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Old 08-06-2014, 00:52   #1
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Best used Sailboat for Newbie?

I am getting ready to buy my first sailboat. Any suggestions on what would be the best to learn on? Was thinking Cal 22 or so? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Want something easy to handle and learn on. Hoping once I get some lessons, classes, and experience I can take the wife and another couple out on it. Please give me some suggestions/pros/cons. Price range from Free-2,200ish. Thanks!
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Old 11-06-2014, 18:37   #2
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I am getting ready to buy my first sailboat. Any suggestions on what would be the best to learn on? Was thinking Cal 22 or so? I live in the San Francisco Bay Area. Want something easy to handle and learn on. Hoping once I get some lessons, classes, and experience I can take the wife and another couple out on it. Please give me some suggestions/pros/cons. Price range from Free-2,200ish. Thanks!
My 1st was a Catalina 25. I loved it and couldn't imagine owning a boat smaller than that. I still own it but it is in the process of being sold at the moment and I am moving up to a C-30.

The solid fiberglass hull and long water line provided a very fast and stable ride even when heeled. The pop top proved to be the best feature because it added so much head room and ventilation. The only draw back for me was a small V-berth.

Over all I think you would enjoy it.
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Old 11-06-2014, 19:02   #3
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

Pearson Triton. Bullet-proof. Forgiving. Lots of folks in the Bay area have them and can lend a hand. Lots of hulls out there - may need some work.
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Old 11-06-2014, 19:20   #4
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

Thanks for all the info! I am searching! But no luck yet.
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Old 11-06-2014, 21:26   #5
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

The last time I was at San Francisco bay, it looked like a relatively big calm area. That would make buying almost any sailboat suitable I guess. Getting a boat as close to free as possible is fun. There are fixer-uppers that will have you selling your soul to the devil in the end and others that just need cleaning up and you have a great boat.
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Old 11-06-2014, 21:57   #6
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

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... Was thinking Cal 22 or so? ...
Perfect! But how about a Cal 24?
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Old 11-06-2014, 22:03   #7
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

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The last time I was at San Francisco bay, it looked like a relatively big calm area....
Hmm, are you kidding? Must have been nightime and your eyes were closed.

We've been sailing here for 30 years. First few with a C22 which is doable even with 4 people, but you should learn to reef and have a smaller than 110 headsail for summer. Next 13 with a Catalina 25, Bay and ocean down to Monterey and back. Last 16 with our Catalina 34.

The 22 or 25 would be perfect first boats. The others are great, too, although you'd find a lot more room on a C22 than both a Cal 22 or a Cal 25.

Check out Latitude 38 ads, online or in print at WM.

Happy hunting.
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Old 11-06-2014, 22:52   #8
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

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The last time I was at San Francisco bay, it looked like a relatively big calm area. That would make buying almost any sailboat suitable I guess. Getting a boat as close to free as possible is fun. There are fixer-uppers that will have you selling your soul to the devil in the end and others that just need cleaning up and you have a great boat.
San Francisco bay calm!

That's an understatement. We seem to experience the full gamut of conditions.

That's what makes it so interesting for sailing.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app
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Old 11-06-2014, 22:56   #9
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

I'm not sure why you're rushing into ownership. Better would be to start by getting involved with one of the schools and clubs in the area. Take at least ASA basic keelboat, then try sailing some club boats for a while. Where in the bay are you?

The bay is a tricky place to start learning by trial and error, best to start by learning the basics in a controlled environment.
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Old 11-06-2014, 23:40   #10
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

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San Francisco bay calm!

That's an understatement. We seem to experience the full gamut of conditions.

That's what makes it so interesting for sailing.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Cruisers Sailing Forum mobile app


Would areas like that having strong winds, be protected from the open sea with reduced swells and waves. I know the great lakes in Canada have ocean conditons but they are big bodies of water.
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Old 11-06-2014, 23:51   #11
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Would areas like that having strong winds, be protected from the open sea with reduced swells and waves. I know the great lakes in Canada have ocean conditons but they are big bodies of water.
I was stationed at Treasure Island 2 decades ago and I can tell you it is cold, windy, tidal, and definitely can get very turbulent.
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Old 11-06-2014, 23:54   #12
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Re: Best used sailboat for newbie?

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Would areas like that having strong winds, be protected from the open sea with reduced swells and waves. I know the great lakes in Canada have ocean conditons but they are big bodies of water.
Two separate issues. San Francisco Bay is unique in that thwere is this range of coastal mountains and the only break in 500 miles of California coastline is the Golden Gate. It's almost mile wide and the winds come rushing in. It can be 10 knots 3 miles out to sea, and 25 on the Bay. Google weather patterns of the SF Bay area and you'll find out why, a tad too complicated to retype here. Did you miss the Americas Cup last year by any chance?

OTOH, to the OP, there are areas of the Bay that can be quite nice even when it's honkin' out in the main Bay. The estuary, Richmond, behind Angel Island ll are much calmer.

Read Kimball Livingston's Sailing The Bay, a great book for anyone who wants to sail here or read about it all.
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Old 12-06-2014, 03:41   #13
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The Sacramento Valley, to the east of the bay, heats up drawing the marine layer through the Golden Gate creating a Venturi. So high winds in the afternoon. Tidal ranges of several feet create large standing waves when opposed to to wind and 6 knot currents at the Gate. (Sorry honey but we are gonna have to spend the night out here, we can't get back)
I would post my name at the yacht clubs (golden gate, Sausalito, etc), sign up on Latitude 38's crew list and start racing. Buy a dinghy for cheap and practice in the estuaries and calm areas when you don't get rides.
There is so much crap to buy after you get the boat that it is better to get started and learn on someone else's dime. Foulies alone just for you are couple hundred bucks.
My two cents!
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Old 12-06-2014, 08:40   #14
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The good part about buying a used vessel is that more than likely a lot of the "basic" equipment will already be there as well as numerous little items.

When I bought my C25 I already had it in my mind that I was buying a boat that I was eventually going to sell. So when I worked on and shopped for items for the vessel I was thinking about cost and the future buyer at the same time. I constantly checked comparable vessels prices and how they were out fitted even before I purchased. I bought a boat that was solid and came equipped with all the coat guard equipped requirements and a good sail inventory. Then for instance instead of hitting Macys for Black Friday specials I hit marine shops and saved Big $$$$. I had in my mind that I was going to be Selling to a beginner Like myself a turnkey boat. I did all the labor myself with the exception of the paint, only because of time, and everyone knew at my Marina that this boat was eventually going to be sold. I never even put a sign on it and I was constantly getting calls from my marina neighbors making me offers on behalf of their friends. I accepted an offer for $5,500 which was fair for a boat I paid $2,500 for and had about another $1,500 in upgrades and repair materials.

I'm just saying you can do the same thing maybe? I wouldn't buy a boat with a lot of thru hulls or complicated and aging components like plumbing for my 1st boat. It is likely that these components are passed their life expectancy and will need to be replaced causing further expenses. Just keep in mind that this will be the 1st vessel and spend accordingly. There are so many stories of people selling at a huge loss simply because they installed super adequacys that the market simply wouldn't support when the put it up for sale.

Keep your head, buy the best you can, and have fun being frustrated the way we all have. Good Luck!
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Old 12-06-2014, 09:03   #15
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Re: Best used Sailboat for Newbie?

I sailed on SF Bay for about 34 years, before I left to go cruising.

It has some of the most dramatic weather patterns in the world. From May thru Sept the winds in the Central Bay are a constant 20+ knots until sundown. The currents are fast and can be challenging for a small sailboat.

First thing you need to figure out if you want to have something for day sails or do you want something you can spend the weekend on.

My first keel boat was a Catalina 27... Cheap, well built and able to take 4-5 people out on a daysail and sleep two comfortably. It is a great weekender for Angel Island or the Delta! We took ours up there several times for two weeks at a time.

If fast and fun is in your blood, I raced J-24s on the Bay and there is nothing more exciting in my opinion.

I also taught sailing in SF Bay and there is some value to chartering boats from the local Schools. Especially if you won't be using the boat more than a couple times a year.

I worked Club Nautique as both a sailing and powerboat instructor (Alameda & Sausalito). They are a great school and I would highly recommend either them or OCSC Sailing Club in Berkeley. Both schools also charter boats and maintain crew lists so you can split the cost of the rental with other members. Both Clubs are affiliated with US Sailing as well as International Charter Companies throughout the world.

Joining one of the Sailing Clubs gives you a chance to try out some other boats and see what you like.

The other thing I would suggest is getting involved in the Beer Can Races at the local Yacht Clubs... In the summer time, you can race every single day of the week around the SF Bay!

Berkeley and Encinal Yacht Clubs both race large fleets and are always looking for walk on crew, even inexperienced people.

Hope that helps
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