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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have came close a couple times to purchasing a sailboat but I always ended up walking away. I think im ready now to purchase my first one. Im only ASA 101 certified. But I have been on many different sailboats. Colgate 27,Cabo Rico 37,Alberg 30, Tayana, ;CSY 44. Never an overnight and mostly a deck hand with occasional Captian/Helm duties.
What I want Is your opinion. Should I buy for example;
25' Oday, Balboa, Hunter, Catalina, etc. with a trailer to learn on and save ;money, Which will be cheaper all around.
Or a 27-34' boat. ;Cape dory ;Alberg, Yankee, Bristol, Tartan, ;Allied, Albin Vega, Ericson etc. I have a location with free year round mooring ;and public docks for access.
Mone ;is a factor. I can afford to purchase the boat(loan) and do a few upgrades. I will be learning, playing, and camping on the ICW/ Waccamaw River with inlets that have access to the open ocean. Little river and Winyah Bay. I have a wife and 19 year old daughter. Neither one enjoy boats but would sometimes accompany me dockside at a marina and maybe a half a day cruise down the ICW. So most of the time by myself or a buddy. I am also a big guy. 6' 3" 290lbs wide shoulder football build. I like many others had and still have big dreams with little experience and shallow pockets. Thinking im going to buy an Oyster, Paasport, Alberg 37 etc and sail the world. Well probably not going to happen. I am willing to start slow and maybe someday make it over to the bahamas or Caribbean with a few years experience and proper upgrades. Thank You.
 

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old guy :)
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Hard declension.

We started with a 22 (sitting head room), then 28 (6' 2" head room) and now a 34 (6' 2" head room).

All used, all "low budget".

Personally, I think getting the water time is really important. So, my free advice - get what you can and what you will use and get out on the water.
  • don't expect the 19 year old to join you.
  • probably don't expect the wife to join you
  • you can get a "sailable" boat for under $10K if you shop around.
Good luck and keep us posted.

And, in the meantime, buy a used copy of Sensible Cruising: The Thoreau Approach and read it.

Rik
 

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The free mooring is a pretty darn good opportunity to leverage into cheap boating, most people need to choose between maintaining a trailer vs slip fees.

I don't think you should buy a boat with a loan, if you can't afford an old fiberglass boat outright, you definitely can't afford to maintain one. If your budget is really tight, consider going for a trailerable 25' or less boat that doesn't come with a trailer- that will be nearly free. Still, be leery of swing keels that need maintenance... consider a wing keel.
 

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Sounds like Shoal draft would be a consideration given your intended cruising waters.

As to whether to go the trailerable route or the other is really for you to decide. If overnighting is going to be a regular occurrence a more comfortably equipped cruiser will make a big difference to your experience.. but if you currently enjoy camping, then moving to a 'cockpit camper' style of trailerable may work for you.. keep in mind the sleeping accommodations will need checking carefully regardless of which type of boat.. eg plenty of 30ish Beneteaus, while great sailing boats, often have rather cramped interiors even for people not of your stature.. whereas some trailerables may in fact have more wide open spaces.

So... have a good understanding of what 'affordable' means to you and go looking. Having access to 'free' moorage is a huge item.. costs of moorage can make or break deals in plenty of regions.
 

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Buy small and learn how to use the boat. Bigger boats have a lot of ancillary systems that crowd the beauty of the act of sailing. If you have a spouse that isn't into the boat, the costs associated with a smaller boat may ease any family conflicts.
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
First sailboat I ever sailed on was a center cockpit 44' CSY. I was even allowed to take the wheel. I enjoyed my self but no where near as much as when I sailed the Colgate 27. Fin keel, and tiller steer. I prefer tiller. The colgate was very responsive and turns on a dime. Tons of fun. I received my ASA 101 on this boat. Fun boat but very small. I know i can't have everything I want amd I have to compromise.
I also will not pay a minimum of $275-$300/month to dock a boat at a marina when I can Moor it for free or trailer a boat. Winyah bay in Georgetown SC is large but there's a lot of shallow areas. Still a lot of fun. And many cool anchorages amd places the lift sail on the ICW/Waccamaw river between little river inlet and winyah bay inlet. I also want to throw out there that i can do anything carpentry or electrical wiring related and work on gas motors. I know nothing about fiberglass and diesels I have read don casey and Nigel Carters books about boat maintenance, wiring and diesel motors. I appreciate all and any advice. I have a library full of sailing books but not the one suggested. I will be going to amazon immediately and ordering it. Thank you thank you.
 

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Super Fuzzy Moderator
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If wife and family are not going to be part of this except for day sailing then the probability is that the boat is only ever going to be a daysailor. That's only my guess but it does support the idea of small and inexpensive day sailor preferably bilge keel given your area. Anything bigger really only makes any sense if you are going to spend days or weeks at a time staying on board.

I'd also support the notion that it is a mistake to borrow money to buy a boat.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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We bought a 35 year old Tartan 27' ten years ago for $4K - with working Atomic 4 (gas) engine in sail away condition. We negotiated the previous owner down from his asking price of near $7K.
Ten years later the 45 year old boat and engine are still in quite good shape because of attentive owners. There is great support for the Atomic 4 gas engine at Moyer Marine's forum with parts readily available at sensible prices. You save a bundle working on your own engine.
Having a free or low cost mooring is a HUGE savings too.

The T27 is quite a different sailor than the Colgate 26' though. If you like the sportiness of the Colgate 26' you might also like the J 24' and similar race boats. Unfortunately boats like that offer little in terms of cabin space for sleeping.

The T27 would be suitable for your purposes as it is considered a shoal draft boat with 3'6" of draft (center board up). 6' standing room in a few spots and most are still tiller steered.

My main point though is that you should look for boats (that fit your needs) that have a working Atomic 4 engine in them. The flat head 4 cylinder engine is nearly dirt simple and boats with A4's in them generally sell for less than the same boat equipped with a diesel.

Good luck and have fun shopping around.
 

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Kynntana (Freedom 38)
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What about a Pearson? I spent a lot of time researching boats on the East Coast and would have probably gone with that one for the type of sailing there. If you can get a good, inexpensive boat and a free slip, then that's the best of both worlds. IMO, it's better to have it in the water when you're ready to go. You can also sleep on it at the dock.
 

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Hello,

IMHO if you have a free / low cost mooring (and a way of getting to / from the boat) then you should forget about trailerable boats. Yes a trailerable boat is cheaper to operate, but the act of trailering is not fun and takes a significant amount of time. And the bigger the boat the longer and more difficult it is to haul, prep, launch, recover.

Regarding the size of a boat to buy, that's a tough one to answer. If you won't be spending nights aboard then a 25-27 ft boat would be fine. Something with some room below for 'amenities' like head, galley, etc, and big enough to sail in all kinds of weather, but still small enough to be responsive and relatively easy to learn to sail on. If you think you (and a few guests) will be spending 2+ nights aboard, then something in the 32-26' range would be better.

A little personal history: My first boat was a Catalina 22. Trailer sailed it the first year. The sailing was fun but trailering was a real drag. I put that boat on mooring for the second year and that was much more enjoyable. I got totally hooked on sailing and then wanted to spend weekends aboard (for my family of 5). My next boat was a Newport 28. This was one of the smallest boats I found that had an inboard engine, marine head, AC/DC electrical system, wheel steering, etc. That was big enough for a night or two while being easily sailed single handed and in all sorts of weather. I sailed that boat for three years but then wanted something big enough to spend a week aboard. So the Newport got sold and replaced with an O'day 35. The O'day had enough room to take 5 people and gear on a week long trip.

I have owned the O'day since 2006 and I've been very happy with it. This past fall I bought a much newer, faster boat so the O'day is on the market. The new boat is a 36' because for me, that's the sweet spot in size: something that I can maintain, sail solo, or take 4-5 people for a week.

Barry
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you everyone. I can moor a boat for free and even leave the dingy at the town docks to get back and forth. I also like the bristol 27 and cape dory 25. I am worried about an inboard gas motor(atomic 4) if I ever wanted to heat the cabin on a cold overnight stay. If it wasn't for this I would have no problem with an atomic 4.
 

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old guy :)
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Atomic 4s are a safe as YOU make them. We had a Volvo gas inboard and it was never a problem. And you can get parts for an Atomic 4 very easily!!

Rik
 

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Blue Horizons
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Don't take out a loan on any boat you are not planning on living aboard as a house full-time for atleast the next five years. If this is your plan-which you stated it is not- then a loan makes sense, otherwise it does not.

I bought a 27' sailboat for under 3k. I had to put in 12K to get her seaworthy- this was because I knew nothing. My advice? Make friends with a boat owner who can give you an hour or more tour of a sailboats innards so you know what to look for on any boat you are considering. Or you could do as I did and say "Well, shes got a diesel inside, a head that flushes, and I can stand up- SOLD!" Then you can spend the next 18 months doing refits spending every spare dime on boat parts and yard work.

Instead- look for boats in the 7-12K range. Those will be 25-35 feet. Look at boats from 1975 to as high as you can get. The boats you find from 7-12k will usually be in decent shape AND have lots of good features cheaper boats do not have such as radars or chart plotters, auto pilots and good condition sails and rigging. Then you can talk them down to 4-8K and have yourself a very nice boat that will only require 2-3 grand to get ship shape.
That's what I would do and I already did everything you are talking about. When I buy a new used boat in two years or so that is the approach I will take- though thank God ill be in the 20K price range--- NICE boats in that range under 35'. Oh yea.

Or do what I did and buy a lemon. Rebuild the entire boat minus the actual hull and go sailing until stuff stops breaking and th eboat stops leaking. That process takes a lot longer though and can be a bit hairy at times.

"Uhhh hey Uncle Doug- Theres water in the boat.. A lot of water."
"Well wheres it coming from?"
"Not sure its above the sole and already up to the stuffing box behind the engine."
"Turn on the bilge pump."
"Ok- er, its dead. It blew another fuse."
"Turn on the other one."
"Sh!#$ its clogged!"
".... Grab the bucket."

Just one day out on my lovely.
 

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Tartan 27' owner
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5,241 Posts
Small world.
A friend of mine in FL went to look at that Cheoy Lee 30' in Savannah.
He passed on it because of soft areas around the companion way.
 

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Advanced beginner
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Money is a factor. I can afford to purchase the boat(loan) and do a few upgrades. I will be learning, playing, and camping on the ICW/ Waccamaw River with inlets that have access to the open ocean. Little river and Winyah Bay. I have a wife and 19 year old daughter. Neither one enjoy boats but would sometimes accompany me dockside at a marina and maybe a half a day cruise down the ICW. So most of the time by myself or a buddy..
My suggestion is going to be a little unusual. I would first invest a little effort and funds into making sailing an enjoyable experience for your wife. The more you can get her to share your love of boats, the more time you are going to have on the water, unhooked from that mooring ball. Lots of women don't enjoy activities that make them nervous, so one approach is to build up her interest and confidence with sailing lessons. She doesn't think sailing is that fun? Book a sailing school in the BVI and sell it to her as a romantic getaway. And then make sure she has a wonderful time. Then take her boat shopping with you so she gets invested in the purchase, and then either name the boat after her or let her name the boat.

It may not work - some people are just not sailors - but single handing a boat isn't that fun when you are fairly inexperienced, and unless you have a good buddy with lots of free time and lots of sailing experience, that's what you'll be doing, a lot.

If you've already tried and rejected this route, my next advice is to see if can get some experience single-handling before deciding on a boat. Will the marina you received your training at allow you to take out a boat with a friend and practice things like grabbing a mooring ball alone, getting the sails up alone, tacking and jibing alone, etc. (I would first practice these with an experienced friend as a backup). In my experience, the fewer people you sail with, the more important things like roller furling become, the more important it is to have more lines leading to the cockpit, etc. but only experience, I think, will tell you what you do and do not feel comfortable doing by yourself.

Good luck with your decision, E.
 

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Buy small and learn how to use the boat. Bigger boats have a lot of ancillary systems that crowd the beauty of the act of sailing. If you have a spouse that isn't into the boat, the costs associated with a smaller boat may ease any family conflicts.
Concur 100%. If your "mate" really gets into it, you'll know when it's time to get bigger, if not, you'll know that too. ;)
 
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