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Old 18-05-2012, 10:57   #1
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A Dream, but That's About It!

Hey all,

So after introducing myself on the meet&greet forum, I figured I would dive right in and ask for some advice. I am a 17 year old high school junior. I sail on a large lake for a high school team, mostly 420s and Lasers. Needless to say, I have no ocean sailing experience nor do I have any experience in a larger boat. Despite these limitations, however, I came up with a wild idea over the last few months. Sometime before I graduate next June, I want to buy a sailboat somewhere on the East Coast. After graduation, I want to work on the boat while sailing down the East Coast and ultimately ending up in the Caribbean. I have already been planning on taking a year off between high school in college, so I have around 14 months to move the boat down the coast and then island hop in the Caribbean. I will obviously be living aboard all the while. When its time to come back to reality, I will sell the boat and simply come home. (Unless I fall in love- then I have a contingency plan )
This is my (large scale) plan. Call my crazy, but I love sailing and was looking for a way to explore and escape on my own before entering undergrad.

Now comes the part that is much more important- the details. I have essentially one year to procure a boat, plan my trip, and learn as much as I can about open ocean sailing. So I have a few questions for y'all:

1) The boat. I was thinking something smaller, 24-28 feet. I have NO problem with taking on a working project- i.e. I can work on it while sailing it. I dont want to have to sit in port too long working on it, but I would if the deal/boat was right. I will be living aboard, so take that into consideration. My boat budget is around 4-5k. What models would you suggest I look at? Where is the best place to look online for a boat? Any resources (books, online articles/threads, etc) you suggest I look at on the subject?

2) The maintenance. I know there is an incredible amount of things that can be with a boat. What should I be looking for in a used boat in terms of condition? What is easily fixable, and what problems should I avoid like the plague? I am pretty handy, and my father (who sailed for 10+ years and is INCREDIBLY handy with anything, even electrical/engine/plumbing) can help if need be. Like I said, I have an excess of time, but I want to save on the $. That being said, what should I look for in a used boat? what resources exist that can teach me to repair boats?

3) Material. For some reason I desperately want a wood boat. Would that be a horrible choice as a first boat? Pros and cons between that and fiberglass? Remember I don't necessarily plan on keeping this thing forever- I need a cheap useable boat that can get me around the Caribbean safely for just 12 months. Even if I end up just giving it away at the end of the journey. Would I be better off going wood or fiberglass?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
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Old 18-05-2012, 11:20   #2
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

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Originally Posted by kilboua View Post
Hey all,

So after introducing myself on the meet&greet forum, I figured I would dive right in and ask for some advice. I am a 17 year old high school junior. I sail on a large lake for a high school team, mostly 420s and Lasers. Needless to say, I have no ocean sailing experience nor do I have any experience in a larger boat. Despite these limitations, however, I came up with a wild idea over the last few months. Sometime before I graduate next June, I want to buy a sailboat somewhere on the East Coast. After graduation, I want to work on the boat while sailing down the East Coast and ultimately ending up in the Caribbean. I have already been planning on taking a year off between high school in college, so I have around 14 months to move the boat down the coast and then island hop in the Caribbean. I will obviously be living aboard all the while. When its time to come back to reality, I will sell the boat and simply come home. (Unless I fall in love- then I have a contingency plan )
This is my (large scale) plan. Call my crazy, but I love sailing and was looking for a way to explore and escape on my own before entering undergrad.

Now comes the part that is much more important- the details. I have essentially one year to procure a boat, plan my trip, and learn as much as I can about open ocean sailing. So I have a few questions for y'all:

1) The boat. I was thinking something smaller, 24-28 feet. I have NO problem with taking on a working project- i.e. I can work on it while sailing it. I dont want to have to sit in port too long working on it, but I would if the deal/boat was right. I will be living aboard, so take that into consideration. My boat budget is around 4-5k. What models would you suggest I look at? Where is the best place to look online for a boat? Any resources (books, online articles/threads, etc) you suggest I look at on the subject?

2) The maintenance. I know there is an incredible amount of things that can be with a boat. What should I be looking for in a used boat in terms of condition? What is easily fixable, and what problems should I avoid like the plague? I am pretty handy, and my father (who sailed for 10+ years and is INCREDIBLY handy with anything, even electrical/engine/plumbing) can help if need be. Like I said, I have an excess of time, but I want to save on the $. That being said, what should I look for in a used boat? what resources exist that can teach me to repair boats?

3) Material. For some reason I desperately want a wood boat. Would that be a horrible choice as a first boat? Pros and cons between that and fiberglass? Remember I don't necessarily plan on keeping this thing forever- I need a cheap useable boat that can get me around the Caribbean safely for just 12 months. Even if I end up just giving it away at the end of the journey. Would I be better off going wood or fiberglass?

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
I bought a wooden boat when I was your age and it taught me a good lesson...I now have a FGR boat...I think unless someone gives you a real good wooden boat go for the glass one...DVC
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Old 18-05-2012, 11:30   #3
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

There are a lot of fiber glass boats in the 24-28 feet that are sold cheap in auctions.
One less maintenance issue is a good thing.
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Old 18-05-2012, 13:36   #4
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

I think there is nothing more lovely than a well cared for wooden boat. That being said, I think you should be looking for a fiberglass boat. You will have more boats to choose from. Since you don't have a whole bunch of time for this endeavor getting a fiberglass boat will mean you might actually have time to sail as opposed to refurbishing a wooden boat. Yes, a fiberglass boat in your price range is probably going to need some time sunk into it to get it ready to go but not as much time as a wooden boat would take.

With your budget, I would take a look at Charity Boat Sales | Donation Boats for Sale | Inexpensive Used Daysailer Boats | Ebay Boats For Sale | Used Yacht Yes, it means buying a boat sight unseen but in your price range you are guaranteed of having issues one way or the other. I would befriend a couple of knowledgeable marine surveyors or experienced sailors who would be willing to look at photos of boats you are interested in for glaring problems.

Best of luck and I hope it all works out for you and that you have a grand adventure to treasure always. Stay safe.
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Old 18-05-2012, 13:57   #5
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

rules of thumb 22 ft minimum but the bigger the better for comfort saftey and storage.
wood looks good but takes time.
keep it simple look at the low cost threads.
A bucket head is easy to repair and fault find, a plumbed in one is a pain with through hulls. a handheld GPS will give you at minimum cost and complexity accurate navigation.
a couple of solar cells and LED nav lights provides light for low cast and difficulty.
when replacing things firstly dont replace unless needed. next get low cast simple gear. ie i replaced my roller furling staysail with a hank on job. less to go wrong and easy replacement.
when you do spend buy good quality it is less hassle as lasts longer and works better.

best of luck
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Old 18-05-2012, 13:57   #6
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by kilboua View Post
Hey all,

17 year old
420s and Lasers
no ocean sailing experience

to buy a sailboat
work on the boat
ending up in the Caribbean

(Unless I fall in love- then I have a contingency plan )

1) The boat. I was thinking something smaller, 24-28 feet. I have NO problem with taking on a working project- i.e. I can work on it while sailing it.(...)

2) The maintenance. I know there is an incredible amount of things that can be with a boat. What should I be looking for in a used boat in terms of condition? What is easily fixable, and what problems should I avoid like the plague?(...)

3) Material. (...)

Any other advice would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!
Ad 1) 24-28 should be OK. Tania Aebi sailed rtw in Contessa 26. My friend sailed an IF (basically same design) to the West Indies and back (from the EU coast). We sailed a 26' boat to a couple of nice places too. A usable IF costs (here) from 5k upwards, look for equivalent boat idea in the US and you are fine.

Ad2) Look for a boat with:
- strong and sound: hull, ballast, rudder, standing rigging, thruhulls,
- usable sails, some form of galley, marine toilet,
- avoid iffy engines,
- if something looks like it may give, it will.

'Easily fixable' is anything YOU can fix easily. Otherwise it is a black hole in your project's budget.

Ad3) GRP. Get a good boat and avoid the 'work on the boat' part. Get a boat to sail and go sailing. Working on the boat is a completely different project. (BTW Once you go sailing there sure will be work enough on the boat).

Your contingency plan very good.

Think twice, spend once.

Make action plan and budget. Then stick to them.

Look around for company - to share costs, to make sailing easier. Most small boats will carry two if they can carry one.

Look, listen and learn. Ask questions, make sure you understand the answers, especially if you are about to reject them.

Avoid naysayers.

Let us know how it is going.

Hugs,
b.
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Old 18-05-2012, 14:02   #7
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Re: A dream- but that's about it!

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I think there is nothing more lovely than a well cared for wooden boat. ..........
Hi Kilboua,

+1 to everything Mimsy said

Getting a first boat in the 24-28 foot range is a great way to make the transition from dinghy sailing to serious boating. I'd also suggest you consider a plastic boat over a wooden one. Wooden boats are undoubtedly the most beautiful ships on the water. The way that a wooden boat moves and sounds at dock and under sail, makes them feel as it they are living, soul-filled creatures. But wooden boats will need a considerable amount of maintenance and attention. More so than plastic or even steel.

A wooden boat will do one of two things to a sailor (anyone with a wooden boat, feel free to correct me), She will either hold you captivated and madly in love with her while being good and reliable to you, or she'll drive you mad with never ending leaks, rot and lacquering you'll have to do to keep her looking good and afloat.

You're still young. Get yourself a plastic boat, may be a Bristol 24 or a comparable Pearson, and have some fun in the water. Hold off on a wood boat for later in life, when you need an excuse to spend hours away from the house

What ever you decide to do... Happy Sailing!!!
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Old 18-05-2012, 14:09   #8
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

26' Pearson Ariel Sailboat 26' Pearson Ariel Sailboat | eBay

Alberg 30 For Sale, Sailboats for sale in Virginia, Topping, VA, Classic Alberg Sailboats For Sale, Free Sailboat Classifieds, used sailboats, sailboats for sale, boats for sale, sloop, ketch, yawl, free classifieds

Waiting on surveys from these two...they are both in the price range. Obviously the Pearson is not on the coast, which poses a problem. Do you guys have any advice on where to shop?
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Old 18-05-2012, 14:10   #9
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

Here's another idea for your dream. When you get ready to go on to school, look for one down south close to the water. Lots of schools to choose from. Then you can continue living on your boat and when you get a break at school, you can just take off for a week or longer. Cost of a slip may not be that much more than finding an apartment on campus.
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Old 18-05-2012, 15:36   #10
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

I like the Alberg best but purely for aesthetic reasons. That's a beautiful little boat...
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Old 18-05-2012, 19:35   #11
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

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Here's another idea for your dream. When you get ready to go on to school, look for one down south close to the water. Lots of schools to choose from. Then you can continue living on your boat and when you get a break at school, you can just take off for a week or longer. Cost of a slip may not be that much more than finding an apartment on campus.
I like this idea..Very good advice here young fellow...I took off with out finishing school,lots of fun but, it was a different world and its probably the only thing in life I really regret not doing...The first step in making dreams come true is to wake up!Be smart and take defensibles advice, you will never regreat it if you do...Defensible I salute you!..DVC
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Old 18-05-2012, 21:05   #12
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

Sounds like you are about to have a great adventure...

Why not buy a boat a little closer to the Caribbean? This way you'll bypass the long haul south, and give yourself a little more time for preparation.

Wood boats are beautiful, but don't get carried away by sacrificing safety for aesthetics. If I were you I'd look for a solid GRP boat with a proven ability to handle offshore conditions. I just looked at craigslist and there's a Westerly Berwick in Dania, great seaboat, though a little old and not a great beauty, but it's sometimes nice to have a boat that will look after you rather than seduce you and drop you in the poop.

Best of luck, whatever you do take time to enjoy what will be a great experience.

31 ft westerly berwick sailboat
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Old 18-05-2012, 21:24   #13
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

I agree with what youre saying...I suppose I appreciate the folkboat because it is rather rugged and (of course) cheap. A boat closer to the Carribean would be much more convenient. Do you know of any other boats on the market down south that meet my requirements?
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Old 19-05-2012, 09:31   #14
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

IFs are way too expensive in the US. Look around if Albin prices are more agreeable. Some Vigens and Vigas make decent mini cruising boats. They are not as good as an IF, but they have been sailed places before. A trip to the West Indies should not be too big a thing for one.

PS Nay, checked Vigens - too expensive in the US again.

http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...url=&imc=pg-fs
(not to be used for navigation, generic example ONLY).

In a word, there are boats around.

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Old 19-05-2012, 09:45   #15
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Re: A Dream, but That's About It!

I am talking to a guy on Lake Michigan about a 25 foot Anderson folkboat. Does anyone know anything about these boats?
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