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Old 08-05-2007, 12:33   #1
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Smile What was the first boat you owned?

For those of you who have seen my posts, you probably remember I am a newbie to everything all together! I have already started sailing (dingyhs for the most part) in fact I took out a boat for my first solo run a few days ago (for those of you who can remember the fun/fear of that ). As promised it IS addicting (I knew this getting in). I don't have a lot of hours under my belt now but by the end of this season, I will be out on the water a LOT and when I'm not I'll be studying (well when I'm not working that is)

So here's the deal, my plan is to hopefully try and pick up a boat sometime next year or possibly early 2009. What I need help with is:

1) What should I look for?
2) What kinds of maintenance/expenses/storage/hauling/mooring should I look to expect as a result of owning a boat. Generally or as a % of the boat cost!
3) Other general tips
4) WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST BOAT? (that you owned)?

Obviously I am really flexible but I want something manageable for day sailing and weekend cruising. I wouldn't mind a fixer-upper but I want something that is sailable from day 1, I am good with my hands and have a lot of patience/time/tools BUT I want to be out on the water not working on it forever.

Any reply is much appreciated! Help the new guy out, come on you know you want to

We never seek things for themselves -- what we seek is the very seeking of things. ~ Blaise Pascal
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Old 08-05-2007, 12:51   #2
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This is one of the most often asked questions on the forum. There are lots of threads already out there with tons of information and opinions.

I suggest you start by reading those, then define in your own mind what you want in a boat, what your budget is, and some boats of interest. Then reask your question with a few more specifics.

There are as many "right boats" as there are boaters.


She took my address and my name
Put my credit to shame
Sunspot Baby, sure had a real good time
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Old 08-05-2007, 13:12   #3
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I know what you're saying, I guess I should have phrased it a bit better. I have read a ton of threads and done a lot of reading. The key was I wanted to hear what people's FIRST boat was!

I'll do some more searching and see what else I can find
We never seek things for themselves -- what we seek is the very seeking of things. ~ Blaise Pascal
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Old 08-05-2007, 13:18   #4
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Haven't you heard of dating?

You know, try 'em before you buy 'em.

Seriously, if there is a sailing club or organization of some sort near you, go volunteer to crew. You'll get a chance to be on different boats, maybe figure out some things you really like and don't like. And those folks will all know about boats that are available for sale, many of them not advertised. Make friends before you need them!

So much has to do with your location and your personal and financial situation, and your skills.

I'm a fixer-upper, with experience in fiberglass, so getting an older boat was OK with me. I like speed, so a Hobie 16 catamaran was a good fit, and they are very easy to find at reasonable prices. But they are a pain in the backside to store, being nearly 9 feet wide on the trailer. They are tons of fun, single-handed or with a crew of 1 or 2. I've taken as many as 4 kids out on mine with me, in mild wind. The boat is a 1978 model, and was original except for the 3 mast stay cables. I got it for $800, on a trailer that was in bad shape. I put $300 in a new tramp, $100 in various bits of hardware and rigging here and there, plus spares, and about $250 into the trailer (tires, bearings, lights, safety chains). I probably sail it 15 or 20 days a year. Maintenance is near zero, now that I know all the hardware and rigging is solid. Biggest expense is winter storage!

There are lots of Hobies out there for $2K or less, all good to go.

A more traditional boat, like maybe an O'Day or Catalina would be more comfortable for passengers who don't like to get wet. If your sailing waters are cold, forget Hobies (or buy a wetsuit).

The most important thing is to get yourself a boat and start sailing! There is nothing I do that does me more mental good than to be on my boat on a sunny afternoon, making a relaxed 6 or 7 knots in a steady breeze, cold beer in one hand and the tiller in the other.... _/)_
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Old 08-05-2007, 13:26   #5
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I sail on the inland lakes of Wisconsin. I've been doing this for over 30 years. I have sailed 12 foot to 50 foot. My cruising has been with charters on the Great Lakes and in the Caribbean so take this info from a day sailors view point.

You will learn the confidence of handling any wind conditions that are thrown at you by having a boat that you are not afraid to take to it's limits. Learn what those are. Learn what the controls do to sail shape and to the handling of your boat. This can give you immense confidence as you expand your horizons. It never hurts to have gone out and tipped a few times. You are learning. Learn how to anticipate what the wind will do to you and how to use it for your purposes instead of having it just throw you around. I don't know where you are sailing but if you can take a year or so with a centerboard day sailor you will get lots of time on the water. I'm sure your local yacht clubs/sailing clubs could help you find something that would fit the bill.

With that confidence you will be ready to go anywhere.


Aspiring to one day wander aimlessly through life !
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Old 08-05-2007, 14:50   #6

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The first sailboat I ever owned was a "Kells", made in Fall River, MA.

I had always throught it was a 21 footer, but apparently, upon looking them up online, it was a 23 footer. Guess memory doesn't always serve you well when thinking back 15 years.

Here's a link to some photos of one:

BTW: I can only suggest this boat as a good one to beat the $*%% out of without wasting money on a good boat. It worked... it sailed places (Portsmouth, NH to Acadia National Park), but it was so slow it was crazy. Also, lacks any comforts at all, and I did not enjoy the portapotty.
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Old 08-05-2007, 17:43   #7
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This first boat/leaning-to-sail question always leads me to think, is it better to learn to drive in a VW or a school bus? My two cents - keep it small and simple.
We can't change the wind - but we can adjust our sails.
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Old 08-05-2007, 18:05   #8
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Naples sabot built by WD schock.
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Old 08-05-2007, 18:10   #9
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Don't buy your first boat is never a bad idea. Rent, charter, sail club or OPB (other peoples boats) for a while will only help you later when you really are ready to buy a boat. Save money for a while.
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Old 08-05-2007, 19:11   #10
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Um, a sailing dinghy; but this information can't possibly help you in your decision. George's post (#2) is the best you're going to get: think about how you want to use the boat (you started with the daysailing/weekending: that definitely points to a type of boat), if you will have crew (and if so how many, typically) or will normally single-hand, and what financial resources you control.

When you've done that, the field of possibiities will narrow sufficiently for you to begin to examine the prime choices more closely, on an apple-to-apple basis.

Generally, the weekender is a 20–24ft sloop that may or may not be trailerable (big fork in decision tree there, huh?), that can be purchased for just a few thousand dollars & up, depending. Good for fair-weather inshore sailing & camping-style overnighters; longer micro-cruising on a spartan level for the more hardy among us. Limited ameneties: basic electtrical system including navigation lights; mostly outboard auxiliary power; mostly porta-potties; one-burner propane camp stove (these are exemplary of this class, not seen in every example). The trailerables are most likely swing-keelers. Comfortable for two people for a couple of days, or four or so for day sailing.

If that sounds like your game, you can begin to focus there now, and I'm sure others here will be happy to offer specific makes/models to research.

Good Luck, and post any questions for our enthusiastic and opinionated denizens to wrangle over: it's our bread and butter.

s/y Elizabeth Catalina 34 MkII
"Man must have just enough faith in himself to have adventures, and just enough doubt of himself to enjoy them." G. K. Chesterfield
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Old 08-05-2007, 19:54   #11
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Thanks for all the responses guys! For those of you who commented, this certainly won't be a rushed decision, that's why I'm starting to search so early. I read a lot of threads on here and there's no "right boat" and so forth, but I'm always open for opinions. As I mentioned, this year and most of next I will be sailing other's boats (I belong to a club) and will be crewing anytime I have the opportunity.

Since it seems to be coming up a bit, let me ask another question: how many years did you sail before you bought something?

Also, any makes/models are also helpful so I can keep on reading
We never seek things for themselves -- what we seek is the very seeking of things. ~ Blaise Pascal
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Old 08-05-2007, 20:22   #12
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My first boat? Well, I guess it was a small home built sunfish kinda thing. It took on more water than it kept out, but that was probably not the level of boat you are after. My first "Boat" was a Cruisers 256 power boat. Of particular interest to you might be the process that led me to buy this boat. After an offshore expedition, following a number of years off the water, I got the bug, and decided I wanted a boat. I was dead set on a sail boat, but knew very little about them, or boats in general. I grew up on the water, but we were always on someone elses boat. It seemed to me that the logical thing to do was to start spending time around boat people, and ask advice. I did, and I got answers. everyone knew what would be perfect for me. About half said I needed a power boat because you can't go where you want if there is no wind, and it takes too long to get there. The other half told me to stick with the dream and get a sail boat. Eventually, the power boat people won out. (I think my ex may have had some influence there). Well, a couple of tanks of gas, and mechanical failures later, I ran across a Reinell 26 sloop that was in need of a little TLC. Hey, it's only money So, I was a multiple boat owner. I eventually sold both, (the power boat lasted longest). and the next boat I bought was an old wooden ketch, Petrel. She was 34' on deck, and more rot than boat, but that is another story. Of all the monohulls I have owned, that is the one I wish I still had.
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Old 09-05-2007, 02:31   #13
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The first boat we ever owned was a 1938 A.C.F Cabin Crusier. ACF stands for American Car and Foundry. At one time thye also made the old Pullman railroad cars. We loved that boat, it was 32 feet long, and when we purchased her she had a 1942 hercules gas engine that we ran for a while. We learned alot about working on wooden boats with that one...
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Old 09-05-2007, 07:02   #14
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We just bought our boat and couldn't be happier. This isn't the first boat I've owned but it is the first in a while. I don't know what the "best" boat is but it helped for us to define our needs.

We wanted a boat to learn on and do coastal crusing. One that would be easy on the pocket and not too complex. It should resell well and quickly when we want to trade up.

So our wish list was simple.

1/ Buy half the boat we can afford - Leave money for learning
2/ Buy half the boat we think we can handle - Don't get in over our heads!
3/ Make sure we can sail at night and overnight in the boat - An inboard engine and electrical system is important
4/ Make sure the famlies enjoy it - It must have a head, and a galley would be nice

We got exactly what we needed. We have had it three weeks, have tossed in about USD$1,500 on stuff we knew about and are taking our first overnight cruise this weekend.

I wouldn't wait too long before buying. Buying itself and ownership are learning processes. Just don't buy over your head. Besides why pay for rentals when you can be throwing money in to your own private money hole?
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Old 09-05-2007, 13:33   #15
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Aloha Merlin,
Back in the 70s I joined a Sailing Association that had all kinds of boats from Lido 14s to 44 foot yawls. I sailed on all of them and even gave lessons on some up to 22 feet. When I was transferred to Hawaii in '81 there was no such club with all those options that was in an affordable category.
I decided to buy. I bought a Catalina 22 even though it was smaller than I wanted (26' International Folkboat), it was affordable and I had taught on one like it back in Coronado. Because slips were available I got the fin keel model and kept it in the water (that is an expense you need to consider). If the slips had not been available then I would have gotten a trailerable about the same size.
I think you asked what was the first boat I owned and that gives you my answer. Would I buy that boat again? Given the circumstances, yes, I would. I learned a lot about maintenance, improvement and boat ownership by the experience.
Kind Regards,

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