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Adirondackman 04-06-2013 07:18 PM

Boat recommendations for a Newbe

I'm looking to purchase my first Sailboat and I'm overwhelmed by all the different models available.

I would like to purchase a Boat between 24' and 30' to learn to Sail. I would primarily Sail The Great Sacandaga and Lake Champlain in NY.

I would like to sail this Boat for about 7 years and then buy a 32' or larger Boat to make trips down to Florida and possibily the Bahama's.

I have been advised to look at the Bristol 24 - 29 models and I do like that design.

All recommendations and any input would be greatly appreciated.

Thank You

MikeinLA 04-06-2013 07:49 PM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
Take a look at the Catalina 27. They're everywhere, roomy for a 27, sail well and are easy to sell later.


SchockT 04-06-2013 07:56 PM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
The first thing you need to do is determine how much you are going to spend, what you want to do with the boat, and where you are going to keep it. Then you need to look for boats that are on the market in your area. There is no point in recommending a boat to you, when there are none on the market in your area.

Look at the local listings, pick out the ones that appear to fit your criteria, and post them here for comment. That will help us figure out which way your tastes run too!

Waltthesalt 04-06-2013 08:47 PM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
Might want to look at something trailable. Lots lower costs without moorage fees, can go to more places, able to do work in your backyard, more options for winter storage. Should be ok on the lakes. Usually we're talking about boats under 3,500lbs, 22-25 ft. There's sailnet threads on the best alternatives

pdqaltair 04-06-2013 08:55 PM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
I always favor learning to sail a dingy. I started small and I wish I had the time for a small boat again. Someday.

Sail Delmarva: The Merits of Learning to Sail on a Small Boat

While some thing small is undignified, you learn a feel for the wind and the water you may NEVER get in a larger boat. Like trying to learn algebra never having learned multiplication tables.

Start with a small slope that is popular in your area, sail it for a summer, and then sell it for what you paid. Sail it for 2 seasons in all weathers and jump straight to the 32-footer, no problem. Big boats aren't about sailing, they are about planning and systems.

HardTAC 04-06-2013 10:13 PM

Boat recommendations for a Newbe
I sailed dinghies, Hobie Cats, Lasers, then sailed on friend's 23-footers & 30-footers. My first "big boat" was a Catalina 34 (which I lived aboard). And it turned out to be a great boat for my purposes.

It would be great if you could sail on a few different boats to see the pros and cons of different designs. There are always trade offs! But until you can get a feel for those, it's hard to say what you'd like.

Is there a sailing club in your area? That might be the best way to get some experience with different designs before you spend big money on a boat.

My two cents.

Happy hunting!

paulk 04-06-2013 11:43 PM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
A boat to learn on, and to keep for several years before moving up to something bigger, calls for something that you won't outgrow. On Lake Champlain, a Sonar or J/24 might be good options. The Sonar is perhaps more oriented towards daysailing. The J/24 has potential for minimalist weekending. Both are fun to sail, available at reasaonable cost, and hold their values reasonably well. (You won't lose your shirt when you sell them to move to a bigger boat, because they're popular enough to maintain a viable market). Both are trailerable, but launching by hoist would probably be easier than finding a suitable ramp. Look around and see what suits YOU best, as well. Fair winds!

blutoyz 04-07-2013 08:41 AM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
All that I did was start looking and buy the most boat for the low budget that i had. After all, it is a first boat so don't try to buy your dreamboat right out of the gate. Make sure that you have a pal that is experienced to get you up to speed and if you have no experience on the water at all take a safety course and get to know your charts before going out.

If you buy this boat at the low end you will never lose. There are lots of boats for cheap right now so be patient.

My $.02


34crealock 04-07-2013 09:01 AM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
I think you may find a few C&C 24 or26 footers made in the late 70s in the Great Lakes area.Get a good survey. They are generally well made and beamy and are good sailing boats as well as comfy, roomy below. Good luck.:)

scratchee 04-07-2013 09:36 AM

Re: Boat recommendations for a Newbe
I think it's helpful to get a few specific recommendations. As you research and shop around for those specific boats, you'll become familiar with their features and may start to spot others that would provide the same benefits. You'll start to develop a feel for what you want to pay for and what you don't care about.

The big piece of missing information is how much you want to spend.

Last year I started shopping for my first boat, and I was initially focused on the Bristol 27 and the Alberg 30. These are similar boats, designed by Carl Alberg. The Pearson Triton is also similar, and also designed by Carl Alberg. These boats are probably a little more difficult to find than others, but they have a good reputation and, because of that, they tend to sell for a bit more (rough guess, $8-$15k for the Bristol and $15-30k for the other two.)

While zeroed in on the Albergs, I happened across a Craigslist ad for a Cal 2-27. It was about half what I would have paid for a low-end Bristol 27. I looked at it that afternoon and bought it the next morning. It's been the perfect boat for me, my family, and my budget. It is very different than those other boats and doesn't have the same classic looks, but it does have a reputation for being bullet proof and it's a pretty nice family weekender. You ought to be able to find nice examples of this boat for less than $8k.

So, bottom line: collect some ideas, shop around, walk around every boat yard and marina you see, and be ready to strike when the right boat comes along.

Oh, and good luck lasting 7 years without an upgrade!

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