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Another aspect to this is your learning. People learn faster, easier, and more enjoyably on smaller boats. Bigger boats take longer to respond to steering changes, which slows the learning process. Smaller boats respond immediately to rudder changes and sheeting-in or loosening the sails. Smaller boats are also closer to the water and give a better feeling of speed as a result. The ideal vessel to learn on is a sailing dinghy or sunfish sailboat. By going to the relative stratosphere of 40 or more feet, you are shortchanging yourself immensely.
So if you have some time to wait for the big boat, get a sunfish sailboat and sail her together with your wife and kids. They'll love it. Do it in-between sailboat shopping.
The budget-buying decision depends a lot on how many people you have. Is it just you and your wife or are there kids? (How many kids?) If it's just the two of you, SHOP WITH YOUR WIFE and look at 25 footers for awhile. Image yourself in one, think about what-goes-where and how to make it work. Then look at some 28 footers or even a 30 footer. IIRC, somewhere right above 25 feet, you'll get a separate head (bathroom) instead of having to use a port-a-potty. Somewhere right above 28 feet you'll be able to shower. After looking at smaller boats, the increase will feel good. (Don't look at big boats with her first.) And you may even like one of the 25 to 28 foot boats.
We keep the budget down by avoiding per-foot charges. Except for winter storage, we've been fairly successful at it. We bought a dinghy so we don't need a slip. We buy fuel so that we can get water. (We've actually gone about a year since buying fuel, but if we need water - and can't get it for free - then we'll buy fuel and I'll ask my son to fill the water tanks at the same time.) Dinghy-wise, the first year we used an ocean kayak that we already owned, and a small 7' sailing dinghy. You can always get a bigger dinghy, and if ithe first one has no engine then you probably don't have to register it, saving even more money. You could get a sailing dinghy to learn sailing, and then use it as your dinghy.
By the way, I know a 25 year old guy that's spending the summer on a 25 foot boat with a small inflatable dinghy with no engine. He works and surfs during the day and sleeps on the boat at night. After buying her for maybe $4k, his yearly costs are probably below $2K. (Just a guess on that, I could be off.) He uses those backyard solar lights at night, and is looking at getting a solar panel for real lights and a radio. When the surf was flat last weekend he went for a sail. Pretty good lifestyle.
The bottom line is that sailing is wonderful. And compared to what you'd be spending on vacations, it's not that expensive.
Hope that helps. Enjoy!
Great minds discuss ideas;
Average minds discuss events;
Small minds discuss people.
The best minds discuss sailing (and a little bit of politics). I don't know why. It's a mystery!
Last edited by Bene505; 08-05-2011 at 02:45 PM.