HELP! Where to start? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 6 Old 01-10-2001 Thread Starter
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HELP! Where to start?

I am considering the purchase of a sail craft wthin the next 2 months. It has been about ten years since I have sailed. At the moment I am considering a Catalina 28. Points to consider: Do I want wheel or tiller control?
Do I want furling genoa or jib since I will sail alone usually?
Do I want inboard diesel or outboard?
Do I buy new or used?
Most of the sailing will be on lakes in the midwest. Moving to goal of live on Hunter 450 or Catalina 470 within ten years. And NO! not in the midwest...San Diego or Fl
Any help would be very much appreciated.
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post #2 of 6 Old 01-10-2001
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HELP! Where to start?

First off, while 28 foot Catalina is not a bad size for a first boat and a Catalina is probably a reasonable boat boat for lake sailing it is a little bit big to learn to sail if you are also going to be single-handing most of the time. Also since the Catalina 28 is a comparatively new model and from the nature of your questions, I am assuming that you are buying a new boat. I cannot recommend strongly enough that it is a really bad idea to buy a new boat for your first boat, both from a cost and from a time to get the boat properly set up standpoint. Getting a new boat sorted out takes considerably more time and skill than buying a reasonably maintained and prepared used boat.

As to your points to consider:
Starting out, if you want to learn to sail a boat well you definitely want a tiller on that size boat. Wheel steering does not have enough feel to learn sail trim and balance as easily and they take up too much room in the cockpit on boats of this size.

Furling jibs are a convenience that come at a compromise. They are very popular because they offer a little more convenience in some ways than other ways of flying jibs. I have owned a number of boats in this size range, and have owned a 28 footer for the past 12 years that I frequently cruise and sail single-heanded and I personally consider roller furling a nusance and a safety hazard for single- handing on a boat this size but that is a pretty unpopular opinion.

I strongly prefer the reliability and conveience of an inboard diesel. On a lake you might get by with an outboard if you are a pretty handy mechanic.

There is no way that I would recommend that you buy a new boat. Setting up a new boat right takes a lot of time, money and skill. For most people a used boat makes a lot of sense, especially for a first boat. After all if the first owner blew it you don''t have to buy the boat. If you make bad decisions, it is your time and your money that gets lost.

As to the next boat, hopefully the experiance of owning your own boat will teach you a lot about boat ownership. While you may indeed end up buying a Hunter 450 or Catalina 470 ten years from now, you may also learn a lot of lessons that would steer you towards other boats that may be better suited to your goals. Take it one boat at a time.

Good luck and feel free to ask more questions as things progress. This is a great BB with a lot of knowledgeable people.

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post #3 of 6 Old 01-11-2001
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HELP! Where to start?

Once again, Jeff has provided some excellent advice and I agree with him on most of his points. The decision between a wheel and a tiller tends to be a very personal one. Die hard sailors will generally agree that sailing will a tiller in hand gives alot more feel for the boat, the set of her sails, etc. While I agree that the tiller gives a much better "feel," I think that a wheel is alot more convenient. Depending on the boat, a tiller, due to its arc, can eat up alot of space. With a wheel, you can mount instruments such as a compass, gps, chartplotter or even a radar screen much closer to the helmsperson. I singlehand more frequently than I would like to and I would strongly suggest an investment in an autopilot. While autopilots often get a bad rap, in a vast majority of situations (weather, sea state, and otherwise) they give you the ability to do other things such as raise/lower sails, goto the bathroom and the like. In addition, in normal conditions, an autopilot can steer a good compass or gps course. They are convenient and you will feel alot less fatigued on longer journeys. I would strongly disagree with Jeff on the roller furling system. I have had various Profurl systems on my 26'', 30'', and, current, on my 34'' boat. If offers the convenience of having only one headsail, can be reefed down to nothing in a blow, and saves you from going to the foredeck to wrestle down (and put up) the jib. It would (and has been) at the top of my list to any boat that did not have one already. The diesel/outboard question comes down to cost. If you can afford the diesel, I would strongly recommend geting one. You need an engine the most in the worse conditions. In big seas, an outboard is of little use as it comes out of the water and the prop spins freely. I agree strongly with Jeff on the new or used question; I would save your money and go for a very good used boat. With a used boat, you can get more boat for the money, save yourself from the huge hit on depreciation from year 0 to year 1, and have money left over for upgrades, sailing lessons, etc. Good luck.


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post #4 of 6 Old 01-12-2001
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HELP! Where to start?

Buy a wheel, furling, largest inboard diesel that comes with model. There are many good reasons to buy used if you can find what YOU WANT on the market. If you can not find what you want on the market, buy new. Just do it, itís not the cost of the boat, itís the time of your life.

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post #5 of 6 Old 01-13-2001
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HELP! Where to start?

I agree with Hamian. Boseyachts must be a broker.

A misconception is that bigger boats are harder to handle when in fact they are safer due to less and slower motion. 28 foot boat are near the minimum or below the minimum if you can''t stand up in it.

Never ever buy a new boat!! Maybe Jeff H could order a new boat because he knows just what he wants but not you.

Buy a Catalina or a Hunter but don''t feel that it has to be almost new. Our boat is a 1973 35'' and there is no way I would trade it for a minute for a new 28'' boat no matter what the money is.

Roller furling/reefing is wonderful. Jeff H puts it down because with a crew he can order sail changes. All of the long distance racers use it. All crusers use it. Most masthead sloops in fact will sail quite well on just the genny.

I had tiller sailboats for 25 years and I am sick of them. I have a wheel now with a autopilot and we love it. But with a autopilot tillers are ok.

I had outboard boats and inboards are better saftey wise as they will not cavitate. I don''t know where Jeff gets the notion that you need to be a mechanic with a outboard. More to the opposite. You can take it off and get it fixed anywhere. A friend has a 26'' sailboat on a 2x20 mile lake and there the 10 HP OB he has is just fine. On the great lakes an inboard is good death insurance.

In summary: Buy a C&C 30 or a Tartan 30 for $10,000. These will be 1970''s boats. These boats will sail well and when you sell it you may even make money if you keep it up.

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post #6 of 6 Old 01-20-2001
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HELP! Where to start?

I really like Mike''s comments. I have sailed for 15 years and have always had tiller steering. Last season I sailed a friends 34 ft C&C with a wheel and REALLY liked it. When I sail steering with a tiller for long periods, especially in rough weather, I tend to get a kink in my neck from sitting facing across the boat and having to turn my head to look forward. With the wheel I could brace myself directly behind the Wheel and look squarely forward. Still had plenty of feel from the wheel to trim the boat properly too. As to roller furling, as Mike stated, all those long distant racers and cruisers can''t be wrong. Just remember, in picking out a boat even if you build a boat from scratch you will never have the perfect boat, there are always trade offs.....good luck
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