I have fond memories of the search for my first boat. In addition to a basic sailing class, I volunteered at a local yacht club to work as crew for their weekend around the marks race
. I spent a year doing that and learned quite a bit about sail trim but more importantly I gained experience with different boats and layouts. I was always picking the brain of the boat's owner. What did he like/dislike about his boat? Which boat would he like to have? Or if I saw another sailboat that I found really attractive, I ask what she was, what did he know, etc.
When the time came to buy my own, I looked at Catalina
27's, even a McGregor 26
. I got talked out of it because of things like storage
space, quality of construction, and so on. I was told, and rightly so, that if I bought something too far from the cruising boat I was looking for, it would cost me more money than I might have spent on a better designed boat. By better, I mean for my intended use. Buy something unsuitable and it won't be too long before it is back on the market and having to pay sales tax on the first boat, possibly a broker commission to sell it, and sales tax on the second boat.
After much soul searching I decided that I could afford (barely) either a Morgan
32 or a Pearson 30
. I ended up with the Morgan
and although I sold her to a friend some years ago, there are times when I miss her. Strong, simple, and very forgiving and relatively shallow draft
is a big issue on the west coast
and some parts
of the ICW
Good luck on your quest. I guess I'm lucky, the only boats I can think of that I would like better than the one I've got are so danged expensive I'm not even tempted.
ps: I would also caution against a "project boat". They may be cheap
to buy but the amount of money and time that would be needed to bring them up to snuff would be better spent on a less needy boat. Nothing wrong with one that just needs a bit of TLC but there are a few at my marina that would take years to fix.