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Discussion Starter #1
Just recently became curious about sailing. Never owned one but considering a starter boat to learn and determine if it’s a good idea. Been out a few times on Cats but never caught the bug until nearing retirement...thinking a small Island Packet might be a reasonably safe old bus to learn on. Can get a 26 for around 25 K so it’s a very reasonable commitment...
 

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15 K for a 26 IP , that would be nice . Do they have standing head room ? Where are you ?
 

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In my opinion, the first priority when looking for a liveaboard boat is liveability. It will be your home, and if there is no real comfortable place to lounge around, it won't be a very comfortable home. Most of us sail less than 10% of the time, and many well-reputed quality boats can be horrible in rolly anchorages, others sail at anchor terribly and some are lacking in enough storage space for your personal items, as well as boat spares, etc. Ventilation is also way up on the list of importance, especially if you are considering living aboard in the tropics or even on the East coast in the summer. A good galley is important if you plan to cook meals aboard, at sea or at anchor.
For a beginner, I highly recommend Royce's Sailing Illustrated as a basic primer. It covers just about everything one needs to know to safely handle a small craft in a fun yet comprehensive format. From anchoring to boat nomenclature and even splicing, it's got most of what you'll need for getting started, yet is still a good reference book for the most experienced of us. No preachy tome here.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for that simple advice. I'm thinking I need to buy an inexpensive small boat to learn on. Robust enough to handle my errors and inexpensive enough to not break me if I manage to sink her somehow! Starting on a large lake makes sense, especially as it is on the inland waterway to Mobile Bay.
An I P 26 seems like it could be used to poke around Florida one I become reasonably competent- could shoot down the waterway and out into the gulf and hug the coast. A year of that would tell me if this was for me and I could then get up in the 40+ range for comfort. Long term is just poke around the Caribbean until I'm too old to do it...
 

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The boat you choose should be tailored to what you hope to learn by sailing her. If you don't know how to sail and are looking to learn, then buying a small cruising boat to learn on probably isn't a good idea. Something like a 470 is just as complex from a sailing standpoint as most cruising boats and an older used one could be picked up for a few grand.
If know how to sail and want to learn how to manage a cruising boat - how to dock, anchor and maintain the basic systems etc, with a mind to stepping up to a much larger boat I would look for a popular brand like a small Catalina that you will be able to resell without too much difficulty.
The cost of keeping a boat while you wait to sell can rapidly run to a significant fraction of the boat's worth for older less expensive boats. Buy something you can sell quickly without taking a bath when you are ready to move on. It doesn't have to be your dream boat. That is the 40' er you will step up to.
 

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Thomas, like Chicory says, a Catalina, like a 27 would be a good inexpensive boat to start with. IP are great boats and certainly worth their much higher price than an old Catalina 27 which can be had for around $6K - $9K. But an old cheap boat is easier to walk away from or dump at a yard sale. A C-27 has plenty of head room and the basic amenities needed for weekending or cruising the coast. Which ever boat you choose, there is a lot of support on internet forums for that particular model. Have fun.
 

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Regardless of any other opinions only you can determine if sailing is a worthwhile addiction. Sailing the boat is the easy part. The steep learning and expensive part is dealing with the boat itself and it's systems. I suggest you start here. Marine Survey 101
 
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