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vtsailguy 08-03-2010 11:07 PM

The question of ages - what boat?
Its the question that's been asked many times... what kind of boat is best for me?

OK, so, right now I am in the market for my very own boat (been borrowing a friend's 23' all summer) and I find myself asking the same question, trawling forums, books and reviews.

Got 3 young kids 3-7 years old, sail 100% on big lake (Champlain), occasionally have 1-3 guests on the boat (yes 8 is crowded on the deck of a 23'!).

Not super interested in going fast, but would like do do the odd 1-2 night trip with the whole family. I can't see us doing week long trips.

I don't think I'll be trailing the boat all over creation. Champlain has years of exploration in it, but I might bring the boat home over winter to work on it easier (we live an hour + away from the marina).

Budget is $6-9000 all in.

My conclusions so far are...

28' to 30' boats seem to be a jump in price. In my budget range that means older 70's boats.
24' seems a minimum size for young family of 5
24'-28' range seems to be 80's boats in my budget

and here is the big one....
Much of the boat price seems to be in after market equipment, and at the end of the day, much of this seems to be the same. The same electronics, motors etc etc.

So, do I go for an older boat with an older foundation (hull/rigging, etc etc) that is a little bigger, or something smaller and newer?

If I move a move, at most once a year, do I need the swing keel water ballasted trailer-R-Us boat?

Please advise!

vtsailguy 08-03-2010 11:12 PM

And one last question....

As a first starter boat... should I just be looking for the best deal I can rather than asking this question anyway?

Should I just keep an eye on sales in my state and snap up the best deal in my budget? Do I need to agonize over whether this boat or that has a 3' waterline length more than an other?

Siamese 08-03-2010 11:36 PM

In my opinion:
Get a 25 or 26 foot boat. You'll have room for your family. Fixed keel. Forget about trailering. Get a boat with an outboard so your absolute worst case scenario engine-wise is that you have to replace a totally screwed engine with a good used one (always use fresh gas, fog your engine end of season, always use Mercury or OMC not mess around with questionable oils). Catalina, Hunter, O'Day, Irwin, etc. etc., just be sure you get a survey, even in that price range.

I've had:
Grumman Flyer 16 foot / trailer
Holder 20 / trailer
Rascal 14 / trailer
Grampian 26 / cradle (great boat...had it ten+ years...a boat like this, but newer, would serve you well)
Prindle 15 catamaran / trailer
O'Day 20 / trailer
Cal 21 / trailer
Catalina 309 / cradle

mccary 08-03-2010 11:44 PM

I sail a Catalina 27. Sure it is "trailerable" but it would take a whompin big truck and an extra big trailer (empty boat is 6800 lbs). My 27 is not big enough to take 8 sailing, I had 5, including the wife and myself plus 2 adult nephews and a girlfriend, let me tell you, it was crowded. But that is me, your sailing may be different.

As for boats, there are a bundle of reasonable priced trailerable boats out there, Catalina 22 comes to mind first. Maybe you should consider a boat that can be trailered but stays in a slip durring the season. Setup and take down of even a modest sailboat is a chore for an afternoon of sailing.

Stillraining 08-04-2010 12:53 AM

Whats your wifeys favorite color? that one..:D

Just kidding................sort of......get one she likes( let her pick it out).....she will go with you more.

MarkCK 08-04-2010 01:31 AM

If you want to trailer, get the catalina 25. If you dont, get the catalina 30. The 25 seems to be more in your price range though. 9k wont buy much of a thirty footer but will buy a really nice 25 footer. If trailering isnt a consideraton but you dont want to stay in your budget go with the a Catalina 27. (you would think i am a sale rep for catalina, im not, they just build a great boat for the money.)

If you move it just once a year you can tow anything 27 foot or under. But you will need a one ton truck and you will probably need to go really slow if it is over 25 foot. Towing becomes really doable with a 26 or under with fin keel or swing keel. Water ballast is really convient and user friendly for everything except for the sailing part. A lot of people like there water ballasted boat, but I personally would stay away from them given your particular circumstances.

jimq26 08-04-2010 08:47 AM

Here's a link for you
You may be able to get a good idea of what Grampians are for sale in your area from this website - Model

We find our G-26 is best with 2 adults and 2 grandkids (18 & 16). Not crowded, everyone gets a bit of privacy. You can actually sit 12 people in the cockpit of a G-26, so there's lots of room outside as well.

bljones 08-04-2010 08:56 AM

Your budget will juuuuuust buy you a "no frills" or "needs updating" Catalina with an outboard but you'll be throwing money at it over the next 2-3 seasons adding on and/or replacing electronics, sails, rigging, etc. Or, your budget will buy you an updated and well equipped Grampian 26, Tanzer 26,... or here's a Tanzer 27 in your neck of the woods:
1983 Tanzer 27 Sail Boat For Sale -

Yeah, the electronics are outdated, but it comes with an inboard diesel and two items that I think are imperative if you are travelling with guests and children- a door to the head and a v-berth door.

sailingdog 08-04-2010 09:02 AM

I'd point out that most of the electronics, unless they're brand new, aren't really contributing much to the value of a boat. I'd recommend you get something trailerable with the trailer, as that can greatly reduce storage costs and makes doing work on your boat a lot simpler—even if you opt to keep the boat in a slip or on a mooring for the season.

I'd also recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I started, as it will help you determine whether any of the boats you look at are even worth going forward on, saving you the price of a survey on boats that aren't worth looking at further.

vtsailguy 08-04-2010 09:54 AM

I have a Tundra and access to a Ford 350. I guess I'd need to keep an eye out for a boat that comes with a trailer.

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