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Old 24-07-2016, 19:52   #1
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What would you suggest for a learning boat?

I have had the opportunity to go sailing a couple times this summer and the skippers were kind enough to let me helm and answer all my rookie questions. Have never taken a lesson but I am hooked enough to look for a boat to learn sailing. So it needs to be small so I can put it in my backyard, cheap as in a few grand, and a good, fun learning boat. I'm from south Texas and Matagorda Bay is only 35 minutes away. If we ( the ole lady and I) just fall in love with it then I suppose we would be looking for something more substantial that we could spend some time on and explore the Gulf while we were learning to sail and the cruising life.

So I would be very interested in hearing your recommendations for a good learning boat for a total newbie. Thanks in advance.
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Old 24-07-2016, 20:06   #2
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Find the local place to get some basic sailing lessons using the instructor's boat.

Volunteer to crew on some local fun races.

Learn a bit about sailing and what size boats work for the place you'll be sailing.

A small boat appropriate for a pond the size of a couple of football fields would be dangerous for open ocean. A boat appropriate for open ocean would have its keel drag bottom everywhere on that little pond and be difficult to turn before it hit the beach...

While there are a bunch of 25 to 45 ft boats in the local lake's marina, they're really too big for the lake. I can sail all over the lake in my little 14 foot boat... they can use maybe 10% of the lake without danger of running aground.
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Old 24-07-2016, 20:09   #3
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Any trailer sailer under 23 feet would do the job for you. Try and find one that isn't too beaten up, and go play. See what happens. Take a look at the Colregs to see who is burdened and when, but never expect others to know what they're doing. They may or may not know.

It should be fun, and you'll learn heaps.

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Old 24-07-2016, 20:32   #4
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Oday 22 to 25 or similar. Google Oday sailboats for sale. Probably find one with a trailer and motor for 2 or 3k
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Old 24-07-2016, 21:42   #5
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Catalina 22.
Trailer sailer.
Ubiquitous.
Go to "sailingtexas(dot com)". For sailboats for sail and topics on sailing and info.

You may find one with trailer for a few thousand. About $2000

A step up in size and comparable in quality would be the also ubiquitous Catalina 25. About $4,500

Have fun!
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Old 24-07-2016, 21:49   #6
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

I will second Steady Hand's suggestion. Catalina 22 should fit the bill pretty nicely.
Good luck, happy sailing!

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Old 24-07-2016, 22:14   #7
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

What do you have to tow with? On this hinges the viability of all suggestions so far?


A house is but a boat so poorly built and so firmly run aground you would never try to refloat it.
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Old 24-07-2016, 22:26   #8
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

I absolutely would not get a small keel boat like a Catalina or whatever. I would snatch up two small boats like Lasers. This way the two of you can learn at your own pace, and set up races against each other. They are quick to rig, easy to sail, cheap, and can be towed by almost anything.

Second best would be a small two person dinghy like a Vanguard 15. Pretty much a scaled up laser with a jib.
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Old 25-07-2016, 00:03   #9
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie View Post
What do you have to tow with? On this hinges the viability of all suggestions so far?.
F450.

It's Texas, doh!
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Old 25-07-2016, 00:21   #10
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Swing keel or daggerboard for easier trailering.

fixed keel means the trailer gets top-heavy fast. It also means you need a steep boat ramp where you can let the boat down into deep water. A 16 to 20 ft swing keel boat can be launched with less than 3 ft of water at the trailer axle. Fixed keel 16 ft boat might need 4 ft DEEPER.

I can launch my Vagabond 14 pretty much any place someone can launch a 14 ft Jon boat WITHOUT the outboard.

Expect trailer to weigh about 60% to 100% as much (or more) as the boat for a daggerboard or swing keel boat. They have to be that heavy to be stiff enough. These small boats can be very light.
The trailer under my Minifish weighs 200% as much as the boat ready to sail.

Above 14 ft you'll probably be looking at mast stays to rig when you raise/lower the mast. That adds time and complexity to the process of getting the mast up.

Once the mast gets too heavy for one person to swing it up without aid of a winch, you'll likely get tired of raising it and lowering it every trip to the lake.
Or maybe you'll move to an electric winch... but be careful because those can break things if the lines snag.

Small boat "camping" can be like trying to camp out in a pup tent that gets bounced around by the water....
I'd want a 30 ft + for more than an over-nighter.

TRYING boats before buying and learning a bit about sailing will give you more of a clue about what boat you might actually want...

What is right for me is definitely not right for someone cruising the Gulf of Mexico.
I would want the 30+ ft (and probably 2 people with "blue water" experience) for sailing from Houston to Miami.
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Old 25-07-2016, 00:47   #11
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michaeloh59 View Post
F450.

It's Texas, doh!
I'm sticking with two lasers and a pop up trailer for weekends. Small keel boats take too long to rig and unirig, and to get one large enough to reasonably sleep on takes to many sacrifices to the sailing side of things.
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Old 25-07-2016, 01:22   #12
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

The two lasers might be a little much if these guys are over 70 and poor swimmers.

However, if y'all are young enough to think it's fun, Stumble has suggested a really fun and inexpensive way to learn to sail. I don't know about the inter and intra personal issues of him and his "ole lady" racing, though.......?

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Old 25-07-2016, 10:23   #13
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

I would absolutely start with a sailing dinghy. Somewhere between a Laser and a Flying Scot. The sense of connection that you get to the wind and water in a small boat is a huge step to understanding sailing.

Yeah, there are other skills needed for a live-aboard life. Mostly maintenance of one sort or another. But for getting the boat to move from here to there, a small sailing dinghy is the best education.
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Old 25-07-2016, 10:29   #14
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Why not a beach Cat, maybe a Hobie 16?
Never owner one, but have wanted one since I was a kid
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Old 25-07-2016, 10:32   #15
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Re: What would you suggest for a learning boat?

Flying Scot, J80, Catalina 22
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