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  Topic Review (Newest First)
06-11-2013 11:31 PM
Re: Good First Boat

one point to consider would be, will you just be "sailing' the boat on weekends or will it also be used as a weekend getaway. I ask that because when I bought my c&c 30 a year and a half ago it was my first boat period..never even owned a rowboat before, but knew that my wife and I wanted to sail but also have a cottage on the water to relax on weekends. many an hour has been spent on the mooring having a drink, reading a good book, grilling some food. or simply watching the boat traffic on the river. trying to do this on a small boat with limited headroom, probably a porta potty, and otherwise cramped conditions just wouldnt have resulted in as much enjoyment! while we could have started small and moved up in stages, other than the lack of amenities of a smaller boat I also thought of the time and expense involved in each step up in boat size. although many on this site have managed to sell a boat rapidly and for good money, many have had to put future plans on hold while the first /second boat waits for an offer. and while that is happening the yard/mooring/slip/repair bills keep adding up{monies one could have applied to a larger boat}. if you have not already take a basic keelboat course, perhaps keelkick a boat or two{read the post on this site about what to look for when shopping for a boat,}hire a reputable surveyor who will let you crawl through the boat with him{ask questions , lots of them}and get out there and enjoy!
06-11-2013 11:10 PM
Re: Good First Boat

I don't think you have to start with a tiny boat, the first boat I got was a cal 20 which was after sailing one time in my life on a neighbors' Alberg 33.

I do agree that 30+ is a tall order. I wouldn't go above 25.

1. Easier to dock
2. Less to break, cheaper to replace
3. Easier to maneuver
4. For price will be nicer.
5. Easier to learn everything on, anchor, tack...

I would go a good condition boat with a really good condition engine. I would look for in order of priority, regardless of boat

1. Engine
2. Hull
3. Sails
4a. Extras
4. Standing rigging
5. Hardware
6. Running rigging

Really most boats are and you'll be happy. Just go with a good manufacturer and not a macgregor 26
06-11-2013 10:49 PM
Re: Good First Boat

have a good condition 30 catalina for sale under 15K, berthed in noak Ct.
06-11-2013 09:51 PM
Re: Good First Boat

35 ft in good nick for 15 k might be a tall order but here is a nice looking 1984 Catalina 30with IB diesel and the tall rig for that money.

As others have said where you intend to keep it will control the max draft. Ask the locals [ actual keelboat sailors ] what you can get away with.

Re learning to sail on a 30 footer, find someone who knows what they are doing and get them to take you out a couple of times. Sailing is not rocket science, it is mostly common sense. Play around with a double reefed main and half the genoa until yo suss it out.
06-11-2013 10:14 AM
Re: Good First Boat

I agree with a lot of the advice above. The ideal approach, IMHO, is to start with a small boat (12-16') and sail that for a few years, then move up to a mid-20's (22, 25, 27) before going to a big boat. Small boats teach you how to react quickly, and to appreciate how subtle changes in trim can change the boat's behavior. Medium boats teach you how expensive boating can be, what your physical limitations are, and help you understand what your actual use-cases will be when sailing. That knowledge helps you make an informed decision when you finally plop down the chunk of change for your "real" boat in 5-7 years.

All of the above, by the way, is do-able on the $10-15K budget. I bought a 15' Albacore for $100 including the trailer. I bought a Catalina 25 for $1000. And I bought my Allmand for $6,000. Of course, I didn't buy them in that order; I did the C25 first. That taught me two things: the NJ shore was too far from my home to let me sail as often as I'd REALLY like, and my local lake was much to small for any kind of extended "cruising" or overnighting that my kids would enjoy. That's how I wound up with two boats. I also learned a lot about how WE use the boat (everyone is different), what kinds of cockpit/cabin layouts were desirable for us, etc. That being said, I learned to sail on 14' and 19' boats before buying the Catalina (classes in the USVI and our local lake), and think that was invaluable.

So, have you seen any boats that you think might be interesting? Are you looking for a boat that you can "live" on with 2 couples for several days, or are you OK with "camping" in the boat? A C25 will let two couples "camp" in the boat, if you go with the traditional layout. The V-berth is just big enough for two average sized adults. With a little work on your end, the salon can be turned into a queen-sized bed. But you'll have to break it down each morning, which makes it more like camping and less like overnighting in a hotel.
06-11-2013 08:09 AM
Good First Boat

I agree with CalebD. A river doesn't tell you if you need shoal draft, your sailing waters are the determinant.
06-10-2013 11:20 PM
Re: Good First Boat

Which river in the LI/NYC area do you plan on keeping your boat moored in?
You may not really need a shoal draft boat for, say the Hudson River.

Bigger boats have more systems and more stuff to fix, clean & maintain but can be more comfortable in the long run.

My T27' would be a little tight for 2 couples on an overnight but the shoal draft (3'6" board up) make it a good choice for the shallower spots. My boat also has pretty simple systems so a bit less to maintain.
06-10-2013 11:00 PM
Good First Boat

Pcpk: I wouldn't want to start out with a 30-footer for my first boat - way more boat than is practical for a novice's first boat. SlowButSteady outlined the ideal approach; but, not everyone is able to follow that path. Our "starter boat" was a Catalina-22. Sunk cost of about 3.5K, great for learning, and big enough for my family of four and occasional guests for frequent day sails and the occasional over-nighter on the lake. It would be pretty tight for sleeping 2-adult couples though. Point being - you would do well to start smaller, enjoy that first boat to the fullest while you build your skills and experience, and plan for that next boat with the learnings from your first boat in mind.

After 2-years of sailing, I've discovered I still have much to learn and that my "starter" boat works great for most of the sailing that I actually do, and that my old boat still has plenty to teach me.

Whatever you do, all the best and welcome to the community.
06-10-2013 10:47 PM
Re: Good First Boat


Your budget will get you a boat from the late 70's, early 80's. There are lots to choose from. Some likely choices would be Catalina 27, 30, Pearson 30, O'day 28, 30, Newport 28, 80, Tartan 30, Sabre 28, Hunter 30, Beneteau 30, etc etc etc.

Go to a few brokerages and look around and see what you like and don't like. Do you want / need hot and cold pressure water? What about refrigeration / DC electrical system / solar power?

Good luck,
06-10-2013 10:45 PM
Good First Boat

Or, life is short, buy the boat you want now. I will defer to the residents experts as to recommendations....( you can be a novice and still buy a keelboat)
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