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Old 18-10-2014, 20:22   #1
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Starter Sailboat?

My husband and I are looking to buy our first sailboat, but we're not sure what would be best. We'd like something small (between 28 and 32), with a comfortable cockpit, and strong enough for us to go cruising in the Caribbean.

We've looked at small Catalinas and Hunters, but there seems to be some disagreement on how well these small vessels can cruise.

Any suggestions?
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Old 18-10-2014, 20:39   #2
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

There are a lot of competent boats that can sail the Caribbean. But first of all, the question is new or use? What is your budget? An 27' Albin Vega will run you around $15,000 for one in virtually go ready shape, and they can and have gone anywhere. There are other similar boats that are very capable.

Hunters and Catalinas make great coastal sailors, and what they excel in is their interior appointments. If you get a Hunter Cherubini, there are few who question its seaworthyness... they are very well regarded.

Here are some starter web sites that may give you some better answers. Have fun!

Atom Voyages - Good Old Boats List

Sail Far Live Free - Sailboats, Sailing News, and Gear: Top 10 Favorite Affordable Bluewater Sailboats

Full List of Sailboats

If you have not heard it yet, every boat is a compromise. It depends on what is important to you, and what type of sailing you want to do.
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Old 18-10-2014, 20:40   #3
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

The ubiquitous, solid, and affordable Catalina 30


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Old 19-10-2014, 07:01   #4
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

I'd like to find something used under $20,000 if possible, $25,000 tops.
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Old 19-10-2014, 07:26   #5
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

We have enjoyed our 84 Hunter 31 for almost five years now, and are just considering selling it to move up next spring. We were surprised how much bigger it was than a Catalina 30, when one was docked next to us last year.
We have crossed Georgia Straight many times in good weather and bad, and always felt safe, but would not consider it for say, a 360 around Vancouver Island, considered locally a trip for serious boats and serious sailors.
Good luck, and hope you find your boat.
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Old 20-10-2014, 07:08   #6
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

I'm not sure if this is a relevant question..but.. you said this was your first sailboat....have you ever sailed before?

I'm very new to sailing..VERY NEW, actually. My husband and I bought our first sailboat at the end of May.. so, we are just finishing up our first season. We bought a 'starter boat'... it's a 22' O'day. We have not taken any sailing classes yet..

That being said.. it was a tough learning curve this summer. In fact.. after a whole summer, we are having fun.. but, still complete hackers! I don't know that we could have handled learning on a boat that big right away. We have gone out with a friend who has a 32 foot, and there is no way we could have handled that right out of the gates.

So.. perhaps it would be better to get something smaller.. Then.. once you feel you can handle it... sell, and get the bigger boat that you really want.

We only paid $3000 for ours, and we have cleaned her up.. given the wood trim a much needed refreshing. we fixed the electrical, so that runs.. and will get new sails for next year... we will probably sail for one more season, then get a bigger boat with a much more comfortable salon and berth. We are planning on reselling it for $5000.. so we will (hopefully) get every penny out of it.

Just a thought..
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Old 20-10-2014, 07:37   #7
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Easily the most popular question ever asked here... There are tens of thousands of threads, so there's plenty to dig up if you want to shovel away...

Advice here is spot on... Especially avb3 and his links... You will have no problem finding a decent small carrib cruiser for 20k...

As said... every boat is a compromise

#1 Happy advise? Don't buy a fixer upper... Don't blow your whole budget on a boat... save some for things that are there... that you have no idea about yet...

#2 Happy advise? Enthusiasm like Scarlet's

edit: My goodness... Where's my manners???
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Old 20-10-2014, 20:44   #8
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Hello! It's fun shopping for a new boat! I would echo what avb3 referred to, the atom voyages site. I would also look at the "Bluewater boats" site, Sailboat Reviews of Offshore Cruising Yachts : Bluewaterboats.org . I would also add that there are many older boats that are highly regarded, seaworthy, seakindly and not too expensive (and they are shown on the 2 sites mentioned.) Do you have an idea of the kind of boat you want? Do you have a list must-haves and must-not-haves? That will help trim the list right away. In my case I wanted an old-school, hand-laid up hull, keel-hung rudder and no keel bolts, but that's just me. What are your preferences? Good luck and have fun in the search!

oops, sorry avb3, I see you did mention the bluewaterboat site!

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Old 21-10-2014, 01:17   #9
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

I'd echo what scarlet said. Until you're ready to handle the passage to the Carib, find a small cheap boat you can bang into docks with, run aground and just basically learn the ropes. After a year or two spend your serious money on the bigger/keeper boat. We did that with a 1970's 23ft lift keel. Still made some great memories but she was built like a tank (and needed to be!)


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Old 21-10-2014, 01:41   #10
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by shorebird View Post
We have enjoyed our 84 Hunter 31 for almost five years now, and are just considering selling it to move up next spring. We were surprised how much bigger it was than a Catalina 30, when one was docked next to us last year.
We have crossed Georgia Straight many times in good weather and bad, and always felt safe, but would not consider it for say, a 360 around Vancouver Island, considered locally a trip for serious boats and serious sailors.
Good luck, and hope you find your boat.
As a third party the Hunter could get my vote.

It probably is not as fast as a Catalina but I think the interior layout is more roomy.

And who's in a hurry anyway...

You could also look at long keelers and stuff but the Catalina and Hunter is ubiquitous and parts and maintenance can be had all over the place.

Good choices for a first boat.
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Old 21-10-2014, 08:56   #11
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Weigh your outlay against a charter. If all you want is to cruise the Caribbean, you can charter a boat there and avoid all costs and hassle related to OWNING a boat.

If you are set on owning, you will find heaps of decent boats in your range. Buying there is another good option too.

If your boat purchase visionary budget is X, allow for some amount to be allocated for mods and upgrades. I think this is easily 30+% of what most envision as the purchase price.

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Old 21-10-2014, 15:55   #12
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Look, if this is really a "starter boat" it doesn't really matter exactly what specific design it is. You will learn the basics sailing just about any boat. What does matter is buying a boat that you can sell onward when you are ready to move up, sell quickly and without a big fiscal crisis. Until you have tried to sell a boat yourself you have no idea how hard it can be, so my advice is to look for a design that is locally popular, in fair supply numbers, and that you can buy at the low end of the price range for the type. If you stick to those criteria you will be happy campers at the end of your starter period... and then you will have enough experience to make an informed decision about what to buy next.

And Scarlet -- don't count on getting your proposed 5K$ when you go to sell your O'Day. You are falling into the common trap of thinking that you will recoup the costs of improvements that you have made whilst owning a boat. This almost never happens. What does happen is that the improved and refurbished boat will sell more quickly than one without those assets, but is not likely to go for a much higher price. It's a sad fact: recreational boats are not investments, but a pleasure that you pay for. And worth every penny that it costs!!!

Cheers to you both,

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Old 21-10-2014, 16:26   #13
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
And Scarlet -- don't count on getting your proposed 5K$ when you go to sell your O'Day. You are falling into the common trap of thinking that you will recoup the costs of improvements that you have made whilst owning a boat. This almost never happens. What does happen is that the improved and refurbished boat will sell more quickly than one without those assets, but is not likely to go for a much higher price. It's a sad fact: recreational boats are not investments, but a pleasure that you pay for. And worth every penny that it costs!!!
I was afraid that may be the case, but was trying to be hopeful.
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Old 21-10-2014, 16:53   #14
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

As a sort of possible rebuttal to the gotta buy a little boat to learn on, our first sailboat and the first boat we had ever sailed on is our 38' Island Packet.
Ought to take a class one day, but so far we have only had her six months or so, but have right at 2,000 miles under the keel since we bought her.
I can see the real truth in learning a lot dinghy sailing, and one day we will take some classes, but I believe if you realize your limitations and stay within them, you'll be fine in a 30' Hunter or similar.

A dock mate has a Trinka for sale that I have been considering, just need to put the money in the big boat first.
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Old 21-10-2014, 18:17   #15
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Re: Starter Sailboat?

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Originally Posted by SaraJiang View Post

We've looked at small Catalinas and Hunters, but there seems to be some disagreement on how well these small vessels can cruise.

Any suggestions?
It's internet forum "noise", get one and go. The only one that needs to like the boat is you, so just get the one you like.

In the end if you cruise longer you probably are going to want a different boat later anyway once you know more about what you really want in a boat.
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