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Old 01-07-2008, 20:01   #1
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suggestion for first boat

My wife and I have the dream to sail. We've been doing homework and developing a plan to live aboard in about 5 years. We are thinking about going ahead and buying a boat now. We live in Houston and can put a boat in a marina on the Gulf Coast that has access to both a lake and also the Gulf.

My question to you experienced owners is this: would you think the best way to get started is buy a small boat? We are looking at a 25 and a 28 foot Catalina. The 25 is only a year old....the 28 is a 1991...both are around $35K.

Our thinking is that this size would be easier to handle and learn on before we invest in a 35-39 foot boat to live on.

Advice and input would be greatly appreciated.

hc
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Old 01-07-2008, 20:09   #2
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I would wait and save to get the bigger one and in the meantime learn to sail on similar size charter expeditions.
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Old 01-07-2008, 20:41   #3
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HC- logic would say to get a small boat or charter until you have some experience and know exactly what you want in a boat. Sometimes logic doesn't prevail, and the heart takes over. Which is fine. Often, owning a sailboat isn't logical or economical. That said, the Catalina is a fine choice. Decent resale value, decent quality, and decent sailing. $35k seems a bit high to me for a Catalina 25... and I understand that the one you're considering is almost new. If you went for the 25', you should be able to pick up a good used one for about half that.... and sell it for about the same later. The price on the 28' seems a bit high... but it may be a better value in the long run.

It's easier to learn to sail on a smaller boat. But you also need to enjoy being at anchor or at dock. If you intend for day sailing... a 25'er might suit you better. If you intend on a lot of overnighters and week-long sailing... you may want the 28'er. I don't mean to suggest that a Catalina 25 isn't good for overnighters or week cruises... the Cat 25 was our first sailboat (we learned to sail on it), and we enjoyed several years of weekends and week-long cruises on it.... all very fond memories.

Please consider that your first boat will be just that. As you gain more experiences in sailing and cruising, you'll find what you want in your next boat. So, I'd consider both boats with that in mind... along with depreciation and resale.

Best of luck, and welcome to sailing.

Steve
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Old 01-07-2008, 22:43   #4
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The 25 probably has some depreciating left to do so the resale may be affected. The 28 is roomier and if the boat checks out well I would go with the 28.

Another option is to rent. There are clubs with minimal joining fees and reasonable rental charges. However, we bought our boat 6 months after getting back into sailing. I just knew it was right.

If you go ownership you should be thinking US$400-500 per month for monthly costs.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:05   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by houcruzer View Post
would you think the best way to get started is buy a small boat... Our thinking is that this size would be easier to handle and learn on before we invest in a 35-39 foot boat to live on...

As you can see, there are legitimate and differing schools of thought on the issue, but I think your instincts are good… renting, leasing, hiring and/or chartering, while it will certainly get you sailing and could expose you to a wider variety of vessels, only minimally prepares you for the commitments required of ownership (its satisfactions and challenges), which is what living-aboard/cruising is much about…

I’m not very familiar with either of the vessels you’re interested in (we’ve got a couple Catalina’s in our small marina, but other than chatting with the skippers I’m not familiar with them except by reputations – generally good…), but for a first boat I’d get the cleanest (most sound) and least inexpensive that my inclinations and budget allowed… the side issue is that the calendar often doesn’t work out exactly as we propose, and you may be cruising locally longer (or less) than you initially expect and the less expensive boat can be easier to move, if you suddenly can move up – or, conversely, the larger boat may allow you to grow for a while longer without the immediate need to trade-up…

Good luck…
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Old 02-07-2008, 07:20   #6
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The 25 probably has some depreciating left to do so the resale may be affected. The 28 is roomier and if the boat checks out well I would go with the 28.

Another option is to rent. There are clubs with minimal joining fees and reasonable rental charges. However, we bought our boat 6 months after getting back into sailing. I just knew it was right.

If you go ownership you should be thinking US$400-500 per month for monthly costs.
Dan - Thanks for the input. Can you give me a rough breakdown of the monthly costs you mention? I assume you include marina fees.....Locally here in the Galveston area fees run about $7 per foot, so under $200 a month for even a 28 footer. What should I expect for additional monthly costs?

hc
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Old 02-07-2008, 09:12   #7
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HC - Send me a PM with you email address and I will send you our spreadsheet with one years costs.

I actually posted it in a thread somewhere as well - try this http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...oat-14840.html

Every maintenance item, upgrade item, insurance and mooring fees is covered.
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