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Old 06-02-2007, 14:09   #1
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Some Questions from a Total Noob

Hi all, this is my first post.

I know next to nothing about sailing, esp. a large craft on the ocean. I've sailed a few times on lakes, in other people's boats, and have loved the experience.

That said, I have a plan. I'm 43 now, and in the next five years I'll be able to retire - hopefully, or by 50 at the latest. By that time I intend to be trained and experienced enough to spend the next few years sailing the Med, living on my boat with my dog. No better way to explore Europe, right?

My question is this: what models strike the best balance between safety, comfort and reliability, for one or two people? I'm not looking to set any speed or endurance records, nor does it need to be a floating palace, I just want a nice, safe cruiser that is dependable.

All opinions welcome and appreciated

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Old 06-02-2007, 14:32   #2
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This question has been asked many times on this forum... familiarising yourself with the "search" function could be rewarding... or just simply browsing around.

As a starting point, I will opine that there is nto actually a single answer... the "right" boat for you will not necessarily be the right boat for anyone else.

I would suggest that you make your goal to spend as much time as possible between now and retirement on board as many differnt sailboats as possible. The more time that you spend sailing, the more you will come to appreciate the strenghts and weaknesses of different types of boat and the more you will come to realise what type is right for you.
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Old 06-02-2007, 14:35   #3
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coyotewrw, first of all, welcome to the board. I would say most people here would say personal preference will dictate which vessel is right for you. I plan on attending several boat shows and test driving as many different boats as possible before I take the boat-buying plung.

Once again, welcome to the board.
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Old 06-02-2007, 14:45   #4
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I'll buck the trend, and actually answer your question as you asked it.
For comfort, safety and sailing ability, I have always been partial to Tayanas. The T37 or T42 would seem to meet all or most of your criteria.
Good luck with your search, and have fun.
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Old 06-02-2007, 15:04   #5
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Thanks all.

I maybe should have mentioned that I'm asking in part so that I can begin shopping around some of the sites, get an idea of how much I'll be spending.

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Old 06-02-2007, 18:18   #6
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Read Jimmy Cornel's book" Modern Ocean Cruising", a survey of circumnavigators and what they would do differently.
Most prefer metal hulls. The best are those build byaan experienced and coscientious anmateur. Many experienced cruisers go from other materials to steel . The reverse rarely happens.
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Old 06-02-2007, 20:36   #7
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Aloha Coyote,
Welcome aboard!! Good to have you here. You'll hear lots of opinions so I'll give you mine right away. Monohull, aft cockpit, cutter, fiberglass, diesel engine between 32 and 36 LOD. Avoid former racers (unless you want to beef things up). Hans Christian, Tayana, Islander, Cal, Hinckley, Swan and many many more.
Its best to visit boat shows, marinas and talk your way aboard a few boats to get a feel for what you might like.
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Old 06-02-2007, 21:17   #8
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The Near and the Far

Coyote,

If your retirement includes a decent income stream, you have a viable plan, but it may not be practical to cast off the day after retirement.

It's certainly possible to learn to sail and get enough experience to laze around the Med. in your own yacht. That learning curve must begin now, though. An ASA sailing class can be found in any water-fronted city. You can learn to sail a small keelboat around the harbor in a weekend.

Then comes the challenge of putting in the time/miles to be prepared for the self-sufficiency that will be necessary, and with five years to use, you can't waste a single season. How will you get that experience? The quickest would be to buy and a 20-25ft. weekender (a small keelboat, with a cabin providing sitting headroom, and typically a basic galley and a couple of berths), sail it at every opportunity. The first season could be spent daysailing to practice the rudimentary skills learned in your class. The second season should include some overnight stays in sheltered anchorages. By the third season, plan some longer trips, perhaps composed of several days of sailing along the shore to arrive at your next destination before dark. Sailing occasionally on rented, chartered or other people's boats just won't get you much in the short time you have.

Of course, during this time you will have to read many volumes on navigation, meteorology, heavy weather tactics, choosing, fitting out and provisioning a yacht, single-handed techniques, diesel engine maintenance, and several other subjects.

I'd say during the last two years (minimum) of the five, now that you have had enough experiences on your weekender to make sense of much of what you're reading, that you begin to consider the question of what kind of boat will best meet your needs for a voyage such as you contemplate. If you buy here, it will need to be able to cross an ocean. Bluewater, i.e., off-shore or open ocean sailing, requires special knowledge/preparation/equipment, which entails even more education/decision-making. Recent solo sailors have had good, and not-so-good, luck striking out on their own, in obstensibly well-prepared vessels, and the issue of experience, and the real knowledge it provides, plays a large part in the discussion surrounding their fates. Finding a suitable boat can be a time- and resource-consuming pursuit in its own right. Tayanas have been proposed, but they are just one possibility among many.

Then there is the size question. Ah, the size question. That should keep you up nights for at least six months.

I'm not including time spent actually refitting, upgrading, & provisioning a yacht of your own. That can take a year or more of full-time work.

I'd suggest that a more sensible plan would be to take the sailing class now, buy a trailerable weekender of around 20-22ft., and sail it every chance you get, including keeping it in a slip at a local marina for at least part of every year, or a slightly larger 23–25ft boat that stays in the water, while also beginning the reading program mentioned above. Then at retirement, you will at least have some experience and education behind you. Following this timeline, the process of deciding upon a short list of candidates, finding examples for sale reasonably close to you, and finally purchasing your own cruising yacht will likely take you right up to your retirement or a little farther.

Don't forget an important step: after you have "the" boat, you need to get to know it. At least one year sailing in all weather conditions, anchoring, living, repairing, replacing, upgrading, provisioning, may result in the actual preparation you need to set off to laze around the Med. If you're not too exhausted by then.

Don't be in a hurry; do it right, one step at a time. The life you save may be your own.
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Old 06-02-2007, 21:43   #9
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This is really a hard question. Boats get really personal. For comfort you want a wide beam, sailing in weather you want a full keal that comes down at an angle, however this makes the boat rock more. Then there is the money.

First off, Start your training. Find a small weekender with cabin (head and bed) that does not cost much to keep and be on the water as much as you can. Keep looking and about 2 years before you are ready to cast off, buy the boat that you find. There are many types of cruising and many types of boats for each and different cost. Cost is really a main item.

An example. If you buy a boat to cross the atlantic or a boat to coastal cruise. With the same amount of money that you pay for the atlantic boat can coastal cruise for years more in the coastal boat.

Part of the fun of it.
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Old 07-02-2007, 01:31   #10
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BaBa, West Sail, Hardin, Alberg, Cape Dory, Vagabond are a few more brands and designs you want to check out. I had a Mariner 35 and really enjoyed that for a design for two but it was a wood boat and a ketch rig. I don't recommend wood and I like the cutter rig best.
You didn't ask what you should do first but, of course, others have already answered that. You could go to the library and check out a bunch of books to give you a start on research.
Starting with a smaller boat is a good idea. I learned a lot on a Catalina 22 fin keeler that I could just untie from the pier and go sailing whenever I had a couple of free hours.
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Old 07-02-2007, 03:54   #11
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Welcome aboard - great Idea!

Quote:
Originally Posted by coyotewrw

All opinions welcome and appreciated

Cheers
You asked for it!

Given your timescale I would firstly buy a small boat ("small" can vary according to budget - but I would say anything really from 20 odd foot up to 30 that you feel comfortable in) and learn in practice how to sail, to learn in practice what YOU need from a boat to meet your objectives, to get yourself in the "boating club" to meet and learn from other boating folk / their boats, but more importantly learn to be "in command". A big difference between being crew and Captain...........especially when things are not going as hoped for. The only way to learn is to do.

Regarding the "big" boat, your wishes now will change in 5 years - so I would not get too hung up over the "right" model at the moment. Suggest you do a search on Yachtworld.com for a boat in your budget around the 35 - 45 foot mark (You can do smaller and bigger is not always better in every circumstance - and you don't "need" a 40+ foot boat) and "choose" the ones that make you think "they looks nice".........and read up (chat to owners on the dock) on them / similar boats over the next few years.

The reason I am suggesting not buying your "dream" boat now, is simply that you do not know what YOU need at the moment, your ideas will change as your knowledge grows, a large boat may well be a PITA for the boating you want to / can do over the next 5 years and no point buying and selling expensive when you do not have to. If you buy a small boat you probably will still be out of pocket overall when you eventually sell her (that is boating for you), but far less in actual cash terms.

But I may as well add something about a "Big" boat for long term cruising anyway! I suggest you start with your budget and buy the biggest that you can afford to NOT ONLY buy and equip, but more importantly that you can also afford to maintain whilst maintaining yourself / lifestyle LONGTERM. (No point having a big boat you can't actually afford to live on!).......Now although I have said buy the biggest that you can afford, I would also suggest you buy the smallest that you actually need.........IMO no point in paying for and trying to cope with / maintain a 45 foot boat with 8 berths and 3 sleeping cabins if their is just you and a dog! - but of course everyone's opinion of "need" varies - so whilst for me 30 foot will probably be enuf (I envisage not being "married" to the boat 24/7, but would like to be able to afford to sometimes stay ashore for extended periods of time, albeit outside of Hotels or to "just" buy a car / camper van to go on extended trips inland - but this is just my aims!) - for someone else 45 foot is needed for perfectly valid reasons. (a big dog??!!).
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:29   #12
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Welcome Coyote,
As all others have inferred - the range is so wide you'll end up not checking out every possibly permutation - and you're more likely to hone in on what appeals once you've seen a few.
I'd suggest once you've shortened your own list - you also then come back and ask for actual expriences of site users.
Good luck with the search and of course - with the trip!!
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Old 07-02-2007, 04:31   #13
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As David_O_J indicates, ... you do not know what YOU need at the moment, your ideas will change as your knowledge grows ...”, to which I’d add:

Even after considerable experience in your smaller “learner” boat; it will remain difficult to estimate your eventual “live-aboard cruiser” needs.
Living-aboard is very different from week-ending, or holiday cruising.
Ergo, your early experience with a smaller boat will only be of some assistance in determining your ultimate boat needs; but, of course, will provide the foundation of your skills training program.
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Old 07-02-2007, 10:46   #14
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Here is a link that we have been looking at. Mahina Expeditions

From there, you can look at Yachtworld.com to view some models that are suggested.

Ron
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Old 07-02-2007, 21:09   #15
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Yes, and Then Some

Quote:
Gord, he say:
Even after considerable experience in your smaller “learner” boat; it will remain difficult to estimate your eventual “live-aboard cruiser” needs.
Living-aboard is very different from week-ending, or holiday cruising.
Ergo, your early experience with a smaller boat will only be of some assistance in determining your ultimate boat needs; but, of course, will provide the foundation of your skills training program.
Exactly: the move from weekender to liveaboard cruiser entails a brand new learning curve all its own, which will require time. The gist of my previous post is that "five years to cast off" is a very tight time window.

I'd quibble just a bit with Gord, and suggest that even if small boat ownership "will only be of some assistance in determining your ultimate boat needs," it still remains a foundational necessity. I don't see any more direct way, if you desire to make yourself into a competent sailor before you cast off into the unknown.

Cheers All 'Round,
Jeff
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