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Old 06-02-2010
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Hi, from nowhere Indiana...

Hello. I wanted to take the time to introduce myself and my family to this forum as I believe it will be a valuable resource now and in the future.

My name is Brent and I am 28 years old. I grew up in Pennsylvania and attended Penn State for more years than I would like to admit. While there I received a BA in Anthropology with a minor in Biology. While my older self would like to go back in time and backslap my younger self for picking a go nowhere except graduate school major I am satisfied by the life experiences and perspective gained as a result. The big bonus was meeting my fiance there.

My fiance, Nicole is a teacher at the local high school here in Indiana. She also has a BA in Anthropology and like 5 other BS/BA as well as 2 Masters. Yeah...I know. Anywho...she has a 13 year old daughter whom I consider my own. We have a 5 month old Black Lab/Australian Shepard mix that we love and adore.

This rounds out our family.

As for why we are here, well, we moved from Penn State to Chicago 3 years ago and stayed for 2 years. We got by fine, but wanted to get out of the city. We now reside in the middle of Central Indiana right on the Illinois border. Needless to say there are no lakes for at least an hour from us.

I had a great job in Chicago, but it was redundant in so many ways I was losing it. I am as a result now unemployed. Sort of by choice. Nicole loves me not working. I can pack her lunch and be home when her daughter gets off school. I raise a huge garden out back and try to find ways to not get bored out of my mind. That brings us right up to current...

We really want to sail. All of us have been on the water at least a few times in our lives. None of us have ever piloted a boat of any kind save a paddle boat and canoe. With my immense amount of spare time and a garage full of tools (acquiring tools for me is like some peoples addiction to drugs) I am determined to build our first boat.

I started out thinking I would get a kit for a 3 person tandem kayak and put it together, but realized I could probably build a small family sailing dinghy in the same price range, and since time is no object that part doesn't weigh heavily into our final decision.

Our current tract is to learn to sail a small dinghy very very well. Get certified with as many courses as possible and then in 3-4 years upgrade to an ocean worthy vessel. 25, 30, 35 footer. Dunno yet (that's why I am here). Of course this tract will change for sure as our knowledge increases. The end result though is that I would like to take our daughter overseas or to the Caribbean for a graduation present from high school. She doesn't know this and it won't be brought up for a few years in case it just can't happen. And yes, I know a lot of novice and know-nothing beginners come here with aspirations for circumnavigation and whatnot as their goal, and I am not saying it hasn't come up, but we are realistic and want this to be a lifelong hobby, not just a whim with an unrealistic goal.

So with lots of searching and hap-hazard browsing I have not really found too much with relation to building for learning (hope that makes sense). I guess my question is as follows:

I you were to build a sailing dinghy that needed to fit 3 person + 1 dog what would you suggest? I would like this dinghy to serve as a segway into a small cruiser OR another home built cat or the like and then to a cruiser. I would like to keep the cost in the sub-$3000 range...sub-$2000 would be even better. I am very handy and would like to build the entire boat as well as possible sew my own sails. Names (model names), and links to plans would be greatly appreciated and a general discussion can be started in another part of the forum if need be (just let me know).

Thank you for your time and interest. I hope to be around here for a long time and someday contribute as much as I take away.
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Old 06-02-2010
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Hey wine - welcome to SN dude. You'll like the place.

There's tons of info on here - as well as many, many salts that will talk you through just about anything.

You should start poking around in this thread: The Salt's Corner Table

It's a thread with some of the best info to some of the most asked questions around here. And you can see who some of the go-to guys are.


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Old 06-02-2010
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Building a boat on a budget isn't likely, too many expensive required parts: mast, boom, rudder, rigging, etc. The cheapest way to get the necessary parts is to buy them attached to a boat...so buy the boat. Seems like you big challenge is finding a place to float one...good luck.
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Old 06-02-2010
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Welcome aboard! We can always use more sailors/builders/dreamers here. If you want to build your boat, great! Been there, done that, and will do it again. One place I learned a great deal from (although the atmosphere can sometimes be a little insufferable) is the WoodenBoat forum.
The WoodenBoat Forum The focus is on building,fixing and restoring wooden boats of all sorts, which complements the focus here, which is on everything else.
sailingfool has a point- if you want to sail NOW, buy a boat. There are lots of great choices in your budget and the size you are looking for, and you will likely get more bang for your buck buying a good old boat than you will BUILDING one. in fact, with a budget under $3k, you definitely will be hard pressed to build a boat that will be as good a sailboat as what you can buy in the used market.
But don't think your collection of tools will go to waste! Nay nay, young man!
See, a boat is just a vessel into which we pour our hearts and souls, making her OURS. We fix, we modify, we improve, we curse previous improvements and repairs by previous owners, we find ways to personalize our good old boat.

Start reading. Much can be learned by browsing this site and others, and in the world of pulp and ink, pick up copies of Good Old Boat, Small Craft Advisor, and a copy of Casey's This Old Boat.

Keep asking questions. As the cliche goes, there aren't any stupid ones.
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Old 06-03-2010
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Thanks for all the advice. I took another look at my local craigslist and I was stunned by how cheap people were selling off their boats. I could pick up a late 70s early 80s 20+footer for like 2500-3500.

I guess my main concern was the learning aspect. I figured if I build the boat myself I would just end up knowing a whole lot more. But I guess buying a boat and throwing it in the water and be an interesting trial by fire situation too. First I guess is sailing lessons then. Checking out some June dates right now. Chicago is only 2 hours away and has a ton of opportunities for lessons on dinghys and keels.
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