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TAKIN' ON THE JELLIES 11-21-2011 10:05 PM

Looking for advice on my first boat
I am new to sailing and new to this web site. I would appreciate some advice and different perspectives. I am looking for my first sailboat this winter after taking ASA sailing classes on Grand Traverse Bay (Michigan) in October on a 31' Hunter. It was cold, rainy and very windy...I learned alot and confirmed that I want to continue learning.

I turn 50 next year, live in central Indiana and am looking for a boat (and trailer) that I can sail on Lake Monroe and/or Brookville Lake. After doing some reading, I am leaning toward a boat in the 20'-24' range. I enjoyed the size of the Hunter 31, but finally convinced myself that a boat that size would not be practical for me at this point. I'm not looking for a project boat. I'm looking for a good, affordable (under $10K), stable boat that I can learn on, introduce sailing to my Grandson and then "move up" to a different boat in a few years.

I am looking for suggestions on boats that would be easy to launch and single-hand sail. I am also looking for opinions on the Compac 23, Bayfield 23, Nimble 24 and Aquarius 23.

Thanks in advance!

Jeff_H 11-22-2011 09:20 AM

I would respectfully suggest that none of these (Compac 23, Bayfield 23, Nimble 24 or Aquarius 23) would make especially good boats to learn to sail on. Each has their short comings for your purposes, with the Compac 23 probably being the best of the four but not especially ideal. The best boats to learn to sail on are boats which are reasonably responsive, tiller steered, offer positive helm feel, and which are also moderately forgiving. Normally, I would recommend small fin keel spade rudder sloops; boats like the Ranger 23, Sonar 23, Capri 25, Northstar 727 (23) and so on.

Of course these are somewhat deeper draft boats than you have on your list. If draft is a concern, and trailering isn't, I like some of the keel-centerboard boats from the 1960's such as the Sailmaster 23, Shaw 24, or Pacific Dolphin 24 and the like.

I strongly recommend against buying a ramp-launchable, trailerable boat of the size you are considering and expecting to trailer it. Generally there are big compromises made in order to make a boat easy to tow and easy to ramp launch. These compromises reduce a boat's suitability as a boat to learn on. Its not that you can't learn on a trailerable, its just that they are less than ideal. Plus, when I have owned trailerables, I missed a lot of great sailing opportunities because there was not the time to rig, launch, sail and recover, unrig and stow the boat. Properly set up the best small boats can be gotten underway in something like 5 minutes from when you step aboard and put to bed in perhaps 10 or 15 minutes. The trailerables that I have owned or used typically required a half hour or more to rig and launch and twice that to un-rig and stow. You lose a lot of 2-3 hour sails that way.

It is never too late to learn to sail. I hope that you and your grandson enjoy the experience.


DonScribner 11-23-2011 06:01 AM


I just erased my lengthy response by accident and I don't have time to retype the whole thing allow me to sum up.

Consider head room, size of the head, draft and weight. A roller furler is nice to have and can be trailered no problem. Pick up a copy of The Complete Trailer Sailor by Brian Gilbert, or something like it. He has tons of great information on the topic but more importantly he includes about 50 or so boat in the 16'-26' range in the back. Specs, photos, drawings, pros and cons. It can help you pick the perfect boat for you.

Gotta go! Ebeneezer is calling!

Fair Winds and fairer deals,


Biddeford, ME

Andyman 11-23-2011 01:04 PM

I have an Aquarius 23 and love it. Easy to rig and a joy to sail. Plenty of room inside and a cockpit that is larger than a Catalina 25. The A23's v-berth is larger than the Catalina 25 also. I can raise or drop the mast in under 20 minutes. Easily trailerable. I keep my boat on a mooring ball from May to October. The only thing I don't have that I will have some day is a roller furler.

TAKIN' ON THE JELLIES 11-28-2011 10:17 AM

ALL- Thanks for the information and advice.

Jeff-I am told that Lake Monroe has some fairly shallow areas, so the centerboard suggestion may be a better fit. Thanks!

Don- Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I would like to find a boat with decent headroom as I am 6'1", but have heard that I will have headroom issues with most boats unless I move up into a longer boat. I'll look for the book you suggested.

Andy- Thanks for the feedback on your Aquarius.

So far I am not having much luck on-line searching within 2-3 hours of Indianapolis, but will continue my search. I was hoping to find a great deal on a boat during the off-season.

Faster 11-28-2011 10:43 AM

Here's a YW search for Great lakes area, to 25 ft and $10K

(Sail) Daysailer Boats For Sale

SHNOOL 11-28-2011 03:37 PM

Precision 21, or Catalina 22, or my personal plug, Catalina Capri 22 wing keel.
Hunter 23 wing keel, also a nice boat.
Cat Capri 18, Precision 18, or 23.
Rhodes 22
Want go fast, J24.

Trying to give you boats that are common, inexpensive, and easy to find. Try allofcraigs and be willing to drive a bit to get a good deal.

Not sure why they are down on the Compac 23, but it's also a nice boat to learn on.

Finally - "it's the east Austrailian current! Let's see how squirt does flying SOLO" love the nick man.

TAKIN' ON THE JELLIES 12-11-2011 12:52 PM

Thanks to ALL for the suggestions. I'm keeping my eyes open looking for that good off-season deal for my starter boat. It looks like my off-season inventory choices within a couple hours of Indianapolis is fairly limited.

I did come across a couple other boats that I would like some feedback for my intended use. I have not had the time yet to go and see any of these in person. All of the following include trailers: 1975 Chrysler C-22 $4900 (swing-keel), A "year-younger-than-me" 1963 Pearson Electra $4500 (long keel, older boat is said to be in great condition, which is more than can be said about me..haha). SHNOOL, I did find a 1987 Hunter 23 for $4500, a 1987 Catalina 22 $5200. Each of these boats is advertised with trailer, outboard, sails, etc.

Thanks all-

TAKIN' ON THE JELLIES 12-11-2011 01:17 PM

I'm looking to avoid boats that currently need a lot of work to bring them up to speed, as my time-off from work is limited. With that in mind, and listening to advice, most of the time I will find a place to keep it moored or keep it at the launch site fully rigged on the trailer. Facilities at the two reservoirs within a couple hours both appear to offer those options.

DonScribner 12-11-2011 06:59 PM


Though the pickin's might be limited, you just listed some of the most solid, made-to-sail boats; the envy of many a trailer sailor. Pick one, buy it and start your odyssey!


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