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Old 09-05-2013, 18:54   #1
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hello from Hernando Beach Florida

First post. We've been boating for a couple of years on the Florida west coast out of Hernando Beach, in our 23 ft Sea Hunt. We are interested in learning to sail and purchasing a starter sail boat. Was wondering if there are any sailing clubs in our area, north of Tampa? Would like to meet other sailors to make friends and learn how to sail. Could use some help in selecting a used sail boat. Don't know too much about sailing but thinking a 22 ft trailer cruiser would be good for starters.
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Old 09-05-2013, 19:56   #2
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Welcome to the forum. If I recall once you get much north of Clearwater it gets pretty shallow. Boating out of Hernando Beach draft on a sailboat might be an issue but I think most sailboats under 30' could work.

Are you using the Minnow Creek inlet? I think depths there are 4' or less in spots.

If you plan on sleeping on board, doing weekends or cruises of any sort I think 22' would be the bare minimum. 25-27 would be better. Had some friends starting out sailing with a 21' trailer sailor and got very claustrophobic when it rained for three days straight and kept them trapped in the cabin.
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Old 09-05-2013, 21:18   #3
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Thanks, skipmac, for the reply. Yes, it's a bit shallow up here, but the channel was dredged just last year and generally runs 6 ft all the way out at low tide. No, we don't leave out of Minnow Creek - I believe it is a bit more shallow over there in the canal. Our canal is usually over 8 ft deep. We would be sailing in waters 10-60 ft deep, depending on how far out we dare to go. We're thinking we would only spend one night at a time in this starter boat, and I'm wanting to keep the purchase price down around $5K or less. We don't want to spend too much $ on a boat until after we try sailing and cruising a little - see how we like it. I'm thinking I'll like it a lot, but not ready to drop $20K on a boat without first getting some confirmation. Also, I'd like a trailer sailor for the starter boat and probably again later for the better boat, so we can trailer it down to the Keys. I'm already thinking a MacGregor 26 is going to be right later, with it's nice size motor. Anyway, all my opinions now are based solely on books and web sites. It'd be nice to meet some people and actually get some sailing experience.
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Old 09-05-2013, 21:34   #4
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Guess it's deeper than I thought in Hernando.

If I recall, the later model MacGregors are a hybrid between speed boat and sail boat. It might suit your particular sailing style but I believe that it does not excel at motoring or sailing.

I have to admit that I have not been on one of the newer models so maybe you would get more and better information about this from someone who has. My question is that if the boat is a poor sailor it might leave you with a bad impression of what sailing is like.

If you are used to motor-boating be prepared to go really, really slow. But also be prepared for the peace and quiet and pure relaxation you can get when the motor is off.

The good news, if you are an experienced boater already then adding basic sailing skills to your basic seamanship is not a huge leap. I could go out with any reasonably intelligent boater and in an afternoon teach them how to hoist and adjust the sails for different courses to the wind. Then you can spend the next 20-30 years fine tuning those skills.
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Old 09-05-2013, 21:49   #5
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Guess it's deeper than I thought in Hernando.

If I recall, the later model MacGregors are a hybrid between speed boat and sail boat. It might suit your particular sailing style but I believe that it does not excel at motoring or sailing.

I have to admit that I have not been on one of the newer models so maybe you would get more and better information about this from someone who has. My question is that if the boat is a poor sailor it might leave you with a bad impression of what sailing is like.

If you are used to motor-boating be prepared to go really, really slow. But also be prepared for the peace and quiet and pure relaxation you can get when the motor is off.

The good news, if you are an experienced boater already then adding basic sailing skills to your basic seamanship is not a huge leap. I could go out with any reasonably intelligent boater and in an afternoon teach them how to hoist and adjust the sails for different courses to the wind. Then you can spend the next 20-30 years fine tuning those skills.

I was going to say the same thing, that MacGregors do not enjoy a good reputation among sailors. I haven't sailed one myself but I've heard it from multiple people I respect. My personal opinion as a newer sailor, who remembers the trials of getting the basics down, is that sailboats are like musical instruments. If you try to learn to play the piano on an old, worn out piano, it will fight you every step of the way. And, some pianos were no good when they were brand new. You won't notice it as a beginner, but it will still be true.

You should get a boat that "wants to sail," whatever other characteristics it has. Another boat that gets snickers every time it's mentioned is the Buccaneer. I *have* sailed -- or tried to sail -- a Buccaneer. IMO they look just plain silly on the water, and they sail worse.

You'll find people that love Catalinas and hate them, that love Hunters or hate them (I love mine but acknowledge its flaws), etc., but if lots of experienced people are trying to steer you away from a brand, listen. Irwins are known to tend to separate at the hull/deck joint and in fact that's how mine died. They sail well but aren't known for being the best built boats on the planet.

There's good books out on picking your boat, and you should connect with a sailing club if you can, wrangle your way on to as many boats as possible.

There's the Clearwater Community Sailing Association, but I don't know much about it. Here's a link: Clearwater Community Sailing Association |

I think they tend to emphasize smaller boats, not my favorite things. There's a huge difference between a 25' boat and what they're showing in their pictures.

If you could drive a little further south, there's Boca Ciega Yacht Club, which is just a sailing club, not a fancy sailing club, and very moderately priced. There you can see a lot of different kinds of boats, pick people's brains, probably get yourself invited to sail on a variety of boats. I know it's a long drive, but it might really help you in your search.

Boca Ciega Yacht Club, Gulfport , St Petersburg Fla

They have races every Tuesday night -- just show up and you will get put on a boat; and every third Sunday.
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Old 09-05-2013, 22:10   #6
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

I was probably putting the cart in front of the horse by stating that the MacGregor 26 might be our next boat after our starter boat. I want to start on something smaller, like a Catalina 22 or similar. I'll probably have a better idea what we want for the next boat after we sail the starter boat and spend some time on it. It's just that we have several factors here in HB that point to a motor/sailer hybrid - long trip down the canals and channel, and long trip out to the art reefs we want to dive. That, combined with storms popping up every afternoon in the summer, and we could use some >20 knot speed at times. We'll hang on to our 23 ft Sea Hunt with its 150 hp while we're learning to sail. If we really like sailing and decide to get a $20K sail boat, the Sea Hunt will probably be sold, especially if we can still motor to some degree.

Great info, Rakuflames, on sailing clubs. Sure wish there was something like the Boca Ciega club closer. It's an hour and a half drive, at least. Its looking like I'll need to do some networking to find a little group of friends in HB that sail regularly.
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Old 10-05-2013, 05:26   #7
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

The good news, now is a good time to buy a sailboat, especially a smaller boat. If you aren't too picky and willing to start with one that isn't shiny and new I have see boats for free.

There are of course some gotchas on older boats that might turn a free boat into an expensive headache. When you start serious shopping it's time for more Q&A.
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:11   #8
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Does anyone know of any 22-24 ft trailer cruisers for sale in the Tampa area in the $4K-$6K range?
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Old 10-05-2013, 07:22   #9
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

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Does anyone know of any 22-24 ft trailer cruisers for sale in the Tampa area in the $4K-$6K range?
craigslist is your friend.

Morgan 22ft sailboat with trailer

27' Sail Boat - Very Solid - Sacrifice...........

25' 1974 American Mariner sailboat & trailer
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:09   #10
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Thanks, skipmac. Anyone care to post an opinion regarding American Mariner? I see that they went out of business over 30 years ago.
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Old 11-05-2013, 03:18   #11
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Quote:
Originally Posted by Divensail88 View Post
I was probably putting the cart in front of the horse by stating that the MacGregor 26 might be our next boat after our starter boat. I want to start on something smaller, like a Catalina 22 or similar. I'll probably have a better idea what we want for the next boat after we sail the starter boat and spend some time on it. It's just that we have several factors here in HB that point to a motor/sailer hybrid - long trip down the canals and channel, and long trip out to the art reefs we want to dive. That, combined with storms popping up every afternoon in the summer, and we could use some >20 knot speed at times. We'll hang on to our 23 ft Sea Hunt with its 150 hp while we're learning to sail. If we really like sailing and decide to get a $20K sail boat, the Sea Hunt will probably be sold, especially if we can still motor to some degree.

Great info, Rakuflames, on sailing clubs. Sure wish there was something like the Boca Ciega club closer. It's an hour and a half drive, at least. Its looking like I'll need to do some networking to find a little group of friends in HB that sail regularly.

I know -- it's a LONG drive, but we have a number of members from there. It's hard to organize a sailing club without some place to keep boats, I think. I think that's the problem up there. There is also a Meet Up group out of Tarpon Springs, but those groups are mostly people without boats looking for boats to sail on. Unfortunately the one in Tarpon Springs doesn't actually sail much. if you're looking to improve your sailing skills, IMO (having used Meet Up) having several newbies on board might actually get in the way, but that's what Meet Up is for.

Is there a West Marine or other boating store up that way? Maybe they could help connect sailors.
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Old 11-05-2013, 19:12   #12
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Our first (and current) is a Catalina 27. So far very comfy for day/weekend sailing, though not quite tall enough for Hubby (he's 6'3") to stand upright in. Has proven very easy to learn in, thus far (got her in October last year), and we got her for a song on Craig's list. Note: had chartered one 1/2 day sail 10 years before buying the boat. That was the extent of our experience! Good luck, and fair winds!!
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Old 11-05-2013, 19:16   #13
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

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Originally Posted by Ldylightfoot View Post
Our first (and current) is a Catalina 27. So far very comfy for day/weekend sailing, though not quite tall enough for Hubby (he's 6'3") to stand upright in. Has proven very easy to learn in, thus far (got her in October last year), and we got her for a song on Craig's list. Note: had chartered one 1/2 day sail 10 years before buying the boat. That was the extent of our experience! Good luck, and fair winds!!

I think that's one of the best Catalinas made.
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Old 11-05-2013, 23:25   #14
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Aloha and welcome aboard!
Good to have you here and asking questions. First of all I'd recommend a basic sailing course for you before purchasing. You'll pick up some insight and meet like minded people.
For your question about the American Mariner. My experience with our club's American is that it did not sail well to weather because of it's short wide keel and there were voids in the keel.
In my humble opinion, something like a trailerable Catalina 22 would be a great starter boat. But that's because that's what I started with except mine had a fin keel instead of a centerboard. I really liked that boat and spent lots of time aboard.
kind regards,
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Old 11-05-2013, 23:42   #15
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Re: hello from Hernando Beach Florida

Welcome aboard. Any boat is better than no boat at all.

I felt bad because I had no boat shoes until I met a man who had no boat!
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