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Captnscrub
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am new to sailing and trying to find a boat that I can work on fixing up with my son so that we can learn to sail. I found a Columbia 28 for sale in my area for $500. It is in the water and does not come with a trailer. It comes with one sail (main) and a diesel engine (it has not been started in awhile owner was not sure if it would run but thought it would). It has a clear title and sound hull. I am going to inspected tomorrow morning and I was hoping I could get an idea what to look for. Any suggestions from Columbia owners would be great. Any suggestions from anyone would be great. – Thanks for your help.
 

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It takes a great deal of expertise to properly inspect (survey) a 28 foot sailboat. Have it surveyed by the best surveyor you can find in your area.

Even a $500.00 boat needs a proper survey prior to purchase. So do free boats of that size. There are often problems lurking in used boats that can be very expensive to remedy, and you can easily exceed what it might have cost to buy a similar boat in good, sail-away condition. Elbow grease is cheap, but sailboat parts are anything but.
 

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When I was a catamaran sailor we used to say there is no such thing as a free boat. I think that applies now to the nth degree. I was offered a similar boat, after I totaled winches, sails , boom, standing rigging, running rigging, haul out, inspection, you name it. I spent more money and bought one in better shape.
 

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My initial thought is that a $500 boat this size means you are just buying the slip, and the boat is headed to the junk yard. Of course I haven't seen it, or even pictures, but my gut is saying you need to budget $20,000 to get this boat back in shape, and it could be much more.

1) non working engine. My guess is $10k for a repower by the time you are all said and done
2) new jib $2k
3) all new running rigging $2k
4) odds and ends 4-5k

Unless she passed survey (and that motor works) I would run from this deal. Much like free boats, cheap boats are often times more expensive than expensive ones.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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I am new to sailing and trying to find a boat that I can work on fixing up with my son so that we can learn to sail. I found a Columbia 28 for sale in my area for $500. It is in the water and does not come with a trailer. It comes with one sail (main) and a diesel engine (it has not been started in awhile owner was not sure if it would run but thought it would). It has a clear title and sound hull. I am going to inspected tomorrow morning and I was hoping I could get an idea what to look for. Any suggestions from Columbia owners would be great. Any suggestions from anyone would be great. - Thanks for your help.
First of all ignore the Chicken Littles.

Secondly you don't need a surveyor. It is currently floating. Sure there will be stuff wrong. Check the mast for cracks the rigging for broken strands the rudder for smooth operation.

Then comes the $64,000 question, does the engine run. Call the seller and find out if there is someone on site that can provide a jump start, or take a long a fully charged truck battery. A couple of gallons of fresh diesel in an outboard gas tank to use a gravity feed is a good idea and tools to bleed the engine.

If the engine is broke that boat has negative value. There are lots of $500 boats out there that already have had the engines removed and OB brackets fitted.

If you want to get serious about doing your own survey and can afford $10 or so get and study this.

Inspecting the Aging Sailboat (The International Marine Sailboat Library): Don Casey: 0639785803447: Amazon.com: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/[email protected]@[email protected]@51izTuIhLJL

But if the engine runs and you don't spot anything expensive to fix then I say go for it. A used hank on jib should be easy to find on Craigslist for $50 - $100.

One word of caution. Do you have somewhere to keep the boat sorted and priced.
 

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I agree with those that suggest a surveyor and a haul out. The boat could have a badly blistered bottom and to correct that issue could easily cost thousands.

25 years ago, my brother bought a 40' trawler. The bottom had a serious issue that even his surveyor miss-diagnosed. $16,000 to correct the problem.
 

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If you are new to sailing, don't start with a piece of junk. Get yourself a smaller trailerable boat that is fully functional and go for it. Smaller boats on trailers are easier to work on, cheaper in the long run, and just as much fun to sail as the big ones. Even on these smaller used boats you will find plenty of little projects to do with your son. But they will be much easier and cheaper to accomplish.
 

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If you are new to sailing, don't start with a piece of junk. Get yourself a smaller trailerable boat that is fully functional and go for it. Smaller boats on trailers are easier to work on, cheaper in the long run, and just as much fun to sail as the big ones. Even on these smaller used boats you will find plenty of little projects to do with your son. But they will be much easier and cheaper to accomplish.
Very good advice!
 

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Captnscrub
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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for your comments and advice. I decided not to buy the boat. Although it was very close. I think I am going to take krisscross's advice and buy something smaller and ready to go that my kids and I can learn to sail on. I think we can spend a year or so learning the basics then move up to a little larger boat to explore southwest Florida.
 

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Bombay Explorer 44
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Don't buy anything until you at least look at a Catalina 22.

Easy to sail can sleep 2 + 2 kids big cockpit. Huge numbers sold so bits are available off the shelf. Easy to resell.

A slightly scruffy one will be 2k without a trailer 3k with. At that price should come with sails and working OB.
 

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Don't buy anything until you at least look at a Catalina 22.

Easy to sail can sleep 2 + 2 kids big cockpit. Huge numbers sold so bits are available off the shelf. Easy to resell.

A slightly scruffy one will be 2k without a trailer 3k with. At that price should come with sails and working OB.
Totally agree...A C-22 would make a great starter boat.
 

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Don't buy anything until you at least look at a Catalina 22.

Easy to sail can sleep 2 + 2 kids big cockpit. Huge numbers sold so bits are available off the shelf. Easy to resell.

A slightly scruffy one will be 2k without a trailer 3k with. At that price should come with sails and working OB.
I just wrapped up my first summer with my first boat, a Catalina 22 just like you describe.

It really worked out well for me. It was sailable and motorable from day 1, yet scruffy enough that it has lots of fun little tasks to learn on.

The size is very nice too. Big enough and heavy enough to take some wind and still feel safe, but also small enough to maneuver easily both around the dock and onto the trailer. The most people we had on it was five (adults) but I think six or seven would be doable.
 
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