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post #1 of 18 Old 09-11-2016 Thread Starter
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Geting started in the PacNorWest.

I am just looking at getting into sailing, with the thought that unlike motorcycle riding itís a hobby I can share with my family of four (my wife , 3yo son, and 4mo daughter) I live in Oak Harbor a little town in the northern Puget sound. The question is what is the best way to get started? I am making some friends at the Marina and am planning on getting a pocket cruiser (the San Juan 24 stands out due to the fleet already hear and low entry cost) and over the next year or so and do weekend cruises and day sails. If there are other suggestions I would love to hear them. Any one have ideas for making sailing fun for toddlers? I was also wondering how often it is possible to go sailing in the winter up hear if at all. Thanks for any help or support.
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post #2 of 18 Old 09-12-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

Sounds like you're starting out with the right ideas.

Personally the SJ24 would be a bit tight for a family, and a tad twitchy besides. I think you'd be better off with something even just a little bit bigger.. the ubiquitous Catalina 27, a Ranger 29, or a Cal 27 eg would be much more comfortable.

Try hanging out at local clubs - maybe get on a crew of a local race boat - nothing too serious but often there's pretty casual club racing on weekends and summer evenings.

Kids LOVE the beach.. sand, rocks, doesn't really matter. Finding crabs under rocks, wading at low tide around sand dollars, hunting the upper tidal regions for sea glass, if you're cruising with kids make time for shore time. The love of books can help pass the time under way. Getting them involved in the boat handling, even just 'looking out' for something, or 'helping' to grind in a sheet can keep them interested. Seals and birds are almost always in view, and occasional whales as well. They'll even find Freighters fascinating!

Winter sailing up here depends on how dedicated you are. But, as the saying goes, 'there's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing'. Good gear is the key, as well as keeping an eye on the weather forecasts (it is possible to have too much of a good thing)

Best of luck, lots of help here on this forum. Welcome!
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post #3 of 18 Old 09-12-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

Good advice. I would add that in my experience, small kids (and by extension, their primary caregiver aboard) have a time limit of 1-2 hours before boredom kicks in and they become a handful. Make sure you've got games, coloring books, iPads, and any other things they find distracting aboard the boat. Pick your destinations within this window or close to it. As they get older, their patience will grow but I find that my family still greatly prefers a 4 hour trip to a 6 hour trip.

Lastly, don't buy a sailboat only to find that your family is terrified of heeling, prone to seasickness, etc. Best to charter and/or get rides on friends' boats for a while first.
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post #4 of 18 Old 09-12-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

I think its really difficult to take up sailing with 2 little kids on board. Essentially, unless your wife is a total trooper you are worse off than single handing. Sorry to say this, but just want to give you the realistic view. Its a labor intensive hobby so make sure you get roller jib furling, and makes sure the entire situation, from the dock to the stability and comfort of the boat you chose, the boat yard, where and in what conditions you sail - all of it should be as stress free as possible.

Even then you should prepare yourself with training and practice long before they ever join you on board. Its a very demanding situation you are taking your family into, but its also potentially very rewarding.
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post #5 of 18 Old 09-12-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

Thank you all for the input! I am currently crewing a SJ24 with the owner and although I haven't had a chance to get into the local races (I work Thursday nights) I hope to next year. I guess I will look at chartering something small. for a few day trips with the wife when the weather is good and we can find sitters, then maybe next year see how the kids take to it. I really aprecheat the impute and just thought that this might be like camping but a bit more fun.
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post #6 of 18 Old 10-03-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

So after looking around and doing some recurch I have plan to enroll my wife in a weekend (night spend on the boat) ASA101 cores in the spring, and depending on her reaction start looking for a boat next summer. Some of you suggested that a SJ24 would not be the best boat for weekend and the ochanal longer sail for a small family of 4. the issue is that buy going longer then 26 feet the moorage rate tipples (oak harbor chargers only 55 a month during the winter for boats >26ft. So the question is are there boats out there that are in the 24-26ft range that can accommodate two adults under 5ft7 and two kids under 7years old? anything inpetcluar that I should be looking for?
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

Families DO cruise on small boats.. some of them even have dogs aboard too.

At the end of the day you need enough space for everyone to sleep, and be able to move around in the cockpit without stepping on toes too often.

The SJ24 is on the smallish size, but would do the job (though the cockpit, IMO, is the biggest limitation) I'd look for a boat with 4 real berths and a reasonably roomy cockpit.

A Catalina 22 or 25, Ranger 26, Kent Ranger 24, probably have better cockpits.

If you can crack the 26 ft mark, the options become much more numerous and disproportionately more spacious.

Having lived with a larger boat it's a bit hard to imagine cramming that many people in such a small space.. but there are plenty who have done it (perhaps even some of those saying - now - that it's not a great idea.)

How 'doable' it is depends on the doers. A close family, all keeners, can probably get it done.

Scared/nervous/unhappy campers? probably not - but in that case size probably won't matter either.

Ron

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post #8 of 18 Old 11-03-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

I would recommend a small C&C.
24ft, 26Ft
Why C&C, I had a C&C 24, Mine was a real project boat but you can find nice ones. lots of small C&Cs around. Weekend Cruising with wife and 3 young kids bit older than yours but we had a ball.

Lots of places to visit, We would pull into Rosario, Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor tie up beside much bigger boats and 5 of us would clime out. always had a great reception.

Years later I always enjoy seeing a young family out in a little basic boat. The San Juans and SGI are a great place to sail, lots of short trips to marine parks and quite anchorages.

Catalinas are nice and they have 22, 25, 27. lots around if you don't like the first one there is another round the corner.

There are all kinds of others in similar age group and price range.
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post #9 of 18 Old 11-03-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

For 2 adults + 2 kids I'd definitely consider a slightly larger boat. Catalina 27 is small for four adults but would probably work for you. They are very simple to maintain and there are lots around. If you and your wife are both under 5'7", then you can likely both sleep in the V-berth. I don't know that you will find too many boats smaller than that that work for your family.

I'd look for an actual head rather than a Porta-Potti stashed under a berth. A big cockpit is a plus as well.
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post #10 of 18 Old 11-03-2016
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Re: Geting started in the PacNorWest.

I have a Beneteau First 235. Very well designed pocket cruiser. Have a serious look at one. Most people don't realize how great a boat they are. A friend just bought one as well and he has a 3 and 5 year old and they love being on the boat. The rear berth under the cockpit is a fun place for kids to sleep, hang out... there is a port there too so they can look out the back of the boat down there. Most have marine heads and double burner stoves. Performs well and is easy to sail. There is one for sail very well equipped, I am close friends with the previous owner, in Oregon. Beneteau First 235 Forums :: View topic - 1987 First 235 WK - Nereid (fmr. Jackdaw) - Bend, Oregon

Definitely another option.

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