Want to get back into sailing, but on saltwater. - SailNet Community

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Old 06-15-2011
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peephole is on a distinguished road
Want to get back into sailing, but on saltwater.

Grew up in the Northeast in a town that had a rather large (1 square mile) artificial lake, on which I spent several summers sailing a Sunfish. I haven't sailed the thing in years, but am pretty confident that, were I to step on the boat today, I could get around as easily as I did before.

Many things have happened in my life since I left my parents' house; I'm 31 now. I'm moving to the San Francisco Bay area (Vallejo, to be exact, which is actually on San Pablo Bay, to be exact) this fall to start a new job. I noticed that the town is close to the water, and think it would be a lost opportunity if I didn't start sailing again.

So, a few comments and questions:

1. I'm guessing that I should take some sailing lessons before I attempt to apply what I learned from sitting atop a Sunfish to a bigger boat on saltwater. I don't want to spend a great deal of money, however, as I've recently taken on a decent amount of educational debt and am starting my job at a lower, "probationary" salary. How many lessons can I expect to have to take, and at what hourly rate? Any advice on finding a school/instructor? Any advice for learning cost-effectively?

2. To help me figure out what kind of boat I will end up getting, I've gone to Amazon and purchased "The Complete Trailer Sailor: How to Buy, Equip, and Handle Small Cruising Sailboats" by Brian Gilbert. One of my priorities in buying a boat will be to get something that will not suck up my money left and right. I want something that can be had for cheap, that will not be expensive to maintain, that I can trailer to the water, and then--once I'm done sailing it for the day or the weekend--can trailer back to my backyard, where I can hose it off. I don't want to rent a marina slip, nor do I plan to upgrade my boat with fancy add-ons; I figure the point is to enjoy the outdoors, not to make a floating mansion for myself. I also am not interested in competing or racing. I would, however, like something that I could spend at least a few nights aboard on some longer weekends. Also, if possible, I'd like something that I could take on the ocean, as in, maybe for a cruise to LA, San Diego, Mexico, or even up North. Would something that I could trailer to and from the bay with a v6 car actually be capable of that? Any advice as to what kinds of boats I might want to look for? Looking online, it seems that Macgregors, Catalinas, Windrose 5.5, O'Day 22, Venture 21, Coronado 23. Any recommendations/advice on what to eventually get?
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