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  #1  
Old 08-28-2013
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Just getting started

New here. I have been doing a lot of reading on here. Learned a lot.

So I want to start sailing. I'm not new to boating been doing it most of my life. Spent a bunch of time on lake Mi at all of the island. Just new to sailboats. Me and my wife chartered a sailboat out of holland and loved it. So now we are thinking of getting one. It was amazing setting the sails and moving along with no engine nose. Got the boat moving 8.7 knots. It was a great day.

So the question is. Would someone new to sailing be over there head on a 25-30' boat?

What would a good marina on the west side of the Michigan on Lake Michigan?

Best way to get more practice sailing befor buying?

Thanks ahead of time on the feed back.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

My first sailboat was a Catalina 25. Had it for a season, during which we didn't get to use it much. It was totaled by Hurricane Sandy. I'm now on a 31'. It can be done, and is done with some regularity. Be ready for a learning curve, but it isn't THAT bad.

That being said, it's typically more instructive to get a cheap "dinghy" (14-18') and learn to sail on that for a year or two.
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Old 08-29-2013
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We went from a 26' express cruiser to a 42' sloop. It ain't brain surgery. Hopefully you already have the nav & piloting skills down.

Lakes like Macatawa work great for days when the big lake is nasty.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

I can navigate. I have been looking at Catalina 25 and 27's both seem nice and not to hard. Sailing itself does not seam to hard but sailing good will take some time to learn.

Does anyone know anything about marina on muskegon lake? I have found some from 860-1500 for a slip. Sound about right?
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

As far as the dinghy goes I don't think I could get the family to ride around on one of those. I like sailing but the kids like swimming and the wife likes the idea of camping on it.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

Many people have Catalinas, especially the 22, 25, and 27, as their first boats. Catalina built them to a price point that made it possible for people with "less-deep" pockets to be able to get into sailing, and the resale market for them benefits from it. Catalinas make great first boats (and second, third, etc.) in part because there is a MASSIVE dealer and aftermarket network. If you think about it, how often can you find parts for a 1960's to 1970's era car? It can be pretty difficult. But for Catalinas, there are companies that still make parts for 1970's era boats because they know those boats are still out there, in use. There are very few other manufacturers whose boats enjoy such a big support network. The C25 owner's association is also fantastic. They have an online forum that gets a LOT of traffic every day, and most of the questions are specific to the C25. There are people who have owned their C25's for 10-20 years on there, so you get some really amazing feedback. There's almost always someone there who has lived through whatever problem you're having. I don't know about the 27 or 30 owners' forums, but I suspect they are probably similar.

I'm a big fan of the C25. I think it is a comfortable size, but not huge. The cabin is great for 2-4 people, and the cockpit isn't bad for 2-4 adults. It's a little tight with 4, but not bad. I had the swing keel version and, if I had to do it over again, I'd probably keep looking for a wing keel. I sailed in very skinny water and had the swing keel retracted almost all of the time due to the limited depth. In retrospect, I would have probably gotten much better sailing ability if I had gone with the wing, and I would only have lost a few inches of clearance. Most C25's come with outboards (there were a few made with inboards), so if you want the simplicity of being able to take the engine off and work on it, the C25 is a great choice.

Again, I really liked my C25. That being said, in my opinion, the C27 is probably the ideal "first" boat. It sits in the "sweet spot" between small and big boats. You'll be less likely to get 2-foot-itis with the 27 than the 25. The cabin is much more comfortable, and the boat behaves pretty well, too. Many of the C27's came with inboards, too, which for many people is a plus. In a lake environment, it's probably less of an issue, but some people really like the inboard. Some have removed the inboards and switched to outboards. A decent-sized outboard (9-15 HP) should push the 27 just fine, especially in the conditions you'll encounter.

You didn't mention the C30, but since I've gone this far, I'll give you my impression of them, too. I've been aboard a few C30's, and they are SWEET boats. They are BIG, especially compared to the 25 and 27. The cockpit is fantastic if you are planning on having family/friends aboard, and the cabin is enormous. To me, the extra length and wider beam take you from feeling like you're in a cramped tent to feeling like you're in a small room. It sounds silly, but it makes a BIG difference in the comfort aboard. The down-side to the C30 as a first sailboat is that it is a LOT of boat. They are heavy, beamy, and have a fair bit of freeboard which can make it tough to handle them in windy conditions, especially as you're first starting out.

Finally, as you're coming from powerboating, make sure you understand the limitations of a displacement hull compared to a planing hull. You simply won't go FAST (in the absolute sense of the word). You'll go along quietly, and on good days you'll go faster than you could swim or walk, but you almost certainly won't go over 10MPH. As long as you're OK with that, then you'll be good.
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

You'll be fine, you said it yourself..."not new to boating". If you have time on the water you will have no trouble with the transition, just be aware of the lead thingy sticking out of the bottom(don't ask how I know...LOL).

The only disadvantage to starting out on a 25-30 is the lack of "feel" so you don't learn as much as starting on a boat that can capsize if you screw up. It may be a good idea to buy a dinghy/laser as well for you to play on alone in the "off time"...you will really learn fast on that (wear a life vest)

On the bigger boat the procedure will be :

Drive out, put up the white things, go until something gets in your way and then turn...pretty simple. Oh, remember that the boom thinghy can knock you out so watch that.

Enjoy
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Old 08-29-2013
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Re: Just getting started

The dinghy recco refers to learning curve. A dinghy will be much more responsive to the wind and to your inputs than will a larger heavier boat. This will speed up your learning curve getting you to that higher skill level more quickly. Also the smaller boats invites the new sailor to extend themselves in areas they would never attempt on a larger boat with an engine. For example learning to dock under sail.Even mooring under sail is beyond the skills of some who, for whatever reason, never learned it. While the dinghy may not be the right choice for the family situation, it's definately something to consider as you begin what could be a life long passion.

Maybe sailing lessons on a smaller keel boat or dinghy. Once you are through the basic course, you could rent the smaller boats while searching for the larger boat. Find a school teaching on J22's, Flying Scots, or, one of my favorites, the Capri 22.

Last edited by TJC45; 08-29-2013 at 12:20 PM.
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Re: Just getting started

To answer your question - no, getting a boat in the 25-30' foot range would not be over your head. I'd suggest you lean towards the 30' end of the spectrum since a 30 footer is generally more comfortable and forgiving than the average 22-25' boat.
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Re: Just getting started

One last comment, regarding dinghies. You might be surprised, but many of the smaller boats actually hold as many/more people in them than the cockpit of a bigger boat can. I had myself, mom, wife, and 2 young kids (2 and 4 at the time) onboard an American 14.5 with plenty of room left over. The little boats will get up on plane with enough wind, and can actually go faster than the big boats. That can make them a lot more fun than the big boats for kids. You can also bring along an anchor and swim off the little boats, and some even have small "cabins" where you can store a cooler or where kids (depending on their age) can hide from the sun/rain. A 14-17' boat really isn't going to let a family camp aboard, though, at least not in any approximation of comfort (some throw tarps over the boom and sleep on them, but that really only works for 2 people).
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