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Old 29-06-2012, 08:14   #16
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

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Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
Just noticed that you mentioned racing. Not my cup of tea - but each to their own! Leaving aside the actual racing would also be a useful way to get in with other boat people, to pick brains and hitch rides on other boats.
Maybe if more sailors did a bit of racing there would be fewer out there with poor sail trim and lots of luffing. Someone doing it right:

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Old 29-06-2012, 08:22   #17
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

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If your ultimate goal is to cruise, than you should learn in a boat large enough to teach you how to reef ...
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Old 29-06-2012, 08:35   #18
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

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Originally Posted by markpierce View Post
Maybe if more sailors did a bit of racing there would be fewer out there with poor sail trim and lots of luffing. Someone doing it right:
Fair point and a nice shot

But probably not the ideal learning boat to Skipper. But as crew, then why not

Personally (for OP's own boat) I would go for anything above capsizable dinghy, in either size or design - plusses and minuses to anything above that. something that don't require a crew (even if handy / more fun).......and won't scare self or Missus witless early doors, even if the price of all that is no planing in 5 knots of wind .

With the Missus onboard might be politic to get something with at least a cuddy - as IME people of the female persuasion less inclined to be happy with the public bucket or whizz over the side approach. But, as always, YMMV .
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Old 29-06-2012, 08:38   #19
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

My first sailboat was a Hunter 20 or H20 and it seemed ideal for the task. It stored easily on it's trailer and opened up a variety of sailing waters for me to learn on from mountain lakes to coastal sailing. When the keel was retracted the draft was 1'6" so it was forgiving of my often optimistic navigation. It was old enough to need work and had a few systems like lights, water and a bilge pump for simple cruising (and maintenance! ha). It sailed great and did require a reef at times. The cabin was functional and useable for cooking and sleeping with it's pop-top and layout and the cockpit was long enough to sleep in. It was like camping on the water, but a big step up from tent camping and was more in line with a small RV with a great view.

All of that added up to a great day sailor and the boat was even comfortable on longer cruises. I've moved up to a slightly larger boat 28' but it's likely that at some point I will go back to a smaller trailer sailer and to many of the benefits of a boat that size.

One of the biggest downsides in my experience was the extra prep time that it took to get the boat ready for launch which included raising the mast and such, and the need to deal with towing and launching etc. A boat permanently in the water can be much easier to get underway. A boat parked at home though is easier to keep an eye on, can be easier to clean and provision before a trip, etc.

Perhaps a 20 to 26 foot trailer sailor that you keep in a slip most of the time and then trailer for off-season storage and explorations of other water would be ideal for what I'm describing.

Have fun learning and playing with boats and sailing,

Jonathan
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Old 29-06-2012, 09:13   #20
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Wow, thanks MarkPierce, a picture is worth a thousand words, isn't it? Well at least now i know what i shouldn't look like sailing across the water
JonathanSail- Thats yet another train of thought I am struggling with-- Great to have boat on water, nearby, for outings even when time is tight, but- expenses could easily begin to overcome actual value of boat in the range I am looking!
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:08   #21
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

H Crawfish,
I think i'm in a similar position as you. I'm training at present and will have about $5-6k to spend on a small 23-26footer. I've been looking around the UK coast at comparison costs of dry storage against marina dock. As you say, a possible situation could be a £4k yacht costing £2.5k per year to wet dock. But as i see it, the pros of a quick get away far outweigh the cons. So I see these fees as fixed costs and to hell with it. My SO spends far more money than i'm contemplating on sailing, with her 10 horses. At present she's looking at £10K horse boxes! So go with what you WANT to do and enjoy it!

Just my (very inexperienced) two-penneth worth..

Simon
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:30   #22
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

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So I see these fees as fixed costs and to hell with it.
Sailing won't make you money but the ongoing costs are cheaper than horses but not a lot less (we had one). Learning to sail is also about learning what kind of sailing you want to do. You can say you want to cruise or you want to race or you just want to lay around on a deck. It takes a while to come to terms with what you really want. Ultimately can you afford what you want or do you need to find something else? It can take the purchase of several boats to figure out what fits you best and starting with a cheap one as the first is a good hedge.

It is during this period where a smaller investment gets you on the water in a way that works. Even this should bring some level of enjoyment else you may want to consider an alternate hobby. Golf has plenty of being outside with less water.

Personally, I'm getting excited about a Fatty Knees 8ft sailing dinghy to hang off the back of the boat. Something small does have an appeal now and again.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:31   #23
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Right.

Something under 20', like (o'day daysailer 17'):


Myself, I had an 8' and 14' sailboat before moving up to my Daysailer and learned much from each. Then had two larger keel boats before my current boat.

Learn to sail on a small boat. Leave the learining to cruise till later.
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Old 01-07-2012, 09:37   #24
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

As pointed out there is no right answer but a lot of answers that could be fun. Seeing as you're in Texas I checked craigslist in Corpus Christi and found this for $3k. 24' Helms Sailboat

It looks in real nice shape and if you can afford to keep it somewhere would be great to not just learn but to have some fun with. Prices seem to be going back up again but for under 5k a boat like that one would be a nice choice.
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:36   #25
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

I'm having a great time in my Aquarius 23'. It is easy to sail, easy to raise mast, and easy to trailer. The fractional rig, I recommend for beginners), is easy to tack.

On several smaller boats, I had difficulty tacking. Once in a stiff breeze when I headed to wind it would either go to irons, or fall off, (too much headsail, and no way to easily reef it). If I used too little rudder it would lose velocity before crossing midpoint, If I used too much the rudder would act as a brake. With practice I would succeed 1 out of 4 tacks.

With the fractional rig, I'm in the high 90's. Most of the time it tacks without me even having to think, I just lay over the helm, and duck the boom. The boat doesn't even slow down as it crosses midpoint, (800lbs of ballast + 200lb long swing keel helps alot).

Overall I find myself way high on the learning curve. For a beginner boat, I would suggest a good 18-25' trailersailer, or a fin keel or swing keel small to medium sailboat. You can overnight, weekend, and it can be easily singlehanded. It sails just fine on main alone.

Not that you couldn't learn on anything, or any size of boat, but that size gives maximum gain, with minimal risk.

Beach your 50 footer, and you better have the pocketbook handy. Beach the trailersailer, and a couple of volunteers will have you floating again in under an hour. Ground it?....crank up the keel.

Lose the rigging? Tow it back to the ramp, and get a couple of volunteers, and a come-along to re-step the mast.

Tear a sail, you can find a used one for a couple hundred, or less. Tear the 50 footer, and be prepaired to spend a couple grand.

A 50' roll of nylon twin braid is $10.00 at Home Depot, I don't know where the 50footer is going to find line that cheap. The 1/2" braid is good enough for everyline aboard, including halyards, and docklines, and strong enough I can swing on it.

I found a laser too challenging, and too much work, if I didn't keep a quick hand, it would flip, if the boomvang, or mainsheet, wasn't adjusted right downwind it would sometimes flip for no apparent reason when the air spilled from the top of the main. My sail developed an algea green stain on the top 3 ft of it, from frequent flipping.

ON my Aquarius with its ballasted sole, it will take a lot of work to knock it down, let alone a capsize. And launching is doable for a daysail.

In short a 20-25' makes a great beginner, or even a long term boat. Unless you had a specific reason to go larger with your first boat.
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Old 01-07-2012, 13:39   #26
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Thanks all for great info, opinion, and advice!
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Old 01-07-2012, 14:40   #27
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Me & hubby just took a beginners sailing course together & it was great. We were able to study stuff together and we know the competence/ confidence we each have at different tasks and where we need to practice. There was a woman in our class who was doing it on her own to increase her skills as her husband was the more experienced sailor and I think in that situation - when one spouse has far more experience and skill than the other - a separate course would be a good idea. But when both are beginners, I think taking classes together can be a good thing.
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Old 01-07-2012, 14:45   #28
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

citygirl,
Thanks, that is helpful, especially from your point of view, my SO is pretty independent, and I have a lot of faith in her ability to do anything she wants, so I am starting to lean towards taking the course together more and more.... Of course I have already mentioned it, and being the sly devil she is, her reply was "sure".... "and then we can take those dance lessons together as well".... let the games begin Lol!
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Old 01-07-2012, 14:56   #29
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

My first boat was a 33ft Cat. I'm a draughtsman by trade so map reading isn't a problem, vectoring winds and currents also. First trip was in a flat calm 8 hrs, ran aground once and sat it out on a gravel bank. (Solents full of them).
Since then I've learnt to be more cautious, and read the depth gauge. Only got caught out when it failed making the return run to the broker for selling, two years later. Bad visibility, engine failure and no chart plotter put us on another gravel beach. Quite happy to sit out the f6/7 that eased to f2 a few hours later. By then we'd been towed off by the coastguard, inspected for smuggling, and payed for a tow to the brokers yard.
The two years in-between had been great, some lovely coastal trips, some nice sailing, and some satisfying days out.
It's not the size, it's the vessels ability to look after you. And your agility at getting to the bow in a blow to sort out a jammed roller furler/drop the jib/hiost the anchor and get back to the cockpit.
Slow Cats are great for first timers. Do a class room navigation course though, one to one, at eighty pounds a day it's great for experience, light/flag/bouy/rules of the road. AND what is achievable in a sail boat against wind and tide, more significantly what you are likely to achieve in your boat.
Size adds to the mooring/pontoon fees. Twin props greatly reduce the stress of manouvring, auto pilot gives you a couple of minutes to tweak the sails, no more. Crew need to be available and able to hold a course, or turn the boat through a tack (or Jibe) and step off the boat onto the pontoon and fix the line in their hand to a cleat. Simple - it isn't, not for my crew buddy. Always too tight, always untying and stepping onto the boat while I was preping the sails, lines and sheets. Adrift again. At least the engine was running, if not warmed up! Several times. Usually he brought the mooring line aboard with him, I got used to making it safe.
The other gripe was - moored. It would take me fifteen minutes to go oveer everything, from galley to lines to mooring lines/fenders/sails tied down at least. He stood on the dock, waiting for a lift home.
Now, the 22ft mono I've got now is easier to single hand, but no auto-pilot, no way to access the foredeck while under way. I've rigged a haul down for the jib, and the main is near enough to manage. It's do-able but it would be so much easier with a competent crew.
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Old 01-07-2012, 15:36   #30
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

I've just got back from three hours of being thrown around in force 6-7 by my Laser - you can pick one up for a few hundred pounds (or dollars!). Let's just say I learned more about 'sailing' - proper sailing that is, mainsheet in one hand and tiller in the other - than I would have done from several days spent on a keelboat or yacht. I always wanted to sail yachts, but ended up dinghy sailing, and it has become an end in itself. It's certainly true that you can go from dinghies to yachts without much trouble, but not the other way!! With skills learnt sailing a Laser, the first time I was asked to sail a yacht (a 44') it felt just so easy! The reason? On a windy day in a dinghy, a wrong tweak of the tiller, tacking at the wrong time, or not seeing a gust can have you capsized in under a second. 'Death roll' - terrifying to a yachtsman the first time it happens - is simply a fact of life, and it happens so much faster and so much more spectacularly in a dinghy. The dinghy, however, will teach you how to overcome these things with rapid tweaks of sheet and tiller. The yacht won't, becuse 95% of the time it's just smooth sailing because the keel coupled with the sheer mass of the thing have ironed out most of your mistakes. Stepping in to a yacht, it's like things are happening in slow motion, and you'll know just what to do when the yacht requires of you some helming talent; and with dinghy adjusted reflexes, be on top of it way before things get nasty. Plus, it will make you appreciate yachting all the more - yachts can't go upside down because of all the metal bolted to the bottom, and have a nice warm cabin to retire to when you've had enough!

That said, dinghy sailing really isn't for everyone, and it certainly won't teach you any yachting skills such as passage planning, manoeuvring under power etc. etc. A small keelboat will, and in the right hands even the smallest keelboat can really travel - have a look at this: junkming's channel - YouTube

The best thing about moving from dinghies to yachts, though, is laughing at yachties having all that trouble docking under sail!
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