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Old 21-01-2010, 08:45   #1
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Too Many Choices

With all the multitudes of manufactures and designs out there, it can get difficult to narrow down the choices for a first purchase. I need some seasoned opinions on boats that fit into the following criteria.

Lifestyle
1. Extended cruising--2 months+
2. Seasonal Use, will be hauled out at end of seaon
3. Use will be primarily in Bahamas, BVI's, and eventually Deeper in the caribbean.
4. Usually singlehanded, with occasional guests/crew
5. Largest headroom available(Im 6'3" and have already resigned myself to stooping below deck)
6. Head, not a port-o-potty


Technical
1. As shallow draft as possible
2. Tiller is a must
3. Fiberglass
4. Outboard
5. 25-34 LOA
6. ample tankage
7. Dingy stowage(davit or on deck)

Safety is the first requirement above all else

Some features Im not sure about

1. Fixed keel or center board
2. Aft or center cockpit
3. bermuda or gaff rig

Of course Im looking in the used market, I am on a tight budget, however, I am of the opinion if I dont go now, Im not going. So I figured go small, go cheap and go now.

thanks

J
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Old 21-01-2010, 09:01   #2
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What is your budget? It helps to have a dollar figure. There will be the cost of the boat plus the cost to make the boat how you need it.

What is your experience?
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Old 21-01-2010, 09:04   #3
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purchasing budget is up to $15k, but would rather not use all of it.

monthly operating budget is around $800

Plus a buffer in savings for emergencies, incidentals, and the like.
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Old 21-01-2010, 09:05   #4
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Have you "walked the docks"
A lot will depend on what’s for sale in your "going to look at it" range as well.
In my limited experience:
That size will most probably be aft cockpit...and not a lot of tankage.
Gaff rig would be unusual.
If you want shallow draft then a centerboard would probably be the shallow-est

This question has been asked 4821 times...have you tried the forums search tool...the google part is very good.
Good Luck and keep us updated.
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Old 21-01-2010, 09:12   #5
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hey james, thanks for the info. I was leaning towards a centerboard.

As far as the question being asked 4821 times , it also gives me 4821 answers. Hence my more comprehensive list of requirements, rather than the generic question of " which boat is good for a newbie". I have my personal list of possibilities, but was trying to narrow down that list from 30 boats to 3.

I am going to be making a purchase within 2 months, outfit as fast as possible , and get going soon after. Im looking to be on the water by June 2010.
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Old 21-01-2010, 10:19   #6
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Re: Too Many Choices

You are doing the right thing narrowing down what you want and what you don't want. Keep up with the research till you figure it out.

Boats cost way, way, way more as pieces than they do as whole boats. Given your budget you can't afford to have to buy a dingy, or davits, or an autopilot, or a long list of other items that will typically come with a boat that has been out there cruising vs a boat that is typically day sailed. If you are goind to do much single handing you will need some way to steer the boat while you tend to other tasks (raising/lowering sails, cooking, trimming sails, etc). Look for a boat that has been cruising, recently. A boat that gets used is almost always in way better condition than one that has been sitting idle most of the time.

I am curious about your desire for an outboard motor. If I were to own a powerboat, it would be required to have an outboard motor. On a sailboat on the other hand small outboards are known to be problematic at best due to the easily plugged fuel passages in the small carbs. Small diesels on the other hand are more reliable. In addition, a prop on the transom of the boat is much more likely to be pulled out of the water in rough weather than an inboard powered sailboat.

Your size range is also a bit large to get very specific a 34' boat is not 9' bigger than a 25' boat it is more like double to tripple the size due to the increase in width that comes along with the length. Most 25' boats will have an ice chest for refrigeration, while most 34' boats will have some sort of electrical powered refrigeration. Only you can decide which is right for you.

For reference my last boat was 24' with an outboard that we day sailed and did some overnight trips on...would not have considered taking it to the Bahamas...We currently have a 35' boat with an inboard that we took to the Bahamas back in 2008...

Do it, do it now, and have fun!

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Old 21-01-2010, 10:45   #7
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hey thanks Eric. in response to a few of your points.

1. dingy......Im just starting out, Im looking for a little adventure, If I have to use a kayak, then so be it. Davits, can be bought down the road, Im looking to get out ASAP.
Figure out what works and what doesn't. make changes at the end of the season, to prepare for next season.

2. Outboard......It is my understanding that a Gas outboard is significantly cheaper to repair and/or replace when needed. In regards to prop out of the water, with a long shaft motor and CORRECT installation, that problem should be minimalized, also I'm in no hurry when it comes to weather, If it is bad seas and I need to motor, I can wait. I understand SH#T happens, but proper maintenance and patience could alleviate alot of those concerns.

3. Size..........anything less than 25 doesnt seem safe or reasonable for my goals. over 34' cost double for bahamas entry. so yes I have a wide size range, But Im not solid on what I want yet. In a month or 2, I might have that boiled down to a 30-32.

4. refridgeration..........While nice, I dont require it. a simple Ice box would be suitable for me.

5. Use..............My intentions are pretty simple, Sail to the bahamas, find a nice quiet island, Anchor,stay put for a while, fish, swim, hike and island, watch the sunset, and enjoy what God built. I wont be in marinas at all other than to fuel and resupply.

I may differ than most people here in that, I dont look at sailing as the goal, but as the means to the goal.
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Old 21-01-2010, 11:01   #8
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On your budget you will not get everything you want. You need to prioritize your requirements or find more cash.

You should search Yachtworld for boats under 15K for sale in Florida, which is the logical place to buy given where you want to cruise.

Here's a nice little boat for not much money. It even has davits. But you will have to forget the headroom, plus the ad says nothing about a head, so you'll probably need a porta potty.

1981 Liberty Pied Piper Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

BTW, I think you will find that a well-maintained diesel is cheaper to operate in the long run than an outboard. Diesels are also more reliable and get better "mileage," which is a safety factor. Plus, gasoline is more dangerous to carry than diesel.
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Old 21-01-2010, 11:25   #9
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I agree on the outboard issue - an inboard diesel is far more desireable for even part time cruising. Furthermore, I think it would be odd to find "too many choices" if you're looking for an outboard powered, tiller steered, 25'+ cruising sailboat with good head room and ample tankage. Also, if you must have an outboard, you want a boat which was originally designed for outboard power - and most of them will be daysailors. There are too many amateur and really scary conversions - eg.:

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Old 21-01-2010, 11:47   #10
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J- as much as you want to go now- I think the sailor in you is not prepared. So go down and bum around some docks. Learn and sail as much as possible. I see boats down there (Florida) that go for a song- but you have to be there and know enough about the boat to start working on it. How good are you at 1. Fiberglass 2. electrical 3. plumbing 4. woodworking? If your going cheap- you need to have skills. You may want a job with a local shipwright- doing unskilled labor and learning.
Now I have heard of some that buy and go. But the majority of them (just my opinion) leave the boat after a few days of learning the hard way. So learn as much as possible on land- and redo a seaworthy vessel. Your island will still be there...
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Old 21-01-2010, 12:11   #11
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The best advice I can give you after 32 years of sailing and boat buying is: Be prepared for at least a few compromises. Maybe lots. You would have a hard time filling ALL of your desires even if your budget was unlimited and your experience vast.
Safety is a must. The rest are nice to have options. Good luck to you.

You might want to consider a Cape Dory.
http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...100&No=0&ps=50
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Old 21-01-2010, 12:42   #12
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I agree with most points made. thanks for the input. Compromise is a given. My "want" list is simply an outline that im looking for...as with anything, plans change. Im not set in stone on the criteria, this post is to help me narrow down what is viable and what is not.

If I found a vessel with all the options but only had 3' headroom, then, I obviously would pass on it.

Newt...In regards to skills, I have plenty. My extensive Blue collar construction experience has gained me loads of knowledge in many areas. Though I haven't done Fiberglass repair on a boat, I have made custom speaker cabinets out of glass and many surfboard repairs, there may be slightly different techniques, but glass is glass. Electrical is no problem, I was an electrician, low voltage , high voltage, as well as pro audio. If it has wires and volts, I can handle it. Woodworking, Plumbing, Mechanical, all fall into my realm of knowledge. Again not on boats, but the same principles apply to marine applications, though standards are higher due to harsher environment.

as far as being ready, Geez, I could wait another 20 years before I'm "ready".
Classes are in the schedule and I will be joining a yacht for a month this Feb.

When is one ready anyway?


My plan was to purchase in 2 months, if it takes 4, 6, 10.....so be it.
also Im not looking to go racing, circumnavigation, or anything else that would be considered advanced. Im just looking to hang out in the carib for a while.

Slomo...Valid point, I had not looked at the fact that an outboard setup was probably designed from the start. Amateur installations can be a deal breaker.
Gas storage is questionable to me, yea, Gas is more explosive, but with proper OSHA canisters, is it really that bad?

Don't take my replies as disagreements from a novice, but rather, devils advocate. just questioning the opinions. It helps me process the info into a plan for me and my dream.

What works for others may not work for me.

having said that, Im not reeling in the $$$, like some, Im ok with that. I worked my butt off since I was 14. I figure I deserve and want a break, I will take what I have available and make something happen with it. One can only read books, take classes and hang out with experienced sailors so much, it comes to a point where one has to just go for it. It is possible for one to be daring and cautious at the same time.
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Old 21-01-2010, 14:48   #13
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Well, my view is go ahead and do it. Sailing takes about two days to learn. Seamanship takes a lifetime, but you can learn alot by reading and you'll progress faster with hands on experience. I regret not starting to cruise earlier in life.

You can find the boat, but after that you'll have to be very careful about crossing the gulf stream. Then you will have to find a boatyard within reasonable proximity of wherever you are sailing that is willing to haul you out for a reasonable fee if a hurricane is coming and for seasonal storage.

I'll reiterate my previous advice: the only outboard you want on your boat is a cheap little put-put for the dinghy. A well maintained diesel will last 5,000 hours before needing a rebuild. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:20   #14
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Fair enough Curm. After reading all day today, my new list is as follows.

1. 27-30 LOA
2. diesel inboard
3. Ice box, No fridge
4. aft cockpit
5. fixed keel, 1 less movable part to break(IE. centerboard)

Anybody like the Cal 2-27 ?
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Old 21-01-2010, 15:53   #15
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Nothing wrong with a centerboard if you can find a good design.The listing I posted above is a good little centerboarder if you can figure out what to do about a toilet.

I'd check out the Albin Vega. 27 ft., very seaworthy although not much headroom. I also like the Cape Dorys but the model I'd be looking for is the 25D. The CD 30 is out of your price range.
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