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Old 12-12-2014, 07:21   #1
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Buying my first sailboat.

So here's what I consider to be a realistic goal. I'm hoping maybe you can tell me if I'm crazy or not.

I live in Portland Oregon and plan on purchasing a used sailboat to do some daysailing and light weekend cruising on the Columbia river.

I'm looking to find something in the 22'-30' foot range.

A boat that is ready to sail off the slip. Something that is not riddled with expensive problems. And something I could liveaboard in only moderate discomfort when my landlord eventually sells the house and my cheap rent goes away in a year or so.

I'm looking to spend 5k or less. I fully expect to spend further time and money on maintaining and improving the boat but for the most part want something thats mostly turn-key.

I have no illusions of sailing to fiji in this boat, just exploring the columbia and possibly the puget sound when I feel ready for that. Ideally I'd like something I could feel ok about sailing up the coast to Washington and not trailering but I'm flexible on that. Comfort, condition, and price are the biggest factors for me.

Do you think, with my budget, I can find something that would suit my needs aside from some of the hideous cheap boats out there in my price range?
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Old 12-12-2014, 07:40   #2
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Quite a range in size listed!!!
Figurethe absolute smallest space you could live in, than add some I ended up at 27 feet; mostly to avoid "foot-itis"; but also as a one-time purchase
$5k is a slim budget.
My rule-of-thumb is to have 1/3 for purchase, 1/3 for refit and 1/3 for "oopsies". that weren't figued. in. You *might* wanna have. lotsa cash on hand for the *just right* deal that might come along.
Key is patience and parameters.. Know what you want.. Know what to spend. Know what to look for.

As for. your last question?
No; but that's not graven in stone,either. Ya just never know what you'll fall into hence; cash (in hand) is king!


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Old 12-12-2014, 07:48   #3
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Assuming that your market is not much different from the market here, I would say that you should be able to find an acceptable boat in that size and price range. It won't be new and shiny, but as long as you're willing to put in some time and effort (and money) you should be able to find something that will fit your needs. When I started sailing I went through a number of dock derelicts which I bought, fixed up and sailed for a while and then sold and moved up to something bigger/better. One of the best ways to learn about boats is by working on them. I'm now in the market for something in the 38 ft. range and I feel that my experience in working on a number of boats has been very valuable. Good luck, and happy hunting.
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:09   #4
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BobbyOrtega View Post

A boat that is ready to sail off the slip. Something that is not riddled with expensive problems. And something I could liveaboard in only moderate discomfort

I'm looking to spend 5k or less. but for the most part want something thats mostly turn-key.

Do you think, with my budget, I can find something that would suit my needs aside from some of the hideous cheap boats out there in my price range?
No...
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:28   #5
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Sounds like a CAL27 to me which will run ya about $2500-5000.

gl.

-steve
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Old 12-12-2014, 08:58   #6
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

When I bought my current boat, my budget was 10k for purchase, settling into a slip, and moving aboard. The boat I got cost me 2k, with a non running engine that was not froze up. I was way under budget so I immediately bought a 6hp Nissan outboard and an outboard mount, 5kBTU AC, and fridge. Moved in same day. Went sailing next day.

I got kind of a lucky deal, though. You should budget about 10k and go for 27' or bigger, up to maybe 35', if you want to live aboard. You will want plenty of power for the river, too, preferably from an inboard diesel, and also an outboard for backup. An outboard also makes docking easier. That's a big plus for a new boat owner. Make sure you have a place to put the boat before you conclude the deal.

If you are just going to cruise the river and live aboard, consider a small trawler instead of a sailboat. Keep an eye out for boats you can easily fish from. You might want to get you a salmon or two when they are running. Fishing can be sort of awkward from a sailboat.
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:17   #7
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Shaun just started "buying your first boat" videos on youtube !

Check it out..
BJ
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:33   #8
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

cal 27 is an excellent choice, better is a 2 -27 it has 6 ft of head room well built and very forgiving for the first time sailor.


catalina 27 also good has a very large following and active web site


ranger 29 another good boat that was well built.


you may need to go through them the first time, ie wiring hoses the head & MSD get the outboard model as you can change out engines easy enough get a larger engine if you decide to sail off shore.


good luck and take some sailing lessons
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:35   #9
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, BobbyOrtega.
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Old 12-12-2014, 09:38   #10
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

I'm assuming you're alone? Have fun looking. You'll fall in love with something. I've known young men that lived on 24' boats, but they didn't do it for long.
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:21   #11
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Look for a boat on the hard, old but good like a 27' Bristol that needs lots of elbow grease......you have to look hard but it is possible. Good luck
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Old 12-12-2014, 10:42   #12
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

I echo all of the above. Sounds like a Catalina or Cal in the 27 foot range. $5k is possible, $8-10k more likely. You can definitely find something if you're willing to rough it a bit.

If you're smart about it, you can make it up to Puget sound in a boat like that, but do your research first and learn a lot locally. It isn't a stretch of coast to be trifled with.
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Old 12-12-2014, 11:36   #13
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

I would also suggest a 27. Big enough to stretch out but small enough that a 9.9 outboard will push you without worry.


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Old 12-12-2014, 11:46   #14
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

As I was in that price and size range 10 years ago I'll chime in with my 2c. Yes, it is absolutely doable. You'd be surprised how many widows, heirs or ex-wives are out there who don't want to deal with the boats they're stuck with.

Your first order of business is to allocate plenty of time and flexibility to start looking. Second to be realistic about what you're getting into. Anything in 25-30ft range for under $5K will not be a beauty. Your best bet is to find a diamond in the rough i.e. just mostly dusty or dirty specimen which otherwise is all intact. Looking back with the hindsight of 10 years experience and extensive subsequent advice of several very knowledgeable marine pros most boats I passed up in my 1st search were decent boats but their cosmetics scared me since I listened too much to the naysayers who were used to only chartering spiffed up boats at the sailing club and had no idea how relatively easy it is to bring a decent but just dirty boat back to life.

The brands below all made models in 25-30ft range but my advice would be to stick with 27-28 footers if you absolutely cannot go over $5K. Although you may luck out and find a decent 29-30 footer also. Look for shallow draft versions, 3-4ft if possible as that foot will make a big difference in coastal gunkholing.

Catalina
Pearson
O'Day
Mariner (NH)
US Yachts (they had a factory in Washington state)
Siedelman
Cal
Ranger
Soverel
Lancer or Hunter (while both of these would not be my 1st choice in that size range you may find them good enough as the 1st boat for your budget and sailing needs)

Stay away from the known monstrosities such as Buccaneer even if offered one for free. Also don't be afraid to get something w/o complete set of sails (as long as that fact is reflected in the price) as these can be bought used and are pretty much interchangeable in that size range. Worse case scenario is you'd have to buy another used boom to fit a bunch of sails rather than spend $$ retrofitting them. A used boom will run about $100-200 (plus you could then sell your existing one) but to cut a sail will cost you as much as $200-300+ per sail. A new sail in that size range will run you $2K and up each easily, and most likely $3K on the average with all the doodas and extras considered.

As in boom/sails example be creative and look beyond conventions and you will find boat ownership not as scary or as expensive as first imagined. That's what I learned in the past 10 years after being a club charterer for the previous 5-6 years.
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Old 12-12-2014, 13:00   #15
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Re: Buying my first sailboat.

Hey Bobby... Welcome aboard, this is a great place to learn and share.

I live in Portland. I started out crewing on boats and co-owning a Catalina 22. You could get a Cat 22 or equivalent for $5k. The size is fine for sailing the Columbia. I camped on our boat, but never lived aboard more than a couple days at a time. If you really want to liveaboard I think 27' is bare minimum. I live part time on 35' and it's tight. I think rain, rather than cold, is the biggest hassle, so strongly recommend fully enclosed cockpit (canvas & issenglass) it gives you an extra room. BTW... Tomahawk Bay has nice heated showers in the winter and quick access to the river

Resources for finding a boat: Freshwater News, 45 degrees North, and just walking the docks on Hayden/Tomahawk Island or Sauvies Island, bulletin boards, and brokers offices. I found my current boat in Astoria, and looked from Hood River to Bellingham. You might also try Craigslist,the Island Sailing club, and various yacht clubs for postings on bulletin boards.
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