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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

I have been lurking here for only a few days, reading a bunch. I'm 34 and looking at getting my first sailboat, have not sailed before but love boating and am comfortable in the water, used to lead a Swiftwater rescue team. I have me at 6'2", the misses at 5' 10" and 2 kids ages 10 and 12 who are about 5'. I am trying to be realistic about size and complexity as I am learning from scratch. I will be using the boat on inland lakes and rivers in the pacific and inland NW such as the Columbia, Flathead, Lake Cd'A, Lake Roosevelt and such. I'm not planning on us being able to all sleep on the first boat or do overnight trips with more than just me. I will be trailering it behind my Silverado which can tow 10k lbs and I have plenty of experience towing. I had decided to grab a Tanzer 16 with a trailer that was ready to sail (supposedly) but I'm now on lockdown due to COVID and can't take a road trip to get it so I have some time to rethink and get advice from you fine folk. There is also a San Juan 21 not too far away as well as some bigger boats in the 26+ range. I'd love to find a Tanzer 22 but there are none close and I'm wondering if that is starting to get too big for a newbie's first boat.

What say you?

Thanks in advance!
 

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‘Welcome

The San Juan and Tanner would be great to learn on. Look at Catalina 25 as well.
 

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Is the Tanzer 16 the over nighter model? Likely too small for the 4 of you to over night on, but might be able to do camping trips with you and the two kids or a couples over night get away on it. Rig a boom tent and your indoor living space doubles. A simple poly tarp tarp will do, or you can go as fancy as you want. Nice thing about the Tanzer 16, is it's light enough you could probably get away with out needing an outboard. Sail or canoe paddle into dock.

San Juan 21 is a nice light trailer sailer that sits low in the trailer. The boat will be easy to launch, but stepping the mast will be a bit more work. You could likely fit 4 in a SJ21, but it would be pretty tight.

Tanzer 22 is a much bigger heavier boat and most came with a fixed fin keel. I would not want to trailer sail one. But would likely be the most spacious of the 3. Nice keel boats. 4 could probably be comfortable on one.
 

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Based on the lakes you mentioned, I'm guessing I know which SJ21 you're looking at. I really like mine, and it's fine for my family of 5 for day sailing. It's first sailboat, so I don't have a lot to compare it to, but we all have fun and I think that's the point.

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S/V Interlude, PSC31
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https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/com-pac-23-mk-3

Owned one many years ago. Great sailing boats, well built, roomy cockpit, seaworthy. Not a lot out your way though. Also not the best for trailer sailing as takes a little time to rig her. We kept her in one place for a season fully rigged and ready to back into the water and go. Took her home for the winter and to a new location the next season.

Good luck
 

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Hey,

Like many others, my first boat was a Catalina 22. You really can't go wrong with one of those. You could sleep 4 if you wanted too, Most come with a swing keel so you can trailer it. They are everywhere and support is excellent.

As previously mentioned, you can buy it, sail it, and then sell it for about what you paid for. I bought mine in 2003, sailed it for a year and a half, then bought a 28' boat. I sold the Catalina for $500 less than I paid for it.

Good luck,
Barry
 

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Barquito
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I would second the idea of a boat in the 22' range, such as the C22. However, if you want to concentrate just on learning to sail, and keep all the other complexities to a minimum, get a smaller boat. The Tanzer, or an O'day Daysailor. The 22' boats will all take at least 2 hours to set-up each time you sail. They are better suited to keeping on a mooring or on a slip. If you go small, get a boat that you can put the mast up by hand. This will make day sailing more enjoyable. Finally, if you are near a place that has a sailing club, that may be the best choice of all.
 

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I would third the the idea of starting with a boat in the 22' range. We (son and I) started with a Sirius 22'. It's trailer-able but we keep it in a Marina. We gradually got more ambitious with our sailing culminating in a 10 day trip to the Gulf Islands (we're in Vancouver) on our Boy's Trip last summer. At the end of that (son is now 5' 10"), and as much as we'd enjoyed it, we figured we'd outgrown it and was time to upgrade. We've just closed on a Pearson 36 :)

The advantage for us was that the boat is simple to learn and use (it's a bigger, more stable, dinghy), is very forgiving, and could accommodate us for both day sailing and for longer trips which we gradually built up over four years.

Tony
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all of the great replies!

Anything I get will have a keel that retracts for trailering. And taking 2 hours to rig is out of the question so thanks for that bit of info. I'm half tempted to get the Tanzer 16 and something in the 21/22' range. I really want something now to start playing with, you know, self isolating on a boat. I work in healthcare and the time away on something like this is key to decompressing. I think for now I'll keep researching the ships you all suggest and reading as much as I can. I have a canoe that I may have to be happy with until I can pick up something else. Please keep the advice coming, I appreciate all of it.
 

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Thanks for all of the great replies!

Anything I get will have a keel that retracts for trailering. And taking 2 hours to rig is out of the question so thanks for that bit of info. I'm half tempted to get the Tanzer 16 and something in the 21/22' range.
The bigger the boat the longer it will take to rig, 22 feet being the tipping point where being able to walk up the mast vs setting up a rig to get the mast up. Any boat from 16-19 feet would be a good starting point to be able set up and break down the boat in under an hour and go sailing for the day. If you live near Cd'a, there is a huge sailing community there and Sandpoint. In a healthier time you could likely spend a few weekends camping there and walking the marinas and looking at bulletin boards to find a boat.

A West Wight Potter 19 or Montgomery 17 or M15 would be a good boat to look at. Tons of boats available in the 16-19' range.
 

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There are two different models of Tanzer 16, an overnighter model and an open boat model, they are fairly different boats and different to rig.

The Overnighter model should have a hinged mast step on the cabin top and should be fairly easy to walk up. Of all the boats listed, it would be my pick for regular trailer sailing. As noted, most 20+ ft boats are a lot of work to rig at a busy boat launch.

The original Tanzer 16, the open model might have a mast slot where the mast has to be kind of coaxed into the slot when vertical or nearly vertical.

If you go to look at the T16, might be worth determining which model it is and actually seeing the mast stepping process before buying.

Also worth noting, a San Juan 21 is about 1/2 the weight of a Catalina 22 and less than half the weight of a Tanzer 22. The keel on the SJ 21 also retracts fully into the boat, giving it a lower ride height and should require less water to float.
 

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Since you are mainly interested in getting out on the water and will be trailering the boat, I would stay on the smaller side. Rigging, launching, hauling, etc will all be easier and quicker. A day sailor in the 16 to 19 foot range would be where I would be looking.
 

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bell ringer
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I started with a 39’ cruiser so laugh when people worry about starting on 26’ boat as it being “too big”

My advise, get a boat that matches your current planned use.
 

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HANUMAN
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Hmmm. How long do you think your usual sail would be? Couple of hours, then something like a big open day sailor. More than that then you might need a portable toilet and a place to store stuff so you are going to get into the Catalina 22 range.

Bear in mind the longer it takes to launch and rig the less likely you are to just be able to use it for a 1/2 day. The drive, the boat ramp shenanigans, bending sails and getting going. Then then again to get home.

Seriously consider how you will actually use the boat on a regular basis. Run it through your head, the entire process, from packing up and hooking up the trailer to unpacking, unhooking and clean up. The longer all this takes, the less likely you may be able to use the boat due to time constraints.
 

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I would get a Catalina 22. They have a great "parts" store. I would think about getting a summer slip. You can get the fam on and off without boring (for the kids) rig/derig time. You can focus on learning to sail in a familiar place. When you have a slip, and don't have to rig every time, it allows you the luxury of going out in days that would be comfortable for the family, and skipping the days you rigged but no wind, too much wind etc. We keep our Capri 22 in a slip, and it has really increased the spontaneity of sailing. Some days we even just hang on the boat for lunch or to get some sun. VERY relaxing.
 

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We started with a Venture 17 that we towed behind an Audi. Easy tow and easy rig ( no backstay) but basically a cuddy cabin daysailer with V berth and marine head at the centerboard trunk. 5 HP outboard. One drawback was the fixed rudder that required you to use the outboard to motor off the ramp and get to deeper water to hang the rudder. Had a tongue extension for shoal launching. Basically a sheltered water or lake boat.
Next was a Macgregor 25 ( again with center board and stock trailer without brakes) 10 HP Honda OB. Easy to tow ( about 2200 lbs with low tongue weight). Easy single hander to rig. Left mast and spreaders rigged supported by bow pulpit and mast carrier at transom lashed down for towing. Only required walking the mast aft, pinning the mast to the tabernacle and walking the mast forward ( the trailer sloped towards the bow) and attaching the forestay. You could mount the boom and leave it on the topping lift (swedged to the backstay) until you cleared the ramp. Kick up Rudder was left up steering with outboard. Leaving the rudder down would put it in contact with the OB prop when tiller was to starboard.

Much better for staying aboard though the main salon headroom required raising the pop top. Enclosed port a potty, small sliding " galley", drop down dinette and V berth. Salon sette would work as a single berth. A sheltered water or close coastal cruiser. Good for lakes and San Diego Bay. Easy to store on the trailer on the driveway.

Finally we decided that a "real" boat ( a Columbia 36) with a full suit of sails, galley, head, dodger, inboard and shore power at the slip was better. The buyer of our Col 36 sailed her to Nicaragua. The previous owner had sailed her to Hawaii and back. I raced her in beercans and PHRF.

I would recommend the Catalina 22, 25 or, if you can find it, a Balboa 26. Some Lancer 28's are trailerable but require deep launch with fixed keel.
 

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I took a class at San Juan Sailing School out of Bellingham to learn ASA 101,103, and 104 (there is no longer a 102). Then I knew quite a bit to be comfortable on the water in any sloop. From there I joined a sailing club that allowed access to a variety of boats. I also crewed on a Wednesday night race team (local racers are always welcoming of crew). These things helped me get ready to sail my own boat. After the school and a bit of crew time I was pretty comfortable sailing any sailboat. They are all quite similar. But I caution you, it’s addictive. I ended up selling everything and bought my first boat, a 50 footer. Now we live aboard and have been loving every minute of it. I say this because I am glad I waited and sailed a variety of boats before I shopped around. It helped me to realize what was most important to us. Every boat comes with compromise. More space, less tank space, things like that. Sailing has changed our lives and I am excited for you to get out there and find some breeze.


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My first boat was a 1977 Columbia 8.3 (27'2" LOA) with a draft of 4'4" and 7300 lb displacement. Not much of a trailer sailer as stepping the mast requires yard work but if you can get one in a wet slip and pay the rent, she was a comfortable small liveaboard for for over 7 years.
 

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