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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Learning to Sail > small boats, reality time
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Thread: small boats, reality time Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
07-26-2007 08:55 AM
Lancer28 Just a thought, I wouldn't reccomend jumping overboard and swimming to shore. I had a "fun" time swimming against a current to try to get back to my anchored ship last week, and if I didn't have a lifeline around my wrist I wouldn't have made it back.

I would say to get a daysailer dinghy to learn with and then buy a nice inexpensive 25+ foot OLDER yacht to travel out of sight of land. I have the Lancer Yachts 28' Masthead sloop, and I am VERY pleased with it. Even with only an 8' beam, it still is hearty enough to take Mr. Murphy and his issues every now & again.

You could easily spend less than $6000 and get both, with numerous sails and rigging. With my $4000.00 investment (and I use the term investment loosely, since it is a boat after all) I have two pickup beds full of gear, 7 sails, and more junk to stuff in the boat than it would be able to hold. Used is by far the way to go! if I would have bought the boat only for $4000, I would have spent close to another $5000 in sails alone, not to include the trailers, lines, rigging, fenders, outboards, electronics, dinghy, etc.
07-24-2007 11:41 PM
Sailormann http://ca.groups.yahoo.com/group/sirenowners/
07-24-2007 05:34 PM
kennya This is what I learned on, Venture 17 easily tailored by a small car and of sufficient size to over knight on. http://www.sailingtexas.com/cboats99venture17.html
07-24-2007 05:02 PM
jlord A used Catalina 14.2 or 16.5 or a Precision 15 are all excellent starter boats that won't break the bank. I would shy away from the $300 used boats just because you're going to spend more time fixing than sailing and you don't want to have to worry about losing a shroud while you're trying to figure out what a beam reach is! I started out with a $2,000 Catalina 16.5 and sailed it for four years and never got bored.

I would definitely look into a sailing class at a local sailing club. Most of them will allow you to use their boats after you get qualified and that will give you a MUCH better idea of what kind of sailing you want to do. I THOUGHT I was going to want a 25' to cruise in at some point but soon realized that a "2 hour sail to nowhere" every weekend (I'm in St Pete, FL) was MUCH more suited to my tastes and schedule. I now have a Vanguard Nomad and she sees the water every Saturday for a couple of hours - weather permitting.

Good luck with your decision and HAVE FUN!!
07-24-2007 09:32 AM
arbarnhart This may be an oversimplification (I am cursed with a gift for that)...

First the boat has to be able to carry you and everything you need to take with you. It has to be maneuverable enough to get you where you are headed and adequately built to handle the expected "normal" conditions of your course. Of course, it is likely that if you are going a long way you will encounter some conditions outside the norm. To deal with that, I think there are couple of different approaches, that aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. One is to build something small that can take the pounding and recover fairly easily. The other approach is to make a bigger boat that can handle more extreme conditions but has a more difficult time recovering if its higher limits are exceeded. A couple of extreme examples are a small catamaran like BestFriend mentioned and the common full metal keel cruisers. In a big blow with a lot of waves, the cat might go over a few times but if you have an athletic crew tethered to the boat, they pop it right back up and keep going. The keel boat will handle more without a problem, but if it has a hull breach or full swamping (probably caused by mistakes made by crew opening hatches at inopportune times) it could be headed for the bottom. The odds of this are far less likely than the little cat capsizing and the little cat may come up one time with a ripped sail or no mast after too many capsizes. I think it all comes down to lowering the odds of disaster. The real mistake, IMO, that some small boat sailors make is looking just at lengths of boats or pictures and not getting details about what made a little boat seaworthy. The sailors who set records with small boats were generally very experienced and their little boats were often specially designed to take the pounding and recover. Some of them cost far more than a larger recreational cruiser.
07-23-2007 11:45 PM
bestfriend Having been a previous owner of dinghies and Hobies, heres what we did. No sailing experience, but previous motor experience. I found someone that I knew that had a dinghy for sale and just bought it. 300 bucks and we bought a trailer from home depot and modified it to fit. Then we sailed the hell out of it, lakes, ocean, gulf of cali, everywhere. Eventually, a couple of years, we out grew it and got bored. Too slow. By then, we knew enough about what to look for as far as care, and bought a hobie. That one actually came from someone we knew too. I think it was 800 with the trailer. Sailed the hell out of that, waaaaaay out in the ocean. Could still see land, but it was far. Probably too far, but we were still in our twenties and didn't really care. You really learn how to read the wind in a hobie, you go much faster and it is more reactive to your touch, plus you learn rigging. We sailed it until it fell apart, literally. Then we bought a better one, for 1200 with the trailer. I think my brother still has that one. Just go buy something small, take it to a lake, and teach yourself, have fun. Just be respectful of others at the ramp and in the water and ask for help if you need it. Start cheap, and you will have money to upgrade to better boats as you learn more and become a better sailor.
Best
07-23-2007 10:17 PM
MysticSkipper Coming from a whitewater background, I have to admit the small boat idea is somewhat appealing and not without its merits. Many of the small boats have positive flotation, meaning that as long as it isn't ripped to pieces it will float. That doesn't guarantee you can get it upright and bailed out and just staying with it might be incredibly difficult in the worst case scenarios but it does put the responsibility squarely on the sailor. I am sure you are statistically safer in a bigger boat, but bigger ballasted keel boats can sink from causes beyond your control. But if I were to ever try anything resembling blue water in a little boat, I would not do it without at least one other boat around.
07-23-2007 09:42 PM
maxcontax
seaworthiness and size

Some rather small boats have been way out to sea, perhaps foolishly, nonetheless with the right skipper and an eye to weather, it can be done: an 18 ft Catalina was sailed from California to Hawaii, also a 19 ft West Wight Potter. Frank and Margaret Dye sailed the North Sea and the entire US eastern seaboard in a 16 foot Wayfarer. Suggest you check into these, they all go on a trailer, they will all take passengers, and they have a community that goes with them to learn from.
I moved from a 365 lb Wayfarer to a 22 ft Catalina, and in a blow, both were wet and corky but both took it. Are you ready to do Your Part in all this?? The boat will only save a skipper that's with it, you know.
07-19-2007 10:18 AM
dongreerps With all respect, SpeedoApe is putting the horse before the cart. I would suggest getting a bit of experience before buying a boat. The Galveston area has lots of yacht clubs, and a fair number of informal races. SpeedoApe would do well to investigate the marinas and yacht clubs, and look for a spot as crew for a season or two. Learn on somebody elses boat. After a few months of sailing choices will be much easier.
07-19-2007 01:05 AM
dodgeboatguy glad to hear someone mention the macgregor I sail a 1979 222 I bought for 2500 in very nice shape but there are many out there under 2000 that are more than seaworthy for galveston bay as for the 26 it might be more than you want to trailer with a small jeep my dodge dakota v6 does ok with my 22 but I dont think it would like me much if I went to a 26. they are great boats though and mine only draws about 16" keel up. you will also get the benifit if learning how to sail with a jib
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