always busy with sailing
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Seattle, WA
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Re: I'm thinking about coming back
Glad to hear that you are considering coming back. There is a lot more to see here, and based on what you liked last year I actually think you'll quite enjoy sailing in the Puget Sound (which you skipped last year). That is a good place to be in April because there is more consistent wind down here then and more services will be open. If I had my same time window available again I think I'd go for a Vancouver Island circumnavigation too.
If you see ads for boats at Shilshole I'm happy to scope them out for you. Most 30' boats there are near my dock. I also watched CL for such a long period over here that I can tell you which boats have been listed for years (like the Pearson 32 in Poulsbo) and which ones are new listing.
There is a Ranger 29 that is often listed on CL (not today) that is across from me and looks like a very nice boat at near $9000. I've pointed it out to a few friends though, so it might be sold by the time you are up here shopping.
The hard part with Hunter seems to be understanding which boats were well made and which ones weren't. There was a lot more variability with them than with other big manufacturers like Catalina. That doesn't mean they all suck, just that some of them do. In comparison the Catalina 30 is in your price range, has a huge interior, sails nicely, and a pretty consistent quality level.
Near 30' is a sweet spot on size for me too. I've looked at a fair number of boats in this size and almost universally you get standing room, plenty of storage, and enough mass to handle sailing in a bigger blow. Interior space can vary widely though, older 32' designs often have less interior space than my 28' boat.
Other common Seattle boats that you should look for are:
* Catalina 30
* Islander 30 (30-2 and Bahama are nicer than the 30-1)
* C&C 29 and 30 (likely start closer to $20k or needs lots of work)
* Tartan 30/Yankee 30 (likely start closer to $15k)
San Juan 28s and 30s are very common up here, but I'd avoid them based on both quality and sailing reputation.
It can be harder to find an inboard diesel boat with a good motor here for $10k, but those boats are out there.
boats that I sail on regularly: Pearson 28-2, Rondar 505, Yankee 30, Blanchard Junior