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post #1 of 13 Old 06-12-2011 Thread Starter
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Old Goat Needs Help

I know everyone is tired of responding to questions about "which is the best boat for me" - - especially considering the many possible variables. Nevertheless I am going to ask with perhaps a slightly different twist on the question -- - - that being what boat would you recommend for someone who is 72 years old and has never sailed? (before you ask I will complete the requisite sailing instruction/courses and crew on as many boats as possibe before venturing off shore). To narrow the field here's the problem to be solved:

1. Budget $11,000 (boat $8-9K, fit out $2-3K.
2. Easily manageable by one person ( i.e. singlehanded) - - occasional crew of 4 including myself, but 90% of sailing will be solo trips of 2-3 days with anchoring each night.
3. Fun to sail - minimal amount of work to sail
4. Sailing grounds will be the San Juan Islands (WA), with eventual trips to Victoria Island, and intercoastal to Alaska.
5. Sturdy boat and rigging - forgiving
6. Fitted with galley, head, shower, etc. for cruises no longer than 10 days. - all within 20 miles of shore.

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post #2 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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Not many boats in that price range do it all, but lots of talk on this board about the Albin Vega which can be found for that money.
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post #3 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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I'm 65 - if it were me, probably a Tanzer 26, but probably no shower. Sun shower or can add a shower. Inboard diesel, roller furling with dodger and probably a bimini.

They are rock solid, built like a tank and (IMHO) sail well.

OK - on to the next opinion.


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post #4 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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I love showers too, but if take it off your list of -must haves- you will have many, many boats to choose from. I would start looking at boat reviews and look at prevalent problems on boats you like. Look for sailboat surveyor reviews, like www.boatus.com/jackhornor . Go to boatyards & ask about buying repossesed sailboats. Craigslist---Ebay. LEARN all you can online and in person about buying and structure of sailboats.
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post #5 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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Santana 525 - Shad Turner design very good in heavy air, active fleet in your area. Google Santana 525 fleet Vancouver - they have classifieds and are a great bunch of people
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post #6 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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FOr what you described, There are TOO many to choose from in this area. Man of the Cal's, Catalina, Islander, Beneteau, a few older Jeanneau's, mostly Attalia's,, Rangers, San Juan, Sabre,.......shall I continue?

As also mentioned, more than likely with that budget, you will be in the mid 20 to 30 max feet, many do not have showers, much less hot water unless via the stove! You may at times have to NOT sail, usually this will be no more than 24 hrs, due to too much wind and waves for the larger crossings, ie Straight of Georgia, Main San Juan straight among others. Otherwise, what you are asking to do, ANY of the coastal cruisers will do well.

I would also try to stay away from the more extreme IOR designs, ala really small sterns that have pinched ends. This will probably throw out most modls from about 75-81 or 82 or there abouts. Before or after are usually a bit better.


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post #7 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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Marty's right, once you kibosh the shower it's a huge list of possibilities..

On-board showers are generally over-rated, esp at the small boat end of the spectrum. A sun shower bag can be used anywhere and anytime if necessary. Using a shower below leads to a lot of unnecessary moisture and humidity in a place that's difficult to keep dry already.

It'll be tough to get a decent coastal cruiser with comfort for these waters for that kind of money, but not impossible. Agree the Vega is a possibility as are the various Tanzers in that range, also look at the Ranger 26 or 29. Although rare, a Viking 28 is a great sailing boat, easy on the eyes and manageable in most conditions but it, like some others on your list, lacks standing headroom. Another classic and lots of them around is the Thunderbird 26.. good performer, easy to handle frac rig, available in wood, wood/glass, or all glass - but also lacking full headroom.

If you're particularly tall that will come into the picture too.


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post #8 of 13 Old 06-12-2011
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You may have to polish your negotiating skills to meet that budget, but the epitome of easily-sailed comes in the form of Freedom yachts. They are beamy for their length and so a 25' model may suit your needs well.
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post #9 of 13 Old 06-13-2011
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I'm going to add a few things thinking this over a bit......At least what I would look for vs not! I'm going to use a catalina 27 as an example.

First off, with this boat, and a few others, there are probably 6 versions of the same hull if you will. Std draft vs shoal, Around here, std or deep will be better for the conditions you will find, usually sail a bit better too. We do not have the shallows that the folks on the east coast have to really worry about the extra foot or two of draft difference. You also have a bit better righting moment with a deeper keel than a shallow one generally speaking.

Tall vs std/short rig. For your age, lack of sailing experience, a std rig is typically 3' shorter, a bit less sail area. For a given rig, lets use a full main and 110 jib, a std rig can go about 5 mph higher in winds, say 15 for the tall vs 20 with a std before you need to reef the main or other higher wind issues occur! For someone like me with a crew that races, a tall rig! Tall rigs for our lighter winds will keep you sailing vs motoring. Your shoes, the shorter would probably be better overall.

Motors, My choice in order, Diesel inboard, gas inboard, outboard in a well, last, and I mean very last, reality I would prefer NOT to own, and outboard on the stern. Reason for an outboard on the stern, in the bigger waves we can get, the prop can literally be taken out of the water and freewheel. Yes, been there done that! To me this is a BIG safety issue. Hence why I would not buy one. BUT, if a boat like this was pu in my empty slip, I would go sailing! In my C27 initial example, they do not have OB's in Wells, BUT< the Tbirds Faster mentioned, do! As such, if my choice was a Tbird and a Cat25, I would prefer the Tbird. BUT< the C25 would probably win over, due to the MUCHO IMHO better interior options etc. This is not to say a Tbird is a bad boat. ALL boats have good and bad points, you have to weigh ea one. I like the diesel IB, this will cost you initially a boat buck/grand or two or three, but with fuel useage about half per hour. Ie a diesel moving you 5 knots, will use about 1/2 gal an hr, vs .8-1.2 for an Atomic 4, most common gas IB. OB's use more fuel generally speaking than an IB gas too. So sometimes better to spend a bit more for the IB diesel vs the IB gas vs the OB gas. The fuel usage, power to get thru bigger waves etc will pay off in the long run in fuel savings etc going with the diesel ib vs the gas options.

Some options you may or may not find on boats, such as roller furling on the jib, if you can get one with do so. Otherwise, adding it is easy, BUT, for boats the size you are going to get, this will cost you about a grand for the gear, a few bucks to get installed, and potentially making you current jib fit the track f the furler, another 300-600 or so dollars, so potentially a 2-3 boat buck cost! Better to spend a grand or so more for an equal equiped boat with a furler than one without!

Tiller vs wheel. I prefer tillers on smaller boats, you put the tiller up against the back stay, and your WHOLE cockpit is available for folks to sit around and talk etc. With smaller boats, like my C27 example, a wheel can take up 2 peoples places, instead of 6 sitting comfortably, you can now only do 4! But many like wheels, as it is like driving a car, a tiller you to a degree do everything backwards. Wheels also seem to handle power self steering mechanisms easier and better..... again. plus's and minus's to both, I'll still take the tiller over the wheel, even tho I could probably come up with more plus's for a wheel than a tiller!

I am sure others will come up with a why they prefer the opposite of me, thats fine. I am saying what are my preferred options, what I would pay more for, and no issues with saying my preferred prejudices too!

You may also find that some of the motor sailers like the Gulf 27 or 30, Rawson 30, Fisher xx's will work a bit better for you vs a true sailboat too. If you can find a Dana 24, they will probably have ALL the things you want in a small package, but be in the 30-60K range. If you can get your budget to 15-20K for the base boat, you will have MANY more options, like a Catalina 28mk2 or a C30, Hunter has some mid 80 27-30' boats that also have full amenities like you are asking for too.

There are some boats while good, may be a handfull from the performance standpoint, like C&C, some of the San Juans, Cal has a model 9.2, These are a bit more on the race/cruise side of things. and may be more than a handful for you. Some one like myself or "Faster" if we were 72 as you are, with our sailing experience, these boats I am thinking of would not be as much of an issue, but a beginner like you, a bit older, not as quick, strong etc was we were in our 20's, I notice at times 5 months shy of 50 not as quick as 20 something. one needs to keep this in mind too.

Get some lessons, talk to folks, get opinions on what they do or do not want and why, and try to find what might work for you. I would personaly prefer a 27-30' inboard diesel for what you want to do and go. TBirds and C25's will get you to where you want to go. I'm just saying what I would prefer, as I could sail the prefered boat in the larger crossings all but 1-2 days of any month, the smaller boats, this would be more in the 3-5 days I would not want to cross say the straight of Juan De Fuca or Georgia. Enjoy learning to sail etc!


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I drives me dinghy!

Last edited by blt2ski; 06-13-2011 at 12:41 AM.
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post #10 of 13 Old 06-13-2011 Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advise - - all good I might add. For brevity's sake I purposely didn't list all the thing I really want in a sailboat as I seriously doubted they would be available in the price range I noted ($10K. Guess I was hoping someone knew of a boat that had most of what I was looking for close to that price. I believe you call that wishful thinking.

If I had my way I would go for the Orion 27 or the Dana 24, but as you are aware your looking at a boat costing $40- $65K. I have also considered the Cape Dory 25, 25D, 27 and 28, Sabre 28, etc., but again the cost is a bit hgh although I believe you can find some of the CD's in the $15K range.- albeit likely needing extensive repairs

The below deck shower is certainly something I really don't need, but I do insist on having standing headroom and would really like a chart table. Roller furling and self tailing winches are also high on my list as is anything that lends itself to ease of sailing singlehanded. It is readily apparent the things I want are likely unavailable for the price I had in mind. I doubt that is anything new.

The question remains what boats are in the mix that fit the basic criteria of singlehanded coastal cruisng by a 72 year old with zero sailing experience - - - even if I raise my price level to $25?


Last edited by rhrose; 06-13-2011 at 08:29 AM.
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