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Pcpk 06-10-2013 10:05 PM

Good First Boat
Looking to buy my first boat and looking for any suggestions/advice. Will be sailing in and around NY Harbor, LI Sound and will be mooring in a river so think I need a shoal draft. I'm a novice so looking for something easy to sail and that will sleep at least 2 couples...thinking 30-35 feet and spending $10-15k so used obviously. Thanks!

SlowButSteady 06-10-2013 10:36 PM

Re: Good First Boat
Get a dinghy and sail the Bejesus out of it. When you feel that you really know how to sail, THEN move up to a smaller (20-foot-ish) keelboat. When you get tired of that, THEN start looking at bigger boats -- at that point you'll be in a much better position to make a choice you won't come to regret.

FlyingJunior 06-10-2013 10:45 PM

Good First Boat
Or, life is short, buy the boat you want now. I will defer to the residents experts as to recommendations....( you can be a novice and still buy a keelboat)

BarryL 06-10-2013 10:47 PM

Re: Good First Boat

Your budget will get you a boat from the late 70's, early 80's. There are lots to choose from. Some likely choices would be Catalina 27, 30, Pearson 30, O'day 28, 30, Newport 28, 80, Tartan 30, Sabre 28, Hunter 30, Beneteau 30, etc etc etc.

Go to a few brokerages and look around and see what you like and don't like. Do you want / need hot and cold pressure water? What about refrigeration / DC electrical system / solar power?

Good luck,

bnaylor 06-10-2013 11:00 PM

Good First Boat
Pcpk: I wouldn't want to start out with a 30-footer for my first boat - way more boat than is practical for a novice's first boat. SlowButSteady outlined the ideal approach; but, not everyone is able to follow that path. Our "starter boat" was a Catalina-22. Sunk cost of about 3.5K, great for learning, and big enough for my family of four and occasional guests for frequent day sails and the occasional over-nighter on the lake. It would be pretty tight for sleeping 2-adult couples though. Point being - you would do well to start smaller, enjoy that first boat to the fullest while you build your skills and experience, and plan for that next boat with the learnings from your first boat in mind.

After 2-years of sailing, I've discovered I still have much to learn and that my "starter" boat works great for most of the sailing that I actually do, and that my old boat still has plenty to teach me.

Whatever you do, all the best and welcome to the community.

CalebD 06-10-2013 11:20 PM

Re: Good First Boat
Which river in the LI/NYC area do you plan on keeping your boat moored in?
You may not really need a shoal draft boat for, say the Hudson River.

Bigger boats have more systems and more stuff to fix, clean & maintain but can be more comfortable in the long run.

My T27' would be a little tight for 2 couples on an overnight but the shoal draft (3'6" board up) make it a good choice for the shallower spots. My boat also has pretty simple systems so a bit less to maintain.

tweitz 06-11-2013 08:09 AM

Good First Boat
I agree with CalebD. A river doesn't tell you if you need shoal draft, your sailing waters are the determinant.

jimgo 06-11-2013 10:14 AM

Re: Good First Boat
I agree with a lot of the advice above. The ideal approach, IMHO, is to start with a small boat (12-16') and sail that for a few years, then move up to a mid-20's (22, 25, 27) before going to a big boat. Small boats teach you how to react quickly, and to appreciate how subtle changes in trim can change the boat's behavior. Medium boats teach you how expensive boating can be, what your physical limitations are, and help you understand what your actual use-cases will be when sailing. That knowledge helps you make an informed decision when you finally plop down the chunk of change for your "real" boat in 5-7 years.

All of the above, by the way, is do-able on the $10-15K budget. I bought a 15' Albacore for $100 including the trailer. I bought a Catalina 25 for $1000. And I bought my Allmand for $6,000. Of course, I didn't buy them in that order; I did the C25 first. That taught me two things: the NJ shore was too far from my home to let me sail as often as I'd REALLY like, and my local lake was much to small for any kind of extended "cruising" or overnighting that my kids would enjoy. That's how I wound up with two boats. I also learned a lot about how WE use the boat (everyone is different), what kinds of cockpit/cabin layouts were desirable for us, etc. That being said, I learned to sail on 14' and 19' boats before buying the Catalina (classes in the USVI and our local lake), and think that was invaluable.

So, have you seen any boats that you think might be interesting? Are you looking for a boat that you can "live" on with 2 couples for several days, or are you OK with "camping" in the boat? A C25 will let two couples "camp" in the boat, if you go with the traditional layout. The V-berth is just big enough for two average sized adults. With a little work on your end, the salon can be turned into a queen-sized bed. But you'll have to break it down each morning, which makes it more like camping and less like overnighting in a hotel.

TQA 06-11-2013 09:51 PM

Re: Good First Boat
35 ft in good nick for 15 k might be a tall order but here is a nice looking 1984 Catalina 30with IB diesel and the tall rig for that money.

As others have said where you intend to keep it will control the max draft. Ask the locals [ actual keelboat sailors ] what you can get away with.

Re learning to sail on a 30 footer, find someone who knows what they are doing and get them to take you out a couple of times. Sailing is not rocket science, it is mostly common sense. Play around with a double reefed main and half the genoa until yo suss it out.

melliott0352 06-11-2013 10:49 PM

Re: Good First Boat
have a good condition 30 catalina for sale under 15K, berthed in noak Ct.

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