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rob_d 07-05-2013 11:33 AM

Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Okay folks, let me start off with the fact that I have never sailed before. I've spent a lot of time on boats in lakes and the ocean, but never sailed. So, step 1, learn to sail. Duh.
I've got it in my head right now that I want to purchase a sailboat, live on it (of course, cause everyone wants to live on a sailboat!), save up some money and travel from California down to Mexico, South America, the Bahamas, etc.
What I'm wondering is this:
1) Am I completely insane to think that I can find a decent boat for under $15k that will be "comfortable" to live on and sail down to Mexico or anywhere else in the world???
2) If I am NOT insane, what should I be looking for? What are the best liveaboard boats that will meet my needs? (Decent sleeping for two side by side, shower, etc.)
3) If I am insane, please, someone slap some sense into me because all I can think about is sailing the open seas and ditching the real world!

I've been trolling this forum for a while now...figured I'd finally join and just ask what I want to know!

FYI, I've been told to look for a few things on a boat. So far, this is what I'm thinking I want to look for:
1) 27-35 foot vessel
2) A diesel inboard motor
3) Solar panels (I know I'll probably have to invest in these, but if I can find a boat that comes with them, bonus!)
4) A liveable shower
5) Able to sail to Hawaii, Mexico, etc. if I so desire (and can afford!)
6) Under 15k (even less would be better!)

Any input you all are willing to give would be great!

FlyingJunior 07-05-2013 03:56 PM

Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Learn to sail well first , then start looking at boats. Horse before cart.

boatpoker 07-05-2013 04:00 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
$15k with those kinds of cruising plans wll buy you a $25k project. (double that if you can't do it yourself)

hellosailor 07-05-2013 06:09 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Sanity is a relative concept.

If you had never driven a car, or been for a ride in one, would you try to buy your first car (noting that "first" implies it won't be the only one) without checking a few out?

Best thing you can do is find a local club, marina, sailing lessons, and start bumming rides on OPBs (Other People's Boats) to see how some of the boats suit you. Among other things if there is any local racing, folks always need crew and often simply there, in proper attire, will get you a ride with SOMEone who either needs crew or sympathizes with you.

You go into a random store and say "I want to buy a pair of shoes"...You know, same problem. Be a dock rat for a while, try some on for size.

Donna_F 07-05-2013 06:21 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
I agree with all of the above. Keep the dream in mind but include some realistic steps to get there.

jimgo 07-05-2013 11:34 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
Yup, what everyone else said. CAN you buy a sub-$15,000 boat? Yes. Can you buy one an learn to sail on it? Yes. Is it likely to be the one to take you to Mexico? Probably not. Is it likely to be in the condition to take you to Mexico or Hawaii? Almost certainly not.

My first boat, a 25' Catalina, was $1000. We wound up having to replace the engine, so all told we probably put another $3500-$4000 into her. She was a great boat, and would have done well along the east coast, and was an excellent way to get our feet wet when it came to sailing, especially on a medium-sized boat (we took lessons on a 14'). To me, I'd suggest finding a cheapie boat that's a decent size for your area (could be a 14' trailer sailor, or a 25-27'), and have at it. Learn what you like, what you don't like, what you need, etc., then plan on buying something that will actually be a good fit for you. You'll probably be able to flip that boat for close to what you paid for it, if not a bit more if you've done repairs.

DonScribner 07-07-2013 10:45 AM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...

$15 k for a boat and another (big girl owners help me out) $8000 per year, slip fees, maintenance, hauling, scraping, insuring . . . and more. I am a trailer sailor for this reason. I (we) step an launch our 25 footer every time we go out which is essentially every weekend. I recommend this approach at first. You will save a gazillion dollars while learning the ropes, uh, I mean lines, then when you decide that sailing really is for you, sell your little girl and go for a mature lady. If I had one caution to offer, it would be to buy something that was sail-able the day you bought her. A coat of paint and a couple of lines is OK but a project boat that sits on the hard, sucking money and dreams from you will just kill it.


CalebD 07-07-2013 01:24 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
don is right about the ongoing costs of owning a boat.
The purchase price is only the admission at the door to the boat owning party.
Once you buy a non-trailer-able boat there will be ANNUAL dues to pay:
-slip or mooring costs
-hauling for bottom maintenance

which could easily add up to $5K or more per year. Overnight costs may be cheaper in a place like Mexico but will still cost something and Hawaii is expensive.

A trailer sailor for a first boat makes a lot of sense from the perspective of your wallet.

Staredge 07-07-2013 01:34 PM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
I've finally started working on my plan:

-Buy a $350 sailing dinghy for a local lake. Learn how to sail it this summer.
-Start saving money.
-Take some local Power Squadron/USCGAux classes, this summer and next.
-Next summer, continue sailing but start to look for a decent quality trailer sailor that can get me around the Chesapeake in decent weather.
-Continue saving money.
-Continue learning, so that in a few years when all the kids are somewhat self-sufficient for short periods of time we can look at longer, possibly offshore trips.
-Profit!!! (exceptin' it's a boat, so there shan't be anything but bills)

I've been wanting to learn to sail for 30 some years, and finally figured a way to do it. Never thought about being rail meat. Wish I had.....I'm huge. Make good ballast, and I at least have a clue. (BTW, anyone reading this....I'm an hour out of Annapolis and will bring beer/cider/rum as needed)

Spray 07-09-2013 08:20 AM

Re: Complete Newbie...No Idea What I'm Doing...
We're actually semi-close to one another Staredge. I'm down in NOVA but have my boat up at my parent's place in Pennsylvania. I pass through Germantown frequently. Good to know a friendly in the area!

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