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Old 07-15-2013
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Brief Intro & First Question

Hello All,

I just wanted to say hello and I hope to be learning lots while using this site. One of my main interests is to get an idea of boat models that would be a suitable for a first-time buyer. Now I know there are tons of answers to this question so I'll try to give some more info of what I'm looking for. I'll apologize now if I have placed this in an incorrect thread.

My wish list for a first time boat:
[LIST][*]25-27ft range[*]Diesel (preferable) but would be fine with outboard gas[*]Full standing headroom[*]Something that I could sail myself[*]I would be planning to sail in local sheltered waters and would want to do some coastal cruising as well (so something that could handle this).[*]Tiller vs wheel (don't care about this)

Some suggestions I've heard are:

C&C 25 (without the full standing headroom)
Kelt 7.8
Mirage 25-27
CS 27

Again I appreciate any suggestions. I know I have pretty broad requirements here but I thought I would try!

Thank you.
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

NS,

Tough subject! There isn't a boat out there that isn't loved and hated by well informed people and for very good, sound reasons. Many folks will tell you that the only correct beginner boat is a 12 foot dinghy and a couple of wet suits. Others insist on years of training and indentured servitude aboard racing boats. I say . Just do it. I'd suggest doing your homework, buying informed. The size you describe are almost trailerable. This is the most economical way to start. As soon as you step out the trailerable range there are many additional costs to sailing that can ruin it for you if your pockets aren't deep. It sounds like you're thinking about limited cruising. That's what we do. We bought a25 footer and started sailing. Done. If I may bebold, pick up a copy of The Complete Trailer sailer by Brian Gilbert. Lots of great info as well as comps, specs, photos and diagrams of 50 or so small to large trailerables, and a few beyond that. Can give ideas of what you like, what you hate and what you never knew you always wanted

Don
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Old 07-17-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

Wow, I can't believe you didn't get a reply before Don's.

I agree with Don's "just do it" approach. But before we can give you good recommendations, why don't you tell us more about you, like your general area (east coast, west coast, etc.), whether you'll mostly be sailing alone or with others, how far you'll be from the boat, the average depth of the water near you, how tall you are (determines "standing" headroom), whether you're looking for mostly daysailing or overnighting, etc.
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

Thank you both for replying to my post.

I knew that my question was pretty broad but I thought I would try to see what I got. So again thank you!

I live on the East coast and would like to be able to some coastal cruising (i.e. Maine, New Brunswick & Nova Scotia). The waters where I would keep my boat are fairly sheltered however I would like the option of doing some coastal cruising. Right now it appears as though I'm the only one interested in the sailing lifestyle. I'm trying to get my wife to warm to this crazy idea of mine, but she's a little hesitant. I also hoping our two kids will be interested but they are too young right now. However, I still want to anticipate that no-one will be available/interested which means I will have to be self-sufficient. The standing headroom would be mainly for my wife (I'm 5'11" and she's a bit shorter than me). I will want her to be as comfortable as possible so that she'll enjoy herself.

I will be more into cruising than any kind of racing. To be honest, being at the helm whilst at the start line would scare me to death!

So I am looking for something that I can sail safely alone, should conditions get interesting.

Thanks!
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

My wife is 5'5", and had no problem standing in our Catalina 25.

How old are your kids? I have 2 boys, ages 7 and 5. We bought our first boat, the C25, about 2 years go, when they were 5 and 3. I had them out on a rented American 14 before that, at 4 and 2. The 4 year old loved it, but the 2 year old was still too young. At 6 and 4, they started to enjoy short sails (2-3 hours). We hope that the new boat will be an even better fit for us.

I have many of the same concerns/desires as you. I wasn't looking to go fast (though that would be nice), I was looking for something comfortable for my family. The C25 fit that bill to a certain extent. However, the cockpit of the C25 is on the small side. The coach roof is also up fairly high, to the point where I couldn't steer comfortably while sitting down because the roof obstructed my view of the water in front of me. My kids had an even harder time trying to steer; we wouldn't let them stand on the seats, and they couldn't see over the roof at all. So, steering the boat wasn't that much fun for them. That, in turn, meant that going for a ride wasn't that much fun. And when they aren't having fun, it's hard for the adults to relax and have fun. I also found that the sweep of the tiller really ate up a lot of room in the cockpit. My wife would frequently wind up with one kid on her lap, and the other opposite her just to keep them out of the way when we tacked.

Does that all mean I wouldn't recommend a C25? Not at all. They are really great "first" boats, and I'd still have mine if it hadn't been totaled in Hurricane Sandy. They can be found for cheap, they are easy to maintain with a large aftermarket for just about anything you could possibly want, and there are a TON of owners out there. Are they super-duper, ocean-crossing boats? Nope. But if they are well maintained they'll handle bay sailing and near-shore trips just fine. The "traditional" layout even has enough room in the salon to turn that into a queen-size bed with a little ingenuity, thus freeing the quarterberth for storage (or a kid) and the vee-berth for kids when overnighting. Again, it made for a pretty cool boat for our family.

But, when she was gone, we had to sit down and figure out what we wanted in a boat, or at least what was more likely to allow us to enjoy our time aboard. That meant a big enough cockpit for us to fit in comfortably, and preferably with room for additional adults. I wanted a coach roof that was low enough to see over easily, both for me and the kids. I wanted wider coamings so going forward was easier for them when at the dock or at anchor. I really wanted a split transom, so it was easier for us to climb aboard when we went swimming (which they loved doing). I also wanted "cat bird" or "stern rail" seats. Although some people don't like them because they tend to be the "wettest seat on the boat," I thought they would be perfect for my kids for exactly that reason.

Unfortunately, stern rail seats and split transoms only came on boats well outside my price range. So, I stuck with the wheel and wide coamings. Wheels tend to only come on newer boats (there are Hunter 25's from the late 90's that have 'em), or bigger boats. Newer meant too expensive for us, so we increased our size range a bit. Instead of focusing on 25-27's, we looked in the 27-32 range. We found several that fit the bill, including Catalina 30's and some C27's. Some Islander 28's have wheels, and those are really nice as are the I30's. Pearson 30's and 32's are nice, but some of the Pearsons have the wheel very far forward in the cockpit. That's great for tucking under the dodger or handling the lines when single-handed, but it really eats up a lot of the cockpit. Some also had travelers across what would otherwise have been a seat across the aft end of the cockpit, thus costing you space. The O'Day 272 LE has a wheel, but the cockpit felt a little cramped. The O'Day 30 looks nice, but we weren't aboard to see about the cockpit. The S2 9.2's are great boats, and if you're lucky enough to find a center cockpit design, the entire "downstairs" becomes a "safe" playground for your kids. The Hunter 28.5 (not to be confused with the 28) is a really nice boat too. Lots of headroom, decent-sized cockpit, and, like the Catalinas, there are a TON of Hunters out there so there is a lot of aftermarket support for them.

The H28.5 and S2 9.2C also ruined most other boats for us. I saw that they both had aft "cabins" which could be used to gain additional privacy when overnighting, or when you need to separate your kids.

In the end, we didn't buy any of those, but I can tell you that I'd have been happy with the H28.5, C30, or the S2 9.2C.

Anyway, hope this helps some!
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

Of your list, the only one that I would recommend is the CS27- they are a great value in a tough boat with decent accomodations and decent sailing characteristics. They are a great boat that you won't outgrow quickly.
I've sailed on the others and they are more racer, less cruiser than the CS27. Climb aboard a Mirage/Northern 25 then climb below in a CS 27, and you'll be amazed at the difference.
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

NS,

Where in Maine are you? have you looked at Sailboat Rescue in Freeport? He's had some pretty good deals advertised but make sure what you're looking for first. Also, look into the cost of mooring, hauling, storing and the like. I try to warn people because I went into this stupid and blind, knowing NOTHING about boats. WE ended up buying the perfect boat for us and didn't even know it. Sure, the performance is acceptable, not stellar by any chance, but 5'-10 head room. discrete head, trailerable . . . Had I bought the other one that we looked at, I would have given up three years ago. My dream boat, though, is a 1987 Catalina 30. If I ever make the big top, she's mine.

Don
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

Thank you all for your replies! These are very helpful insights which I will use as I get closer to finding my dream yacht (albeit on the smaller side!).

My kids are too small now and I too would like to find something where they can easily walk forward without too much difficulty.

I will look more into the suggested models you all gave. I have the time to do all the research I need.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-18-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

How old are they? There are folks here sailing with infants. In fact, kids grow up aboard (full-time live-aboard families).
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Old 07-19-2013
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Re: Brief Intro & First Question

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
How old are they? There are folks here sailing with infants. In fact, kids grow up aboard (full-time live-aboard families).
4 and 1. I still think that I'll wait a bit. I want them to be old enough to enjoy it. I know (and have read) about people who circumnavigate while having small children on board, but I think my kids need more time.

Hopefully they'll get right into it!!
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