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Old 04-05-2004
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First Big (30-40ft) Boat. Introduction etc.

Hello all,

This website is really amazing. So much information and very well organized. I am looking for some help. I think giving you some of my background will be a good idea. I grew up on the Great Lakes sailing my with my parents on a Northern 27. We sailed it quite a bit. From there, started racing small boats a lot (Laser, Laser II, 49er''s, Sharks)... This became a full time thing for a number of years. Next did some weekend sailing here and there on larger boats (Hughes 40, 8 meters etc.) My knowledge of larger boats in general is very limited in practical experience.

I''m now living in Puerto Rico, 24 years old and have recently married an excellent woman. I''ve saved enough money over the past years to buy my first boat. I have $25,000 usd absolute maximum to spend and equip her. I want to use the boat to begin weekend sailing with my wife and try to move quickly onto week-long adventures around the islands of Puerto Rico and beyond. I have been browsing the used boat market on the web and done a little reading on different designs etc. I have narrowed down my search to the following boats. Please let me know if I am on the right track or if there are others I should be considering for my needs and budget. I love sailing and I don''t want the boat to sail like crap with a ton of weather helm when it''s blowing but I want it to be safe and relatively comfortable.

1) S2 9.2A - Seaworthy, Roomy, Good
2) Bristol 29.9, 30 or 34. Strong, Slow, Good
3) ?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be excellent. Thanks for reading and fair winds,

Last edited by Colinkites2000; 11-11-2013 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 04-05-2004
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First Big (30-40ft) Boat. Introduction etc.

Colin, there are almost an infinite number of answers to your question...but very few that can be specifically useful. Here are my two, which are more general in nature:
1. The boat you ultimately select, because of your somewhat remote location and the limited inventory of boats in your price range, will depend much more on what''s available and much less on your preferred shopping list. IOW coincidence of what''s available in the marketplace when you''re looking will shape your choices moreso than is typical for buyers back in the U.S. Also, in the PR locale where power boats are preferred by so many folks, you may well find the occasional small cruising sailboat that made its way to PR from the U.S. to be preferred over the sailboats that are just used for daysails there.
2. Because of your limited budget, it will be very easy for you to buy too much boat and find the costs to repair what''s broken, service what works, and upgrade where needed (also don''t forget the cost of an acceptable berth) to exceed the funds which remain. This is turn may mean looking at smaller boats than you mention. A thorough, realisitic understanding of what work a prospective purchase will require of you in effort and expense will be critical to your choice. It is very, very common for newcomers to sailing with limited budgets to buy more boat than they can afford.

BTW I know of a completely rebuilt 28'' sloop with much cruising gear that is now being sold over in St. Thomas. Friends of ours moved up to a 43'' sloop to run a charter business and are looking for a buyer for the boat they sailed to Puerto Rico from Florida. If you''re interested in more info on this boat, please email me at the address below. The owners are very knowledgeable and I would expect the condition of the boat - mechanically - to be excellent, altho'' it probably lacks much cosmetic attention these days since they are busy with their charter business.

Jack Tyler
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Old 04-06-2004
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First Big (30-40ft) Boat. Introduction etc.

As Jack said, it is really hard to advise you on any one particular model. The boats that we might recommend may not be available anywhere near you, and what may be available my be less than perfectly suitable. It just happens that way.

I have never sailed in Puerto Rico but if I have it right from my readings, there are fairly long jumps from harbor to, harbor so a very slow boat may be less than ideal (something less than PHRF of 171 would seem to be a minimum if I understand your cruising grounds). Depending on where and when you are sailing, winds can vary quite widely with a mixture of pretty light stuff and some pretty heavy stuff being somewhat the norm, so a boat with well rounded sailing abilities is also desireable.

With an absolute cap of $25,000 I would be looking at boats that have asking prices that are less than $20K and which can be bought for somewhere in the $15-$18k range and which are essentially in good shape. Any boat in that price range is going to be an older boat. The Carribbean with its high salt content, high winds, and perpetual intense sunshine really ages a boat even quicker. It is not hard to spend as much fixing up an old boat as you paid to buy it so buying a boat that someone has maintained in good shape can really help in the overall price.

Of the boats that you are considering, I really like the Bristol 34. It offers reasonably good speed, and handling, comparatively shallow draft and was an all around nice boat for its day. Finding one in good shape in your price range is not all that easy, but if you did you would have an excellent boat for your needs.

I am not a fan of the S2 9.2''s on build quality, seaworthiness, and sailing ability issues.


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Old 04-06-2004
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First Big (30-40ft) Boat. Introduction etc.

Start by putting Atlas Yachts (near Fajardo) or Jose'' at St. Thomas Yacht sales on notice. Then go trolling the boat yards. There''s a couple or three right around Fajardo. A Tartan 30 that needed chainplate attachment repairs and spider killing (with a 10 hr. yanmar in it) went for $5,100.00 here last year. I bid $4,000.00. A J29 with a new rig just sold for $8,000.00, both seized for back yard bills. The 29 ain''t a good idea for whay you''ve got in mind. A friend is picking up a J30 (he hopes) for $8,000.00, but he''s been fishing for it for awhile now. There''s also boats on the dock with for sale signs at Marina Del Rey in Fajardo. Going with a corky small boat around here could be a little rough. I sailed a Southern Cross 28, and, although seaworthy, bounced around like a bitch. Once you break either north or east of Culebra, things can get interesting. 10'' ground swell is not uncommon, although today it looks like a mill pond out there with a small swell. Winds can make beating into a headsea near the drop really screwy. It shoals up about 17 miles north of St. Thomas from several thousand feet to 150'' and the same about 8 miles south. Educate thyself on the boats you look at. Do the dock walk. The S2 looks like way too much windage to me, but hey, I like the looks of long, useless counters and pointy entries. 2 cents.
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