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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I'm interested in buying my first sail boat and would like some recommendations on type, size, etc.

My details:

My wife and I have been sailing for about 2 years in Miami, and the beauty in Miami is that you can do it year round so we've been going out almost weekly. We've taking a few of the ASA courses (101 & 103 and are planning on 104 soon), and have taken out up to a 32' out by ourselves, albeit we stayed on the coast and didn't venture out of sight of land, and have mainly taken out 22-26'ers. We've both crewed multiple times (going back more than 2 years-we used to live in Marblehead, MA and crewed often) for friends on much larger boats, but I wouldn't dare say that we captained a 52'.

Our goal with this boat:

At first, we'll most likely sail around Biscayne Bay and slightly offshore, maybe heading to the upper Keys at first, but eventually we'd like to be able to head over to the Bahamas, at least over to Bimini. Although we may change our minds, I don't see this boat as a long distance cruiser (probably like every other sailor in the world, we see ourselves buying a 48' in the future and sailing around the world for a few years). It will most likely be a day sailer, with occasional overnights.

I've been told by a co-worker, who's sailed for something like 50 years, that we should just get a cheap 24-28' boat for now, beat it up for a year or so and let it take all of the bumps and dings, sell it then and buy what we want. This is one option. The other is to buy a slightly larger boat that we can grow into and keep for 3 or 4 years (I wouldn't mind a 36-38') then buy the 48' and drop off the face of the earth for a few years...

Budget: can't say exactly. If it's a cheap boat to beat up on, we'd like to go as cheaply as possible and would like any thoughts on price. If we buy something that we plan on keeping for a few years, $100k+ is fine. Not that price isn't an object, but it's not the main factor.

Our main concerns:

Biscayne Bay is shallow in many parts, and because we think that day sailing around the Bay will be a main part of what we do, at least at first, we don't want a draft that's going to only keep us in the channels. But we'd like something that could take us out into the ocean.

We don't want to be "those people" who have too large of a boat that we can't handle.

We have a young child, so having a bit of an area below decks is essential to keep him there if weather pops up.

We'd like to be able to sail it singlehandedly or just two of us (but solo would be ideal in case one of us has to take our son below decks).

Although not our primary goal, we'd like it to be large enough to go out with a few other people.

Sorry for the long post, but we'd appreciate any advice anyone has.

Thanks!
 

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I might even go smaller than 24' as my first boat. Something like 20 to 22' so that you can learn the nuances of how a sailboat handles in light air and heavy as well as different points of sail. Use it for a year or so then go buy another one. In that years time you will really figure out how big a boat you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks Mark.

I should have mentioned that we've been part of a club for the last 2 years where we've able to take out 22-24's on an almost weekly basis (like I said, Miami's great because unless a hurricane's coming, you can sail year round) and were able to take out a 28' about 6 times from the club over those two years, have borrowed our friends 26 a few times, and we have a friend who's let us take out his 32' overnight. We've also been racing on Saturday mornings in the clubs 22' a decent amount of times as crew.

While I don't consider myself an expert by any means, we have the basics down pretty well, or at least I'd like to think we do. I think we're ready for something different than the sub 24's we have access to already, and we'd like the challenge of something slightly larger as well.
 
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