Hi! I'm a new member to the forums. Thanks for such a great site!
I don't have a boat yet. I'm "actively" looking, but not too agressively. I'm married and have 2 boys ages 5 and 3. This will be our first boat, though my parents had power boats when I was a kid (into my late teens or early 20's).
We live about 45 minutes from the Delaware river, about 45 minutes from Lake Nockamixon, about 30 minutes from Peace Valley (Lake Galena), about 1.5-2.5 hours from the NJ shore (depending on which beach) and about 1.5 hours from the upper Cesepeake. Our quandry, in part, is what size boat to get, and where to keep her.
About our sailing experience so far: My wife and I learned to sail on a 14' in Peace Valley, and I took lessons ages ago in the BVI's. I've single-handed the 14's and the 19's in the BVI's without a problem.
I have a few problems with continuing to rent the 14's at the local lake, including the hours that the rental place is open, and the fact that there's no cabin or bimini on the boats. One dream I have is to be able to quit work early some weekdays and flit over to the boat to go sailing. The local lake is the closest candidate for that, but they only allow up to 16's. I've researched/looked at Diller Schwill 16's, Com-Pac 15's, and a 16' American in my hunt for a boat for the lake. All of these have relatively high gunwales, so my kids are fairly safe inside the cockpit, and some even have decent (albeit miniature) cuddy cabins where the boys could hide from the sun/rain and take naps. But I worry, because that lake will likely get boring pretty quickly, and we may outgrow the boat in incredibly short order. And that pushes me out to Lake Nockamixon, the Delaware, and/or the shore.
Nockamixon sounds nice, but it too would probably get boring pretty quickly. So, I'm kind of discounting it. Sure, there are a lot of boats there, and a lot of people are very happy there. I'm just not sure that it will be a good place for us, in the end.
So, that leaves the Delaware and NJ shore. My thought is, if we get a trailerable boat that's towable by our Honda Pilot, we could keep her in the Delaware, where I might still be able to sail some weekdays, and take her to the shore when we want a little more adventure.
Now, don't laugh...the other option I'm considering, if I can find a way to pull it off within my microscopic budget, is to get both a 16 for the local lake and a larger boat, with the intention of keeping the larger boat at the shore. My in-laws have a home in Avalon, NJ, so we expect to be there a lot next season anyway (which cuts against keeping the boat on the Delaware, since I'd be tempted to trailer it just about every weekend, but that's also a prospect I'm not too keen on).
I've been offered a free Irwin 25 - she needs a mainsail and an engine. She doesn't have a trailer, either, but she's free and in decent shape. I've also found that 16' American I mentioned, and think I might be able to work a deal for it. So, I MIGHT just be able to pull this off! Neither boat is new - both are 1970's era vessels. But both seem structurally sound, and would give me the chance to play on the water a lot.
So...did I put everyone to sleep?