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Old 09-19-2011
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Thinking about buying my first boat. Am I crazy?

First of all, hi everyone! I've been reading here for a while but this is my first post.

So, I've been bitten by the sailing bug, but I have a few questions before I take the plunge and buy a boat. I have been on a sail boat before, but have never sailed one myself (or crewed). I have a fair amount of time on the water in larger powered vessels though.

I'm thinking of buying something along the lines of a Catalina 27, or possibly something a little smaller (20' to 23' range) to learn to sail on. Ideally I'd like to sail around the Gulf Islands and explore; probably spending a weekend on board occasionally (with wife in tow), or maybe another couple for a day sail. I will take a sailing course if available, but I think they might be winding down for the season.

- Am I crazy to buy a sailboat this time of year? I'm thinking I might get a better deal, but might not get as much time on the water. Still it doesn't get "that" cold here.

My ideal budget is around $5000, but could probably go close to $10000 if I found a fantastic deal, and there seems to be a lot available at this price range.

- Are boats in this price range ('70's vintage mostly) going to fall apart on me in a couple years? Or is it something I'd be able to resell with proper maintenance? I intend to have a sail savvy friend look it over first of course.

I'm asking mostly because there is a very good chance I'll be moving inland for work in a few years and would need to sell it.

- How does one dispose of a boat that is no longer sail-able? Is there a marine junkyard of any kind?

- Is it difficult to repaint a boat? Some that I've seen look very weathered. Do you need a professional to do it like with a car? Or is it something most people could do themselves?


OK I think that's it for now. The sailing bug seems to be highly infectious and I think I gave it to my wife, so I need a sober opinion. Thanks.
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Old 09-19-2011
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Welcome to Sailnet!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointy_End View Post
I'm thinking of buying something along the lines of a Catalina 27, or possibly something a little smaller (20' to 23' range) to learn to sail on. Ideally I'd like to sail around the Gulf Islands and explore; probably spending a weekend on board occasionally (with wife in tow), or maybe another couple for a day sail. I will take a sailing course if available, but I think they might be winding down for the season.
Catalinas are very forgiving boats for novice sailors. They are a bit on the beamy side so they're not going to win many races unless it is against other Catalinas but you'll have more room below. If you're thinking about regularly sailing with another couple, I suggest going for the 27. It's still a manageable size for a beginner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointy_End View Post
- Am I crazy to buy a sailboat this time of year? I'm thinking I might get a better deal, but might not get as much time on the water. Still it doesn't get "that" cold here.
Not at all. I'm not sure how your seasons are temperature-wise, but if you buy at this time of year it just means you already have the boat and should be ready to hit the water sailing come spring. And, it gives you the down time to make any necessary repairs without taking away from sail time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointy_End View Post
My ideal budget is around $5000, but could probably go close to $10000 if I found a fantastic deal, and there seems to be a lot available at this price range.

- Are boats in this price range ('70's vintage mostly) going to fall apart on me in a couple years? Or is it something I'd be able to resell with proper maintenance? I intend to have a sail savvy friend look it over first of course.
You should be able to find something closer to the lower end in price, even more so if you decide on the 20- or 22-footers. Will the boat fall apart? That depends on how much the previous owner(s) neglected the boat and if needed, how much sweat you're willing to put into it for any repairs. Being able to re-sell quickly will depend in part on how much you neglect it. I think there is a person for every boat, even the old neglected boats.

When buying a boat that old, really think about how much time you want to spend repairing it (if it needs it) or how much money you need to budget to pay someone else to do it.

Catalina and (I think) Hunter have very active owners associations. Speaking for Catalina, each boat category has a website where owners post manuals, step by step instructions on repairs they made, upgrades. It's a good way to find out known issues so that you're aware of what you may get into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointy_End View Post
I'm asking mostly because there is a very good chance I'll be moving inland for work in a few years and would need to sell it.

- How does one dispose of a boat that is no longer sail-able? Is there a marine junkyard of any kind?


Catalinas and Hunters do well on the market. Even in this economy when I glance at the listings to see what's out there in the size that we own in our location, the prices have gone up considerably since we bought our boat two years ago and there are fewer listed.

As for disposing of boats, that sort of depends on the condition. Our previous boat was a 22-footer that had sustained damage in an area that prevented it from being sailed and we did not want to put money into repairing it since we were moving on to the next boat. We ended up giving it away to a couple we know who were willing to do the repairs.

Sea Scouts will sometimes accept damaged/neglected/unwanted boats, repair them as team-building exercises or just to learn how to repair different parts of a boat and then sell them at a low cost.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pointy_End View Post
- Is it difficult to repaint a boat? Some that I've seen look very weathered. Do you need a professional to do it like with a car? Or is it something most people could do themselves?
I painted our last boat. It isn't something I did very well nor will I do it again. I also learned that one should not apply wax at dusk.

I chose our marina because of the expertise of the yard. They specialize in all areas of sailboat repairs so that means we don't have to get our boat to another location to have it worked on. So far this has worked really well for us.
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Last edited by DRFerron; 09-19-2011 at 10:47 AM.
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Old 09-19-2011
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Hi Pointy_End. Welcome to the group from a fellow Victoria boat-less (so far) sailor.
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Old 09-21-2011
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Thanks for the welcome guys.

DRFerron, that's really helpful, thank you. The winter here is very mild, as Jd1 can probably attest to. I'm hoping to be able to sail most of the year, but we'll see.

I have a few other random questions that I haven't found the answer to:

- Most boats I've looked at online seem to have a head, although some seem to have those portable chemical toilets. I'm assuming that a proper head is preferable, but how does one typically empty the holding tank?

- Some boats come with a dingy, but what is the preferred option for stowing it? Lashing it to the deck looks like it might make the deck cramped on a boat that size. What about towing it? How much would that slow me down?
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Old 09-22-2011
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Great questions!! Of course, I'm new to all of this also so I don't have any answers for you, but I am learning from your questions!
Tanya
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Old 09-22-2011
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First of all, welcome to the asylum! Of course you're crazy...we all are! And probably 99% of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, here's my $0.02. I always tell anyone who is learning to sail, and has the itch to buy a boat, to get a sailing dinghy. I learned to sail on FJs and Lasers, bit there are dozens of models from which to choose. For $500 to $1000 bucks (maybe less, if you look around a bit) you can score a good used FJ, Lido, 470, et cetera, with a trailer and all the stuff you need to get out on the water. My preference would be a sloop-rigged dinghy, but a cat-rigged boat such as an Optimist, Sabot, or El Toro is almost as good for learning to sail. Then, when you have the boat, sail the Bejeezus out of it. That will be easy, because it will be small enough to haul to any suitable body of water, and cheap to fix all the little do-dads you're likely to break as you sail the Bejeezus out of it. You'll learn more (much, much more) about sailing by sailing the Bejeezus out of a dinghy for a season or two than you're likely to learn sailing a 20-something-foot boat every once in a while for years (which, sadly, is what almost always happens...regardless of intentions). AND, when you're ready to get a "real boat" (even though you actually have been sailing the Bejeezus out of a real boat), you'll have a much better idea of what to look for before you invest in a really big "hole in the water", into which you are going to start throwing serious cash (and, with boats, the cash is always more serious than you can ever anticipate; trust me on this).

OK, now, go out an buy that little 20-something-foot "yacht" --- no one ever takes my dinghy advice. Why should you be the first?
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Old 09-22-2011
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There is a BIG diference between a 22 footer and a 27 footer. The first is easy to trailor sail and fix on your driveway, the latter you are in to marinas and boatyards.

2 up a Catalina 22 Oday 22 or similar will give you lots of fun and can be overnighted in quite comfortably.

4 up you want something like a Catalina 27 try to find one with an inboard diesel. It will be easier to resell. This will feel more like a big boat and is likely to have a proper toilet with holding tank.
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Old 09-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
First of all, welcome to the asylum! Of course you're crazy...we all are! And probably 99% of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, here's my $0.02. I always tell anyone who is learning to sail, and has the itch to buy a boat, to get a sailing dinghy. I learned to sail on FJs and Lasers, bit there are dozens of models from which to choose. For $500 to $1000 bucks (maybe less, if you look around a bit) you can score a good used FJ, Lido, 470, et cetera, with a trailer and all the stuff you need to get out on the water. My preference would be a sloop-rigged dinghy, but a cat-rigged boat such as an Optimist, Sabot, or El Toro is almost as good for learning to sail. Then, when you have the boat, sail the Bejeezus out of it. That will be easy, because it will be small enough to haul to any suitable body of water, and cheap to fix all the little do-dads you're likely to break as you sail the Bejeezus out of it. You'll learn more (much, much more) about sailing by sailing the Bejeezus out of a dinghy for a season or two than you're likely to learn sailing a 20-something-foot boat every once in a while for years (which, sadly, is what almost always happens...regardless of intentions). AND, when you're ready to get a "real boat" (even though you actually have been sailing the Bejeezus out of a real boat), you'll have a much better idea of what to look for before you invest in a really big "hole in the water", into which you are going to start throwing serious cash (and, with boats, the cash is always more serious than you can ever anticipate; trust me on this).

OK, now, go out an buy that little 20-something-foot "yacht" --- no one ever takes my dinghy advise. Why should you be the first?

I actually did take your advice. I bought a laser I am learning on. So far the one skill I've mastered is how to tip it right side up again after a spectacular capsize, but it's all good.
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Old 09-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
First of all, welcome to the asylum! Of course you're crazy...we all are! And probably 99% of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, here's my $0.02. I always tell anyone who is learning to sail, and has the itch to buy a boat, to get a sailing dinghy. I learned to sail on FJs and Lasers, bit there are dozens of models from which to choose. For $500 to $1000 bucks (maybe less, if you look around a bit) you can score a good used FJ, Lido, 470, et cetera, with a trailer and all the stuff you need to get out on the water. My preference would be a sloop-rigged dinghy, but a cat-rigged boat such as an Optimist, Sabot, or El Toro is almost as good for learning to sail. Then, when you have the boat, sail the Bejeezus out of it. That will be easy, because it will be small enough to haul to any suitable body of water, and cheap to fix all the little do-dads you're likely to break as you sail the Bejeezus out of it. You'll learn more (much, much more) about sailing by sailing the Bejeezus out of a dinghy for a season or two than you're likely to learn sailing a 20-something-foot boat every once in a while for years (which, sadly, is what almost always happens...regardless of intentions). AND, when you're ready to get a "real boat" (even though you actually have been sailing the Bejeezus out of a real boat), you'll have a much better idea of what to look for before you invest in a really big "hole in the water", into which you are going to start throwing serious cash (and, with boats, the cash is always more serious than you can ever anticipate; trust me on this).

OK, now, go out an buy that little 20-something-foot "yacht" --- no one ever takes my dinghy advice. Why should you be the first?

I agree with your dinghy advice.

I bought a snark as my first boat. $325 off of craigslist and I can put it on the roof of my car by myself.

One of these days I might move up to a sunfish.

Rich
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Old 09-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SlowButSteady View Post
First of all, welcome to the asylum! Of course you're crazy...we all are! And probably 99% of us wouldn't have it any other way.

Now, here's my $0.02. I always tell anyone who is learning to sail, and has the itch to buy a boat, to get a sailing dinghy. I learned to sail on FJs and Lasers, bit there are dozens of models from which to choose. For $500 to $1000 bucks (maybe less, if you look around a bit) you can score a good used FJ, Lido, 470, et cetera, with a trailer and all the stuff you need to get out on the water. My preference would be a sloop-rigged dinghy, but a cat-rigged boat such as an Optimist, Sabot, or El Toro is almost as good for learning to sail. Then, when you have the boat, sail the Bejeezus out of it. That will be easy, because it will be small enough to haul to any suitable body of water, and cheap to fix all the little do-dads you're likely to break as you sail the Bejeezus out of it. You'll learn more (much, much more) about sailing by sailing the Bejeezus out of a dinghy for a season or two than you're likely to learn sailing a 20-something-foot boat every once in a while for years (which, sadly, is what almost always happens...regardless of intentions). AND, when you're ready to get a "real boat" (even though you actually have been sailing the Bejeezus out of a real boat), you'll have a much better idea of what to look for before you invest in a really big "hole in the water", into which you are going to start throwing serious cash (and, with boats, the cash is always more serious than you can ever anticipate; trust me on this).

OK, now, go out an buy that little 20-something-foot "yacht" --- no one ever takes my dinghy advice. Why should you be the first?
I learned on a dinghy, in classes. We were taught in Cornoado 15's, sloop rigged and all. It was a great learning tool, and a real hoot on the open water.

For pleasure sailing though, I prefer larger boats - something I am less likely to get wet in that is comfortable on the 20+knot sf bay, something I can bring a friend on, and with enough storage for extra clothing and snacks.

Dinghy's are great, and fun, and I like em, but based on the OP description of what he wants to do with a boat, a dinghy won't do.

OP: take classes, or if they are really winding down as you say, do some online self education on the basics of sailing and get some sailing on other peoples boats until classes start again. You would want to know enough about sailing to at least sea trial any potential purchase.
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