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  #11  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

I wish I had known how much I'd like sailing, so that I would have felt comfortable buying a larger/nicer/more expensive boat in the first place (the Pearson 28-2 is about twice the size of the Catalina 25). I learned tons by buying the Catalina and still sail on it often (the new owner is a good friend), but could have saved money by not buying and fixing up the Catalina first. However I learned so much from the Catalina that the shopping was a lot easier the second time around. The big things that drove the upgrade were the desire for standing room (nice if you cruise for more than a week) and more storage space.

On a 25' boat I'd prefer a real head to a porta-potty. It's not a big deal to maintain and it's nice being able use a pump-out instead of carrying the porta-potty off of the boat.

I agree that simplicity is nice, I just don't find a basic holding tank to be complex. The Catalina 25 was a lot easier to work on and far less complicated with an outboard engine, very simple electrical system (no shore power necessary), manual water pumps, and hank-on sails. The Pearson has more creature comforts (heat, pressure water, roller furling, inboard engine, dodger) but more to maintain.
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  #12  
Old 04-13-2013
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There are a lot of "big" boats in the 24-27 foot range. My Ericson 25+, for example, full enclosed head. Standing room in cabin for 6' 2". So, you don't have to have a port a potty. Lot of good Pearson 26s oh there. I wish I had checked for water damage to bulkhead when I was looking. Nice to see another inland nutmeger taking the plunge.
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  #13  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Thanks everyone for the great responses so far. I've already changed my mind re: the portapotty in that a boat won't be rejected out of hand if it only has a "real" head. It doesn't seem like it's that hard to take it out if necessary (although there could be a great deal of mind over matter in the project!).

I'm sure that I will have many more questions as our quest continues!
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  #14  
Old 04-13-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

I had a big, long post and accidentally hit something and lost it. Which is probably good, because I tend to ramble. Here's the nutshell:

1) Get towing insurance; its cheaper than a single tow, and with a new boat, you may well need it;
2) Think carefully about how you expect to use the boat, and try it out to be sure it meets those needs (e.g., how many people will you typically sail with, and how will they fit in the cabin/cockpit?);
3) Think about where you're going to keep the boat, and make sure that the slip/marina is protected so you aren't blown about as you enter/exit;
4) Despite the low investment you're making, consider getting professional surveys of the engine and boat (a new engine is $2,000+, a boat survey is $350-400, and an engine survey will be a few hundred) AFTER you've done your initial review;
5) Depending on the boat you buy (I strongly encourage you to consider a Catalina 25 or 27), get a trailer;
6) Expect to put at least another $2000 into the boat; maybe not right away, but probably over the course of your first season.

I'm still a novice at all of this - I've bought 2 boats in 2 years. But the boats I've bought were in the same range as the ones you're buying, and I went aboard a TON of them (easily 10-15 the first time, and at least that many this time, too), and if you wind up in the NJ/Philly area, I'd be happy to go along with you to look at a boat or two as a second/third set of eyes.
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  #15  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by IslanderGuy View Post
Also, I wouldn't say never offer the asking price. Offer what you think it's worth based on comparisons to the market, your budget, etc. Some people do actually *gasp* offer there boat for a reasonable price, and get annoyed when everyone want's to offer less, just because. (Yep, personal experience here)

I've also seen people blow great deals, cause the owner priced it to sell, but they haggled around, and someone else came in with the reasonable asking price offer.

But on the flip side, if they are a little high you think, don;t be afraid to offer less, or if it's just out of your budget, offer what you can, it can't hurt.
Don't be afraid to low ball. All they can do is say no. And, a lot of people really need to unload their boat.

And, accept the fact that some people just don't know what there boat is worth in today's market. I bought my last boat three years ago and I had it narrowed down to ten boats (all over forty feet which are really hard to sell right now).

Three years later, every one of the ones I was looking at, are still for sale. I probably could have bought my boat for a lot less than I paid for it, (and I thought I was low balling at the time). Lots of sellers, not many buyers, out there right now.
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  #16  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Maybe think about how you'll use the boat and where you think you'll be 3-5 years from now (relative to sailing). Do you really need to own a boat now, or could your needs be met by joining a sailing club? The size you're looking at is common for a lot of clubs and the process of selling in order to move up down the road isn't always trivial.

If you want to be on the water on a whim during the week and every weekend, probably buying your own boat is the way to go. We're on our boat about 4-5 days a week during the season. Not always sailing, but either working on it, socializing after work or actually sailing. For us, this meant buying a boat and we started modestly to make sure it was what we expected. Turned out to better. We have friends that went the sailing club route and it's perfect for them. There's a lot of "extra" stuff that goes along with boat ownership - maintenance, time, storage, cost, hurricanes, etc.

Really like Alex's post:

"I wish I had known how much I'd like sailing, so that I would have felt comfortable buying a larger/nicer/more expensive boat in the first place"

Knowing what we do now, we would have gone bigger and invested more up front but we wanted to be sure before making that larger investment. Guess that's what "the next boat" is for.

Oh, and take lots of pictures when you're looking at all these boats so you can review them at home. You'll be surprised what you miss in person at first, and you'll both get better at boat shopping as the process progresses.

Good luck, exciting times

Last edited by Tanley; 04-14-2013 at 10:59 AM.
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  #17  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

I wish I had known that you can get a pretty good sailboat for almost free. Then you can use the savings to fix up what you got for "free".
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  #18  
Old 04-14-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Under $5K, under 27'?
This is my world.
I am a bottom-feeder, and proud of it, because there are some very good values in some very decent small cruisers.

Regarding heads- a proper marine head is nothing to be feared. I prefer a holding tank

If you can find a Grampian 26 in decent condition- buy it.
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  #19  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Hey,

Don't get discouraged when you first start looking at older and cheaper boats. Not all of them are junk (but many are).

To get started I suggest going to lots of brokerages, speaking to brokers, and looking at lots of boats. Don't be surprised that most brokers won't do anything for you. You should try to get onto as many boats as you can. Most are comparable (O'day, Catalina, Newport, Hunter, Beneteau, Irwin, C&C, Tartan, etc etc etc) but do have differences that you need to be on-board to see and appreciate.

Don't get hung up on one particular make / model of boats. Many different boats would meed your needs. Your goal should be to find the one in the best condition you can afford.

No boat is going to be perfect. Find the one that is as close as possible.

Good luck,
Barry
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  #20  
Old 04-15-2013
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Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

The Grampian 26 is a surprisingly good sailing boat, esp upwind in a breeze. You'll never be the prettiest girl at the dance (IMO) but you'll surprise some people.
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