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Old 07-20-2011
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Wanna be sailor

Hello,

I hope this is the right place to post. I got fairly interested in sailing a while ago. Used to fly back then but fuel prices are crazy right now. (this is where sails come in :P)

Hopefully I'm in my last year of university and been thinking about buying a sailboat after graduating. What I'm looking for is something trailer-able, maybe around 24'-31' so I can tow it when not in use and don't have to pay for a marina in the under $10000 range, but also good enough to stay out overnights, like the ones that sleep 4. There is a free one down the road but it looks really really bad, including a rusty keel, which I thought was supposed to be lead.

What I'd like to do meanwhile is research as much as I can about it. Proper names for parts of a ship (some I still don't know), how they can break, how much it is to repair them, and also how to sail. So that when it comes time, I can look at a ship that I want to buy and know what I'm looking at. I have been searching the internet and there is a lot of resources, including this site, but suggestions would be more welcome.

Basically if you could recommend me some books about sailing/maintenance, or good web-resources, I'd much appreciate it, and on benefits of design, like differences between full-keel and shoal keel i think they call it. I'd prefer fixing things myself so resources in that regard would be nice too.

Thanks
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Old 07-20-2011
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Some "free" boats are more trouble than they're worth, especially to a newer sailor. But if you can find an experienced sailor to look at boats with you, you can learn much.

Basic books are written for sailing classes; in the USA both US Sailing and the American Sailing Association have textbooks for their classes, such as "Sailing Fundamentals" by Gary Jobson or "Start Sailing Right", or the independent DK book "Keep it simple sailing".
Slightly more comprehensive or advanced is the Rousmaniere "Annapolis Book of Seamanship", which is often used as a textbook for longer-duration classes.

Don Casey and Nigel Calder are among the popular authors of maintenance and repair books.

"The best way to learn sailing" is one of those "beat a horse to death" topics that inspire at least twice as many opinions as the number of sailors you can stuff into a bar. Most people learn by a variety of methods that include mentoring/teaching and learning and practicing on their own. The best methods really depend upon you and your interests, abilities, limitations, circumstances, and sailing dreams.

Some boating groups offer free or low-price safety and other classes and seminars. If you are fortunate as to have a sailing co-op or community sailing center nearby, take advantage of them. And there is the very fine art of getting boat rides.
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Old 07-20-2011
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Having a boat that you can keep on a trailer will save you thousands of dollars in marina and storage expenses. It will also severely limit your choice of potential boats.
Without knowing what body of water or where you intend to use your boat also makes it difficult to suggest a particular model.
You can have a trailer made for nearly any boat but launching a fin or full keeled boat at most launching ramps will likely be difficult if not impossible.
That said, you might start out by looking at the MacGregor line of boats. The MacGregor models <= 25' are routinely trailered but are a bit older. Of the 26' MacGregor boats I would only suggest looking at the 'S' model (not the 'X', 'M' or 'D' models) as it is a better sailboat then the others, has room to sleep 6 but is not really suited for heavy conditions you might find out on an ocean. Hunter makes a 26' that is also a water ballasted boat.
Where you intend to use it is an important part of the calculus.
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Old 07-20-2011
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Owning a boat is good. Having friends with boats is in some ways better.

There's no hurry to buy your "ultimate" boat, because your needs and wants are likely to change as you learn more about sailing and want to try out different kinds of sailing.

Some people start with small boats and work up; some jump into a bigger boat; and some crew for others, charter, or join a sailing co-op or club. For some people, learning basic sailing on a smaller boat and then crewing on several other people's boats helps broaden their experience rapidly. It all depends upon your needs and situation.

Conflict of interest disclaimer: I have a MacGregor 26 swing-centerboard sailboat to get rid of... and will still probably have too many boats.
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Old 07-20-2011
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Thanks

I will probably try to get my hands on the "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" as from what you said it seems to cover more. There is a local college with a $500 course on sailing too that I will consider.

The closest body of water to me is lake Ontario (live in the Canadian Niagara region). A lot of the boat ramps I have seen are fairly gradual, so one thing on my mind was as one of you mentioned, is just how deep do you have to drive in with a fixed keel boat to get it deep enough. And of course if it was too steep pulling it out could be a problem.

The swing keeled ones are interesting but in my mind that is more maintenance/damage prone. I guess it might be a trade off I'd have to live with. I'd probably avoid bad weather anyways, but you never know.

I wouldn't mind going out with other people either for a day sail, maybe I'll check around with local clubs.
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Old 07-20-2011
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I will probably try to get my hands on the "Annapolis Book of Seamanship" as from what you said it seems to cover more. There is a local college with a $500 course on sailing too that I will consider.

The closest body of water to me is lake Ontario (live in the Canadian Niagara region). A lot of the boat ramps I have seen are fairly gradual, so one thing on my mind was as one of you mentioned, is just how deep do you have to drive in with a fixed keel boat to get it deep enough. And of course if it was too steep pulling it out could be a problem.

The swing keeled ones are interesting but in my mind that is more maintenance/damage prone. I guess it might be a trade off I'd have to live with. I'd probably avoid bad weather anyways, but you never know.

I wouldn't mind going out with other people either for a day sail, maybe I'll check around with local clubs.
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Old 07-20-2011
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As for getting a keelboat down a ramp, smaller boats with moderate draft -- around three and a half feet/1 m -- might be able to get by, depending on the ramp, with a tongue extender on the trailer. I'm thinking up to say a Rhodes 19 or Santana 20, maybe.

Deeper draft keelboats depend upon being lowered on a rope, heavy strap, or wire cable, perhaps 50 to 80 feet long, rolling down the ramp by gravity after tension has been taken on the launch cable and the chocks have been removed from the trailer tires. A large, swing-down or bolt-on front wheel is useful in helping the trailer go down straight. Shorter, rougher, clogged, or super shallow ramps can be an issue. Many smaller racing keelboats have provision for crane launching and many yacht clubs and some marinas will have cranes that can lift 3,000 - 6,000 lb. or so boats. Somewhere way back on my or my wife's blogs are some pictures of trailer launching (desertsea and itsfiveoclocksomewhere, both on blogspot.com).

Somewhere on the US Sailing website -- it sort of sprawls and can be hard to find some things on -- there are some good introductory explanations of sailing.
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Old 07-21-2011
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Vicki,

We own a Lancer 25. 30" draft, sleeps 5, sails well enough. We bought the boat for $2200 in good condition, and after some repairs and modification, the trailer cost about $1500. (American). We launch anyplace we feel like it with no tongue extension, but it can be a little interesting at times.

Allow me to impose my opinion. Pick up a copy of The Complete Trailer Sailor by Brian Gilbert, or something akin to it. Gilbert provides all sorts of information on sailing, trailering and seamanship. He also has photos, drawings and specs on 50 or so trailerable boats from 16' to 26'. It can help you decide what you like, don't like or need. One thing he won't mention is the head. IMHO, get a boat with an enclosed head. Many people don't care for sitting on a port-potti in the middle of the cabin floor, as many of the smaller boats are set up. Just a suggestion.

At any rate . . . welcome to the flotilla!

Don
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