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Old 04-05-2014
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

Well, this is an interesting thread that comes close to answering a similar question that I've been wrestling with--so I hope the original poster doesn't mind if I build on this discussion rather than starting a whole new thread...

I live near the Chesapeake and have been seriously considering buying my first cruising sailboat. Given family size, and planned retirement in 3 years +/-, I've been thinking that a boat in the 30-32 foot range would let me do just about everything I'd like to end up being able to do. The question is--first go for a smaller boat, say 24-27 foot, then move up, or start out at 30-32 feet?
My background--as a teenager/20-something I sailed constantly in LI Sound and the LI harbors with a Sailfish, including trips of 10-20 miles. Haven't sailed since, except once a year ago with my son in a 24 foot Rainbow, which I had no problem at all managing (much to his amazement). I'm a sea kayaking instructor--not sailing I know, but a lot of the coastal seamanship carries over--winds, currents, sea state, coastal piloting, weather, radio communication. I would absolutely plan to obtain formal instruction & achieve ASA 103 level certification before or immediately after purchase. Thoughts?
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Old 04-05-2014
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising


The difference in handling, IMHO, between a 27' and a 30' is inconsequential; except for docking fees!

Remember..costs rise geometrically with increase in footage. I'd goforthe smallesst boat that you'd be comfortable on in most situations AND the largest you can afford the $$ and timefeeding and maintaining..
Even if I didn't need to worry abouit $$ or maint,; I'd *still* have my 27', as it suits mejust fine I spend more time sailing than fixin' and it's so simple that I can fix/mainttain on the cheap and on the go..

Best of luck,
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Old 04-05-2014
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Re: From Dinghy Sailor to Cruising

I generally agree with Delta's comments. However, it is important to point out that you need to clearly define your needs. For example, will you most often be sailing alone or with one, two, or more people? Will you mostly be day sailing, weekending, or going for longer cruises? If you don't know the answer to these questions, you might want to start smaller simply because of the costs.

Starting small can be a great way to see whether you like sailing, and how much you'll use a boat. If you're unsure about getting your feet wet, you can pick up a Catalina 22 for pretty cheap (a few thousand) and if you decide you hate sailing, you can sell her for close to what you paid for her. If you decide you love sailing and want to move up to something bigger, you can sell her for about what you paid for her. And if you decide she's the right boat for you, you can keep her. Some will tell you that you are likely to lose money doing it my way, and I agree with them. Let's say you buy a C22 on a trailer for $4,000 and a year later you and your companions decide it's time for a bigger boat, and you wind up selling her for $3,000. Yes, you've lost $1,000. But that year with her, or however long you'll get her, will help you define and refine your wants and needs. Do you want a big cockpit so you can entertain? Split transom? Wheel or tiller? Do you need a separate shower in the cabin? Do you NEED refrigeration, air conditioning, etc.? What kind of rig do you want? Are you going to be racing at all? These are all issues/questions/etc. that you'll need to answer. Trying to answer them NOW is, with all due respect, probably foolish. I'd be willing to bet that a year or two from now, your answer to a fair number of these questions will probably have changed. If you start with a $20,000+ 30' boat and a year from now you decide to sell her because you want/need something else, I suspect you'll lose significantly more than the $1,000 if you go with the "start small" approach.

For what it's worth, we bought our Catalina 25 for $1,000. We probably put another $1000 into her, not including the new engine, that winter. I used the C22 in my example above, but the same would basically hold true for a 25.
- Jim
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1980 Allmand 31
1975 Albacore 15

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