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Discussion Starter #1
We are about to purchase a used boat. We have taken lessons but this will br our first ownership. We have a pretty good idea of our sailing needs and have done extensive online research.

We reeeally want something that would be comfortable week-ending - or longer - on. And want it to be trailerable so we can explore new places. That pretty much means a retractable keel.

My dream boat would be a MacGregor.

But my poor car will only tow 2000lbs. That severely limits what I can buy. I've got to consider trailer and gear in addition to the boat itself.

I'd like to find the largest boat that can be towed by my vehicle. By "largest", I mean cabin-space.

I am interested in all suggestions.

Currently, my best pick is the Matilda 20 - 1550lb, 8ft-wide cabin with galley and partially-enclosed head. Few boats seem to come close to it in weight versus roominess.

Can anyone point me elsewhere?

Remember: 2000lbs all-in, trailerable, largest cabin.
 

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Telstar 28
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A Com-Pac Legacy might fit the bill. Displaces only 1000, leaving plenty of towing capacity for the trailer and your gear.

I'd point out that if your car can only tow 2000 lbs... and the boat weighs 1550 lbs...and your gear will likely weigh at least another 200 or so....do you think you might be overburdening your car, since the trailer for a 1550 lb. boat is likely to be at least 400 lbs... :) Just a thought...
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A Com-Pac Legacy might fit the bill. Displaces only 1000, leaving plenty of towing capacity for the trailer and your gear.
Thanks but it's a bit wanting in the cabin-space department, which is a priority.

I'd point out that if your car can only tow 2000 lbs... and the boat weighs 1550 lbs...and your gear will likely weigh at least another 200 or so....do you think you might be overburdening your car, since the trailer for a 1550 lb. boat is likely to be at least 400 lbs... :) Just a thought...
Yup. It'll be flirting with the limit for sure. No way around that. Course, that's the Warranty-approved rate, so probably has some wiggle room.

Not going far though. 1-2 hour drives, tops. Most drives will be < 10 minutes to local dock.
 

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Since your car is somewhat limited in towing capacity you may want to consider buying a beater pickup to use just for towing the boat you really want.
Good luck in your search.

I've pulled a friend's Mac 26S with a V6 Dakota with zero problems.
 

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Master Rum Hider
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West Wight Potter 19
Precision 18
Catalina 18
Hunter 18 (or is it 17)
just to name a few

beater pickup may be the way to go if you want larger.
 

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Currently, my best pick is the Matilda 20 - 1550lb, 8ft-wide cabin with galley and partially-enclosed head. Few boats seem to come close to it in weight versus roominess.
These boats have an incredible amount of weather helm. The tiller will pull your arm out. The keel mechanism casing tends to leak.

Much, much better to get a West Wight Potter.
 

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The tough thing is the comfy interior.
I just bought a Precision 18, but I am only day sailing. You have to be a hardy couple to want to do two nights or more on a boat under 20 feet. I know people who have happily done it, though.

The P-18 trailers easily with my Subaru Forester. I think it will be about 1800 lbs with outboard, trailer, boat and gear. I drove 2 hours to pick it up - with no problem on the way back.

We have a house near the water in RI, so won't have to stay on the boat.

I'd have to agree the upgrading the vehicle and looking at 21 to 24 foot might make for a happier weekend.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
thats gunna git old.quick
Really. I guess me and about ten thousand other trailer sailors have just had it wrong all along.

I think you'll find there's a lot more to trailer sailing than you seem to think.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
You have to be a hardy couple to want to do two nights or more on a boat under 20 feet. I know people who have happily done it, though.
We know we are comfortable in tight spaces. We've spent years vacationing in camper-vans for two weeks at time.

And an enclosed bimini will probably be my first mod to the boat, effectively doubling the space.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
West Wight Potter 19
Precision 18
Catalina 18
Hunter 18 (or is it 17)
just to name a few

beater pickup may be the way to go if you want larger.
WWP is perfect! What a beautiful boat! Alas, I am not the only one who seems to think so. They don't seem to sell for less than $12,000CDN.

The Matilda has one thing that that rest of those don't - an enclosed head.
 

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A previous poster suggested that trailer sailing has it's downsides, and I can appreciate your less than enthusiastic response to his input.

My first boat was a 16 foot daysailer, and I thoroughly enjoyed using it. Get out of work, hook it up, drive to the nearest lake, rig it, splash it, and go. I was careful to develop a good routine and eliminate the little issues that could slow me down with the rigging and launching process...it's gotta be quick and easy. And the mast on a 16 footer is very manageable.

My next boat was a Holder 20, and I'll say that was still enjoyable, but NOT as easy, and could be stressfull on crew (my gripey girlfriend at that time).

I also had an O'day 20 and a Cal 21. They were not boats, despite their trailerable size, that lent themselves to stress free launch and retrieval. I never had it happen, but consider a gust of wind, or a slip of your foot, and that mast getting away from you. Some sort of mast raising tackle can help with this, but point is a bigger boat has bigger, less manageable parts.

I know there are people who enjoy trailering a boat of that size. But there a a lot of people who tried it and don't do it anymore, too. Taking that 20 footer out of the water, de-masting, stowing all the rigging, and securing it safely on a trailer AFTER a day in the hot sun can be unpleasant.

The ideal is to be able to say, "let's go sailing", and be able to spontaneously get yourself out on the water. My 16 footer accomplished that. My 31 footer sitting in the slip 12 minutes from home accomplishes it even better, but at considerably greater expense.

So where am I going with this? Guess I'm saying don't take it as a given that you'll be happy trailering a boat with the accommodations you describe. What can easily happen is you say, "let's go sailing", but because you aren't able to devote a full day to it, it's just not worth all the hassle.

On the other hand, there's no reason not to give it a try. If the non-sailing part of your outings is diminishing the experience, you can look into the possibility of some other arrangement...slip, mooring, etc.

Apologies to you for answering a question you didn't ask, but as someone who has enjoyed all kinds of sailing for 35 years, my experience counts for something, and I'd like to see you enjoy the sport.
 

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Mermaid Hunter
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I wore out a Ford Ranger well before it's time pushing past the towing and cargo limits.

Your light-duty car may be fine for the short runs to a local lake, but consider renting a full-size pickup from U-Haul (or such) for longer pulls. The daily rate is pretty cheap and you would have to do a lot of long hauls to make owning an extra tow vehicle (even a beater) worth the cost and hassle.
 

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I'd rather be sailing
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Well, for two years we trailered our Precision 23 every Friday afternoon to Lake Champlain, rigged it, inflated our dinghy, launched everything, and then reversed the process on Sunday afternoon. Our family of 4 spent the entire summer, every weekend, doing this. It's completely doable and a great way to get into "cruising" without the expense of dockspace and having the flexibility of going to any lake you want. I think you're going to have a hard time finding a boat with livable cabin space that will trailer behind your car. With the boat, trailer, outboard and gear you'll have to go to a 17'-18' boat max. While the spec weight on the Matilda 20 is 1550lbs, that's probably brand new before anything has been placed on it - anchor, water, fuel, sails, cooler and/or food, beer, etc. As has been mentioned, add in the weight of the trailer which will be several hundred pounds and you'll easily be over 2000lbs. While you'll be able to tow the boat, you won't necessarily be able to stop it or go up inclines (i.e. launch ramps) without damaging your vehicle. Buy a beater SUV/Van/Pickup and use it for towing, and then get a nice 20'-25' boat.

Our Precision 23 was specced at 2,450lbs, but with trailer weighed over 3,700lbs after two seasons of use, not including all our stuff. We were close to 4,500lbs once you added everything else.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Guess I'm saying don't take it as a given that you'll be happy trailering a boat with the accommodations you describe.

On the other hand, there's no reason not to give it a try. If the non-sailing part of your outings is diminishing the experience, you can look into the possibility of some other arrangement...slip, mooring, etc.
Yes, one of the reasons we're spending a mere 4 grand (instead of waiting to spend 10 grand) is so we can see how we like it and change if we choose.

We won't of course, be dropping it in the water every time we want to sail. There's also dry-sailing, etc.

But being able to trailer it if we want gives us the most flexibility.
 

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Wow

Personal experience? What type of sailboat were you launching?
I don't think he was talking about a 30 footer :)

It takes me an hour to setup and launch. (alone) 30 - 45 min with help.
(Mac26s)

Granted a slip is nice but then, there is the extra expense, increased maintenance (bottom paint etc)

work out the timeline...
how long will it take you to drive to your favorite wetspot.
Add:
20 min to 45 min. to splash
1-2 hours to rig
laze the weekend away....
1-2 hours to take the mast down,
another hour to put her on the trailer,
then drive back to the casa, unpack the car...

thats gunna git old.quick.
 

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You really need to take a look at what is reasonable, given the limitations you've placed... a tow vehicle rating of 2000 lbs. is a bit light for a sailboat capable of weekending with two people aboard.

The point about not being able to spontaneously sail the boat is also a good one. I have a trailerable boat, and it is kept in the water... If it wasn't, there would have been many days where I wouldn't be able to just go out for an afternoon or evening sail.

You do want to make going sailing as hassle free as possible.
 

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You need to read the FINE print as that 2K counts YOU and YOUR FRIENDS while there in the CAR

And the trailer REALLY also needs brakes even a full size TRUCK requires trailer brakes in the fine print
 

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Discussion Starter #19
There's a West Wight on Toronto Kijiji for $11,500. Just posted today
Thanks, yeah. I think we're going to keep our first investment more in the $5K range. $11K is a bit steep to be potentially misjudging our wants, needs and limitations.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
You really need to take a look at what is reasonable, given the limitations you've placed... a tow vehicle rating of 2000 lbs. is a bit light for a sailboat capable of weekending with two people aboard.

The point about not being able to spontaneously sail the boat is also a good one. I have a trailerable boat, and it is kept in the water... If it wasn't, there would have been many days where I wouldn't be able to just go out for an afternoon or evening sail.

You do want to make going sailing as hassle free as possible.
Agreed. It will take some juggling till we get the right combination of boat, storage and portability. We're willing to see what happens.

We know we don't want "just" a sailboat.
 
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