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Old 11-05-2009, 11:38   #1
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Small Cruising Boat Recommendation?

I've lurked around these forums for a while and haven't seen this questions answered very well....

I am looking to buy a small cruising boat to sail around Florida, the ICW and the Islands. The only requirements are an enclosed head (the wife's one requirement) and the ability to reasonably singlehand. Oh, and I don't want to spend more than $10,000 or so, but am willing to shop around and be patient.

I learned on smaller boats and most recently owned a San Juan 23. It was fun, but got kind of crowded after a few days with me and the wife on board. Since I still have a lot to learn about sailing and a modest budget, I am expecting to get something in the 25 - 30' range, probably shoal draft. I've seen some Watkins that were nice all the way up to Hunter's in that price range.

What boats should I concentrate on to best meet my needs? I know this is subjective, but I would enjoy hearing from some more experienced sailors who may have spent time in the cockpit of these boats....

Thanks in advance!

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Old 11-05-2009, 11:52   #2
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We are very happy with our Pearson Ariel. The head is in the middle of the V-berth, but very few use the Vberth for anything but stowage so it would still provide the privacy your wife sounds like she wants.

Here is a link to a thread on our cruise to the Bahamas.

Here is a link to the owners association.

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Old 11-05-2009, 13:08   #3
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Those watkins seem like pretty good little boats, although I havent owned one.
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Old 11-05-2009, 13:24   #4
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I owned a Westerly Centaur that with a three foot draft was a good Bahamas boat in the price range you mentioned. Morgan OI 28s and 30s. Sometimes come up in that price range as well as some of the Pearson boats.
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Old 13-11-2009, 17:36   #5
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what islands?
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Old 13-11-2009, 18:30   #6
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How about a Lindenberg 26? now theres one you never see suggested,i have one and although i have never sailed it i have sailed on another one. Understand that every boat is a series of comprimises and i am very impressed with the ones made with this boat,this has got to be one of the largest 26ft sailboats around,it has a very plumb bow for its vintage resulting in a long (23ft) waterline,9ft 6" beam carried well aft(huge quarterberths) and a lot of freeboard,your head is under the sidedecks when sitting on the settees so the cabin trunk can be narrow resulting in the widest sidedecks you will find on a boat under 30-35ft, about 20". 5ft 11" headroom thru the entire cabin area and the coup de grace,they skipped the typical vee berth in favor of a sail bin ,a head compartment with cabinets each side,hanging lockers and closed off by teak louvered doors,it is a sit down head though.This one comprimise allowed the bulkhead to be further foreward than most boats,the distance from the companionway to the b/head at the fwd end of the saloon is longer than on a Ericson 35 or J35 which enhances the feeling of spaciousness,the boat was built in Florida and has about 4ft draft which is reasonable,oh year all this and a phrf rating of 168 which is quite fast ,the same as a J24, S2 7.9 etc and there is usually a couple for sale,always under 10 k.There is an owners group online.Check em out.
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Old 13-11-2009, 18:47   #7
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Clearly you need a Sabre 28. Best cruising boat under 30 ft that you can find.

I'm not biased. Not at all. :P

But seriously, though. I've had great experiences with mine. She's quick, strong, looks good.... Granted, she's a little bit tender (she likes to lean) and that can be a bit tiresome sometimes. But she's got standing headroom throughout, only draws 4.5 ft, has a wheel, skeg-mounted rudder, fin keel, good engine (I've got an Atomic 4 but you can find later models with diesels), nice teak everywhere, clever useable layout, decent name it. Plus, she's a Sabre. Besides the great building reputation and nice looks, the folks at Sabre still provide good support for the 28s, even though they stopped making them a while ago.

I got mine for $17k, but I've seen some of them listed down to around your price range. As always, though, you get what you pay for.

S/V Icefire - 1974 Sabre 28 Mk I (Hull # 89)
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Old 13-11-2009, 23:49   #8
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Check out the book recommendation and the two links after my signature. I've experience with Folkboats, Columbia 28, Cal 2-30, Rawson 30. The sailing ability of the Columbia pleasantly surprised me.
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Old 14-11-2009, 00:42   #9
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How about a Catalina 30? It'll do what you want and the wife will be really happy with the space. You can find plenty for under 10 grand.

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Old 14-11-2009, 20:28   #10
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Originally Posted by djnestrick View Post
I don't want to spend more than $10,000 or so... something in the 25 - 30' range...

Plug your search into or, or the like, and I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by your choices… as you get close to 30-feet the supply of $10K boats not needing some serious elbow grease gets smaller, but they are there… But the actual boat condition will be everything – most boats of the high twenty-foot range and at $10K will probably be of the older CCA style with modest DIY requirements – usually forgiving sailors and many were over-built, but you’ll generally not find the expansive cabins of contemporary designs – however, most will have the requisite private head compartment…
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Old 14-11-2009, 21:09   #11
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OP, check your PM re a boat that might be of interest.
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Old 16-11-2009, 07:59   #12
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There's a Cape Dory 25D in pretty good condition for sale in Jamestown, RI for under 10K. It's being sold privately and not advertised on Yachtworld. Send me a PM if you are interested and I'll dredge up the number to call.

It's not a shoal draft boat, however.
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Old 16-11-2009, 13:05   #13
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Catalina 27 swing keel. It has enough room for a few weeks cruising. It's swing keel will keep you out of trouble in shallow water and if you want to go from A to B in a hurry you can trailer it. It will also give you a chance to sail inland lakes.
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Old 28-11-2009, 12:05   #14
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Cape Dory 25D, the Canadian built Contessa 26 [Tania Aebi circumnavigated in one], Pearson 27' Renegade, Pearson Triton, or build your own. Buehler's Emily is a good choice: easy to build, inexpensive to build.
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Old 06-04-2010, 18:10   #15
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Pearson's are good.I have one for sale too.You can check my first thread.

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