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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi. I am new to sailing and this is my first post on this forum. I have been researching for years and recently bought a DVD, "Basic Sailing Skills," that finally convinced me that I could take the plunge.

Here is my problem. I know nothing about boats, but I am stuck trying to buy one. I could use some advise.

I'm in Binghamton, NY and there aren't any sizeable lakes for about 60 miles (the finger lakes.) There is a small 3-mile lake nearby that I can use to practice, but we plan on spending most of our time on the finger lakes.

I have found a seemingly well kept Catalina 22, and several other pre-1986 Catalinas. There are also a few MacGregor Ventures that I haven't looked at. It's hard to find info on them, but I think that their 24' hull would be pushing the weight limit of my 2005 Chevy Colorado 4x4.

Can anybody offer advice or recommendations?
 

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It would really help if you said which engine you have in your 2005 Colorado, as that affects the towing capacity considerably. It would also help if you said if it was an extended or regular cab version.

A Catalina 22 is a popular starter boat, but I think the Macgregor Venture 24 is a better boat. :) See the PS magazine review of the Catalina 22. The design weight is 2250 lbs., and the trailer is probably another 1000 lbs...so, you're probably looking at about 3500 lbs. with the trailer and gear. I don't know how heavy the V24 is, but as I recall, it is actually lighter than the C22.

Other boats in this size range include the Compacs and Precisions. Hunter also made a few small boats in this range.
 

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baDumbumbum
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How many people for sailing, and how many for camping? What kind of budget? Finger Lakes are fun, laid-back sailing but their peculiarities do help define boat choices. Summer winds are generally light and variable, and storms don't amount to much. A lighter boat will be easier to tow, launch, and maneuver. Water ballasted boats are somewhat tender, which can be off-putting to new sailors, but they are light for their length when towing.

Summer winds often come from the south or southwest; the Finger Lakes run due N-S, up to 40 miles long but often under one mile wide. You'll want a boat that points decently, because there are days you'll need to beat upwind for hours. This is easier if your boat can hold a high sailing angle. Catboats and full/shoal keelers point less well than fin keelers or even many swing keel boats. Fixed keels can be problematic in the shallow, muddy coves; a retractable keel is useful, but it may take up cabin room.

Cat22 is always a good choice, tho a little heavy for its size. It'll still move just fine for you and is reassuringly steady. Boats by S2, San Juan, Precision, or Sirius would be good places to start. More modern (roomy) water-ballasted boats include the Hunters and MacGregors.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It's the i5 crew cab. 5300lbs GVWR, about 9000lbs for truck+trailer. I have read that they truck is about 4200lbs. (Truck fuel, 2 passengers, and tongue weight will be pushing it.)

Is sailing a cutter significantly more complicated than a sloop? I believe all the Ventures that I had two jibs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How many people for sailing.
There will usually be just two of us. Camping will always be just two of us, and I doubt that we will ever make trips longer than one or two nights. On occasion, we may take on a couple of guests for the day.

Your experience with the finger lakes is great. I really love the pictures of the Sirius 21, but they are hard to find. Catalina 22's are easy to find. Parts and help are always readily available. I should also mention that my job may move me next winter, so versatility is also a plus.

Also, my limit for the boat, trailer, and payload is about 3500-4000lbs. It will have to be love at first sight for me to spend more than $10k, and I would like to save some of that to personalize her.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Here is another question: Is there a big hassle buying a boat in Canada and trailering her over the border? (Other than needing a passport after June 1.)
 

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With the Canadian dollar dropping all the time you may get lucky and find a good deal in Canada with your US $$. You would have to check with US customs for import complications if there are any. A truck with a class 3 tow capability (3500-5000 lbs) will get you by just fine. I have a MacGregor 26M that tops out at about 4200 lbs when fully loaded with gear, provisions, gas, engine and trailer which I tow with an extended wheelbase Chevy Traiblazer I-6 engine. It may be worth looking at a MacGregor powersailer for the finger lakes in the event that you find yourself in a situation where the return trip is against a headwind all the way back - a 50hp on the stern will get you back to the ramp with ease. MacGregors use water ballast and they are easy to tow and very versatile with good resale ability.
 

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Trailerable sailboats and headroom

In my wayward youth the lust of sailing led to an old Venture 17 on a trailer with flat tires in a backyard. Much like the car restorer's " Barn car", it was lovingly rebuilt, repainted, re fiitted, and was an easy tow behind a regular car and Toyota pickup. Easy to Launch (with a tongue extension), swing centerboard and powered by a J.C. Higgins 2 stroke 5 HP. there was not alot of expense to operate. However, it was spartan with only sitting headroom, a V berth and two arguable quarter berths. The direct plumbed marine head was just beneath the companionway bridgedeck covered by a step, so you had to be very close friends with your crew to use it underway.

The Sail plan was simple main and working jib so it was difficult to overpower under sail and if you did, all you needed to do was uncleat the mainsheet to put her on her feet. Kind of like dinghy sailing with a covered cuddy.

Moved up to a MacGregor 25 which was towable by a Ford Bronco II with v-6 and an Izusu Trooper V6 and provided Pop Top head room and a porta potty head compartment. Again, no slip fees with the trailer parked on the driveway and a Honda 7.5 OB (with charger for Running lights).

Neither of these boats offered adequate storage for ground tackle, adequate water and cooking facilities, or sea kindly handling on anything other than protected waters. Good to learn what you don't know and you can "skin your knees" without much repercussion, because they're not that heavy nor will you exceed hull speed unless you're in a hurricane. More danger on lakes from powerboaters who don't know what or how a sailboat works.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
With the Canadian dollar dropping all the time you may get lucky and find a good deal in Canada with your US $$. It may be worth looking at a MacGregor powersailer for the finger lakes in the event that you find yourself in a situation where the return trip is against a headwind all the way back - a 50hp on the stern will get you back to the ramp with ease.
That was my original plan, but a while ago I got in a bicycling accident downhill at about 25mph. Now I have absolutely no desire for a 50hp motor other than getting home in bad wind. From what I understand, a strong 4-stroke should get me efficiently at hull-speed. A decent hybrid Mac is also slightly outside my price range.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Good to learn what you don't know and you can "skin your knees" without much repercussion, because they're not that heavy nor will you exceed hull speed unless you're in a hurricane.
That is exactly what I'm looking for. I someday hope to move to a larger body of water, but I would like to learn (and enjoy) right now.
 

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More modern (roomy) water-ballasted boats include the Hunters
I know the owner of this boat. It is a super clean trailer sailor.
This boat is easy to tow, I have towed it with my truck and barely noticed it was there, I have no idea how the Colorado would handle it.
Yes, it is water balasted. If your looking for a beginning boat, trailor sailor, weekend camper.. this fits all the above requirements.

She is currently for sale in the Chicagoland area.

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When I was very young we used to spend part of our summers at Caroga Lake. The Sirius would be ideal for you. Here is one - about 8 hours drive from where you are. Importing is no big deal.

21 ft Sirius Sailboat

Also think about a Siren. They are made by the same company as the Sirius, smaller but they are really great boats. One of the most comfortable cockpits on the water.

Siren 17 sailboat for sale
 

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baDumbumbum
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Here's some Craigslist candidates in your area:

A Chrysler 22, $2300

Oday 25 (maybe a bit large), $4000

Catalina 22 (overpriced, motor too large), $5250

A better candidate, $3500

Spindrift 22, $4000

A very nautical-looking Mac/Venture 23, $3250


If it were me, I'd go hunting for a San Juan 23 in your region. Reasonable cabin, sails like a big dinghy, fun in buckets. Watch for squishy decks. But any boat in the 20-25 ft range should provide what you need; the NEXT boat, you'll know more exactly what you want.:D Enjoy your search; I grew up on Canadaigua Lake and spent summers on Cayuga. They are delightful to sail on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks a lot! I completely missed that Chrysler.

I'm kinda sold on the Sirius 21. It's easily trailerable, points well, and I love the interior setup. It won't seat a crowd, but I don't plan on having one in the cabin. There is also standing headroom and a sizable v-berth for me (I'm 6'). Although, I haven't seen a Sirius in person, yet.

I have managed to find quite a few Sirius 21's in Ontario. The late 70's models run about $6k CAD. Were the boats originally imported into Canada? I think that I'll have to pay duty (10%) + that other tax (1.5%?). There is an '84 here in the states going for $5.8k USD. It seems like that may be the better deal given two quality ships.
 

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.....Also, my limit for the boat, trailer, and payload is about 3500-4000lbs. It will have to be love at first sight for me to spend more than $10k, and I would like to save some of that to personalize her.
Your budget would permit you to buy a premium trailerable, I'd recommend a newer Cat or an S2 S2 6.7, 6.9 & 22 Class Association Web Site !. Your first purchase will wear a lot better with you over time if you buy a quality boat.
 

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The Catalina 22 is a good starter boat, and a boat you can grow with. Parts and help are readily available on the Web and from your local dealer.

It doesn't have any bad habits to scare a beginner, there's an active racing community and because the boats are so popular they're easy to sell if and when you want to move up.

BTW, if the condition is right $5,250 isn't bad for a C22 with a lot of options and a 9.9hp outboard is just the ticket if there are strong currents where you sail. To put it in perspective I sold a very clean 94 with a new 9.9hp Merc a couple of weeks ago for $8000. It went in three days with multiple offers. These are good boats and popular boats.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Lots of Siruis 21s in there - one really good-looking deal on one in Niagara on the Lake with a 2003 trailor...
I saw that. Niagra is only a small jump across the border as well. I found a 1984 Sirius 21 a couple hours from here. It has a 2002 9hp merc. They say that the interior has been completely redone forward and aft with all composite material. What does that mean? They are asking almost $5,700, but with duty the boat in Niagra will be closing in on that anyway.
 

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As a recent first-time buyer (I bought my boat last spring), I can't stress enough how important it is to actually get off the computer and start climbing on boats. Don't fall in love with an ad. Get out there and look at boats. Find a local broker or two and poke around a dozen different boats on a weekend. See for yourself how much cabin room there is, etc... Look at boats that you have no interest in, just for comparison's sake - you never know...
 

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Agreed---go out and kick some tires (or rudders or whatever); there's only so much you can learn from an internet ad.

That pracitical sailor article was a hoot! They managed to split their time equally between insulting the 22, the company, and catalina owners!
 
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