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  #1  
Old 03-25-2008
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Right boat for my needs, east coast.

I live in NJ and know nothing about sailing. This is where I am starting my search. I am 40 yr's old with a wife and four children. I am looking for a getaway boat!

I would like a boat I can grow with, I don't want to jump to a larger boat 6 yrs from now when I learn more. I want a boat I can use more as I learn.

I need a boat I can use in the Delaware River and out into the Chesapeak Bay. I would like to get up the coast to some bays off NJ and possibly to NY in a few years.

Years after, God willing, I would like to possibly cruise down to Florida, Bahamas, keys and gulf.

If I live to retirement possilbly the Caribians and South America.

Is it possible to find a boat that can grow with my wife and I that can do all this. Mostly us two. mybe a day trip with the kids.

Looking to stay around 28-32 ft and affordable, used is ok. I know, It's a dream.

Thanks
Shane
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Old 03-25-2008
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When you say you know nothing about sailing, is that because you've never been on a sailboat, or that you don't know how to sail? Or, both?
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Old 03-25-2008
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I have spent my whole life around motor boats. I have owned 18' outboards for fishing and crabbing. I worked at Jersey Yachts installing twin diesels. Spent nights on deep sea fishing boats, and bay liners.

But I have always admired the sails from afar. I have only had the opportunity to be on one sailboat and loved it (light wind, back bay) not real world, but fun anyway.

I love it on the water, it's my getaway. But as I get older I find myself longing for the sail rather than the motor. Sailing seems more like a craft, an art, than just going out boating.
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Old 03-25-2008
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Ok, the first thing that comes to mind, is that it's hard to buy a boat, when you don't really know what you want. That's as in, what you want on the boat, what you need on the boat, and what you don't need on the boat. While I can understand your desire to buy a boat you'll grow into, I think you would be better off getting something a bit smaller first, so you'll have a better idea of what to look for in a "keeper". This would also give you the chance to know if this is really what you want to do.

A decent 25-26 footer can be had for under $10k, while having room enough for 2 adults and 4 children (providing they aren't too large). After 2 or 3 seasons, and while you're saving up, then you could start looking for a larger boat. This way, you'll know it's what you want to do, and have a much better idea of what to look for, without having made a major investment.

I'm not an expert, but to my thinking, that would be your best course of action. Best wishes on living your dream.
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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What should I look for in a good starter boat. One that can handle the Delaware & Chesapeake Bays and maybe some off NJ shoreline (shore in sight). I would like to get a little offshore experience when I get the right training.

If I feel adventurous and after a lot of training (& possibly with someone who has sailed a lot) could a smaller boat travel down the Delaware (Philadelphia area) out the Delaware Bay and up the coast line to NY City around the city and back?

Could a 1973 27' Catalina Dinette Model do this? (yes that is what started me thinking about it) A friend has one he will sell me for $4000. This is just an option, but I want the right boast!

Thanks
Shane
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Yes, that boat could ..... if it is sound, and you have enough experience.

There are many articles and threads on buying a boat, that would be very helpful for the first time buyer. Use the search function at the top of the page to locate them. Right now, I think doing some research is the best thing to do.
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Full, is the spirit, that thinks not, of falling.
True, is the soul, that hesitates not, to give.
Alive, is the one, that believes, in love.
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Old 03-25-2008
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Please be aware that sailing in the Delaware bay and in the Chesapeake bay are to far, far, different things. Shipping traffic is very heavy on the Delaware bay along with the short chop of the waves and the current often is very strong.
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I can use Delaware to the C&D Canal then jump over. Motor when unsure. Untill I get the training.

Can a Catalina handle both?

Last edited by Dreamclean; 03-25-2008 at 11:18 AM. Reason: more info.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dreamclean View Post
I can use Delaware to the C&D Canal then jump over. Motor when unsure.

Last March I moved a boat with my daughter. We came around Cape May and turned up to the Delaware Bay. There was a period for almost 2 hours with the sails out and motor running, I don't think we gained 100 yards due to the current. We did see lots of ships ........
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Can a Catalina 27 handle both? I think the short answer is yes, but as others have said, how well depends on your skill level. The Catalina 27 was designed and built as an entry-level coastal cruiser. Assuming you have the necessary skills, it will deliver you safely. It is a great boat to start with. However, I will tell you that it will be cramped in that cockpit with six people, even if four of them are small. It really is about the smallest affordable boat there is that has standing headroom and an inboard engine. If you and your family decide that cruising is for you, you will be trading up in much less than six years. One of the best things about older Catalina's is that they hold their value well. If you maintain the boat, you should be able to sell it for what you paid for it. Sail on as many boats as possible, find out what features are important to you and your family, and choose your next boat with those and your actual (not "maybe someday") cruising needs in mind.
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