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post #1 of 8 Old 11-04-2012 Thread Starter
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My head hurts!

I'm trying to glean all the knowledge that I can prior to a boat purchase. It seems like sifting though all the posts and data is a daunting task. I have come to the conclusion that I need to establish design/style/type/size/usage parameters first. Collating all the available makes and models to determine the best possible match will be a real head-scratcher.

I plan to be aboard most weekends and probably for a week or so several times a season. Mostly going to single-hand with the occasional "mate" aboard. This weekending will be in prep for living aboard permanently, potentially traveling the ICW seasonally and honing my skills for same.

Starting with size; I believe that a 26 foot boat would suit best. Not too big to single for a neophyte; but large enough to not be outgrown in a few years. Seems that the break-point for "small boats" tops out at 25 feet. Once above that magical number, the interior options and cabin designs grow exponentially. I'll probably limit the LOA to 27 or 28 to get the right boat; but I'd still like to stay at the lesser lenght to allow for moving the boat on a trailer..if necessary.

While I have a certain attraction to the higher-end products; my budget will not allow purchase of a new...or even used...Pacific Seacraft or Com Pac. I like a boat to look like a boat. Call me 'old school; but a gently scalloped sheer line, round hull profile and a broad bottom fit my ideal . I'm most definitely NOT seeking a racer or race/cruiser! I have no "need for speed" and don't see a possibility of wanting to wet the toe rail.Think "slow boat to China" No hurry! I have the rest of my life to get there.

Sadly, the full keels would not work well, as I will be using this one on the (far) North Chesapeake and would not have the depth available, except in the channel. Add the fact that there's a lot more wind needed to move a keel-boat, the stub-keel and/or drop centerboard seems to fit the bill. I'll willingly trade extreme shoal-draft for maneuverability, tho

I want it bigger on the inside than the outside! Roomy enuff to spend time below without becoming claustrophobic. Sized to accommodate two in some sembalance of comfort. I'd rather sleep two comfortably than have a buncha skinny, uncomfortable berths or a plan that touts "sleeps 6"!
Five feet ten inches standing headroom works for me. More traditional "dog box" superstructures fit my eye better that modern flush decks and sloped ports. A trade-off of cockpit room for space below would be OK with me. Enuff room in the cockpit for two or three under way and perhaps four to luxuriate while in the slip would be fine.

A simple sail plan would be best. A standard sloop rig would work; but I'm not averse to other possibilities. Hopefully, there'll be room below (and in the budget!) for an inboard diesel; but I could live with an O/B as needs must.

I can do most of the necessary glass, wood and paint work for an older boat. I just need a solid hull, decent rigging and a "just right" design.

So far, I have it (somewhat) narrowed down to a late '60s Columbia, a (slightly) later Cal/Jensen or an O'Day of indistinct vintage. I understand that *some* of the first two had the centerboard option; but are far and few between.

Am I being unrealistic in my desires; or is there a design that fits somewhere??? Have any recommendations to add?? I have some time to search, as I don;t plan on buying much before Spring.... unless *the* boat comes along

on the hunt,
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post #2 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!

Sounds like a Bayfield 25 might 'suit' you.. shoal draft, cute, decent below decks for its size.

BAYFIELD 25 sailboat specifications and details on


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post #3 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!


If you are serious about spending weekends (and longer) aboard, I would look boats a little bigger than 26', more like 27-30'. It doesn't sound like much, but when you get into the 27' and up range you get a lot of benefits, like:
Standing head room
real marine head
pressure hot and cold water
decent galley with decent (still small) sized ice box and storage
AC / DC electrical system
Most of the boats that are 25', Like Catalina 25 and others, don't offer those features. They aren't real important for day sails or the rare overnight aboard, but do become real nice if you spend significant time aboard.

Look at a Catalina 27, if that is big enough for you it would meet all your needs. Also look at some 28' models like O'day 28, Tartan 28, Newport 28. Then look at a few 30s as well, including Catalina 30, O'day 30, Pearson 30 (small for a 30, but a real good sailing boat), C&C 30 and a few others. Then you can decide what size boat you want.

Picture how you will spend a rainy day aboard, or a windy 5 hour passage home with large seas. Is there room to lay around? Are there decent places to sleep? Can you sail the boat by yourself?

Good luck,

Barry Lenoble
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110
Mt. Sinai, NY

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post #4 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!

My PY 26 sound close too, and some available at any given time...

PACESHIP PY26 sailboat specifications and details on

Get the shoal keel drop CB model...2'6" to 5'6" draft

"Might as well take 'er out...If anything is gonna happen...It's gonna happen out there..."
"Captin Ron"
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post #5 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!

A 30' isn't really any harder to handle than a 26' and it is exponentially more comfortable to stay onboard. For your list of requirements I'd look at boats in the range of 3-4 tons of displacement.

I'd also drop the trailering aspect way down the list - you'll need a mover for most anything that has stay aboard comfort.

I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.
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post #6 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!

Island Packet 27 (or larger); roomy, broad bottomed, stable. I may be slightly biased.
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post #7 of 8 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: My head hurts!

It appears that money is an issue. I think you will quickly out grow a 25. I owned a 27 foot Watkins and single handed her for years. She is wide and has the most cabin space of any 27 I have seen. The only lacking thing was the galley only had an alcohol stove. You could fit a 2 burner stove with oven in the space. I thought about it but got married and we moved up to a bigger boat. The Watkins company went out of business and it is rumored sold the molds to Islnad packet. I agree getting a trailerable boat will limit you on board creature comforts. There are many Watkins for sale and they have a very active users group.
Good Luck
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post #8 of 8 Old 11-04-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: My head hurts!

Yes... Smackdaddy's pix of his 27 footer did appeal! As I said., the 26' was the start point, with 27 and possibly a 28 in cue. I don't know if I wanna take on anything bigger ta start.

Of course... money *IS* an issue Lotsa boats in that range and description that would be in my price point. As someone said, tho; as the length goes up, the cost of refurb/maint. goes up exponentially! I know I'll outgrow a 26-26 foot right quick. I figger a season or two onnit ta shape up and be ready for the *BIG* boat. :biggrin:

AFA money? The house is probably going on the block come March. When it will sell is anyone's guess; so I can't/don't want to count on that equity to make the purchase. I'm in the process of selling off a collection....swapping one addiction for another, so to speak. IF I could find the *right* boat for, say, $5-6 k, that should leave enuff left over for all the costs associated with a refurb/set-up. Balancing lesser initial outlay vs. cost to refurb, seems I'm better off going a bit more up front than trying to do it all over.

I'll just keep reading here and lurking at the sale sites. One will come along....just so's I'm ready (and informed) when it does.

Thanks for the help. I'll look into those other makers, too.
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