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I'm a pretty novice sailor. I am recently relocated to Tampa and now am able to devote more time to sailing, which I really enjoy. I need guidance on the right boat. I expect to primarily use the boat for day-sailing, perhaps try racing in the weekly regattas at Davis Island. Blue water sailing in Gulf sounds nice, but don't know that I will really get around to it.

Primary considerations:

1) Day-sailer -- I must be able to single hand, since I won't necessarily have a crew.

2) Price -- $6K or under (I don't want to sink big bucks into a first boat)

3) Forgiving -- as a novice, I'd trade performance for ease of sailing


Secondary considerations:

4) Draft ?? -- I've been looking at boats that have shallow draft to be able to sail in the bay. Is this important?

5) Performance in Light wind?? -- although I may only remain in Tampa for a year or so, is it important I the boat perform well in light wind. I've sailed in San Diego, Newport, Cape Cod and North Carolina -- and SD & New England were dramatically different from NC. I imagine Tampa is more akin to NC.


Ericson 23 vs. Pearson Ensign 22.5:

Which boat is better for what I am looking for? I've been looking at both and have some in mind. I sailed an Ensign in Newport in the past and loved it. But am not sure it is good in light wind. On the other hand, the Ericson supposedly is ok in light wind and at least affords some additional cabin space and comfort should I decide to use it for cruising. Is there another boat you would recommend.

Thanks.
 

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I don't know much about either boat, but can offer some info on the sailing Tampa Bay. Shallow draft is definitely a plus, and you want a boat that performs well in light air. I find many more days with wind around 5 knots than 15 knots.

As far as Davis Islands Races, they are for for the Davis Islands Yacht Club. They are open to the public, but you have to sail someone's boat who belings to the club. You cannot sail your own boat without being a member (which to my knowledge involves a lenghty application process and a significant amount of $$$).

One thing to consider is docking. Boat slips in Tampa are expensive and hard to come by. Most of the marinas have long wait lists, some in excess of 10 years. I made the mistake of buying a boat, before I had a place to keep it, which turned out to be a big issue. Definitely look into this before you buy.

As far as the boats, Mid 20's is a perfect size for daysailing in the Tampa Bay. I would make sure the boat has a small cabin. The women really appreciate it. Also it allows weekent trips to places like Egmont Key. There are a lot of boats around in your size and price range.

Good luck with your search.
 
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