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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?
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Thread: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-23-2013 10:28 PM
dvuyxx
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

One thing to keep in mind is that some advice, while technically correct, is based on someone else's sailing priorities. If you want comfort, convenience ... that might be different than what the racers and purists want or consider important. Some people are all about performance, some are artisan restoration nuts, some are readying for trans oceanic adventure, and others want to relax in coastal waters. So much knowledge and experience here. Safety and reliability are the common denominator.
04-23-2013 09:48 PM
Waltthesalt
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

The costs of keeping the boat in water. Your size can high for trailer sailing depending on your vehicle but marina costs and the ease of maintaining in the backyard can be a big savings.
04-23-2013 09:03 PM
Brent Swain
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
I had a big, long post and accidentally hit something and lost it. Which is probably good, because I tend to ramble. Here's the nutshell:

1) Get towing insurance; its cheaper than a single tow, and with a new boat, you may well need it;
2) Think carefully about how you expect to use the boat, and try it out to be sure it meets those needs (e.g., how many people will you typically sail with, and how will they fit in the cabin/cockpit?);
3) Think about where you're going to keep the boat, and make sure that the slip/marina is protected so you aren't blown about as you enter/exit;
4) Despite the low investment you're making, consider getting professional surveys of the engine and boat (a new engine is $2,000+, a boat survey is $350-400, and an engine survey will be a few hundred) AFTER you've done your initial review;
5) Depending on the boat you buy (I strongly encourage you to consider a Catalina 25 or 27), get a trailer;
6) Expect to put at least another $2000 into the boat; maybe not right away, but probably over the course of your first season.

I'm still a novice at all of this - I've bought 2 boats in 2 years. But the boats I've bought were in the same range as the ones you're buying, and I went aboard a TON of them (easily 10-15 the first time, and at least that many this time, too), and if you wind up in the NJ/Philly area, I'd be happy to go along with you to look at a boat or two as a second/third set of eyes.
Catalina 27 is a very poor choice, a grossly unbalanced rudder which you can't leave for a second without her broaching off course. Very poorly built. There are far better choices, for cheap.
04-23-2013 04:51 PM
johnnyquest37
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Looking at the situation you are getting into, there are three things you should know (that I wish I had known):

1. Make sure that the boat is dry on the inside. Weekends aboard will be hell if you are dealing with leaks on you, the bedding, your stuff...plus these leaks are indicative of structral problems or at least impending structural problems. I'd hit the boat with a hose at the very least to see if the hatches, deck joint, mast boot, or anything leaks.

2. Consider not just the boat, but the parts that wear out. Is the running rigging worn out? Are the sails usable or just rolled up rags? Replacing worn out rigging, sails, winches need to be considered when comparing boats you are looking at. These things can really add up and could possibly exceed the $5000 budget you have if you have to replace everything.

3. Understand that you are buying into a life-long addiction. You say now that you'll keep it small, keep it simple, and so on. Next thing you know, you'll be strolling around the boat shows and tapping into your kids' college fund to get a chartplotter and a fancy folding prop.
04-23-2013 04:41 PM
macwester26
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

I wish i had known that I was going to be seasick eveytime i got on a boat.
And I still am on every trip.
04-23-2013 04:18 PM
jimgo
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

[quote=KarlP;1020144]With both sails and an outboard I'd advocate inspecting your rudder carefully, carrying a spare tiller, and learning how to read a chart so you don't run aground. Those will dramatically lesson the likelihood you'll use that towing insurance.
[/QUOTE[
That depends on where you sail, and how recently the charts were updated. Hurricane Sandy played havoc with my area. I'd rather have the insurance. It also comes in handy not only when you run aground, but also when the engine dies in heavy winds and your marina is upwind, when another boat hits you, when you're fouled on something, etc. To me, the $125 or so is worth the peace of mind, and I'm frugal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlP View Post
If we're talking about a less than $5k boat with an outboard and porta potty, there aren't a whole lot of systems on the boat. A good condition used 6hp 2-stroke outboard is in character with the boat and ~$400. I skipped the survey on my Cape Dory 25. I'd been power boating for decades and brought my dad along to look at the rigging.
Not all of us have a dad who can inspect the rigging for us. That would make things easier! If you're new to sailing, it also helps to have someone who knows what chainplates are and how they tend to corrode, how to inspect a sail, or any of a number of other potentialyl expensive problem areas. In my case, with my C25, I had a swing keel. There are stories (admittedly not many of them, but confirmed none the less) of the lifting cables coroding so bad as to fail, allowing the 1500lb keel to "free fall" around the hinge point. The keel trunk wasn't designed to handle that much weight crashing into it, and it tends to cause the boat to sink fairly quickly. As with the towing assistance, I think the peace of mind that goes along with having a competent surveyor look at/for those kinds of things would have been worth the cost, and I only paid $1000 for the boat, including the outboard.

I went the used outboard route after the one that came with the boat died, and that was a mistake. Thankfully, the guy I bought it from was an amateur mechanic, and bought it back from me. After 2 engines dying, my wife decided she wasn't comfortable with anything but a new engine. That was a $2200 investment. Again, YMMV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KarlP View Post
x2 on the trailer - It is MUCH easier to work on a boat in your own yard!
Can't take issue with that one!
04-23-2013 08:31 AM
KarlP
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jimgo View Post
1) Get towing insurance; its cheaper than a single tow, and with a new boat, you may well need it;
With both sails and an outboard I'd advocate inspecting your rudder carefully, carrying a spare tiller, and learning how to read a chart so you don't run aground. Those will dramatically lesson the likelihood you'll use that towing insurance.

Quote:
4) Despite the low investment you're making, consider getting professional surveys of the engine and boat (a new engine is $2,000+, a boat survey is $350-400, and an engine survey will be a few hundred) AFTER you've done your initial review;
If we're talking about a less than $5k boat with an outboard and porta potty, there aren't a whole lot of systems on the boat. A good condition used 6hp 2-stroke outboard is in character with the boat and ~$400. I skipped the survey on my Cape Dory 25. I'd been power boating for decades and brought my dad along to look at the rigging.

Quote:
5) Depending on the boat you buy (I strongly encourage you to consider a Catalina 25 or 27), get a trailer;
x2 on the trailer - It is MUCH easier to work on a boat in your own yard!
04-20-2013 07:05 PM
MarioG
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

I didn't really buy my first but as much as traded for it but it needed alot to get it ready to sail, while I had to buy a parts boat and build a trailer I had time to learn so much by just reading. It took buying 4 boats before I understand that bigger is not always better depending on how you are going to use the boat. My Chrysler 22 was great for doing weekend outtings , real fun to sail with very little expense. the Chrysler 26 was real nice for longer outtings and would be as big as I would have ever needed if I didn't decide I wanted to become a full time liveaboard cruiser.
04-18-2013 08:29 AM
capecodda
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Now on my 4th sailboat, if it turns out you really like sailing, whatever you buy won't be your last boat. Your needs change as your life changes.

First boat recommendations:
- smaller rather than bigger
- simpler rather than complex
- buy from someone you know or trust, or get help evaluating from same

Then go sailing and you'll learn what you really want, in your next boat
04-18-2013 08:16 AM
cthoops
Re: What do you wish you had known before buying your first boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Swain
Wish I had realized the wisdom of a wheelhouse, and inside steering. Wish I had realized how easy it is to build a far better anchorwinch, blocks , aluminium hatches, etc, than commercially made ones. Wish I had understod the importance of good insulation and a good, airtight woodstove .

Quote:
Originally Posted by Group9 View Post
It took me a while, too, to realize that I could often fabricate items for my boat, that were better, and more durable, than what I could buy commercially.

I wouldn't say being handy with a tool, and liking using them is a necessity for a boat, but it sure makes it a lot more fun if you are.
I'm going to be sure to remember this before we just run out and buy something. Thanks!
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