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post #1 of 19 Old 11-04-2015 Thread Starter
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Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

Hi folks;

So, I had this plan, and it seemed like a sensible plan. Quick background: I live in Ottawa, Ontario, and will likely be sailing mostly (only?) on a stretch of the Ottawa River. Sailing experience is about as minimal as it is to have without actually have zero experience (Sea Cadets in my youth, 32' clinker built whalers...).

Back to the sensible plan, which is: do a Learn to Cruise course in May of next year. In the meantime, buy and read, "The International Marine Book of Sailing," and, "The Annapolis Book of Seamanship," so that I have some idea of what I'm getting into on the course. I'm reading the first book now and its a truly humbling experience. After the course (which comes with a complimentary membership to one of two Ottawa clubs), crew for a year. Then, look for a boat. And re-read the books.

In the meantime, I've been viewing ads on the local kijiji, just to see how much money buys what in a boat. I recognize that this whole idea could be a mid life crisis thing, so as a principle am trying to keep costs on a purchase as low-ish as possible. That said, what I wasn't expecting were a couple of Tanzer 22s to pop up for what appear to be low-ish reasonable prices.

One is $1500, (a 1978) had a survey done in 2013 (seems like a good survey), comes with motor (tuned up), and cradle and what appears to be the minimum required gear to go. Seller tells me in email in response (to my question of if he's keeping the boat what're the issues he'd tackle next) that there are no issues, she's ready to go. If I've learned one thing on these forums, lurking about, is that there's always something to do next on a boat.

The other is $2400, (a 1977), and seems to come with more gear. Haven't had a response to an enquiry as yet, so not sure how my questions will be answered.

I hadn't actually given a lot of thought about what boat I was going to buy eventually, but I do know time on the water matters, and Tanzer seems to have their fans and there's quite a few in the Ottawa area.

I'm fighting the desire to pull the trigger because I haven't even taken the damn sailing course and actually thinking truly about buying makes me realize how much I don't know about the whole experience -- not to mention that it feels impulsive as hell. And I have a plan; I should stick to the plan. It's a sensible plan.

I'm thinking of pulling the trigger because the prices seem good (pending actually going in and having a look at the boats, insurance, etc.), the fact that I will own a boat eventually, from what reading I've done the Tanzer 22 is decent boat to cut your teeth on, and if I don't do the sailing I think I will do, then it's not huge huge monies expended.

For more context, my wife will be taking the sailing course with me, and I'll have the boys out -- they're good sized lads -- 14 and 13, 6'2" and 5'10" respectively.

Hope all that makes sense.

So. I guess I'm just looking for some perspective on how mad either scheme appears. And whatnot.

Thank you.
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post #2 of 19 Old 11-05-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

It depends on your personality and the personalities of your wife and sons. Specifically, it depends on your (plural) learning styles, tolerances for trying things out on your own (learning like a child does) and acceptance of the sometimes undesirable results, and degree of risk acceptance/aversion.

My experience informs my opinion that reading the book is great, but will be a lot more useful if you can read a little, then go out and practice what you've read about the previous evening. I don't see that as part of your plan. Crewing on other people's boats is good, but you don't learn how to sail unless you have the tiller in your hand.

So, in my opinion, your plan is too sensible, too 'plan-ny.' The learn-to-cruise course doesn't seem like a good investment at your stage. Instead, supplement your basic sailing knowledge with a good safety course. It may be required where your live, anyway. In the meantime, read about inspecting/maintaining/repairing small sailboats. Then buy one, preferably one that the seller will take you sailing on before you buy. No need to be impulsive about a boat purchase; there are plenty of small sailboats for sale all the time. On the other hand, don't get too caught up in finding the perfect boat - that is procrastination.

What you will learn in one season of actually sailing your own boat will far surpass a year of standing on the sidelines/sitting on a rail, and you will have to go through the less-than-great beginner experiences anyway; might as well get them out of the way next year instead of 2017.

You never know what life will do to you, so if you want to experience sailing your own boat, sooner is better than later.

One more thing: You use 'I' but not 'we.' Carefully consider the other people that seem to be extras in your movie; especially if you imagine them to be co-stars in roles they have no interest in playing.
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Last edited by jwing; 11-05-2015 at 07:49 AM.
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post #3 of 19 Old 11-05-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

I like jwing's advice. I will emphasize, do NOT get worked up about a cheap older boat. There are thousands out there, you will always find another. Used to be lots more difficult, had to physically find the boats, but with the internet you can look at 100 boats. Don't rush to buy the first one you see. You will always find Tanzer 22's for $1500. Did you mention a trailer? It's more difficult to find a decent trailer - not rusted out - especially with brakes. Finding a boat on a decent trailer allows you to bring it home to work on it and save the price of the boat in storage fees......each year!

Tanzer 22 info. I've never had one but I've certainly looked at them. I like that they seem solidly built. I prefer a main sheet traveler, really helps adjusting for winds. I don't like that the Tanzer 22 has the main sheet fixed on the floor of the cockpit, no traveler. Carefully check that the floor is sound, I doubt it will be because it's a heavy use area, the attachment point will flex and leak, and the balsa core will rot. If it pulls out you can't control the main.

I've seen seriously leaking deck fittings on T22's, if you like one go back and look at it after a really big rainstorm, a good idea with any old boat. Leaking fittings can cause core rot in the deck.

Not sure but I think that the keel is iron. Iron is OK, very strong, but takes a lot of work to stop the rust. Most people paint copper bottom paint directly on the keel. Copper is a very active metal, combine it with another metal in an electrolyte (salt water) and you have a battery - galvanic corrosion. Owners see you looking at the rust and say "just needs to be recoated with bottom paint".

I'm fine with iron keels after the initial work of removing all paint, scale, loose rust, using a needle gun, treating with phosphoric acid, and coating with something to separate it from the copper. I used POR on my iron keel (using all their prep products and following directions) and it has been fine for 3 or 4 years so far. This is not new info, the Statue of Liberty is copper, and in the 1800's they carefully used tar or something to separate the copper from the iron frame.

Last edited by skygazer; 11-05-2015 at 10:19 AM.
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post #4 of 19 Old 11-05-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

Dont fight the desire. Tanzer 22 could be pretty much the ideal first boat. You might consider putting dollars of training into the boat purchase. Get a nicer Tanzer 22.


Jwing and skygazer both gave good advice. I like the part about finding a trailer and also learn by doing. Its easy to learn how to sail on your own, despite the forthcoming posts about how you will kill yourself and its too dangerous. Nope, there is a lot to learn but it happens at a slow pace and you can manage. Read Sailing for Dummies. I think thats the level you should be putting your sight on. You could pick up a cheap sunfish and spend a few weeks ( or years) learning on that. A sunfish is not a toy, although its small....its a real sailboat and quite capable.


My dock neighbor this year was a Tanzer 22 and I have a Catalina 22. His boat looked like a Cat 22 on steroids. It looked strong and overbuilt. Comes as a swing keel so a trailer is a real possibility. There are a lot of them around, also a good thing. Condition,any rot, the sails, the motor, the trailer, are everything.

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Last edited by Sal Paradise; 11-05-2015 at 08:46 AM.
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post #5 of 19 Old 11-05-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

I also have a Catalina 22. I'm not familiar with the Tanzer, but I can say that an older 22' boat makes a great first boat.

It's big enough that you get big boat feel, but still small enough that you can manhandle it around if you need to.

It's big enough that you can get a feeling for just how big boat projects can get, but small enough that you can actually accomplish stuff.

And boats like this are cheap enough that you don't have to freak out if you hit the dock a little too hard. It takes a lot of the stress out of adding some non-skid or a few pieces of hardware knowing that the boat has already lost most of its value and there's little you can do to screw it up further.

I say GO FOR IT!

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on a starboard tack
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post #6 of 19 Old 11-06-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

All very helpful comments. Each reply has been quite helpful and what I was looking for, so thank you.

The $1500 boat's ad, in addition to the survey that the seller provides, says: Comes with new handrails and racing rudder., portapoti, alcohol stove, full compliment of sails., cradle, and 8 hp Yamaha motor.

The $2400 boat's ad says: Includes many extras: Jabsco Marine Toilet, Hood Furling Jib, Force 10 Marine BBQ, Johnson 8.0 HP motor, 2 mustang inflatable PFD, 5 floating cushions, 5 adult Keep Afloat Lifejackets, 1 youth Buoy O Boy jacket, sleeps 4-6, winter tarp, folding cradle, must see.

I spoke with the $2400 owner last night for a bit: he's an older gentleman who's looking to sell because his wife passed away and she was his sailing partner. That said, he didn't provide a lot more clarity for me than what was in his ad - he's a bit of a rambling man. His boat is being hauled out tomorrow morning.

So, my wife and I popped by the club to have a look at the boat while it was in the water -- the owner couldn't match our schedule, which may or may not be surprising given I let him know this morning. I felt it was a good idea for Sharon to see the boat and get her reactions/thoughts. She was happy with the size of the boat (didn't feel it was too intimidating in size) and was pleased with the size of the cockpit. She's thinking of us having another couple, some of whom have small children, come out on the boat for a day trip and thinking of the boys having their friends on the boat as well. Since the boat's coming out tomorrow, sails are off as well any of the accessories and we obviously couldn't get a look in the cabin.

I like the idea of having a boat for when Sharon and I finish our sailing course in May and can go out and learn the ropes together. She's really not sure she likes the idea of sleeping in this boat, given it's size and it's movement, and that's really useful feedback. She's totally cool with daytrip and such, but not sure an overnight experience is for her. In a sense, that seems to confirm this size of boat as a first foray into sailing...we'll do this the baby steps way and in a way that suits everyone.

So, I'm going to go back to both these gentlemen with essentially the same list of questions. I'm looking at this as a bit of a learning experience -- the whole process is obviously brand new. One of the interesting things I learned was that both of these gentlemen belong to the same sailing club, but the $1500 boat hasn't been in the water for a couple of years and the owner hasn't really been doing much work on the boat in the interim. Coincidentally, his survey was from 2 years ago, prior to the boat being put into the water.

One thing that stands out for me right now is that I've no clear sense of gear and equipment that's included with the sale of either boat. In some ways, the $2400 boat is attractive given the extras that it has (including sail covers), which I would likely buy for the $1500 vessel and the costs of which seem, at the moment, to outstrip the difference in pricing. That said, a solid marine survey that's two years old is better than no survey (maybe?).

So, hopefully meet with the gentleman during haul out tomorrow, and then ask both sellers if they have lists of what gear is included in the sale. I need to do some other homework regarding payment of fees and such, as well as insurance, to have a decent picture of where I'm at.

And yes, while it's true I'd like a boat for next year, it doesn't have to be either of these boats. What's clear is that we can learn from these experiences, and if we do have a boat at the end of going back and forth with these men, then that'd be a bonus. We're not over a barrel and as correctly pointed out, there's other boats. But I don't want to procrastinate, either. At some point, we're going to have to dive in, and I know that I at least have spent more money on worse things.

Thanks again. I'm struck by how this forum seems to have limitless patience for the noobs who come on here...
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post #7 of 19 Old 11-07-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

a cradle is good but a trailer is better - storage over one winter is probably equal to the cost of a trailer. One of the advantages of a trailer boat is it can go to other areas easily. Looking at a map of your area, I can see almost endless opportunities to trailer the boat to another areas. You are 3 hours from Lake Champlain, for example. 1.5 hours to Lake St. Francis and Lake Ontario is practically an ocean. Also, resale is easier because the next buyer just tows it home.

That said, we have never slept on our boat, the cabin is basically a nice storage area, with bunks to take a short nap and a table to put food on and a porta potty to piss in. We have trailered her to Long Island Sound and Lake George.

I looked at two Tanzer 22 swing keels yesterday in our boatyard as I was hauling my boat. Neither had trailers and both were being cut up and disposed of. Its probably different in Canada but around here there are literally endless numbers of 20'-40' sailboats just wasting away. Its very sad.

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Last edited by Sal Paradise; 11-07-2015 at 06:52 AM.
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post #8 of 19 Old 11-07-2015 Thread Starter
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

I hear you on the trailer. It seems plenty of folks just winter their boats, even on a trailer, in the yards at the various clubs. Obviously, plenty of others will just haul them home for the winter, but yesterday I did see a number of boats on trailers in the yard. In terms of the flexibility it offers, it can't be beat. Sharon's brother has a cottage in the Thousand Islands, so if the boat only has a cradle now, a trailer is something we're thinking of given, as you say, the proximity to other locales in which to sail. I mean, once we're comfortable on the boat, sailing to her brother's place would be very nice, with options to put in at Kingston, or wherever.

I am keeping an eye out for a boat on a road-worthy trailer; one fellow I contacted told me to go bug someone else with my questions, so my search continues on that front. I'll also just run down how much a trailer costs, separately.
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post #9 of 19 Old 11-07-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

Good boat, my only concern would be space with 4 adult sized people onboard. You may very well find yourself wanting something bigger in a very short time.
I have a 25' boat, 2 onboard is comfortable, 4 I can do for an afternoon sail. Could not imagine a weekend with 4 onboard.
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post #10 of 19 Old 11-07-2015
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Re: Tanzer 22 for a first boat?

I wouldn't look at buying a boat till after you complete your sailing course. Hopefully you will get to sail a few different models and will quickly form an opinion which one suits you and tour spouses requirements.


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