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Old 07-20-2011
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Aspiring Sailor Seeking Good First Boat

I posted this elsewhere and did not get any responses. Being the new guy to the "asylum" as I've heard it referred to, I may have posted my questions in the wrong place.

I'm in the process of learning how to sail and will be completing basic keel, basic cruising and bareboat cruising courses in the next few weeks. I am looking for my first boat and trying to decide what would be best at this point.

The factors I'm considering most are that I will be single-handing it most of the time, I would like to be able to get a number of friends in the cockpit for a daysail (so it can't be too small) and I would eventually like to be able to do some extended coastal cruising in the future without feeling the boat is too small to do so comfortably. Sailing will be exclusively in the Great Lakes for the foreseeable future. I understand that the cost of maintenance for longer boats is considerably more than shorter boats so this is a consideration too. So my first question is what would be a good length boat to meet these criteria? I've been considering anywhere between a 28' and
37' boat. Got some input that the actual sailing of a 37' would not be so difficult with the right set-up, but that bringing it in for a safe landing would likely be more the issue. I'd like to hear other people's thoughts too. BTW, I'm looking to spend up to 40k, maybe a little bit more for the "one", if such a boat can be had in the 40k range.

Also curious about brands and boat quality/durability given that I will be getting an older boat. I've read quite a bit that Tartans make high quaility boats in terms of their construction and durability. Any other recommendations given the scenario I described above?
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Old 07-20-2011
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Mid 80s Ericson 34 or 35. Both will fit your needs.
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Old 07-20-2011
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That is the boat length I've been leaning toward. Any preferences regarding 35-2 or 35-3 in the Ericson?
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