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What is the biggest you should go with your first boat? Am looking to get into sailing but have no experience. Do have someone lined up to who does though to teach me? Need something that has a swing keel so i can trailer it and would like something good for overnighting in with my wife and 2 kids. What are your suggestions????
 

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Welcome to Sailnet! There are a lot of people on here that will probably chime in with some great suggestions. Where do you plan to sail? If you are trailering, you will probably need to consider your vehicle's tow capacity, as well as your ability to step the mast and launch/retrieve the boat.
 

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What is the biggest you should go with your first boat? Am looking to get into sailing but have no experience. Do have someone lined up to who does though to teach me? Need something that has a swing keel so i can trailer it and would like something good for overnighting in with my wife and 2 kids. What are your suggestions????
Welcome to the wonderful world of sailing!
Go to boatyards, get on and inside lots of boats, look on craigslist, sailboatlistings, yachtworld, look at boats in marinas. Look at as many boats as you can to get an idea of what is attractive to you and what your needs and desires are. Sail the boat if possible before you buy. You are in a buyers market so don't be afraid to make a lowball offer. A higher price on an older boat however may indicate better maintenance and equipment that cost many boat bucks (c-notes). Ask your experienced friend to go with you if you find a boat you like. A survey may also be a good idea and may be required for insurance coverage. There's more to know, but you'll learn as you go and hear from others in future replies.
-CH
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Welcome to Sailnet! There are a lot of people on here that will probably chime in with some great suggestions. Where do you plan to sail? If you are trailering, you will probably need to consider your vehicle's tow capacity, as well as your ability to step the mast and launch/retrieve the boat.
I live in washington state so would take trips down the columbia river to learn and someday head to seattle and hit the pacific ocean a little. My current truck is a Chevy 3/4 HD so tow capacity shouldnt be much of a problem.
 

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Barquito
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Agree with the Catalina 22. However, you might make the transition to keel boat ownership a little more gradual, and find a smaller trailerable boat that you can learn on, then get a C22, or maybe a little bigger in a year or two. We have found our FJ fun to sail. It has a centerboard and both main and jib (and spinaker if you like). The C22 will be a little tight for four.
 

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MacGregor26- it's trailerable, liveable, fast and fun! We spent some time on one in Quebec at the start of this month. It was awesome!
 

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Am looking to get into sailing but have no experience. Do have someone lined up to who does though to teach me?
I'd suggest learning on OPB's (Other People's Boats), sailing "clubs" provide instruction, a fleet available for charter at reduced rates, club racing, split charters and sails with other members, social activities etc. all without your having to maintain a boat.
You don't need to own a boat to join a yacht club either, usually non-owners get ample opportunities to crew for daysails, cruising and racing.
You don't need to OWN a boat if you KNOW lots of people who do.
 

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bell ringer
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My first boat was 39', and that was after only 3 months of weekend sailing on a 33' club boats (just my wife and I). Prior to that the first time I sailed was to take ASA lessons.

To date a 33' boat is the smallest I've ever even been on!
 

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Not knowing you, your wife, or your kids, this question is nearly impossible to answer. However, for the average John and Jane Doe and their two average kids, I'd say that a trailerable boat is too small for enjoyable overnighting. I'll go further and say that a boat that is good for family overnighting is probably not the best for John and Jane of no experience.

My advice - get some sailing experience first. Somebody else's boat or buy a simply-rigged daysailor. Introduce the sport to you family only in the best of conditions, after you know what you are doing, at least a little bit. My experience with women is that they feel safer with 1) people they don't know, or 2) people they do know who paid for lessons from somebody they don't know.
 

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I live in washington state so would take trips down the columbia river to learn and someday head to seattle and hit the pacific ocean a little. My current truck is a Chevy 3/4 HD so tow capacity shouldnt be much of a problem.
There's no reason you can't own your own boat. I trailer boats on vacation every year, but I can't imagine trailering a boat every time you use it. It's just too much trouble to set up and drop the rig every time - especially if you have young children, or others are waiting at a busy ramp. (The biggest of my three boats sits in a slip so I can just go sailing without the hassle of trailering.) But if you really want to trailer, I'd advise something easy to rig like a Flying Scot or whatever equivalent is available in PNW.

However, I'd urge you to consider joining a club for a year or two. Then you can try out all sorts of different boats, and you don't have to deal with trailering. I've rented from these guys before when visiting Seattle, and they have locations in Kirkland, Olympia, and Portland:

Island Sailing Club - Home
 
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Freedom isn't free
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TakeFive has you covered... Even a Catalina 22 is a PITA to launch and rig each time. I found my Capri 14.2 a PITA to rig and launch each time (got it down to 22 minutes to launch).

So you must answer a couple questions:
Who is going to sail with you, 1, 2 or 3 people? how old will they be (a 5yo isn't crew)?
Will you be launching from a trailer each time? (this limits size based on your patience)
Will you have a mooring, or a boat slip? (this opens you up to larger keel boats to start).
What is your budget?

What non-sailor folk don't realize, is you can get a $5000 14 footer on a trailer that'll be pretty nice (newish)... or $5000 for a 30 footer that is a nearly non-functional floating (sinking?) barge... or anything in between. In between are some nice boats that will suffice with a little elbow grease, and a bit more work, but might also be a lot more forgiving to sail. A Catalina 22 which a lot like to recommend, is very much a compromise boat, in my opinion, too much of a compromise. Depending on HOW bad you need trailerable (truly easily trailerable), the Cat 22 is bested by many other boats including the Hunter 23, Capri22, San Juan 24, and a plethora of other boats.

Also , the tow vehicle is a limit to size of the boat one can trailer, but ONLY to a point. Once you get past a 1500sized pickup, you run into harder challenges trailering, such as raising the mast, and getting the boat into deep enough water to launch (there are exceptions, such as the Trip 33, and Hobie 33, that are HUGE boats that trailer easily, as is the Seaward 26rk)...

So lets start with answers to my above questions and we'll whittle down what might work best for you.

DON'T underestimate the power of getting a Laser, or Zuma (I hate the sunfish as a starter boat, we can discuss that another time), if its JUST you that's going to try this. These 14 foot board boats have a lot of fun packed into a STUPID easy to sail package. I'd argue the Zuma, or Holder 12 are boats that are packed with fun, easy to launch and are reasonably cheap used you can buy 2 for 2 people to learn at the same time. But they teach you to swim too, and a lot of people hate learning by getting wet.. which means you likely are looking for a decent sized trailerable (minimum) keelboat....

So fire away, we'll do our best.
 

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s/v Ilya
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But if you really want to trailer, I'd advise something easy to rig like a Flying Scot or whatever equivalent is available in PNW.
I think that's the nub -- trailerable without being hard to launch yet also big enough for even overnight camping seems like a pretty big gap to bridge. As suggested for a great starter boat, the Catalina 22 is still a good bet, yet I wouldn't want to rig that every time. The Flying Scot or equivalent is a good one that can accommodate a comfy day sail with a family of 4 and is reportedly easy to rig and launch.

Good luck!
 

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I'm in a similar situation. I had been sailing on a friend's boat twice over the past couple of years and ran across a Hunter 23 with a trailer for $1600. The hull was badly oxidized, the sails had seen better life, the trailer needed new tires, and they had left the companionway open while it was stored outside so the interior was shot. But all the hardware was there so by the time it was all said and done, I was into sailing for about $2000.

Someone asked me if I had ever sailed before. I said "yeah, once or twice. and I read about it on the internet. And besides, it's just a practical application of Bernoulli's principle. How hard could it be?" Turns out, a theoretical understanding of Bernouli's principle is not the same as a working knowledge of sailing.

But the boat still floats, I haven't been capsized or de-masted, and I haven't had to swim yet so I'd say it's going well. One thing that has been invaluable is having the boat in a slip ready to sail rather than having to haul it down to the lake and rig it every time. Being able to sail after work for a few hours on weekdays has given me a lot more experience than if it were relegated to a weekend thing due to the time of having to rig and unrig the boat. I have put in probably 50 hours of sailing since the middle of June. We get quite variable weather conditions here. I have been out in 25 knot winds but I have found that I prefer the more calm easier to have a beer type sailing.

I'm not sure I could take a wife and 2 kids on a weekend cruise my 23' boat. Sure, there is room for everyone to sleep but by the time we start adding food, ice chests, clothes, bedding, and other supplies, it's going to get a bit tight. Maybe if they were small children. Definitely not 2 teenagers.

That's my $0.03.
 
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