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Old 02-09-2012, 20:09   #1
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Recommendations for New Sailors

Hi everyone...

I am a new sailor...taking lessons this year and continuing next summer as well.

I am looking for some recommendations in the areas of suitable boats to start looking into, sailing reference books to read, and any other ideas for newbies. I know that my intentions and situation dictates a lot...so for the boat:

1. I am 6'1"
2. Wanting a trailerable, but as large as possible.
3. Will be sailing small lakes in PA as well as running up and down east coast of Lake Michigan. Expanding to other lakes possibly.
4. 90 percent of time...just girlfriend eand I for day sails, overnights...up to week long GL coastal cruises. Other 10 percent with three teenage sons for days up to weekend jaunts.
5. Total budget for boat, trailer, and all needed or desired items around $35k.
6. Would want to be able to single hand relatively easily. Funny.
7. Amenities aboard undecided...cooking and bathing.
8. I am considering this my starter purchase....probably upgrading after a few years of experience.

Anything else I should tell you?

I am hoping to get some friendly advice since having horrible experiences with brokers and many of their snobbish attitudes about trailerables.

I was originally drawn to MacGregor 26, but am getting horrible feedback. Also, hearing about Hunter and Catalina. Would love to hear everyone's advise about makers and lengths.

Thanks so much,
Karl..
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:15   #2
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Re: Recommendations for new sailors

I had a hunter 25 on a trailer. I could launch and step the mast with help of some friends. I only did this twice a year not fun and needed a big truck to haul. The mast on a boat even this size is trouble with out a crane. Finding a launch site deep enough is also concerning. Go cheaper and smaller get the smallest cheapest you can live with. Then when you move up like your plan says it will be easier to sell with less of a hit in the pocketbook. Or go bigger and keep in a slip. I also have a 19 foot lighting that doesn't get used much because even that size takes a couple hours by the time you hookup haul rig take back down haul put away back home. If you have a lake around home to keep it in that would be better more useful. Then only move for vacation.
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Old 06-09-2012, 11:35   #3
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Re: Recommendations for new sailors

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Karl.
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Old 10-09-2012, 18:38   #4
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Thumbs up Re: Recommendations for New Sailors

Hi Karl, welcome to the forum.

Our "starter boat" was a MacGregor 26M. It was great on inland lakes and sucked on Lake Michigan (heeled to 25-30 degrees in a heartbeat with the slightest puff over 15 kts). It took just a little more than one season on Lake Michigan before the Admiral said, "Paul, we need a bigger boat!".

A couple thing we have learned:

The cost to buy/equip a boat is nothing compaired to the cost of ownership. (Winter storage/summer slip, insurance, electonics maintenance/upgrades, systems maintenance/repair (galley/refridgeration/water tankage/hot water heater for the shower/the head & holding tank, sails, the cost of running rigging on a big boat was an eye opener vs. the Mac. The cost of a transcient slip for a 26 footer is a lot less than for a 35 footer.) Get the picture?

You will use your boat a whole lot more if it is kept in the water (slip/mooring) vs. on a trailer in your back yard. We did keep the Mac in mast-up dry storage one season and were able to be in the wet within 20 minutes of arrival with the tow vehicle.

Comfort features such as a galley and bathing facilities are rare on a trailerable. Plan on coastal cruising eastern Lake Michigan from marina to marina where most have great bath house facilities and often have gas grills available for transcient boaters.


Start with the end in mind. If the first boat is really going to be a starter/trainer, then go simple (cheap as possible) and resist putting all the goodies on it unless you will be able to move them to the "next" boat.

If you have the time/resouces ... consider taking (with your girlfriend) a week-long live aboard sailing course where you get to experience big boat sailing while living with three to five people. We had the Mac for two seasons before we took an ASA 101/103/104 live aboard course thru San Juan Sailing out of Bellingham WA. We experienced tides, tidal currents, sailing in/across active shipping channels, nights on the hook, nights on a mooring ball, getting in/out of a slip in busy marinas and sharing the boat with an instructor & another couple. The school boat was a 36 foot Beneteau and we learned how easy it was for just two people handle.


Any sailing books will give you the fundamentals. Check with your potential boat insuance company to see what boater safety course(s) you can take that will get you a discount. Check to see if your local university has a sailing club. They often offer lessons and provide unlimited access to their fleet of boats with membership. (I started at the UW sailing club. They offered lessons and had a fleet of over 100 boats from sailing dinghies to 26 foot keelboats that I could use.)

Check out the local yacht club(s). Many have regular sailboat racing with skippers often looking for crew. This will get you contacts in the local sailing community and get you on a boat with experienced sailors. This should let you ask the regulars why they do the things and helps you see the practicle application of what you read.

Welcome to sailing.
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Old 10-09-2012, 20:31   #5
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Re: Recommendations for New Sailors

Hobie 33
HOBIE 33 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Sitting headroom and sleeping for 5.
Cooking and head facilites but no bathing. Sorry you will have to go swimming to clean up, but that's the way it will be for most/all trailerables.

Hobie worked very hard to make a boat that really was easier to set up so this is probably the biggest conveniently trailerable you will find.

Used boats are $20-25k currently and you will need a very large vehicle to tow.

“Piloting & Dead Reckoning” by Shufeldt et al (any edition is fine but the 4th covers current electronic navigation best)

“A Small boat Guide to the rules of the Road” by John Mellor
or
“The One-Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road “ by Charles Wing.

‘The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring’ by E.Hinz,

"Chart 1", which is not really a chart but a booklet with a legend for all the symbols you will see on US charts. You can download it at U.S. Chart No. 1. I would carry a color hard copy. Once you have Chart 1 I would read thru it once to get an idea of what is in it and where to find stuff.

Get a waterproof chartbook of the area you will primarily be sailing.

"Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook" is probably the best starter handbook, though it is slightly dated.



I would consider getting a couple of Lasers for you and the GF and go sailing for 2-4hr twice a month. Resale value should be close to what you pay for them and they are still supported by the manufacturer. It's kind of late in the season there to be doing this but dinghies are really the better way to learn the fundamentals of SAILING without the distractions that a larger boat has, ie. anchoring, towing, accomodations, head, anchoring, navigation, electrical system, motor, ....
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Old 16-09-2012, 15:49   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ctl411
I had a hunter 25 on a trailer. I could launch and step the mast with help of some friends. I only did this twice a year not fun and needed a big truck to haul. The mast on a boat even this size is trouble with out a crane. Finding a launch site deep enough is also concerning. Go cheaper and smaller get the smallest cheapest you can live with. Then when you move up like your plan says it will be easier to sell with less of a hit in the pocketbook. Or go bigger and keep in a slip. I also have a 19 foot lighting that doesn't get used much because even that size takes a couple hours by the time you hookup haul rig take back down haul put away back home. If you have a lake around home to keep it in that would be better more useful. Then only move for vacation.
Great advice...THANKS SO MUCH for taking the time to give me your thoughts. I am hearing a lot of folks telling me to go cheap until my skills are better and desires clear.
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Old 16-09-2012, 15:50   #7
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Originally Posted by GordMay
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Karl.
Thank you...great to be hear!!!
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Old 16-09-2012, 15:55   #8
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Originally Posted by GordMay
Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Karl.
Thanks...good to be here. The responses to my questions have been thoughtful and helpful.
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Old 16-09-2012, 16:01   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MSN-Travelers
Hi Karl, welcome to the forum.

Our "starter boat" was a MacGregor 26M. It was great on inland lakes and sucked on Lake Michigan (heeled to 25-30 degrees in a heartbeat with the slightest puff over 15 kts). It took just a little more than one season on Lake Michigan before the Admiral said, "Paul, we need a bigger boat!".

A couple thing we have learned:

The cost to buy/equip a boat is nothing compaired to the cost of ownership. (Winter storage/summer slip, insurance, electonics maintenance/upgrades, systems maintenance/repair (galley/refridgeration/water tankage/hot water heater for the shower/the head & holding tank, sails, the cost of running rigging on a big boat was an eye opener vs. the Mac. The cost of a transcient slip for a 26 footer is a lot less than for a 35 footer.) Get the picture?

You will use your boat a whole lot more if it is kept in the water (slip/mooring) vs. on a trailer in your back yard. We did keep the Mac in mast-up dry storage one season and were able to be in the wet within 20 minutes of arrival with the tow vehicle.

Comfort features such as a galley and bathing facilities are rare on a trailerable. Plan on coastal cruising eastern Lake Michigan from marina to marina where most have great bath house facilities and often have gas grills available for transcient boaters.

Start with the end in mind. If the first boat is really going to be a starter/trainer, then go simple (cheap as possible) and resist putting all the goodies on it unless you will be able to move them to the "next" boat.

If you have the time/resouces ... consider taking (with your girlfriend) a week-long live aboard sailing course where you get to experience big boat sailing while living with three to five people. We had the Mac for two seasons before we took an ASA 101/103/104 live aboard course thru San Juan Sailing out of Bellingham WA. We experienced tides, tidal currents, sailing in/across active shipping channels, nights on the hook, nights on a mooring ball, getting in/out of a slip in busy marinas and sharing the boat with an instructor & another couple. The school boat was a 36 foot Beneteau and we learned how easy it was for just two people handle.

Any sailing books will give you the fundamentals. Check with your potential boat insuance company to see what boater safety course(s) you can take that will get you a discount. Check to see if your local university has a sailing club. They often offer lessons and provide unlimited access to their fleet of boats with membership. (I started at the UW sailing club. They offered lessons and had a fleet of over 100 boats from sailing dinghies to 26 foot keelboats that I could use.)

Check out the local yacht club(s). Many have regular sailboat racing with skippers often looking for crew. This will get you contacts in the local sailing community and get you on a boat with experienced sailors. This should let you ask the regulars why they do the things and helps you see the practicle application of what you read.

Welcome to sailing.
Thank you so much! I understand (now) about hassle of hauling boat to lake versus just showing up to sail. My state park has mast up in season storage for $175...which is great and I will use this while I spend 4 years on slip waiting list. Slip fees $30/ft/season. I love the idea of sailing school vacation. We are not too far from Annapolis.
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Old 16-09-2012, 16:07   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Adelie
Hobie 33
HOBIE 33 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
Sitting headroom and sleeping for 5.
Cooking and head facilites but no bathing. Sorry you will have to go swimming to clean up, but that's the way it will be for most/all trailerables.

Hobie worked very hard to make a boat that really was easier to set up so this is probably the biggest conveniently trailerable you will find.

Used boats are $20-25k currently and you will need a very large vehicle to tow.

“Piloting & Dead Reckoning” by Shufeldt et al (any edition is fine but the 4th covers current electronic navigation best)

“A Small boat Guide to the rules of the Road” by John Mellor
or
“The One-Minute Guide to the Nautical Rules of the Road “ by Charles Wing.

‘The Complete Book of Anchoring and Mooring’ by E.Hinz,

"Chart 1", which is not really a chart but a booklet with a legend for all the symbols you will see on US charts. You can download it at U.S. Chart No. 1. I would carry a color hard copy. Once you have Chart 1 I would read thru it once to get an idea of what is in it and where to find stuff.

Get a waterproof chartbook of the area you will primarily be sailing.

"Nigel Calder's Cruising Handbook" is probably the best starter handbook, though it is slightly dated.

I would consider getting a couple of Lasers for you and the GF and go sailing for 2-4hr twice a month. Resale value should be close to what you pay for them and they are still supported by the manufacturer. It's kind of late in the season there to be doing this but dinghies are really the better way to learn the fundamentals of SAILING without the distractions that a larger boat has, ie. anchoring, towing, accomodations, head, anchoring, navigation, electrical system, motor, ....
Thanks a lot for suggestions and advice. I will look into the books. Our sailing club has a community sailing program where for a couple hundred bucks per season we can share usage of about 25 boats...most of which are Flying Scots.
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Old 16-09-2012, 19:55   #11
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Re: Recommendations for New Sailors

Part of the fun of learning to sail is to learn how to do things on your boat solo. Raising a mast solo is doable if you have the right rig. I've only worked with a WWP 19 in that matter but have a friend with a Corsair 31 that does it solo and although takes some time and some good thought out planning can be done.
Most trailerables are 26 and smaller. If I were to buy one now knowing what I know I'd opt for a Catalina 25.
kind regards,
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Old 17-09-2012, 16:58   #12
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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Part of the fun of learning to sail is to learn how to do things on your boat solo. Raising a mast solo is doable if you have the right rig. I've only worked with a WWP 19 in that matter but have a friend with a Corsair 31 that does it solo and although takes some time and some good thought out planning can be done.
Most trailerables are 26 and smaller. If I were to buy one now knowing what I know I'd opt for a Catalina 25.
kind regards,
Thanks for the input. I have heard many talk about the joys (and troubles) of working alone on ones boat.
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Old 17-09-2012, 17:56   #13
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Re: Recommendations for New Sailors

Since you are 6'1" you'll find no trailerable with standing headroom so the Catalina pop-top option is kind of a neat deal. The cabin top can be lifted so that you can stand up in most of the rear of the cabin where you would be cooking. I don't know if Hunters or MacGregors have that option.
There are a couple of videos on raising and lowering masts single handed so if you do a search you might come up with them. You can rig a gin pole or use the boom as a lever and do it yourself. Again, proper prior planning is the key (3ps).
The first boat I bought was a Catalina 22 but was non-trailerable. It had the pop-top feature and I too was 6'1". I say was because age has had its toll. Down to just under 6' now and the advantage is that I fit in more boats than I used to. Just don't bend as easily.
Have fun searching.
kind regards,
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Old 18-09-2012, 09:03   #14
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Originally Posted by SkiprJohn
Since you are 6'1" you'll find no trailerable with standing headroom so the Catalina pop-top option is kind of a neat deal. The cabin top can be lifted so that you can stand up in most of the rear of the cabin where you would be cooking. I don't know if Hunters or MacGregors have that option.
There are a couple of videos on raising and lowering masts single handed so if you do a search you might come up with them. You can rig a gin pole or use the boom as a lever and do it yourself. Again, proper prior planning is the key (3ps).
The first boat I bought was a Catalina 22 but was non-trailerable. It had the pop-top feature and I too was 6'1". I say was because age has had its toll. Down to just under 6' now and the advantage is that I fit in more boats than I used to. Just don't bend as easily.
Have fun searching.
kind regards,
The pop-top option does sound interesting. Thanks for the suggestion, and I will look into it.
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