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Discussion Starter #1
This is my first post as a member on here, but been lurking for quite some time.

As the title states, I need help deciding between a few sailboats. I would like some feedback from the experienced members here so I can make the best choice considering my options.


a little about me-

I grew up on boats, we sailed every weekend on the Great Lakes until I was about 10, and then we switched over to a power boat since it was easier for the parents with additional little children. since then my only sailing experience has been on smaller sailboats. things like hobbie cats, sunfish, etc..

I live in mid Michigan, about a hour and a half from Lake Michigan or Lake Erie. I plan to do most of my sailing there, along with some of out inland lakes around the area. Most of my sailing will be 2-3 day trips, maybe a little longer once or twice a season. I would like to be able to camp on my boat, so a small galley and head would be very nice to have. however, those are not deal breakers.

I plan to trailer the boat whenever I go out. I have a 2500 Dodge Ram diesel so I can pull just about any boat in the size range I am looking at (22'-26').

that being said, I have found a few boats on local marketplaces that seem to fit the bill. they are all in good (for the age) condition with sails, motors, rigging, and most of the major components needed to be ready to go.

I have narrowed down my results to:

1975 7.02 S2

1982 Com-Pac 23

1979 Pearson 26

1976 laguna windrose 24

All of the boats are in similar condition and come with a trailer (except the Pearson) and are right around $1,500. what are your guys' thoughts and experiences on these options, or are there any other boats that would be a better fit that I didn't mention?

thanks in advanced!
 

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Welcome!

$1,500 is a pretty light budget for a 22'+ sailboat with trailer, so be very careful in what you buy.

I would offer get the boat with 1) the best trailer, 2) the best sails, and 3) the best outboard motor. Each of these are high budget items for a trailerable sailboat and replacement cost could easily exceed your original $1,500 purchase price.

Once you have bought the boat, maybe it would be worthwhile to start a thread on boat camping? I haven't search the forum for this topic, but I don't recall seeing many posts on the subject.

Jim
 

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I agree that $1500 seems cheap for boats that size, but from what I have seen on Craigslist and fb marketplace it seems to be fairly typical. I'm not opposed to spending more but realistically I will only use this boat for the next 2-3 years before I upgrade. Plus I don't mind something that needs some work cause that'll force me to learn more about the workings of a sailboat.

Luckily I can take my mom with me to check anything out, she's a experienced sailor and has bought quite a few boats in her days.

And I will definitely start a camping thread once I get her sailing! Hopefully I don't have to make a restoration thread before then 🙃
 

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As noted above, presuming the trailer is structurally sound, check the tires, bearings, lights as noted above.

Most folks don't trailer enough to wear out a tire, but they will dry rot over time. You do not want to have a blowout of a trailer tire, especially on a single axle trailer. I had a blowout last year on a dual axle u-haul trailer and it scared the crap out of me. Fortunately I was able to keep both the truck and trailer on the road and get it to the shoulder for a replacement tire. Also, make sure you have a spare.

Bearings should also be replaced when necessarily. At a bare minimum, they should be repacked (degreased and greased) at some interval. Replacing/repacking the bearings is a pretty easy job. If there are bearing buddies on the hubs, these will keep the water out and extend the time needed between repacking. You always need to make sure there is enough grease on the bearings!

Regarding the lights. Unless they have been replaced at some point with led lights, they probably will need to be replaced. led lights are very durable and can withstand repeated immersion into water.

Jim
 

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I don't know very much about 3 of your choices. to offer an opinion. The Pearson, I believe is a fixed keel 4 ft draft. It's not going to be an easily trailer-able boat if that's what you're looking for.
 

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Hey,

Just a quick note on trailer sailing. It sucks.

I bought my first sailboat, a Catalina 22, in August of 2003. That's pretty late in the New York season and there were no moorings available and I had no money for a slip. So we (me, wife and 3 young kids) trailer sailed the boat for the rest of the year. Even after 4-5 times of doing it, it was at least a solid hour of time to get the boat into the water, and another hour at the end of the day to get it out of the water. Stepping the mast, adjusting the rigging, getting the boat into the water and off the trailer, parking the trailer, getting the outboard on, the sails on, all takes a lot of time.

Since you plan on being onboard for a few days that will definitely help but do plan on the time. A Catalina 22 is fairly small but just about the biggest boat that one person can rig. Once you get bigger than say 25' I don't know how you step the mast by yourself (and lower it too). Also, make sure that any boat you consider buying has a swing keel or stub keel / center board. Once a boat draws more than 2-2.5' of water, trying to launch and recover from a ramp gets very difficult.

In 2004 I was able to get a mooring and leave the boat there. So much better! Now it took 15 minutes from arrive at the marina to be departing for a sail.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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Hey,

Just a quick note on trailer sailing. It sucks.
Barry
If you plan to day sail buy a 19 foot boat or less. You should be able to get the boat sailing in 30 minutes once you get to the ramp. The bigger the boat gets the longer it takes to launch. I suggest a Montgomery 17 or West Wight Potter 19.

The one exception would be if you can get a mast up trailer storage situation where you can leave your boat rigged and just drop it in the water when you want to sail, makes your sailing days easier.

I skimmed over your post and missed out on the fact you plan on going for 2-3 days at a time. At that point a larger trailerable is not so bad, its just day sailing where it really becomes more hassle than it is worth. Still consider a mast up or slip situation for a larger boat.
 

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Trailer sailing is GREAT! :)

Although I am currently selling my West Wight Potter 15, I have had her for 10 years and enjoyed every time I used her. She sat along side by house, patiently waiting to go out for the day. She was inexpensive to buy and cheap to maintain. I could hitch her to my truck and be at the lake in 10 minutes. Took 20-25 minutes to rig, launch, and park my truck. $26 a year for the Maryland trailer registration and $0 a year for the Maryland boat registration (as she is under 16'). Sailed whenever I wanted, didn't have to worry about the cost of not using the boat when I didn't.

If you are going to trailer sail, you definitely want something with a swing keel or centerboard as Barry mentions. You will want the smallest amount of draft when you launch and retrieve you boat so that you can float if off of the trailer. Some folks have modified their trailers, by adding tongue extensions. My Potter has a 6 foot tongue extension, and with the shallow draft of the boat (with the board up) I can launch off a beach and not even get the rear wheels of my truck in the water.

Barry mentions the Catalina 22, and I would agree that this is probably the smallest boat that I would personally take out on Lake Michigan or Lake Erie. They cost more than $1,500, but they have a very good reputation, and Catalina made about a bazillion of them over the last 50 years. For a Catalina 22, I would agree with Barry that if would probably take closer to an hour at the beginning and end of each sail. For a weekend trip, however, I would happily spend the hour before and after!

Jim
 

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Does the Pearson have a fixed keel with a 4 ft draft? I might take that one off the list. A deep draft can really limit the places you can launch. A lot of unpaved ramps may not even be possible.

Beyond that, I might pick whichever one is easiest to rig. I have a beach cat that takes an hour to rig every time, its kind of a pain. I also have a 21 ft boat with a mast tabernacle that can be rigged in about 15 minutes. Makes a big difference on how much you use the boat.
 

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Yes the Pearson 26 has a fixed keel with 4 foot draft. DO NOT consider trailor sailing one. I agree with the suggestions to go smaller. Makes the launching, rigging, retrieval, etc. so much easier. And you want a centerboard or swing keel boat.
 

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You really need to decide if you want to trailer sail or not. If not, buy the Pearson. If so, buy one of the others.

At that price point, all of those boats (or trailers) will have lurking projects, some urgent. It may be much easier to address them on a trailer than in a slip (or having to get hauled out).
 

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Pearson would be the best choice if keeping it in the water - worst choice for trailing - the Compac would be OK for trailering if you are only doing it 3-4 times per year - if you truly want to trailer most of the time and will use the boat frequently - once a month - Catalina 22 is about as big as you want - McGregors have larger boats that be trailered that have water ballast - but not in your price range
 

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25 foot boat with 4' fixed draft keel, mast lifted solo, here is how you do it.

Also S2 7.9, trailers nicely, 18 inches of water to launch, 5' draft board down, 26' long (its a big heavy boat though, 5500lbs).

So now I've found 2 boats over 25 feet, I've launched myself and stepped the mast myself. They exist.

BTW it took over 1 hour to rig each time. I think the Capri 25 took about 2 hours, the S2 7.9 probably about the same, with the rudder being the biggest PITA.

As for the Cat 22, not sure why you were adjusting rigging every time.... You detach the forestay and drop the mast back, if you used an adjustable backstay, you release the backstay , rotate the mast forward put the forestay pin in, then tighten backstay, rigging should be kept roughly the same each time for trailering.

My Capri 22, which was a nice 2.5ft draft was also a great sailing boat AND easy to launch (still about an hour).

But I will agree $1500 isn't a lot of cash for a trailerable 24+ foot sailboat, even if it needs some work.
 

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Condition matters more than almost anything. like someone said, sails & motor are big $$ items, but also check for deck rot and issues with the chainplates. Also, be sure that the title & docs on the trailer are in order. At least here in WA it can be a big pain to sort out an untitled trailer.
 

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For a trailerable the first most important thing is the trailer. Sorry.
You have to get it home, if you can't deal over.

Bearings, tires, lights, safety chains. A used 2 stroke motor on craigs can get you going if you have to... Sails used for common boats are easy to get on ebay. Not race quality sails of course.

soggy decks though are deal breakers, nobody wants to rebuild the sandwich of an entire boat, you'll have hundreds of hours of labor in that.
 

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I think most people who have trailer sailed would agree that if they had their boat on a mooring, or rigged at a dry dock, they would sail a lot more. If you are just getting back into sailing, and getting used to a new boat, you will want it as simple as possible. You don't want to feel like since you have the whole family there, and it is going to take 2 hours to rig the boat, that you need to go out no matter what the weather is doing. If logistics, or budget do not allow, then your plan can work. Make sure any boat you get, the previous owner has a system for raising the mast solo (or nearly solo). As soon as this economic depression really settles in, you may be able to find a 22' boat for a case of good beer (and a Hunter for a 6 pack of bad beer).
 

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Condition matters more than almost anything. like someone said, sails & motor are big $$ items, but also check for deck rot and issues with the chainplates. Also, be sure that the title & docs on the trailer are in order. At least here in WA it can be a big pain to sort out an untitled trailer.
Also, make sure the documents match the VIN stamped into the boat stern and the id on the trailer itself.

I am the 3rd owner of my West Wight Potter. When I titled the boat, I used the VIN off the 2nd owner's title. One day I was checking the actual VIN and found that two numbers were transposed on the title. Since I had all the records for the boat, I found out the manufacture had made an error on the original bill of sale, and this had carried over to the previous three (including mine) titles of the boat. Maryland DNR corrected my title with the correct VIN. :) Lesson learned, since then I ALWAYS check the actual VIN against the title whenever I buy any type of vehicle.

Jim
 

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I think most people who have trailer sailed would agree that if they had their boat on a mooring, or rigged at a dry dock, they would sail a lot more.
Not necessarily. Maintenance is a lot easier on a trailer sailer. The difference between working on a boat in your drive way using tools from your garage and working on a boat in a yard an hour or two from home is difficult to over state.

No doubt, trailering can be a pain, especially if one had a bad set up. But, I still prefer it to when I used to keep my boats at yacht clubs. And it costs me about $5000 a year less, so that's a consideration.

I do wonder if a good set up can be easily had for $1500, especially in the size op is talking about. Probably could go with a smaller boat for that budget. Easily rigged trailables on highway worthy trailers can come at a bit of a premium.
 

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I'm a big fan of big cockpits. I'd encourage you to consider the Windrose 24. It has a large cockpit. Great to have room with people aboard and not cramped.j

The Windrose 24 has a swing keel so trailer sailing is easier. The cabin is also of good size.

I agree with some others here that having your boat moored during the sailing season is the best way to enjoy sailing.
 
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