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Old 29-10-2011, 21:28   #1
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Small Trailerable Boat ?

I am looking to buy my first boat. Since I live in Arizona, I need a small (20+) boat that can be trailered to California for an annual or bi-annual cruise around the Channel Islands. Any suggestions?
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Old 29-10-2011, 23:25   #2
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My wife and I have a 25' MacGregor Venture which is comfortable enough for a few days in Catalina. The 26X's are a little nicer with standing headroom and the option to do 20 knots under power.
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Old 30-10-2011, 05:42   #3
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

trailersailor.com has a very helpful classifieds section:

The Trailer Sailor

Good luck!
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Old 30-10-2011, 06:19   #4
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

+1 for Trailorsailor.com

You'll find that there are no shortages on affordable trailerables.

Hunter and Catalina have some nice pull behinds
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Old 30-10-2011, 07:47   #5
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

I think first you need to decide whether you want a trailer-sailor or a trailerable cruiser.

Some more robust boats that can be trailered include: Norsea 27, a couple of the smaller Pacific Seacraft boats, the Westerly Centaur and Pageant, The Contessa 26 and Cape Dory.

For light weight trailering and quick launching consider some of the water ballast boats such as the Hunter, Catalina and MacGregor water ballast boats.

Of course there are also a whole host of smaller, lighter boats like the Catalina 22 that can be trailered fairly easily.
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Old 30-10-2011, 09:26   #6
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

Having owned a variety of boats over the years including 4 in the 22 to 29ft size that could be considered as trailerable, I would like to offer a couple of thoughts.

To me there are many things that are important including safety. I retrospect, my little Venture 22 was not a bad choice for a couple. It's V berth in the bow is a typical sailboat V berth. Not adequate foot room for 2 normal sized people. Both the first mate and I are rather skinny people at only 5'10 and 5' 5 . But with the pop top and the roomy salon table converted to a double we always managed to sleep well. If it got nasty. we would drop the top thus reducing the windage and improving the safety. She was a much better sailor than all the boats that are supposed to go 20 knots under power.

Note that both Catalina and Hunter water ballast boats are more of a sailor than a speed boat. If you already own a "full sized" pick up you can pull and launch bigger and safer boats.

I really encourage you to do a couple of things. One - take your time. Two, find some nearby place to sail and get a lot of experience of one or two days before you leap off the ledge and buy a big boat.

I like people getting a light day sailer of the 14 - 16 ft size and learning to sail first. Send your wife to a sailing school separate from you to learn to sail too. It is important to get her involved early and making it fun. See if you can find some local small lake that people sail on and perhaps even has a small club. You can always sell the daysailer for most of what it cost and believe me - you will be a lot better sailer much quicker.

Nautical62 is a good example that you don't have to go to California to have a lot of great pleasure on a roomy sailboat. Lots of luck, lots of fun !!
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Old 30-10-2011, 10:11   #7
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Even assuming you already own an appropriate tow vehicle, I don't see how the economics of purchasing a boat for an annual cruise work in your favor. Have you looked into chartering boats? You may find that, dollar for dollar, you can end up spending a week in the channel islands on a proper keelboat for less than it will cost you to drag a trailer sailer there once per year.
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Old 30-10-2011, 10:40   #8
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

Economics, regarding a boat purchase? What's that?

Bash is probably right if you're really only doing one trip a year. But once you have a trailer sailor, the Sea of Cortez is only a hop, skip, and a jump away . . . Soon you may be taking several trips a year, or longer trips, etc.
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Old 31-10-2011, 16:58   #9
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

I have a Compac 23. Nice microcruiser, but no standing headroom. That aside, it handles storms very well.
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Old 31-10-2011, 17:19   #10
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

Besides the annual cruise, Lake Pleasant is a very large lake for sailing. So the "economics" are alright. I would have a place to sail on a weekend (or weekday).
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Old 31-10-2011, 18:28   #11
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Re: Small Trailerable Boat ?

The first several questions you need to answer are:

What's the budget like?
What do you have to tow with? And is it already set up to tow?
Is it just you, your wife and occasional guests or do you have guests overnight regularly?
What level of comfort are you expecting?
-Berths and toillette below is obvious.
-Do you require a table to eat at below or are you happy to sit on you berths or in the cockpit?
-Does the head need to be enclosed?
-Is sitting headroom adaquate or do you require more?
Are you more interested in greater safety or greater performance?
The first 3 questions are going to have a big impact on the answers to the rest of the questions and the boats that might be appropriate.

For $600-1600, you should be able to install a hitch and wiring by ordering the 2 kits and installing yourself for all but the largest boats and tow vehicles.

Assuming a limited budget and a willingness to 'camp':
Small car to tow with: Holder 20 , sleeps 2-4, great performance, $2500ish.
Wylie Wabbit 24, sleeps 2-4, excellent performance, $4kish.
Medium car: Cal 20 , sleeps 4, pretty good performance, well enough built to go offshore with some mods, $1-3k.
Larger vehicle: Catalina 22 , sleeps 5, good performance, would take to Catalina Isl. but not offshore, dinette.

Bigger budget:
Medium car: J22, high performance, sleeps 2-4, $6-10k.
Large vehicle: Hobie 33 , excellent performance, sleeps 5-6, low headroom but not really camping so much, $10-20k.
Large vehicle: Montgomery 23, Cruiser, potentially offshore, sleeps 3-4.

Bigger budget, offshore capable, not camping, serious tow vehicles, serious bucks.
Flicka 20 Sleeps 3-4, 5100lb, $17-40k
Dana 24 sleeps 2-4, 8000lb.
Nor’sea 27, sleeps 4, 8100lb


For someone with limited experience I would go with the Holder 20, light, cheap, easy to rig and derig so you can go daysailing on any lakes that might be in the area. But still big enough to overnight on.

In a couple years you will have a better idea of what in a sailboat makes your heart go pitter-patter and you can move up.
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