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  #1  
Old 01-07-2011
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Buying a boat you don't want..

When you started sailing, did you buy a boat that you knew you were only using to learn and weren't interested in keeping? Just wondering how most people got started.
If I had my choice, I'd buy something in the 30' range..I think that will last me for many years..I am not well versed enough to know what mfr, etc. I'd buy..just that I'd get something that size. I have been keeping an eye on Criagslist and a few other outlets for something like that in a low price range..not scared of fixing something up if need be.. Anyway, I have noticed plenty of cheap boats around, but they all seem to be in the 22 foot range. I had told myself I would not go below 25 at the smallest. But, I also see the wisdom in getting something small and learning the ropes, so to speak..Should I consider that or hold out for something I really want?..knowing that what I "want" will most definitely change once I get on a boat anyway..no guarantees that I will like the 30 footer if I had one..My learning will most likely be on a local lake, so I don't really need anything that has nice galley, head, etc. Although given my "druthers" that is what I'd buy just so I could use it as a "home away from home" on weekends/vacation..
This is all just ramblings of a newbie, so don't take it too seriously..
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  #2  
Old 01-07-2011
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Guess it just depends on your budget and how much time you want to spend working on your boat. Both increase exponentially the bigger the boat.
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Old 01-07-2011
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I think a 22' boat is a good place to start. There are a lot of things about boat ownership (not just sailing), that you will learn as well on a smaller boat as a bigger boat. I also think you will learn to sail better on a tender 22' boat than a husky 30' boat. After that, however, there could be an argument made for holding out for the boat you really want. Some people put a lot of money and effort into a series of boats getting 2-5' bigger each time, when it might have been better to just to get the boat you know you are shooting for in the end.
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Old 01-07-2011
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I bought my boat full well knowing it wasn't going to be my last.. It's just not going to be up to snuff for the extended cruising I have planned. A 30 year old, 24 foot IOR boat just won't make crossing the pond, while technically do-able, an enjoyable experience. The day after I bought it, I was (and still am) in the market for a mid-30-40 footer..

However, here's the reasons I bought it - While I've been sailing since I was a kid, there was an extended period of time where I hadn't set foot on a boat. Re-learning and re-familiarizing myself on a smaller boat seemed a smarter thing to do. Second, it was dirt cheap.. third, the larger boat I'm in the market for is, on my budget, going to need some work. I wanted a cheap boat I can take out and sail while I worked on the other one. Also, once I get this larger boat I'm moving aboard to cut costs, and I wanted a ready-to-go-at-a-moments-notice boat to go sailing as my slip-mate. Two boats in slips is still cheaper than rent around here..

My advice? Boat prices go up exponentially with size.. just like how a 40 footer isn't twice the size of a 20 footer.. it's more like 4 times the size in terms of volume. Get a boat you can afford, and go sailing.. lots of people end up very happy with boats that are smaller than they originally wanted. In many ways, (and one of the other reasons I'll be keeping the 727), smaller boats are a lot more fun - shallower drafts means you can go more places.. they react faster to sail trim, helms, gusts, etc (and hone your skills faster in the process), and they're MUCH cheaper to store and maintain (just like prices and size, almost every cost associated with a boat grows exponentially in size).
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Old 01-07-2011
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Gilligan

We started with a Tanzer 22. Absolutely no regrets. She was fun, bullet-proof, she could take 100 times more than us novice sailors could take and was great for day sailing, weekends and even one ten day trip.

Moved to a Tanzer 28 for nine years and now an Irwin 34. - we will have her for a while I think.

All were in our price range, all needed work that we were able to do ourselves and all have been so much fun!

Bottom line - get something and get started!

Shalom

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Old 01-07-2011
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About 5 yrs ago I had a Hunter 23 with swing keel.. lovely boat. But in less then 6 months of owning it I knew a 30ft or so boat was really what I wanted. ( I had been looking for a 35ft boat originally, but listened to other people telling me I needed to start small) Many people say learn small and that's a good thing but, I don't really agree smaller boats are easier to handle. Smaller boats are all over the place when you need to walk (or crawl) to the bow and raise/lower the jib. Reaching over the transom to Fwd/Rev/Neutral the engine and still handling the tiller, watching current, other boats, docking etc. then the boom is always low, you can't stand in many smaller boats while tacking. Your crew or friends if inexperienced will be more nervous on a smaller boat too.

there are yays and nays to both side of the discussion. One hard decision should be; "is this just a passing interest or a lifelong dream?" Since smaller boats are easier to sell or get rid of.
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Old 01-07-2011
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We bought a boat knowing it was going to be a stepping stone for us. As with boat purchases' it was a pile of compromise. It wasn't the boat we want in the grand scheme of things but. Where we live has a 2-3 year waiting list for slips, they are very expensive and so are the boats we wanted. So we opted for a 22 foot trailer sailor. We have a very decent boat that cost less than most beater cars, we don't have to come up with the money for a slip or storage cause I park it in my barn. And most importantly, we are out there right now learning, practicing, enjoying while being able to discover what we are really looking for in the big boat, and saving up for it.

This also allowed us to be sure the whole family was fully interested in sailing and all that comes with it before we plonked down 50k-70k on the boat we really want.
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Old 01-07-2011
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Thirty feet is large for a lake sailboat and you cannot trailer it unless you have something bigger than a pickup, a medium duty truck in other words with over wide permits for a sailboat with an over 8 Ĺ feet beam. The ~22 foot sailboat is a good size for lakes and for learning and that is why you see these in your local Craigslist. A smaller boat of about 22 feet responds more quickly to rudder and sheet manipulation so the immediate feedback helps in the learning. Myself, I prefer fixed keel for stability and no need for maintenance on a retractable keel, but the fixed keel is harder to launch unless you have a hitch that can be extended on the trailer, or a steep launch ramp with 4X4 truck. You will need a place to moor the boat, maybe a small inexpensive yacht club, as taking the mast up and down would take too much time whenever you want to sail. Dock fees are probably going to be too expensive since you are looking at cheap boats. If you are just learning, I would get a centerboard sailboat less than half the length of what you are thinking of right now as it would be easy to setup for a day’s sailing and would teach you a lot, especially if you get lessons and do a lot of reading. You could keep the small boat for several years and always be learning something new. Also, take some lessons where you work your way up to 30 foot boats to see what these are really like.
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Old 01-07-2011
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My first boat was a mid-70's Sunfish, given to me when I was 11. Maybe you should be looking at a dinghy of some sort.

There's a good breeze blowing today. I think I'll go sail a J22 around the harbor.
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Old 01-07-2011
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a few points

Hey,

A couple of things to consider in no particular order:
  • If you buy a small, common boat, in decent condition, you should be able to sell it for about what you paid for it. This allows you to try out sailing for small $$
  • If you like working on boats (or cars, houses, etc.) and do good work, you can make some money by purchasing a boat in average to poor condition and bringing it back into good condition. Your hourly rate will be pretty low, so only consider this if you like to to work on things. You'll also learn a lot about boats.
  • No one really know what kind of a boat they want until they own one and spend a year or two with it. Some people find out that sailing isn't as romantic as they thought. It isn't always beautiful sunsets at quiet anchorages, or sunny days with a gentle breeze to move you along. Or, they find that sailing is really wonderful and they want to spend weekends or longer aboard, so they want a boat with good accommodations, or that the buyer likes sailing, but his family doesn't, or ......
  • Even a small boat, like a Catalina 22, is big enough for 1 or 2 people to spend a night or two aboard. You won't have luxury, but it's better than tent camping.
Good luck,
Barry
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