Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 18 Old 03-12-2016 Thread Starter
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Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Hi, not new to sailing but will be new to "big" boat ownership if my plan comes to fruition.

I grew up in England sailing Mirror dinghies and Lightnings with my cousins while on our summer vacations, and that planted the lifelong love of sailing deep within me!

Then spent a couple of seasons crewing in races when my friend bought a Benetau first, didn't do too well but loved it and then a few years racing on various boats and windsurfing until I finally discovered the beauty of one design racing when I started crewing on J24's in Cowes (huge annual regatta on the Isle of Wight) and loved the more direct competition of it.

While traveling in Australia I spent 8 weeks sailing up the East coast to the barrier reef on a motor sailer. Awesome trip but a little frustrating because however much I tried tweaking the sails I couldn't get it over about 5 knots! But it did give me a little taste of the cruising way of life.

Fast forward a few years and I found myself living in NJ looking for a cheap way to get back into sailing and bought an old Hobie 16. Had an awesome (sometimes painful time learning to sail a cat) and then got back to one design when started racing them and enjoyed a fun few years of that.

Fast forward again I find myself living in Ohio and on my 3rd Hobie 16 but when my 1st child was born the boat was parked way down the yard for what I thought would be a couple of years. Another kid and 12 years later boat was finally pulled from the weeds but too far gone to make it worth the restoration ��
Anyway, now that I have bored you all to tears, what I wanted to say was that now that I am ready to jump back in (the lake) and am looking to purchase my first keelboat. Something in the 30/34' range. Currently looking at a couple of Catalina 30s. So, the reason I detailed all the above was really to show that I have no experience in captaining a keelboat and need all the help I can get. Don't know much about anchoring, docking, diesels, electronics, navigation and especially how to purchase a good older boat without ending up with a project boat (I understand that they are ALL ongoing projects at some level!). so will be looking for help.

I will be posting in the purchase forum soon looking for help and advice.

Thanks,

Jeremy

Last edited by Whiskymac; 03-12-2016 at 10:55 AM.
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post #2 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Welcome.. you seem to be on a good path, your dinghy and one-design skills will translate well (though 'differently', perhaps) to whatever boat you buy.

Just understand that any cruiser you buy (eg Catalina 30 and the like) though good sailing boats will lack the responsiveness you're used to, they'll have a lot more momentum and greater mass, which takes some getting used to.

When you post in the purchase forum be sure to include info like the age of the boat you'll consider, your budget and the area you plan to sail/cruise in.

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #3 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Add fixing broken systems to you list of new experiences. Everything, and I mean everything on a sailboat will break and require attention from plumbing, galley stove, heads, engines, standing rigging, etc. It's excellent that you've spent so much time sailing small boats, sailing big boats is easier. Here's some thoughts on what you might do:

1. Take a navigation/safety course from power squadron, CG Aux....will give you confidence in these areas.
2. Get on a lot of boats in the size/price you are thinking and figure out what matters to you (for selection). Performance, comfort at anchor, comfort at sea, ....each of these involve a tradeoff.
3. Go slow on electronics, get some experience with a minimum set.
4. If we are talking used, buy a boat from a knowledgeable owner who's using the boat all the time, even if it's a little cosmetically challenged. More stuff will be working than a pretty boat that's sitting still all the time, and you'll be sailing sooner.

But by all means do it, and do it now! The only really bad decision is sitting on the shore watching everyone else sailing by.
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post #4 of 18 Old 03-12-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Thanks for the welcome, that's a good point about responsiveness and momentum as while I do have a fair amount of wheel/tiller time on these boats but I really to not have any close quarter maneuvering experience. Hopefully I will be able to acquire some without too much damage to me or anyone else!
I plan to be sailing on Lake Erie (looking forward to the shallow lake idiosyncrasies, NOT!) mainly day sails with a few over nighters at first. Family of four ( kids 10 and 13). Looking for a boat from around 1988 onward hopefully under $30k
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

In your budget there are lots of good used boats. You won't have an issue finding one, but finding the one could be an issue. For what you are doing I would tend to stay with one of the big three, Hunter, Beneteau, or Catalina in good condition but in need of updating. Say old electronics, a little worn in the cushions, but with no major mechanical issues.

Greg
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskymac View Post
Thanks for the welcome, that's a good point about responsiveness and momentum as while I do have a fair amount of wheel/tiller time on these boats but I really to not have any close quarter maneuvering experience. Hopefully I will be able to acquire some without too much damage to me or anyone else!
Unlike a J24 if you come in 'hot' it's not going to be an easy grab for the dock to stop the boat. You'll need to get used to using the reverse to slow down. It's hugely advantagous to find a boat that backs up with good control (which generally means a short cord fin and spade rudder configuration). All of our boats backed up so well that we generally went into a strange situation by backing in - unless you have a fixed or a feathering prop, most boats have better 'brakes' in fwd gear than reverse. Also learn to use 'propwalk' to your advantage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Whiskymac View Post
I plan to be sailing on Lake Erie (looking forward to the shallow lake idiosyncrasies, NOT!) mainly day sails with a few over nighters at first. Family of four ( kids 10 and 13). Looking for a boat from around 1988 onward hopefully under $30k
As Stumble said, not a bad target area.. plenty available. The Catalina 30 is probably the roomiest 30 footer of that era, along with being a very stiff boat (helps with beginner's confidence, esp if anxious about heeling - talking about your family here) The only knock on it compared to some others (IMO) is the low overhead in the central portion of the aft berth - under the cockpit sole. Fine for kids, though.. not so much for any claustrophobes.

Have you discovered Yachtworld? it's a great site for windowshopping, plenty of photos and range of boats with a definable search function.

Here's an example:

1988 (Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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post #7 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

double post... So I'll add to what I said above

You seem to be in a good state of mind with realistic goals and a good budget for what you want to do. I would just suggest a few things...

1) stay at the larger end of your range. Squeezing a couple and two kids into a 30' boat is certainly possible, but a little more length will make it far more comfortable as they get older. Delaying the onset of 'two foot itus'.

2) at this age range don't get too locked into a 'no older than' mindset. Once you get older than about 15 years condition not age is everything. A well maintained 30 year old boat is far better than a poorly maintained 20 year old boat.

3) I would recommend sticking with a boat from a major manufacturer. Catalina, C&C, Beneteau, Hunter, etc... More boat for the money for lake sailing (even the Great Lakes).
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post #8 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

My advice is just opposite of what is above (sorry Stumble). Different strokes and all that. I would get a old J-boat. You can pick up a 24 for a song, and it is what you are used to. I had a Catalina 27- one of the 1970's versions (!!) and I took my family and mother in law out on Utah lake all the time. Even when things got nasty. I would stick with a boat you could trailer sail for a while, so you can twik it at home ( ie modifiy, update)
That way you will learn all your "boat skills" (plumbing, electrical, fiberglass, rigging repair, sail repair) on your off time and not at the dock where you should be sailing. The best one for a family of four that I owned was a Compac 23. I know, you are cosy at night, but it did everything a big boat would do, and upkeep was easy-peasy. I had it in 60 knot winds, and if you got the sail down, it handled itself well.
Just some thoughts, IMHO The photo was taken from my Compac on the Great Salt Lake (40 miles wide, 120 long)
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post #9 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

newt's advice is great for starters, if you choose to go that route. Many of us have BTDT by trailer sailing and moving on up. If, after your prior experiences, you choose to go the keel boat route, then I believe it is incredibly important to find a boat with an active owners association. It will save you a great deal of $$ and effort. It will avoid you having to reinvent the wheel. Here is a great resource which applies to a Catalina 30 as well since the boats share almost identical systems (the C30s have a series of different websites, ours has only this one - everything is in one place).

Catalina 34 - c34.org

Whatever you do, don't buy a project boat. While initial cost is low, you'll spend less time sailing, a LOT less.

Good luck.

Stu Jackson, Catalina 34, 1986, M25 engine, Rocna 10 (22#), Maple Bay, BC, Canada
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post #10 of 18 Old 03-12-2016
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Re: Getting back to sailing. Stepping up to a keel boat.

Hmmm.. it'll take an adventurous family to cruise with two near-teen kids on a J24... just sayin....

I think the OP has already made the case that he's 'been there done that' with the small J, and ready to move up to something bigger. However, to extend your line of thinking a bit, Newt, perhaps a J30 should be on his 'watch list'... Space and a bit more performance. But I do agree with Stu and Stumble, that for cruisability and support Catalina is pretty hard to beat in this arena...
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Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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