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post #1 of 17 Old 07-18-2016 Thread Starter
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Boat Purchasing Advice

Hi All

I'm a new member, and relatively new to sailing. I grew up on the Great Lakes, and plan on getting back to them very soon. As such, I'll be purchasing a boat (likely, around the Traverse City region for anyone who may know the area). I'm currently here, and am loving the water.

I want to purchase a boat that fits my (realistic) needs, and hovers around the 30k price point. Obviously, less is great too!

I do not plan on sailing across the Atlantic, for example. I would like to cruise the Michigan coastline, and if struck so, get over to the Bahamas and Caribbean. I'd spend a considerable amount of time onboard, whether in the marina or sailing, so a nice cabin and nice features are important to me.

I've seen a lot of chatter regarding motosailers, and on the surface, they seem pretty ideal. One can trailer them, beach them, and resort to the motor option should the situation require it. I'm aware they are not ideal sailers--that is okay by me. I've also seen quite a few catamarans on the Lakes.

Basically, I have zero idea where to begin searching, what variety of sailboat is best for my needs, etc.

I can say that I took a ride on a McGregor 26, and it seemed to fit my needs very well. I also went out for a weekend on thirty foot catamaran, and loved the ride (and the look) of the boat.

Any help, advice, etc, would be greatly appreciated. I know the questions I pose are pretty open-ended, and I apologize for that.

If anyone is in Traverse City, or around, I'd be happy to meet up and chat over a beer!

Eric
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

Welcome to SailNet Eric.

Before you dump that sort of money into a boat, perhaps you might find a local club to join so that you can get a taste of several boats while you decide. As long as you have no driving goal to sell your home, retire on it, and sail the coast within the next year, you have the luxury of taking your time and fine tuning your needs and expectations a bit more while getting more experience.

Best of luck.
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post #3 of 17 Old 07-18-2016 Thread Starter
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

Hi

Thanks for the quick reply.

Well, I definitely will be purchasing within a year. The schedule afforded to me allows for a good deal of time back in Michigan.

I do agree that my needs and wants could be more fine tuned.

I just thought I'd throw the question(s) out there, and see what responses I get.

Thanks!
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post #4 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

Remember that 30K is not your price point, unless you have an additional 15K for the modifications, repairs, and gear that you need, or unless you luck out on an exceptionally maintained boat with new sails, new engine, new rigging, and the husband and wife who sell it to you also wear your size in gear.

No matter how well maintained, you will need to up grade, put in new sails and new running rigging for sure.

And 30k new won't buy you anything more than a 17 foot boat so it has to be used.
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post #5 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

Your day sailing and coastal in your area, a week or so aboard once in a while boat, is a far cry from what you might want for extended trips farther afield to places like the Bahamas and Caribbean.
Personally, I don't think there are many 26 footers out there that would be at all comfortable as domiciles for any length of time.
Is there a comfortable place to sit and read a book, watch a movie or piddle around on your computer? Is the bed comfortable for sleeping? Is there enough ventilation? Does the boat you are looking at have a galley in which you can cook anything more than mac n cheese? Refrigeration? What about a toilet/holding tank and bathing facilities?
There are a few hardy souls who are happy 'camping out' on the water, but most of us who live aboard are doing so in a comfortable home afloat.
Of course, if you are a wee person from the Emerald Isle a 26 footer might be just the thing. lol
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post #6 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

I'm a firm believer in using a boat in the waters for which it is designed to be sailed. One reason we'll be a two-boat family.

One noticeable difference I see in day sail vs. coastal vs. offshore boats, that those new to sailing can easily understand, is how the storage is generally configured. Our 22 footer was designed for day sails: Limited storage or comforts below besides a berth and a head (it had a built in head...no privacy). No stove so you have to use a camp stove. How to secure it while cooking? Our current boat has much more storage but everything above the berths is open. No way to secure whatever we put on the shelves. Sure the boat can go offshore, and has, but how impractical and dangerous are projectiles flying around in 10-foot seas and storm conditions? An offshore boat's storage is more closed. Above-berth storage areas have some way of securing what's contained within either behind a locking door or some type of guard against the contents falling out in rough seas. Sure, stuff will come loose, but a fraction of what will be airborne in a coastal boat.

Yes, you can compromise and work around any inconvenience.
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

The Mac Gregor 26 (assuming you are talking about the ones that can take 50 HP outboards, they made a few different models) has to be the most polarizing boat ever made. There are those who love them and sail them for years, while others never sail it and use it as a power boat, and finally those who buy them and use them for a couple of years before getting something that suits there needs better. Also there are lots of folks who seem to despise them, but don't own or often have never been out on one just due to the set of compromises they entail. Keep in mind any boat is a compromise. But trying to make a sailboat that will plane on the water with an outboard, will inevitably make it not sail nearly as well, and putting a keel and mast on a power boat will equally make it a worse power boat. But if you feel you really need to the speed to maintain a schedule but still want the option to sail it is the only game in town (well there are some Lancer's and the Hunter Edge as well). The other thing is the boat was made to be easily trailered, now if you plan on towing it a lot that is great, if not then you are making the boat lighter weight than may be ideal for sailing and strong build. Just be aware of the compromises. that said there are 2 across the slipway and they both get used often, though I don't know if the sail them a lot or not. One has a 50hp outboard, the other a 15hp (plenty for a boat that size) so my guess is the latter sails, the former powers but neither seems to tow them.

To me it seems unless you really need a boat that can be towed frequently and don't need the speed I would look elsewhere. They are not particularly strongly built boats and Lake Michigan can get pretty rough. Also the motion of them does not appear to be very pleasant so if you do get caught out there it might be a rough ride. The way I see them is that they are not a very good sailboat, nor a very good power boat. But if you want both you have to live with the compromise. For me they are great for smaller lakes, especially with kids that might loose interest at 5 knots all day.

There are LOTS of boats out there that can be purchased for well under the $30,000 range depending on your level of comfort desired and willingness to get your hands dirty. But as long as you don't need to trailer the boat, then I would recommend something like a Catalina 30, an ever present boat that are everywhere and are cheap, reasonably well built and sell quickly for what you paid for it (likely minus any repairs and upgrades you made) so you should not be out too much if it does not suit your needs. For coastal anything by any of the major builders is good, including Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau, O'Day, Erickson, Tartan, Pearson, C&C and many more. I would suggest getting out and looking at as many boats as you can in the 15,000 to 20,000 range and see what you like. Don't worry too much about age, it is really all about condition a well maintained fiberglass boat will last longer than we will! Even boats in the 27 foot range can be pretty comfortable, but can get tight for longer cruses. 30 foot seems to be where you get more creature comforts, but it varies among models.
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-18-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

There is a Macgregor 26, well actually a Tattoo 26, in my marina that has had 3 owners in the last 3 years. People like the idea and buy it, then actually try to use the thing, and decide that they are better off with, and purchase either a powerboat or a sailboat. Fortunately PT Barnum was right, and the boat keeps the brokers, if not the owners, happy...
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post #9 of 17 Old 07-19-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

My advise would be to join a local club and get as much as you can on many different boats. as far as a recommendations, I would suggest looking at a Catalina 30, they have the the largest interior space for their length at your price point. The 30'ers are pretty common, sail fairly well, and Catalina still supports parts and such. Most people I've talked to prefer the tall rig, and deep keel, FWIW. The price range tends to run from $15-$23, which leaves room in the kitty for upgrades, maintenance, and storage. Things like dodgers, roller furling, and autopilots already on board are a huge plus when shopping as these items can burn through money fast.

There are a few for on craigslist:

1979 Catalina 30 sailboat in great condition
30 ft. Catalina Sail Boat

happy hunting
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post #10 of 17 Old 07-19-2016
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Re: Boat Purchasing Advice

If looking at a Catalina 30, as @SV Siren suggests, (or any Catalina of '70s-90's vintage) look at the alternator mounting bracket, the electrical connectors between the engine and the instrument panel, and the panel itself. You do not want to see an old-style alternator bracket, an OEM ammeter in the panel, or a "trailer connector" wrapped up with a bunch of tape.


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Last edited by eherlihy; 07-19-2016 at 10:58 PM.
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