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  #1  
Old 02-13-2013
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1st time buyer looking for guidance

Hello All,
This spring I plan on buying my first sailboat. I feel this is a major purchase, and I'm looking for some hints and pointers. Sure I have bought cars and homes. The first car I bought was a $5K lemon. Everything seemed great on the test drive but on the drive home from the dealership it gave out. Go figure. So from then on I pretty much bought cars and homes as brand new or relatively new to "avoid" the unknowns of the used market. We all know what a new 30 to 35 ft sailboat costs. I can't put that much money into this... yet. I currently sail on Lake Michigan on a time share 29 ft Ranger. The desired sailboat would be in the 30-35 ft range capable of crossings and cruising. I plan on owning it for at least 7 to 10 years before moving up. I have set aside $15k for the boat plus $5k for taxes, fees, and costs of getting it in the water. I have read Don Casey's, "Inspecting the Aging Sailboat" 3 times now which is giving me some confidence and insight into what type of sailboat I might want. Here are my search parameters: $15-20K, 30-35ft, 1983-1990 in the Great Lakes Area. The condition doesn't have to be immaculate, but I'm not looking for project boats or major issues/soft spots (engine, hull, deck, or standing rigging). Here is a list of what I'm considering:
Cal 31, C&C, and Ericson (maybe Hunter or Irwin) Not too sure of Catalina 30 (too much beam). I'm guessing I could negotiate $20K down to $15k. Should I be looking at a higher price range, newer boats, avoid certain makes, or wait till I have more money? Thanks
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

these days you can almost cut the (most of the time)asking price in half. do your research there are many boats that fit in to what you are looking for. Get the smallest boat you can live with not the biggest you can afford. Get a marine surveyor to survey the boat. Be ready to travel to go see a boat. If i was you I would look at the boats known for quality and not ones that were built for price point.
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

Besides all of the obvious stuff like buy low, fit your needs, not too big not too small.

Another way to look at the problem is that if you only plan on keeping it a few years you might want to see what the most popular boats in your neighborhood are. They are popular for a reason and are easier to buy and sell.

Not sure what is wrong with a C30 for the weekend lake sailing.
The extra beam makes it more roomy so unless you plan on doing thousands of miles to weather its and easy boat to buy, sail and sell.
That is why it was and is (309) so popular.
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

You say you want a boat for crossings and cruising; what do you mean by that? The regulars here seem to have fairly specific meanings for those terms, and in many ways they are opposites of each other. When someone first comes here they (as I did up until recently) tend to think of boats capable of crossing oceans as being cruisers. As an overgeneralization, cruisers make bad racers and bad blue water boats (capable of crossing oceans). Blue water boats make terrible racers and not exactly great cruisers. Racers are horrible cruisers and not very good blue water boats. There are a lot of exceptions to these rules but if you break down the boats along those lines, I find it helps figure out what you want. If you want a blue water boat, you won't find one in your price range that isn't a project. I mean no disrespect by saying that - your price range is higher than mine. If you want a cruiser (comfortable for 2-4, maybe 5 people for Lon weekends or a week here or there) your budget should get you a decent boat. I know of a Cherubini-era Hunter 30 in very good shape with air conditioning and other creature comforts that is listed at $12,500. She is in Deltaville, VA, probably too far for you. But those boats are out there. I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the Catalina 30; read the reviews. They are incredibly popular, have a fair reputation, and have good name recognition with entry-level sailors like us so they should be easier to resell.
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

You might also add O'Day, Pearson, and Irwin to your list, though some Irwin's apparently had inconsistent build quality. I suspect, however, that many of the poorly made Irwin's are landfill fodder at this stage.
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Old 02-14-2013
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1st time buyer looking for guidance

By crossings and cruising, I mean around and within the Great Lakes. Thanks for the advice!
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

Plenty of candidates in within your parameters.. since you're familiar with the Ranger 29 I'd expect you could find a decent 33 of the same vintage.. a surprising performer, as are pretty well all the Mull Rangers...

But nothing wrong with a Cat 30, C&C 30, CS 33, Ontario 28 or 32, the list goes on.. most of these should be easy to find on the Lakes.
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

I suggest that a Pearson or c&c are both great sturdy boats and faster than most. Nothing wrong with a cat 30. You get a lot of features for your dollar with a hunter but give up something in build quality - at least in the model years you would be looking at. Can't comment on the others.
One more pc of advice, pay attention to what comes with the boat. It is easy to get focused only on the boat itself thinking that everything else can be added or improved later. Things like sails, blocks, roller furling, GPS, plumbing, dingy and outboard, etc. can easily add up. In fact, they can add up to as much as you are budgeting for your whole boat.
Just saying remember to compare the stuff that the boat comes with when comparing boats.
Good luck!
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

Tons of boats to choose from here in the Great Lakes that fit inside your parameters.

Consider these (all of which I've seen on Yachtworld recently in the GL area):

-Islander 28/30
-Ericson 35/32/30
-Irwin 30/34
-Bayfield 32
-Endeavour 32
-Pearson 32/30
-Hunter 31
-O'day 31/30
-C&C 30
-Catalina 30 (You'll probably learn to appreciate the beam)
-S2 9.1/9.2

"Should I be looking at a higher price range, newer boats, avoid certain makes, or wait till I have more money? "

Condition is king, which to some extent nullifies age and also drives price.
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Old 02-14-2013
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Re: 1st time buyer looking for guidance

I don't think you can offer half of asking prices, but 20-25% lower seems to be pretty doable in my limited experience.

I really like my Pearson 28-2. It's really a 29' boat (smaller than your target range), but has a lot of space below for that size and sails nicely. Being under 30' makes my moorage a lot cheaper (it saves me about $1000/year compared to a 30-33' boat). If I wanted something a little larger I would also keep an eye out for the similar 31-2 or 33-2. There is a clean looking 28-2 at the upper end of your price range in MI on Yachtworld:
1985 Pearson 28 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

Other boats that I strongly considered were a C&C 30 (I liked it, but didn't like the lack of a quarterberth), Islander Bahama 30 (liked it, but the one we considered closely needed too much work). I wanted to see Cal 29 and 31 models, but didn't come across any. We looked at maybe a dozen boats priced in the $15-$25k range (including many mentioned here). I didn't see too much from the mid 80s to 90s in your price range, but more opened up between $20 and $25k. However pricing is very regional and Seattle might be more expensive than the Great Lakes.
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