I used to own a San Juan
23. It was a great little boat that sailed wonderfully and was reasonably comfortable for weekending. It had a swing keel (which is perfect for the shallow water
around Florida) and an easily tuned rig. In terms of building experience before moving up to a bigger boat, I think it was darned near perfect.
My wife was a little bit intimidated when she was towing it, although she did fine and never had a problem. In fact, it once bounced off of the hitch while she was driving (not going very fast, thank God!) and she handled it perfectly and with amazing aplomb. The point is that any trailer boat with a decent cabin is going to be fairly large and heavy to tow. If your only experience is towing small utility trailers and the like, expect a bit of a learning
curve. I was backing our quadruple horse trailer into the barn even before I had a drivers license
, so it was no big deal for me. It just depends on your experience.
In a boat this small the cabin space and amenities are always going to be limited. It is more like camping on the water than really "living" in the boat. And the only standing headroom
(for either my wife or me) was with out head
sticking out of the companionway
. Nonetheless, my wife and I enjoyed our San Juan
very much for weekends on Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor/Pine Island Sound, and in the Keys. Had we ever gotten around to it, I would have felt quite comfortable sailing it across to the Bahamas
, given an appropriate weather