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Old 04-07-2012, 18:54   #1
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"Starter" Sailboat

I am relatively new to sailing and looking for a good starter keelboat. I will be sailing mostly on a large lake with intent to mostly daycruise (though wouldnt rule out short overnights down the road). Looking to spend around $7000 or less. So far I have looked at:
1975 San Juan 24
1980s Pearson 25
1984 Seafarer 26
1980s Catalina 25

Any thoughts?
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Old 04-07-2012, 18:59   #2
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Re: "starter" sailboat

Unless you plan to keep it docked at a marina in the lake, I'd focus on lifting keels, and easy to launch trailerables. The Catalina 22 would be a more likely candidate. Or, if you want to have a bit more fun, something like a Merit 22 or Santana 2023

If you need something bigger (or cheaper), an older McGreggor would not be unreasonable.
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Old 04-07-2012, 19:04   #3
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Re: "starter" sailboat

I do plan on keeping it at a marina. Several factors make trailable less than ideal and choices in our area fairly limited.
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Old 04-07-2012, 19:13   #4
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Re: "starter" sailboat

Well in that case, I'd say your list is pretty good. I think the San Juan, s2's and the pearson 26 would be better sailors than the P25, C25, and seafarer. Also look at other Santanas.

I think you'll find that a shallow draft lifting keel is still more desirable than a fixed keel in a lake setting. Anchoring close to shore, and in small nooks, 'parking' at the slipway dock etc... is a major plus.

Not to mention, unless you find the boat already on the lake, you'll need to trailer it home and occasionally haul it out.
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Old 04-07-2012, 21:03   #5
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Re: "starter" sailboat

Of the ones you've mentioned I know the build quality of one but I don't know how they compare to the others. In each case, I'd pick the boat that appears to have the best care and take a magnet to the keel to make certain it is lead instead of steel.
Good luck in your choice. A lighter boat with a longer waterline will be a quicker boat so if you are into going faster that might be a factor. Compare the boats via sailboatdata.com.
kind regards,
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Old 04-07-2012, 23:15   #6
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Re: "starter" sailboat

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Originally Posted by vermonster View Post
I am relatively new to sailing and looking for a good starter keelboat. I will be sailing mostly on a large lake with intent to mostly daycruise (though wouldnt rule out short overnights down the road). Looking to spend around $7000 or less. So far I have looked at:
1975 San Juan 24
1980s Pearson 25
1984 Seafarer 26
1980s Catalina 25

Any thoughts?
How big a lake?
How many in your regular crew or mostly solo?
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Old 05-07-2012, 06:36   #7
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Re: "starter" sailboat

Lake Champlain. Will usually be 2 of us total but possibly some solo down the road. Both the SJ 24 and the Seafarer 26 are in good shape. From what I read seems SJ is faster but less stable with the seafarer being much more stable but a bit slower.
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:33   #8
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Re: "starter" sailboat

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In each case, I'd pick the boat that appears to have the best care and take a magnet to the keel to make certain it is lead instead of steel.
Nothing wrong with steel keels, particularly in fresh water. Sure they require a little maintenance, but it only takes a couple of hours each year to remove the rust and apply a suitable paint scheme. I like steel keels so much that I have two of them

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Old 05-07-2012, 19:07   #9
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Re: "starter" sailboat

So looked at all the listed boats and narrowed it down to the 1984 Seafarer 26 ($6500) and 1984 Cataline 25 ($4800). Both in great shape, having a hard time between the two. Certainly the SF has better headroom and more "amenities" in the cabin but Catalina isn't bad in that area and has a better price. Also Seafarer has an inboard motor and wheel. Any suggestions?
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Old 05-07-2012, 20:45   #10
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Re: "starter" sailboat

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Originally Posted by vermonster View Post
So looked at all the listed boats and narrowed it down to the 1984 Seafarer 26 ($6500) and 1984 Cataline 25 ($4800). Both in great shape, having a hard time between the two. Certainly the SF has better headroom and more "amenities" in the cabin but Catalina isn't bad in that area and has a better price. Also Seafarer has an inboard motor and wheel. Any suggestions?
SF26-PHRF234
Cat25-PHRF222to231 depending on exact model.
Note: Lower PHRF numbers are faster.

figure the Cat25 is 6 or 9sec per mile faster. Not really a significant difference unless you are cruising over very long distances or racing.

The advantage of the inboard is its battery charging ability, fuel economy (assuming it is a diesel) and reliability.

The downside is getting repairs done in what may be a very small market for diesel repair. With a smaller market, there will be less competition and prices will be higher. Given the size of the boat the engine space will likely be very small possibly making work take longer thus increasing the cost. Doing your own maintenance will likewise be constrained.

With an outboard the motor weighs significantly less, motor can be removed and taken to repair shop saving some repair expenses, replacement motor can be fitted while normal motor is in the shop, decreased cost, easier access to maintenance is more likely. Space that would be used by an inboard can be used for storage, a very significant issue on a 25-26' boat.

The upside to wheels is the instant familiarity with how the boat steers. It also gives increase mechanical advantage, which isn't needed on boats this size.

The downside wheels is the extra cost and maintenance. If you want to install an autopilot, tiller is cheaper. A wheel is slower to manipulate in close maneuvering situations. A wheel masks subtle maneuvering differences between a car and a boat, specifically that the boat steers from the back end whereas a car steers from the front. This difference only tends to be important in docking situations.

A wheel tends to occupy more of the cockpit at anchor and a tiller tends to occupy more of it underway.

For these two specific boats the Cat25 has full length cockpit seats that can be slept on, not so the Seafarer.

The Seafarer has a partial skeg to it's advantage and is more heavily built for it's length and beam. Given that you will be lake sailing both should be more than adequately strong. The lower weight of the Cat25 will be a marginal advantage if you have to pull the boat out of the water.

CATALINA 25 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
SEAFARER 26 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com

For this application I would recommend the Cat25. Use any money you save to buy upgrades such as a solar panel to keep the batteries up and an autopilot.

With extra batteries and solar panels you can get a trolling motor get the boat in and out of the marina without using gas.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:16   #11
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Re: "starter" sailboat

Thanks for your post, very helpful. We are more leaning towards the Catalina as well mostly because there are less "moving parts" which means less maintenance down the road. I'll let you know how it turns out.
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Old 06-07-2012, 13:27   #12
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Re: "starter" sailboat

If the inboard motor on the Seafarer is gas instead of diesel I'd go for the Catalina. If it is diesel and runs good I'd go for the Seafarer.

I've owned a Catalina 22 and really enjoyed the boat's quality of build.

Good luck in your decision.
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Old 06-07-2012, 14:55   #13
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Re: "starter" sailboat

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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn View Post
If the inboard motor on the Seafarer is gas instead of diesel I'd go for the Catalina. If it is diesel and runs good I'd go for the Seafarer.
If the boat was intended for longer distance use coast-wise or offshore I would probably go for the inboard regardless of fuel.

Lake Champlain is 5ish miles wide and 125 miles long and has a moderate number of marinas (say 12 or so) mostly filled with small to medium sized power boats. This means there's going to be gasoline and outboard repair available regularly along the length of the lake. Diesel is more likely to involve a walk into town then the need to lug as much as you can carry back to the boat and a diesel mechanic will be hit and miss.

That said the diesel will be more reliable over time, but I don't see the tradeoff working well for that venue.
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Old 06-07-2012, 18:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
If the inboard motor on the Seafarer is gas instead of diesel I'd go for the Catalina. If it is diesel and runs good I'd go for the Seafarer.

I've owned a Catalina 22 and really enjoyed the boat's quality of build.

Good luck in your decision.
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+1

Having had the utility of an inboard and now using an outboard I can categorically state the outboard is a pita... Especially docking...
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Old 07-07-2012, 09:56   #15
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Re: "starter" sailboat

The inboard on the Seafarer is a diesel. I had the same concerns about repair though. Certainly seems easier to repair an outboard and for use on the lake seems like the outboard would do fine. Any major differences in quality between the Seafarer and Catalina? Seems like Catalina is more popular but harder to find good information on the Seafarer.
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