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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 06-25-2004
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surf_n_turf is on a distinguished road
SF Bay - California Coast down to Central America

Hello all, I am very new to sailing and have just completed my basic keel and basic cruising courses. I have sailed on a limited amount of boats, and am now looking to start the process of buying one for myself. I read the boards here fairly completely, and need a limit bit more help.

I am thinking that this process is going to take about 2 years to get everything ready to go, and one of my first "to-do''s" is to begin by getting the right boat. From what I''ve read... Comfort, Function, Sailablity, and Price are all related, so I figured I would list my needs in those areas and maybe someone could point me in the right direction.

PRICE: Around 80K (should be ready to sail and look clean with some extras)

FUNCTION: San Francisco Bay down the coast to Baja and Mexico Proper. This is the boats main purpose. Is it reasonable to look for a boat that can do those trips as well as Costa Rica, Panama Canal and over to the Carribean as well? Not interested in sailing across the pacific or the atlantic, but Gulf of mexico and caribean would be a nice vacation if time and finance afford me the option. BUT THE MAIN PURPOSE SHOULD BE BAY - BAJA - MEXICO.

COMFORT - Would like to be able to sleep 4 with comfort and have it be a nice "sailboat spacious" place to eat and chill. If I had 6 on the boat I would expect some cramming, and maybe people sleeping in "super tight" quarters on overnight cruises. The occassion bender on the bay of 8 might be nice during the day.

SAILABILTY - This might be my number one qualifer. I am not as concerned with SPEED (although, I realize speed can help you stay out of storms, and get places in a hurry) as I am with stability and safety. I want a boat that (assuming my training continues to go well) will be safe in the areas mentioned above and be easy for 2-3 people to man. Not looking to solo. I know that no boat can make up for an inexperienced crew, or lack of skill, but I want to back my skill and upcoming experience with a "STABLE AND SAFE BOAT".

I am sorry if this isn''t enough information, I am just looking for some starting points so that I can focus my learning time and research in the right places.

IF I AM LIVING IN A FANTASY WORLD LET ME KNOW.

Thanks.
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Old 06-27-2004
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BobIdyll3 is on a distinguished road
SF Bay - California Coast down to Central America

Your thinking is good, but it''s too soon to buy- you really don''t know what you want yet. Spend some time sailing as many different boats as you can, and you''ll learn a lot about what you like and don''t like in a boat. Join a sailing club, hang out at yacht clubs, whatever, but get on as many boats as you can. If you are really 2 years away, there''s no hurry to buy something now.
Happy hunting...
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Old 06-28-2004
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WHOOSH is on a distinguished road
SF Bay - California Coast down to Central America

S&T;

There''s surely nothing wrong with your basic plan. But here''s the snag: yes, you really need more on-the-water experience and more time shopping (and scrounging in the bilges of) boats...but two years is hardly loads of time before you need to start using your own. In fact, two years is roughly the minimum time I''d recommend people give themselves to prep a boat before taking off to remote spots. This isn''t JUST to have the time to buy and install some equipment. How does she sail, in what conditions? How does the rig need to be modified (how about an inner stay for that 40 kt blow most folks will tell you is coming on your way south)? And out of the infinite # of choices, which gear do you most need that your budget can support? And after installing "stuff", shouldn''t it get a good shakedown - especially the important stuff like a vane (or autopilot), DC electrical system, and how full your tool box is?

We started looking at just the kind of trip you plan back in the mid-70''s and truthfully, it was easier to do so back then. E.g. a friend bought a Cal 34 - simple, good sailer, few systems, did well if the engine packed up - and took off for 6 months, had a ball, spent little beyond the base purchase price (which was also modest, even for that time) and he never knew he needed to worry about all these systems and choices. Moreover, if a time warp and allowed him to sail back up to San Diego today, he''d have a much better idea about which mods he truly needed vs. all the things that vendors, manufacturers, magazines and ''experts'' are pushing on someone in your shoes.

Get on the water, but also get reading and get shopping. Look for something in the 32-35'' range with a good rep, less than 10 years old, with few but quality systems, and BELOW the budget target you''ve set...and see what you find. I''d bet you''ll have multiple choices within 3 months that you''ll feel very good about.

Good luck to you!

Jack
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Old 06-28-2004
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surf_n_turf is on a distinguished road
SF Bay - California Coast down to Central America

I think I may have communicated poorly my exact intentions.

First off all thank you for the great advice so far. To address both of the above posts first concern, I plan on spending a lot of time on the water over the next year or so. As well as spending a good year or so working on and sailing "my boat" in the bay and maybe on some shorter "out of the bay runs" just to get a feel for her before I go galavanting off into the sunset. I appreciate the concern from both of you.

What I am really looking for is a place to start. BRANDS - LENGTHS - THINGS TO LOOK FOR WHEN SAILING OTHER BOATS - PRICE RANGES TO EXPECT - EQUIPMENT TO LOOK FOR - WHAT EQUIP IS FLUFF AND WHAT IS MUST HAVE, ETC, for this type of crusing in those areas.

I plan on speding plenty of time preparing myself my boat. I want to know what type of boats I should start "chartering for day" or "bumming rides on", what type of equipment I need to start researching, and also what type of savings plan I need to start so I can save the money for this beauty.

When it comes to safety and being ready, I assure you, I am over cautious, and more paranoid than most out there.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 06-30-2004
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SF Bay - California Coast down to Central America

S&T:

You''re asking a question similar to which lady you should marry, I''m afraid. Any of us can hand out a list of boats...but are they suitable for you?

You have access monthly to the free Latitude 38. Perhaps it would be helpful to work thru the ads in that mag, sift out the brokers that are in your area, and begin visiting some boats. You should instantly find you are drawn to some and pushed away from others. To the extent you work on building your knowledge base thru reading while doing this, some exposure to boats (vs. BB posts like mine) will prove useful.

What do you need for that trip? Almost any sound boat with basic systems (water tankage, engine, easily adjustable sail plan, basic DC system) can make that trip. What YOU want - and therefore think you need - is much more about you than it is about boats.

Good luck on the hunt.

Jack
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