Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor - SailNet Community

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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail
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  #1  
Old 10-07-2012
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Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

Hi Everyone, I'm new to sailnet, so hello!

For some odd reason, about a year or so ago I got a strange desire (seemingly from nowhere--I've been landlocked all my life) to become a sailor and someday sail about the world. This spring I moved near to Lake Michigan and soon I think I'll get a cheap boat to learn on. I found a couple on craigslist and would appreciate help deciding.

The Cal 21 would be nice because of the swinging keel, it would be nice to be able to beach the boat and whatnot, and easier boat for drysailing.

The Santana 22 is more seaworthy and faster from what I understand, but it might not be as easy as the Cal 21 for drysailing.

I've done a lot of backpack-camping (which will help for a night or two on such a small space) so my plan is to take it out over the weekends and anchor near the shore at night, and maybe even sail across to Wisconsin or the UP for a week. (next summer of coarse)

Any opinions?
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

I'm sorry. What is drysailing? Not familiar with the term.

if you're going to be sailing around Lake Michigan, I think I'd want the most seaworthy vessel I could get my hands on.
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

Drysailing means I'll be keeping it at home on the trailer when I'm not sailing it. (it is also used if a person has a lift, just keeping the boat out of water when not in use)

It'll save a lot in marina fees, and/or time. The only local marina I've found that isn't rich-guy oriented is way up the river, and I could probably be out in Lake Michigan faster by launching the boat each time. (Also the reason I would take it out overnight each time--too much work to go for just the day, maybe I'll feel differently once I have it figured out though)
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Old 10-07-2012
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

I think I would go for a swing keel boat. Which would be much easier to launch from a trailer. However, if you are looking at two specific boats, it will really come down to what condition each one is in. One of them might be a complete disaster.
Don't plan on crossing the lake on a small boat. I went from a Catalina 22 to a Bristol 27 in order to feel more confident on the lake. Stick with Manistee Lake, or harbor hop up the Michigan coast (Michigan ports are generally said to be nicer than Wisconsin anyway)
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Old 10-08-2012
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

If launching and retrieving wasn't an issue I would recommend the Santana. But a fixed keel on a sailboat is hard to trailer. And the raising and lowering the mast is also a pain in the ass if the boat isn't designed to do that freqently. A lot of trailersailors brag about how quickly they can have the boat in the water. Santana 22 owners probably just assume it is going to be a job that takes a couple of hours.
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

Agree with mast raising time. Anything in the 22 foot range, should be considered for weekending, not day sailing. Unless of course it is on a mooring. It took me a couple hours to get my Catalina 22 mast up, and an hour and a half to get it down. Not what you would want to do just for a few hours on the water. I can get my sunfish off the trailer and sailing in about 15 minutes.
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

Thanks for the replies! I think I am going to go with the Santana 22. Since there's a couple fleet of them on the west coast there'll be more info about sailing and modifying them, and their popularity says something... I also won't have to deal with the problems that come with an old swing keel.

Now hoping it'll still be available when I get paid in a couple weeks! I'll let you know how it goes.
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Old 03-09-2014
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

I'm curious to find out how that went for you. I'm looking at getting a partnership on a Santana.
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Old 03-09-2014
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

Never Mind.

Last edited by Chas H; 03-09-2014 at 08:15 PM.
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Old 07-28-2014
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Re: Cal 21 or Santana 22 for first time sailor

I have a Hunter 23 in the great lakes & can share my experience of that. A smaller boat like you mentioned I can't imagine would be too much different.

My 23 sails nice in the Lake Michigan & handles 3 waves pretty well, but I would NOT cross Lake Michigan in it(as advised by verteran sailers) unless I broght someone who did it 2X. I've been sailing small sailboats for 10 years on weekends. First year I've had a daysailer. Lake Michigan weather conditions cancels about 50% of my intended sailing days due to high winds, fog, or waves. From what I've learned 26+ @ 4000lbs or more is more comfortable for crusing lake Michigan on longer trips. 23 foot about a 20 mile trip is all you want to take for overnight for the 1st year. If you are planning on taking a wife or kids 3-4 seas will not be nerve racking for someone not use to sailing. Take an experienced crew if including precious cargo. A 23 or smaller would be good in a sheltered or large harbor like ludington, MI. That way if the weather is crappy on lake Michigan you can put around in a larger harbor & get more practice in calm conditions. For great lakes the smaller the boat the smaller the margin of safety. The longer the boat the more waves it will "bridge" and not bonce so much. On my boat you have to reef the main or jib only over 15knots or the heel is bad @2400lbs weight.
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