Your lowest cost, zero maintenance
experience is to find a racer
to crew with. I sailed other people's boats as bowman for 20 years. As suggested above, pick the boat & people carefully. Serious racers will be the guys who leave the beer
at the dock
for after the race
. I am still in communication with these life-time friends 25 years after we had to go our sepeerate ways. We still meet and sometimes sail together. Most of us still crew and/or own our own boats.
The boat and sailing that lights your fire will change over time. I started sailing Super Porpose, Sunfish, Cape Dorey 10, Buckaneer. Eventually, I made friends with coworkers with Prindtle, 470, 505, laser. I bought a Sunfish for my kids
to learn. I bought a Tornado Cat and updated it to the current rule
with an A-S spinnaker
. Finally, we bought a 58 Camper & Nicholson Ketch
. The nice thing is you can own and re-sell any of these. They are not life commitments.
I can't recommend a Hobie or other low freeboard cat for your primary cruising ground. It would limit you only to flat-water conditions. My Tornado is great on inland lakes but all of my experiences on big water
with any small cats has been a wet ride with the front pipe clipping the tops off every wave. You spend all day righting it, retrieving your sheets
as they stream off the transom.
If you are looking for a trailer - sailer you might widen your search to include fresh water
areas. The entire Great Lakes
are is economically depressed and nearly half of the boats at a typical marina may not have been launched in the last several years. Fresh water boats in the north see 10 to 15 weekends per season and zero corrosion
and brokers in the Great Lakes
. Narrow your search by city and call or E-Mail. Torresens in Muskegon is our home yard and is packed with boats. Great Lakes Marina also in Muskegon is another. Try Chicago, Cleveland, Buffalo etc. Look on Lake Champlain. I would suggest charter
companies but the boats will be large. Keep this in mind for a later boat. Charters retire boats after 3-5 years.