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  #1  
Old 01-31-2012
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Small Weekender Suggestions

I'm looking for my first sailboat to learn to sail in the 22' to 26' range. I live on a canal with a dock, but must pass under a low bridge (about 10') to get to the Inter-coastal. I would appreciate any suggestions on a boat that wouldn't be too difficult to raise the mast, while in the water, after motoring under the bridge.
I've seen that Com-Pac has a 21' with a hinged Mast, but they are newer and more than I want to spend. A friend mentioned that the Hunter 23.5 may be a good choice. Any suggestions, or if it's a bad idea, are appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Raising and lowering the mast everytime you sail, and while in the water? Seems like a real PITA to me. However, I admittedly have a very low tolerance for that kind of thing. My two cents (adjusted for inflation): find a friend with a trailerable sailboat, and try to raise and lower the mast under the types of conditions you expect. See if it is tolerable.

Once you answer that question, you can start to narrow down your boat choices. All trailerable sailboats have masts that are made to be regularly raised and lowered. Some require A-frames to help; some can be done without additional equipment. You will have to try out some choices. You may find that the twenty five foot mast on a 22 foot boat is too much to raise and lower under your conditions, but a twenty foot mast on an 18 foot boat is doable. In short, I wouldn't start to look at specific boats until you get a better sense of what is possible for you. You run the risk of becoming "boat-struck" on a particular model even if you will have great trouble raising and lowering the mast; once that happens, you may just give up entirely instead of enjoying to sail with a different boat.
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Old 01-31-2012
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Check out the McGregor line,,,up to 26'
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Old 01-31-2012
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I would opt for a flush-deck boat, if you're going to be raising and lowering the mast a lot. An older Cal 25 or 24, Islander Bahama, Columbia Challenger, etc. would be examples. With that small a boat the extra uncluttered space a flush deck gives you will be a real help when wrestling with the mast. But, with the proper set-up, and a bit of experience, it's not all that hard a thing to do.
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Old 02-01-2012
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Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll take a look at these boats and try and find some users and see what they think. I realize it might be a PITA...lol , but it might be the best solution for me as I already own a dock with ocean access, so it would really be nice to motor out from my backyard instead of paying a marina, or trailering, which I think would be a bigger PITA. There's a ramp and Marina 2 miles from my house, but still.
I could anchor in open water on the inter-coastal, but not sure if I want to leave it unattended so much, always an option.
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Old 02-01-2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenfla View Post
Thanks for all your suggestions. I'll take a look at these boats and try and find some users and see what they think. I realize it might be a PITA...lol , but it might be the best solution for me as I already own a dock with ocean access, so it would really be nice to motor out from my backyard instead of paying a marina, or trailering, which I think would be a bigger PITA. There's a ramp and Marina 2 miles from my house, but still.
I could anchor in open water on the inter-coastal, but not sure if I want to leave it unattended so much, always an option.
I have to agree that you should try repeatedly raising and lowering the mast on anything before raking the plunge. It may be more of a pain in the ass than you imagine.

Can you trailer to the ramp with the mast up? That might be the easiest solution.
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Old 02-01-2012
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I'm not one that enjoys doing things the hard way, so I'll seriously consider the advice that this may be too much trouble. Maybe I can talk to some locals who have moored their boats on open water. There are plenty of boats in my area that do that. Maybe I will just get a bigger boat and tender out from my dock. I saw at a 34 Columbia I may be interested in. I'm sure you all tire of these newbie questions, so I appreciate you all taking the time to respond and giving me some sound advice.
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Old 02-01-2012
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If you do feel that raising and lowering the mast is your best option I would look for a boat in the 15-18 foot range. The masts are smaller lighter and much more manageable. A 22 foot mast would be very dificult and I am not sure that 26 is even feasible.
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Old 02-01-2012
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I'm not sure I should be even suggesting this but does the bridge you have to go under have a walkway/sidewalk on both sides of the road?
It would be a lot easier (in some ways) to have someone 10' above deck holding the mast while you raise and lower it. Still sounds like a PITA but I've used an overhanging tree limb as a simple crane with some lines and a block. Necessity is the mother of ...
Mast stepping/unstepping is a bit of a PITA but if you get a good system down it can be done pretty easily. For the MacGregor 26 models and probably Hunter 26 (and other water ballasted boats) they sell a fairly cheap mast raising system (essentially a 'Gin Pole' - google that!). You can make your own similar setup for probably a lot less too.

You could also persuade some ships captain to take the bridge out for you!
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