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  #11  
Old 01-07-2011
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My brother and I bought a 25' boat because it was cheap and all we could afford at the time. We didn't overanalyze whether it would be the perfect boat forever, actually didn't put too much thought into it other than we wanted a sailboat. Absolutely loved that boat and used the heck out of it on Lake Washington in Seattle. Sold it for what we paid for it a couple of years later to move up to a bigger boat (29') then a bigger boat (34') then a bigger boat (40').
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  #12  
Old 01-07-2011
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fwiw, I got a 1988 macgregor 26D. *(not the powersailor with larger 40+ hp)

best trailer boat for its size and price (IMHO). its a stepping stone.

largest berth in a boat under 40', fast to setup, and low weight (water balast), plus the user community is strong, and helpful.

- I wanted to see if I could actually sleep on a sailboat...

this is a low displacement hull, and a larger boat will handle differrently. also the outboard is not ideal for ocean sailing, but a diesel or gas inboard is crazy for a small trailer boat.

and the resale is strong. hard to get hurt there.

this said, I'd love to have a catalina34 (or sabre 34) but my budget loves the trailer sailor....

(around here annual slips START at 650/mo. )
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  #13  
Old 01-07-2011
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Start Smaller

Hell, I just boat my second boat (Catalina 310 ) knowing it wouldn't be my last boat. Unless you have an unlimited budget, you will most likely always want something bigger or different.

My recommendation would be to start with something small, in the 22-25 size. (My first boat was a C&C 24) Some of the key things to think about is where you will be sailing and how you will be sailing.

If your area has a lot of shallow areas, you might want to consider something with a swing keel. Then you can simply lift the keel when (not if but when) you run aground.

Another thing is who will be sailing with you. If you have a wife or girlfriend (or both ) that will be sailing with you, consider getting something with an actual head, not a porta potty. You will be more likely to get them on the boat more often.

Also, most of us do the majority of maintenance required to our own boats. It is better to practice that on the cheaper boat before getting something nice.

If you gave us an idea of budget, we could suggest some boats to look at.

To me, the most important thing is to actually do it. Don't sit around waiting for that perfect boat for your first boat. Get out there and start sailing.

Good luck.
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  #14  
Old 01-07-2011
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We always bought the boat that was right for us at the time and most important, that we could easily afford. Since I was a kid, I've like going places in boats, either racing or cruising. Before we had a boat, we used OPBs as part of racing crew. The only point was to get on the water.

We never looked so far ahead that we had to settle for something that we didn't really want. We just wanted to get on the water. Of course, I coveted certain boats, but it never led to dissatisfaction. I think that focusing too much on a far off dream is a recipe for lifelong frustration. Mostly, we just use what we have for today's purposes.

Our first boat was a GP-14 because I wanted a small boat to teach my new wife to sail. Having taught sailing, I feel that people learn to sail much better on small boats without having to think about all the big boat junk. We wanted to cruise a bit, so after 3 years bought a Sabre 28. We sailed that for 15 years and then wanted something with more creature comforts that could comfortably house our family. So we bought our Sabre 38. Now I'm thinking about something small like an International 14 that I can fly around on. I'd like something to just sail.

Bottom Line- We've been content with every boat that we've had since it matched our purpose at the time.
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  #15  
Old 01-07-2011
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Don't buy a boat you don't like. If you don't like her, you won't take care of her, and she likely won't like you very much either.
BUT, at this point you don't have enough experience to know what you like and what you don't like, or what you need, or even what will suit your needs. You need to a) take a deep breath and sit down and outline exactly what you need in a boat, what you want and what your real world budget is, then,
b) do some dockwalking and get a better idea of what is really important to you.
Do you want to cruise? Do you want to race? Do you want a boat that will not drain your bucket of luck before you fill your cup of experience?

There are big small boats and small big boats. For example, a Tanzer 28 has more room than a Catalina or Hunter 30, and a lot more room than an Alberg 29, and a Georgian 23 is much more livable than a Venture 23.

if you can find a tanzer 22, you might find that it is the best of all worlds. A decent pocket cruiser with a solid club racing fleet, lots of spares availbale and a boat that you won't quickly outgrow.
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  #16  
Old 01-07-2011
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After sunfish and dingys my first boat keel was a 2' draft Victoria 18 which was a good looking boat and the draft was real nice on the Great South Bay BUT the boat had such bad sailing performance it was really limiting the conditions we could go out in

Them we started seeing those funny looking (nothing looked like that then) J24s blow by us and just had to one back in 1981 and it did what we wanted until 2009

In 2009 we realized that at 55 we could still sail the J24 BUt most of the people we wanted to take out did not enjoy that type of boat

So step three was the Cal 29 which with a bit of luck will get wet in 2011 and again the wife and myself and now 23 and 26 year old children all like both the looks and things a boat like that brings like a head with a door
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  #17  
Old 01-07-2011
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You might want to consider chartering and renting boats, as well as crewing on other peoples boats. That way you both learn and get a feel for what type of boat would suit you without plunking down large chunks of cash. I'm not sure about where you're at, but here in Seattle these opportunities abound.

Jeff
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  #18  
Old 01-07-2011
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If your plan is to go bigger, I would always stay just on the larger side of my comfort zone. Paying duplicative taxes, advertising and brokerage fees to churn through several boats can be very expensive. However, once you get the new boat, you would be wise to check out with an instructor or mentor until you feel comfortable with her.
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  #19  
Old 01-07-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhorsager View Post
You might want to consider chartering and renting boats, as well as crewing on other peoples boats. That way you both learn and get a feel for what type of boat would suit you without plunking down large chunks of cash. I'm not sure about where you're at, but here in Seattle these opportunities abound.

Jeff
+1 on this.

I think, (depending on the learning curve you can handle) that you can own and learn on anything from 22-30'. After that, handling the boat alone can get difficult for a new sailor. Maybe dangerous.

Yes, I bought a 25' sailboat expecting that it would be a trainer that I might sell after a few years, but I made sure to choose one that I could tolerate and still enjoy in the event circumstances prevent me from upgrading (finances, what have you).

My only regret is that there are so few Coronado's around. The Annapolis area has a very active Cal 25 fleet so I missed an opportunity for some good one-design racing, and I'm stuck in the PHRF fleet. I have to crew on OPB's if I want to do any OD racing.

Otherwise, I do love my boat. She may be old, but she's solid and has taken a beating from me. Has a galley, and a head, sleeps 5, 15 gallons of fresh water tankage. I like that the outboard motor is sequestered in a well, where it doesn't detract so much from the boat's looks. Hey, at 42 years old she took 9th of 15 in my local Frostbite races, all competing against much bigger boats.
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  #20  
Old 01-07-2011
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Deep Water Sailboats

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
BUT, at this point you don't have enough experience to know what you like and what you don't like, or what you need, or even what will suit your needs. You need to a) take a deep breath and sit down and outline exactly what you need in a boat, what you want and what your real world budget is, then,
b) do some dock walking and get a better idea of what is really important to you.
Do you want to cruise? Do you want to race? Do you want a boat that will not drain your bucket of luck before you fill your cup of experience?
Read The Sailor's Book of Small Crusing Sailboats, but read the chapters on selection at the back of the book first. This book lists 350 sailboats and their characteristics.

If you eventually want blue water cruising, here are a few I cribbed from Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere in descending order of desirability for deep water ocean sailing:
Albin Vega 27
Folkboat 25
Contessa/J.J. Taylor 26
Cape Dory 25D
Pacific Sea Craft 25
Cal 20
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