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Hi Brett,

Sounds like my story but you have more of a clew.

Donna is right. Or, let me add my opinion, then compare. I'd suggest picking up a The Complete Trailor Sailor by Brian Gilbert. Lots of great info on exactly what you're looking to do. Especially in the back. Pages and pages of specs, photos, sketches pros and cons on about 50 boats from 12 to 28 feet. They can help you to kow what you like, hate, can't live without and never knew you always wanted. Allow me to be sexist for a moment. A boat is like a woman. She can be pretty, slim, classy, rough and tumble, well maintained, need a little paint, nice curves or wide of beam. Doesn't matter. Do you have chemistry? Find what makes you heart flutter, then pursue her.

You're looking in the 25 foot range. 21 foot isn't very big by sailing terms. Take a sailing class if you can. If not, there are vidios and books. STUDY! But be SURE to take a Sailing and Seamanship course from your local USCGA. Absolute must. Boating without it is literally like driving in a foreign land not knowing the laws, literally. Shoal keel for your thin waters.Consider dry sailing, storing on a trailer at the marina. They can launch for short money whenever you need it. Most of all, sail all you can and make lots of dumb mistakes. We all did.

Now, you can get a decent boat, on a trailer, in the 25 foot range for your money. No problem. And if you're lucky, you'll hate sailing and save lots of money. BOAT-Break Out Another Thousand. If not, your mistakes are made in a smallish boat, not on her big sister. Good plan. If you can hold off until next year, the boat prices will drop in November. But don't rush into a boat that needs a lot of work. She needs to be sailable from the start, maybe some new cushions or running rigging, but nothing big. Nothing kills a relationship like a needy partner.

Well, work is calling. One more night and I get to take the family up Maine, to the islands for a couple of days. Yeah, be jealous. I'm OK with that.

Don
 

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Brett,

The course is around $75 and takes a day. The biggest thing you will get out of it is the rules of the road. In Maine, certification is not required. SO . . . a yahoo with a credit card can rent a boat, have 350HP strapped to his aft, and blast through the channel at highway speeds. You know, the no-wake, shallow draft channel with rocks that are identified by buoys that he doesn't understand, cutting off the incoming limited-by-draft ferry and the smaller-than-him boat approaching from his starboard side, all because he was fussing with the now-half-gone 30 pack in his cooler. Yeah, S&S from USCGA is prime. Good news is that in the next few years, Maine will probably adopt a certification program, just like NH, requiring some sort of licensing for boaters. The card that I carry from the USCGA is it, so, unlike retirement, I'm way ahead of the curve.

Don
 
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