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Old 24-03-2013, 08:52   #1
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First sailboat?

As I go for my first s/v and I have my heart set on a Catalina. I have been told from some of my sailing buddies that I race with that starting out with something in the range of 20-25'. The Catalina's I am looking at are from 34-38' Mark 1's. As my budget will only allow.
But I keep telling my buddies that from a resale value it is hard to cell something like that and then the value goes down and then it will take longer to get the boat I really want. Understanding that they might have a valid point, I only see this as a s/v I will keep for a long time. Realizing I don't want to buy this one try and cell it to buy the one I truly want.
Does this make sence? And before I put down cash for a boat I want to here all the oppions.

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Old 24-03-2013, 11:48   #2
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Re: First sailboat?

Let me see if I've got your question right.

You want to buy a boat. You are looking at 34-38 foot Catalinas. Your friends suggest buying something smaller, i. e. 22-25 Catalinas and when the time comes for you to move up in size sell your small boat and get a larger one. Your budget allows you to buy a 34-38 foot boat and you want to buy the bigger one now and not bother with buying a small one first.

My questions for you are: Have you considered all the costs associated with the larger boats, i. e. slip fees, insurance, maintenance, possible payments and availability of slips?

Are you talking about new or used boats?

Just an opinion here but Catalina 25s where I have been looking range from $2500 to $9500. If you bought a boat that just needs some sprucing up you won't take much of a beating when you sell it after gaining much more experience in maintenance and boat care.
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Old 24-03-2013, 12:48   #3
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Re: First sailboat?

I would get the one I wanted and could afford,some folks like small boats and some dont..
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Old 24-03-2013, 13:11   #4
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Re: First sailboat?

I have an offer in on what will be my 1st sailboat...it's 46 feet long. I'll let you know how that works out if my offer is accepted.
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Old 24-03-2013, 14:45   #5
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Re: First sailboat?

I started off with a 26' boat. Actually got out and sailed that boat more days than any boat I've owned since. Even more days than our Westsail that we took to Sopac and back.

It was big enough to do short cruises of a week or two. Sailed it from Honolulu to Maui, Lanai, Molokai, and Kauai many times. Went out sailing every weekend and often 2 or 3 times during the week. It was easily single handed so I could take it out on a whim. I could race the boat with one crew member though two crew was optimal. Large enough that I could take a girlfriend for a week or two cruise around the islands. Sailed it to Lahaina once when conditions were so bad in the Molokai channel that a large flotilla of larger boats all turned back. Semi lived aboard splitting my time between a VW Camper Bus and the boat. The boat was dead simple to manintain with limited systems and an outboard that I could take to a shop if it ever failed which it never did. Anything that broke, and precious little did, was easily and cheaply repaired. Equipment that I added to the boat didn't cost an arm and a leg. Haul out was cheap and bought bottom paint by the quart not the gallon.

Have owned three boats since then, all over 32'. Haven't sailed them nearly as much. Taking them out turns into a production. Even though I single hand a lot, do not feel secure bringing the boat into the slip knowing that there is no one there to fend off if I don't pilot the boat perfectly. MMMONEY!!!! No longer talk about tens of dollars for repairs or add ons but 'Boat Units' as in 4 figure expenditures. Slip fees are a relaltive bargain. 1/3rd more than I'd have to shell out monthly for a smaller boat. Insurance is more than twice as expensive. A smaller boat will depreciate less in dollars, if at all and should be relatively easy to sell.

So what do I get from a larger boat. It is faster though not enough so to make a big difference in daysailing and coastal cruising. I have and will in the near future make long ocean passages and long cruises. For that, can take advantage of the added waterline and carrying capacity.

If you aren't planning on making any long passages for a couple of years, you really don't need a 36' boat except for yhour ego. The money saved may be enough to get a bigger boat when you are ready to actually take advantage of it's bigger length.
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Old 24-03-2013, 15:31   #6
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Re: First sailboat?

Some people say it's good to start small and work your way up while others say "get your last boat first". My current boat is my first.

About anything that you can do it to take advice and consider different options and make your own decision. If you are competant and handy, I say go for the larger boat. If you feel you need some experience before you handle a larger boat, a smaller one to get started isn't bad advice.

Good luck in finding what works for you.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:05   #7
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Re: First sailboat?

Peter, which 26' boat did you have? Sounds pretty solid for those Hawaiian waters.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:22   #8
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Re: First sailboat?

Older boats dont depreciate much as long as you dont run them into the ground while you own them. A mid 70s to early 80s production fiberglass boat can be had pretty reasonable and should hold its value pretty well if you do your part. So buying a small starter boat can work out nicely. Smallerboats are easier to learn on, cheaper to dock and maintain, and if you get a trailer sailer you can save a lot of money using your driveway as your marina. Its a great way to get started and i highly recommend it. However a bigger boat has the advantage of liveaboard capability and you can save even more money by giving up your house.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:37   #9
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Re: First sailboat?

I started on a 19' Cape Dory Typhoon as my first boat. It could be trailered, sailed on and off mooring and was very forgiving, as well as practically unsinkable. Practically no maintenance because of quality build. I would even have been able to do overnights on it if I was shorter in stature. It proved to be a good starting point and was quite affordable, being picked up for peanuts after breaking her mooring in a hurricane and scraping up the starboard hull ( prior to my ownership ).

My boss, on the other hand, bought a Bristol 35.5 as his first boat. He spent all his time trying to pull me off my boat to sail his boat for him.

The point being, buy something you are going to feel comfortable in sailing. Then move up when ready. There will always be another boat on the market. Always.
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Old 24-03-2013, 20:55   #10
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Re: First sailboat?

I have said this before, but I cruised on a simple 26 foot boat full time for 2 years and coastal cruised before that for almost a year. 10 years later, I had a 44 footer with fridge, freezer, hot and cold pressure water, propane stove and oven, big fuel tanks and most of the things to be very comfortable. We ate out a little bit more, but not really very often, yet we spent almost as much per month on the big boat as we did per year on the 26 footer. 10 years, a different ocean, a much more complicated boat and about 5 times the displacement created a much more expensive environment than we expected. You might think long and hard about how much boat you need as opposed to how much boat you want.____Just another opinion._____Grant.
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Old 24-03-2013, 21:59   #11
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Re: First sailboat?

It was a Columbia 26. Actually a crappy boat but i didn't know any better. Bought it for the roomy interior. Oil canned beating into the square waves in the channel. Busted the tabbing loose on the main and forward bulkhead. Worst thing was the rudder would stall out in a gust and roundup out of control. Ended up sailing it mostly without the main to keep it under control. Flat bilge with no trap for the water that inevitably got below. Always ended up with water sloshing over the sole on any passage to weather.

The sail to Lahaina where all the other boats bailed out was my 3rd week of ownership. Only had sailed a Sailfish on inland lakes before. Everyone said the channels were rough so it never occured to me that anything was out of the ordinary. Winds were 20k gusting much higher. Had to beat into 10' plus very steep waves to lay the slot between Molokai and Lanai. Constant blue water over the bow. Had 3 other bud's as crew. All got seasick. One was so sick we were afraid he was going to drown in the 6" or so of water sloshing over the sole. We'd roll him over on his back and he'd roll back on his stomach with the dry heaves and face in the stew. He decided not to fly home from Lahaina and never went sailing again. The bad weather turned out to be a blessing in disguise. A bunch of women had flown over from Oahu to meet the crews of the boats that turned back. A great 3 day weekend for us single guys outnumbered by the women that had been stood up.

I got a deal on the boat as the broker had just gotten the Columbia Dealership and I was his first customer. Sold the boat when I got transfered after two years. Netted 10% less than I'd paid for it after commissions. Took the money and used it for a downpayment on a Morgan 35 on the East Coast.
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Old 24-03-2013, 22:06   #12
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Re: First sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I started off with a 26' boat. Actually got out and sailed that boat more days than any boat I've owned since.

Have owned three boats since then, all over 32'. Haven't sailed them nearly as much.
My experience also...I had a MacGreager 21 (junk) and sailed almost every weekend. All my larger boats (30'-38') spent weekends working on them.
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Old 25-03-2013, 01:03   #13
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Re: First sailboat?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
My experience also...I had a MacGreager 21 (junk) and sailed almost every weekend. All my larger boats (30'-38') spent weekends working on them.
A MacGregor 22 was my first (and only, so far) sailboat. She was "tired" when some friends and I bought her, but we loved her because we didn't know anything else. We had a blast sailing her, ended up selling her to a friend who needed a restoration project for his kids to keep them out of trouble. I fully got my money's worth out of this boat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dropanchorfor3
As I go for my first s/v and I have my heart set on a Catalina. I have been told from some of my sailing buddies that I race with that starting out with something in the range of 20-25'. The Catalina's I am looking at are from 34-38' Mark 1's.
I used to club race with a guy that had a 36' Catalina, I really liked that boat. Problem is, a 34'-38' boat is going to eat your lunch ownership cost wise compared to a smaller boat. The main alone was more than we paid for the entire Mac. You're the one that knows your financial situation, but a 36' sailboat is an expensive mistress, I'd research all the costs prior to making a purchase.
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Old 25-03-2013, 02:36   #14
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A 35 costs twice what a 25 takes to maintain. I went from a 25 to a 32 ketch, and I see the differences. I am 6'7" tall, so I almost had to go larger once my experience level allowed it. What was once 20 % work and 80 % fun has flip flopped. It is still fun, but a lot more work.
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Old 25-03-2013, 17:56   #15
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Unfortunately, you do not say where in S FLA you are. If you are going to sail Biscayne Bay, then the 25 will be fine. If you are going out one of the inlets, you will really want something a little larger. I can sail my T-33 almost any weekend I want to go out. If I had a smaller boat, I don't think I would spend as much time sailing.


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