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  #1  
Old 08-01-2011
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My First Boat

First, apologies for such a rookie first post. Second, I have been reading threads here for about a year, especially boat reviews.


I am 39 and have recently retired. I'm not rich, but if i am careful, I should have enough cash for quite some time. I used to live in N. Texas and sailed J22s, Catalina 27s, and a couple of Pearsons on lakes around the area. I have now moved to Naples, Florida - and my wife and I want to buy a boat ("First Boat"). Possibly with the idea that if we enjoy it, we'll sell everything, get a better cruising boat ("THE Boat") and sail away in a few years (I know everyone says this).

Accordingly, I'm looking to buy my First Boat. I would like it to have these characteristics:

(i) good boat (goes without saying). I like classic lines and good sailers - speed is not a primary concern, but no one wants a slow poke - further, the wind seems to tend toward light in this area;

(ii) would like to keep it under $20k, but would go up to $30k;

(iii) needs a relatively shallow draft (it's pretty shallow on this side of Florida) - 4.5' or less;

(iv) would like an inboard, diesel. THE Boat will have one, so I figure I need to start learning to maintain it now;

(v) needs to be a have a head that can be closed - gotta keep the wife happy (and I might as well start learning to maintain the head as well) also needs a decent galley (for the same reasons);

(vi) finally, I would prefer something that has enough capability that I can keep it, practice on it, learn on it, and maybe even sail down to the Keys in the next couple of years.

With all that in mind, and looking at what's available down here, I am considering the following, in order of preference:

Cape Dory 27
Sabre 28
S2 8.5
Pearson 27
Cape Dory 25D
Erickson 27
Bristol 29.9

And if all else fails and I can find it, a Catalina 27 with a shoal draft (again, it's shallow over here).

Thoughts? Warnings? Other boats I should check out? Am I picking boats that have too low of an SA/D considering my area?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Last edited by Shakey; 08-01-2011 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 08-02-2011
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Looks like a good list to me. It will depend on boats available in your area and their condition. Start looking at boats in person - the more you see the more you will know what you want/need.
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Old 08-03-2011
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The Cape Dory and the Bristol will be slow in light air. Nice boats, just slower than the others mentioned.
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Old 08-06-2011
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Thanks!
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Old 08-06-2011
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I'm not sure of the draft, but I would look at Cal-29's as well. Good boat that should be inexpensive to purchase.
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Old 08-07-2011
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My only comment it to reserve a significant amount of your cash for unexpected repairs and or improvements after the purchase on top of the obvious insurance, taxes, docking, hauling, bottom work etc. What that amount should be is widely variable but 20% is a good start as long as you do not include any expected expenses.
For example if your survey shows you need new running rigging don't include that in the unexpected expense budget as you already know about it.
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Old 08-07-2011
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Agree with Sidney and look at some slightly larger boats. Speaking just of Catalina's, you'll be hard pressed to find a 34 under $30k, but you should easily find some nice 30's for that price and you will both like the extra room of a 30 over a 27.

Look at O'Days. They made a decent boat worth considering.

Last edited by chuck53; 08-07-2011 at 09:53 AM.
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Old 08-07-2011
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Good tips. Thanks a lot.

Sidney, you're right, I've only been ON the Bristol!

Money's really not an issue, but I was thinking I should start smaller and simpler since my experience is limited to lakes. Further, I'm not really concerned about being able to sell it later. When I want to move up to THE Boat, I will donate First Boat to a sailing club if I have to. With that factor removed from concern, does your opinion change?



P.S., I'm not rich, but I did do well, saved a lot, and, most importantly, have radically changed the way I view money and things (I cut my monthly expenses in half over the last year, still live in a very, very comfortable environment - I just began truly equating the things I bought with my money with the time and effort it took to get it in the first place - when that happened, I realized most of what I really wanted wasn't overly expensive - all that to say, I now find myself with more money relative to my expenses that I used to have), so, while I don't want to throw 50k away, if I have to pay 30k for a couple of years of experience taking care of and sailing my own boat, I can live with that.
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Old 08-07-2011
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"Your list has many Narrow boats that will not give you comfort and will want to get a bigger boat soon...." Shakey, think about Sidney777's comment seriously. Your wife will agree once on board. For a long time I was obsessed by the clean, classic lines of some of the older, narrow boats you are looking at. However, I ended up with a Catalina 30. The reason that I ended up with this boat was simply interior space and comfort. When upgrading from a C-22, I sailed a T-27 and a Triton, among others. The boats were beautiful but extremely cramped inside due to the narrow beam. I have friends who own CD's and the like and they are always blown away by the shear difference in interior volume between their boats and my C-30. I even considered a Catalina 27, but after seeing the C-30 their was no comparison. Everything from room in the head to engine access made the C-30 stand out. If you want a narrow boat, you may find that you need to look at 31' plus to find something manageable. Don't be weary of the few extra feet in size, I find the C-30 easier to maneuver than the C-22. Not taking anything away from the narrow designs, but board a few of them and then look at similar sized boats with a wider beam. You may find your tastes change a bit. Having said that, you may be one who can manage the small interior of a narrow boat. They do have their merits in a seaway. In addition, you mentioned speed, or more importantly the unimportance of it. I don't think very many sailboats could be considered fast. However, boats that are fast generally are that way due to efficient sail plans and efficient hulls. This efficiency generally leads to a boat that will point higher and sail off a lee shore better. This can...arguably, increase the safety factor of a boat. As a coastal cruiser, you most likely will find yourself near a shore. Being able to sail away from that shore in an emergency has its merits. Now, more on speed. Lets look at some numbers, keep in mind that these are generalizations being used to prove a point. Cape dory 27- PHRF of 243. Catalina 30- PHRF of 180. This means ideally, equal crews and perfect sail control- the C-30 will be a minute and 3 seconds faster per mile. Multiply this by say, a trip from Savannah Ga to Miami Fl. Guessing around 440 straight miles or so, not including tacks, the C-30 should arrive 7-8 hours before the CD. Theoretically. Throw in the extra distance for tacks and this number could go up into the 1 day mark. Lots can happen in one day, especially with regards to weather. Keep in mind my point was not to be exact regarding the numbers, just to show you that speed can be important. Hope this helped you or at least gave you some things to think about. AR
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Last edited by alanr77; 08-07-2011 at 10:37 AM.
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Old 08-07-2011
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Since money is not a really big factor one fun thing to do is to bare boat charter a few times. You get to live for a week on a few different boats and get a vacation at the same time. If you don't think you could handle a boat just yet take a captain a couple of times to show you the ropes.
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