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Old 22-02-2015, 13:33   #1
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Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Hi all,

I am debating whether to invest and get the boat I really want that would maintain it's value ($15K- $25K, assuming that I don't mess it up) or to get a cheapo boat (under $4K) that I won't cry about if I seriously mess it up.

I will be living on this boat, though so am concerned that a cheapo boat will need rebedding/ recoring of... well, everything, to stay dry and has the potential to make life more uncomfortable.

I'm considering full keeled, under 27ft boats with head not under vberth. Nicer ones wld be Vancouver 25, PS25, Flicka, Albin Vega, Contessa. Cheaper ones would be e.g. Cape Dory 25, or other types of keels like Pearson 26 or Catalina.

I think the boats I am considering as "nicer ones" are boats that if in good condition, will maintain their value in case I decide that I don't want to own a boat. Is this a wrong assumption? But I might be more afraid of doing something wrong in those boats when repairing them...

So what are your opinions? Go cheap for first boat or get what I really want...and hope I don't mess something up big doing the repairs.

And at what price level would you hire a surveyor? Anything over $2K?
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Old 22-02-2015, 13:44   #2
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

All the boats you are considering in those price ranges may be subject to the issues you mention. Do your homework and make no impulse decisions. As frequently mentioned on this forum sometimes there is nothing more expensive than a free boat.
Also, the long list of high labor things to do on a $4k boat might discourage you entirely... it does many people.
So I would recommend you go for the higher price boat in great shape. Also, remember, there are 26 ft boats that are tiny and 26 foot boats that seem much bigger and comfortable to live on. It depends on design... older narrower ones being smaller generally.


In the long cutaway keel types people seem to be very satisfied with their Cape Dory 28's, Albergs etc. Similar underbodies in those too.

I would probably hire a surveyor just for the learning experience. If you do, ask questions like a 10 year old. Why? Why? why? about 5 why's deep on the same subject should get you real answers... you get a better survey the more you ask also.... sometimes surveyors need a little "promting"
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Old 22-02-2015, 14:25   #3
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Thank you for your prompt response.

So your opinion is to go ahead and invest the money initially in order to avoid as many headaches as possible... Noted. Are you familiar with the boats I mentioned? Would you consider them "boats that hold their value well?" Since I am doing this pretty much alone, I want to be able to get out without taking a huge loss, just in case...although I do not foresee myself doing that.

I'm looking at really small boats because I am only 5ft 2in and will be learning to single-hand. I figured these smaller boats will enable me to pick up everything (literally). I sailed a couple of 30-35ft boats and found that they felt huge to me. Even after 6 days of cruising, the 35ft felt too big (both top sides and in the cabin). If it just felt too big to handle, I would have chalked it up to inexperience but even being in the cabin, I felt like there was too much space.

Shame that I couldn't have been a submariner! hahahha.
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Old 22-02-2015, 14:45   #4
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

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Originally Posted by shortytravels View Post
Thank you for your prompt response.

So your opinion is to go ahead and invest the money initially in order to avoid as many headaches as possible... Noted. Are you familiar with the boats I mentioned? Would you consider them "boats that hold their value well?" Since I am doing this pretty much alone, I want to be able to get out without taking a huge loss, just in case...although I do not foresee myself doing that.

I'm looking at really small boats because I am only 5ft 2in and will be learning to single-hand. I figured these smaller boats will enable me to pick up everything (literally). I sailed a couple of 30-35ft boats and found that they felt huge to me. Even after 6 days of cruising, the 35ft felt too big (both top sides and in the cabin). If it just felt too big to handle, I would have chalked it up to inexperience but even being in the cabin, I felt like there was too much space.

Shame that I couldn't have been a submariner! hahahha.
Yes, but be careful, Sometimes price alone may not mean the boat wont have a lot of headaches.
If you don't have any blue water crossing plans in the near future then just a boat that feels good to you and is in good shape is likely the best solution. Boats like Catalinas and the more popular ones are possibly easier to sell... but it really depends on the particular boat.
Boats with an inboard engine are a plus when it comes to resale.
I loved single handing my 30 footer... so that or below is likely for you.
I think the Cape Dory 28's are great boats for that size /price range.
I've not had one.
I've sailed Catalina 30's a bit and they are very roomy for their size.
I had a Contessa 26, nice little boat, but narrow, wet and sails well heeled due to the narrow design. There are 24 footers with as much room I imagine. Pretty though and well built.

Vancouver 25, Don't know any specifics.
PS25, Cute to look at, reportedly a real dog to sail. I looked very close at them for a while. Not an easy sell probably.
Flicka, Great little boat, friends had one. Popular amongst the "mini" boat crowd I think.
Albin Vega, Good quality, narrow. similar to Contessa just from observation.
Cheaper ones would be e.g. Cape Dory 25, or other types of keels like Pearson 26 or Catalina.
I like some of the Pearsons for what they are also. The Cape Dory's seem to stay popular; 27, 28 etc.

Most these boats you mentioned have a longish type keel. I feel that is good for singlehanding. the Cat being the exception.

Some things that are $ or labor intensive to repair/ replace:
Chainplates
Rigging
Sails
Inboard engines
Deck core. Hull core if cored.
Bottom blisters
Keel bolts.
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Old 22-02-2015, 14:55   #5
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Yeah! I've "spot" recored/ glassed/ epoxied a Pearson... would like to avoid that experience again, as well as avoid rebedding hardware.

I don't have a problem doing electronic work, varnishing and some mechanical repairs. I cannot do rigging or sail repair.

Interesting your comment on the PS25. I'd never heard they were a dog to sail. I had always heard that they sailed well but thought the main complaint was the lack of standing room. I chose these boats b/c they are all small but blue water capable and I was under the impression that they maintain their value well.

Frankly, I have no idea if I will want to do blue water later on but I prefer a full keel. Just in case.
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Old 22-02-2015, 15:08   #6
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Hi.

QUICK Comments:

1. you say you want to live on it. Then I would spend what is needed to get a boat I would feel comfortable living on. That would be my primary goal. Sailing ability and such can be secondary, as this is NOW your residence, home, shelter.

2. There should be a BIG difference between a $4K boat and a $14K boat. As an exercise I looked at many lower cost used boats so I could recommend them to someone else. It was fun to see what is available at the lower end of the scale for size and costs (just like it is fun to see what is at the higher end too).

The ones I have seen appear to have a HUGE difference because of that extra $10K. For example, I have seen $4K 27 foot boats I would NOT want to LIVE on but I have also seen a $14K boat (32 foot) that I would live on. I have also come across a 30 foot boat that looks very "livable" and spacious for its length, but those cost about $30K used (1990s versions). If you have the money, a few thousand dollars more can make a BIG difference in space and accommodations and equipment etc.


So, I would spend it to get the better boat. You are probably going to use it or live on it for at least a year. If you lose a few thousands on the future sale of the boat, it was a small loss. But, if you buy one that is too cheap and in such poor condition that it is NOT comfortable or safe to live on, then you are just dooming yourself to more headaches and for what cost?
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Old 22-02-2015, 15:16   #7
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

If you "ever" want to actually sail your "home" the general consensus, after over 15 years of reading this and other boating forums is that a "project boat" becomes never-ending misery.

The Vancouver 25 is a highly regarded boat, a great pocket cruisers. Bob (not Perry, but I forget his last name) designed the series.

Good luck. Find something you'll be proud of. We spent over a year looking for our boat, and saw lotsa less expensive, old dogs. We didn't bite! Glad we waited to find "The Right One."
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Old 22-02-2015, 15:41   #8
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

I appreciate your opinions! You guys have convinced me. Will keep you all updated!
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Old 22-02-2015, 16:06   #9
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheechako View Post
Yes, but be careful, Sometimes price alone may not mean the boat wont have a lot of headaches.
If you don't have any blue water crossing plans in the near future then just a boat that feels good to you and is in good shape is likely the best solution. Boats like Catalinas and the more popular ones are possibly easier to sell... but it really depends on the particular boat.
Boats with an inboard engine are a plus when it comes to resale.
I loved single handing my 30 footer... so that or below is likely for you.
I think the Cape Dory 28's are great boats for that size /price range.
I've not had one.
I've sailed Catalina 30's a bit and they are very roomy for their size.
I had a Contessa 26, nice little boat, but narrow, wet and sails well heeled due to the narrow design. There are 24 footers with as much room I imagine. Pretty though and well built.

Vancouver 25, Don't know any specifics.
PS25, Cute to look at, reportedly a real dog to sail. I looked very close at them for a while. Not an easy sell probably.
Flicka, Great little boat, friends had one. Popular amongst the "mini" boat crowd I think.
Albin Vega, Good quality, narrow. similar to Contessa just from observation.
Cheaper ones would be e.g. Cape Dory 25, or other types of keels like Pearson 26 or Catalina.
I like some of the Pearsons for what they are also. The Cape Dory's seem to stay popular; 27, 28 etc.

Vancouver 25 designed by Robert Harris, a Canadian, is a great little yacht, much stouter and more seaworthy than most boats of its size. Still, at 25 ft it will be tight living.


S/V B'Shert
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Old 22-02-2015, 16:48   #10
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Again, thank you for your opinions! Seems like the consensus is for the Vancouver 25!
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Old 22-02-2015, 17:55   #11
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

I was dead set on a Vega until I got on one and discovered the lack of headroom, I'm only 5'9" and could only stand straight up in the companion way. I did however like everything else about the boat (except the Volvo) but at your height, it's definitely worth a look. Another one to keep and eye out for would be a Westerly Centaur, tough and roomy.
Best of luck,


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Old 22-02-2015, 19:30   #12
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

If you want a boat to live on that you'll be able to sell for most of what you paid for it, I think an older (i. e. already depreciated) Catalina 30 would be a good choice. Unless you're just set on a full keel - I don't think you mentioned what kind of sailing you expected to be doing.
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Old 23-02-2015, 08:44   #13
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

Quote:
Originally Posted by shortytravels View Post
Hi all,

I am debating whether to invest and get the boat I really want that would maintain it's value ($15K- $25K, assuming that I don't mess it up) or to get a cheapo boat (under $4K) that I won't cry about if I seriously mess it up.

I will be living on this boat, though so am concerned that a cheapo boat will need rebedding/ recoring of... well, everything, to stay dry and has the potential to make life more uncomfortable.

I'm considering full keeled, under 27ft boats with head not under vberth. Nicer ones wld be Vancouver 25, PS25, Flicka, Albin Vega, Contessa. Cheaper ones would be e.g. Cape Dory 25, or other types of keels like Pearson 26 or Catalina.

I think the boats I am considering as "nicer ones" are boats that if in good condition, will maintain their value in case I decide that I don't want to own a boat. Is this a wrong assumption? But I might be more afraid of doing something wrong in those boats when repairing them...

So what are your opinions? Go cheap for first boat or get what I really want...and hope I don't mess something up big doing the repairs.

And at what price level would you hire a surveyor? Anything over $2K?
If you read enough of the threads on the many sailing forums and blogs, you will pretty much find your answer...

but your answer can only be answered by you...and mainly, it will be determined by a few factors like:

1. How much time are you giving yourself to get ready?
2. Are you a "do it yourselfer" or will you be paying someone else to do it?
3. Do you live in an area where good boats are accessible (to look at and choose from) or do you live in the middle of the country or in an area where good old boats are not cheap?
4. Do you want to restrict yourself to certain design features? (Like shallow draft, full keel, diesel, keel stepped mast, ketch, etc, etc)
5. Do you want full headroom (some on your list are not considered to have it)?

Also, some of these boats on your list you will not find for less than your $25k max in the good condition you expect.

The boat options are nearly endless once you read more and more...My main advice is not to settle on just one or two final designs...Have a list of maybe three to five boats that you love the characteristics of (for example: keel stepped mast, draft around 4ft, aft galley design, etc) and look for them at the price/condition you want depending on the pros and cons of the deal you can get for it and like I mentioned, the conditions you may be in (see items 1, 2, 3).
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Old 23-02-2015, 09:04   #14
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

and by the way, I have seen several Tartan 34c's at the price range you are looking for...I love my boat and design as it meets the specs I wanted in a boat (shallow draft, good classic looks, enough beam, ballast to displacement ratio, keel stepped mast, proven design, 6'3" headroom, aft galley, access to engine). Best of all, I got it cheap with the intentions of upgrading little by little in the winter layup months...I also live in an area where great boats can be had for cheap and a lot of options...

I had a Tartan 27, which was nice and I loved to sail and cruise on locally, but, I always said I could not live on it...My 27 was comparable in boat size/space/storage to your liveaboard options...with my Tartan 34, I can definitely live on it...
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Old 23-02-2015, 09:56   #15
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Re: Buying First Boat...need opinions!

I want to support your opinion that smaller boats are easier to single hand.

It can really take the joy away having a boat you can't sail. Many on here will claim they single hand their 45 and it's easy etc etc. But I wonder what conditions they are single handing in. I'm pretty experienced and I find my 24000 lb 35 an absolute bear to single hand. She's full keel so she's predictable at dock and I find quite handy in close quarters.

But the actual sailing part in windy conditions frequently makes me curse out load. Big sails and rigs can be a lot of work.

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