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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
After enjoying sailing classes and crewing for local sailing races, I am finally getting to the point where I can purchase my first sailboat. I am within an hour of two lakes and within 5 hours of both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, so a trailer sailor would be great. Being married, I have two wish lists to merge when looking for a boat.

In no particular order:
1) Under $10,000
2) Has an enclosed head
3) Big enough to overnight with two adults and two small dogs
4) Easily trailer-able
5) Fun to sail

Any constructive ideas are welcome!
 

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The 'enclosed head' may be the toughest one on the list.

Not sure if the Catalina 25 qualifies there, but otherwise it's a good place to start. There's another 27 foot trailerable that comes to mind - I've seen it around but can't recall the name at the moment.

The various S2s with lift keels could be another possibility esp if you're looking for a bit of performance.

Quite a number of mid 20 foot builders offered swing/lift/centerboard keel versions; Tanzer, Paceship, ODay, etc etc. I'd avoid the high powered 'dual purpose' MacGregors, and boats with shoal enough draft to trailer but no drop keel of any sort.

Good luck!
 

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I'll say that some peoples opinions are going to vary wildly on this question. My first boat was an Oday 22, it'll be too small for what you want to do but a nice enough boat for the money. You should look at an Oday 25 they were a bit bigger and many came with an inboard saildrive unit which is a big plus over an outboard. They have a keel with centerboard so you get the shallow draft for the gulf cruising and still have some stability with it up. With it down it will sail very nice and point well. You can find these all over the place well within your price range. That's just one model out of the many but it has alot of good qualities and sound construction.

You could also loot at Catalina had some smaller trailer sailors too. Some people will make a point of saying buy a boat from a maker still in business so you can get parts if need be. In reality you can find much of what you need not through the mfg so I don't consider it a huge benefit.

A Tartan 27 would be another great boat. Again a keel with center board, inboard engine, ect. Lots of these were made, I think it was Tartan's most produced model or longest I can't remember which. Great boat, classic lines one downside is you'll probably be less likely to find one on a trailer as they didn't come with them where the Oday's usually were sold with a trailer.

Good luck hit Craigslist, Ebay, Yakaz (craigslist search engine), and sailboat listings.
 

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I wouldn't qualify any boat over 23' ("has fully enclosed head") with traditional ballast as "easy to trailer". Even with super-shallow draft, wrestling the boat onto the trailer and up the ramp is work (speaking from long experience trailering an old heavy boat...which didn't have an enclosed head, or room or two adults and two dogs to overnight...sure was cheap and fun).

I stayed in a slip all summer, so I lived with the pain twice a year, and still eventually got rid of the boat for something smaller and much lighter. If you want it to be easy to go in and out for the day, the MacGregor 25 or 26S may be the ticket. Can't tell you anything about the build quality, but you probably aren't going out without a good forecast anyhow. All the other small boats I saw were not built like tanks either.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I wouldn't qualify any boat over 23' ("has fully enclosed head") with traditional ballast as "easy to trailer". Even with super-shallow draft, wrestling the boat onto the trailer and up the ramp is work (speaking from long experience trailering an old heavy boat...which didn't have an enclosed head, or room or two adults and two dogs to overnight...sure was cheap and fun).

I stayed in a slip all summer, so I lived with the pain twice a year, and still eventually got rid of the boat for something smaller and much lighter. If you want it to be easy to go in and out for the day, the MacGregor 25 or 26S may be the ticket. Can't tell you anything about the build quality, but you probably aren't going out without a good forecast anyhow. All the other small boats I saw were not built like tanks either.
I recognize that my want of a smaller, trailerable boat that can handle lakes and the coast conflict with my wife's desires of being comfortable being on the boat for a weekend. :laugher
 

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Privacy is pretty much an illusion on any boat under 60 or so feet, so the enclosed head idea is of little practical value, and almost any boat could be rigged with a privacy curtain/screen for at least visible isolation.
 
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After enjoying sailing classes and crewing for local sailing races, I am finally getting to the point where I can purchase my first sailboat. I am within an hour of two lakes and within 5 hours of both the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico, so a trailer sailor would be great. Being married, I have two wish lists to merge when looking for a boat.

In no particular order:
1) Under $10,000
2) Has an enclosed head
3) Big enough to overnight with two adults and two small dogs
4) Easily trailer-able
5) Fun to sail

Any constructive ideas are welcome!
Benjamen, Most boats under 25 feet will be fun to sail (unless you buy a real tank), and will be relatively easy to trailer provided your tow vehicle is up to it and you understand it will take time to rig and launch the boat.

Overnighting in any boat this size is camping on the water but it's doable. I don't know of any boat this size with an enclosed head. Usually it's a porta-potti and a privacy curtain.

Under $10K you'll have LOTS of options from Catalina, O'Day, Hunter, Rhodes, Compac, etc.

As you've already seen in this thread some folks have strong feelings about one brand or another. Under $10K focus on a boat that's been well taken care of and doesn't need major repairs. It's amazing what some companies have done with small spaces so try and go aboard different boats and see what "feels" right to you. There's no right answer here.

If you plan on doing more than the occasional overnight you'll want something with a single burner stove below or a grill on the rail. Catalina 22's have a pop-top option (think pop-up camper) that gives you standing headroom when you're not sailing, and some folks have added boom tents or sun shades that can be set up at anchor to make sitting in the cockpit more comfortable.

Check out the Small Craft Advisor and The Trailer Sailor web sites for ideas.

Best of luck,
Jim
 

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Privacy is pretty much an illusion on any boat under 60 or so feet, so the enclosed head idea is of little practical value, and almost any boat could be rigged with a privacy curtain/screen for at least visible isolation.
I'm going to disagree with that one. Give me 26', standing headroom in the salon, and a head with a door and I'm in the lap of luxury :D
 

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I'm going to disagree with that one. Give me 26', standing headroom in the salon, and a head with a door and I'm in the lap of luxury :D
... but even so, the 'privacy' of the enclosed head is just in your head ;)

When we bought our first boat with an enclosed head we went from 28 ft to 40 ft. The first night when someone was using the head, someone else in the salon said 'We can hear you!!'... You may be out of sight, but that's it! :p :)
 

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It is easy to focus on amenities and performance while underemphasizing the challenges of hauling, rigging, launching and retrieving a 25 foot boat. I once helped a friend rig and launch an O'Day 222. We barely got it done and I know my wife and I could never do it.

I urge you to investigate the practicality of trailer sailing such a large boat. A day sail loses lots of its appeal if launching and retrieving are onerous.

If such a large boat is essential, perhaps you can find a yard where between uses you can store the boat on its trailer but rigged. You lose diverse sailing grounds and spend a bit more each season, but you are sailing ten minutes after arrival.

Some here will debate the point, but I think the practical max for trailer sailing is 22 feet, and that is with a well designed gin pole mast raising / lowering solution. Lots of great inexpensive choices, but you are still looking at 30 minutes or more before each launch and after each retrieval, it is camping and no enclosed head.

Boars are all about compromise. Good luck.
 

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Absolutely. They are very tough to rig and set up. Try balancing on a shaking cabin top with a 25 foot mast in one hand and a mess of rigging in the other praying that the whole mess doesn't fall over and either kill you or hole someone's boat. Add to that lifting the outboard, lowering the keel, putting the boom and sails on - you just had the workout of your lifetime and you haven't even hit the water yet. BTW, sailboats don't come off the trailer like powerboats do - its much harder - and you are doing all of this under the hot sun, with people watching you and your "crew" standing in the parking lot wondering what the heck is wrong with you.

There is a guy in my marina with a tiny WW Potter - he just sticks the mast in a hole and snaps on a few stays. But his boat is tiny and sails like a snail.
 

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I think that most people would not pull a weekend cruiser sailboat for 5 hours each way more than once or twice, especially adding in the rig and de-rig time. Even if you kept your boat at an ocean-side marina, the 10-hours of driving would curtail your sailing. If you really, really want to range far with your trailer, consider a small, light daysailer.

Let's move on to the closer lakes. At an hour away, that's two hours of driving each time you go sailing. That's reasonable, but still at the limit, for me at least. Again, if you add in the rig and de-rig time, you have a big chunk of off-boat time investment to take her out. For a boat that has the amenities you are seeking (I don't think you'll find one that is 'easily' trailerable), consider keeping it at a slip on one of the lakes. I guarantee you'll use the boat a lot more and you'll have more fun when you do use it.

Another consideration is to have a smaller trailerable boat without the enclosed head or even sleeping provisions. Keep the boat mast-up on the trailer and park the trailer at the lake. Since you are within an hour of the lake, you can sleep in your comfy bed at home. Or you can camp at the lake (there's probably at least one shoreside campground) or even at the marina. A big advantage of small boats on lakes in that they sail in light breezes that can't move boats like you're considering. Most of the boats that sail on my lake are daysailers while the weekend cruisers stay tied to their docks.

Full disclosure: I'm doing what I recommend you do: keep a day sailer set up on a trailer at a lake. Low maintenance. Low marina fees. It takes about ten minutes for me to be in the water and off the dock once I get to the marina. That means I can go sailing after work this time of year. Sail more; tinker with the boat less; socialize on the dock and deck at the end of the day.

If you lived close to the ocean, my advice would be different.
 

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I agree rigging will be difficult but was just make recommendations that fit is stipulations. I had an Oday 22 when I started and thought I'd be smart and beat the Marina's ect. Luckily I ran into a guy my age at the West Marine when buying stuff I probably didn't need. He asked where I kept the boat, I told him I was going to trailer it back and forth, or park it in a lot to launch. He looked at my like the half wit I was in those days and said, "You know you can keep it on a mooring for half the price of that parking lot space". That and no need to run my 17mpg truck back and forth the hour drive it took to get out there. Saved a ton of money and had alot more fun.

Long story short I did the mooring ball and couldn't have been happier. I bought a new walker bay that promptly got stolen the first year. Then learned my lesson about dinghies (don't have the nicest one). Me and Ed (WM guy) are still friends to this day!

I might consider a smaller daysailor and then Chartering in the Great Lakes for your trips.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I think that most people would not pull a weekend cruiser sailboat for 5 hours each way more than once or twice, especially adding in the rig and de-rig time. Even if you kept your boat at an ocean-side marina, the 10-hours of driving would curtail your sailing. If you really, really want to range far with your trailer, consider a small, light daysailer.

Let's move on to the closer lakes. At an hour away, that's two hours of driving each time you go sailing. That's reasonable, but still at the limit, for me at least. Again, if you add in the rig and de-rig time, you have a big chunk of off-boat time investment to take her out. For a boat that has the amenities you are seeking (I don't think you'll find one that is 'easily' trailerable), consider keeping it at a slip on one of the lakes. I guarantee you'll use the boat a lot more and you'll have more fun when you do use it.

Another consideration is to have a smaller trailerable boat without the enclosed head or even sleeping provisions. Keep the boat mast-up on the trailer and park the trailer at the lake. Since you are within an hour of the lake, you can sleep in your comfy bed at home. Or you can camp at the lake (there's probably at least one shoreside campground) or even at the marina. A big advantage of small boats on lakes in that they sail in light breezes that can't move boats like you're considering. Most of the boats that sail on my lake are daysailers while the weekend cruisers stay tied to their docks.

Full disclosure: I'm doing what I recommend you do: keep a day sailer set up on a trailer at a lake. Low maintenance. Low marina fees. It takes about ten minutes for me to be in the water and off the dock once I get to the marina. That means I can go sailing after work this time of year. Sail more; tinker with the boat less; socialize on the dock and deck at the end of the day.

If you lived close to the ocean, my advice would be different.
Actually, one of the lakes is minutes away and I will probably keep the boat in a marina there most of the time. However, I would like the ability to take it to the other (bigger) lake, and the coast (family and friends in that area).

If left to just me, I would pick up something in the 20-22 foot range (with no head) and call it a day. However, I must keep the admiral happy. :laugher
 

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Last summer, we bought a small, 'trailerable' Beneteau 210 thinking we would park it rigged in a marina lot, and move it to a different lake every season. Rigging the boat the first time and then launching it showed us the folly of our plans. Getting the boat in and out of the water on the trailer is doable but takes time, effort, and two people even when rigged. Raising the mast and rigging took the previous owner (who knows the routine) and me two hours. Lowering the mast and packing the rigging for travel would take just as long. It quickly became clear that we weren't going to park the boat on the trailer in the yard, nor were we going to move to a different lake every season. So, we rented a slip at the marina and couldn't be happier. We can be on the water 10 minutes after we arrive. At the end of the day, it takes us only 20 minutes to put on the sail covers and wash down the boat.

If your Admiral insists on an enclosed head, how will she react to standing around while you rig the boat or - (perhaps) worse still - being pressed into service to raise the mast, back the boat & trailer into the water, etc.? Then there's the question of what you do with the (used) head before putting the boat on the trailer at the end of the day. There's nothing so 'sweet' as a stop at the pump-out station at the conclusion of a beautiful sail - or, schlepping a porta-potty around. I'd rather be in my slip with a glass of wine in my hand.

My spouse loves nothing more about sailing than being on the water with the tiller in one hand and the mainsheet in the other. Making that happen as quickly and effortlessly as possible has meant that she is eager to go to the lake - and happily accepts the money I spend on the boat!

Something needs to give - either get a trailerable day sailor like jwing suggests (I'm a huge fan of the Norseboat; maybe you can find a used one for $10K) and use nearby restrooms, or get a larger boat with an semi-private head (a Beneteau 235?) and keep it at a marina or on a mooring. Either option is viable and potentially very enjoyable; trying to do both in one boat means the worst of both worlds.

Good luck either way you go!
 
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