SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: First Sailboat - the search Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
11-06-2013 08:43 PM
Alex W
Re: First Sailboat - the search

It's great that condition is a primary driver for you. A lot of first time buyers (including myself when I bought my first boat) focus a bit too much on price and don't give enough consideration to condition. Catching a boat up on 5 or 10 years of deferred maintenance isn't cheap, even in this smaller size range.

Originally Posted by Sheppyb View Post
We will see where things go over the next few months. With regards to the specific comments on the Westerly, I do appreciate being candid. Now all I have to do is to try to sort out those statements with others of equal experience that say things contrary.
I'd give Jeff_H's comments more strength than almost any forum member on any of the sailing forums that I read. He provides a lot of great information on here and I learn something from almost every post of his that I read. If you read his other posts I think you'll find the same to be true for you. If he says a boat is a dog I have to believe that it is a dog.

25-29' is a big size range, especially if you plan on doing any cruising. I started with a Catalina 25 and found it a little tight for two for cruising longer than a weekend or two. I moved up to a Pearson 28 which is at the upper end of your scale and it is a lot more comfortable. On the other hand the Catalina was a lot cheaper to maintain and had many fewer systems, which made it a great first boat.
11-06-2013 04:00 PM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Originally Posted by jimgo View Post

One of the biggest reasons I suggest a Catalina is that, in the used market, they tend to hold their value. That is, if you pay $10,000 for a Catalina 27, you'll likely be able to sell it in 2-3 years for about the same amount. Now, you may put $3-4,000 into the boat (adding roller furling, getting new sails, etc.), but at least you can kind of predict what she'll sell for and you can make intelligent decisions as to whether any particular upgrade is cost effective based on your plans for the boat.
Agree. The first boat we bought back in '94 was a 1977 Catalina 30. Paid $11,000 for it, did 0 upgrades to it and sold it 4 years later for $10,500.

We now have a C-34.
11-06-2013 03:43 PM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Good advice.

I already have several daily queries headed to my inbox for anything new that pops up in the size, price range I am looking at. Occasionally I just walk the marinas and yards and ask if anything new has come in. I am also checking the local papers.

Initially the farthest I was looking was in Miami/Ft Lauderdale area. The only reason I was asking for additional info on the Westerly was due to its maintenance history and single family ownership over the last 35+ years.

11-06-2013 01:28 PM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

I know you're already looking for the Westerlies outside of your local area, but don't forget to look for other boats that way, too. I'd be tempted to monitor the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Naples/Marco, and Key West listings (Yachtworld, Craigslist, Sailboat Listings, Sailing Texas,, iBoats, etc.).
11-06-2013 12:05 PM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Also, budget. I would like to keep the purchase under $15k.
11-06-2013 11:55 AM
Re: First Sailboat - the search


With regards to the Westerly ... several weeks ago I saw one on the web for sale. I didn't know anything about them, so I started researching. I read folks thoughts or magazine reviews on them here, boatus, ybw and also at owner association sites. The opinions and reviews were generally positive because of the build quality for a production boat (over 2400 made), ability to take weather, stability, ample cabin size, etc but also acknowledged the boats shortcomings in speed and pointing due to the twin bilge keels and smaller sail area when compared to other boats with similar LWL and displacement.

Specifically with the Westerly boat for sale, it has been completely overhauled over the last 2 years and has been family owned since production in 1976, price is right too. Pretty rare.

The last boat we looked at was a Catalina 27. I really like the design. The boat in question is dry-docked on stands and recently had the keel-to-hull joint repaired so there was no 'Catalina Smile.' Ample cockpit, large cabin for this LOA and huge companionway. New bottom paint and hull paint. Most everything else was in disrepair. No deck fittings or other standing rigging, some running rigging, and the cabin was being completely stripped with everything dumped inside. The list went on. It was someone's project boat and they wanted to get rid of the project. If a Catalina 27, in what I would consider near turn-key condition, comes on the market, it would be an easy sell.

Some of the live-aboarders I think would have a different definition of what they consider turn-key based on what is currently for sale in or around the Middle Keys.

EDIT: I'll take a look at the Islander 28s if any are in the area. Also, just the 2 of us at the moment. Potential for another couple for some of the longer coastal sailing.

Thanks again for the input,

11-06-2013 11:50 AM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Have you seen the Islander 28's? Just another one to throw into the mix. I like the S2's, too.

Patience is a good thing. I've heard stories from my parents (Naples-area) of folks buying boats up north and moving the down to FL, then realizing that their dream of sailing to the islands, or to South America, just wasn't for them for whatever reason, and abandoning boats different places. Or, in other cases, finishing the trip then deciding that it wasn't worth the trouble to find a buyer, etc., so they just abandon them. I'm not sure how true this is, or how frequently it happens, but it might be worth looking into.
11-06-2013 11:16 AM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Roger that deltaten.

At this time, we have 30' on our canal dock. Because of this, I would probably not look at anything longer than 29' LOA to give us a little wiggle room.

Our initial certification came on a 34' Irwin. The Irwin was a nice boat to sail. Initially, we were intimidated by the size but that quickly became an afterthought. Much of the sailing was bayside in the Keys, and in 7-8 feet of water. One day the wind was 20+ knots so we reefed the main and went oceanside to the reef.

25'-29' LOA, prefer a diesel inboard, well maintained, non-project boat, decent cabin space with a port-a-potty. We have looked at several Cals, Catalinas, Hunters. Have not had a chance to inspect an O'Day, Morgans, or S2 in this area for sale though know folks that currently own O'Days and S2s. Many (maybe most) of the local sailboats for sale have been used exclusively as live-aboards and probably haven't left their marina in years. People just living cheaply. Not something I would ever consider buying.

I'll be patient.

11-06-2013 11:06 AM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Welcome! What is it that made the Westerly attractive to you? What's your budget? How do you plan on using the boat? Is there more to your family than just your wife and you? With how many people will you be sailing regularly?

You mention 25-30's. You'll find here that, for a first boat, many encourage you to look at Catalinas. They are good starter boats for a variety of reasons, including that the company is still in business, they sold a TON of boats so there is a real aftermarket that manufactures all sorts of parts (replacement and upgrade) for the boats, and they can be found for reasonable prices. They also made them in a variety of configurations, including keel types, so you'll likely find one that meets your needs.

One of the biggest reasons I suggest a Catalina is that, in the used market, they tend to hold their value. That is, if you pay $10,000 for a Catalina 27, you'll likely be able to sell it in 2-3 years for about the same amount. Now, you may put $3-4,000 into the boat (adding roller furling, getting new sails, etc.), but at least you can kind of predict what she'll sell for and you can make intelligent decisions as to whether any particular upgrade is cost effective based on your plans for the boat.

In my very limited experience, I think you should expect your first boat to only be "yours" for a year or two. You're new, and (with al due respect) you likely have no real clue how you'll actually use the boat. After a year or two of use, you'll start to realize what the boat's shortcomings are, what you'd like to change, what you can live with, etc., and if you really love sailing and owning a boat, you'll probably be ready to switch to something else. This goes beyond just the "2-foot-itis" that we all deal with, it's a matter of finding a boat that actually meets your needs/wants. Thus, I would suggest finding a commodity boat and sailing the heck out of it for a year or two, then flipping it and finding something that might be your longer-term boat.

Of course, you may stumble across a 1990's-era, 32' Hinckley that's in beautiful condition and the owner "just wants to get rid of it" and will sell it to you for $5,000, in which case you should absolutely ignore my advice, assuming the boat meets most of your basic requirements!
11-06-2013 10:46 AM
Re: First Sailboat - the search

Figger out what ya want
Find a boat that fits 80%+ of yer needs
then get the NEXT bigger/est boat ya can find/afford IOW.... get the one you truly believe that you can live with for the rest of yer life. Big enuff ta cruise comfortably but small enuff to fit most slips and handle solo.

Tough choices, huh?
just my $.02 YMMV
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome