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Old 27-11-2010, 16:34   #1
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What Is a Reliable, Affordable, Trailerable 20-25' Boat ?

Hello all!

I'm hoping that you will be able to suggest some good boats for my husband and I. Let me lay out what we need it to do.

Pretty soon we will both be teachers which means summers off. We are looking for a smallish (20-25 ft) sail boat that we can trailer all around the U.S. and live in camper style for summers at different lakes. It would only be taken on rivers and lakes.

I would prefer it have a galley, or at least a sink. I suppose we could deal with getting a camp stove but I'd prefer a galley.A private head would be amazing, but a porta potty would work.

I've been looking at the Flicka 20 and the Dana 24 (though that one is a pipe dream probably because of price). I have also been thinking about a pop top Catalina 22.

What is your opinion on the boats I've listed? Can you think of any more reliable and affordable boats we can easily trailer and live in for two months?

Thanks so much!

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Old 27-11-2010, 17:27   #2
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Not to run you off but this link/forum The Trailer Sailor - Discussion Forums
is basically all trailerable boats. You'll probable get better info over there.

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Old 27-11-2010, 17:42   #3
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For what you describe, I'd consider the water ballast Catalina 25 and Hunter 26.
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Old 27-11-2010, 18:12   #4
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Or... if you'd prefer a more flexible open interior try the Mcgregor 26... also water ballast.... some of the older ones are really cheap but whichever way check out the owners forums/magazine test sails for more info/fault finding
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Old 27-11-2010, 18:13   #5
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Old 27-11-2010, 18:44   #6
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Thanks everyone!
And delmarrey thanks for the link - I'll check it out now!
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Old 27-11-2010, 19:29   #7
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Just a note, stay away from water balast, not because of the design but because of the balest.. the water balest is just that, you take on water to balest the boat..
Because of little micro creatures running around in the water, some inland lakes used for watershead are forbiding boat comming from other lakes.. moving these creatures from one lake to another... if your plans are to travel around the US and use the boat in different lakes, you will run into this problem..
A couple of the lakes in the near by foothills have inspection stations checking the bottoms of the boats.. one of these critters is some sort of mussel and they're pretty strict about it..
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Old 27-11-2010, 20:10   #8
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What is your budget?

If under $20 K a Hake Seaward 23, 24, or 25 should be on your list. Also check out the Nimble lineup, their 20 and 24 might suit your needs.
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Old 27-11-2010, 20:51   #9
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Thanks for the note about the water balast issue... I had no idea! We are definitely planning on taking it around the U.S. so that definitely could be a problem.

Also to bljones, we are definitely looking to spend under 20k.

Thanks for the replys! I'll check those out too!
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Old 27-11-2010, 21:11   #10
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Start with some even more basic questions,
What's your budget to buy?
How much space do you have to park the boat during the off season?
What do you have to tow with?

Assuming you looked into tow vehicles before mentioning the Flicka(5500#) and Dana(8000#) then you should be able to tow just about anything anyone here is likely to mention.

My ultimate dream trailer boat is a Hobie 33 HOBIE 33 Sailboat details on This one (
would set you back about $23k with trailer.

Something a little cheaper, easier to store and tow but requiring you to install your own sink would be a Cal 20. CAL 20 Sailboat details on

Hobie is no longer making this model but someone else is according to rumors I have heard. Hobie should still be offering some support for this model, they are a pretty good company.

Cal is long out of business but Seal's Spars has a good rep for offering class support, especially for the 20.
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Old 27-11-2010, 21:38   #11
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Budget: Under 20k; preferably under 10k. We have almost no budget and would definitely be willing to do a lot of fixing up ourselves. I just don't know where to draw the line.

Storage: We have plans to cement a section of our side yard, but as of now we have a fairly large & long driveway to store a boat. We have our current boat (only 13' though) in the garage with our Karmann Ghia. I need the new boat to be a reasonable size to where if can fit by my house. I really don't want to pay for a slip or dry storage.

Trailering: Well that brings up a whole side question about what vehicle can trailer what b/c our current vehicle is no where near strong enough, so we are planning on buying a jeep or SUV soon. Guess that will have to happen BEFORE we buy the new boat, but we needed to upgrade to a better vehicle anyway.

I like the look of that Hobie but I think a 33 is too big for us at this point. I'll look up Cal 20s. Thanks!
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Old 27-11-2010, 22:09   #12
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Not the most stout boat, not the best sailing boat, not the best motoring boat, but easy to trailer, lots of space for camping, lots of parts available, and lots around that can be purchased below $20K.
MacGregor Sailboats - MacGregor 26 Trailerable Sailboats

Another good link for over 20 feet:
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Old 27-11-2010, 22:58   #13
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My boat a Captiva 240 (no longer manufactured) is on a lake and a perfect lake sailer. My boat weighs only 2400lb including 1000lb balast. She has a "partial" shoal keel with swing centerboard. She can sail easily in as little as 5mph winds where other heavier boats can't. Light, shifty air is common on less than huge lakes. Lighter also means easier to tow and pull back up out of the water - this is a biggy. You will be putting in on steep ramps to get enough depth to lift the boat off the trailer. Don't opt for the minimum towing capacity or single wheel drive. You will also want to forego inboard engines - too much weight. I have a 9.9 horse outboard and it is more than enough motor. You also have the ability to turn your prop, in addition to the tiller, to manuver the boat in tight spaces making manuvering easier.
Being able to raise and lower the keel can work to your advantage not just for depth and trailering, but the boat has less drag in light air, downwind and under motor as well. Some of the other residents on our lake are an Irwin, several Catalinas, a C and C, a few Macgregors, a Morgan or two, and a couple that I don't recognize. All are from 22 - 25 feet. With the morgans weighing in the heaviest (about 5000lb). You can check stats for most boats at Here lighter and nimbler is better. We are on a dammed river. So the lake tends to be narrow (1 -2 miles) and winding. The hills on either side and even tall islands make for very shift, unpredictable winds.
Also, it is illegal to have even a port-a-poty on the lake. If you have a head it has to be removed or visibly sealed so that it cannot be used. For this reason, I would opt for the Port-a-poty. You can leave it in the truck while sailing if need be.
Just for safety's sake inquire about power lines crossing lakes that you sail. If present, they may not be high enough to clear. In our area there are signs posted to notify you of power lines, but nothing to let you know the clearance - you have to keep an eye out and stay clear.

PS. I thought I was going to be disappointed when I left the Gulf and transitioned to a lake, but I was, instead, pleasantly suprised. It is different and beautiful - I like it. I hope you do too.
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Old 27-11-2010, 23:06   #14
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Some of the older MacGregor/Venture designs (the 25s) used a crank-up metal keel instead of water ballast.

The concern about critters is spreading of "aquatic nuisance species" such as some water weeds and the dreissenid quagga and zebra mussels, which can clog water systems and machinery and sink marine facilities under their weight' they have been a huge Great Lakes hassle since they arrived in the ballast water of ships from Europe. Thorough drying (up to 30 days) and running bleach solution through live wells, ballast tanks, and other potential breeding spaces, or the use of hot pressure washing can kill the critters and prevent infecting other lakes. See the 100th meridian initiative folks, 100th Meridian Initiative for more info.

The water ballast boats do have the advantage of being easier and lighter to trailer and the general disadvantage of not being as stable as a metal-keeled boat.

Towing is probably discussed better in other places than here; Boat US sponsors a trailering magazine, club, and insurance, for example. Towing rating of your vehicle is one consideration, but not the only one; how far you will tow, what time of year, wheelbase and relative weight of your tow vehicle, and special equipment for towing may (transmission coolers, load leveling hitches, wiring for trailer brakes for larger boats, etc.) also be relevant.
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Old 27-11-2010, 23:19   #15
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Lots of great info here. Thanks everyone! I'll look into all this.

Aquarian thanks for the heads up, on that boat but we will need to save up for awhile so I don't need to get me that info. I'm hoping that within a year or so we'll be able to actually purchase. We're still at the info gathering stage. Do you remember how much they wanted for that captiva 240?

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