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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Cruising and Sailing with Children > Best 23ft sailboat for beginner
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Cruising and Sailing with Children All things sailing and kids related, from safety to life aboard.


Thread: Best 23ft sailboat for beginner Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
01-31-2011 01:49 PM
QuickMick a lot of marinas do brokerage, and i found it extremly valuable to spend a day climbing around different boats to see what struck my fancy. id take the admiral too....
01-30-2011 05:16 PM
DonScribner Bruce,

Don't lock yourself into a length but into the function. I'm new to sailing too and happened to buy the perfect boat for us . . . by accident. Things to look for.

1) Displacement - Can you tow it? (Add the weight of the trailer)
2) Draft - Can YOU launch it? Or do you need a marina and $500.
3) Keel/board type - Can you beach it or do you have to stay in 6' of water?
4) Will you be cruising with it? How many berths? (for how many births)
5) What type of head do you require? Is a porta-pottie in the middle of the cabin OK?

I suggest picking up a copy of "The Complete Trailer Sailor" by Brian Gilbert (or something similar.) Even if you won't be trailering he has reviews, specs, comparisons and sketches (or photos) of about 50 sailboats, 16' to 28', all trailerable. It will help you with selecting the function and the look. For instance, Seward 26 (or 32) is the perfect functional boat, but I just don't care for the look of it. My dream boat (don't laugh) is a 1986 Catalina 27. Except, she isn't trailerable.

Anyway, good luck on you search and have fun.

Don
01-30-2011 03:50 PM
tomperanteau I have a thought for you to throw into the mix.

Our first boat that we bought to learn to sail on was a Columbia 26. Although we knew we would only have it for a short while so we could learn and the upgrade, we learned a lot on her.

One thing I noted, but this is more specific to rougher waters on the ocean, is that the tiller could swing around if it slipped our of your hand. There was a time here and there when it hit me in the ribs and it hurt.

If I had small kids and I were going to be on anything but a lake, I would want a boat with a wheel.

Just my thoughts.
01-28-2011 07:15 PM
thehardaground I'm going to second the Beneteau 235.
01-28-2011 07:01 PM
JBIZZ +1 Catalina 22. They are reasonably priced, ready to sail between $2500 to $5000 & trailerable. There are many racing fleets as well, depending on area.
01-28-2011 04:32 PM
RNMatelot If you can live with something slightly smaller (or bigger) take a look at the Catalina 22 or 25. Lots of them about at a reasonable price. Good luck.
12-23-2010 02:23 PM
COOL There are lots of options,
but it depends on your expected budget
and your intended usage.
A Ranger 23 is a great little boat, if you need
overnight accommodations.
A Sonar would be fine for daysailing.
A J22 is quicker, with modest accommodations.
12-23-2010 10:28 AM
frankknott1
O'Day 23

I have owned a 79 O'Day 23 since 1989 and found it roomy enough for week long cruises around Narragansett Bay or to Block Island with three of our children. Initially they all fit in the V berth, but there is room for five with the double and single in the main cabin. Sinks and stoves slide out of the way when not in use and the cockpit was large enough for five or six when sailing. The drop down table was large enough to handle meals and the main cabin comfortable when all were below.
It was and still is the only boat I have owned and sailed so I will not try to rate it against other boats. We bought the boat then learned to sail it (OJT). I was always comfortable in seas under 4 or 5 feet and breezes under twenty knots although we did have a few "fire drills" that we survived without a scratch to crew or boat.
The O'Day has a keel/centerboard combination that only draws 27" of water depending on how it is loaded so some of my best sails have been around Point Judith Pond away from the busier channels.
I bought the boat for $3000 back in 89. It was in excellent condition and still is as it has not been in the water every season recently. The topsides have a few small cracks and the teak rails are close to replacement. I am still using the original sails (main, jib, 150 genoa, and a spinaker that has never been out of the bag).
Good Luck.
12-23-2010 10:18 AM
MJBrown Check out the Beneteau 235. They were made in the mid to late 80s and are a fun boat with decent weekend accomodations for a small family. Our first boat was a 1987 235 which we picked over the competition once we saw all it had to offer. A very nice plus was it's overall sailing characteristics. There's one on yachtworld located in Florida but it's in rough shape with the headliner and bulkhead covers delaminating. The pics will give you an idea of what they're like below decks though. Funny the asking price remains about what they were 15 years ago. Good luck with your search.
12-23-2010 07:55 AM
Minnewaska There isn't much to go on here. Budget, intended use, mid to long term plan, etc.

If you are working your way up the food chain and can go a touch bigger, the Colgate 26 is designed to have all the sail systems of a coastal cruiser. The USNA uses them for training, I believe.

p.s. What does this have to do with cruising with children?
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