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Old 21-02-2016, 08:17   #31
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Some other thoughts:

Three things to check (actually four)

Like any boat, check it out, but here are things I suggest to everyone:

1. Dipstick access. If it's a pain to do, you won't, nor would the PO. Is it easy to get to or do you have to tear the cushions out?

2. What engine? Are spare parts reasonably available? Yanmar parts are hard to get (worse in Canada). And very expensive. Not a deal killer, but... Universal engines are Kubotas so tractor stores have the parts. Yanmar are reputed to be available world-wide, Kubota not so much, but they're both tractor engines on boats in the 30-38 foot range. PS – There is a Kubota tractor dealer just outside Duncan, BC on the Island, right on Hwy 1. Great folks (July 2015).

3. Sleeping - try out the berths. Really. Our boat has what I have found to be THE largest V berth of any boat in its size class, even the C36s. Try out the berths. Try out the berths...

4. A thorough, complete, searchable and supportive boat owners website. C34 and C36 are very, very good. Many of the systems are also applicable to the C30, which has had too many and various websites available over the years.

Courtesy Boatman61 on cruisersforum:

Make up a list of boats that are up for sale near you that are accessible to viewing externally.. tromp the pontoons and check out the exteriors.. salty enough.. or trendy enough.. the way the exterior is maintained tells a hell of a lot.. not so much the gleaming S/S.. more the general appearance.. sloppy lines, mildewed running rigging.. the way the sails are stowed.. can tell one a lot before you even look below.. don't like it.. Scratch it..
A coupla w/ends of this you'll have a short list..
Call the brokers or owners and set up 2 viewings a day for when it suits you and then go for it.. – limit the viewings and take cameras & lotsa photos.
Get on Board.. the more knowledgeable checks out the top while the other heads below.. now some boats.. I don't know why.. but as soon as you reach the bottom of the steps its: “No Way.”
Not because its a mess.. just a kinda antipathy.. don't strike any others of the same model off the list.. unless it happens again. Its weird..
Anyway.. when you've both finished nosing around.. ask the broker or owner for some time alone together one the boat.. no excited patter/chatter or this good.. that bad..
Thats for later.. this is bonding time.. sit back.. maybe lay on the bunks.. and open up.. you'll know what I mean when it happens.. that little smile with eyes closed on both your faces means.. You've found THE Boat..
And you'll go home and start scheming how to get it yesterday...

Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 21-02-2016, 08:22   #32
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Location: mi /grt lks
Boat: Laguna, windrose 25
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Island time 25, just pegged me. Got a Windrose 25 (1980). Late last summer, started in. With swing keel got into many more inland lakes. I too am headed to lake st. Claire. The boat was under 5 grand and is like launching a small speed boat

Like everyone else has said, live ur dream! Maybe I'll see you out on the lake.
Btw, try Craig Henshal, St. Claire yatch sales, found him to be honest, and passionate about sailing. Good luck.

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Old 22-02-2016, 16:20   #33
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Here are some thoughts on buying your first boat and how much it will cost.

I'm definitely in the start small and cheap camp. If you buy a boat for $40k, you're going to spend a lot more on maintenance and mooring (and probably interest) that won't be going into your cruising kitty, but you won't really be learning that much more. You also will have a lot harder time selling it when it's time to go cruising.

Blue Buddha has some interesting ideas, but I think that it's very location dependent. If you live in a decent cruising area, then owning your own boat and getting out more frequently will teach you more than chartering. It will certainly teach you a thousand times more about DIY boat maintenance. You're going to need to know a lot more about that when cruising than just about anything else!
Chris - Become the Confident Skipper of Your Own Sailboat
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Old 22-02-2016, 18:36   #34
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

I've sailed all my life on lake Erie, mostly out of north cape yacht club in Monroe mi. id suggest taking a learn to sail class at NCYC. the instructors are all very experienced and they have some good boats they sail the classes on. i think they offer classes like 2x a week and they offer them pretty much all summer. check out if your interested pretty much all the info is there.
Then for a boat id highly recommend something like the 30' s2 9.1, they're getting kinda old being mostly built in the early to mid 80s but they are perfect lake Erie boats. we've sailed my dads 1986 s2 9.1 in 30 knot storms and the boat behaves perfectly. they're pretty inexpensive all things figured 15k will get you a pretty decent one and they're all over the great lakes. they'll easily handle ocean sailing and i wouldn't have one worry about the boat in almost any weather. and to top off all that they're really comfortable they sleep six, have a head, inboard motor, and hot water for showers and even with all that they still are pretty fast racers ratting somewhere in the 130s for phrf. we've had ours all over lake Erie and up to st Clair a time or two.
if you want to try sailing out a while first before buying a bigger boat id get something smaller it'd be significantly less expensive to dock haul and maintain. i personally have a 21' hunter 216 with a swing keel and its perfect for me.
hope everything works out and that this helps.
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Old 15-03-2016, 05:09   #35
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

I'm also a relative novice looking for my first cruiser. I began sailing again about six years ago.

My girlfriend and I learned on a J/24. That is also my favorite boat to rent. They perform well and, while not a cruiser, will give you the experience of a keelboat. Perhaps the biggest advantage is that they are very inexpensive if you want to purchase one. That would be a good plan for the first couple of years while you are honing your skills.

If you're going to pack up and head to the Caribbean in a few years you might consider delaying your purchase until you go south. The season is short in Michigan and storage costs are high. Maintaining a mid-30s cruiser can run $500-600/month.

Instead, look around for sailing clubs that offer fractional boats. For less than the cost of mooring and winter storage, you can get access to a variety of boats on a daily basis, and sign up for occasional week-long slots. That will give you experience on different boats and let you build your boat fund.

Good luck!
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Old 15-03-2016, 10:37   #36
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Since you are looking at cruising, I would toss out the dingy options. I would also toss out anything below around 28'. For two of you something in the 30-35' range is going to be drastically more comfortable.

I wouldn't plan on trailering a 25'er. Most people I know who do have a lovely yard ornament that goes in the water once or twice a year before being sold after 3-4yrs because it's too much hassle to rig and de-rig every time you take it out. Once you pay for a slip, you may as well move up to a bigger boat and the ongoing costs aren't much higher.

For Lake St. Clair, I would want shallow draft. Way to many bays and channels to explore.

[Shameless Plug] We have the perfect boat for Lake St. Clair and it's for sale in the area (currently on the Detroit River). It is a bit above your price range though. It's a Gemini catamaran. Fits in most standard slips and can be hauled by conventional lifts. Draft ranges from 5ft to 18inches, so you can sneak in and explore all the nooks and crannies. Comfortable level sailing and excellent platform for anchoring out. Very comfortable accommodations. When the time comes and you can head down to the Caribbean, you already have the boat you need. [end of shameless plug]
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Old 15-03-2016, 12:23   #37
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

This boat is on Lake Ontario...a reasonable trip to sail back home to Lake St Clair.
Shallow draft, good engine, looks really good in the looks like a boat you could take anyplace, and the shallow draft would be great for the bahamas.

Also, price is in Canadian dollars...multiply by 0.75 for USD equivalent.
Well within your budget.
Boat Details

I have no affiliation with the boat or owner...just too much time on my hands until the weather gets better. If you get serious, I'd be happy to crew for you to deliver it home...been there, done that, would love to do it again.
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Old 15-03-2016, 13:38   #38
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Originally Posted by Iduna View Post
Some background on me. I'm 33 and going a little bit crazier every day that I am at my 9-5 job. Basically, I spend an inordinate amount of time daily thinking about my future plans to leave the cold of Southeast Michigan and moving south to my boat in the ocean. More or less, if I'm not reading up on sailing, I'm probably daydreaming about it. That said, I have virtually zero experience on sailboats. I have, however, been on smaller powerboats my whole life and have owned my own for about the last 12 years in the Great Lakes.

My current plan is to save up and build a source of passive income over the next 5-6 years and then head out. My plan is to either buy in Florida and start cruising in the Caribbean, or purchase somewhere Mediterranean and start off there. Eventually, I plan to sail to as much of the world as is possible.

In the meantime, I'm going to learn as much as is possible. I've already signed up for ASA 101/103/104 (once the ice melts) with a school on Lake Saint Clair. Since that's only going to cover me for a few weekends of instruction, I need to buy a boat. And for that, I need some CF help.

I have a budget of about 40k, maybe slightly higher if something great came about. I will be primarily sailing on Lake Saint Clair with occasional trips to spots on Huron and Erie. I don't require the best of anything, but I also don't want to spend all of my time and money at this point on upgrades and maintenance. From what I've researched, something in the mid to upper 30's is probably the size I'm aiming for.

What boats would you all recommend for that kind of a budget to gain relevant sailing learning experience in the Eastern Great Lakes? Primarily, it will be my girlfriend and I (slightly higher maintenance than myself..) That said, I do also have many friends in the area who will frequently want to be coming along for the ride, and I have a strong affinity for providing entertainment.
From the twenty + bookmarks of "for sale" boats that have been collected, this one shines through as the favorite. The rudder construction, metal rub rail, new engine, steps into the cabin and price.

It's located around your way and if you can get to Erie then you are as good as in the Atlantic, as if that's news. Best of luck
1974 Islander Yachts I36 sailboat for sale in Wisconsin
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Old 26-03-2016, 14:21   #39

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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

Look, I don't want to offend you, but you have no business buying a boat. You don't know crap. Wanna be a pilot? Do you start out by purchasing a plane? Wanna be a surgeon? Do you start out by buying a set of instruments? This thread contains some good advice, some excellent and a lot of garbage, much of it laughable, or worse. And you don't know which is which, do you?

Your first job is to learn to sail. Did I say that clearly enough for you? Again:

1). First
2). Learn
3). To SAIL!

This is done by doing several things simultaneously. 1). Spend as much time as you can in and around sailboats and sailors. You do this primarily by crewing for other sailors in races. This can be done in boats of any size or type, but the smaller the boat, the faster you will learn. I am partial to small centerboard one-designs like the Thistle, Lightning, Flying Scot and Interlake, fleets of which abound in your area. 2). Read everything you can on sailing, racing, seamanship. This is where you will want to spend some of your money. The library will serve for much of your reading, but the classics like The Ocean Sailing Yacht, Trekka Round the World, Sea Gypsy, and anything by Eric Hiscock you will want your own copy to refer to over and over through the years. Your first purchase should be The Sports Illustrated Book of Small Boat Sailing, out of print but available used on Amazon. Read it, memorize it, and you will be ready to present yourself as a novice crew. 3). Get as much tiller time on the water in boats under your command as possible. Often after you have crewed regularly for someone for a while he will encourage you to use the boat on your own, especially if it's a relatively small inexpensive one design. This is also where the earlier, excellent suggestion of a Laser comes into its own. No finer boat has ever been designed and built than the Laser. Fast, close winded, thrilling in in winds heavy and light, she is a true thoroughbred, as fine a boat as you will ever find. She will soon turn you into a skipper while you crew for others. Remember, there is no substitute for time on the water.

Follow this advice and you will save your money, learn more, and have a lot of fun. And five years hence, you won't have to ask anyone what to buy. You'll know.

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Old 26-03-2016, 14:56   #40
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Re: Future cruiser buying first sailboat in Michigan

If you want to get into racing, by all means hang out with racers and spend time on dinghies. It will sharpen your skills.

If your goal is cruising, take the racing attitude with a huge grain of salt. Your ASA courses will give you a good background for cruising. I've noticed hardcore racers tend to encourage bad habits. A lot of racing is about purposely obstructing your opponents and the hardcore racers often forget that when around cruisers.

Take your time and start out on calm days and build up your skills and you should have no problem getting a boat.

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