mostly be influenced by what's available. Realistically I can shop anywhere around Puget Sound and BC, but importing a boat is another thousand dollars or so in fees. I'm budgeting 14-18k, obviously the less I spend on the boat the more I have to live off and upgrade with. If anyone knows of anything in the area I should have a look at, please do tell.

Also, I rather prefer wheels to tillers, just out of personal preference. I recognize that that's probably unlikely based on my more important needs.

Thanks very much, hopefully that's more than enough information to go on.
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Old 04-08-2011
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Welcome and Good Luck

I wish I started thinking of living aboard and owning a boat when I was still in college.

I would try looking at Yatchworld.com. You can sort by region and price. I would recommend you set the max price at $20-25K because most boats list higher then they actually sell for.

Size for living aboard, I would not go smaller then 27 feet. The reason for that is head room. I have a friend that has been living aboard since being laid off two years ago. He started on a Catalina 25 but after the first couple of months the head room was driving him crazy. So he bought an Ericson 27. Seems like a good boat.

I did a quick search and here is a couple of boats that stand out to me.

CS27 - Looks clean. They listed at $18,500 Can. I would bet it sells for closer to $15K

Camper Nicholson - Again, looks clean for it's age. Interesting layout.

.Seidelmann

Of the three, the CS 27 would be the most interesting to me.
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Old 04-08-2011
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AFAIK, the only fees required to import a used boat are the taxes that you'd pay on a boat purchased here as well. If the boat is manufactured outside the U.S., this may differ. When I brought mine into Canada, I didn't even have to register it because it's under 10hp, and I think the length limit is 31 feet (someone help me out here).

Based on my very limited experience, I'd think that you could pick up a Catalina 30 for a reasonable price that would do what you expect of it.
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Old 04-08-2011
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Thanks! I have indeed been spending a fair while on Yachtworld. I can do alright with limited head room (I'm only 5'10"), but I'll keep it in mind. I probably can't afford to switch boats immediately if I screw up picking my first one, and I do need to be able to live in it.

I'll try and take a look at the CS27 as soon as I can. I don't see any mention of holding tanks on the Camper Nicholson. That's a firm requirement that I forgot to mention, as by next season the Coast Guard will get pretty mad if I don't have them (and they find out, of course).
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Old 04-08-2011
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Sounds like a plan, and your a lucky guy. It wasn't until I was in my 30's that I could afford to move within driving distance of an ocean.
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Old 04-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JKCatalina310 View Post
I wish I started thinking of living aboard and owning a boat when I was still in college.

I would try looking at Yatchworld.com. You can sort by region and price. I would recommend you set the max price at $20-25K because most boats list higher then they actually sell for.

Size for living aboard, I would not go smaller then 27 feet. The reason for that is head room. I have a friend that has been living aboard since being laid off two years ago. He started on a Catalina 25 but after the first couple of months the head room was driving him crazy. So he bought an Ericson 27. Seems like a good boat.

I did a quick search and here is a couple of boats that stand out to me.

CS27 - Looks clean. They listed at $18,500 Can. I would bet it sells for closer to $15K

Camper Nicholson - Again, looks clean for it's age. Interesting layout.

.Seidelmann

Of the three, the CS 27 would be the most interesting to me.
Seidelmann 295 was reviewed in Good Old Boat this month. The interior layout is decidedly odd - V berth only reachable through the head?

How about a Catalina 27? Plenty around, very roomy for the size, decent headroom. sleeps up to 5 (V berth, 2 in the stateroom, 1 berth aft), and they go for reasonable prices. They even sail quite well too. Get one with an inboard diesel.

Even better if you can spring for a Catalina 30, they are very roomy and will set you back 15-20K for an early-mid 80s one. Just watch out for the usual C30 issues. They don't all develop the keel & mast step problems by any means so find a good one.
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Old 04-08-2011
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Lightbulb

Living on Vanc. Is, and being on a limited budget, and needing a strong boat just large enough for a young guy to to live on.... (and presuming that you plan to leave the dock and sail ! )
I seriously suggest you find a Ray Richards-designed Haida 26.

HAIDA 26 Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com

Safe for rough passages on the West coast and they sail beautifully.

Cheers,
L

ps: found this with a quick Google search:
Haida 26 - Vancouver Sailboats For Sale - Kijiji Vancouver Canada.
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Old 04-08-2011
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A Ranger 29 or a later 30 (under $10K to maybe 20K tops) would make a decent choice here as well. We have a member here (mitiempo) currently living aboard a CS27 in Victoria - you should get in touch with him.

C&C 27/29 also under $20K would be possible.. and the Newport 28/30

Lots of possibilities and todays' is a buyers market. As mentioned buying in the US is attractive right now with our dollar doing well (nearly $1.05 this am) and importing is straightforward.
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Old 04-08-2011
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I don't think the Seidelmann is very common on the west coast. Catalina 27 and 30 are good choices, CS 27 (works for me), but look in your price range with your requirements. Don't be tied to brand and see what comes up. Visit Thunderbird in Sidney and the other brokers locally and in Vancouver, look at Yachtworld and you never know what you will find.

Where are you planning to moor the boat?
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Old 04-08-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
I don't think the Seidelmann is very common on the west coast. Catalina 27 and 30 are good choices, CS 27 (works for me), but look in your price range with your requirements. Don't be tied to brand and see what comes up. Visit Thunderbird in Sidney and the other brokers locally and in Vancouver, look at Yachtworld and you never know what you will find.

Where are you planning to moor the boat?
The Catalinas tend to be very beamy which is good for living space.
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