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Old 13-12-2014, 06:51   #1
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Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

O. K. I know you have heard this before but I am 58 years old and diagnosed with serious health problems. Hoping to have a couple years of activity left and have a bucket list item of sailing the Bahamas and Carribean. I have owned power boats all my life and have done extensive scuba in Carribean , Bahamas and Mexico . I've been in love with it since first trip in 8th grade. I live by Lake Michigan and thought I would buy a sailboat in spring, learn how to sail, and cruise down river system to gulf then Bahamas then who knows. Should I just start in Florida? What can I safely cruise open ocean in and also be shoal draft. My budget for boat only is 25000.
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Old 13-12-2014, 06:58   #2
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

might wanna learn to sail before ye buy a boat of which you dont know how to sail then dislike the characteristics and quirks ..

OR

find a boat ye love love love then learn to sail it


problem is that you dont know what you really want until you know what to look for and how to use it and have actually sailed it..
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Old 13-12-2014, 07:02   #3
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Start in Florida.
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Old 13-12-2014, 07:27   #4
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

With 2 years and 25,000 why not just do a few charters. You don't waste time shopping for the perfect boat (which for $25k isn't going to be that perfect), you don't waste time repairing it, or then selling it, you don't have to even learn to sail first if you get a crewed charter, and you could even combine it with a learn-to-sail course right in the Caribbean.

You could learn on Lake Michigan if something is keeping you in the area (family? Doctors?), but the lake is going to be hard and cold until May. Of course, if you can sail the Great Lakes you can sail anywhere, but that doesn't get you down to the Caribbean any sooner.

Not saying you can't get a boat if that's what you want, but if all you have is a couple years, that doesn't give you a lot of time. If you went straight for the boat, start in Florida.

Good luck... Wish you well in battling your health issues.


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Old 13-12-2014, 08:11   #5
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ronaldsons View Post
O. K. I know you have heard this before but I am 58 years old and diagnosed with serious health problems. Hoping to have a couple years of activity left and have a bucket list item of sailing the Bahamas and Carribean. I have owned power boats all my life and have done extensive scuba in Carribean , Bahamas and Mexico . I've been in love with it since first trip in 8th grade. I live by Lake Michigan and thought I would buy a sailboat in spring, learn how to sail, and cruise down river system to gulf then Bahamas then who knows. Should I just start in Florida? What can I safely cruise open ocean in and also be shoal draft. My budget for boat only is 25000.
I sincerely wish you the best of luck in fulfilling your dream.

Since you feel some pressure due to health issues, I have a few suggestions:

1. Learn to sail locally before buying a boat. Crew for others in your area if you can. Any time you spend on the sailboats in your area should help you understand what to look for in your own boat. Walk the docks and look for smaller boats. Ask the owners if you can see what they are like inside, and ask them how they sail. Getting inside the smaller and older boats will help you determine what you can live with (or without).

2. Read some books on buying old boats (there are a few that are highly regarded and often mentioned here on this forum).

3. Buy the low cost boat in Florida. The long trip to the Bahamas from Michigan would likely cost time and money best spent in the islands. Given that money and time are finite, I would rather spend mine in the warm waters of the Florida coast or in the islands, rather than behind a barge on a river.

4. Assuming you are alone, buy the smallest boat you can tolerate staying aboard. The smaller boat (27ft) will be easier to handle alone (docking, raising sails, etc.) and cheaper to maintain, and lower in cost initially. And, if you keep the boat under a certain size, it is cheaper for the entry fees to Bahamas. Some folks (usually singles) successfully cruise and/or liveaboard smaller boats. It is like camping in some ways, but doable. On a very limited budget, and given the desire to experience things while you can (due to health), I would go small boat and use the rest of the budget to enjoy the time and adventure as much as possible.

IF you have a larger budget (beyond the $25K) and you do feel comfortable spending the $25K on the initial purchase of the boat (and understand you may need to spend more to get it fixed or updated or ready), then I think you should be able to find suitable boats in Florida for that $25K. I know I saw several in that area that I would enjoy sailing and would consider good for Keys, Bahamas, and Florida coastal sailing. Some were 30 feet. Some less. While I might like "shoal draft" as a desired feature for that purpose, many members of this forum have sailed those same waters with boats that are not called "shoal draft" and some report sailing the Bahamas in boats with 6 and 7 foot draft keels with no problems (they are careful where they go).

What would I buy in your situation?

First, I would take it step by step. I would first enjoy (to the maximum) a boat in waters where the boat would be a good fit, and I would have most chance of enjoying myself and within my budget and abilities. So, given the lack of sailing experience (you have currently) I would explore the Florida waters, the Florida Keys, and the nearby Bahamas. I would not require a "blue water boat" for that. A coastal cruiser or even a smaller cruising cat or tri would be OK with me for THOSE waters. Since you mention SCUBA as an interest, I would devote my time to enjoying the sailing, SCUBA, and exploring the reefs and shallow waters, rather than planning a long voyage to far away with a low cost boat that may not be adequate or with skills that are lacking at this point (in your life). Maximize what you can get NOW, as nothing is certain in the future.

By the way, I saw some trimarans that might fit that budget. These are generally smaller boats (27 feet) but offer some advantages over monos for the purposes of sailing in shallow waters. One boat that comes to mind is a Corsair F-27 or F24 trimaran. They are fast, can be trailered (when the amas are folded in) and I could cruise on one (as a single guy). They are also FAST and fun to sail, and I have been passed by them while I was on a mono. I have spoken to owners and they love them. I seem to recall some used ones going for about $25-30K. While I would not choose this boat for crossing the Atlantic or Pacific, I would happily use it to cruise the waters of Florida or Bahamas. I did a quick search on the net and see one is for sale in Michigan (perhaps you could look at it) and there is one (a F24) for about $25K in Florida (may not be still available). This link will show you what they look like.
1994 Corsair F24 sailboat for sale in Florida

5. Buy a PLB (Personal Locator Beacon) before you take off. They cost about $200 and could save you in case you are in desperate situation and need to call for help. I mention this as every so often there is an account of some boaters who may have some experience on the water but are in need of rescue and suffer because they are not found quickly. The PLB makes finding them easy for the Coast Guard.

Big journeys and adventures start with dreams that are implemented step by step. I hope you enjoy yours.
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Old 13-12-2014, 08:57   #6
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Addendum: I read your original post again. In it you say you are looking for a Blue Water boat and that you might cruise "open ocean" and Caribbean in it.

My earlier suggestions were for a trimaran, but not that the F27 is a "blue water" boat. I don't consider a F27 a "blue water" boat that is intended for crossing oceans. While I would happily sail it in coastal waters of Florida (or Bahamas) it is not what I would choose to cross oceans or to sail around the Windward Islands or around the Caribbean.

Instead, my suggestions for a smaller boat like that are to fit your budget (25K) and your proposed activity (SCUBA) and your concern for shoal draft (assuming you want to explore the shallow waters of the Florida Keys or Bahamas.

Unfortunately, I think you will find it difficult to find a true "Blue Water" boat that is seaworthy and safe and ready to sail across oceans for only $25K.
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Old 13-12-2014, 09:06   #7
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

I bought a westerly 25 year built 1966, on ebay Annapolis MD. for $600 with $1000 repairs and that included an outboard I sailed her alone to Panama, safe and fun 25 ft. I now have a columbia 35 in Luperon DR, easy to handle by myself but I had to leave it so selling her cheap, Yanmar diesel 400 hrs, I'll teach you to sail it anywhere you want to go I outfitted her for around the world but my plans changed, I suggest you do it, forget the river head out to sea now with gps and minimal knowledge safe enough, plus now with ARC if problems help is on the way.
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Old 13-12-2014, 09:06   #8
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enrique100 View Post
With 2 years and 25,000 why not just do a few charters. You don't waste time shopping for the perfect boat (which for $25k isn't going to be that perfect), you don't waste time repairing it, or then selling it, you don't have to even learn to sail first if you get a crewed charter, and you could even combine it with a learn-to-sail course right in the Caribbean.

You could learn on Lake Michigan if something is keeping you in the area (family? Doctors?), but the lake is going to be hard and cold until May. Of course, if you can sail the Great Lakes you can sail anywhere, but that doesn't get you down to the Caribbean any sooner.

Not saying you can't get a boat if that's what you want, but if all you have is a couple years, that doesn't give you a lot of time. If you went straight for the boat, start in Florida.

Good luck... Wish you well in battling your health issues.


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This.

And I wish you the best in completing your bucket list and more.
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Old 13-12-2014, 10:42   #9
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

If you are really serious about doing this & you want to be quick it can certainly be done with that budget but it will take some work to find the right boat. These days the internet has made boat searching a lot easier than it used to be. I'd start with Yachtworld just to get an idea of what's out there. Then Craigslist & Boatrader. There are also several organizations that take boats as donations. You are looking for an older boat that is WELL MAINTAINED. Do not get a fixer upper because you don't want to spend a year getting it ready to cruise. Look for the smallest boat you can live with. I wouldn't go much over 30'. Large boats cost more to buy, maintain & repair. If you want to cruise Florida & beyond I'd look for a boat in Florida.
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Old 13-12-2014, 10:56   #10
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

I would buy a Pearson 26 or 30, the 26s are being given away now. What you don't spend on the boat, could be spent on new cushions or sails.

The draft of a 26 is 4 feet and I think the 30 is 5 feet, meaning if you are aground, you can get out and push.

Pearson built very strong boats, the 26 takes an outboard, making engine maintenance or repairs simpler.

I am planning in refitting my Pearson 26 and sailing it across the Atlantic. I am confident that with the right additions the boat will have no problems.
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Old 13-12-2014, 11:25   #11
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Start in Florida. Buy the best condition you can get for the money. Less emphasis on "blu water" than condition. Bahamas thru the E. Caribe is mostly daysailing with maybe 3 overnighters. With your situation, a good condition production boat may be just as good as an older "blu water" boat. If you can get both in one though ... great! Cape Dory 30-33? ... not really shoal draft though. Probably too much $.
You can get to the Bahamas and relax.. then move on if you want. By my way of thinking ... there's nothing better further south, although it's fun!
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Old 13-12-2014, 11:56   #12
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

I think Enrique gave you the best advice yet. You don't even know if you like to sail. You don't know how much time you've got to sail, but it could be just a few years. Do you REALLY want to waste half of that time working on an old boat? If so, then great. And I do know people who would be happy to go out with an orbital sander in one hand and a tube of 5200 in the other. You could easily spend all your budget on a used boat and then spend most of the next two years trying to fix or sell it.

Why not start by contacting a ailing school that does business in the USVI and BVI, book about three or four basic ASA sailing courses with them, and get on the next available flight to St. Thomas. (Or Nassau, if you prefer the Bahamas. I know we do.) You could be sailing next week. And by the end of that week, you will know what you want to do. You'll spend every day and every night on a sailboat, talking with sailors. You can ask all your questions, and see what's what. You'll come off that with a good basic knowledge that will be very useful should you decide to pursue purchasing a boat.

Or, you might decide to charter a boat for a week in the Bahamas, another one for a week in the north of New Zealand, and another for a week in the Aegan. You might even be able to find someone else to help with the expenses and sailing. You could be doing all of this in two weeks. And walk away any time.
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Old 13-12-2014, 12:28   #13
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Thumbs up Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Here's a possibility: the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum accepts donation boats. It sets prices and sells boats year round, and auctions them off on Labor Day.

They still have on hand a 1973 Pearson 30 that looks to be in good shape. It has a gas Atomic 4 rather than a diesel, but those are reliable engines and one just needs to use the care needed with any gasoline engine. Price is only $3,000! Surely worth a look!

2220 PEARSON 30 sailboat-1973-Moyer atomic four-roller furling-nice condition- needs decks painted-USCG Doc.
862833-mMD 7523 CG $2,995 - See more at: Give to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum

You would surely find a trip down the ditch (Intercoastal Waterway) more pleasant than a run down the mighty Mississippi.

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Old 13-12-2014, 12:34   #14
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

Here's a Morgan 33 with a recently overhauled Yanmar diesel and new batteries. Yanmars are highly regarded. Morgans were created for charter - tough boats. Sounds well-maintained - cost $20,000.

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...op-135897.html
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Old 13-12-2014, 13:20   #15
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Re: Best shoal draft under 35 ft. Blue water sailboat

I agree with the folks who have the cheap pearsons but would be wary of boats for that cheap. I also think if your interested in pearson I would go up to the 35, its no harder to handle and is a very seaworthy hull. I bought mine for $13000 but it needed an engine. I have seen them on the market recently that touted a lot of new equipment for well within your budget. Mine is only about $5000 over your budget and I replaced everything inside the hull and added a Lectro Scan to boot. Mine is not for sale but you can find them.
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