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Old 23-12-2007, 09:26   #1
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First boat dilemma

I'm trying to narrow down what would be a good first boat. After all the great comments on my previous thread (http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...6-a-11620.html) and a lot more searching, I've found there are MANY more options which seem to fit my needs (size/shallow draft) that I ever imagined.

This thread isn't about specific boats, but more a general direction more experienced sailors feel is best for a new sailor. I've now found tons of boats in my price/size/draft range. My initial instinct is of course to get the nicest boat I can (some pretty nice but older boats I've found are over 30 ft and look great). However, after all of this looking I'm beginning to wonder if a smaller/cheaper boat is best for the first time buyer. Here are the reasons I'm currently thinking this:
  1. This is my first time. How do I even know what I'll really want? I'd hate to spend 30k and find it doesn't really fit.
  2. I assume a 32ft boat is generally more challenging to sail than a 26 ft boat. If it get one of these bigger/nicer boats maybe it will be too much boat for me to handle as a beginner?
  3. As a beginner, if a royally screw up something I'd rather it be on a 10k boat than a 30k boat
On the other side of the coin, finding a boat, shipping it to the Cayman Islands, etc, etc isn't going to be easy or cheap. Would it be best just to get as much boat as I can so I hopefully don't have to do it again very soon if I decide I want a bigger boat?

Thx for any thoughts you have!!!!
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Old 23-12-2007, 09:35   #2
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Boat size

Charter,rent,offer to crew on boats, or go to a sailing school where they have different size boats. If you do a some dock walking and asking questions in marinas you will probably get lots of good information too.
Good luck to you.
Love the Caymans!
Steve
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Old 23-12-2007, 10:10   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaymanCarpediem View Post
My initial instinct is of course to get the nicest boat I can (some pretty nice but older boats I've found are over 30 ft and look great). However, after all of this looking I'm beginning to wonder if a smaller/cheaper boat is best for the first time buyer. Here are the reasons I'm currently thinking this:
  1. This is my first time. How do I even know what I'll really want? I'd hate to spend 30k and find it doesn't really fit.
  2. I assume a 32ft boat is generally more challenging to sail than a 26 ft boat. If it get one of these bigger/nicer boats maybe it will be too much boat for me to handle as a beginner?
  3. As a beginner, if a royally screw up something I'd rather it be on a 10k boat than a 30k boat
On the other side of the coin, finding a boat, shipping it to the Cayman Islands, etc, etc isn't going to be easy or cheap. Would it be best just to get as much boat as I can so I hopefully don't have to do it again very soon if I decide I want a bigger boat?

Thx for any thoughts you have!!!!
Starting in reverse....

3) to royally screw up you would need to be doing some, and that is what insurance is for , so I do not think having a 10 or 30k boat fundamentaly matters.

2) a 26 footer easier to sail than a 32 footer?, essentially no and quite often the reverse cos' the motion can often be easier and you get a bit more space onboard to deal with things. IMO 32 is not in the "too big" to handle for one / small crew category. The big difference between a 26 and 32 is when docking / manouvering in confined spaces. 26 foot can usually be easily helped along with muscle power to make up for a lack of skill or just good old fashioned bad judgement or bad luck.... a 32 can also be (again we are not in the too big category), just not always so easily.

1) IMO you have hit the nail on the head here! Doesn't matter whether you are on a 26 or 32 or even a 48 footer,at the moment YOU do not know what YOU want from a boat. Your ideas will likely change once you are afloat, not just on what you want from a boat but also how you intend to use her. Thinking about it a bit more, it is not so much what you want from a boat that is the choice, it's what you are happy (or indeed able) to compromise on.

IMO as a first boat your priority is to buy something that you can later sell, without having incurred too many ownership expenses along the way (i.e. do NOT buy a "doer upper" as a first boat - you won't get yer money back on new sails/ rigging / engine / shiny toys etc etc....will make her easier to sell, just not more fundamentaly valuable) and which has a good secondhand market so you do not get hammered when you sell. In practice this means buying a boat that was made in the 100's, if not the 1000's from a known brand - even if it is not a "top" brand. Their is always a market for a s/h Ford saloon (Sedan?).......and when buying the market is easier to judge. and of course the secret to selling at a good price is.....to buy at a good price.

Budget usually dictates size of boat, but as a first boat I would stay well within budget on purchase price - nothing quite so dispiriting for a first boat than operating on a shoestring. Whether this be 32 or 26 is down to your pockets - a 32 is more expensive to maintain than a 26 - but IMO nothing you can't learn on a 26 and arguably a few things that a 32 or larger won't teach you so easily......

Enjoy!
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Old 23-12-2007, 10:34   #4
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Just read your original thread

Not sure how the Hirondelle 23 is viewed in your part of the world / the States, but I recall having seen ads for 1 or 2 for sale in the US.

A couple have been accross the Atlantic - so a sorted one should be capable of the 90 mile trip. Although a Cat and providing lots of living space for the size she is not overly wide (nor built like a block of Condos!!).



And appears well within budget..........
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Old 23-12-2007, 11:52   #5
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David, yeah I have been trying to look into multi-hulls thinking they could be perfect with my small draft requirments and still be quite roomy. Sadly, I've had very little luck finding anything on the market anywhere near me. Seem to be tons in Europe, but just not many to be found in the US (at least in my price range, seem to be bigger and newer multi-hulls around)
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Old 23-12-2007, 14:17   #6
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Thanks to Dave for the picture of the Hirondelle. Great choice if you can find one. Check out the other multihull too. There is a Cross 24 trimaran for sale on the Cross website for 11k in Florida. Looks very nice. CROSS Multihull Designs
If you want more room a Cross 28 would be a good choice. A Searunner 31 tri would also easily fit your budget. Might seem a little intimidating for a novice. A boat that has the potential to move at 8-12 knots verses 4-5 of a small monohull.
My feeling is that newbies tend to be more intimidated by the skills needed than they should be. In all truth it is not that hard to learn. With a little confidence you will pick it up. One option is to buy small daysailor 16-18 ft. Nothing will teach you the fundimentals faster and you will find out if you and your wife truely enjoy it with out a big investment. Just be prepared to get wet once in a while.
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Old 23-12-2007, 19:27   #7
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Cayman - It really depends on your long term plan. My plan is coastal cruising ? weekenders and learning for the next 5+ years. Then I want to buy the boat to retire on. That boat will cruise SEA and perhaps Australia. No Pacific, Indian Ocean or Atlantic crossings for me. That boat has to be a tropical "pleasure" boat that I can live on. I am sure it is either a 38+ Cat or a 40+ Pilothouse design. I can't imagine not looking out over the water from my living room.

We bought the "smallest' boat we could that has "bigger" boat systems. Inboard engine, galley, on-board water, head, lights etc. I partnered with a great guy and so the fixed costs are divided by 2 and I have an enthusiastic sailing buddy.

Our boat is 27 feet long. Often we have 8 people on board for day sails. We have never slept more than 4 on board for a weekend. There is not a huge supply of boats here so we were somewhat limited in choice. In hindsight I would have waited for a 30 footer. The 3 feet makes almost no difference in sailing difficulty but the 3 feet and more importantly extra beam make a lot of difference. Again this is a boat I plan to keep 5+ years and the 3 feet is about the only complaint I have.

We get tempted to look at 32-38 footers but I know unless the boat is a really sweet deal and I don't lose money swapping out Relax Lah! it doesn't make sense. We'll keep looking because 5 years is a long time and with our handicap and boat speed we are always last to the bar after the club twighlight races and that sucks - LOL.

Here's the best news - We bought the boat for $10k US and have put about another $4k into it. We have sailed 2-3 times a week since March and are having an absolute blast. That's 100 days on the water or about $140 per day. Divided by 2 this arrangement means I am sailing for $70 per day if the boat is a total loss. When we sell the boat our costs will go to practically nothing.

Here's a couple of thoughts that I went through or learned.

1/ Get a boat that has a bit of a following and online groups- catalina, hunter etc. "Unique" boats are nice but harder to sell and way harder to support. On our Maxi there are very few people in the world I can ask questions of.
2/ Make sure the standing rigging, hull and engine are in good shape. Either before you buy or put the money in right away. These are the big ticket items. A failure of any of these could overcome the entire value of the boat.
3/ Headsail furler. The second best thing on our boat. We are underway in 5 minutes. It makes after work sails a no brainer. We wouldn't go out as much and probably never during the week without the furling headsail and lazy jack system on the main.
4/ Good prop. This is the best thing on our boat. We replaced the folding prop with a MaxProp feathering prop and it changed the whole experience. Motoring speed went from 3 knots to 5.5 knots and makes crappy days bearable.

The final piece is don't second guess yourself. There is no perfect boat. That's why there are so many different designs. Get one that fits your "realistic" usage over the next 3-5 years and then pull the trigger and have fun.
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Old 23-12-2007, 22:49   #8
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You really have nothing to go on for a first boat, no one does. My advise to everyone in your shoes: Get the cheapest one you can find that everything currently works on. Yes it may break tomorow, but at least you have all the parts.

The idea is to get on the water on the cheap and see what you think. Pretty quickly you will be learing in what way you would like to head. Race, Cruise, light, heavy, performance, bouy, bigger, smaller, deep, shallow, fatter, thinner, composite, ferro, etc. etc.

Keep it cheap until you have an idea about what you actually do like.

For example : Myself, Before I had any experience I wanted a full keel heavy cruising boat. Then I bought a cheap boat, learned to sail and fix the thing. My second boat was a J/35. I'm a really happy camper 'cause I didn't spend the bank on untested theorys. I waited 'till I actually had some on the water time with my own boat. Did a 180 and never looked back.

Actually, I try to apply this approach to everything. Starting anything new, get out there on the cheap/disposable and see what is actually going on. -Then- you have the knowledge to do some theorys and choices.

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