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Old 18-07-2014, 20:56   #1
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Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Howdy,

The title should read "<$10K"

Tonight I came across a thread on this forum where a situation was described that I see as an example of an interesting topic or challenge. Let me present the scenario this way:

1.A mature Couple wants to learn to sail a boat, with eventual desire to buy a big 40 foot boat to cruise and live aboard. They have no experience sailing and have "never owned a boat." So, they are going to take lessons. They are eager to learn to sail, but do not want to buy a big boat yet or to have to pay for slip fees on a local boat. They are interested in learning about owning a boat.

2. The couple live far from the ocean and will for a few years be more likely to sail on a lake. So, their sailing conditions will be relatively light winds and no open ocean risks.
_____________

Given this scenario, I thought I would see what kind of small boats were on the market (used) that would prove either fun or good for an entry level sailor, but with the potential for other learning opportunities or "challenges" such as possible club racing or even short term (weekend) cruising.

I also thought about some things to consider as desirable for these boats.

1. Potential to find supportive fleets of owners for advice on parts, repairs, upgrades, and general knowledge on the boat

2. Potential for resale of the boat in a few years. I assume here that resale would be easier for a boat with a recognized pedigree and large fleet.

3. Potential for fun and/or comfort. Some boats are fun because they are fast. Some are fun to decorate or make pretty. Some are fun just to look at and to be seen on. Some rare boats have both style and performance. Some have comfort and admirable design.

4. Room for 2 adults and possibly two more teens for crew. Possibility for just two people to comfortably sail the boat and handle the sails and loading it on a trailer (remember they don't want to pay slip fees in a marina).

5. A cabin top for some privacy and room for a porta potty would be a plus, even on small boats.

6. Potential for a two bunks for sleeping overnight on a weekend cruise would be a plus, but not a requirement.

7. Under $10,000 to purchase, including a working trailer, sails, and ready to sail (not requiring much work or refit).

8. I ruled out dinghy or skiff or extreme boats because they may be fun for one, but seldom for two. Or they may just be too extreme in size or skill required. So, no Moths, no El Toros, and no Lasers or Sunfish. Put another way, since learning how to sail was the goal, I restricted the boats to those that have two sails (main and jib).
_______________

I looked at a bunch of boats and came up with a few that are appealing to me. I have only sailed on one of these (raced on J24s) but would not mind sailing any of them. One is an Olympic class racer that is a classic. It is a day sailor and has no cabin (so no porta-potty) but it is also the lowest cost option (just $1,000). I love the lines on this boat and would love to own one myself. To my eyes it has beauty, classic lines, and potential for performance and class racing. It is only $1,000 (with trailer) and to me represents a much better value than many low cost boats I have seen on lists.

Another is a nice little "Pocket Cruiser" that I think would have good potential for the couple to learn about living (over night or weekend) simply in a small space and boat maintenance.
________________
NOTE: I am posting this information as a start of a discussion thread. I am posting links and some descriptive information, but I don't know how to post photos here yet. I have NO financial connection of any kind to any of the sellers or to the website that is linked. I am simply posting these for discussion. I am posting the cost of these used boats so readers can get an idea of what is available for a certain price point. I have no connection to the sellers.
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My hope is that you might also post a suggestion or two for a boat that you feel would fit the criteria up above. Please feel free to post your favorite boats in this category.
_____________________________________

Day Sailor or Race Boat

Classic Style, Performance, One Design Class Racing, Huge Fleet

Soling
Soling 27 1974. $1,000. (Day sailor, Olympic class one design race boat)

Soling - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Soling 27, 1974, Corpus Christi, Texas, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas, yacht for sale

"wonderfully restored" This boat is road ready with single axel trailers, sails and gear to go sailing. A classic and aggressive daysailer and/or club racer designed by Jan Linge and the Olympic keel boat from 1972 until 2000. With the self tacking jib it can be sailed with a full (3) crew or can easily single handed

___________________________
Day Sailor or Race Boat

Classic Style, Performance, One Design Class Racing, Huge Fleet,
+ Room for Porta Potty and Bunks for overnight. Lacks headroom.

J24. $3,500
Comes with trailer and dinghy.
J24, 1980, Decatur, Illinois, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas
______________________________________
Pocket Cruiser ONE
Enclosed cabin with bunks, and porta potty,

Nimble 24

Nimble 24, 1994, Cambridge, Maryland, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas, yacht for sale

Nimble 24, 1994 yawl, $6,500
classic looking pocket cruiser,
able to take you into every creek and gunkhole on a lake or bay.
draws 16" board up, 3' board down
24 feet length on deck, small bowsprit and boomkin
displacement 3000 lbs
8.25' beam, easily trailerable
SA/D 19.43
designer Ted Brewer
tanbark sails in good condition: jib, genoa, main, mizzen; Harken winches
9.9 HP Yamaha, recently overhauled, electric starter
green topsides, red bottom, yellow accent stripe
dodger in excellent shape
6 opening bronze ports with screens, 2 hatches, companionway doors
teak & holly sole, high quality construction throughout
comfortable sitting headroom; ample storage
sleeps 4 in forepeak double berth and two 6'4" pilot berths
sink and hand pump; small table and counter; portapotti
all lights, spare line, plow & danforth ground tackle (2), cushions, 4 PFDs

_______________________________
Pocket Cruiser TWO
Enclosed cabin with bunks, and porta potty,

Compac 19 (Pocket cruiser) $6,800
ComPac 19, 1985, Peoria, Arizona, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas, yacht for sale

ComPac 19, 1985
"Custom mahogany, teak and brass accents., boat, motor and trailer in great condition."
6 HP Suzuki 4 stroke.
sails are in excellent condition
porta potty, radio and all accessories included.
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Old 18-07-2014, 21:43   #2
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

If that little racer weren't so far away I would buy it tomorrow! I'm waiting for the weather here to come down out of the triple digits and will then be all over finding a small learner lake boat. Lake Mead is about 115-120 during the day! I would feel so much better if I could understand what managing the wind FEELS like! I imagine it's like when you learn to drive. I know that is the accelerator, and that is the brake, and this is the steering, however, it takes some time before you can FEEL how quickly a car can make a curve, or stopping distance, right? Until we have spent some time doing it it's all like reading a manual on rocket science! Thanks for the lineup! When we are ready to purchase I'm going to ask you to help! Like how your mind works...


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Old 18-07-2014, 22:12   #3
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Comment: The Soling, whilst a well known older one-design race boat, has a fixed keel. This makes trailer launching a much bigger deal than it is for boats with centerboards or swing keels. In the really inexpensive category, I'd still head for something like an O'Day Day Sailor. Plenty of room for 2+2, a big fleet nationwide and very forgiving for newbies. With this sort of boat you can launch off beaches or any ramp, and be ready to sail in 15 minutes once you have the drill down pat. I doubt that this would be feasible with the Soling. There are lots of similar one-designs out there, which to me represent an ideal first boat.

The others suggested are fine boats, and to me are good candidates for the second boat.

Cheers,

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Old 18-07-2014, 23:37   #4
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Oday Mariner 2+2
Fits the bill, been in constant production for over 50 years
(Now Stuart) over 4000 built, parts available
And a very large and active owners association
Best of all you should be able to get a golden oldie
For between 3-4 thousand all in, boat,trailer,engine
I picked one up this year to lake sail and will be crewing on bigger boats
Till I can move closer to the ocean.
People race, day sail, weekend and cruise these boats
Cockpit is good for 4 people
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Old 19-07-2014, 00:18   #5
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Sailing the Soling will give you experience, in a small way, similar to larger keeled boats since it has one of its own. I have sailed them and they are a real treat. Having said that, launching is a challenge. I launch my Pearson Triton (full keel, 28' LOA) from a trailer - I also step the mast on the deck post launch.

If you are just going down to the lake, launching, raising, sailing, reversing and going home, I like that O'Day. You'll get much experience in boat handling from that size boat and it is fairly simple to get her in the water and get going.

Enjoy!
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Old 19-07-2014, 01:45   #6
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyoldboatguy View Post
Sailing the Soling will give you experience, in a small way, similar to larger keeled boats since it has one of its own. I have sailed them and they are a real treat. Having said that, launching is a challenge. I launch my Pearson Triton (full keel, 28' LOA) from a trailer - I also step the mast on the deck post launch.

If you are just going down to the lake, launching, raising, sailing, reversing and going home, I like that O'Day. You'll get much experience in boat handling from that size boat and it is fairly simple to get her in the water and get going.

Enjoy!
Exactly! Keep it simple, and have lots of fun with it.

Ann
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Old 19-07-2014, 13:32   #7
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

I see that you have found the small Compac's. Great sailing little boats. If I had to do it all over again I would start out with a dingy, then get a Compac 23. Then a large boat.
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Old 19-07-2014, 18:42   #8
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

I would avoid all the racier boats - I am stereotyping here but this theoretical couple needs to "experience" living aboard, albeit with weekender experience.

A boat with many of the bigger boat systems so they get to experience the usage maintenance and upkeep - inboard engine if possible but very limited in trailerable boats.

The need to be able to spend a night on the hook - I imagine them gunkholing, camping so to speak, so a galley and battery systems gets them that exposure.

Spend a "whole" day on a J24 - great for racing but one damn uncomfortable boat. Places to sit but no backrests anywhere. I've done repositionings against wind and tide of 10+ hours! Horrible experience.

Shallow draft, swing keel is also the go if trailering.
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Old 27-10-2014, 16:13   #9
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/v Beth View Post
I see that you have found the small Compac's. Great sailing little boats. If I had to do it all over again I would start out with a dingy, then get a Compac 23. Then a large boat.
That sounds like a good plan to me.

I have looked at several of the Compac boats and was always impressed by their thoughtful design for small cruising boats. Their cat boats are especially nice (design and finish).
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Old 27-10-2014, 16:23   #10
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
I would avoid all the racier boats - I am stereotyping here but this theoretical couple needs to "experience" living aboard, albeit with weekender experience.

A boat with many of the bigger boat systems so they get to experience the usage maintenance and upkeep - inboard engine if possible but very limited in trailerable boats.

The need to be able to spend a night on the hook - I imagine them gunkholing, camping so to speak, so a galley and battery systems gets them that exposure.

Spend a "whole" day on a J24 - great for racing but one damn uncomfortable boat. Places to sit but no backrests anywhere. I've done repositionings against wind and tide of 10+ hours! Horrible experience.

Shallow draft, swing keel is also the go if trailering.
I understand your points and even agree with them.

I would never pick a J24 for comfort. The Soling would not be my idea of a comfort boat either. The lack of a backrest is very true. It can be fatiguing to sit without back support for hours or to sit only on boats without any cushions of any kind in the cockpit.

My thoughts on the racier boats was that they would provide some "performance" challenges that might appeal to the teens in the family, getting them hooked on sailing too. But, I suppose my time on racing boats has somewhat influenced my thoughts there with the mantras "Fast is Fun" and "Faster is More Fun."

At heart, I am more of a cruiser, and someone who wants to enjoy the comforts possible in a nice cruising boat and I intend to enjoy the time on the water as much as possible. Give me a nice spot to sit with a book in hand and even if the boat is slow I can enjoy the voyage.
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Old 27-10-2014, 16:42   #11
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

For the kids/teens I would get an almost free dinghy off craigslist.

When my kid started sailing they would take out laser Picos and fart around. Saw them playing pirates one day making close passes and jumping from one boat to the other.

They were having a blast, getting wet but they were also learning boat control and close quarters sailing. For some kids if the "lesson" can be hidden in fun they accept it a lot better.
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Old 27-10-2014, 18:03   #12
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

There are many good boats that fit your criteria, but of those you specified, only the Compac actually fit the bill for the intended purpose.

I made a list of suitable designs for the exact same purpose. The list was gleaned from my study of the highly recommended Your First Sailboat, by Daniel Spurr.

I bought an O'Day Mariner. It wasn't at the top of my list, but it was available locally, in good condition, with a trailer, and comparatively inexpensive. After sailing it for about an hour with the seller, I knew I would buy it.

The O'Day Mariner has been the perfect boat for my intentions. I'm sure there are many others that I would have been just as happy with, but I doubt I'd find anything I like better. It's quite fast enough to give me and my passengers a rush on good wind days, and it goes on light air, too.

My advice is to go with a good basic rig on a small responsive boat, with a jib and a genoa and a reliable outboard motor. And no other systems to worry about. Learn to have fun sailing, then decide if you want to add complexity and weight.

I've chartered the bigger boats in the Caribbean. The Mariner is more fun to sail. The big boats are more fun to drink, screw, and sleep on. But things broke on almost every big boat I've been on. After 13 months of my ownership nothing on my 40 year old Mariner has broken.
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Old 27-10-2014, 18:07   #13
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Re: Small Boats for Couple to Learn to Sail <$10

Catalina 22 meets all the criteria.

So do Catalina 25s.
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