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Old 03-11-2015, 21:00   #1
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Boat Size

I am 22 years old, and wanting to get into sailing, having no experience whatsoever. I have been looking around for a used cheap sailboat online. I am from central Illinois, so the selection in my area is pretty small. Most of the sailboats i have found are between 20'-30', and most have swing keels or centerboards. My question is, is a boat that size, and with that type of keel, safe to take into the open ocean (say the caribbean)?

I would guess a lot goes into boat safety, number one being the operators experience. But, i would just like to know what the limitations of that type of boat.

Also, if i find a boat i like, what is the best way to find out its limitations, and its safety record?

Thanks
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Old 04-11-2015, 01:16   #2
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Re: Boat Size

Maybe...Maybe Not.

There are 20' boats that have gone round the world but most 20' boats are not up to the task.

By the time you get up around 30' most would be capable of doing the carribean but again some will be better than others.

The other thing since cost seems to be a big deal, a really nice ocean going design...that is a total cluster due to age and abuse is probably not as good as a more modest coastal cruiser in good condition.

Sorry no good general answers for you.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:19   #3
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Re: Boat Size

Most 30 footers would be safe to island hop in fair weather in the Caribean. Many 20 footers would also be safe for that.

Best you get into some sailing first. Find a local sailing club and offer yourself as crew on other boats at the very least.
But if you are looking as sailing further afield, it will be worth doing some courses first.
By sailing on variety of boats first, you will get a better idea of what boat will suit you best.
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Old 04-11-2015, 04:57   #4
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Re: Boat Size

Welcome to CF Jens!
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Old 04-11-2015, 05:27   #5
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Re: Boat Size

I was in central Ohio. I joined the local sailing club. During the weekly races I was able to help (kinda) but did get a feel for smaller sailboats 22' to 25'. These small sailboats are nimble and IMHO great to learn on.

Agree with joining the local sailing club.

If you look around the great lakes or either coast you will see tons of boats. You can stop at a boat yard and ask a broker to show you boats. I just did this yesterday in Deltaville Va. There were too many boat yards and boats to look at in 1 day.

Last year in Florida I saw a 30' 1974 Morgan for $5,000 that looked in good condition.

I am thinking I want at least a 30' boat to do the ICW, then Bahamas then the Caribbean.

Next weekend if the weather is nice drive to the great lakes and spend time in the boat yards. Find a broker ahead of time to show you boats that you are interested in.

Good luck.





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Old 04-11-2015, 06:20   #6
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Re: Boat Size

Here's a thread with a lot of good pointers on boats in your proposed size range. Including where & how to find them, some evaluations of a few, & tips on what qualities to look for. Quarter Life Crisis

And, yeah, you can find some decent boats for $5K. I see well fitted out 27'- 30'er's commonly. An often seen example is Cal 29's, which are discussed in the link. They can be found for that price, ASKING. Meaning that the owner's would take less. And a lot of them have plenty of gear.
Not for crossing oceans necessarily, at least not without a good overhaul of the rigging & such. But plenty good enough for what you're thinking.

Also, besides sailing locally, you could always crew on, or find jobs on other boats. Much like the 20-somethings in Project Atticus
Sail Around the World. Adventure Travel Documentary Series

When I say crew on, I mean, just look for unpaid positions on cruising & racing boats that are going interesting places. It's a great way to learn; how to sail, about boats, & some of the 1,001 other skills that you'll want if/when you have your own boat.

Plus, there are plenty of paying delivery gigs out there. Even for folks just working as crew. So it'd help you to put away a bit of coin so that you can; buy, fit out, & cruise your own boat.
The first half a dozen videos in Project Atticus do a reasonable job of explaining a lot of the costs which you'll run into. And the link I put above, to another thread on here (with links in it to follow), is a good source of info on that stuff too.

Racing is a great way to learn a lot about sailing too, at an accelerated pace. Including meeting a lot of folks, & networking in the saiing world. With all of the opportunities that such entails.

Hope that that helps, & good luck.


PS: Welcome to CF.
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:36   #7
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Re: Boat Size

Link below to Webb Chiles website and a second link to a PDF version of he book "Open Boat" in which he accounts his experience sailing a 19 foot open boat across the Pacific. Webb in currently in the midst of his latest circumnavigation on a Moore 24.

self-portrait in the present sea Webb Chiles
http://www.inthepresentsea.com/the_a..._OPEN_BOAT.pdf
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Old 04-11-2015, 06:54   #8
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Re: Boat Size

To compliment Delancy's theme, here's a thread which has been running for 2+ years, over on SA Forums
Sailing around the world in a San Juan 24 - Sailing Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums
He took off in a $500 Craig's List special, with less than a month's prep time. Or so goes the tale...
Now I guess I'll have to go read the full thread myself ;-)
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Old 04-11-2015, 10:28   #9
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Re: Boat Size

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
Here's a thread with a lot of good pointers on boats in your proposed size range. Including where & how to find them, some evaluations of a few, & tips on what qualities to look for. Quarter Life Crisis

And, yeah, you can find some decent boats for $5K. I see well fitted out 27'- 30'er's commonly. An often seen example is Cal 29's, which are discussed in the link. They can be found for that price, ASKING. Meaning that the owner's would take less. And a lot of them have plenty of gear.
Not for crossing oceans necessarily, at least not without a good overhaul of the rigging & such. But plenty good enough for what you're thinking.

Also, besides sailing locally, you could always crew on, or find jobs on other boats. Much like the 20-somethings in Project Atticus
Sail Around the World. Adventure Travel Documentary Series

When I say crew on, I mean, just look for unpaid positions on cruising & racing boats that are going interesting places. It's a great way to learn; how to sail, about boats, & some of the 1,001 other skills that you'll want if/when you have your own boat.

Plus, there are plenty of paying delivery gigs out there. Even for folks just working as crew. So it'd help you to put away a bit of coin so that you can; buy, fit out, & cruise your own boat.
The first half a dozen videos in Project Atticus do a reasonable job of explaining a lot of the costs which you'll run into. And the link I put above, to another thread on here (with links in it to follow), is a good source of info on that stuff too.

Racing is a great way to learn a lot about sailing too, at an accelerated pace. Including meeting a lot of folks, & networking in the saiing world. With all of the opportunities that such entails.

Hope that that helps, & good luck.


PS: Welcome to CF.
I also agree on the delivery point. You will get lots of good experience, meet people, and maybe learn something about sailing you like (or don't like) to do.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:29   #10
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Re: Boat Size

Jens--get a lot of sailing experience on many different types of boats, before setting out to buy one, so you'll have the knowledge required to make an informed choice.
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:36   #11
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Re: Boat Size

Yep, buying a boat is even more personal and variable than buying a car. And the best boat to learn on may be very different from the best boat to cruise the ocean. Lots of good things can be said for starting small, local, cheap, and now, and experiencing as much variety as you can. Find and meet sailors.

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Old 04-11-2015, 11:42   #12
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Re: Boat Size

One thing to do is read books and online stories from people of different tastes and needs. That way you will start to get a sense for the things that are important. You can evaluate those against your own guesses about what will be important to you. But as people almost always say in these threads: get lots of experience on other people's boats. That is the best way to find out what you want...
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:48   #13
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Re: Boat Size

Jens - you mention you're from Central Illinois? Anywhere close to Lake Carlyle? Alot of sailing goes on at Lake Carlyle, might be somewhere to pick a crewing job at Carlyle Sailing Association or even at one of the marinas - West Dam Marina? Learn to sail first - wherever is closer to you. We're on Lake Mattoon, too bad the sailing club just closed for the season, otherwise, we'd volunteer to take you sailing. Learn to sail first, then crew on other people's boats until you get some experience and then buy your first boat. If you can, charter a boat in the Bahamas (Abacos is good) or British Virgin Islands to give you some ideas of what it's like to sail coastal. Good luck & ENJOY!
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Old 04-11-2015, 11:59   #14
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Re: Boat Size

Keel center board boats can be suitable for serious cruising. Swing keel boats are most often lake boats and not built for serious ocean or Great Lakes sailing. There are a ton of boats out there suitable for cruising around $10,000. Cheaper boats tend to be old beaters with poor equipment that will require time and money to be ready to do more than daysail. Strangely, as boats approach the $10K threshold, they are in better shape with better equipment. It is not cheap to equip a boat so getting a boat with the equipment already on board can be a big money saver. Of course, you have to the experience to know what you really want/need.

Size isn't a great determiner of suitability for offshore work. Most smaller boats weren't designed for serious sailing but many do fine probably because their small size means small forces generated. Personally, wouldn't want to sail any where in a boat less than 26' but that's mostly a creature comfort issue. Many small boats have made very long cruises but think that's more a result of the sailor willing to accept the hardship than the boats capabilities.

After sailing a Sailfish that I built myself through high school, my first ocean boat was a Columbia 26. Actually sailed that boat more than any other boat I've owned since, outside of actual cruising. Even though the boat had serious handling difficulties, regularly took it across the channels between the Islands here. Have found the windward passage between the Islands to be some of the most challenging sailing experienced in more than 10,000 miles of open ocean cruising. Wouldn't want to take the boat on a long cruise but it survived serious challenges. Look carefully at any boat you are considering. Check the bulkhead tabbing and other stress points. Try and sail the boat in the worst weather you can conjure up to see how it handles in snotty conditions. Most of all, get some experience. The things that you think are really important now may change entirely after you've made an overnight passage in rough weather.
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Old 04-11-2015, 14:48   #15
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Re: Boat Size

Quote:
Originally Posted by sv Winterlude View Post
Jens - you mention you're from Central Illinois? Anywhere close to Lake Carlyle? Alot of sailing goes on at Lake Carlyle, might be somewhere to pick a crewing job at Carlyle Sailing Association or even at one of the marinas - West Dam Marina? Learn to sail first - wherever is closer to you. We're on Lake Mattoon, too bad the sailing club just closed for the season, otherwise, we'd volunteer to take you sailing. Learn to sail first, then crew on other people's boats until you get some experience and then buy your first boat. If you can, charter a boat in the Bahamas (Abacos is good) or British Virgin Islands to give you some ideas of what it's like to sail coastal. Good luck & ENJOY!
sv interlude,

I am from Villa Grove, which is 20 miles south of Champaign-Urbana. We go to lake Shelbyville a lot with our power boat.

Unfortunately I am not close to lake Carlyle. I think chicago/ lake Michigan may be my best bet.

Thanks for the info.
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