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Old 16-07-2015, 15:29   #1
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What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Another rookie sailor wannabe/lurker here.

Some background; I have a lot of boating background, time on the water, been piloting powerboats in shore and off shore since I was old enough to hold a tiller or wheel. Good at reading water, charts, weather, etc., comfortable out there. West Coast of Florida residents.

I've learned a great deal lurking here and soaking up information, there's wealth of it here on the board. My sailing experience is limited to sailing a little Sunfish when I was a kid some, wife has some sail time but not much more than me. I would say I know what I can learn from reading and studying and no more experience than a recent half day instructional (which we both very much enjoyed) so I figure I don't really know anything - yet.

My plan has always been to live aboard when the time is right and my wife shares the same mindset, whether that happens in our target time frame we'll see but in the interim it's time to get some experience and it's something I have always wanted to do.

The plan is get a 25+ more or less cruiser to weekend on and day sail around the West coast of Florida. Gunk hole with my wife and son and enjoy sailing. Something adequate on the near shore gulf here with enough room but doesn't need to be extravagant. We want to limit the investment now and we'll look at upgrading down the road.

The parameters I have come up with so far are:
Shoal draft due to the local waters and extreme tides. I think this is a must have for what I know we like to do.
Ease of handling, I'll single hand it at times, relative inexperience factor.
Relatively safe for my intended use and again the inexperience factor.
Enough interior room for the purpose.
I'm open to outboard if it will suit the purpose, there's maintenance advantages there but I wouldn't mind an inboard.

Right now a Hunter 1985 25.5 shoal draft has come up on an offer, looking for some feedback on this one. Has a roller head sail furling, outboard driven. What's the opinions on this one for the plan as laid out?

I'll look it over in person inspecting the rigging as best I can from what I have studied, deck condition, known potential leak areas.

Anything else to look for on this one?

Some others I like and may be on the radar:
Compac 23
Tartan 27 and 27II
Beachcomber 25, not sure on the rig on this one but it's drafts very little.
Catalina 25
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Old 16-07-2015, 15:42   #2
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

I'll look it over in person inspecting the rigging as best I can from what I have studied, deck condition, known potential leak areas.
I don't know that particular Hunter. For your intended use, as a "learn and sail" for possible future upgrade, it is probably adequate, as many are, depending on actual condition of the boat.
25 ft is pretty small, depending on layout. So it's probably a lot about you and your wife as far as how it goes. If you like camping you'll be fine. If not, you likely need bigger.
Looking on Sailboatdata, the design looks pretty big for a 25.5, beamy. Look for evidence of leakage, toe rail, ports, windows etc. Those can be hard to fix.
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Old 16-07-2015, 16:09   #3
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Howdy Shallowminded. Welcome aboard CF!

What follows is written in a truly friendly tone of voice and with the true intent to help.

Whenever I see a post asking about a boat or "help me find a boat that…" the first question that enters my mind is:

"What is your budget?"

With an adequate budget (funds or "asking price range") one can find a solution.

Without the adequate budget, it is asking folks to name what they would want, without necessarily any real fit for what you can buy.

My simple suggestion: Name the budget available for the purchase of the boat or the maximum asking or advertised price you would seriously consider spending.

Ask folks here to spend that amount for you, virtually, of course.

Upgrades, maintenance, and other costs would be extra and you should make sure you have the extra funds for those expenses.
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At this point I don't know your budget. Do you want something new, almost new, well used, low cost, etc?

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Old 16-07-2015, 16:10   #4
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

I don't know anything about the Hunter you are looking at but I think you are looking in the right size range.

My priorities when evaluating each of your boat options would be to see how easily I could get around the decks of each of the boats that interest you. The reality is that you are likely to be spending more time sailing a boat of that size than living/camping on board so a boat that is easier to sail than live on would be my preference. Performance, though important, I feel, is a lower priority again, until you know more about what you want from sailing. I have no idea of the performance of any of those boats.

I assume you have made the decision to go for something that is not a trailer boat knowing the difference in cost of ownership that will entail. (At least here in Oz it is generally cheaper to store a trailerable boat than something that must stay in the water). One other positive of a trailer boat is that you can take it to fun destinations quickly, something we loved to do with our last boat which was a fat, loveable little 20 footer. I know of no trailer boats over 24 feet long here in Oz but they may exist. I believe it has more to do with towing limits than anything else.

Best of luck with your search,

Matt


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Old 16-07-2015, 17:47   #5
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Thanks for the feedback, keep it coming.

I would say the total budget is around 10K for purchase, upgrades, improvements. Assuming a 50% investment over purchase price, around 5K on initial purchase and 5K on upgrades give or take. If I got by with less than that that would be a plus. That puts me about in this size range from what I'm seeing locally. Would I like a larger vessel? yes to a point.

Trailering ability is not a real want at this time. I want to get away from boat ramps and would rather sail where I want to go even if have to do more planning and take more time to do so. There's nothing in the ride in a powerboat for me anymore and I want to enjoy the ride.

I have the advantage of having a neighborhood no cost anchorage and fairly low cost paid dockage options close by. The anchorage can get shallow, the keel may get in the mud from time to time if I use that option.
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Old 16-07-2015, 18:23   #6
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Quote:
.


I would say the total budget is around 10K for purchase, upgrades, improvements
Wow, optimistic budget.
Boats may be more expensive than you think.
Especially older boats with deferred mainteance.
Sure you can take a dog-sh!t boat offshore on a wing and a prayer, but you will most likely be begging for help on channel 16 after a few hours.
Boats are a bit more demanding and less forgiving than a moped or camper.
Not trying to be negative, just passing on experience learned the hard way.
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Old 16-07-2015, 18:54   #7
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

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Wow, optimistic budget.
Boats may be more expensive than you think.
Especially older boats with deferred mainteance.
Sure you can take a dog-sh!t boat offshore on a wing and a prayer, but you will most likely be begging for help on channel 16 after a few hours.
Boats are a bit more demanding and less forgiving than a moped or camper.
Not trying to be negative, just passing on experience learned the hard way.
I see a lot of boats around here in this price range in the 25' range. I'm not talking about ocean crossings here, I'm talking about planned near shore sails with plenty of places to make way in if necessary. I've been off shore more times than I can count in smaller boats than that (on that side of the state as well) and never had to get lifted off. Granted I could run from weather with speed but I'd like to think a 25 foot sail boat could ride out a afternoon thunderstorm or am I wrong in that assumption? Not enough boat for that?

I also wouldn't jump it in and head out the pass without thoroughly shaking it down and having confidence in the state of the systems.
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Old 16-07-2015, 18:55   #8
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Shallowminded…

The budget known helps.

I am sure you are probably looking at Craig's List (Southern Florida). Occasionally I see smaller boats pop up there that might be suitable.

I suggest you also take a look at the following site. It has a LOT of boats from all over the USA. It will give you many more brands and models to consider, with prices and photos.

In addition, it has a lot of resources found on the home page that may help you too. Look it over carefully. It is a FSBO site.

If I were looking for a good "day sailor" or pocket cruiser on a lower budget ($5K -$10K) this is one of the sites I would look: Sailboats for sale from Sailing Texas, buy or sell your sailboat, free sailboat ads.

In addition, there is "Sailboatlistings." Sailboat Listings - sailboats for sale
It generally has larger sailboats and higher priced boats that are out of your budget. They do have some smaller boats, but fewer. It is a FSBO site.

Good luck!
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Old 17-07-2015, 05:34   #9
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shallowminded View Post
I would say the total budget is around 10K for purchase, upgrades, improvements.
I don't know what the costs are like where you are, but around me you couldn't really do it for that budget, you'd need pretty well all of the 10K for the boat (yes, allowing for relative exchange rates etc) leaving little or nothing for the upgrades. At that price point I have seen nothing that did not look like a LOT of work was going to be needed. A Tophat 25 near me recently sold for $12K and it needed a lot of help. But of course, this is all in Oz, so not really relevant, just interesting I think.

I like your 50/50 split on purchase vs make-better, smart move, if prices around you make this possible, then lucky you I say. I was going to suggest 70/30 purchase vs make-good, but your ratio is smarter still.

Does the no-cost anchorage require you to have a dinghy to get to the boat? If so, don't forget that one in the budget.

Matt
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Old 17-07-2015, 05:45   #10
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

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Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
If I were looking for a good "day sailor" or pocket cruiser on a lower budget ($5K -$10K) this is one of the sites I would look: Sailboats for sale from Sailing Texas, buy or sell your sailboat, free sailboat ads.
I just looked at the boats that had sold recently on this site. My word those look like MUCH better prices than we pay here in Oz!

It's a wonder Australians don't head over to the USA to buy boats and sail them back... oh... hang on...

Matt
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Old 17-07-2015, 05:50   #11
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shallowminded View Post
The parameters I have come up with so far are:
Shoal draft due to the local waters and extreme tides. I think this is a must have for what I know we like to do.

Hunter 1985 25.5 shoal draft
Compac 23
Tartan 27 and 27II
Beachcomber 25
Catalina 25
Tides in FL west coast may be exteme compared to a lake, but not to most ocean coast. Tides there seem to have a range of about 3'-4' from what I could see purusing tides for that area.

I am in SoCal where the tides range is about 4-6' and I come from Seattle where it ranges about 11-14'.

As far as the boats go all seem to be reasonable for what you want to do. I think the Tartan would be the best if you later decided you wanted to start venturing over into the Bahamas.
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Old 17-07-2015, 09:22   #12
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

I'm probably locate in your same area north of Tarpon Springs. If so I totally get where you're coming from regarding draft. The water's pretty skinny up here. We've owned a couple of sailboats here including a Beachcomber 25 which we had for about 10 years. It's an interesting boat & we had a lot of fun with it. The positive is it has a 15" draft & a diesel. However, there are just too many issues for me to recommend it. Plus, it's a small 25'. If you're talking about living aboard you really need to be up in the 30' plus size. However, if you're in the Hudson Beach area you really limit your draft to 3' or less to be able to use the boat on a regular basis.
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Old 17-07-2015, 09:25   #13
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Your budget is right on for a learner 25'. You can pick up a solid 1980's model Hunter, Catalina, etc in that price range no problem. We are happy with our Catalina 25 FK but we are on an inland lake. I'm not sure I'd be so comfortable with that size boat on the ocean (we are beginners too). When you say shoal draft what is your minimum? Most fixed keels will be 4', wing keels may be 3' and swing keels would be 2'. Personally I'd stay away from the swing keel for ocean (more weather) and salt water (more corrosion) reasons. If you can go 27' you'll get standing head room and more stability. Also at 25' I think you'll find 90% are outboard powered. Good luck in the search.
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Old 17-07-2015, 09:42   #14
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

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Your budget is right on for a learner 25'. You can pick up a solid 1980's model Hunter, Catalina, etc in that price range no problem. We are happy with our Catalina 25 FK but we are on an inland lake. I'm not sure I'd be so comfortable with that size boat on the ocean (we are beginners too). When you say shoal draft what is your minimum? Most fixed keels will be 4', wing keels may be 3' and swing keels would be 2'. Personally I'd stay away from the swing keel for ocean (more weather) and salt water (more corrosion) reasons. If you can go 27' you'll get standing head room and more stability. Also at 25' I think you'll find 90% are outboard powered. Good luck in the search.
Yeah, I see no problem with a $10k budget for a local coastal 25 footer and some gear to put on it. Maybe $2500-5k for the boat.
Some of you guys are trying to make a blue water cruiser out of "The plan is get a 25+ more or less cruiser to weekend on and day sail around the West coast of Florida."
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Old 17-07-2015, 09:58   #15
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Re: What do you think of this boat for a novice?

Lots of good boats out there in your price range. One thing my wife always hates about our boat is the lack of standing headroom. Standing headroom makes weekends much more comfortable.

In your price range, I'd worry less about brand and put your focus on condition. A $7k boat that needs no significant work is a better deal than a $5k boat that needs TLC and a set of sails.
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