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SFsail 12-03-2003 12:36 PM

Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
Iím seriously interested in buying an approx. 25í sailboat for sailing primarily on the San Francisco bay as well as long weekends on Clear Lake, about 3 hours from here. Planned usage is my wife & I and 2 kids, but I suspect I will be doing some single-handing as well. So far, Iíve looked at new water ballast trailerable sailboats only, including the Macgregor 26M, Catalina 250 and Hunter 260, but havenít actually sailed any of these boats.

What am I looking for? (1) I think Iím stuck on new boats to minimize the amount of repair work required for the first several years - Iím not terribly mechanically minded, so most repairs of any complexity will require me taking it in to be fixed. (2) I plan to keep it in the water at a marina, but am thinking of buying a trailerable so we can visit the lake a couple of times a year. (3) While I prefer the interior and the more solid feel of the Catalina, the Macgregor is appealing due to its larger motor Ė it seems to me it is easier to dock in typical SF winds with the larger motor and controls at the wheel; it also is lighter and easier to trailer/launch. (4) The wife requires an enclosed head.

I would really appreciate getting your general recommendations and specifically, which boats in this size are better for single-handing (if any).

sailingfool 12-03-2003 01:27 PM

Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
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Hey, I understand SF Bay to be just like ocean sailing - gets a bit of a breeze - a boat suitable for its demands doesn''t fit with lake-sailing, nor perhaps with trailering. To my eye, the boats you mention are first-timer toy boats, and I''d not want to take my family out on one in an ocean setting. Skip ''em, and get a well-constructed boat with a fixed keel that will serve you well in that area. I personally don''t think you should pass on quality, recent model boats, pay a premium for a quality boat in premium condition and you will have a lot less hassle than you''d face in fixing all the stuff you will bust on one of those toys in SF Bay! Check out the area Cals and Catalinas - just pay for quality and hope you get what you pay for.

Good luck.

Jeff_H 12-03-2003 05:26 PM

Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
As sailingfool mentioned, San Francisco Bay is about as tough a coastal sailing ground as there and you are looking at pretty light duty boats. I suggest moving up one level from the boats in question to a boat with a fixed keel and with better build quality. Beneteau First series is a small step up and obviously there are other boats that are higher quality than that.

Water ballasted boats are somewhat of a problem when left in salt water as the tanks tend to build up marine growth and produce in bearable odors. If you look back in the archives there is a long discussion with fellow who ended up filling his tanks with concrete when he could not live with the smell anymore.

I think that you have a mistaken notion that new boats somehow, " minimize the amount of repair work required for the first several years". It takes more boat maintenance time, skills and money to commission a new than to maintain an older boat.

On a small boat a large motor adds nothing to the ease of docking. Neither does a wheel which confines you in one spot in the cockpit and requires more movement against greater friction resulting in systemn which is slower to change rudder angle and therefore makes docking at low speed more difficult.


JeffC_ 12-07-2003 12:46 PM

Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
If I may summarize:
The water-ballasted boat you can trailer to the lake is not much good on the Bay, and the boat that will be good for the Bay stays in the water. You must decide which experience you want.
(I''d give up the "weekend at the lake after a three-hour drive" idea (and then three hours home? Gad!), and have a good boat in a slip in the marina).


SFsail 12-09-2003 10:17 AM

Which 25'''' Sailboat for SF
Thanks for the excellent feedback, and I think I''m maving away from the idea of water ballasted boats for the Bay. While I like the Catalina 250 WK, I also hear good things on the P-19, its trailerability and size, its sailing charateristics (and the zillions of owners on the SF Bay can''t be wrong!), so I''m going to see if I can arrange a test sail with at least some members of my family crew. I think I may also try to arrange a test sail of the Catalina 250 WK for comparison.

I will contact the dealers/factory I presume to arrange for a test sail - I presume it works similarly to buying a car? And thanks to your advice, I will also consider used boats as well.

You guys have been great - thanks again.

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