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Old 25-08-2015, 08:40   #16
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

You are approaching this the smart way...keep up with your CPS courses, then do some cruise and learns and then do some chartering....by then you will start to get an idea as to what you need and do and do not like...(by the way that advice came from an honest broker who refused to sell me a boat too early on in my hunt....and he was right!)....we nearly bought a specific boat but then chartered the same model for a week...by the end of the week we hated it and we're so glad we hadn't bought...also remember it ain't so easy to sell a boat (that's why there are so many on the market) and you'll be paying moorage and insurance while you are waiting to sell. So if you are really sure of your plans I suggest you do not buy small wit the intention of later selling and moving up.

Just my 2 cents worth
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Old 25-08-2015, 08:41   #17
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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Originally Posted by Jaguar001 View Post
I can see us living aboard for periods of up to 2 - 3 weeks or longer. Retirement is about 5 years away and we want to be able to lock the door and use the boat to travel the length and breadth of the GL's from Chicago to Quebec City.
I see no reason 2 people couldn't do that on a 30' boat. I sailed all over Hecks half acre on the Great Lakes on my 74 Grampian 30, I only moved up to my 35' when I went to full time year round live aboard status.

There are places in your intended cruising grounds where a big boat is a real pain in the rear. The three best cruising grounds immediately come to mind: 30000 islands, Thousand Islands and the North Channel.

On the other hand, if you're going to be in your 60's, a V-birth in a 30' might not be the most comfortable place to sleep. You might want to consider up to 35 or 36'. Above that, you're shooting yourself in the foot IMO.

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Old 25-08-2015, 08:57   #18
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

You've missed the most important question! What does your wife want?

Us guys can give you all the advise we want, BUT if you want to enjoy your boat WITH YOUR WIFE, you should be asking her what she wants.

As noted, we can list 50 different boats that will meet your needs and the pros and cons of each.

While guys usually think about sails, anchors, performance, maintenance, etc., our wife may think about galley, berths, refrigeration, comfort, color...and safety...as in can I get back to dock if something happens to hubby?

Even at our small marina, I see many boats where it was the husbands dream to sail and the wife was not consulted on many of the decisions. These sailors are now great single handed sailors as they sail alone.

There are only about 6 of us who almost always sail as couples and are on the boat most weekends.

I'd encourage you to read the book "It's Your Boat Too: A Woman's Guide to Greater Enjoyment on the Water" by Suzanne Giesemann

For the record, Suzanne and I started with a Starwind 223, moved to a Beneteau First 285, then to a Beneteau 331 (Suzanne wanted more room, a refrigerator and AC) and now a B 393 (Suzanne wanted more room, a front opening refrigerator and AC)
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:07   #19
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I have a Viking 33 at Toronto you can sail away tomorrow for $10,000. Or keep in my slip, if you prefer. Enough fenders and line for the Welland Canal inclusive.
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:07   #20
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I'll beat the price on that Viking 33 (above) by offering you my boat for $9,900 cdn!

I've been sailing the Great Lakes for many years. My current boat is now up for sale at a very low price:

http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...da-150816.html

I think it has all your requirements, and the price is much lower than you would expect for a boat that is ready to head south to the caribbean right now, or whenever you are ready.

However, even if my boat is not your fancy, I would suggest the following:

-DIESEL engine...you aren't going anywhere with an atomic 4.
-Reliable furler with no halyard wrap issues.
-Simple systems, easy to see, fix, maintain.
-Watch out for 40 year old keelbolts.
-Bow roller with simple/easy anchoring.
-Strong, reliable autohelm.
-A good, simple, reliable stove.
-Simple layout below with plenty of storage.
-Dinghy with outboard.
-Chartplotter.

Oh hey, did I just describe my boat again? Oh well. OK, I am blatantly advertising my own boat for sale. Its on Lake Ontario, just a Welland Canal away.

http://1drv.ms/1CrbSlc
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Old 25-08-2015, 09:39   #21
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I would second the idea of a tall rig for the lakes. The winds are quite variable and the more sail area the better. However, you also want to make sure you can reef those sails as the summer weather also brings the unpredictable squalls that seemingly pop up out of nowhere.

Diesel engines are quite common in sailboats these days. What I find interesting is that many folks use the engine to get out of, and back into, the marina. Short starts and stops are VERY bad for a diesel engine.

My 1962 Pearson Triton still retains the original (here it comes, hamburking) Universal Atomic 4. Runs like a clock and is paid for. Swapping out that perfectly serviceable engine for a diesel engine would cost the value of the boat. I know, I know - the boat will simply blow up the first time you try to start the engine.

But, really, there are many power boats with inboard gas engines with no trouble. The bilge blower is your friend. As I said, my gas engine has been a reliable iron sail for 53 years. Don't listen to the sky is falling and gas engines always blow up crowd.


As far as keelbolts go, hamburking, I am not sure there is a problem with boats that have lived in fresh water. Unless, of course, you have a fin keel.

Sounds like the area has many boats to choose from. What a delicious challenge you have ahead of you.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:00   #22
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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But, really, there are many power boats with inboard gas engines with no trouble. The bilge blower is your friend. As I said, my gas engine has been a reliable iron sail for 53 years. Don't listen to the sky is falling and gas engines always blow up crowd.
I have owned not one, but two atomic 4 gas engines. I don't have any issues with blowers, gasoline, or reliability. My concern is range.

An atomic 4 will use about 1gal/hour (about 4 litres/hour) according to Moyer Marine, and more in my own personal experience. My current volvo penta 2002 diesel (which replaced the original atomic 4 in my Pearson30) uses less than 2 litres per hour. For the same amount of fuel I go at least twice as far. Also, I think my 2cylinder volvo is half the size and weight of the 4 cylinder atomic 4 it replaced.

A previous boat of mine with a Yanmar 2gmf used only 1 litre per hour. That made for tremendous range on a smallish boat (C&C27mk4). That made long passages, like going to Toronto and back, easy...no stops for gas. The guy I sold the boat to took it south via the ICW to the Caribbean. This was only possible because of the huge range of the diesel.

When I had an atomic 4, I was always watching the fuel gauge, and filled the tank several times a season. With the diesel, I fill once a year...just before haulout.

The safety aspect is important too...although gas fires and explosions are rare.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:27   #23
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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I am concentrating my searches in Ontario, Michigan and Ohio mostly. There appears, from what I can see, to be more used stock available in the U.S. but there's that pesky exchange rate to consider. However, if the right deal were to come along, I wouldn't be adverse to going over, buying it and sailing it home.

......................

So as I say, I am very interested in advise from those of you who've been down this road already. I'm all ears!
You might want to investigate the costs of bringing any boat from the USA into Canada before you start going down that road. The Transport Canada website has all you need to know. Things like a 17% VAT come to mind.

Please, please, please, do your homework first before you get any rude surprises from your own government.

For a boat that size, unless you're in horrible physical condition, electric winches are unnecessary. I'm 69 with a Catalina 34 and I still raise the main and trim the jib with, gasp!, manual winches. And I ain't the world's best example of physical conditioning.

Yes, GPS would be nice, but don't buy any boat because it has one. I sail around with NO built in GPS, just a 10 year old Garmin GPSMap 76Cx. You can get 'em for $3-400 or less. I've always maintained that a handheld GPS is simply a small chartplotter!!!

Yes, and autopilot is nice. Indeed, I would venture to guess almost any boat that size will already have one. If they don't, figure $1-2K to add one.

Boat buying? There are a bunch of good books, use Google or Amazon to find a few. Plus this: Boat Inspection Trip Tips - SailboatOwners.com

I agree that buying a GL boat first and then figuring out what you want to go further afield is a good idea. It IS possible to make your first boat your last boat, but it's rare. Until you gain the experience of what YOU & your wife like, no one here or on any other boating forum can tell you. There have been literally thousands of "What boat is best...?" threads and the answer is simple: There is no best in boating. Boats themselves are compromises. Here's an example: someone suggested a Nonsuch. Great boats, great build, one sail, easy peasy to sail. However, and here's the BUT, there are conditions where they don't "travel" so well and they have a different underbody than most. You can do some homework on cat boats.

"Not all sales are bargains and not all bargains are sales."

Like real estate: condition, condition, condition.

The BIG stuff: engine, sails, rigging and hull. Eventually you get to be a mechanic, plumber and electrician. Once you learn that stuff, you'll be in a better position, after going through it with your first boat, to figure out what you want in the next one.

Or to figure you like the first one so much, it's a keeper!

Good luck.
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Old 25-08-2015, 10:54   #24
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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I would disagree with points 1 & 2.

1) Get a boat that meets your needs. A common theme among cruisers is to get the SMALLEST boat that will meet your needs. While people will often move up to larger boats, you also have people who are afraid of their big boats or the costs drive them out of cruising. Big boats are expensive.
2) I assume when you say cheap, you are talking about money going out not the implication that you are buying a piece of junk (a good survey should help avoid that). I would suggest as the first large boat, keeping the initial costs down is a smart idea. I've seen lots of people not want to go "cheap" and wind up taking a blood bath when they buy the wrong boat new (or nearly new) and sell at a huge loss. If you buy a less expensive used boat to learn what you want, there is less risk and if you put a gouge down the side learning to dock it's a lot less heartbreaking.

I won't make specific brand recomendations. Most any solid seaworthy boat will do the trick. The lakes deserve the same kind of respect as the atlantic coast or the carribean. About the only thing that would make a boat less suitable to eventually cruise in salt water is if it has raw water cooling (seawater pumped straight into the engine block for cooling).
As a previous respondent had pointed out, it is a buyers market. Being aware of that I reason that to buy a boat of a size that we would likely outgrow would leave us in the position have trying to trade up within a short time. I can envision taking a financial bath trying to sell a smaller boat so that we can get a larger one. I do agree however that for a first foray into ownership, used is the way to go. When I use the term cheap I mean it is better to spend a bit more to get length, instrumentation, and conveniences, rather than thinking to add them later in an effort to save money upfront. Also, and this is just experience in dealing with people in general talking, when someone sells cheap, there's always a reason why it's cheap...and it's rarely a good reason! Buying a house with a pool is almost always less expensive than buying one without and adding a pool if a pool is what you ultimately want, even if the house without is cheaper than the one with the pool. (I hope that sentence made sense)
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:15   #25
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

You could consider chartering. The math will show that you get more sailing for less money than ownership. No dock fees, no lift out/storage/winterization, no maintenance/working on the boat, no loan interest, etc.
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:16   #26
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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I have owned not one, but two atomic 4 gas engines. I don't have any issues with blowers, gasoline, or reliability. My concern is range.

An atomic 4 will use about 1gal/hour (about 4 litres/hour) according to Moyer Marine, and more in my own personal experience. My current volvo penta 2002 diesel (which replaced the original atomic 4 in my Pearson30) uses less than 2 litres per hour. For the same amount of fuel I go at least twice as far. Also, I think my 2cylinder volvo is half the size and weight of the 4 cylinder atomic 4 it replaced.

A previous boat of mine with a Yanmar 2gmf used only 1 litre per hour. That made for tremendous range on a smallish boat (C&C27mk4). That made long passages, like going to Toronto and back, easy...no stops for gas. The guy I sold the boat to took it south via the ICW to the Caribbean. This was only possible because of the huge range of the diesel.

When I had an atomic 4, I was always watching the fuel gauge, and filled the tank several times a season. With the diesel, I fill once a year...just before haulout.

The safety aspect is important too...although gas fires and explosions are rare.

You're on the Great Lakes. How much range do you need? Besides, it's a sailboat - I prefer sailing to motoring.

But, to the OP - there are many boats to choose from - different types can be had. Full keel, fin keel, catamarans. Try to get in some sailing on different types so you can see how the handle, how they take the waves and how well they go to weather. Going to weather is common on the lakes.
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:18   #27
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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You're on the Great Lakes. How much range do you need? Besides, it's a sailboat - I prefer sailing to motoring.
Rule of thumb cruising in the Great Lakes, you will sail 50% and motor 50% if you are on any kind of schedule.
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:26   #28
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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As a previous respondent had pointed out, it is a buyers market. Being aware of that I reason that to buy a boat of a size that we would likely outgrow would leave us in the position have trying to trade up within a short time. I can envision taking a financial bath trying to sell a smaller boat so that we can get a larger one. I do agree however that for a first foray into ownership, used is the way to go. When I use the term cheap I mean it is better to spend a bit more to get length, instrumentation, and conveniences, rather than thinking to add them later in an effort to save money upfront. Also, and this is just experience in dealing with people in general talking, when someone sells cheap, there's always a reason why it's cheap...and it's rarely a good reason! Buying a house with a pool is almost always less expensive than buying one without and adding a pool if a pool is what you ultimately want, even if the house without is cheaper than the one with the pool. (I hope that sentence made sense)
We'll have to disagre.

I would much rather give away a $10k boat than take a 25% loss on a $100k boat while also paying an extra few thousand per year in care and maintenance due to the larger size. Odds are being new to boating, the $100k boat won't be your perfect be all end all boat either.

I'm not suggesting going extremely small just don't assume bigger is automatically better. Once it's big enough to serve your expected needs, larger isn't likely to be better.
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Old 25-08-2015, 11:35   #29
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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You're on the Great Lakes. How much range do you need? Besides, it's a sailboat - I prefer sailing to motoring.

But, to the OP - there are many boats to choose from - different types can be had. Full keel, fin keel, catamarans. Try to get in some sailing on different types so you can see how the handle, how they take the waves and how well they go to weather. Going to weather is common on the lakes.
I take it you've never motored up the Canadian Coast of Superior? Its 200 miles as the crow flies from Sault St Marie to Marathon with around 0 reliable fuel stops.

Even Ontario and Erie, your best shot for a speedy transit is right up the middle, 160 or so miles, of course there are fuel stops if you need them though.

Not so many fuel stops on a straight run from Tobermory to Macinac either.

I know when I had my G30 with atomic 4 I turned around more than once because I couldn't beat against the prevailing wind and didn't have the fuel range to reach my destination. Heck I even gave up one November trying to get from Toronto to Bluffers park.

That hasn't happened since I've had a deisel though. Leave Port Dalhousie, autopilot on, refuel in Kingston.

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Old 25-08-2015, 11:39   #30
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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You could consider chartering. The math will show that you get more sailing for less money than ownership. No dock fees, no lift out/storage/winterization, no maintenance/working on the boat, no loan interest, etc.
That's one way to learn about boats. And perhaps a good place to start.

But until he actually BUYS a boat, he'll never learn to be a mechanic, plumber & electrician on a a charter boat, no matter how many he charters.
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