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Old 03-10-2018, 17:10   #1
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Looking to get first boat

Hello, I am very new to sailing and hope someday to become an avid sailor. I am in my early thirties and have taken a few certifications thus far and am now looking into getting my first boat to practice more and more. I have looked at a few, namely a Tartan 27-2 from the late 70s and a Kells 28 from the same era. I was wondering if anyone had any advice on which would be a better starter boat? Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you.
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Old 03-10-2018, 18:05   #2
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Re: Looking to get first boat

For a first practice boat l would suggest something trailerable. This can reduce overall ownership cost and allow you to trailer to multiple (increasinginly more adventurous) locations until you know you need more. Slips, haulouts, paint etc cost money and take away from actually sailing. Its pretty nice to be able to work on it in your own backyard (if its an option). A quick look at the two youve suggested Id go with the tartan, good pedigree both in design and build. If its got an atomic 4 gas, take a good long look at it.
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Old 03-10-2018, 19:06   #3
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Well I live on lake Champlain and would love to have a boat for early next season to spend weekends on etc. the lake is gigantic and will leave much adventure regardless. The tartan 27-2 actually has a Diesel engine, its one of the few from that era that does.
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Old 03-10-2018, 22:12   #4
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Size is relative. POI aside you can go around the lake in a week or motor end to end in two easy days, downwind in a long day etc. (Just based on size) At least you have many stops to explore and keep busy along the way. The kells will sail slightly better/faster but the tartan will be more forgiving sailing and in motion. Id go with the tartan based on build and numbers built as it will be easier to outfit and maintain.
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Old 04-10-2018, 02:58   #5
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, David.


Was the Kells factory or kit finished?
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:09   #6
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Stay away from "Fixer Upper" Boats, As first time boat owners can be easily overwhelmed with the cost of repairs and no knowledge of reputable repair facilities.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:13   #7
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Re: Looking to get first boat

I agree with the above... get a quality trailer able boat. Precision comes to mind but there are others. Learning on a boat that gives you instant feedback to your actions will benefit you greatly in the future.
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Old 04-10-2018, 08:27   #8
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Re: Looking to get first boat

I would choose the Tartan 27-2, especially if it has a good running diesel. Tartan has an excellent pedigree. The 27-2 is a solid boat that will take you anywhere. Either get a good survey, or a thorough inspection with a knowledgeable friend. Pay special attention to through hulls and hoses below the waterline. Also, a boat that age should have already had the standing rigging replaced.

And it goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway, a boat that age should be an attractive price, especially at this time of year on Lake Champlain.
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Old 04-10-2018, 09:33   #9
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Took a quick look at the craigslist ads for what I think are these two boats. Tartan looks very promising if you want a tiller vs. a wheel.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:42   #10
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by lk240 View Post
Took a quick look at the craigslist ads for what I think are these two boats. Tartan looks very promising if you want a tiller vs. a wheel.
Tiller vs Wheel is a whole nother thread. But for a boat this size, tiller rules! Also very easy and cheap to setup tiller autopilot...your best crew ever!
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:50   #11
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Good luck.


New to boats? Try this:


Sorry, the link doesn't work anymore. It was a tutorial for inspecting sailboats.
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Old 04-10-2018, 10:54   #12
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Re: Looking to get first boat

There is no such thing as a "starter" sailboat. Get something that you can practice doing what you plan on doing in the future. Don't get a fixer upper unless you are very handy and have the cash and drive. Timelines never go as planned. Get something solid with most of the amenities you want. Go go some weekend trips even if its just to go anchor around the area. If you want a 47' boat but start with an 18' trailerable you may not spend the weekends on it because it's too small and loose interest.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:06   #13
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Re: Looking to get first boat

There are a ton of options out there..... I took a look at the listings just on Champlain.... I saw a Bristol 24 for $2k.... If it floats and doesn't leak water from above, go for it.
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Old 04-10-2018, 11:15   #14
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Hello David and welcome to the forum :-)

Your question of which is the better boat for a neophyte is difficult to answer because a man's relationship with a boat is as multifaceted as his relationship with a woman. As the French say: “Chacun son got”.

You are a young man, you say. You may be independently wealthy as many members of this forum appear to be, but it is more likely that you earn you keep by the sweat of your brow. My comments are based on that premise, and my first bit of counsel therefore has little to do with what KIND of boat you should buy. It is, IMO, absolutely fundamental to building a happy cruising future that you do NOT – ever - pay more money for a boat than you can walk away from with a smile still on your face! In practical terms that means that you should probably pay no more than, say, $5K for either of the boats you are contemplating! You may not get either of these particular boats for that modest sum, but if you till the “boats for sale” ads diligently, you WILL be able to find equally suitable boats for such a sum.

Once the boat is yours, count on spending 3K to 5K a year on her upkeep.

Now for the boats themselves: The Tartan is designed by a firm of naval architects of high repute, the Kells by an unknown quantity, and there were not many built, I don't think. The Tartan's basic design parameters are slightly better than the Kells', but for a beginner that has little significance. I would, nevertheless, expect the Tartan to sail and to handle better than the Kells. As for interior arrangements, that again has little significance for a beginner. You learn to be comfortable with what you have – and to modify it as you go :-).

A boat this size is very easy to handle, and you have a few courses behind you, you say. I would be very surprised if those courses were not given on boats of this size, so you have nothing to worry about there. For my money, a tiller-steered boat beats a wheel-steered boat hands down until you are into really heavy boats where the forces manifesting themselves in the tiller tax the physical strength of a well-grown man. Just when that will occur depends on many things, but principally on how well the boat trims out when on the wind. You can be fairly confident that a Sparkman and Stephens designed boat, which is what the Tartan is, will trim well unless someone has been muckin' with 'er during her life. So again, the Tartan scores.

Returning to the question of money: “Frozen snot” hulls (fibreglass) are nearly indestructible, and age is therefore of little consequence. My own boat is a 1983 model, and she'll certainly outlive me :-) The fly in the ointment, when you are talking 40-year old boats, is always the engine. The Tartans came, if I'm not mistaken, with the universal “Universal Atomic 4”, but the one you are contemplating has a diesel, you say. Ascertain when it was installed and investigate its condition carefully. A new replacement, say a Kibota based, marinized engine like a Beta 20, installed, would cost about $15K, so budget for that sum to be spent within the next five years for certain, but maybe within the next year!

Beyond that, to be a frugal, happy boat owner, regardless of the make or size of your boat, you need, sez Don Casey, author of This Old Boat with whom I concur, to have some modest competence as a workman in each of these areas:

1. Fibreglass work
2. Rigging
3. Mechanics
4. Carpentry
5. Electrics
6. Plumbing
7. Painting
8. Sewing

You don't have to be a whizzard in every one of these areas right off the bat, but you do have to begin to develop competence in each of these disciplines.

All the best

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Old 04-10-2018, 14:00   #15
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Re: Looking to get first boat

Your first boat most likely won't be your last, so don't sweat it if you don't get it right the first time. GET A SURVEY ! Take the time to attend the survey, you will learn a lot. No boat is perfect. Either fix or have the seller pay for the big items that the surveyor finds, the others you can work on at your leisure. No boat is perfect. Then just go sailing. If you're single handing, I highly recommend an autopilot and roller furling. I'm with the others on going with the Tartan.
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