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Old 10-05-2016, 10:40   #1
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A good inexpensive learner boat?

My husband and I want to live aboard in a few years. We will still have a couple teens and kids with us. What would a good practice boat be, so we can learn the ropes? We'd like to do all we can to prepare in the meantime. Is there something we could buy to help learn that is around $10k-ish? Anything I should look for or look out for? We can practice in the great lakes or Virginia Beach, as we have property close to both. Thanks.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:42   #2
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Catalina 22 might be a tad small, but a Catalina 25 would work just fine.

I've had both. The 25 for 13 years before we bought our 34 18 years ago.

The 25 had (almost) all the same sail controls as our 34, great for learning.
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:58   #3
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Something Iike this? Too old?
Used 1985 Catalina T9.9exhx, Michigan - 49441 - BoatTrader.com
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Old 10-05-2016, 10:59   #4
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

If you only want to day sail - J24

If you want to spend weekends aboard Bristol 27 or Cal 25.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:08   #5
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Thanks. Is a 1980's boat too old? Too much maintenance? On one hand, I don't want a boat that constantly needs work. On the other hand, it might be good to learn how to fix things before we go full time. Thoughts?
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:19   #6
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Raise the price limit if you want a newer boat. eg a late model Beneteau First 25 will cost $50,000 plus.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:23   #7
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Rent at first.

Find the local yacht club or something... get lessons.
Rent assorted boats and learn starting on small boats (14 to 18 ft) to build up sailing skill.

Then rent bigger.

Find the boat size that works for you.

THEN consider buying.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:35   #8
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

1980's boats should be just fine, especially one on the lakes. There is absolutely no reason to raise your price to $50000, I sail, frequently, with children on board, for weeks at a time and have for years, and I have certainly never spent over $20 000 on a boat.


$10 000 will get you into a nice 25-30 foot coastal cruiser from the 80's. It's a very sensible budget for a learner boat.


Something like an old Alberg 30 for $10k will take you further, in more comfort and more safety than a little racing day sailor will.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:37   #9
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

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Originally Posted by Withthewind View Post
Thanks. Is a 1980's boat too old? Too much maintenance? On one hand, I don't want a boat that constantly needs work. On the other hand, it might be good to learn how to fix things before we go full time. Thoughts?
All boats are a lot of maintenance. It just comes with the territory.You will find that how a boat has been set up, used, and kept will have a much greater impact than year of manufacture. Plenty of people tooling around on boats from the '60s.

Before you buy, if you haven't already, go take some lessons and see if you actually like sailing. Ask your instructor where a racing fleet is, and try to hop on as "rail meat." That will give you an idea of whether it is something you want to pursue without shelling out substantially more money.
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Old 10-05-2016, 11:54   #10
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

You can probably get this Catalina 27 for $3,000.00

It's in Little Creek...............Norfolk/Va Beach

Looks like 6,662 of them have been built!

https://norfolk.craigslist.org/boa/5546573985.html

http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=814
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:14   #11
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Cat 27 or Cat 30. Good boats and resale is easier than some for when you want to live aboard. The 27 comes with inboard diesel or outboard... depending on year etc.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:39   #12
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

The Catalina 27 is a great boat for what you are proposing and you should be able to get one in very nice shape within your budget. We have owned two of them. We paid $800 for one and $1200 for the other and they were both sail-able when we bought them though in rough shape. With your budget you should be able to find one someone has already done all the work on.

The only downside, if you plan on spending a lot of overnighters, depending on the size of your family the berths are not great. The v-berth is strictly child sized. In the dinette model the dinette berth isn't long enough either unless you are fairly short. If you get the traditional model with 2 bench seats it is possible to fashion a filler between the two to make a huge berth out of the whole cabin.

But if your goal is to learn to sail and have a good time without breaking the bank, they are nice forgiving boats, and as someone else mentioned usually easy to sell because everyone is familiar with them and parts and support are still available (via Catalina Direct and the builder). There is a Catalina Owners Assn website also where you can get a lot of help with any issue that might come up on the boat.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:49   #13
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

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Originally Posted by Withthewind View Post
I too would echo the Cat 25 for fun, learning ropes, for resale, for low upfront costs. It has a lot of the big boat stuff but will handle like a dinghy. (well, a big dinghy) Age is not so much the issue as how it was maintained and how well equipped it is. (My boat is over 50!) That Cat 25 has the advantage of being on a trailer (lower costs) and I believe the engine they are referring to is Tohatsu which has a fairly good rep. Price is a bit high though, I am not sure how prices are around there though.
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Old 10-05-2016, 12:49   #14
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Fixing the boat is a big part of sailing/crusing unless you're wealthy enough to pay a yard to do everything.

I always recommend a outboard powered C-27 as a cheap cheap cheap starter boat that you can learn to sail on. You don't cry all that much when you ram a dock in a $3K boat.

And outboards are cheaper/easier to fix than inboards.
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Old 10-05-2016, 20:14   #15
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Re: A good inexpensive learner boat?

Are you looking for experience living aboard, or sailing?

Most of the boats here are small (very small) cruisers normally of a size for a couple, not a family. But if you are looking for something to learn to sail on then there are far better options. A small dinghy on a trailer would be far better to learn to sail on than any of them. Off hand there are a number of very good boats, but the RS Venture would be a good learn to sail boat for the family.

If you are interested in dividing up into two or four boats then there are even more options.
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