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Old 28-01-2010, 09:52   #1
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Location: Kimberton PA
Boat: Cabo Rico 38 / Bayfield 32
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First Boat

So we're looking for our first sailboat. I've been doing a lot of research here and elswhere and I had come to the decision that a Catalina 30 or a Hunter 30 (Cherubini vintage) would suit us well for a first boat. Our budget is $20k out the door for the boat. We'll be sailing on the Chesapeake (Rock Hall, MD), so I figured I'd start looking there. Found a couple of Catalinas and a Hunter that are interesting, then I saw a Cherobini Raider 33 in our price range. After researching it a bit, these boats seem like a great design and are well regarded. My questions: Is this going to be way too much boat for a first boat? I'm used to jumping into things with both feet, but I don't want to create a disaster situation either. (as a side note: we'll be taking ASA101/103 this spring on IP-31's) This boat has a deeper draft than I was planning. Is a 5'10" draft going to be a big problem on the Chesapeake? (Rock Hall area). Are there any particular areas to look for on theas boats? It's got a newer engine, sails, rigging, electronics etc. I know it's got a couple of soft spots on deck. I believe it's a balsa cored deck. I've researched what's involved in recoring a deck and although I don't relish the work, I'm pretty handy and I have an engineering background. The broker said the areas were'nt of immediate concern and he reccomended that they could just dry the core and inject an epoxy. This dosen't seem like a real solution to my admittedly untrained eye. So assuming most things check out and I'm left with a boat I can sail this summer and then start fixing in the fall, is it worth persuing a great sailing boat with some problem spots, or am I asking for heartache?

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Old 28-01-2010, 10:50   #2
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Find a Surveyor, tell him your situation or get some advice from a non-involved boat professional. If you can hire a surveyor first, great. Consider a boat broker who is not selling TO you who can act as your representative. They like to show off their skills in acquiring your next boat, especially if they can get you to become a future repeat customer. A broker can ask the right questions to figure out the best boat for your family needs.

By the way, I am not a broker or surveyor.

Join a local sailing/yacht club. Go sailing with other boatowners. Look at Trailer Sailing versus Dockage/Marinas.

Don't rush. Consider going real inexpensive to reduce the impact of any bad decisions. It can happen to anyone. Good Luck and good hunting!

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Old 28-01-2010, 11:14   #3
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Wildebeest3, Thanks! A survey is definitly in the plan before any purchase. I'm just trying to decide if it's worth going forward at all with this boat. If this were a common production boat, I'd move on now based on what I've read about fixing deck core issues. It's just that this boat might be worth it. I'm trying to decide how much it might be worth it.
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Old 28-01-2010, 19:22   #4
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I know where you sail I used to work at Chestertown hospital. Draft is def. a big issue. Also consider resale since you are new to this you may want to change boats or move up or just get out. A good catalina is a good bet for a beginer also catalina has a very strong owners support group many on east coast in your area. I have never owned a catalina but several of my freinds have and were positive about the boats many move up to larger catalinas. The 30 ft catalina is a big boat for its size and a well manered one at that. I believe some had tall rigs not bad for the summer doldrums of the bay.
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Old 30-01-2010, 05:31   #5
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Originally Posted by Saltyhog View Post
So we're looking for our first sailboat... Is a 5'10" draft going to be a big problem on the Chesapeake?
One’s first boats, and most subsequent ones (unless one is trying to boat for profit), are heart/emotional things – logic plays only a modest role to keep you out of trouble and often lends little to the decision; hence, the dispassionate eye of surveyor is probably a good deal – although I’ve never (in forty or so years of on-again/off-again boating) found them all that useful except in placating the insurance company. An educated buyer should be able to pick up most of what a marine surveyor will find and much they’ll refuse to evaluate (or at least put their signature to – sails and auxiliary power-train, often as not…), often restricting themselves to hull, deck and rig that can be seen from the deck, which a knowledgeable skipper should be able to do anyway…

However, I think you’ll find that draft is a crucial issue in and around the Chesapeake… for racing/performance boats deeper draft is one of those compromises one accepts for better pointing ability, as well the designer’s desire to lower the ballast for sail-carrying capability, but I’ve been aground in every (every) sailboat I’ve sailed in the Bay area, and in almost all of the power boats as well (thankfully, usually not with me as skipper – sailboats seem to ground more gently than powerboats, and on some occasions I’ve nudged in on purpose…), so I’ve found draft to be a critical issue for me as I like to poke my nose in quiet little creeks from time to time… I’d find something approaching a 6-foot draft onerous, but that is a skipper’s decision and for some it is no compromise at all… just depends how you think you’ll use your boat…

As for “problem spots” most caution against it, but again it depends more on you… do you already have the skills, and do you have the time – both critical issues… most boat maintenance (with the possible exception of the digital techno-gizmos) are within the capabilities of mere mortals – indeed they’ve been doing it for centuries… but learning the required skills inevitably slows down the “repair” process to the point that many projects languish or become simply an excuse to sell the boat well before one tires of the dream… do you like boat maintenance, do you have the skills and do you have the time…

Worry: misuse of imaginationů
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Old 30-01-2010, 06:09   #6
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Location: Las Brisas Panama AGAIN!
Boat: Simpson, Catamaran, 46ft. IMAGINE
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My first boat was a 30ft Columbia. Many said it was too big. I found I would've liked bigger, but that didn't fit my budget. At the time I lived in S.F. Ca., so the boat served two purpose. To get out on the water, and also a retreat from the city life for the weekend. She, Frolic, served me well in both aspects.........i2f
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SAILING is not always a slick magazine cover!
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Old 30-01-2010, 06:57   #7
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Location: Currently in South Haven Mi hopping to soon be in a warmer climite.
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Hi there I am in the same place you are as far as looking to "buy" my first sailboat to use for more than a daysailer. I have lots of sailing done with friends here on the Great Lakes so I cant give you advice on the debth issue except to say every thing I have read about the Bay says that draft is an issue. Now the other stuff, a ranger 33 is a good boat to use for the weekender/ vacation boat and shouldnt be any problem for you to sail especilly after you go through the sailing classes. The deck thing is a rather easy fix if you are at all handy with basic tools and dont mind doing the glass work yourself. You do need to remove the top layer of the fibreglass and dig out the old balsa core not just "fill" it for the best repair. This intails using a drimmel tool to cut the glass panel to the core but not cutting through the bottom side. Then you dig out the bad balsa and replace it with new core material but instead of the wood now they make a honycombed plastic thats great I just cant remember the name but this can be cut with sissors to shape and then you just redoo the fibreglass top layer and after you have gotten all the soft spots repaired you then repaint the deck. The nice thing is as long as you dont mind the fixed areas just having primer and freah paint just in these areas but not on the rest of the deck showing you can take your time and do a section as you feel like even if it takes you a fall or to till you repaint you can still go sailing most of the time. I think this boat sounds good because all the really expensive work has been done for you since you said it has newer motor/ sails/ rigging etc. This looks like a great first boat that would be somthing you might even keep for a very long time too since there are lots of people sailing this size boat all over the place.

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