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Old 02-06-2008, 00:02   #1
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Need Help with First Boat

I am wanting to get into sailing. I have been looking at a lot of boats online (currently I am in Iraq with the Army). I need some thoughts on what would be a good boat for starting out. Here is a list of what I need/want it to do:
1. I will mostly be running in freshwater lakes.
2. Need it to be able to trailer.
3. I want it to be able to sleep at least 4 adults (2 couples).
4. I would like to be able to sail the Florida Keys with it and other sites in the Gulf
5. I think I would prefer wheel steering.

If you all have ideas on length,beam and such let me know. Also boats to avoid.

I should add that I am able to do repair and refit work myself.
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:26   #2
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G'Day Michael
I am not familiar with American boats but for a boat the size of a trailer sailor, wheel steering would only get in the way.
You would have a hard time getting around it to go forward and same trying to get back behind it again.

My boat is nearly 30 ft. and the wheel models are like that.
I am happy I chose a tiller steer.
(You get used to pointing s'board to turn to port)

Something to consider?
Take your time in choosing a boat.

Jim.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:17   #3
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Hi Michael. First of all, get home safe, okay?

As for the boat, I completely agree with Jim... go with a tiller. You are most likely looking at a boat around 30 feet long or less, and on that size boat, a wheel would completely overwhelm your cockpit. Plus it would be an unnecessary mechanical complication, add unnecessary weight, etc. etc.

Would you be able to have a trailer rig that would pull a boat weighing say 10,000 pounds? If you can then a boat in the 30 length range would allow you to sleep 4 adults. If you get down to 25 - 27 feet, sleeping 4 adults for anything more than a weekend becomes very difficult, IMO.

Almost all boats in this size range or smaller are trailerable, depending on the beam restrictions in some states. I vaguely recall that there is some kind of restriction that comes in to play at 8 feet. That would actually complicate things in a boat around 30 feet long, since almost all those boats have beams over 8 feet.
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Old 02-06-2008, 09:07   #4
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Respecting experience I think I will go with the tiller now. I have checked on the issue of beam. The areas I would operate all show a 8'6" max width without permits on the axel width. I have run into the same issues towing some heavy equipment in the past. The 10k tow weight shouldnt be a problem with my truck as long as I set the trailor up correctly. The one measurement that I am unsure of is the ride hight of a fixed keel for bridge clearence while towing. I wont be towing the boat more than a couple of time a year. My plan is to leave it in the water and stay on it during my drill weekends. I am lucky in the fact that there is a large lake 20min from where my unit drills.

As for the getting home safe....If I can make it about 25 more days then I am on my way home.
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Old 06-06-2008, 19:54   #5
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Michael, so what are you down to now... 21 days?

I just came across this ebay ad for what might be right up your alley:

eBay Motors: 1977 Columbia T26 Sloop Rigged Yacht Sailboat w/Trailer (item 170225027133 end time Jun-08-08 15:25:35 PDT)

Columbia built some good boats back in the day. I am not familiar with this model, but my second boat was a Bill Tripp designed Columbia 26... earlier model, with a fin keel, built like a truck, great boat.

With luck, this boat might not sell this time and you'll have a shot at it when you get back here. From the pics it looks clean. $6k for a boat and trailer sounds like a bargain to me. If they are in good shape.

Good luck.
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Old 07-06-2008, 04:24   #6
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Originally Posted by michael.barber View Post
I have been looking at a lot of boats online.... be able to trailer.... sleep at least 4 adults (2 couples).... sail the Florida Keys with it and other sites in the Gulf... prefer wheel steering...

First, thanks for your service…

There are a wide variety of boats that fit one facet or another of your criteria – I’d say you’re probably looking in the 8’ beam 23-28 foot range – displacement in the 4000+ range… from smaller Columbia’s, Paceship, Pearson’s, etc., etc., even to the smaller J-boats, to little chunks like ours as well as the Flicka’s, Nor’Sea 27’s… all are more or less capable of the type of sailing you envision (a few have crossed oceans) and are trailerable more or less, so far at DOT is concerned… whether you want to trailer them regularly is another matter…

As I’m sure you’re aware, fixed keels (which often accompany standing-headroom) of any depth pretty much rule out self-launching… likewise (probably) does your criteria for two-couples accommodations, which means only the larger of the trailerable, unless one of the couples is going to get rather skimpy lodging – in this size, I’d say most of us find that two-couples is only an occasional overnight adventure… On the other hand some, such as the McGregor (sp?) series have gotten fairly innovative in these regards and you might look at them…

It can be done, but the craft will probably require you to compromise in one quality or anther (what boat doesn’t). I agree with those who encourage you not to make wheel-steering too strong a criteria… they’re okay, but take up space (depending on the arrangement) and add moderate complexity (which figures into your maintenance picture – I agree self- maintenance is the best option), not to mention complicating such things as auto-pilots if one is so inclined…

Good luck…
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Old 07-06-2008, 07:14   #7
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Hi MB:

Again thanks for your service. Keep your head low. IT would be helpful for you to answer a couple of questions: 1) Budget (Need to account for boat refit) and 2) How much preformance do yuo want. 3) how do you intend to launch the boat.

1) Obvious no explanation needed 2) Do you want to a planning boat w/ less amenities or a nice built for comfort not for speed boat. 3) If launching off a ramp a swing keel is much easier to do but it also takes up alot of room in the cabin. A fixed wheel can be launched off a ramp it is just harder to do. If you are only doing it once or twice a year a fixed keel should be fine.
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Old 07-06-2008, 20:40   #8
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Charlie,

As far as budget....I would like to start at 10k or under for the purchase price. I have seen a lot of boats that I like under that price range. When it comes to the trailer. I really dont expect to move it more than 2 times a year. More of a winter refit time at my shop. Yes, I am a little anal about maintance and upkeep but thats a good thing right? Any thoughts on shoal draft? Also, do you have an estimated average hight from keel to the higest point with the mast down on a full keel/fin keel?

I am not looking to race. I am more intrested in crusing. I do however want to be able to make decent headway.
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Old 07-06-2008, 21:58   #9
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One boat that I do like in that price point is the Catalina 27. Here is a link to an article on Catalina 27's that lets you know about the different layouts etc. For Lake sailing I would say that the Catlaina with an outboard is what you want . If you plan on doing more extensive costal cruising the boat will need some reenforcement and you would be better off with the inboard diesel. There are plenty of other boats out there but I think that the Catalina 27 is a good value and allows for a reasonable resale b/c there is an established market for them. In other words you won't lose much $ if anything when you go to sell.
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Old 07-06-2008, 22:35   #10
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I'll go along with Charlie on this boat, A Catalina 25 or a 27 would be a good choice for what your looking for. they're are thousands of them out there and the price paid will almost be what you get out when selling.
I started sailing with a Catalina 22 and then bought a 25, then a 27, and a 30, and only changed to the Beneteau for open ocean use.
You cant go wrong with the boat and there are many forums devoted to the C27s.
as for the wheel or tiller issue, With a tiller you can feel the balance of the boat where you cant with the wheel. A tiller is a great way to learn the boat..
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:06   #11
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One boat that I do like in that price point is the Catalina 27. Here is a link to an article on Catalina 27's that lets you know about the different layouts etc. For Lake sailing I would say that the Catlaina with an outboard is what you want . If you plan on doing more extensive costal cruising the boat will need some reenforcement and you would be better off with the inboard diesel. There are plenty of other boats out there but I think that the Catalina 27 is a good value and allows for a reasonable resale b/c there is an established market for them. In other words you won't lose much $ if anything when you go to sell.
Used Boat Notebook
I guess my link did not take I'll try again, If this disappears I guess it is considered against the rules.
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Between us there was, as I have already said somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other's yarns -- and even convictions. Heart of Darkness
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Old 08-06-2008, 07:43   #12
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I'll go along with Charlie on this boat, A Catalina 25 or a 27 would be a good choice...

I agree that the Catalina series are worth a long look… we’ve got a Cat 25 at our marina that has done the California to Hawaii trip a couple of times… then jumped on a trailer and with a new owner is cruising our area… as far as I can see from chatting with the current owner, nothing special added to the boat other than a king’s ransom in electro-gizmos (the former owner was a Ham-operator, with a serious technical bent apparently…). Generally good, predictable boats (owner maintenance depending) from my observation…
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