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Bombay Explorer 44
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OK I will give it a go.

Anything with substantial parts of the boat made of wood, this includes glass sheathed plywood.

Any foam cored hull.

Anything with a teak deck.

Anything with a weird engine or an old Volvo. You may need to do some research on this as some weird engines are just rebadged Perkins or Kubotas and spares are available for those.
 

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Discussion Starter #22
Mattbastard: I think your question is valid, but may I recommend a different approach?

Surfing the net is too exhausting and the information you stumble upon is always questionable. Try to limit your reading to people who have at least attempted to make a serious study of the matter and convey the information in a coherent manner. I recommend that you read the book Your First Sailboat, by Daniel Spurr. Mr. Spurr describes various criteria and to which type of sailor they apply. He then describes many sailboats and details how well the boats fit the criteria. Using that approach, one can fairly easily come up with boat features that are must-have, wanna-have, and must-avoid. From there, a list of must-avoid models can be populated. This list will probably look different for each person who makes one.

I don't remember if it was in Spurr's or one of Casey's books, but there was a very strong admonishment that the first-time sailboat owner should avoid boat hulls made of wood, metal, or concrete.
Thank you very much for this tip.

As I mentioned above, this is nothing like buying motorcycles. But perhaps after two decades of buying sailboats it'll be just as easy. :devil
 

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What do you want to DO with it?

I'd say stay smaller at first, risk less money on it, and see whether you like it. If you own a boat, you can sell it and move up later, once you know more.

Buy something that's local, floating, sailing, and motoring (if it's got a motor) with paperwork intact, being presently used by an owner.

When I was shopping for used motorcycles years ago, there were a lot of listings that mentioned "probably needs carb cleaning, worked good when I put it away, needs battery, don't have the title, but that shouldn't be a problem" where you just knew to run the heck away...

A boat that's been off the water, on stands, baking in the sun and steeping in rainwater... don't buy that.

Buy something that someone cared about, and kept sailing, and you'll be able to start out sailing it with only minimal effort.

Replacing things costs a lot more than buying them in working order... a new motor is thousands of dollars, new sails are potentially the same sort of price.
 

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......Other than how the boat is outfitted (from stripped racer to full head and galley), how the hull is designed (racer, cruiser, bluewater capable, etc...), and how it actually feels under sail, what else needs to be considered?......
I've put more than my share of miles on motos, too, so....
The analogy is you're interested in a range from 250cc to 1200cc.

It's what they were designed for and how they will be used. It's all well and it's all good...just know what you really want to do with the boat.
A boat that displaces 15k is going to be much different than one that could be trailered.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
What do you want to DO with it?
Since I'm sharing this hobby with my wife the minimum requirements are full head and galley (at least sink and single burner). We can get by with a cooler for a couple days keeping stuff cold, and a small head that's at least enclosed will work in the short term. This puts me at around 27' minimum depending on manufacturer. To be honest the best boat I've found thus far is a Catalina 270 but I'm still searching.

As a first boat we'll be day and coastal cruisers. Catalina, Ensenada, etc... After a few years of this we'll reassess the hobby and go from there. Bluewater potential (Cabo, Hawaii) more than likely means better boat. I'll cross that bridge after I've got much more experience under sail and with sailboats in general.
 

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Discussion Starter #27
I've put more than my share of miles on motos, too, so....
The analogy is you're interested in a range from 250cc to 1200cc.

It's what they were designed for and how they will be used. It's all well and it's all good...just know what you really want to do with the boat.
A boat that displaces 15k is going to be much different than one that could be trailered.
Good analogy, I can understand that.

To expand on my post above, I'm planning on renting a slip. Trailerable is not an option. Storage in SD is damn near as expensive as a slip would be, and my little car couldn't pull a tooth out of a jack-o-lantern.

Besides, I've always been under the impression that trailerable sailboats are made for lakes, not oceans. I'll be on the ocean exclusively.
 

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Matt - I think you are overthinking this a bit - this most likely will not be your last boat - so don't worry about making the perfect choice - from what you describe a boat in the 27 -30 ft range would work fine - and just about most production boats would fit the bit - ones made in the 70's and 80's
Catalina 27-30
Cal 29
Ericsons
Hunter 30 = the older design
Lots of good choices - I would just look for one that is taken care of and not a " project" Luckily - these boats are almost a dime /dozen, don't overpay -if someones price is too high and they don't come down - just move on to the next one.
 

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A LOT of great advice so far...

Get something that you actually like (looks, features, whatever). You'll be a lot happier about spending your money and time on a boat you cherish over a dog you can't stand being caught with.

You may find that once you are done your training on presumably larger and larger boats that your preferences and what you want to do with it could change. Your tactic is good; not to be too hasty. Once your training is done, you might find that a larger boat is not much different to handle over a smaller one.

FWIW, I think 27-30 is a great size, for the reasons you list :)
 

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Since I'm sharing this hobby with my wife the minimum requirements are full head and galley (at least sink and single burner). We can get by with a cooler for a couple days keeping stuff cold, and a small head that's at least enclosed will work in the short term. This puts me at around 27' minimum depending on manufacturer. To be honest the best boat I've found thus far is a Catalina 270 but I'm still searching.

As a first boat we'll be day and coastal cruisers. Catalina, Ensenada, etc... After a few years of this we'll reassess the hobby and go from there. Bluewater potential (Cabo, Hawaii) more than likely means better boat. I'll cross that bridge after I've got much more experience under sail and with sailboats in general.
Look in to the Beneteau First series. A 265, 285, 310, and above, will do you nicely.
 

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Matt: given that you intend to buy a '70's-'80's vintage boat, I don't think you have to avoid any makes or models, so long as its been well-maintained. At that age, any inherent flaws have either been addressed (perpetually leaky decks, undersized fittings, etc.), or will be readily apparent. Also, at that age even the best designed and built boat will be showing her age, and if not well-maintained, will suffer from many of the same maladies as one that was built poorly to begin with.

Find a Catalina 27 or 30 with no deck leaks, relatively new rigging, a reliable engine and non-blown out sails. Sail the heck out of her for a couple of years and learn what is really important to you for how you want to sail (more speed?; more stability? more room below? bigger cockpit? swim platform?), then make your move. If you maintain the Catalina, you will probably be able to get what you paid for her.

Enjoy!
 

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Matt, sounds like you are local here in SoCal.

If you are planning Baja eventually, you are going to want to find a boat with a good inboard - preferrably a diesel.
Much of what you are paying for in a used sailboat is the engine - trust me, you don't want one that you have to replace ($$$$).
I would suggest looking for a good Cal 29 or Ericson 29 - they are abundant around here, are built well, and are good sailors in both light
and heavy winds, and are easy to sail solo. They also don't have keel bolts to worry about.

Don't buy the cheapest one you see, but good ones can regularly be had for $8000 - $10,000.
 

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Discussion Starter #35
Matt, sounds like you are local here in SoCal.

If you are planning Baja eventually, you are going to want to find a boat with a good inboard - preferrably a diesel.
Much of what you are paying for in a used sailboat is the engine - trust me, you don't want one that you have to replace ($$$$).
I would suggest looking for a good Cal 29 or Ericson 29 - they are abundant around here, are built well, and are good sailors in both light
and heavy winds, and are easy to sail solo. They also don't have keel bolts to worry about.

Don't buy the cheapest one you see, but good ones can regularly be had for $8000 - $10,000.

THANK you! See this is what I'm talking about, something like keel bolts. One of the first "afflictions" I've heard about Catalina's is the "smile". Looking online at the fix/repair seems VERY invasive. I've taken on some pretty monumental projects in my life but supporting a 2000lb lead keel is nowhere near my scope of ability. I do really like the Catalina 27/30, but if there's an option where the keel bolt issue is not possible then I'll steer my interests that way.

How do the Cal and Ericson keels work in those cases? I'm assuming there's some heavy metal in the hull somewhere to add ballast.
 

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Mattbastard,
My Ericson 27 has an encapsulated keel. From what I understand, the keel cavity is laid up with the original mold, then filled with ballast, then glassed over. There are no keel bolts to be replaced or checked. There are pros and cons to both bolted keels and encapsulated ones, but I prefer the encapsulated. That and the fact that the other boats I looked at with bolted keels had other issues, led me to get this Ericson. She's been a great boat so far!
 

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If you wanted to jump off the deep end, skipping a step...will cross oceans....already in great cruising/training/vacation area.

http://sancarlosyachtsales.com/sail-boats-for-sale?item=3051918

When you get into the small 30s size, you can cram 3 friendly couples into a Catalina weekend cruise. Generally, I think women appreciate cabin space more than guys. Unless she's really into it, a 27 might not get her thru a week of camping/cruising...and wishing it lasted longer.

Personally, I think a 27 is great for one person. I can live on a 27.

A sailing club, offering different boats for use, might be something to look into as a start.

The enthusiasm is cool. Pleasing the wife is paramount.
 

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Thank you for your input, but I'd like to clarify something.


Now, spin this back around to sailboats. I'm not planning on buying anything this moment, but once I'm ASA 103/104 certified I'm certainly going to be in the market. Thus far I've narrowed down my list of needs to full head and galley. Everything else I want is offered on boats smaller but don't have a full head or galley. My sailing goals in the near term are coastal cruises with overnight stays to Catalina, and down Baja. After the hook is set I'll reassess the boats capabilities with my desires and consider something more bluewater capable but initially, my list of needs is pretty concise. What I've seen so far is a minimum of 27' (Catalina 27 or 30) and around here range from $3000 to over $15K.

Your comment says "extreme differences..." Other than how the boat is outfitted (from stripped racer to full head and galley), how the hull is designed (racer, cruiser, bluewater capable, etc...), and how it actually feels under sail, what else needs to be considered?
Mattbastard,
I’m a year or so a head of you when comes to sailing. I have ASA 101, to 104. I’ve bought a small boat I can trailer and race (Great way to learn how to sail BTW). I’m also a couple years way from buying a keel boat to sail on the Chesapeake Bay. So I’ve been chartering different boats to get a feel as to how they sail.

I’ve followed several of these “buying a boat” threads and the thing I don’t see much talk about. Is what sail control does it have and from where can you control everything. (I’m sure there a term for this) Here’s a couple of examples of what I’m talking about from two boats I’ve chartered.

One was a newer jeanneau 34. Duel helm, auto pilot. In mast furling main, furling jib. All lines, sheets, and halyards led back to cockpit to just two winches. Add self-tacking jib and the darn thing could have sailed itself. As it was crew was just in the way. Also, there was no jib cars, no traveler. Nothing to make sail adjustment but the outhaul and sheets. I hated the thing my wife loved it.

Contrast that to 38’ C&C 115. You have to go on deck to raise the main, with the full battens you had to fight the lazy jacks while raising and lowering it (takes a good helmsman). 7 winches, 3 ways to control jib cars and sail shape, tension adjustment on the jib leech, 16:1 traveler on the mail, hydraulic back stay adjuster. You could spent the entire day adjusting sails in to about any shape you’d want. Best sailed with a helmsman and a couple of crew. Of course I loved it and my wife never wants to see it again.

Good luck!
 

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THANK you! See this is what I'm talking about, something like keel bolts...
Keep in mind that every design decision is a compromise and has its benefits and drawbacks. Now consider that a sailboat is an amalgamated set of hundreds of design decisions. If you eliminate all boats that have one small detail that was mentioned in passing on an internet forum, you may eliminate many boats that are the best set of compromises for your desires. That may not be wise, especially if you don't know the benefits of the feature you are eliminating from consideration, or the drawbacks of its alternatives.
 

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THANK you! See this is what I'm talking about, something like keel bolts. One of the first "afflictions" I've heard about Catalina's is the "smile". Looking online at the fix/repair seems VERY invasive. I've taken on some pretty monumental projects in my life but supporting a 2000lb lead keel is nowhere near my scope of ability. I do really like the Catalina 27/30, but if there's an option where the keel bolt issue is not possible then I'll steer my interests that way.

How do the Cal and Ericson keels work in those cases? I'm assuming there's some heavy metal in the hull somewhere to add ballast.
BigDod72 got it - it's called "encapsulated ballast" - the keel is molded as part of the hull, and the lead ballast is dropped in and glassed over. You are right, you will never get the "smile" and they are generally robust. As is mentioned above, however, it does not necessarily mean a good keel. Some encapsulated ballast are from concrete and iron, which can expand and burst if water gets in them. However, Cal and Ericson have lead ballast, and are known to have good keels, and general good build. Another good feature about the Cal and Ericson is that they have a glassed-in hull/deck joint, which is a big cause of leaks on many boats that are bolted together. And Jwing's advice is gold, there are many other things to worry about in design than keel. However, again I recommend the Cal 29 or Ericson 29. They are a well known quantity in SoCal as good sailors and generally well built, are easy to find, and have no particularly bad habits. The smaller Cal 2-27 and Ericson 27 are both great boats too, but you may outgrow them quickly if you are looking to cruise Baja or even spend much time at Catalina Island. Anything smaller is more a daysailor.
 
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