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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am revising my post due to information from other members.

I am in the Tampa FL area and I am interested in purchasing my first sail boat. I would like something that I can learn on and is able to be sailed by one person.
I my work keeps me out of town for most of the year, but when I am back in town I want to live-aboard the boat for about 1 – 2 months at a time. I plan on using the boat for coastal sailing initial.
Any information on what type of boats I should look at and reasonable prices I can expect would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks to those who have already given me some advice.

I have left the original post below.

Thanks.



I am in the Tampa Fl area and I am interested in purchasing my first boat. I want a sailboat, something that can be sailed by one person but also able to hold at least 4 people comfortably. I would initially use it for coastal sailing but have the desire to explore the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean, so I would like to find a sail boat that I could also live aboard for a month or two. My Ideal price would be about $5,000 or so.

Thanks
 

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Telstar 28
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I'd second what Zeehag said. You're generally much better off spending the extra money and getting a boat that is in decent shape to begin with, since the cost of refurbishing a boat can often far exceed the cost of buying that boat in good shape to begin with.

Also, define hold four people comfortably? Do you want day sail with four people aboard... that's probably doable for your budget. Do you want to weekend with four people aboard?? A bit tougher, but not impossible if you're very lucky. Do you want to cruise long-term with four people aboard? Not for $5000...

To cruise long-term with four people aboard, you're probably looking at a 35-40' boat at a minimum... and probably looking at $40,000 at a minimum to buy one in decent shape. To give you an idea of what the reality is... my friend often says about his C&C 38: "It sails six, feeds four and sleeps two." That's not too far from the truth, since on a passage, unless your hotbunking, the v-berth is often unusable, and that means the boat would have to have two aft cabins to suit two couples.... if it is four individuals....it requires even more space.

BTW, welcome to Sailnet. I'd highly recommend you read this POST to help you get the most out of sailnet.
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Welcome CaptainLuke.
I'm not trying to squash your dream, but your budget will not buy you a boat that you can take offshore with 4 people. The GUlf of Mexico can be pretty hairy- weather, commercial traffic, unlit oil rigs, debris, etc. You do not want to go exploring the Gulf in something that is unsafe.

If you double your budget, you might be able to find a servicable trailer sailor that would work well for lakes or coastal sailing but even that would be tough. No, you couldn't sleep 4 overnight comfortably but you could carry the camping gear you need in order to hit the campgrounds overnight, then pack up and do some more sailing. It wouldn;t be ideal, but it would get you started and be a good time all the same.
 

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Get a small boat that's fun to sail. Perhaps a Sonar, which can be sailed by one day to four people. Develope some decent skills and charter a boat when you want to cruise. It'll be cheaper and you'll have a better boat to daysail and to cruise.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you, everyone’s input is greatly appreciated. Please keep it coming.
As far as the 5k price, I was going off of some things I saw online. Looking back those boats probably need a lot of work that I am not prepared for. I am defiantly willing to increase that in order to insure a safe and enjoyable time.
Again Thanks everyone.
 

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Big Chicken Baby
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Having done nothing but shop for boats for the past couple of years, I can tell you that boats that look fine on first glance often harbor dirty little secrets below the waterline.

SInce you plan to live aboard and be away a large portion of the time, if you don't have a really trustworthy friend to do maintenance you will have to pay a yacht service company/person. That seems like a really bad financial decision for such an inexpensive boat.

There are plenty of boats in the 27-30 foot range that would suit your live aboard needs, but they might be a little tight for four people overnight unless you are really, really friendly.
 

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AEOLUS II
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Get a small boat that's fun to sail. Perhaps a Sonar, which can be sailed by one day to four people. Develope some decent skills and charter a boat when you want to cruise. It'll be cheaper and you'll have a better boat to daysail and to cruise.
That's EXACTLY what I wanted to do until the Mrs. decided she wanted a bigger boat.

At least our 27ft isn't too cumbersome to daysail on regularly!!
 

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Depends on the person. Dee Caffari sailed her AVIVA round the world single handedly and AVIVA was 60'+ LOA or so..
Is it possible to sail a 20ft+ boat with one person?
 

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I would say as a rule of thumb that someone with basic sailing skills can probably handle most 40 ft or lower boats single handed if the boat is properly configured. In some ways, up to a point, the larger boat is easier to handle than the smaller one. I went directly from a 12 ft open cockpit sloop to a 34' sloop. I could have handled an even larger boat. It also depends in what conditions you plan to single hand. Maybe if you give us a little more about your sailing capabilities, some people will weigh in with their thoughts. I also have to second the idea that you either want to put more money in to get the right boat in good condition, or think about chartering for those times when you need the bigger boat. Be realistic about purchase price and ongoing costs such as docking, insurance, maintenance, upgrades, etc.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I have not sailed yet I am going to take the basic sailing course at a school in the Tampa area. It may seem like I am putting the horse before the cart since I have not had any lessons yet. What I hoping to do is gather information from others on what type of boats I should look at and how much I'm looking at spending so hopefully by the end of the summer I can have my own boat.

Thanks, everyone’s input is greatly appreciated.
 

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It sounds to me that what you are planning is ambitious, though not impossible. I think there is some real value in spending time sailing small boats (I mean something like 10-15 ft) before moving up to all the issues associated with cruising. While a larger boat can be easier in many ways, I think the value gained from being more vulnerable to the elements from a small boat is priceless. Think of it like learning multiplication tables before starting to use a calculator.

Of course, what I am saying is an ideal from one person's perspective. Maybe this is is a window of time in your life when you have the free time to contemplate doing more cruising. If so, you need to think towards having a boat that is more forgiving for a novice sailor. One example would be I might forgo deeper draft boats even though they may perform better. This is a nice way of saying you may be even more likely to make some mistakes than those with more experience in sailing fundamentals.

I am definitely not trying to scare you. Everyone starts as a beginner. I would just feel more comfortable if you were going to have a little more experience in basic sailing fundamentals (beyond book learning). I would be interested to see if others agree or disagree with me.
 
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