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  #1  
Old 10-17-2011
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New guy here, need help picking a sailboat!

Hello all! To start out with, Im new around here, but I found this forum as a result of some research I am doing in relation to my interest of buying a sailboat. And of course, I have a few questions and concerns.

#1) Im looking for a sailboat that is relatively easy to sail. I have never once sailed in my life, but I want to learn how to. Ive had a few people suggest a catalina 25, which I really like the looks of, but I have some concerns (which you will see in a moment).

#2) This question/concern should probably go in the Trucks/Trailers forum, but I wanted to keep everything together so I figure I will put it here: I have a 1997 Toyota Tacoma 4WD, sans towing package, and according to the factory specs is rated to haul 5000#. My question is, how big of a sailboat could I comfortably haul with my truck? I cant really find any good numbers on the weights of some sailboats I have looked at, but I figure some of you guys with experience would know! Also, im looking for something that I could atleast sleep in... If most sailboats long enough to have cabins would be too heavy to haul with a truck my size, just tell me.

#3) I am looking for a project boat... Nearly everything I do revolves around fixing stuff, and I feel I would have more of a sense of accomplishment if I bought a fix-er-upper and fixed it, then learned how to sail it. What are some things I should look for in buying an older boat, other than the shape of the hull (I atleast know that much!)?

#4) This may be a shot in the dark, but what would be a good asking price for a boat that meets my requirements?

Ok, so thats all I have for now. Please understand that I have no idea what I am really talking about, so these may be stupid questions! I am really eager to learn though!

Thanks in advance,
Josh
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Old 10-17-2011
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Instead of asking what's a good asking price, what kind of budget can you afford to buy and fix up a boat.
Give us that answer and we can better steer you in a direction.
Are you set on a trailerable boat?
Where do you plan on sailing your boat?
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Gotcha, that makes sense.

Im looking at around $4000 or less for the initial investment, which seems reasonable for my area (I live in VA, but I spend 3/4 of the year in Rochester, NY, which is where I would be doing my boating). I would then add restoration costs onto that as time progresses, if that makes sense.

Also, I would prefer a trailerable boat as I cant really afford towing/moving fees.

And, I would be mainly on Canandaigua Lake in NY. Aka, protected waters.

That helpful?
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Old 10-17-2011
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I don't want to be negative, but I strongly suggest that you first learn to sail before considering buying a boat. With some sailing experience, you will have a better idea of What type of boat you may be interested in owning some day.

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  #5  
Old 10-17-2011
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Lets take the tow vehicle first. Your Tacoma has a MAX towing rating of #5000. However, it likely is the max A Tacoma can tow. Make sure it is the max YOUR's can tow. Usually manufacturers give out tow numbers that are for a 2 wheel drive (regular cab in trucks) with the biggest engine for that model line.

Example, I own a Dodge RAM 2500, their max towing is about #12000. However, I have the V8 hemi, with 3.73 gears, 4 wheel drive, and quad cab, so my max is #8800, if I upgrade JUST to the gears to 4.10, I am good to #10800. Anyway, just really look up the specs.

Ok, so lets assume you can tow #5000. that is package weight. Looks like a pre 1998 model Catalina 25 is at least #4150 displacement. So figure at least another #1500 for the trailer (probably more)... this is before you put anything like equipment, life jackets, motor, gas, battery etc. Dude, that is over your MAX tow rating assuming your truck is configured as their ideal tow vehicle.

Sorry... I'll be honest, my capri 22, at #2500, and probably #1500 trailer and gear, is pushing your trucks capabilities a bit, although others have managed to do it with a Honda Ridgeline, I think I'd consider that pushing it. If the trailer has good brakes (and it had better), and your engine is strong (toyota probably is), then you may be ok, but the package is LARGE, and travel at speed would be interesting, for sure.

I honestly don't have to think about it much, but I want you to see what I am talking about in size, so lemme show you my 3/4 ton truck (much bigger than your taco) towing a MUCH SMALLER boat 22 foot, and you tell me.

http://www.shnool.com/images/_Capri1989/IMG_0022.JPG

Now my truck tows the boat quite nicely, and a 1500 would likely too. But understand you need 4x4 to pull it out of the water (as 4 wheels are on the ramp at 20 degrees or so, pulling whatever weight the boat/trailer is) out of the water, on a slippery slimey ramp.

My shoal/wing keel, draws 2'4" and I know the cat 25 draws less in the swing config, but it's a heavier boat, and larger, and generally bigger all the way around, but without the tongue on the trailer extended my entire rear axle is underwater, and water is up to my bumper, to get the boat floating (I don't extend the tongue as the ramp is angled weird, and, the tongue would likely hang on the inverted angles).

Just some food for thought. I suspect a 22 footer is probably the largest you can comfortably tow. Towing is not just PULLING, most small cars can move something that big, it is handling on a corner, and stopping it.

Finally towing, is also tongue weight. Figure whatever number your trailer and boat package weighs in at, then take between 10 and 20% of that, figure that is weight on the back of your tow vehicle. Make sure all your empty weight of the tow vehicle, plus gear weight and passengers weight and that tongue weight added are substantially less than your GVWR of your tow vehicle. Don't know what that is? Look on the drivers door jam. One number will be curb weight, another will be GVWR (higher than curb weight, subtract one from the other and you'll get your max "hauling" number).

Last edited by SHNOOL; 10-17-2011 at 11:27 PM.
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OK, I'm making a guess here...if you live in VA but spend 3/4 of your time in Rochester, are you a student up there? If that's the case, again I'm guessing you spend the summers here in VA (I'm in Richmond) and the rest of the time there. if so, you won't have a lot of sailing time up there since the winters are so much longer.
Do you plan on moving your boat back and forth from VA to NY? If you are, something like a Catalina 22 might be a better fit for you and yes, you can sleep on that boat.
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@Shnool: Yeah, i understand what youre saying, and that is why I was asking. and the 5000# is for my truck in particular... Its a 4WD with the 3.4L V6, has upgraded K&N intake system (installed by me) so it has some added power. But yeah, I would definitely worry about braking. Again, im new so thats why Im asking. and honestly, I was looking more at a 22 footer anyway, i just was saying what someone was suggesting as a boat to learn on.

@Chuck: I kind of mis-worded/left out a part of my statement: I am a student, but I will be here in rochester for the coming summer, which is when I would be using it. But, when I leave rochester, I would be towing it back to VA, and maybe by that time I would have a different truck to tow with anyway.
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Oh, and I know the sizes of these things... I work at a marina as a mechanic (working on I/O boats and outboards) and we do lots of stuff on sailing. Funny thing is I have only been working there about 1.5mo and I had almost no experience with boats beforehand. My point is that I want to learn. The guys at the marina have offered to help me too, but Ive always had good experience with online forums in relation to my hobbies, so I figured I would ask around.
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Old 10-17-2011
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I'm a new owner of a 1984 Catalina 25 swing keel. Sailboatdata.com is the worlds largest sailboat and sailing yacht database with more than 8000 sailboats, sailing yachts, and sailing dingies listed. is a great resource for finding out information about just about any boat. They have a lot of statistics. I used them and sailingtexas.com a lot during my search. Sailingtexas has one of the best (at least that I was able to find) sets of photographs of different sailboats, and in many cases they have photos of multiple boats from a given year.

Personally, if you've never sailed, I wouldn't really suggest going with a 25, but I'm sure other, more experienced sailers will disagree. I most recently learned on a 14' American, and also learned on J19's. Most will argue that learning on a bigger boat is better, because things don't happen as quickly on a big boat. While I understand the concept (I was struck by how much slower things were on my c25), I respectfully disagree. A 25 has a lot of mass that's in motion, and when you screw up, it is very easy to do some real damage. Also, when the jib sheet gets caught on the forward hatch or the stantions, you have a LOT farther to go on a 25 (assuming you are single-handing) than on a 14 or 16. In my opinion, that's the range to cut your teeth on, and after a season or two "trade up" to a C22, C25, or other boat if you are so inclined. Smaller boats mean smaller sails, easier to transport (if you want/need to trailer it), and generally lower maintenance costs.

You can find C25's in the $3-5K range that are in good shape. Not mint condition or anything, but good shape. In most cases, unless you find a REALLY motivated seller or someone who doesn't do their research, paying much below that will net you a boat that's going to wind up costing you close to $3-5K to get it ready to sail. Take a look at the price of new/used sails for a C25, for example, and you'll see that if you need a new mainsail, you're looking at $500-$1000, depending on condition. If you're new to sailing, you'll probably want a furler of some kind for your jib; life is just easier with one. If the boat doesn't have one when you buy it, you're looking at $800-1500. If the boat has a furler and you just need a sail, you're still probably in the $400-800 range (easily), depending on the sail. The lines (sheets, halyards) can also cost you a decent chunk of change to replace.

Your Tacoma won't haul a Catalina 25. If you check Sailboatdata, you'll see that the C25's arein the 4300 lb displacement weight range. Add on another 500-1000 lbs for gear, and easily 1000 lbs for the trailer, and you're looking at something in the neighborhood of 6500 lbs, and that's just using round numbers. I think the trailers are usually more like 1500 lbs, and the amount of gear onboard will depend on the stuff that you want on it. But, do you NEED a trailer? Once you get above close to/above 22, as I understand it, stepping the mast becomes more of a chore, so you're more likely to wind up keeping her at a dock or on the trailer but fully rigged.

You haven't really defined your 'needs' yet, or told us more about you. You say you're a novice - OK. What's your budget? How old are you? Do you have a family? Where do you intend to sail? How long do you expect to keep the boat? What kind of sailing do you expect to do (daysailing, cruising, racing, etc.)? Do you have any other experience with boats/boating? Are there any classes nearby that you can take?

As a parting thought, I'll tell you that, as a fellow novice, sailing is work. You can't just step foot in a sailboat and expect to easily get from point A to point B (unless you're doing it under motor), and especially if you want to do it quickly. If you want that, a power boat is a better choice. But, as with most of my hobbies, sailing is fun, and for me it is a great distraction from all the other stresses in life. It requires a lot of attention, and forces you to focus on what you're doing, which is what I really like. So, with that as background, I'd STRONGLY suggest taking a few classes before jumping in and buying a boat, especially something like a 25. You might just decide that sailing isn't really for you.

Just my 2 cents!
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  #10  
Old 10-17-2011
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OK, check out Yachtworld.com and boattraderonline.com and look at boats in the 20-23 foot range. Catalina 22, Capri 22 and others would be good to look at.
There's a good sailboat website as well, but I forget the name. I'll get back to you on that.
Check out the Catalina owners site as they have a classified section.
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