Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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I would highly recommend sailing a few times on other people's boats, like Padean said, so you can get a feel for what you like, don't like, want, don't want in a boat. Try as many different boats as you can, so you can get a feel for what would work for you.
One other thing to consider is whether you want a trailerable boat or not. There are a lot of boats in the 25-28' range that are trailerable, and owning a trailerable boat can have some major advantages over a non-trailerable boat.
First is the cost of storage. If you live someplace where you can park the trailer, say in your driveway or behind your house, then your costs of storing the boat during the off-season will be much lower than if you have to keep it at a boatyard.
Second, if you feel like trying a different sailing area, you can make 55 mph to windward with a trailerable boat, which will greatly increase the areas you can sail in over a season.
Third, hauling out a non-trailerable boat can be expensive and leaves you at the yard's mercy...owning a trailerable boat means you have a lot more flexibility in when and where you launch or haul her, even if you decide to keep the boat in a marina most of the time.
However, there are some downsides to having a trailerable boat. First, many trailerable boats have less room inside than do the non-trailerable boats.
Second, there is the cost of owning and operating the trailer and having a vehicle large enough to tow it safely.
Third, some of the better choices, depending on the type of sailing you want to do, aren't trailerable.
That said, I'd point out that keeping a boat on a mooring or in a slip can often mean the difference between getting in that short afternoon sail or not. That may not be as important in your case, as you're three hours from where you might likely store the boat, but it does make a difference. Even the best trailerable boat will be easier to get away on if it is kept rigged and in the water. My boat, a rather large trailerable, is normally on a mooring at a marina during the season.
As Padean said, owning a boat is a pretty big commitment, and your OP doesn't mention whether you've had any experience in owning a boat. They're expensive. They're a lot of work. They take up a lot of time and effort to maintain properly. If you're up for that, then get some sailing in this season and figure out what kind of boat you really want—and then buy it.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
Last edited by sailingdog; 01-25-2010 at 06:20 PM.