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Old 29-06-2012, 00:00   #1
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A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Hi CFers,
So many threads about what boat to start with, right?

How about some suggestions for an actual starter boat? Not a 50ft Bene, or a Cal40, etc., more along the lines of a <5000.00, lets say? In almost every thread about newbies to sailing, there is mention of these types of boats, laser, sunfish, on and on, but can someone suggest some specifics to look for in this sized boat?
I live 5 hours from coast, but there is a lake nearby that has an active yacht club, where I will be taking my Keelboat lessons soon, they of course also charter boats (and sell), mostly medium sized Beneteaus, which is great for a weekend, etc., but I am hoping to get a small boat to begin to learn and practice on my own!
Let me be honest, and say that I haven't even fully decided on sailing, my initial search was into trawlers...... maybe i shouldn't put that here, lol! Anyway, I think once my course(s) are done, Ill have a better idea of things, then add the ultimate deciding factor (SO) to it and.... well thats onother story...
So, what type of boat, one that I can learn to actually sail in?

Thanks!
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Old 29-06-2012, 00:18   #2
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Hey Crawfish,

All the little lasers and sunfish are great fun for learning to sail, but really... Learning to dock a bigger boat has been more interesting as it relates to cruising (to me) and you have to have a little bit bigger boat to figure that type of stuff out. For under 5k you can probably pick up a little 20 something that is a used race boat and make do with it while you get the hang of it. Honestly though, if your lake has a yacht club, go racing! We've been having great fun crewing on racing boats even though we own a boat.

I guess it really comes down to... What is it you're trying to learn? Racing, Sailing, Cruising or some combination of the three. If you're looking for anything more than just learning to sail I'd pick something a little bigger than the sunfish class. Like I said, a used 20 something footer that maybe you could spend the night but is small enough to handle easily.

BTW, your avatar makes me wish it were still bug season. We only made like 2 boils this year! Ahhh!

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Old 29-06-2012, 01:19   #3
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Target,
Thanks for the insight! I agree, I am looking for something like you mentioned, 20' range, have found several that would be fine for daysailing and/or even an overnight, just not sure what characteristics I should be looking for...
My main goal in the smaller boat is to learn the actual sailing aspect, sail trim, etc., etc. which pretty much makes your suggestion to doing some racing point on, have been told that's one of the best ways to learn, so I will definitely look into that.

I got my nickname while living/working down your way, and I second your wish, only got 1 chance to chow down this season

Thanks for the reply, hope things are well there!
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Old 29-06-2012, 03:49   #4
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Pretty much anything with sails on. I would go for something rigged the same as you would later buy, in practice 90%+ likely to be the usual Bermudan / Marconi rig.

Anything that won't tip you into the water like a dinghy can (that'll get old!) - say 16 to 20 foot, something you could easily stuff onto a trailer and take home if needed (for work or the winter or a vacation somewhere else? - even if you have to borrow a trailer for that). Can have a cuddy or not - plusses and minuses to each.

Apart from that, something that you can buy and try locally (to where you will base her) which will limit your choices to what is available at the time you want to buy - in Northern Alaska that might be a problem, more popular places likely not so.

keep half an eye on resale - popular / known brand tends to be easier to sell, just can be a bit more expensive to buy - but if at the bottom of the market price wise then condition is the important thing, something to also bare in mind when buying. Boats are just like cars, a lot cheaper to buy complete than buy part by part! - even if the price of that s/h (for both) is that nothing is new / has seen better days / a few things need replacing - but all that reflected in price.

FWIW, your approach sounds good - very sensible not to over commit to boats money wise until you know you like 'em. In any event time as a Skipper will teach you stuff that will be very useful if you go larger and a lot of skippering can't come from a book. Also gets you a taste of owning, which is something that could save you money later on by getting a taste of what you are looking at when the cheques are a lot bigger. Learning to actually sail being useful as well - but the other 2 are biggies as well.

Have fun!
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Old 29-06-2012, 03:56   #5
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

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.

Get a handle on what the fleets are in your area, some are one design - so not only will you need the right boat but she will also need to be in class (i.e. still meets the rules and regs). Other races will be "run wot ya brung" so pretty much anything goes - albeit will probably have to accept that won't be heading the fleet! Each approach has plusses and minuses.
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Old 29-06-2012, 03:57   #6
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

I learnt on an 18'. Graduated all the way up to 42'. Now sailing a 20'. Size does not always improve the pleasure, whatever we are talking about. Buy something and have fun as you learn. Then you will know what you want from the whole sailing thing. Some folks stay small, and they have just as much pleasure as the big'uns, if you do not feel the need to go big.

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Old 29-06-2012, 04:12   #7
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

David, Coops, thanks for both posts!

David Old Jersey; Your advice mirrors my thoughts; I love the water, but I imagine getting doused all day trying to learn to sail would lessen the enthusiasm, somewhat...
Seems that I am gonna be looking for something around 20', perfect.... As for racing, I'm not really interested in racing my own boat (now), but I have read many threads where it is suggested that crewing on-board a racer is a great way to learn, or maybe to improve skill's, regarding sail trim, tacking, etc.

Coops;
Today my plan is to begin courses at local lake on their 25-35' foot boats, lay a very basic groundwork, and go from there- if i enjoy it, I will move towards purchase of small boat.... The biggest question is not if i will enjoy it, but whether I introduce my SO to it in such a way that she also enjoys it! Have a plan there as well....
Assuming everything works out in those dept. I will begin transitioning myself, my training, and my SO, from lake to sea, and also of course to bigger boat!
Plans are always great on paper aren't they! Cant wait to just step foot on my first sailboat! Lots of seatime, but never sailed a day in my life!
Thanks again all, I feel its all great advice, well taken!
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:16   #8
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

There is no right answer, there can't be. Everyone has different abilities, fear levels, technical knowhow, etc, etc. Some might say that a 34-38ft Baveria/benetau, etc, would be best as that's the kind most popular with sailing schools. Some might say a 15ft 'trailor sailor' as thats closer to the true physics of sailing. Some might say a dirty great 50 wooden ketch as that's a 'real boat', etc, etc.

If you just want to sail for recreation, obviously the smaller options are better but if you want to sail for a longterm passtime, like cruising with the family, then im sure there are many that have had a '50ft starter boat'.
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:25   #9
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To learn to SAIL you would be well advised to use a dinghy or small simple boat 10 to 16 feet. To learn powerboat-like stuff like docking under power any clunky thing with a single screw will do. The docking and anchoring stuff is *trivial* compared to proper sailing.
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Old 29-06-2012, 04:47   #10
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

My advice now after reading your last post would be to take your SO with you on the learning course. That way you can both talk about what you gained from the day, plus what you did not like/understand, and give her the feeling that it is a joint venture rather than just yours that she can go along with.

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Old 29-06-2012, 05:26   #11
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Hi daddle,
Thanks, I definitely like the idea of smaller, of course i am also taking into account my end goal- which is bigger...

Coops- I totally agree, and have thought on that a good deal--- again, from doing a lot of reading here and elsewhere, I find that it is widely agreed that a couple should take initial lessons separately? I suppose this is a topic that can only be decided by the couple.... personally I believe that my SO and I could do very well in a class together, but, Ill bet that is what every couple believes, or would like to anyway!
To better detail my general plan-
Take solo-beginner lessons (enough to "qualify", more importantly, be semi-capable for the charter of their boats 30-35' Bene)
Charter their boat- take SO out for a wine and dine session on one of these late model, comfy boats, and see what she thinks? If she loves it, then we go from there
I don't want her first experience sailing with me to be on a little beaten up shabby runabout, lol, she is pretty adaptable, lots of family bay and offshore fishing trips, but still...... then again, i don't want her first sailing experiences with me to be the 30' bene up on rocks in the lake, or adrift, either....

Appreciate all the advice!!
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Old 29-06-2012, 05:55   #12
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Sounds cool then. As always, you know yourself and your lady much better than all us experts do so if you feel it is right for you, then it most likely is. At least you have considered this which is a step in the right direction anyway. Good luck to you, in fact both of you.

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Old 29-06-2012, 06:11   #13
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Thanks Coops!
Some small starter boats I've found- Catalina 22, Pearson, Laguna Balboa 24... any insight? Basically the same handling characteristics at this size and price point?
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:39   #14
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

If your ultimate goal is to cruise, than you should learn in a boat large enough to teach you how to reef and how to anchor. I would recommend something in the 22-27 foot range. My first keelboat was a Santana 22, and I appreciated it being large enough that I could weekend on it and actually do a bit of coastal cruising.
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Old 29-06-2012, 07:57   #15
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Re: A 50' is NOT a starter boat?? Right?

Good point Bash,
I will have to give that some thought-- I found a 1971 CAL 27' in excellent condition cosmetically, a bit over my budget, but weekend/coastal cruiseing would be a defniite possibility in that type of boat, right?
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