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Old 12-09-2015, 17:32   #1
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What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Hey everyone, 1st time post here. Ready to purchase a used boat in the next year. I am personally comfortable to look around the 30' range, not larger than 40' however. Want advice on size of first boat one should own. Background; Started sailing when I was 14 yr. on an O'Day 21 day sailer, with small V berth, exposed head, nice teak cockpit railings, etc. Our outboard was a Seagull.
Fascinated, I built many ship models, read many books, and built my own (ridiculously box-like) small boat from plywood. Tie-Dyed sails on a gaff rig, and she sailed beautifully! (And my sisters would not get into the boat with me!) So I grew up most fascinate with boats like this;

1899 CAMPER & NICHOLSON Gaff Yawl Sail Boat For Sale -


I took our O'Day out alone a few times, and in my 20's and 30's sailed on several boats; friends and/or rentals. at 55 yo, I want to purchase my own.
Sailing feels so intuitive to me, like riding a bike. I can read paper charts, fix a halyard and tack with ease. Docking is a C+, Following channel markers B+, sailing in small craft warnings B+, control of the boat in open water I'm a solid B. With deck hands I can approach docking with ease, but single handed, would need practice. I have been in boats in horrible tornado weather, and balmy windless days. Prindles, Hobie Cats go with one hull up in the air ( in my 30's!) Comfortable on Beanetau, Morgan OI, Catalinas, etc.
Romantically attracted to Hereshoff, Fairlie, Hinckley, Sparkman & Stephens - any thing Yawl ( but cannot afford these old large beauties I think) .
In reality, I need to not over-commit with maintenance, but anything below decks I am pretty capable, and love to mess around on the boat on a Sunday afternoon. Would dock at a good boatyard in the Baltimore/Magothy/Severn region, so winter storage, stepping a mast, things like that would be happy to let others do.
Any advice on being too ambitious? I am way more comfortable on a bigger boat - say a 35' than a 20' open cockpit daysailer. But the concerns would be; I have never single handled a self-furling foresail/jib. I've never used lazy jacks, big heavy travelers, and sophisticated winches. I have used depth finders no problem, but not anything more sophisticated.
I have passed a simple on-line boating test by the state of Maryland, with safety, sail management, buoys and channel markers etc. I have a little certificate, but would imagine seasoned salts would just grin at me.
I'm certain most all of you would share your great advice, and say I should stick with late 80's fibreglass, sloop rigged, smaller boat like a CAL 27. What I really want... is a fibreglass yawl with a good amount of bright-work and classic good rigging, but with self furling etc. I have saved for about 3 years for this, and probably should stay in the $10,000 to $20,000 price range. I could go up to $30K if everything was right (including my savings account!). Monthly slip fees, maintenance, repairs, winter storage, hull cleaning, periodic maintenance etc. I am good with. But it would be a hit to have to replace a big Volvo Penta below, or something like that.
I follow Sailnet forums also fyi. Would like to have great sailing, but also nice overnight accomodates, easy waste holding(?) and off loading. I would think AC while out on the water sometimes, so a generator? Well - really just wanna go out sailing alot more now with friends/food relaxing days.

Looks matter to me - lovely waterline, deep overhangs, swallowtail, other details matter. Would not be OK to get a 25' Catalina, but think a 34" tall rig would feel better.

I know all of you guys and gals are quite thoughtful with your comments, so I thank you in advance.

Ok, advice please?
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Old 13-09-2015, 03:52   #2
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

I don't know the american boat market, but I suspect you'll have problems finding a 35-40 yawl in reasonable condition for usd 20k. Most used ones will be wood (this is a real problem unless you are a carpender or have big bucks), meaning high maintenance.

Might be one out there somewhere - but it will probably take a heap of looking
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Old 13-09-2015, 05:56   #3
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

On the basis that you will not be getting any younger (lol)......I would suggest 30' - 35' as big and heavy enough to be steady and will have a decent choice of boats that will allow you to move around on deck with more than 2 inches of side deck underfoot..... but small enough to combine a bit of brute force with some smarts.

Apart from that, its your basic requirements for your use (cabin layout / sailplan / draft / etc).....plus finding the best condition locally at the best price (not always the cheapest!) at the time you want to buy. No problem with having a long wish list, but the smaller the "must haves" the greater the choice.

Remember to check berthing availability as well as costs. The secret is to buy well......but you only truly discover that 6 months (or more!) after purchase!

Sent from my NEXUS 5 whilst sitting in my armchair tied to the dock.
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Old 13-09-2015, 06:01   #4
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

A 35 footer can be easily singlehanded - including docking!

You need the boat set up well, be organised, give yourself time and practice. Plus a gallic shrug is useful :-)

Sent from my NEXUS 5 whilst sitting in my armchair tied to the dock.
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Old 13-09-2015, 06:44   #5
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Docking will drop to a D- with a full keel yawl 😉

Will be a bit hard to find in that price range, but you may get lucky. Will certainly need a mountain of work. Ours passed survey with only minor issues, but 3years later we are probably about 2x purchase price into improvements, enhancements and repairs.


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Old 13-09-2015, 08:27   #6
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

I have a restored Cape Dory 27' that would take you anywhere you wish to go. Fine for 1 or 2 but Cape Dory's are a Carl Alberg design and tend to run small for their size but are wonderful sailers...Myself, of course I am biased, but once I sailed in a full-keeled boat my fin-keeled days were over, whole different feel of sailing. Experience many different kinds of designs and then make your choice. PM me if you think you might be interested, I live in Florida.
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Old 13-09-2015, 08:31   #7
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

I bought my 50ft at 24yo and still have it 25 years later and have sailed 10s of thousands of miles and lived on it in many places around the world. My opinion is that you want a boat that you are comfortable living on while sailing.
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Old 13-09-2015, 08:47   #8
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Hi brady,

Welcome to CF friend!

Boy... you're going to have a tough time (read nearly impossible) finding your "looks matter" requirement for that budget...

Have you thought about something classic and not too plastic with some brightwork??? Pearson ketch, you mentioned the OI... would those kill your buzz???
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Old 13-09-2015, 08:52   #9
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Howdy!

Nice intro. You sound enthusiastic, which is good to see.

My first thought is that there are some older boats that do fit your budget. See the following thread
Boats Less Than $30K Recent Noteworthy Finds

Also, since you like a yawl, check out the Nimble series of boats. I see you are in the Chesapeake, and a sharpie hull and trailer sailor would be shallow draft, good for gunk holing, and less expensive to store when not being used. The Nimble line includes a yawl. . In addition, some of them use an outboard motor, so engine maintenance and replacement cost would be much less.

While it is not a yawl, another boat I like is the Com-pac yachts Horizon Cat. It is a catboat, not a catamaran. It is also trailerable, within your budget used, roomy inside, etc. Google that boat or search CF as I have posted about them before.

Given your liking of wood, and distinctive design boats but concerns about size, and handling one by yourself, I also suggest looking at the used Flicka 20 boats.

While most of the Nimble, Com-Pac, and Flicka boats are over $30K, I have seen some listed below that price. Some far below.

You asked about furling jib. Don't worry, those are generally very easy to use and furl.

You mentioned yawls appeal to you. I believe more commonly found boats of the 1980s will be ketches, rather than yawls, and most of the yawls I have seen were from 1970s, 1960s or earlier. If you are just looking for the two masted multiple sails look, and don't want to reach back to the 1960s and 70s, you will probably find more ketches from which to choose.

Good luck with your boat search!
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Old 13-09-2015, 09:10   #10
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David_Old_Jersey View Post
On the basis that you will not be getting any younger (lol)......I would suggest 30' - 35' as big and heavy enough to be steady and will have a decent choice of boats that will allow you to move around on deck with more than 2 inches of side deck underfoot..... but small enough to combine a bit of brute force with some smarts.

Apart from that, its your basic requirements for your use (cabin layout / sailplan / draft / etc).....plus finding the best condition locally at the best price (not always the cheapest!) at the time you want to buy. No problem with having a long wish list, but the smaller the "must haves" the greater the choice.

Remember to check berthing availability as well as costs. The secret is to buy well......but you only truly discover that 6 months (or more!) after purchase!

Sent from my NEXUS 5 whilst sitting in my armchair tied to the dock.
All great advice David, but I have to ask why is your armchair tied to the dock?
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Old 13-09-2015, 10:16   #11
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

While you are searching for that "looks are important" boat, maybe get yourself a nice little C&C25 and do some sailing while you wait.

Or you could buy my boat, currently for sale:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...da-150816.html

While those "pretty" boats look good, brightwork takes a ton of effort to keep looking good. And those long overhangs mean you pay for a big boat, but have the space of a very small boat below.
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Old 13-09-2015, 11:09   #12
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Go to sailboatlistings.com/view/53183 I have over 130,000 since 2006 total restore PM me if you're interested all lines are led to the cockpit for safety I have single handed her many times
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Old 13-09-2015, 11:12   #13
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

First, I'll encourage you to disregard anything from none boat owners on this forum. Reams of information based on theories and nonsense. I had a Tartan 37 yawl that needed lots of work but nothing that required special skills. I bought her for $15K, put less than $5K into her and sold her for $44K just before the dot com crash of 2000. I bought my current boat...a Hallberg Rassy for about the same price and which I have in Mexico while I'm back in Ca. shaking the money tree for a few more months. It can be done if you are 1)patient, 2)hard working and 3)determined to learn.
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Old 13-09-2015, 13:41   #14
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

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Originally Posted by Celestialsailor View Post
First, I'll encourage you to disregard anything from none boat owners on this forum. Reams of information based on theories and nonsense. I had a Tartan 37 yawl that needed lots of work but nothing that required special skills. I bought her for $15K, put less than $5K into her and sold her for $44K just before the dot com crash of 2000. I bought my current boat...a Hallberg Rassy for about the same price and which I have in Mexico while I'm back in Ca. shaking the money tree for a few more months. It can be done if you are 1)patient, 2)hard working and 3)determined to learn.
Got to say you are a breath of fresh air. There has got to be about a zillion boats out there similar to what you describe.
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Old 13-09-2015, 14:59   #15
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Re: What size boat can I start with & Grow into?

Your problem is not finding a boat, but deciding on which one. Was in your position when looking for current boat. Wanted a traditional boat in your price range. Narrowed the list of boats to Tartan 34c, Allied Seabreeze 34, Bristol 35, Allied Luder's 33', and Pearson 35. Believe all these boats were available as yawls but would give up on that as a worthless complication. Wanted a tiller steered boat but was limited availability on the West Coast. Went with a Pearson 35 with a wheel that I converted to tiller after swearing at the wheel every time I took the boat out. Solo'd the boat to Hawaii from SF. Plan to sail solo to Alaska next summer, down the inland passage to Seattle and then back to Kona.

Find a boat with the major components that you want as they'll be expensive as after purchase add ons and/or get a hell of a deal on the boat. Use EBay, Craig's List and consignment shops to get deals on equipment you'll be adding. Sail the hell out of the boat once you get it.
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