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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 11-14-2011
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Talking Newbie

Hi guys and gals -

My name is Kyle and am new to sailing. I signed up for sailing lessons from an ASA school in the Fort Worth, TX area. I am considering purchasing my own boat instead of relying on renting a boat once I have finished the lessons. I have ordered a few books through Amazon about selecting the proper boat, but greatly welcome any suggestions. I will be sailing on a large local lake, spending some weekends aboard maybe in the spring and fall, and will be cruising as I am not interested in learning to race at this point.

I am considering a 25' catalina that is for sale locally.
1999 Catalina 250 sailboat for sale in Texas

Any thoughts, suggestions, constructive criticism are appreciated!

Thanks,
Kyle

Last edited by rrodak; 11-14-2011 at 11:58 PM.
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Old 11-15-2011
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Smaller is better
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Old 11-15-2011
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Smaller is cheaper and you will learn more from a small boat about sailing.
A Catalina 25' is pretty small but big enough to miss some of the nuances that the wind and waves actually offer.
I learned to sail on Sunfish nearly 40 years ago. Others like to learn on bigger platforms.
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Old 11-15-2011
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Smaller is cheaper and you will learn more from a small boat about sailing.
A Catalina 25' is pretty small but big enough to miss some of the nuances that the wind and waves actually offer.
I learned to sail on Sunfish nearly 40 years ago. Others like to learn on bigger platforms.

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Nice-looking boat and no doubt you could learn to sail on her.

But I too am a believer in 'smaller is better' in boats to learn on. The C25 photos show wheel steering. I think you'd to better starting with tiller steering, the feel is more direct and you never have to guess what your rudder angle is. And the smaller boats have less intertia, are more sensitive to weight placement, and are in general less forgiving while giving you more immediate feedback. This is actually good for climbing the learning curve.

here's an idea, if you have the budget. Do both! buy the 25 and a smaller boat (Laser? Coronado 15?) then you could get the advantages of learning on two different boat designs. Just a thought. Easy for me when I'm spending your money.
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Thank you all for your advice! I will begin smaller and work my way up to something larger.
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Old 11-15-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrodak View Post
Thank you all for your advice! I will begin smaller and work my way up to something larger.
There's nothing wrong with buying the C25. To help you learn to sail her better, just bum some riding time on a small, fast dinghy or sign up for a dinghy sailing instruction course. There's no need to buy several iterations of boats. It's expensive and not very practical.

There are many small boats to practice on- Lasers, Flying Scots, Hobies.

In a stiffer breeze, the C25 begins to sail a lot like a big dinghy, requiring a constant hand on the tiller and the mainsheet, to play the puffs and avoid being overpowered and dumped on your ear.

I had a Coronado 25 that was like this. It was a good learning platform, and definitely cheaper to operate and maintain than my current 30 footer.
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Old 11-15-2011
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Kyle,
Welcome to Sailnet! I'm a recent owner of a 1984 Catalina 25. They are fun boats, and are great "first boats", but I'd suggest learning to sail on something else first. As others have suggested, I'd go with something smaller. I learned to sail on a 14' American, and they are fun boats. I am hearing impaired and wear hearing aids, so capsizing is a concern for me (electronics and water don't really mix that well). I always felt safe in the American, even when we pushed it a bit. I haven't actually played in a Laser, Hobie, etc., but I'd bet they are fun, too. The big thing(s) with the smaller boats is that you get a better feel for how to sail, and fixing any mistakes is typically a lot less expensive than in bigger boats. For me, the most significant thing about the move to the 25 (which I've sailed all of 5 times now) is the inertial difference - I'm moving an almost 5000 lb object in a (somewhat) frictionless environment without any brakes. It was much easier to learn on a 350lb boat.

Another suggestion, which is probably contrary to what others here will give, is to not pay much for the first boat. If you enjoy sailing, you may find that you want to move up to the C25 (or larger) fairly quickly. A limited cash outlay up front will make it easier to sell the first boat (or justify keeping it when you buy the bigger one).
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Last edited by jimgo; 11-15-2011 at 02:54 PM.
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Thank you for your advice I think that is my main concern with getting something small is capsizing easily. I will take a look at the American and similar.

And thanks for the welcome! On a side note, does anyone on the forums sail in north texas?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
Kyle,
Welcome to Sailnet! I'm a recent owner of a 1984 Catalina 25. They are fun boats, and are great "first boats", but I'd suggest learning to sail on something else first. As others have suggested, I'd go with something smaller. I learned to sail on a 14' American, and they are fun boats. I am hearing impaired and wear hearing aids, so capsizing is a concern for me (electronics and water don't really mix that well). I always felt safe in the American, even when we pushed it a bit. I haven't actually played in a Laser, Hobie, etc., but I'd bet they are fun, too. The big thing(s) with the smaller boats is that you get a better feel for how to sail, and fixing any mistakes is typically a lot less expensive than in bigger boats. For me, the most significant thing about the move to the 25 (which I've sailed all of 5 times now) is the inertial difference - I'm moving an almost 5000 lb object in a (somewhat) frictionless environment without any brakes. It was much easier to learn on a 350lb boat.

Another suggestion, which is probably contrary to what others here will give, is to not pay much for the first boat. If you enjoy sailing, you may find that you want to move up to the C25 (or larger) fairly quickly. A limited cash outlay up front will make it easier to sell the first boat (or justify keeping it when you buy the bigger one).
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If you are looking for stable over speedy, also keep an eye out for Diller Schwill (also called Schwill, or DS). Com-Pac, or Chryslers. Others may suggest otherwise, but even a Venture 17 (built by MacGregor) wouldn't be a bad starter/learning boat.
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