Pardon the length: there is so much to say that seems essential: this is half the length I want to write.
's post is generally helpful. I'll be reflecting largely from Chris31415
's post, with a few ideas of my own.
Gribble, he say:
As I mentioned elsewhere, I'm completely new to this hobby and looking to get my foot in the door.
I'll assume you have zero sailing experience, but are very enthusiastic and have a smattering of common sense.
I'm going to make a case for educating yourself a bit before you run out into the market with a fist full of hundred-dollar bills. The education and confidence you gain will be well worth the short delay in purchasing
, and will likely lead to a more satisfying overall first ownership
Reading a primer on sailing is a great way to ingest the basic knowledge of the function of the various pieces of equipment
, handling the controls, the points of sail and how to trim sails
for each point, and other small boat skills that you will want to know as soon as you can. I cut my teeth on Bob Bond's Handbok of Sailing
, but this is only one of several good choices. A book like Brian Gilbert's Fix It and Sail: Everything You Need To Know To Buy and Restore a Small Sailboat on a Shoestring
is a good investment that will help you avoid buying
a pig in a poke. I wish I'd read it before my first purchase
. For example, I bought my first keelboat in this size range knowing virtually nothing, and didn't even inspect the sails
: they were old, worn, and stretched out. Had I known, I would have taken my $3000 elsewhere.
Though it' not a bad idea in any case, if you intend to purchase a keelboat instead of a sailing dinghy as your first boat, I'd recommend a sailing course. A quick look in the local phone
book will list the local providers. Look/ask for the course ASA
(American Sailing Association) 101.
When you get around to buying, a few months, a sailing course, dozens of bookmarks on your browser and a few good books from now
You likely intend to dry sail the boat (launch from and recover to the trailer each time you go out). There are many people who do this, and a little searching around on the 'net will yield a lot of helpful information. Let me just throw in here that some boats require more than one person to step and unstep the mast. Some have mast-raising systems that increase safety/reduce the minimum number of people required. Stepping/unstepping the mast were the "hairiest" moments of my trailer-sailing day, by far. There aren't normally power lines in the parking lot next to the launch ramp
for obvious reasons, but there are plenty of other people's cars parked all around you, and you have a wobbly, heavy aluminum
strut waving about in the air. A mis-step could total a car or kill someone. Sober thought, pre-planning, adequate manpower, are essential. Practicing in a vacant parking lot (okay, now
check for power lines) on a windless day is a very good idea.
Crazing (tiny little spider cracks) are not a concern and are unavoidable; larger cracks are signs of damage.
The smooth operation of the swing keel
(most likely you will not be looking at boats with centerboards, but swing keels) is important, but is almost impossible to determine while the boat sits on the trailer. Once the seller knows you are a serious buyer, demanding that he take you an hour out on the water to demonstrate that all the gear functions as it is intended to could spare you a big dose of buyer's remorse ("sucker-itis"). After telling him that you like the boat and you want to buy it, the seller really has no reason to want to avoid taking you out briefly.
The condition of the trailer is important: rusty trailers can be dangerous. Don't want to have it snap on the highway. Take a pocketknife and poke around. Bubbles on the trailer paint
indicate water under the paint
, and rust will surely follow. Surface rust is not a problem, but if it's eating away at the structure, weakening it
Most trailerable boats do have some kind of electrical system
, even if that only means a battery and navigation
lights. Some are set up with an installed VHF
(very high frequency) marine radio
, and some have conveniences like stereo systems, etc. Many daysailors get by carrying a handheld VHF. The EPIRB
406 mentioned is a rescue
signaler used by sailors going offshore
, and is not commonly carried by inshore day sailors. However, a basic set of safety equipment
, some of which is legally mandatory, starting with the afore-mentioned buckets/sponges, and working up to PFDs (life vests) unexpired flares, and fire-extinguishers (you'll be working around gasoline, right?) is a smart idea. A stop at the US Coast Guard website can tell you about the legally-required equipment. I would consider basic anchoring
gear to be necessary safety equipment
, even for day sailors. Ask for/know how to evaluate an equipment inventory when looking at boats.
Depending on who is going to be on the boat, a porta-potti may be a nicety. If you're going to be by yourself, a sealable bottle has served the purposes of uncountable day sailors who have, um, "passed" before you.
A keelboat will not normally capsize
as a dinghy will. Several hundred pounds of cast iron ballast hanging down from the hull prevents this.
Anywhere there is a launch ramp there is entertainment. Finding a place to sit and watch the fun (er, I mean study good technique) some Saturday could be very instructive, and prevent you from being part of the show.
22 is a Hall of Fame boat that is a good choice for what you're after. There are literally thousands of them, a large owner's network, and unbelievable factory support. Really can't go wrong. Not a racer
, forgiving, and a great learning