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Old 10-12-2011, 04:20   #1
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The Search Is On for My First Boat

Today is a happy day.

I just got my reassignment instructions. In Apr, I'll be moving from Germany to Tenn. It'll be nice to be back in the US and I'll be able to search for my first sailboat. Personally, I'd like to be near a coast (East or Gulf). I've been looking around online at different boats and now I'm looking forward for the chance to actually go look at some in person. Even though I'll be inland, I'm still considering the idea of getting a boat and keeping it at a coastal marina.

I've seen that TN has lots of lakes and I could possibly get a trailer sailor but I don't have a truck and prefer not to get one. I've seen comments about whether to start small and work the way up or just get last boat first. I'm leaning more towards last boat first. On the other hand, I still have 6years to retirement so getting something smaller than my ideal boat to start off with might not be a bad idea. Right now, I'm thinking to reitire in the Houston areas. I've been to Kemah a couple times and enjoy the area. Once I start looking at them in person, I'll be able to get more of an idea of what to look out for. Reading the books are nice but I like the hands-on approach.

Part of what I'm considering is the size of the boats because of my height of 6'5". In my research, I've been trying to look as much as I can on reviews in articles or other first hand opinions like here on CF or sailnet. Since I'll be traveling in April, I might go take a look at a few boats if I have time.

I'm looking forward to getting out on the water. I think I hear the seas calling for me.

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Old 10-12-2011, 05:40   #2
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Hi Dan. Great news!

One persons opinion based on my experience. Get a 24-26 foot keelboat and find a place you can leave it in the water. Look for something that has the "baby sized" systems your permaboat will have. You will learn a lot about engines, electric, heads, galleys and so on.

Some thoughts

- towing the boat and rigging it takes time and commitment. You waste too much sailing time getting ready and lose interest
- a small boat (and really to me 27 is actually too big) can be easily single handed. Sailing with newbies is also single handing
- the costs are low. My total 4 year budget including insurance, mooring and maintenance is about 500 a month
- get an autopilot. You will love it
- get a furler genny. You will love it
- a mainsail bag (boombag) would be cool but not a high need, lazy jacks are. They will help you douse the main
- internal diesel is good as a learning experience on whatnit takes to maintain them and they have an alternator for lights!

Adding stuff to a small boat is relatively cheap. Solar, traveller upgrades, running and standing rigging, interior lighting, galley stove etc. so you can "play around" trying stuff and not go broke.

Here comes the controversial part - Get a plastic, fin keel or bulb keel boat,with decent performance especially If you end up lake sailing. Don't get a race boat like a J24 unless racing is your thing as they aren't comfortable. But don't get a 24 foot 5,000 pound boat either. My boat is a bulb keel, weighs around 4,000 and needs 10 knots at least to be happy. You don't really want to spend weeks drifting around at 3 knots and not be able to point well either.

I am sure I will get flamed for that but I don't apologize for it as I have raced my 25 footer against enough other 25 footers to know what I am talking about. Drifting ain't fun after a while.

On the other hand if you are a teaky kinda guy that loves full keels, go for a "character" boat. And enjoy!
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:21   #3
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Ex Calif says it the way i see it
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Old 10-12-2011, 06:52   #4
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Thanks Ex-Calif,
I keep thinking that no matter what I get, I'd like to try keeping systems simple. Maybe at first at least.

I'm not too interested in racing, although it does look like fun. I took an ASA-101 class around Kemah, TX and really enjoyed it. I've considered something really small like the Catalina 22 but keep thinking something 27' size would probably be as small as I would go. Your first point about towing is understanable. I look at it as time wasted too since I want to be able to spend more time out on the water. If I did go the towing route, I'm likely having to buy a truck and that's just more expense I'd rather do without.

I've searched throughout CF to see that Autopilot and furler is good to have, almost necessary. I've looked at boats online as long as 38' and haven't seen too many that didn't have either one of these.

One of the main reasons I prefer keeping something at a coastal marina is so that it stays in the water and it would be around the areas that I want to sail. I like the idea of liveaboard (someday)/cruising.

One of the things I'm considering is to get a simple set of weather gear">foul weather gear and learn while crewing on other people's boats.

Thanks for the tips.
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:42   #5
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

You are in a great position. There are so many good boats in need of an interested owner out there. Take some time and visit marinas. Dont just chase listings. If you see a boat with 3-4 year old stickers ask the marina about it. Lots of good boats sitting on land can be had for the storage bill. Not too many years ago I bought 2, 27 footers for less than $900. My O'day 27 had good headroom and a great cockpit. Good luck!
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:50   #6
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Always enjoyed new assignments when in the Air Force. A time for a fresh start and new places to see. However was happy to return stateside as well.

My first and last big boat is 32' and was the challenge that one would expect it to be and that's what I was needing. Still having a blast a year and a half later.

Spent the first ten months driving back and forth to St. Pete from north Alabama every month. Then spent this last summer making my way to Alabama waters and landed in Orange Beach. Now it's a five hour drive to the boat instead of thirteen.

If you have the time to enjoy the boat, off from work, then driving to the Gulf Coast from Tennessee is a doable approach. Even a normal two day weekend would work with some effort.

You're going to enjoy finally starting to look at boats. Good luck in your quest.

BTW, I think standing headroom is a must. I have two inches clearance throughout and no trouble with that. At 6' 5" you have a challenge ahead to find standing headroom, especially in a smaller boat, but I think you should consider it a priority.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:07   #7
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Towing is certainly a challenge, especially if you're in the 27' range, but travelling a long way to a boat that's in the water can really drag you down over time. When we bought our first "big boat" it was located 7 hours away. After three years of driving back and forth all the time it became too much. We ended up moving to a port city to accommodate the sailing addiction.

As for the looking for a boat vs the final boat, I would suggest starting small, simple, and cheap. Your first boat is going to teach you a whole lot about boat ownership -- much more than all the books, and all the good advice on forums like this . My first boat taught me what I really wanted, and more importantly, what I really needed.

If I were to start it all again, I would begin with a 24'-27' design that was livable and relatively easy to use. By livable I mean it has all the basic systems, just in miniature. IOW, it's not just a floating tent. I'd also go with an in-board engine if you can, assuming you're really interested in getting into a big boat eventually.

To me livable also means standing headroom. This will be a challenge for you in this size range, but they do exist. Good luck.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:18   #8
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by four winds View Post
If you have the time to enjoy the boat, off from work, then driving to the Gulf Coast from Tennessee is a doable approach. Even a normal two day weekend would work with some effort.
I'm already looking at how this might work. Since the military trys doing a 4 day weekend each month, I'm thinking (after getting a boat) to drive or fly to Kemah area, spend a couple good days out on the water then drive/fly back. I did find out that it's just under $300 to fly between Nashville and Houston. That might be doable once a month.

Quote:
Originally Posted by four winds View Post
BTW, I think standing headroom is a must. I have two inches clearance throughout and no trouble with that. At 6' 5" you have a challenge ahead to find standing headroom, especially in a smaller boat, but I think you should consider it a priority.
As I search, I haven't seen any boats that have good standing headroom unless I was looking at something well over 30'. (I do have my eyes on a nice Bristol 38.8 ) The way I'm looking at it, if I'm down below, I'm likely going to be sitting or laying down and not just standing.
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:30   #9
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_78 View Post
Today is a happy day.

I've seen that TN has lots of lakes and I could possibly get a trailer sailor but I don't have a truck and prefer not to get one. I've seen comments about whether to start small and work the way up or just get last boat first. I'm leaning more towards last boat first. On the other hand, I still have 6 years to retirement so getting something smaller than my ideal boat to start off with might not be a bad idea. Right now, I'm thinking to reitire in the Houston areas. I've been to Kemah a couple times and enjoy the area. Once I start looking at them in person, I'll be able to get more of an idea of what to look out for. Reading the books are nice but I like the hands-on approach.

Part of what I'm considering is the size of the boats because of my height of 6'5".
I will admit that am not big on my US Geography - but I would buy whatever boat that could be kept on the nearest bit of water, sounds likely that would be a lake (obviously I have no idea on mooring availability ). I would also be looking at a trailer sailor as would allow you to relocate her for longer trips.

My thinking is that time on water and the experiance of being Skipper (and a boat owner) in practice is what you want.....and being 1/2 a days travelling away will preclude a voyage measuring only in hours.

Boats are all about compromise - in your case with the 6' 5" thing, your potential market will widen up if you settle on sitting Headroom (unless under main hatch - when open ).....it's not as if you have far to walk anyway on a smaller boat .........or you could go for an open boat - with maybe a view to buying the big boat a couple of years earlier than you need to.

Whatever, I would have a good looksee in the area(s) you intend to sail / moor and see what sort of boat designs are popular......my thinking with small is mainly financial - find out the cheaper way, rather than starting off with 35 / 45' of someone else's problems on a boat you realise is not actually quite what you want.

But no one approach fits all, nor any perfect solution for anybody. The good news is that you do simply get to make things up as you go along

Have fun
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Old 10-12-2011, 08:55   #10
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pirate Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

I agree with DOJ.... somewhere like the Pamilco Sound area is closer and you could play on some thing like this...

Fiberglass hull LWL 27ft. LOA 30ft. Sloop Rigged
This comfortable, stable cruiser has a roomy well designed cabin and a spacious cockpit. Head has a fairly new (2007)toilet with hot and cold running water and shower head. V-berth forward and a roomy quarter berth aft. Double settees in the main salon can be used as berths. Multi-drawer bulkhead mounted cabinet in salon. Reverse cycle marineair combination air conditioner and heater. New hot water heater (2011). Galley has alcohol stove and sink with running water. AC refrigeration unit in ice box. Two new (2010) AGM batteries. Fuel efficient Yanmar 2GM20F 18 hp. diesel. Raymarine Autohelm and Garmin GPS chart plotter. Roller furling genoa. Spare genoa and main plus a spinnaker and storm jib. Boat can be rigged as cutter with detachable forestay. Dodger with detachable canopy and tradewinds awning. Bimini cover available for refitting. Contact Dan Bliley dbliley1@nc.rr.com

No conex....
Or something completely different...


Very cozy Corten steel Dutch built boat in very good condition. One double berth, 2 pilot berth, and side benches. Pilot house with inside steering, lots of head room inside. Full galley/dining area. Wood stove. New head. Ready to go anywhere. Comes with lots of new sails, monitor self steering. 11.5 ft beam, 5.5 ft draft. Engine is 33 HP Mitsubushi, 80gal water and fuel capacity. Asking 30,000. The boat is currently in NC on the ICW, heading south soon. We'll be happy to take you for a test sail.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:10   #11
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

boatman, I don't think I've seen that first boat but the lower one looks familiar.

I have had my eye on this Catalina 27 for a while along with a Cal 31 from the same broker and watching the list price on each keep going down.

This Bristol 27 looks pretty good too.

I'm still looking around at Sailboat listings and Sailing Texas sites. Once in a while I look around what's in the Anapolis area. Someone posted allofcraigs.com - Search ALL of Craigslist on another thread and has been very helpful doing wider searches. Lots of nice boats all over the place.
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Old 10-12-2011, 09:59   #12
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pirate Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_78 View Post
boatman, I don't think I've seen that first boat but the lower one looks familiar.

I have had my eye on this Catalina 27 for a while along with a Cal 31 from the same broker and watching the list price on each keep going down.

This Bristol 27 looks pretty good too.

I'm still looking around at Sailboat listings and Sailing Texas sites. Once in a while I look around what's in the Anapolis area. Someone posted allofcraigs.com - Search ALL of Craigslist on another thread and has been very helpful doing wider searches. Lots of nice boats all over the place.
Get some really sweet ones pop up from time to time on Towndock....
I keep my eye open in case my numbers come up...
"Dreamer.... I'm nufing burra Dreamer...."
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Old 10-12-2011, 10:36   #13
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Re: The Search in on, for my first boat.

That's why that one was familiar.
I have Towndock saved and take a look at it once in a while.
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Old 10-12-2011, 16:18   #14
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Re: The Search Is On for My First Boat

You do not really need full standing height throughout. It is sure nice to have, it may be individually important (or not), but do not put it at the top of the list. Rather find a boat you fall in love with, that will sail reasonably well and be reasonably safe; one that will let you do whatever your sailing plans are.

I think about the only area where height is important will be in the galley.

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Old 10-12-2011, 16:30   #15
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Re: The Search Is On for My First Boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dan_78 View Post
Today is a happy day.

I just got my reassignment instructions. In Apr, I'll be moving from Germany to Tenn. It'll be nice to be back in the US and I'll be able to search for my first sailboat. Personally, I'd like to be near a coast (East or Gulf). I've been looking around online at different boats and now I'm looking forward for the chance to actually go look at some in person. Even though I'll be inland, I'm still considering the idea of getting a boat and keeping it at a coastal marina.

I've seen that TN has lots of lakes and I could possibly get a trailer sailor but I don't have a truck and prefer not to get one. I've seen comments about whether to start small and work the way up or just get last boat first. I'm leaning more towards last boat first. On the other hand, I still have 6years to retirement so getting something smaller than my ideal boat to start off with might not be a bad idea. Right now, I'm thinking to reitire in the Houston areas. I've been to Kemah a couple times and enjoy the area. Once I start looking at them in person, I'll be able to get more of an idea of what to look out for. Reading the books are nice but I like the hands-on approach.

Part of what I'm considering is the size of the boats because of my height of 6'5". In my research, I've been trying to look as much as I can on reviews in articles or other first hand opinions like here on CF or sailnet. Since I'll be traveling in April, I might go take a look at a few boats if I have time.

I'm looking forward to getting out on the water. I think I hear the seas calling for me.

Just wanted to point out that you might consider the Land Between the Lakes area. Miles of water and you can sail all the way to the Gulf via the Tom Bigbee canal. I don't know where you'll be in Tenn but I think it would be a closer area than the coast. Just sayin'.
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