We've finally pulled the trigger, and are the proud new owners of an Aquarius 23 ft trailerable sailboat! Being that we live about as far away from an ocean as it's possible to do in North America as well as limited time (due to work), it seems perfect for our needs. I've been following a ton of different threads on this forum about which boat to buy, go now vs. later, size of boats, etc, which have been extremely useful in the process. With that, here is some of the "typical" questions I've seen, and how for our particular situation (YMMV of course), we made our decisions..
1) How to get experience
Buy small to learn
"Just do it"!
Other Peoples Boats
As much I'd love to "Just do it", and buy a Blue Water
capable boat, move to the Caribbean
and live aboard, I want to make sure the family
is comfortable with sailing and that when we do go, the kitty is a bit healthier.. Charters are too expensive for us (roughly same cost as what I paid for the boat/trailer), and OPB are definitely something we'll be looking for. A short (but fantastic!) daysail last fall in the Spanish Virgins was "step 1" for the family
to at least make sure nobody had cronic fear of water
, violent seasickness, etc (Thanks Steve and Sue!!)
2) Where to buy
Close to home
Boat somewhere nice/warm and "commute" long distances
It is the home!
Being 2-3 hrs from Lake Superior
, we've decided that as tempting as it is, the best way for us to get experience will be to have the boat as close to us as possible and in the water. Even if it means puttering along in a small lake 10 min. away from the house, so we can go out after work, on a lark, for a sunset cruise
,etc. When we get bored on the small lake, there's always the trailer!
3) How big of a boat should I get?
As big as you can
Our answer is both. The A23 is about as large of a boat that I would be comfortable towing in our Toyota truck. Any larger and the small lakes will look even smaller, I'll need a bigger truck or drive 2-3 hrs to Lake Superior
each time we want to sail. From everything I've seen, the A23 is supposed to be easy to learn on, somewhat slow, a bit tender
but "impossible" to capsize
. It should also be able to serve as a floating cabin
for long weekends for me, my wife and two young kids
(2&4 y/o) Once the hard stuff melts off our lakes, I will post our actual experiences!
4) Fixer'up vs. Ready to sail
Thought about this one quite a bit, and during a bout of temporary insanity contemplated a major project boat that would likely have been a "last boat" candidate. Came to my senses, read every thread on CF that dealt with this question. Finally realised that I'm more in the wanting to sail category, not the "building/fixing/divorced" category
(although there'll always be stuff to fix).
So, that's at least how we've approached it. I do want to thank the community for all the great conversations and for sharing their experiences.. It helped us, and so I hope my ramblings will be useful for others that are in the same position as us!
Finally, some boat porn! (Even though it's more like PG rated, due to being on trailer, covered up, and in the POs driveway....)