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Old 28-06-2015, 09:27   #1
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Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Hello Everyone,

I'm new to the forum and have several basic questions.

When looking at sailboats, taking lessons on different types, etc, what should I take into consideration such as the various types of boats, lengths, widths, stability, and anything else along those lines that make sailing more enjoyable. I won't be ready to buy anything for at least a year or two.

Also, I was on a small sailboat a couple of years ago in TN and it was pretty hot. Are there designs that are more comfortable than others up to 42'. I'm assuming some sort of double skin design would help.
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Old 28-06-2015, 09:32   #2
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Oh, and models. What are some considerations to think about between various models?
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Old 28-06-2015, 10:00   #3
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Whew... it's along list to consider. I suggest you get some books about sailboats and their designs etc and read up.
One example of considerations:
A narrow design (compare width or "beam" of some while you are looking) is usually a wetter ride in choppy water, it heels much faster initially leaving you on an angle, and can feel much smaller in the same length vessel. Doesn't mean it's bad... just much different.
Consider walking the docks and looking at boats. You can even start looking at boats thru brokers as if in the buying process. Essentially you are but have a lot to learn along the way.
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Old 28-06-2015, 10:18   #4
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to the forum and have several basic questions.

When looking at sailboats, taking lessons on different types, etc, what should I take into consideration such as the various types of boats, lengths, widths, stability, and anything else along those lines that make sailing more enjoyable. I won't be ready to buy anything for at least a year or two.

Also, I was on a small sailboat a couple of years ago in TN and it was pretty hot. Are there designs that are more comfortable than others up to 42'. I'm assuming some sort of double skin design would help.
Hello.

What follows is written in a friendly tone of voice and with the sole intent to help you.

There is a lot to learn regarding boats and sailing. It can take many years to develop a good sense of the many aspects of the boats and how they differ.

Because there are so many types of boats, with many differences in design and goals and quality and expense, there is no easy ONE way to describe what is best. Much of the time it depends on the personal preferences of whoever is speaking/writing.

So, your multiple very general questions are not easy to answer briefly.

My simple suggestion is that you spend some time on different types of boats and consider what will fit in your budget.

Because your basic questions are so broad, there is really no good way to answer them.

It is like trying to answer: "What is the best vehicle?" Or, "What is comfortable?" "What is the best food?" "What is the most satisfying drink?" "What is the best color?" "What is the most comfortable clothing?"

If you spend time on boats, visit them, get on them and inside them, you should be better prepared to narrow your scope down to fewer possibilities that may fit within your budget.

Reading your original post, it could mean you are interested in any size or type of boat up to 42 feet to sail anywhere with any level of skill and with any size crew of any level of experience etc. That is too broad a scope.

I suggest you start with your budget first.
Name your budget. Name what you expect to do on the boat. Name how many people will be on it and their ages and skill level as sailors. Name where you want to sail. That information helps others define the scope better. But, then again it is still a matter of preferences and individual tastes.

Good luck.
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Old 28-06-2015, 11:04   #5
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Figure out how you are really and truly going to use the boat (day sailing, overnighting, coastal passages, ocean passages, liveaboard, single-handing, anchored for diving or swimming, etc.) and then buy the boat that best fits your needs, not your wildest dreams. Everyone initially wants a boat to sail the world. So try to figure out the boat that is within your budget, is in good shape, can be upgraded, and suits 90% of everything you want to do, because if you don't use it often, it'll sit in a marina like the majority of boats do.

Then, after you sail or look at boats for sale, research what has been written about them. You can learn a lot from these forums and other material on the internet. Then keep asking questions until you think you have it narrowed down. Then...ask more questions. We'll be here, but you'll never get consensus so you'll just have to hold your breath, make a decision, and take that leap of faith
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Old 28-06-2015, 11:09   #6
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Here are some very basic things to start narrowing it down:

Length
Width
Cost
Tiller vs wheel
Full keel vs fin
Sloop vs ketch
Racing performance or cruising
Heavy displacement versus light
Swim platform vs canoe stern
1 head vs 2
Diesel vs gas
Inboard vs outboard
Skeg hung rudder vs non-skeg
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Old 28-06-2015, 12:38   #7
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Even more important than budget (though that's very important) is knowing exactly how the boat will be used. Not what you might want to use it for, or what it will be used for once, but how it will in actuality be used. Even many experienced boaters get this wrong, and buy boats that are far more expensive than they really need.

Next comes budget. Are we talki about $2k, $20k $200k, or $2M? Obviously very different results will result.
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Old 28-06-2015, 12:40   #8
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Cat / Mono?
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Old 28-06-2015, 17:58   #9
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Good stuff. I realize I have a lot to learn. Great list @gamayun. Now me and my good friend Google have a starting point.


My short term plan is to join a sailing club, take a couple of lessons and go from there. I'm keeping an open mind, even to the possibility that I might not like sailing as much as I originally thought.


Thank you all for the help.


Mark
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:16   #10
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

For my money
Buy the cheapest smallest boat you can live with
Sail it anywhere you can for a year
If you damage it, so what.
After a year you will be well on the way to knowing what you want.
Read lots of books...... Chapmans and Bob Griffiths mandatory
You'll decide whether you are a cruiser, a racer, a fixer-upper or a drinker.
Have fun and don't sweat it.
Bill
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Old 29-06-2015, 10:26   #11
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Quote:
Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
Good stuff. I realize I have a lot to learn. Great list @gamayun. Now me and my good friend Google have a starting point.


My short term plan is to join a sailing club, take a couple of lessons and go from there. I'm keeping an open mind, even to the possibility that I might not like sailing as much as I originally thought.


Thank you all for the help.


Mark
Mark - Now you're beginning to show some promise. The first thing, before even thinking about the purchase of a boat, even before thinking about how you will use it, is to find out if you even like sailing, really like sailing, not just like the idea of sailing. And the only way to do that is to go sailing.

I think that there are basically two ways to find out - and both involve a sailing club or yacht club. Not necessarily to join one - at least until you find out if you want to - but, after some sailing lessons, to
1 - walk the docks at a local club and BEG a ride. Offer to help clean up the boat. Whatever gets you aboard.

and/or

2 - start with a small boat. I mean REAL small. A one person boat like an El Toro, Optimus Dinghy, etc. And enter races. Even if you don't have a competitive bone in your body, racing is where you'll learn to handle your boat under sail, where you'll get to watch people that know how to sail. And not to denigrate, at the yacht club bar after the racing you'll listen to others tell what they did right and what they did wrong. A tremendous way to increase your knowledge (and meet some new friends that'll encourage you in your sailing).

It is MY prejudice, but I think that sailing and racing a small boat, a dinghy, is almost a prerequisite to learning to sail well. (Experience: Many years ago - about 40 - I knew a guy that was a so-so racer in the O'Day Day Sailer. He bought a 35'+/- heavy displacement full keel ketch. After owning that boat much less than a year entered the Master Mariners race on San Francisco bay. All of the other competitors had owned and sailed their boats often and for years. He was a podium (1, 2 or 3) finisher. IMHO it was the fact that he and ALL of his crew were dinghy racers that put him in that position. And MANY other examples.)
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Old 29-06-2015, 11:03   #12
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

Let me add a little to what has been said, most of which I agree with.

I am relatively new here as well. Grew up sailing on boats up to 27 ft in length (Catalina 27) with my dad, and also spent a LOT of time sailing Sunfish and Lasers. But I had not sailed a boat larger than a Laser in 30 years for various reasons (lack of money, location, children). But I had always wanted to get back to sailing, so last year I started reading books about sailboats to refresh my memory and to learn what had changed in the last 30 years. I decided I wanted to use the boat ultimately to sail to the Bahamas, and perhaps further. This is the kind of decision that shapes your choice of boat, because if you are going offshore (granted, the Bahamas is offshore-lite), you need certain equipment, and a seaworthy boat. If you intend to sail in bays or near coastal only, you do not need an SSB radio, for example, or a windvane steering system or a watermaker. These are the kinds of things you need to read about to understand and develop an idea of what you want to do with the boat. How much you can spend is a huge determing factor as well.

I thought I wanted about a 32 foot boat, but that is not what I bought because I came across a screaming deal quite by chance. I bought a Pearson 36 cutter two months ago which was produced in 1981, but which had gone through a major re-fit in the last five years, as in new standing rigging, new sails, new running rigging, rebuilt Westerbeke diesel, blister job on hull, all new electronics including chartplotter, radar, AIS, SSB, VHF, windspeed indicator at masthead; new anchors, new electric windlass, new cabin sole, watermaker, plumbed for air conditioning, etc, etc. So even though I wasn't really looking for this particular kind of boat I felt it was too good a deal to pass up, and the boat is very seaworthy and she will definitely get me to the Bahamas with a little more work on minor things. The money I will put into her to be ready to cross the Gulf Stream will be <10% of what the last two owners spent. But enough about my boat.

Again, you have to decide what you will use the boat for, and that will determine what you are willing to spend money on. As Steady Hand said, the first thing to do is establish your budget, both for the maximum you are willing to pay, and at least an estimate of ongoing costs. Of the last two owners of my boat, one couple got divorced partly because of the amount of money spent on her, and in the other case the (male) owner was given what amounts to an ultimatum by his significant other that he had to sell the boat. I am trying to negotiate my boat ownership without damaging my marital status....;-)

Best of luck. Read a lot, look at boats online, look at boats at the marina, go sailing, and do take a course. If you haven't sailed before, a sailing course is good idea, and for classroom instruction the USCG Seamanship course is a good one. I was out in the Atlantic last Saturday with my wife, and sailing is just as good as it was 30 years ago, and I have no regrets.
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Old 29-06-2015, 11:15   #13
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

I really like this forum so far, a lot of help here.

First things first, get on some boats this summer. I hope to get my wife and youngest son on a 30 ft Hunter this weekend for a couple of hours, if it's still available on the 4th.
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:44   #14
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

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Originally Posted by m2244 View Post
I'm assuming some sort of double skin design would help.
What did you have in mind by "double skin"?
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Old 29-06-2015, 13:56   #15
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Re: Is this the place to ask basic questions?

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Originally Posted by BHI_Guy View Post
Let me add a little to what has been said, most of which I agree with.

I am relatively new here as well. Grew up sailing on boats up to 27 ft in length (Catalina 27) with my dad, and also spent a LOT of time sailing Sunfish and Lasers. But I had not sailed a boat larger than a Laser in 30 years for various reasons (lack of money, location, children). But I had always wanted to get back to sailing, so last year I started reading books about sailboats to refresh my memory and to learn what had changed in the last 30 years. I decided I wanted to use the boat ultimately to sail to the Bahamas, and perhaps further. This is the kind of decision that shapes your choice of boat, because if you are going offshore (granted, the Bahamas is offshore-lite), you need certain equipment, and a seaworthy boat. If you intend to sail in bays or near coastal only, you do not need an SSB radio, for example, or a windvane steering system or a watermaker. These are the kinds of things you need to read about to understand and develop an idea of what you want to do with the boat. How much you can spend is a huge determing factor as well.

I thought I wanted about a 32 foot boat, but that is not what I bought because I came across a screaming deal quite by chance. I bought a Pearson 36 cutter two months ago which was produced in 1981, but which had gone through a major re-fit in the last five years, as in new standing rigging, new sails, new running rigging, rebuilt Westerbeke diesel, blister job on hull, all new electronics including chartplotter, radar, AIS, SSB, VHF, windspeed indicator at masthead; new anchors, new electric windlass, new cabin sole, watermaker, plumbed for air conditioning, etc, etc. So even though I wasn't really looking for this particular kind of boat I felt it was too good a deal to pass up, and the boat is very seaworthy and she will definitely get me to the Bahamas with a little more work on minor things. The money I will put into her to be ready to cross the Gulf Stream will be <10% of what the last two owners spent. But enough about my boat.

Again, you have to decide what you will use the boat for, and that will determine what you are willing to spend money on. As Steady Hand said, the first thing to do is establish your budget, both for the maximum you are willing to pay, and at least an estimate of ongoing costs. Of the last two owners of my boat, one couple got divorced partly because of the amount of money spent on her, and in the other case the (male) owner was given what amounts to an ultimatum by his significant other that he had to sell the boat. I am trying to negotiate my boat ownership without damaging my marital status....;-)

Best of luck. Read a lot, look at boats online, look at boats at the marina, go sailing, and do take a course. If you haven't sailed before, a sailing course is good idea, and for classroom instruction the USCG Seamanship course is a good one. I was out in the Atlantic last Saturday with my wife, and sailing is just as good as it was 30 years ago, and I have no regrets.
Yes, a good deal on a Pearson 36 should never be passed up but there are many good boat/good deals out there. Of course you should read what is on the atomvoyages.com website and look at his "Good Old Boat" list, and then browse through bluewaterboats.org to see what others have found to be good boats. But as far as what to sail now I'd say go with a Laser or Hobie Cat or some other really FUN boat that you will want to sail everyday. All the skills you develop on a fast little boat will scale up nicely. The only thing you'll need to practice on a larger boat is getting used to the exponentially greater inertia coming into a slip!
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