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FRRizzo111 05-30-2004 08:31 AM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
My wife and I are beginner sailors interested in buying our first boat. Up until now we have rented boats and been part of sailing clubs. Most of the boats we have sail on have learned and sailed on have been around 18 ft or so. We live in the Washington DC area and plan on sailing on the Potomac River and tailoring the boat to the Chesapeake Bay on occasion. We are planning on buying a used boat and can spend between $5-$8.5K. We have a few questions and could use your all advice:

1) What is the best way to shop for a boat? Where are the best boat listings?

2) Recommendations on any dealers that deal in smaller boats?

3) Internet websites always seem so outdated and not too many local boats listed, anyone know of websites with good current lists of boats?

4) Can anyone recommend some trusted surveyors in the area?

5) Of the boats we looked at so far we like the Precision 18 and 21. Is the Precision 18 big enough to sail the Chesapeake safely or would it be better to sail the 21? That being said, will the precision 21 sail as well in the lighter airs of the Potomac River?

6) Any other recommendations on boats we should be looking at? From what I have been reading so far, I think I would like a Shoal/draft keel boat. The Potomac gets real shallow in places. We plan on keeping the boat for several years and would like something we could grow into.

7) Probably most important, any questions of concerns I have not mentioned that I should be thinking about?

I know these are a lot of questions but I always see the great advice you guys give on here, would love some help with all this.


onojmai 05-30-2004 02:47 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
i''m looking for the same kind of boat right now.
they have a decent number of listings.
are you planning on trailering the boat or getting a slip/mooring?
probably sailing in light/variable conditions most of the time?
do you want something with a big cockpit- good for daysailing, or space below for overnighting? do you plan on getting into racing at all?

onojmai 05-30-2004 02:48 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
oh yeah, by "growing into a boat" what size boat would you feel comfortable with?

FRRizzo111 05-30-2004 02:54 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
around 18-22 feet I think would be a good starter boat for the Potomac or Chesapeake, though any other suggestions would be helpful. I will keep the boat on a trailer at a marina. Looking to largely do day sailing so a decent size cockpit is important, though a cabin is essential should we decide to overnight.

onojmai 05-30-2004 03:13 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
i''d look at an o''day 222- its got a centerboard and can float off a trailer.
or maybe a catalina 22. i would think the o''day''s are generally better built. anyone else recommend a good boat?

hamiam 05-31-2004 06:37 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
Try looking at; many brokers dont handle boats that small.

BarryL 06-02-2004 05:36 AM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions

Are you looking for a day sailer (an open boat) or a cruiser (one with a small cabin)?

I have a Catalina 22, which has a small cabin, complete with dinette, sliding galley, V berth, porta-potty, etc. The C22 has a swing keel, so you can raise it for thin water and lower it for better upwind performance.

If you want just a day sailer, Hunter makes a few models that are cheap. Oday also makes a nice day sailer.

For your budget, you are probably best off looking in the local paper, or maybe just cruising around marinas. There are lots of nice small boats around.

Good luck,

mabwjm 06-02-2004 10:49 AM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
You can find a lot of boat by shopping around. Check this Ebay ad: < =2480457906&rd=1>

As someone stated above, Yachtworld has a great selection. In the size you''re looking at, for a daysailor, I''d also recommend Backyard Boats--they''re here in NVA and also Annapolis. Don''t forget the Annapolis Boat Show if you can wait till the Fall.

Fair winds,

mabwjm 06-02-2004 10:50 AM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
make it--try again: =2480457906&rd=1

aflanigan 06-02-2004 02:46 PM

Looking to buy a boat in the DC area and have some questions
The first thing I would do if I were you is buy or borrow Don Casey''s "This Old Boat" and read the first chapter entitled "The Choice". You may not agree with his priority list of criteria for a suitable boat (he ranks appearance or beauty number one), but you need to consider all the good advice he offers, especially about cost and being realistic about how you will use the boat. Come up with your own ranking for which criteria are most important to you, and you''ll have a good basis to start looking.

Think about how handy you are and, more importantly, how much time you have to do maintenance and restoration. Don''t start by saying "I can afford a boat that costs 8 thousand" and latch onto a vintage 27 footer because it''s a "bargain". If you are a beginner sailer, I''d seriously consider starting with a Dinghy like a Lightning which can be easily trailered. Boats like these resell fairly well so you don''t necessarily have to get something you can "grow into" if you decide you want a cruiser for overnighting; and it will help you develop good sailing skills.

If you''re determined to get a cabin on your trailer sailer, I''d tend toward the smaller/recent vintage end of the size range, and try to find a "turnkey" boat at the upper end of your proposed budget. Smaller boats are cheaper to maintain, easier to set up and launch and retrieve, easier to park in your driveway/backyard, and if you get one in good shape you won''t need to do a lot of work on it before you''re ready to enjoy it. Buying a bigger, older boat will mean more restoration, higher maintenance costs, less time on the water, more time spent fixing and maintaining.

For the Potomac, a swing keel/centerboard cannot be beat. Outboard auxiliary and tiller steering by all means.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA

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