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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum > Young couple seeking advice, buying first time cruiser
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Thread: Young couple seeking advice, buying first time cruiser Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-10-2008 02:01 PM
nordicmyst
I agree with Jody plus.....

There are two adventures that come with putting well oiled teak under your feet and the wind at your back - the adventure of cruising the beauty of the San Juans and other coastal delights and the adventure of 'elbow grease' and working on your vessel. If you are not one of the economically fortunate sailors that can afford a new boat and can afford to pay for the maintenance of the boat, which results in missing half of the sailing adventure, you need to make sure you are handy with tools and knowledge if you are going to be a boat owner. In looking at a used vessel, here are some pointers, check to see if there are any bubbles or small bumps in the gel coat of the hull. Everything can be fixed, but this could indicate a $3-5,000 repair on the boats you are looking at. Also, look for cracks or crazing (hair line cracks) around the fittings that attach to the deck. Another indicator of potential repair work. The suggestion, already made, of getting a Surveyor to look at the boat is a good one. Make sure the surveyor has experience with sailboats. You might also check with the USCG Marine Safety office in your area and ask one of the commercial vessel inspectors about the reputation of the surveyor you have identified.

Sailing is one sport that stays fresh and new over the years and can be enjoyed at any age, so welcome to a life long adventure.

The Nordic Myst.
04-10-2008 01:22 PM
jimmyb116 Great post Scuzz my family made its first trip when I was 3 from Victoria BC to Mexico across to Hawaii and back in a 32” boat with no fancy GPS not even a VHF just a sextant some charts and a lot of good seamanship on my parents part. If my father’s memory is correct the boat cost approx $1300.00 and another $1000.00 to fix before they set sail.



04-10-2008 12:45 PM
ScuzzMonkey I don't want to contradict any of the excellent advice that has been offered so far in this thread, but I did want to offer a little more encouragement regarding what you can do with your budget. You're blessed to be living in the Pacific Northwest. You're in the middle of some of the best cruising grounds in the country and the perfect place to learn about yourselves and sailing. No need to head down the coast or to Hawaii just yet. That's the big dream for a lot of people, but this isn't really an endeavour where jumping right in makes a lot of sense.

I think what has been said about planning to buy two boats makes the most sense--one for the next few years, to kick the tires and learn on, and another a few years down the road once you have enough experience to decide for yourself what to look for. You'll probably never find the best boat for you based on advice from others; you'll get great advice here, don't get me wrong, but everyone has an opinion in sailing, and as you will learn, at lot of them differ!

But while you should be cautious investing your 10 grand, and make sure you get the best boat you can, I think your budget is absolutely reasonable to do some great and exciting sailing. The numbers that other people have cited here aren't wrong, but they aren't necessarily reflective of what you really need if you modify your immediate goals somewhat and make some compromises. Lose the watermaker, the liferaft, a lot of the electronics, make do with some of the existing systems. There's no question that boats are expensive and that you'll end up spending way more on repairs than you ever imagined. That said, I have found that many people will tell you that you need to do a lot of things you really don't. I wouldn't suggest you compromise your safety (although just leaving dry land does that to some extent; you have to decide what you risk tolerance is) but people have been sailing for hundreds of years without the bells, whistles, and intensive maintenance programs that some people now prescribe.

My GF and I are a couple years ahead of you and yours. We got a 33 footer for $15K and we've put about another $10K into it and had great fun on Puget Sound and in the San Juans for the last few years. This year, we're taking her to Alaska. So there is every reason to believe you can get a good start on your dreams for what you have to spend.
04-10-2008 11:43 AM
johnshasteen Most of my 40-years of sailing has been offshore (Marion to Hamilton, Galveston to Vera Cruz, etc.) I've been caught in two Force 10 storms, in parts of the Gulf of Mexico that I would never have expected them, one storm we were only about 30 miles offshore, but no place to pass through the barrier islands to reach safe harbor, so we were stuck in the storm for 36 hours. So, if you eventually plan to sail outside of the big bays - long voyages, buy whatever want now - become good sailors, then later spend what it takes to get a boat that if you do get caught in a gale (and if you sail offshore long enough, you will), you'll make it through. Stronger bluewater boats don't have to be big, 40-footers, they just need to be built for extended offshore sailing, strong enough to carry you safely through really bad weather. The couple of boats you are looking at now, won't do that.
04-10-2008 08:37 AM
ehmanta SharpDreamer:
Do you have a way of earning $$$ while underway? If so, many of the upgrades can take place over time and as you travel.
I agree that you should stick to the PNW while learning your boat and how to sail. As they say, there's no substitute for experience.
In the price range you are considering, ANY boat will need upgrading and as it has been pointed out, your upgrades will quickly erode that 10k that you have budgeted for the upgrades.
small liferaft: 2.5k
watermaker: 2 - 3k
sails, main/jib 4k
new depth/speed/wind at least 1k
vhf $200
radar 3k
anchor/rode 500-600 depending on selection
Dodger/bimini 3-4k

As you can see, you can rack up some serious $$$ without getting into the details, such as fasteners and maintenance
stuff.
Don't loose the dream, just keep a realistic vision.
04-10-2008 12:15 AM
seabreeze_97 A side note on that heavy weather at night comment. Yeah, definitely. No pause button. Not even a shoulder to pull off the road and take a break til it passes. If you're gonna make passages, you're gonna catch rough weather at some point. It wouldn't hurt to get in with something smaller and see if it really sticks before getting in deep with a cruiser.
04-09-2008 08:57 PM
sanjuan2R I would not leave the Puget Sound waters with either boat until each of you learned to sail YOUR sailboat well. There is so much to learn about sailing that you NEED to learn completely. Where are you going to moor your sailboat?
The entire Puget Sound area is difficult to find affordable moorage. You might think about securing boat moorage BEFORE you purchase anything. If you are thinking about a liveaboard vessel, purchase the one with the most interior storage and plan on renting another storage facility to house all the articles you can't bring onboard. Either the SJ 30 or the Islander 30 would be fine to learn to sail in the PNW waterways.
There are many vessels available in the PNW. You might also keep an eye out in the Portland metro area. Boats are several thousand $$ cheaper there. Keep looking a while longer until you have seen the Good, the Bad & the Ugly boats in your area. You will know which boat is for you after the survey is complete.


Astoria, OR
SV Doodles
C&C 27
04-09-2008 08:50 PM
flatfoot Thanks for the correction Sailingdog.
Check out the book and look at the boats. We ended up with a Catalina 30, realatively inexpensive, easy sail, and looking forward to keeping her aproximately 20 miles offshore. I know... I know, we each have our definition of coastal cruising. wife like it, I like most things about it, easier than most to sell later on, accepts 1 more crew easily (I dont know how folks can just start out doing, these insanely long watch standing). The biggest shock for me is how lonely and scary are cold big waves off the NJ coast at a night. Easy to sail is very important to me, keep in mind, I have to sail on my own if no other crew and wife wants to relax. I make a point to keep her happy, her company and positive mental attitude is worth more to me that her crewing ability. good luck.

flatfoot
04-09-2008 08:45 PM
wescarroll Have the boat surveyed by a reputable agent of YOUR choosing. You pay them and they have a fiduciary responsibility to you. Second, you don't really want a so called "fast" boat unless you are going to be racing, the difference in speed won't make much difference to a cruiser, that said, faster may tip the balance if all the other considerations are equal. Extra equipment is always a plus, an inflatable, newer electronics etc, you can spend a bunch here and not have a lot of hardware to show for it. Finally YOU have to like the looks of your boat, no one else(until you go to sell it), you want to look back down the dock for the years to come and think she is still as pretty as the day you bought her. Both are fine boats, which do you like? Wes Carroll
04-09-2008 08:01 PM
sailingdog The book Flatfoot is referring to is John Vigor's "20 Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere".
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