I second a lot of what Alchemy said.
Toronto is a great place to sail. The lake can be challenging, but doesn't have to be. It's pretty simple line-of-sight navigation
for the most part. And there's not much to hit -- few shoals and rocks and whatnot.
Also a lot of clubs and marinas
, in which to keep the boat.
Do take a look at what boats are available, rather than deciding that a Beneteau is what you want.
Key factor is this: will you sail it?
Guy in our club bought a Beneteau 31-footer (dunno the formal designation) and found he wasn't sailing it. Just too much trouble to get off the dock
and go. And he and his wife found it wasn't as much fun to sail as their previous boat. So they sold it.
Naturally, your mileage may vary.
Alchemy is right that there are a lot of older boats in pretty good shape, and your best bet might be to find a convenient club and take out a crew membership
. Ask sailing members to take you out racing
or even just cruising for an afternoon. Get a feel for various boats.
That was in fact our plan, but it didn't work out that way. We were window shopping
at Toronto Hydroplane and Sailing Club and fell in love with a boat -- Connemara, a 1982 Mirage 27. The price
was right, the PO was a great guy, both the POs were still members of the club (so lots of knowledge of the boat available). So we bought the boat and joined the club.
Our club is five minutes from home and we can be on the water
20 minutes after leaving our driveway, something we generally do a couple of times a week. Connie is very easy to get off the dock, easy to sail, and a lot of fun in heavier air.
She's also easy to single-hand, which eliminates the need for crew every time I go out. (The Admiral does not go out alone.)
So there's a lot of sailing going on. And that's the bottom line, for us.
Other people want a nautical-themed summer cottage. And that's fine too.