Learned a lot last night
I just signed on yesterday and after finishing payroll and billing I dug in with both heels and read several of the articles then after dinner started a sailing book I got at the library. I learned a lot, of course anything would have been a lot, and a few things came back to me from all those years ago playing in my neighbors little boat. Now I have a few questions....
I guess the first one is that as I am looking at such a small boat, 12-16 or 18 footer, am I on the right website? Seems most everyone has considerably larger boats and sails more open water. Obviously, being in the Mssouri Ozarks, I'm going to be relegated to inland waters and mostly small lakes. Do you fella's even fool with fish so small as me?
If you do, and I hope so!!!!, do you have any recommendations of particular boats and any makers to choose or stay away from. I guess anything I need to know when out kicking tires.....uhhhh....sails!
As with any new hobby I expect knowing what the wife and I would like to do as "sailors", (and man do I use that term loosely when describing us!!!). Mostly our waters will be as described, inland lakes from a couple hundred acres to several thousand acres. Day trips only for now. Probably taking a friend along occasionally but only two in the boat. I would imagine enough storage for lunches, fishing equipment and the like. Obviously the boat will have to be trailerable. I'd like fast but not interested in racing at all. Stability and ease of operation are the major concerns.
Thoughts on whether fiberglass or wood and perhaps building a sail boat. I've been in construction for 32 years and am quite adept with my hands and have most tools I would need.....I suspect patience is a desired quality and I am that. I am particular to the point of being anal about it. I also already know how to work with fiberglass.
I'm thinking a boat up to 20 feet with a marconi mainsail and jib, a cuddy cabin if I can find one like that. It will have to have a daggerboard due to the shllawness of most lakes we'll be on. Other than that I'm without knowledge.
As an aside....can a spinnaker be put on a boat like that?
You are correct that there a lot of folks on here with mid-large sized coastal cruising boats and a quite a few with true blue water boats and the experience to take them anywhere. However there are also a lot of lake sailors with smaller boats on the board as well so I think you'll be able to find some value here. That said, I personally won't be much help because I have no small boat experience.
Welcome aboard and good luck.
Not to worry, no matter what boat we have now, most of us here started in small boats (my first was an 8-ft sailing pram).
My advice to you would be to check out the lakes where you plan to sail to see what other sailors have. Ask around, most sailors will be more than happy to talk about their boats. Also you may find some suitable boats for sale with trailer. In this economy you can probably get a pretty good deal.
As for recommendations, there are a lot of good pocket cruisers around. There's a West Wight Potter at our marina believe its about 15 feet. Owner bought it new for about $11k and that included everything including an outboard, trailer and sails. Very nice, well made little boat with a cuddy cabin.
A flying scot is a fun boat, not blistering fast by any means but they're easy to sail on, trailerable, no cabin though.
If you stretch your budget to say 20-22 feet then you have a lot of options for small fun boats w/ cabins.
I also started small, and built my first sailboat (an 11' dinghy). There are plenty of companies selling plans and kits, and forums dedicated to it. Start with Chesapeake Light Craft, and the Woodenboat Forum. Do a search online. Small boats are great. Even though I own a 39' ketch that I brought 1200 miles home, I still own 13' and 19' daysailors that I love. I will suggest that very small boats, say 13' or less, are tight for two adults. You're on target thinking 18' or 20'. If you buy, Catalina 22 is ubiquitous and popular.
Vic, read AllThumbs thread about his project boat. He was in the same boat you were (pun intended) about a year and a half ago.
I built a dinghy myself last winter. We ain't just a bunch of bigboat cruisers around here, y'know.
A daggerboard isn't necessary. Many centerboard boats are just as capable of shoal draft sailing, and a centerboard is far less likely to break or cause damage in a grounding, since most will kick up and retract in such an impact.
There are a lot of very capable trailer sailor boats, and some are larger than you'd think. For instance... my boat is a trailer sailor and capable of sailing in water less than 2' deep....but also capable of handling the conditions of Buzzards Bay and the north Atlantic. :)
If you're looking to build a boat that is one thing, but building a boat takes time, and if you'd rather be using the boat this upcoming season, buying makes more sense. Some boats that might work for you:
The Compac series of boats
The smaller Catalinas, Hunters or Jeanneaus
Many of the trailerable sport trimarans, like my Telstar 28. :) Although these are probably bigger than you want or need.
I'd point out that a trimaran is going to be far more stable than a monohull and is also going to make a better fishing platform due to the fact that you can fish from the area between the main hull and the amas.
Yes, you can put a spinnaker on most of these boats...but an asymmetric spinnaker or screacher would be a far better suggestion. An Asym or screacher is easier to handle, deploy, etc.
Lots of small boats
Being one of the small boat sailors hanging out here I will just drop a few names of boats in your direction.
Flying Scot - obviously a great boat, can be pulled by almost anything, stable, fun, etc
Thistle - similar to a Scot but a little less comfortable, that said it has a little more speed in low winds
Lightning - similar performance to a Thistle with many more lines to pull if you want
Buccaneer (18') - originally made by Chrysler, many builders since then, it has a reputation as a very fun but tippy boat, good for adventurous adults, probably not for young kids
Boston Whaler Harpoon - yes they made a sailboat, unsinkable, difficult to find these days
All of the above boats can fly a spinnaker.
Some other smaller boats
Some slightly bigger boats
As others mentioned - look around your area to see what there is, read, ask questions, and figure out what you really want. I find a 18' dinghy perfect for the inland lakes. It is easily transportable, comfortable for the family, and I don't need a cabin to sleep in.
Visit local sailing lakes and clubs and find out what sailboats are most common in your area. If a certain sailboat is available in your area in larger numbers than others, that means there's probably a dealer in the area, selling the boat. If there's a local dealer, then parts, repairs and advice are available locally. It also means there'll be a market for your boat, if you want to sell it. Also, an important aspect of sailing is socializing with other sailors. You develop a new circle of friends with common interests, who are eager to share what they know. Join a local sailing club.
I respectfully disagree with the negative comments about Catalinas. I owned a Catalina 25 with the optional tall rig for many years, and it was not, by any means, slow. It could often beat the local fleet of J24s in light air, and commonly beat many of them to the windward mark.
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