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Old 21-09-2007, 15:48   #1
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Advice on First Boat Purchase - Hunter 23.5

Greetings All!!!

Got bit with the sailing bug, bad...

I'm thinking about purchasing a Hunter 23.5, 1997. Obviously it's a trailer boat, little gun shy on a fix keel boat currently (cost of slips/hauls etc).

Area thinking of sailing is Lake Pepin in Minnesota along with trips to Lake Superior/Lake of the Woods.

The boat is pretty clean. A little musty in side the deal said was just due to being not used/closed up (that true?). Looks to be/have been dry in the cabin, I crawled around and in the stern I saw remains of at least one water ring (brown ring). That normal?

Rudder is cracked up a bit on the leading edge and missing some off the bottom from ground hits. The bow has a dock ding in it, ~ 1" big chip missing. Deck has about 2 ~ 1" pieces missing from something being dropped on it. As part of the deal, the deal will fix these issues. The boat is there on consignment.

Asking was $10,900. I offered 10k, countered at $10,450 with the fixes.

No cockpit cushions. Fabric interior (upgrade for that model) with the stern rail seats/9.9 2001 Honda motor with low hours and electric start. No roller furler.

Single axle trailer. Water ballast boat.

The dealer will put the boat on a lift so I can inspect the centerboard/rudder raising system. The dealer is land locked and I don't think a sea trial is really doable.

I've never actually sailed on a boat of this type. Just got into sailing, took a class on 14 Ft boats, then ~ 22 keel boats and did the ASA 101 class.

Thoughts? Good/no good price for this boat? Good starter boat?

I hate no private head/no standing room/will be tender in the higher winds but... It's also "cheap".

Thanks for all your help, looking to much more posting/reading here!

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Old 21-09-2007, 16:43   #2
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Hopefully you'll get better responses than this - I have never owned a trailer sailor or a water ballast boat. I am replying simply because I think you may secretly want a pocket cruiser. If so, they are available in your area and price range - eg.: Boats and Yachts for Sale=

I don't know anything about this boat, and I suspect you can do better. Obviously, the advertised boat is older than the 23.5 and is more likely to have age/maintenance issues. Still, if you live in Minnesota, you're going to haul this kind of boat for the winter anyway, and there is no need to pay for a slip during sailing season - surely they have (cheap) moorings there.

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Old 21-09-2007, 17:31   #3
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I just sold my 1986 Hunter 23, it was in great shape. One year old sails and harken furler, new 5hp and so on. Got 6,000 for it. Here is a link to the old ad. Hunter 23, 1986, Frisco Bay Marina, Dillon, Colorado, $6,000
Check out sailing texas for trailerable boats. There are lots.

I think you can do much better.
S/V Pooka
Com-Pac 27
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Old 21-09-2007, 20:13   #4
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Hunter 23.5

That is the specific boat in question. Let me know your thoughts and thanks for the info so far!

Lake Superior slips seem to be ~ 2-2.5k/season and about 3-4 hours away
Lake Pepin seems to be ~ 1.4-1.7k/season and about 1.5 hours away (much smaller lake obviously).

There are some metro lakes here but the slip fees are ~ 4k which seems a little much.
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Old 21-09-2007, 21:25   #5
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hey there marty,
i'm wondering why you seem to want a newer boat, as there are tons of pockets in that length that are in great shape for much less than $10.5. they might be older, but it is known that most older boats tend to be built stronger, and one that has been well maintained would offer more peace of mind in my book. i recently stole a '68 Olympic 23 and she is built like a tank. i have done extensive refit on my own, and quite frankly, i didn't spend much money doing it. she has a head, sink, two-burner, etc... insurance isn't much either.
in my opinion, i think you would find yourself wanting another boat anyway, and having to go through the process of putting her on the market and waiting, and waiting...
i would recommend combing the entire online site market and comparing prices around the country. if you have to ship it, well, hopefully the good deal you got makes up for the transit. good luck, marty. and keep us posted on the progress.
Are we there yet?
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Old 21-09-2007, 23:23   #6
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Marty, as a relatively recent escapee from MN who kept a boat in Red Wing for some years, sailing on Lake Pepin...

Go cheap. Determine how much your trailering vehicle can haul first; the vehicle is more expensive than the boat so size the boat to what you have.

Super shoal draft is important. Bay city's bay is between 16" - 48"; if you can sail in this you can launch much further north. More importantly, the lake and the river are constantly changing the position of sand bars and mud. It's extremely useful if you can hop over the side to push yourself off.

Don't moor in Red Wing planning to motor back and forth to the Lake; it takes too long, so you won't do it very often.

Go cheap. Yah, I said that already, but it's important. If this is your first boat you will be learning, bumping into things, and occasionally really screwing things up. And you'll feel a lot worse about a 10' long scratch in the side of a 10k or more shiny boat than you will in the side of a 3k big dinghy with a cuddy. In fact, I would strongly suggest something you can pull up on the beach like that 14'/19' boat made in california whose name I always forget... there's a few of them that get together every year on Lake Pepin for a messabout. Just big enough to camp on, with enough sails and lines to learn with.
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Old 22-09-2007, 05:21   #7
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Thanks for the info guys!

Reason for the newer boat angle, while slightly embarrassing to say, is most of the older boats I've seen just flat out smell really badly. I'm talking making you want to throw up in your mouth bad. I think maybe it's just the boats I've seen perhaps, which is not all that many. Not trying to sound all prissy or anything like that, but some of the boats I've seen stink badly.

This just from being closed up?

Don't get me wrong, the "plan" is a fixed keel up on Lake Superior. This trailering/Lake Pepin idea is really nothing more than a comprise. I think I could have a fun summer or two venturing around the state to the many various lakes but in general lake sailing (Lake Superior not included in this) holds little interest to me.

I stated this quest for a 14-16' daysailer and came to the conclusion 1. I didn't want to get wet every time I went out 2. Something which probably won't flip over would be nice 3. The $1-3K spent on that could be sunk into a boat with a cabin.

Thanks again, keep'em coming!
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Old 22-09-2007, 06:59   #8
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Just my two cents having had a 25' pop top swing keel before. The price in the boat you are looking at seems to be to high in my opinion. Ref the water ring is that inside or in the cockpit (I used to get a ring in the cockpit because leaves would clog the drain when I was away for more than 3 weeks or so). Musty smell I had in mine was do to water in a hard rain would splash under the edges of the pop-top and then get inside. Also at this price a motor should be included and in nice condition.

When I was shopping for mine (some years ago) I found that the boat yard selling it had striped everything off and was trying to sell it minus what should have been on it. When I requested/demanded a motor they tried to put a beat up motor that blew more smoke than anything on it.

I learned a lot from this experience and lost some money as well, which I try to put a good face on and say it was a well earned learning experience.
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Old 22-09-2007, 08:27   #9
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West Wight Potter!

That was the name I was trying to remember...

For the price you're talking about you can purchase a brand new basic WWP 15, including a brand new trailer, all sails and running rigging included, and have thousands left over to play with. The premium package, which includes a brand new motor, is only 495USD more than your current. And you can probably tow it behind a Honda Insight. The best feature of these little boats is the wonderful community of fellow owners who can and will come over to help you out on any little project you may have with your boat. Company site and ..hmm, the MN potter group is looking a bit of a cobweb these days... the Minnesota Potters. The ability to pull the boat up on the beach is not to be ignored.

Seriously, you really don't need to be concerned about getting wet on most any microcruiser in average weather on Lake Pepin. My Skipper 21 had very low freeboard and never took water aboard other than rain and a bit of spray now and again working upwind (which it did very poorly, drawing about 18".) The north end has some rather unpleasant waves in a southeaster since it shoals up for miles.

Don't sell lake sailing short! Of course the lakes in the city are extremely tame, even Minnetonka, but once you head out to the country lakes, north and south, there are some great places to explore. The key is to learn how to find lakes which are fun to sail on for you: I like big wind and water warm enough to swim in, so the western lake district out toward Moorehead, Traverse Lake on the border with South Dakota, etc. I've heard of small sailboats up on Lake of the Woods, Rainy River, and lakes in the BWCA doing the camping/exploring ventures. But for most sailors racing around the buoys, group cruising adventures, and restaurant cruises means lakes and rivers near the Twin Cities, Lake Superior, and the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers. (For the extremely adventurous, there three routes to the oceans from Minnesota - Lake Superior and the Great Lakes routes east, the Mississippi routes south, and the Red River of the North route north to Hudson's Bay.)
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Old 22-09-2007, 17:43   #10
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The boat I started does have a motor, Honda 9.9 w/ 10 hours on it. Looks clean.

The West Wing Plotters look interesting! No used market on those?

Thanks again! Something with a cabin is what I really want I think.
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Old 22-09-2007, 18:57   #11
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Aloha Marty,
Welcome aboard!! Our club has a West Wight Potter 19 and they are great little boats. They've made Pacific crossings are are very sturdy. No you don't find them often but are worth looking at.
I bougt a Catalina 22 for 4500 25 years ago and I know you can do as well now. They've kept the same price for many years. Take Amgines advice and go cheap. If it smells bad it needs to be aired out and get some Fabreze.
Kind Reards,
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Old 22-09-2007, 19:09   #12
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::grin:: There's almost no used market in WWP because they usually are sold before they are actually put up for sale. When I used to hang out with the potter people I never heard of a potter going for much less than the original price, even when in "fixer-upper" status.

That's one of the reasons I was thinking it would work well for you: as soon as you're ready to move up you can get your money back out of the Potter.
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Old 22-09-2007, 21:19   #13
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I think your price for that boat is too high. As a point of reference, I just sold my 1973 Ericson 25 for $5600. It had a Honda 9.9 w low hours and a trailer but it didn't stink. You might try investigating the ComPac 23. It is a trailerable boat with a useable interior. Well built as well. Remember...the hunt is MUCH more fun than the "kill". Take your time searching out the right boat and go with the biggest boat you can afford so you won't get "two foot itis" after a season of sailing.
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Old 28-09-2007, 12:44   #14
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I have a Hunter 19 swing keel water ballast, which is the smaller model of the boat you are considering (there is a 26 also). It is a good weekend boat. I have a front hatch A/C, barbecue grill and other amenities. The boat trailers well. It is a little tender in high winds and I would pull a reef early if winds are coming up. We sail bigger bareboats but keep this boat in the lake at our house. With the keel up, it only draws 14". We have had the boat 5 years and are happy with i.
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Old 01-10-2007, 21:48   #15
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I also think that the boat is priced a little high. As well, the water ballast is not a selling point IMHO. It is pretty easy to deal with boat odours, so don't discount boats simply because they smell, but a well-maintained boat shouldn't have that problem - maybe you could broaden your search a bit. There are a lot of Catalina 22's out there in good shape that you should be able to pick up for under $7,500.00 on a trailer with motor.

Good Luck !

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