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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm brand new to sailing. I've had 6 or 7 small (14' - 23') motorboats for fishing/skiing, etc... but never been on a sailboat. My wife did take a sailing course in college, but hasn't been on a boat since and insists she'll be starting over from scratch (though I question that... my wife's brain is a steel trap).
I'm probably 5-10 years away from retirement (which will put me in my low/mid 50's and still fairly physically capable), and I have developed the interest in looking at becoming a recreational ocean sailer in retirement. Honestly... I've gotten the interest in trying to spend half the year on a sailboat in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico or off coast of Panama/Costa Rica...something like that - but my wife assures me that's not going to happen while married to her. I realize that dream puts me into the large class of "gunners" as I've seen MarkOfSeaLife put it...but hopefully I'll rise above that.
So... to begin my journey of preparing myself for some version of this I need to get learning. I'm looking for a small boat that I can sail on my local lake alone (or with a kid/wife), and I'm going to continue watching videos and doing some reading to learn. Hopefully I'll find someone at our local sailing club that maybe I can pay to go out with me a few times and give me some lessons.
My first question would be -- any recommendations for a total newbie like myself on a good book to read to gain knowledge of the mechanics and physics of sailing and to learn the general layout and gear, etc. of boat types?
Second... and I know I'm getting ahead of myself here and shouldn't rush into anything (aka - take the time to make a good decision).... there is an '89 J/22 for sale near me for 6k that I'm thinking of picking up. I know that's not the longterm boat I want, but my thought is start small to learn for a year or two, then move into a 30 footer for a few years, then be ready for a 40-50' boat when bigger water time rolls around in retirement. Would a J22 be a good learner boat. At 6K, if I sink it the world doesn't end :)

Thanks!
 

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Welcome aboard! There are many good 'starting-out' sailing books. I started with Sailing for Dummies. It remains a favorite. Leaning the basics on a small boat is a solid plan. Everything works exactly the same way, the difference is scale (and forces). On a small boat you will feel the effects of your actions more quickly. The wife might come around... Or she might discover the hazards associated with issuing ultimatums. Best of luck!
 

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The small J boats are race boats and in my opinion they make poor learning or daysailing boats. While the J22 is much more comfortable than a J24, neither would be as comfortable as a Sonar or Rhodes 19 or a string of other daysailers generally available for a lot less than $6k.

Some recommended reading are AIRBORNE, FLIRTING WITH MERMAIDS, and CHAPMANS and watch this YT channel
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The small J boats are race boats and in my opinion they make poor learning or daysailing boats. While the J22 is much more comfortable than a J24, neither would be as comfortable as a Sonar or Rhodes 19 or a string of other daysailers generally available for a lot less than $6k.

Some recommended reading are AIRBORNE, FLIRTING WITH MERMAIDS, and CHAPMANS and watch this YT channel
Good point on the J22 as a racer... I did see people using it for that, but seemed that others were also daysailing in them. We definitely want to start with comfort (as can be had in a small boat) and ease of learning. Another thing for us to consider though would be having something that we at least have the ability to take our kids with us on. Our kids are 7 & 9. At this point, primarily I want to get my wife and I on the water learning. The kids are a secondary thought for now (they become a primary thought once we know what we're doing and are upgrading to a real family boat for weeklong trips), but it does make it easier to get more time on the water if the kids can go with us and have fun too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

This little thing is only 5 or 6 hours away from me... it's smaller than I was thinking, but big enough the kids would be able to play in the bottom and have fun white we were sailing, and looks like it would be easy for us to haul and launch at our regular ramps (?). New sails and decent outboard. Honestly... I'm kindof shocked that sailboats are as inexpensive as they seem to be. This is 3900, being new to this and only basing off of what we pay for pontoons and fishing boats, etc... I would have guessed something like this to cost 21-15k. I'm glad I'm wrong...but this seems like a lot of stuff (boat, sails, motor, trailer) for not much money.
Would this be a good starter... Or for my situation would bigger be better? I'm seeing there's no shortage of boats out there if I'm willing to travel a day to pick them up.
 

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That Catalina is a good candidate. It has space for the kids to be out of the way and out of the weather.

I personally advocate for the first boat being a learning lab. Buy it based on what you want to learn from it. You could go bigger with an inboard engine, refrigeration, propane stove, lights, fans, charger, solar.... You would learn all of those systems (which you will need to do) usually at the expense of sailing time. The bigger boat costs more to maintain, store, repair...
 

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The J22 is a racer, but I think is is pretty well behaved. I would suggest something even smaller. Maybe keep the expenses down by trailer sailing for the first year or two. You will be able to sell a trailer sailboat for about what you got it for. Makes it almost free.
 

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If you are lake sailing, the Catalina is probably a good choice. I say "probably" because the fact is, you won't know what you like/need until you get out there. Do you need a cabin? A head? A sink? Are you going to sail for an hour or so, or want to cruise for a couple of days or more? Or is a boat that sails nicely and is easy to trailer and set up most important? Buy something relatively cheap, get out there, and find out.

Like most of us, your goals will likely change as you gain experience. I had hoped that my wife and kids would love sailing so much they would want to cruise, and I would be "forced" to upgrade from my 23 foot trailer sailer. Never happened. I eventually bought a bigger boat anyway, but I am under no illusions that the Admiral will go much further than the next marina for an overnight. Maybe your wife will feel differently after getting some boat time, but I wouldn't count on it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If you are lake sailing, the Catalina is probably a good choice. I say "probably" because the fact is, you won't know what you like/need until you get out there. Do you need a cabin? A head? A sink? Are you going to sail for an hour or so, or want to cruise for a couple of days or more? Or is a boat that sails nicely and is easy to trailer and set up most important? Buy something relatively cheap, get out there, and find out.

Like most of us, your goals will likely change as you gain experience. I had hoped that my wife and kids would love sailing so much they would want to cruise, and I would be "forced" to upgrade from my 23 foot trailer sailer. Never happened. I eventually bought a bigger boat anyway, but I am under no illusions that the Admiral will go much further than the next marina for an overnight. Maybe your wife will feel differently after getting some boat time, but I wouldn't count on it.
Yep... that's right where I'm starting at, the "hope" phase. Honestly, my intent is I'll do it with or without her. I'm fortunate that we get along great, but also are extremely easy going with what the other wants to do. If I retire and want to do something for two months and she doesn't want to do it - she won't have an issue with me setting out on my own. But I hope that's not how it goes. She is starting off with the belief that she'll want nothing to do with longer term cruising, but she does like boats and being on small water (gets seasick on big water). She used to be adventurous and hopefully if things go well she'll get on board (figuratively & literally). I need to make sure she likes our little starter boat and go from there.
 

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This little thing is only 5 or 6 hours away from me... it's smaller than I was thinking, but big enough the kids would be able to play in the bottom and have fun white we were sailing, and looks like it would be easy for us to haul and launch at our regular ramps (?). New sails and decent outboard. Honestly... I'm kindof shocked that sailboats are as inexpensive as they seem to be. This is 3900, being new to this and only basing off of what we pay for pontoons and fishing boats, etc... I would have guessed something like this to cost 21-15k. I'm glad I'm wrong...but this seems like a lot of stuff (boat, sails, motor, trailer) for not much money.
Would this be a good starter... Or for my situation would bigger be better? I'm seeing there's no shortage of boats out there if I'm willing to travel a day to pick them up.
This looks like a good choice for your situation. We sailed a Siren 17 when our kids were those ages and it worked very well for us- the kids can go below and feel safe and out of the way, or lie down if they get tired. It’s a comfortable enough boat you won’t feel beat up by it after a day on the water and versatile enough to do lots of different things. Take it to many different lakes and explore, or just motor out and anchor and let the kids swim on a hot day (very popular with our kids) Plus upkeep is vastly lower on a trailer boat. I found that the things I learned sailing our 17’ translated well into our larger boats when the time came. Personally I think it’s easier to learn on a small boat like this and then move up then jump into a larger more complicated boat. With a decent comfort level and low initial investment you’ve got a good chance of enticing your wife into joining you, especially if she sees the kids having a ball on it with you.


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Look around and see if you can find a Boston Whaler Harpoon 5.2, I sailed one for a number of years and consider it the best tailorable daysailer by far. With an 8 foot beam it has a lot of form stability and could comfortably carry two couples and a half dozen kids.
 

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The problem with small boats is, well they're small. The problem with big boats is , well they're B I G
The great thing about sailing on someone else's boat is that it is Their Problem. If I had a more pleasant demeanor maybe I could have stuck with sailing on other peoples boats. My abrasive personality was fine when crewing on boats that were racing...... ie, a bunch of yelling followed by beer drinking and bragging but for more refined yachting I just don't fit in. If memory serves me right.... questionable, J22 and J24 were both very wet and J22 would round up pretty easily when driven hard.
The down side to a decent sized trailer sailor is the time and effort it takes to set up to go sailing. The fact that you are even considering sailing is indicative of a mental health issue. For example, I can rationalize the 10 hours that I spend working on the boat for every hour of sailing because well, I don't have to raise the mast to go sailing.
 

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Hi,
I'm brand new to sailing. I've had 6 or 7 small (14' - 23') motorboats for fishing/skiing, etc... but never been on a sailboat. My wife did take a sailing course in college, but hasn't been on a boat since and insists she'll be starting over from scratch (though I question that... my wife's brain is a steel trap).
I'm probably 5-10 years away from retirement (which will put me in my low/mid 50's and still fairly physically capable), and I have developed the interest in looking at becoming a recreational ocean sailer in retirement. Honestly... I've gotten the interest in trying to spend half the year on a sailboat in the Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico or off coast of Panama/Costa Rica...something like that - but my wife assures me that's not going to happen while married to her. I realize that dream puts me into the large class of "gunners" as I've seen MarkOfSeaLife put it...but hopefully I'll rise above that.
So... to begin my journey of preparing myself for some version of this I need to get learning. I'm looking for a small boat that I can sail on my local lake alone (or with a kid/wife), and I'm going to continue watching videos and doing some reading to learn. Hopefully I'll find someone at our local sailing club that maybe I can pay to go out with me a few times and give me some lessons.
My first question would be -- any recommendations for a total newbie like myself on a good book to read to gain knowledge of the mechanics and physics of sailing and to learn the general layout and gear, etc. of boat types?
Second... and I know I'm getting ahead of myself here and shouldn't rush into anything (aka - take the time to make a good decision).... there is an '89 J/22 for sale near me for 6k that I'm thinking of picking up. I know that's not the longterm boat I want, but my thought is start small to learn for a year or two, then move into a 30 footer for a few years, then be ready for a 40-50' boat when bigger water time rolls around in retirement. Would a J22 be a good learner boat. At 6K, if I sink it the world doesn't end :)

Thanks!
Welcome to sailing. The only thing I would add is that you and your wife should take part in the learning experience together. The the Admiral and I did it was through a sailing school. (We had sailed many years ago.) We bought a Catalina, sailed for a year on the local lake, and then we took more instruction on a 43 footer in FL to get a bareboat cert.

If buying, a Catalina 22 is as good as anything for your purposes. Parts are easily obtainable, and resale should be easy after you've outgrown her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Welcome to sailing. The only thing I would add is that you and your wife should take part in the learning experience together. The the Admiral and I did it was through a sailing school. (We had sailed many years ago.) We bought a Catalina, sailed for a year on the local lake, and then we took more instruction on a 43 footer in FL to get a bareboat cert.

If buying, a Catalina 22 is as good as anything for your purposes. Parts are easily obtainable, and resale should be easy after you've outgrown her.
Thx... I've seen quite a few Catalina 22's for sale. Seems to be an easy boat to find. Are they fairly easy to trailer and launch. My local marina told me they had slips available for up to a 21'... I could see if they have someplace I could squeeze a 22 but I may have to trailer for a while.
 

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Thx... I've seen quite a few Catalina 22's for sale. Seems to be an easy boat to find. Are they fairly easy to trailer and launch. My local marina told me they had slips available for up to a 21'... I could see if they have someplace I could squeeze a 22 but I may have to trailer for a while.
Ummm, the 21' thing...Is that all they have available currently, or always?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Ummm, the 21' thing...Is that all they have available currently, or always?
currently... I called asking about slip availability. For longer, I have to get on a waiting list. Not a big deal, I'd just have to trailer launch until a slip became available. I'm actually going to go test sail a Cat22 at this marina tomorrow morning that already has a dock slip paid for for the year, which would alleviate the problem. I found it listed and just contacted the owner after your post above. It's cheap and comes with a poor quality trailer (would need trailer work, which I can do) and the paid dock slip. It would need bottom paint. He says it's in good condition, but I think it would at a minimum need cosmetic work. It's an 81 for 2750. He says it is a Gen 1 and has the "iron swing keel"...not sure exactly what that means to me. I'd rather spend a little extra money and get a really well cared for boat and trailer, but this may be too convenient to pass up, already being in the water at my small little local lake and all....
 

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There are three different models of the C22: the swing keel (far and away the most popular), the fin keel, and the wing shoal keel. The swing keel is made of iron and is cranked in and out of the stubby keel with a crank mechanism in the cabin. There are a set number of cranks so you know if it's all the way up or all the way down. The swing keel is what makes the boat eminently trailerable. The other models sail better, but you really sacrifice the ease of trailering. And AFAIK, all of the swing keels were made of iron. For a boat of this age, make sure you can see the whole keel; iron keels need to be maintained. I'm betting that an iron keel that old will look rough. Don't look for perfection. Best case, the iron has been blasted clean and was immediately epoxied and covered with bottom paint.

The C22 is I think the most popular production sailboat ever, with good reason. The boat sails reasonably well, is easy to maintain, and provides a stable, forgiving platform. And if you get one of the pop-top models, you get standing headroom!
 

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Hello,

I just bought my first sailboat this year, a C&C 24 1983. Previously I had sailed on dinghies and done courses in my teens. For the past few years, I had been renting a daysailer every second weekend or so while I lived in Switzerland. I might have been slightly more experienced than your wife at the time of buying.

Before buying, I took a dinghy course with my wife (a good refresher for me, a great introduction for her) and I would heartily recommend it. It helps build good teamwork skills on a very responsive (and fun!) little vessel. You will see that when you upgrade to your own boat, everything is more or less the same in terms of rigging and sailing.

A bit more boat than you are looking for, but the C&C 24 is really wonderful and fits on a trailer (but launching it from a trailer is quite the ordeal as I learned). If you can find the dock space for it I would more than recommend it as a starter boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
There are three different models of the C22: the swing keel (far and away the most popular), the fin keel, and the wing shoal keel. The swing keel is made of iron and is cranked in and out of the stubby keel with a crank mechanism in the cabin. There are a set number of cranks so you know if it's all the way up or all the way down. The swing keel is what makes the boat eminently trailerable. The other models sail better, but you really sacrifice the ease of trailering. And AFAIK, all of the swing keels were made of iron. For a boat of this age, make sure you can see the whole keel; iron keels need to be maintained. I'm betting that an iron keel that old will look rough. Don't look for perfection. Best case, the iron has been blasted clean and was immediately epoxied and covered with bottom paint.

The C22 is I think the most popular production sailboat ever, with good reason. The boat sails reasonably well, is easy to maintain, and provides a stable, forgiving platform. And if you get one of the pop-top models, you get standing headroom!
Good advice on seeing the whole keel. I know he doesn't have the trailer there (its at his house), so I'll just tell him I can't commit to buying until he pulls it out of the water. Iron is easy as far as making pretty (I have a painting company and we can blast and epoxy it with no problem)... I assume the thing I'm looking for is some kind of dents or damage? Or is it literally just an aesthetic issue I'm looking for?
 
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