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old guy
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Discussion Starter #1
I am new to Sailnet and am researching getting a 30+/- foot cruising vessel to see some of Alaska that few people see. I am retiring June 2015 and will have access to an annuity of $25,000+/- to spend a sailboat for my wife and I. I have never sailed although the company I worked for once chartered a 36Ft sloop on lake Michigan for me for 3 days. Also I grew up on Lake Erie and spent 8 Years in the US Navy. We plan 3-4 four to six week trips a year all in Alaska Waters. I have been looking on line at boats for over a year and plan to take a 0-bareboats Sailing class in Seward Ak next June. Right now I am looking at a 29Ft Cascade and a 30Ft Catalina both for sale in SE Ak. I would appreciate any advice from this community!! Oh I am also not very computer literate! Well there is a start!!
 

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The Catalina 30 will have a lot more space/volume than the Cascade.. but the Cascades have done some serious voyaging and though a tad uninspired design wise they have a fairly good rep. Many were owner-finished, though, so you'll need to be careful about that.

If you envision mostly inside passages and picking weather windows then the C30 would probably do the job for you quite well.. she's a stiff, stable boat with good volume, reasonable speed and excellent builder/owner support still today. For spending 6-8 weeks aboard per year I think it's far more liveable, esp if a couple or more.

I imagine the Alaskan market is somewhat limited, however in general it's a buyer's market and neither the C30 nor the Cascade should gobble up your entire budget - meaning some money for upgrades, or perhaps opportunity to look at something slightly larger. We're on our 5th boat in 30+ years, made it up to 40 feet and now happily settled into a 35 footer as a nice couple's compromise for the type of coastal sailing we do, like you are planning, 6-8 weeks aboard every summer and occasional weekends throughout the year.
 

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I like what Faster said about 35 feet. Will you have to worry about ice? That could be a major factor in the boat you choose.
John
 

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I've read good seaworthiness in the Westsail 32. Not the fastest boat or the most nimble, but built like iron. A little more than a Catalina 30 but might fit your bill. But make sure you do your research. Maybe hitch a ride at the local yacht club. If you're thinking about buying a boat like so-and-so's, he'll probably stumble over himself try to show off her virtues.
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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You should also be looking into a place to berth it, and what that will add to your budget, as there aren't many choices (basically Seward, Whittier, and Valdez by road access). As you're in the Interior, especially if you're closer to Glenallen than Fairbanks, Valdez might be your best choice (though I don't know about availability there). That would position you between Prince William Sound and the Inside Passage.

Some other things to keep in mind are that you'll need substantial ground tackle and good navigational equipment/skills.

Hopefully some of the experienced AK sailors here will chime in with more specific info that I think you'll find just as helpful as advice on boat choice. Best wishes on fulfilling your plans.
 

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old guy
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Discussion Starter #7
We have looked at Petersburg, Valdez, Seward, Whittier, Haines, and Sitka. Valdez is the cheapest and most convenient approx. $1200/Yr. for 30 and $300 for lift out with storage available reasonably for winter. One reason we are looking at 30Ft is cost of upkeep and operation as well as moorage. all the harbors we have looked at have 5-7Yr wait but transient is close to permanent and again Valdez is reasonable for moves if you are unavailable. I have also considered going down to the Seattle area and sailing one back but my lack of experience concerns me. We don't have much money and retirement will be comfortable but not a lot of excess cash. In your opinion will a bareboat class/certification be enough to sail up the inside passage?
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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In your opinion will a bareboat class/certification be enough to sail up the inside passage?
I can't really give you an informed opinion on that, as I don't have any real experience with either the class or the IP. What I can tell you is that despite 3 summers of sailing on lakes (a 26 footer), I made a lot of mistakes when I first started cruising. It was more a matter of lack of doing, than a lack of knowing how. And you'll be in much less forgiving waters than I was.

I'm not trying to rain on your parade. I'm just trying to be sure you're aware of what you're getting into. You might also want to start a new thread in General Discussions, as many people don't really go to the Intro threads. I know we have some AK sailors here, but perhaps they haven't seen this thread.

Oddly enough, I took an online quiz the other day about what state I should be in, and it said I should be back in Alaska (my homeport is Copper Center).
 
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