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  #1  
Old 10-25-2009
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tstewart137 is on a distinguished road
bitten by the sailing bug

I'm a new member and a new sailer. I have taken a weekend 101 course and am doing a little weekend crew work on a J27 in a frostbite race league in my area.
I'm looking for recommendations on additional courses/schools in the NJ/DE/MD or FL areas that can help get me to a safe level of competance quickly to start cruising.

I am also looking for recommendations on a good first boat size. Is 25/27 too big for a first boat? 30?

Thanks in advance.

Tom
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Old 10-25-2009
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Welcome to the forum, Tom

Lots of things to consider in selecting a good first boat, size is one of them but too many other factors unknowns to us.

What are your goals for the boat and yourself, how many people are going to be involved and what is their degree of skill / physical ability and size and needs.

Location and general conditions where you will do your sailing. Many boat are great for protected areas and less so for open waters.

If your main interest is racing then that needs to be a larger factor than comfort/ on board storage and other amenities like pressure water/ hot water and types of electronics that may best be used for your specific needs.

My first sailboat was a 26 Chrysler with a small diesel engine and it was fantastic for me since I singlehanded much of the time and only used it for long weekend cruising not generally weeks/ months at a time.

Do a search on your question and you will see lots of comments from many people. Basically it is a subject / question that only you can answer since only you know what you want/ need / can afford, but you will gain some incite on some of the variables and opinions of different people... Lots of different opinions which you will have to filter through for usefulness.
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Old 10-25-2009
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Thanks for making me think a little harder.
Short term goal - Boat should support safe, comfortable, weekend/overnight trips in the Delaware and Chesapeake Bay areas and inland waterways in good to moderate weather conditions.

I'm OK with hearing that this is not a reasonable first boat expectation.
I'm also not opposed to working my up to a more comfortable vessel as my skill increases. just looking to the voice of experience to make the first step.

Crew - myself and my spouse. I am a beginner. She has less. Both are relatively fit as 45-50 goes.

We're looking for recreational cruising over racing. I am racing now but only for the on-water experience.
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Old 10-25-2009
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I personally think you are looking in the right general area as far as size goes. I would recommend you pick up a set of Charts for the area and see what type draft your specific areas will accommodate. Probably 5 to 6 feet would be good in many locations. I would tend to stick to the near 30' area if that fits into your budget and long term plans. If your going to do more extended cruising you may want to look at larger boats but they have far more cost impacts than a smaller boat would have.

Don't overlook your mates inputs. It is always better to keep the Admiral happy with her needs/ wants. I would probably stick with a sloop and one with a heaver construction for your weather changes. I don't have to have much in the way of insulation where I sail! For your cruising look for a boat with a U galley and comfortable sleeping areas. Comfortable cockpits are also important for cruising and weekending as that is probably where you will spend most of your time. Get a full marine survey of any boat you plan to purchase. Probably will cost under $400 and is well worth it. Have the surveyor go with you for sea trials.

Check with some of the locations you are considering to keep the boat and see what their charges are and what amenities they include.

Lots of specific stuff to consider depending on your budget and wants.

I would recommend continuing with the ASA classes. They are informative and well worth the cost and effort if you have a good instructor. It also usually gives you experience on different boats. Look to accept offers for day sails on other peoples boat to not only get out on the water but to learn about several different designs and accommodations the boats have.

You are in a good area and should have a wide selection of boats. Best Wishes!
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