Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: New Orleans
Thanked 43 Times in 40 Posts
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I don't know how to put together a 5-7 year plan to buy a boat that will sail a family of 7 in non-homicidal comfort. Not to say there isn't one, I just don't know it, much of it depends on finances (I suppose ?), and the rest depends on learning to sail and your family liking it too, enough to try the great American circle up the coast, west on the waterway and lakes, and south on the big muddy.
Learning to sail, figure on about two years depending of frequency of how you use the smaller boat. Maybe longer up there with frozen-lake time. Then, you may want to look for a used boat with a newish and fairly strong auxiliary diesel, since your first leg would be down the Mississippi which will be a lot of motorsailing. Maybe a center-cockpit type to give you separate cabins, in the 40-45' range, like a Morgan Out-Island type or similar? Get a good surveyor, and you may score a pretty good deal as older used boats are fairly cheap compared to new ones, at least here in the south.
My learning to sail didn't follow a "plan", at least not one I was aware of, since I learned as a kid, raced, coached in college, delivered boats, and taught sailing frequently. That said, I'd think you could do lessons, sail a lot in the smaller boat (better for learning the sailing basics since less inertia and more "feel" than the big boats), then a couple of years weekending and lake cruising in the big boat.
The route that's your dream is realistic, since river and coastal will have you close to help, supplies, and spare parts. The 'having your family like it' part I do not feel qualified to talk about and will leave to others ;-)
Last edited by nolatom; 10-18-2011 at 05:55 PM.