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Old 29-09-2010, 08:10   #1
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First Time Sailboat Buyer . . . Any Thoughts ?

Hello,

I'm new here and new to the idea of sailing.

I have had boats my entire life: from ski boats as a kid on fresh water lakes in Indiana to a 1965 38' Owens cruiser here in Florida.

Needless to say, the vintage wooden Owens almost put us in he poorhouse and truly seared the desire to own another boat from our souls (that was 10 years ago).

Now my wife and I are looking for a 27 to 30' sailboat that we can enjoy cruising the bays, icw and coastal waters off Fort Walton Beach, Destin and Pensacola.

I am trying to find something under $10,000 so we can keep the investment low in case this turns into another Ownes scenario.

I have looked at a couple older 27 Catalina's and a couple 28' Odays. I think we want a wheel vs a tiller. We also want to be able to weekend on her so a head is a must. Sounds like diesel is the way to go for the engine.

Any other input would be most welcome. What should we look for and look out for?

Thank in advance for your help!
Rick
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Old 29-09-2010, 08:34   #2
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Even though your previous boat was a powerboat you already know the first rule of buying an overnighter: not how many she sleeps but how many she ACCOMMODATES. Your budget is pretty low, so don't be penny wise and pound foolish. There are those who love to work on boats and those who love to boat. If you want to get Out There, buy something sail-ready, not a fixer-upper. The Gulf in your area is a beautiful cruising paradise. Let us all know how it turns out.
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Old 29-09-2010, 08:38   #3
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Even though your previous boat was a powerboat you already know the first rule of buying an overnighter: not how many she sleeps but how many she ACCOMMODATES. Your budget is pretty low, so don't be penny wise and pound foolish. There are those who love to work on boats and those who love to boat. If you want to get Out There, buy something sail-ready, not a fixer-upper. The Gulf in your area is a beautiful cruising paradise. Let us all know how it turns out.
Thanks Janet. We definately aren't looking for a fixer-upper.
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Old 29-09-2010, 08:44   #4
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I made lots of mistakes

Having sailed all my life (I am 67 and started at 5) I assumed I knew a whole lot about cruising sailboats EVEN THOUGH MOST OF MY PRIOR SAILING EXPERIENCE WAS RACING SMALL SAILBOATS. What arrogance! My biggest mistake was that faulty assumption. My second mistake was not hiring a competent surveyor to look over the 40 footer that my wife and I bought. My third mistake was attempting to fix the multiple systems on the sailboat including electrical (wow - that was a mistake!). So - what have I learned? Get a professional surveyor and do both on-land survey and sailing survey. Heed the surveyor's report! Forget about the boats which require lots of fixing up - a headache that I remember vividly. And, as stated above, don't buy a "cheap" boat - - as I have learned - - they ain't cheap! good luck bill
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Old 29-09-2010, 08:53   #5
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Great advice Bill!

I had a survey done on the Owens and it was worth every penny.

I don't want to end up with another disaster. I feel that if we take our time and keep looking the right opportunity might appear.
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Old 29-09-2010, 13:33   #6
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From your description I do not think you can go wrong with a late 80's Catalina 27. Parts are easy to get, there are a ton available. Just make sure the engine is solid, the sails are in good condition, and there are no major fiberglass problems. A decent survey should uncover a problem with either. When you get it rebed the chainplates and all the stanchions (an easy 3 day job).

The good thing about common boats are that you can look at lots of boats before you buy one. Might even be able to find one with recent standing rigging. If you get sick up it, thow on a few coats of varnish and sell it for what you paid for it.
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Old 29-09-2010, 13:47   #7
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Get a boat with a tiller. A wheel on a boat that small is a waste of money and an unnecessary point of failure. The tiller is dead simple, easy to hook up a tiller pilot or a self steering vane, reacts way quicker than a wheel, has more feel and is a lot less tiring to sail long distances.
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Old 29-09-2010, 19:56   #8
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Get a boat with a tiller. A wheel on a boat that small is a waste of money and an unnecessary point of failure. The tiller is dead simple, easy to hook up a tiller pilot or a self steering vane, reacts way quicker than a wheel, has more feel and is a lot less tiring to sail long distances.
Tiller & Tiller pilot = +1
Mid-80s Catalina = +1
Survey = +1
Good engine = +1
Not a fixer-upper = +1

I got nothin' else...
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Old 29-09-2010, 20:51   #9
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Old 29-09-2010, 22:20   #10
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I almost hate to tell you this - cause I want her so, but can't right now. I have never met her in person, but . . . . . . there is, last I checked, a 67 Pearson 26, Ariel plan, for sale in Tampa Bay for $1000. She is moored in Big Bayou. She has no motor at the moment, is reportedly solid and dry as a bone. Her lover died and his left behinds are looking for a new home for her. Check Craigs list in Tampa, dated 9-24-2010.
Good luck!
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Old 30-09-2010, 00:39   #11
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I have to echo the tiller notion. I hated the idea of tillers until I actually had a boat that has one. Man, what an eye-opener that was.

The response, the number of corrections and the maintenance (or lack, thereof) make it such an obvious for a sub-35' boat. You'll also learn so much more about balancing your sails if you use a tiller. The pressures on the rudder are right there in your hand, and it takes just a few hours of playing around to learn exACTly how your boat needs to be trimmed.

Also, no need for a wind-steering unit, once you learn to balance the boat with a tiller. They seem so low-class, or old school, or whatever. But for what it's worth, I was converted during my first experience with a tiller, after twenty plus years of working wheels.
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Old 30-09-2010, 07:14   #12
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Now that's worth a look.

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They seem so low-class, or old school, or whatever. But for what it's worth, I was converted during my first experience with a tiller, after twenty plus years of working wheels.

Not old school, not low-class - just appropriate for the type of boat. And seriously tiller pilot for about $400 makes life a lot easier. My sense is that autopilot systems for wheels are more pricey and the wheel system adds unneeded complexity for a boat this size.
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Old 30-09-2010, 07:37   #13
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Tillers are also excellent for shorthanded sailing...
While your hands are full with the genoa/main sheets you can still steer effectively with your knees...
Extremely useful tacking up narrow channels where the course changes can come thick n fast
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Old 30-09-2010, 15:05   #14
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My wife and I drove over to Pensacola to look at a 1965 27' Tartan today that was pretty rough. In fact, she told me "no" before we even went below because it was pretty trashed.

Afterwards we walked around the docks at the same marina and ran into a gentleman on his 40 foot Formosa.

When I told him what we are looking to do, he suggested that we go to Lanier Sailing Academy and take their 3-day sailing course, then join their club for $90 per month which includes use of any of ther 22' fleet.

We stopped by and spoke to the gal running the operaton and discovered that it would cost about 1k for both of us to take the course and recieve ASA certification.

I really want our own boat but I must admit that getting some training then having use of their boats without the hassle of insurance, slip rental fees and general worry about upkeep is enticing.

On the positive side this would give us some expereince and "seat time" before we jump into our own boat again.

But I really want our own boat...
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Old 30-09-2010, 15:21   #15
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Skabeeb I think joining a sailing clubis an excellent idea! Not only will you learn a lot about sailing and what you do and do not like on a boat, but it gives you time to stash more cash so that your purchasing options increase. Good going!
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