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iBog 07-03-2011 05:13 PM

Buying our first sailboat
I started sailing an albacore last summer. Now my girlfriend and I are learning to sail a j24.

We now live in Bermuda and have decided we would got more use and enjoyment out of owning a sailboat compared to a car.

Any suggestions on purchasing a used sail boat? Our budget is about $15K. We're not into racing. Cruising with the occasional weekend overnighter would make us happy.

We found a Hunter 27' in our budget. It has a nice cabin (stove and cooler have been removed), basic head, roomy cockpit with wheel (this appears to create a very large area), the main sails drop down into a bag and the jib wraps around something at the front (this would appear to save a lot of time from having to rid and de-rig). There's also plenty of spare sails. Overall it looks well maintained (but we'll still get a survey).

Why are there so many Hunter bashers? What are the limitations of such a boat? Is this something that could be sailed down to Caribbean or up to Canada?

What other boats should we look at?

CalebD 07-03-2011 07:10 PM

There are plenty of very happy Hunter sailboat owners out there who sail to the Caribbean or Canada in their boats. That said, a Hunter 27' would not be my first choice for a blue water cruiser (Bermuda is surrounded by 'blue water'), nor a Catalina 27' nor even my old Tartan 27'. That is not to say that it can't be done if you choose weather windows wisely.
A 27 footer that has a reputation for crossing oceans is the Nor'Sea 27' but I doubt you would find one for $15K. Pacific Seacraft, Canadian Sailcraft and Allied Seawind might be some better brands known for solid design and build quality. With older boats a lot more depends on how well maintained each individual boat is. Older boats are going to be cheaper and closer to your price point.
Good luck you lucky Bermudan dog you!

paulk 07-03-2011 08:10 PM

For bopping around in Hamilton Sound, A Hunter 27 would be fine. So would a J/24, as you're likely finding out. To go outside in either of those boats, you will want to be aware of the weather. Just going from Hamilton to St Georges can be quite nasty if you pick the wrong time to do it. Many small boat owners are inexperienced. They buy Hunters (or some other boat) because they're relatively inexpensive. They then pick inopportune moments to set out, and find (to their surprise) that their boats are not well suited for what they encounter. The boats develop a mediocre reputation because of "skipper error" more than through any intrinsic fault of their own. On land you wouldn't expect a Mini to pull a 40' truck trailer, and there are laws that prevent you from even trying it on the public road. For boats there are a lot fewer man-made laws, but the law of the sea doesn't allow for too many exceptions.

iBog 07-03-2011 08:58 PM

Thanks paulk and calebd.

I like the J24. I just get the feeling that these are primarily used for racing and sailed pretty hard. The cabin on the j24 also appears primarily to store the sails. I'm primarily looking for cruising and not race performance. Possibly even a boat to overnight with on the weekend.

Makes sense about the reputation primarily being skipper error or inexperience. I'm just curious to what makes a boat "blue water worthy" and why the Hunter 27 may not be one of them. Just looking for a starter cursing sailboat. I'm a bit surprised that taking a Hunter out to St. George's may be a challenge. As for taking it to the Caribbean is just a curiosity and beyond my skill/comfort at the moment.

Thanks for the help.

iBog 07-03-2011 09:00 PM

Ohhh. Question about sailing in Bermuda. Are there rules or restrictions on where one can anchor and spend the night?

RXBOT 07-03-2011 09:56 PM

Well if you live in Bermuda you will not have too many choices on boats or prices. Kind of a tough spot to be in. I would suggest finding a way to crew or sail on boats that are not yours. When you have the confidence to take a vacation in a location that has a boat you want at the right price go there and bring it back to Bermuda. Should be doable if you take the time, good luck.

JoeDiver 07-03-2011 10:03 PM


Originally Posted by iBog (Post 746702)
Just looking for a starter cursing sailboat.

Get an older fixer upper and you'll be doing plenty of it....

iBog 07-03-2011 10:21 PM

Lol. Thanks for catching the typo. iPad predictive typing.

Wed night racing is a good time to crew. I may do what you suggest. Still waiting to hear back from someone off the island about a J35. I think there will be something in my budget on the island.

paulk 07-03-2011 10:29 PM

"Blue water" construction is generally more robust and heavier than the typical daysailer or weekend puddlejumper. In a fiberglass boat, the hull/deck joint will most likely have an inward turning flange, or include a bulwark to protect the joint. (This is a weak point on Hunters, Catalinas and Pearsons, for example. Their hull-deck joints tend to have outward-turning flanges, which are cheaper to make. The outward-turning flange makes it easier to damage the joint in contact with docks, etc.) On a "blue water" boat, the joint itself will be glued, through bolted (at short intervals) and possibly fiberglassed over as well. The cockpit will be small, so as to avoid a wave filling it and sinking the boat. The main hatch will have a threshold up even with the deck to help avoid waves filling the cockpit and main cabin at the same time. A good book to read would be "Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts" by the Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of America, (1987) edited by John Rousmaniere. The Dinghy Club and RBYC probably have copies around somewhere.

WDS123 07-03-2011 10:49 PM

The J/24 can be a handful for a novice in anything above 18 knts. If you are not OD'g it, better to stay away.

I'd ask around the Bermuda clubs or marinas, or simply see what type of boats are the most popular. sailing in Bermuds will be very different than near shore US sailing, very few US sailors will be able to speak wisely on the subject

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