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post #1 of 8 Old 08-21-2017 Thread Starter
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Smile Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

I'm a long time Dinghy sailor (Lasers & Hobies). I'm looking to make the transition to keelboats & coastal piloting.
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post #2 of 8 Old 08-21-2017
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

With your experience, you should be able to pick up the sailing aspects pretty easily. Docking, navigation, anchoring, batteries, systems, etc are the things you'll probably need to do the most study on. "Bad things happen quickly, good things happen slowly" was some docking advice I got once and has served me well. Starting with a simple 25-30' boat is easy enough, but take it from me there are no "cheap" boats. You'll pay in the end. Just use Bing to search for "Balsa Repair" and the first result tells all about the "steal" I got. Learning how to repair rotten balsa is an aspect of boat ownership I recommend you AVOID.

Where will you be sailing? That may affect the type/size of boat you'd want to start searching for.
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post #3 of 8 Old 08-23-2017
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

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.... "Bad things happen quickly, good things happen slowly" was some docking advice I got once and has served me well. .....
That advice has also served me well. Teaching my wife and son to drive it was always don't ever approach anything faster than you're willing to hit it.
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post #4 of 8 Old 08-23-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

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With your experience, you should be able to pick up the sailing aspects pretty easily. Docking, navigation, anchoring, batteries, systems, etc are the things you'll probably need to do the most study on. "Bad things happen quickly, good things happen slowly" was some docking advice I got once and has served me well. Starting with a simple 25-30' boat is easy enough, but take it from me there are no "cheap" boats. You'll pay in the end. Just use Bing to search for "Balsa Repair" and the first result tells all about the "steal" I got. Learning how to repair rotten balsa is an aspect of boat ownership I recommend you AVOID.

Where will you be sailing? That may affect the type/size of boat you'd want to start searching for.
I like your thinking about docking speeds. A 500lb boat bounces off the dock. I'm guessing that a 12,000lb boat doesn't bounce so well. I plan to avoid "such a deal" project boats. The plan is to sail out of Bellingham (Wa) Harbor and play in the San Juan Islands.

As for boats - I'm leaning toward the Catalina 28
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post #5 of 8 Old 08-23-2017
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

You are correct, 12k# means no bouncing, and may in fact damage the dock, or much worse, the $500,000 boat next door.

It would be a crime to NOT have a boat in such fantastic water as the San Juan Islands. A C28 or even a C30 are great first boats and should provide the ability to resell when you're ready for something larger. Singlehanding shouldn't be too difficult, particularly if you invest in a tiller pilot. A boom tent will make life afloat nicer in the wet NW weather and a tip I heard is to extend it full width so you can keep side windows open during rain.

It's a good idea to check out any associations for the boat you end up looking at. They will typically have good buyers guides for known trouble spots (bulkheads, leaks, keel bolts, etc.). A marine survey is always recommended and may be required by your insurance.
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post #6 of 8 Old 08-23-2017
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

I think the biggest difference between a dinghy and a larger keelBoat is the amount of stuff to break down. The bigger and more complicated the boat, the more resources that go into fixing it.

You'll need to figure out how to keep the machinery running, the electronics and electrical systems up to date and functioning properly and learn new kinds of plumbing.

Coastal navigation is more or less the same on a dinghy or keel boat except the proportions are different and there may be more electronic toys to play with on a bigger boat.

You can start learning about operating a bigger boat by simply treating your dinghy like it is a bigger boat. Start passage planning, record keeping and handling your small boat like it is a big boat. Relative size is barely relevant when it comes to exercising good seamanship.
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post #7 of 8 Old 08-24-2017
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

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Originally Posted by NauticalButNice View Post
I'm a long time Dinghy sailor (Lasers & Hobies). I'm looking to make the transition to keelboats & coastal piloting.
Welcome aboard Nautical!

I made the same transition last year. So strictly from my own experience:

- look a lot, it's time well spent. There are lots to look at.
- if you haven't cruised before take a learning charter. It will help you decide between gotta haves, nice to haves and things you think you want but may not really want. The boat you're dreaming of may not be the dream boat you really dream it is.
- marine survey! Ask around find a good surveyor.
- look up this - MARINE SURVEY 101 by "boatpoker".
- good luck! You're going to love it.
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post #8 of 8 Old 08-25-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking to Transition from Dinghies to Keelboats

Wow. Marine Survey 101 is quite the eye-opener! Yikes. Thanks for that!
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