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jrach74 02-22-2013 05:26 PM

Starter Boat on shallow water dock
I've been sailing for about 10 years. I sail flying scots on the Potomac River throughout sailing season, have crewed bigger boats in regatas and have chartered hunter 37's on the Chesapeake Bay from time to time. So I'm not a novice sailer, but I'm not a boat owner, or expert sailer by any means. I've now got access to a house on a creek off the Chesapeake with a dock that at low tide has about 18-24 inches of water. There's also the possbility of installing a mooring ball off the dock in the deeper water.

For the purposes of this post, I'm looking for recommendations on good centerboard starter boats that could be kept at the dock and would enable my wife, young son and I to do overnights, and could handle being out on the bay. I've looked online at boats like the Macgregor 25, Oday222, etc, but thought folks here might have some better insights and/or suggestions.

Sea Dawg 02-22-2013 09:26 PM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
A "Sharpie" seems to be a good choice in your situation. They are especially able to explore parts of the Chesapeake Bay many boats can't enjoy. Here's a good example: View Boat Photos -

Waltthesalt 02-22-2013 10:18 PM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
You may want to check out the Shallow Water Sailors web site. They specialize in the sharpie type boats like Dovekie and Bay Hen. If a swing keel is ok ubiquitous standard is the Catalina 22 which has been in production since 1968. Solid class development availability. Check out thier class organization web site.

fallard 02-22-2013 11:25 PM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
Have you considered a catboat? An 18 footer would draw less than 2' with the board up and would displace as much as a Catalina 22. The cabin might be a bit tight, though, but it would be a very stable platform for a young family.

Rhys05 02-22-2013 11:29 PM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
An S2 7.9 or 6.9 might work well, 7.9 draws 18" with the board up, 6.9 draws 10". Something like this? 1983 S2 6.9 sailboat for sale in North Carolina I'm sure looking forward to getting my 7.9 out on the water this spring! :)

mr_f 02-23-2013 12:52 AM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
With no information on your target price range, I am going to suggest a 42' Southerly. They are a little too deep at low tide for you at 2'8" with the board up, but it is totally safe for them to dry out when the tide drops. There is one in Rock Hall for around $400k on yachtworld. Perfect starter boat. Definitely would allow overnights for your family.

joebeach 02-23-2013 03:29 AM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
Have a thin water situation here in FL similar to that of the OP, though without a trust fund for a "starter" boat that is apparently envisioned by mr_f. ;)

As the OP is a flying scot sailor I'm guessing that he'd prefer a faster boat that sails well in lighter air, vs. a cruiser type. If so then S2s (6.9, 7.3, 7.9) are good boats to consider. Catboats are stable and salty, but are usually heavier w/ no headsail and so not as fast. Others to think about are Balboa 26, Precision 23, and Tanzer 7.5 or 27 SD. Some of the 23 to 26 foot O'Days have CBs and are a consideration as well. These boats can all be had for $5-15K, depending on features and condition.

That being said, I'm still in research mode, and certainly am open to other suggestions.

Ultimately it depends on what is comfortable for you and the family, and the quality of PO upkeep. Best of luck to the OP.

rgscpat 02-23-2013 04:11 AM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
Or, if you have the budget for it, maybe one of the Hake Yachts Seaward 26, etc., with its continuously adjustable range keel?

joebeach 02-23-2013 07:33 AM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
Second rgscpat's suggestion of the Hake/Seaward as a thin-water cruiser, but be prepared to spend ~$100K. Not in my budget - can't speak for the OP's.

sony2000 02-23-2013 08:56 AM

Re: Starter Boat on shallow water dock
I would be researching a sailboat that has a shoal keel with or without centerboard, and is designed to sit on the keel when tide is out. In many places around the world, this is the only option they have. Some shallow draft sailboats are not designed to sit on their keel, and some are!

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