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Old 12-08-2013, 12:00   #1
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Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Hello everyone! Greetings!!

Recently I've got bitten by the "Boat Bug".... I need some help on deciding what to get for my first boat.

I know my first boat may/maynot be my last boat, and I'm open for any suggestions from experienced people.

Here's my introduction (i.e., what I have). I hope these can give experience boaters little more idea on where I'm coming from.

- I live in central Indiana, 13 Hours from FL Pan handle, 10 Hours from Chesapeke bay, 3 hours from Lake Michigan. (Well, I'm 30 minutes from fairly large local lakes such as Geist & Eagle Creek reservoirs)

- I am far from being rich, and I am cheap & frugal. I'm extremely avid Ebayer/Craiglist junkie. I don't have a hard "ceiling" in terms of money, but can probably dispense ~$2K per year for the boat ownership "Experience" - i.e., if I buy a boat for $15k, use it for 2-3 years and sell it for $12k, (plus storage, reg. insurance, fuel, repairs etc) then I can justify the spending.

- Faimily of 4, with two growing children and a dog.

- I am a mechanical engineer, working in Automotive industry. I'm good with auto repairs - I can DIY a lot more than oil & filter changes.

- I am capable of machining - Mills and Lathe - and welding, and have access to a well-equipped machine shop.

- I have a hitch-equipped GMC Savana 1500 conversion van, which can tow 7000 pounds.

- I've rented pontoon boats numerous times, and sailed little hobie cat few times.


And here's what I'm looking to do with my boat.

- Go on a day trip excursions to local waters (Must be trailerable)

- Trailer the boat to DC, Chicago, Cleveland / Lake Michigan and play *nautical life*

- Camping in the boat (1 or 2 nights max - Don't need Galley but need toilet & berth)

- Occasionally pull wakeboard & tubes (not a Must, but it'd be nice)

- Swim/snorkle from the boat (lake/seashore - something about jumping into water from the boat)

- Occasionally take another family out to the water (Need to be able to take 8 passengers, most likely 4 adults @150-200 lbs and 4 kids @50-100 lbs.)

- Trailer the boat to Miami, then cross the gulfstream to Bahamas (This would be my ultimate dream, with this boat or not. If I can achieve this, I'll have no more nautical desires for rest of my life)


I've done quite a bit of reading, and looked into a lot of boats - from 20' Bayliner bowriders & 24' cuddy cabins, to 25' swing keel Catalinas to MacGregor 26X/M.

(I'm talking all used boats here) There are plenty of ~20' cuddy cabins for under $10k. There are also few MacGregor 26 for around $15k. Plenty of <20' bowriders and Catalina 22' for $5k.

I like sailing, but I also want to take another family out, and occasionally pull wakeboards. I have no desire for 30MPH+ speed, but like to be fuel efficient. At first, MacGregor 26X/M seemd a good fit, but they are more expensive than smaller cuddy cabins boats.

I tried to look for boat rentals. Most affordable rentals are slow pontoons (I've done plenty of that, and that's not what I want), and charters cost hundreds of $$$ per hour.

I like to hear some thoughts from people who's been in my shoes.

Thank you for reading such a long-winded post. God bless everyone.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:57   #2
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

If you want to wakeboard or ski there is just one boat that'll do that and sail. It won't do either very well but it'll do both. That's the Mac with a big engine. Try to decide if you want to be a powerboater or a sailor and that'll help you pin down your choices.

If it were me I'd go for the Catalina 25 swing keel. It'll sail fairly well and be easily trailerable and have a bit more sturdeness than some of those others you've mentioned. I'm talking just sail here and I can't help you about powerboats.

The Catalina 22 is a bit small for 8 aboard. I've slept 4 on my old Catalina 22 (first boat). They were all adult size people. It was tight.

Try to go aboard as many of those boats you are interested in and look at the interior space to see if you can make it work for you.
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Old 12-08-2013, 12:58   #3
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

The mcgregor 26 may allow you to sail and camp and wake board and snorkel, but I don't think you would want to put 8 people in that boat, not even for a day sail.
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Old 12-08-2013, 13:13   #4
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Welcome to CF. I think with the combination of trailerable, towing wakeboard, and day use for 8 passengers, you are better off with a power boat than a sailboat.
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Old 12-08-2013, 14:22   #5
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Neo View Post
The mcgregor 26 may allow you to sail and camp and wake board and snorkel, but I don't think you would want to put 8 people in that boat, not even for a day sail.
If he's interested in sailing, I would not recommend the MaGregor. These boats are especially poor performers and I have seen two cases where owners sold theirs and returned to powerboats - concluding that sailing wasn't for them. That could be coincidence or it could be that they were inclined toward power all along and only dabbled in sail, but I think it's possible, if not probable, that sailing a MacGregor was just too much effort for so little reward that they never really caught the sailing bug.
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Old 12-08-2013, 14:30   #6
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

To accommodate 8 people, you'll need a 32+ footer sailboat; forget about trailing that size all the way to FL. Re-define your priorities! Good luck!

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Old 12-08-2013, 14:47   #7
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

For young children a 20 ft run about would be great tubing, scurfing on smaller lakes in you area but big enough for protracted larger bodies of water. You should buy a boat that needs your need now and maybe with motor home. Our first 20 some years was a 19 ft run about with motor home. When children where in high school we also bought a 28 ft power boat long cruises, but still had the run about and motor home. When children left the nest we bough the Eagle and become a live aboard. Younger children may find sailing and cruising boring. Are we there yet!
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Old 12-08-2013, 22:12   #8
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

I have been looking into few 21' cuddy cabin boats (Bayliners) around my area. I can buy an early 2000's model for around $7-8000.

May be this would be a good starter boat for me. how would this boat handle in coastal waters in ocean (Say, staying within a visual distance from land)?

I now understand the "Hull Speed" and "Plaining" boat. Plaining boat is like a jet ski - you need fairly calm (or longer wavelength) ocean to go? Is 21' going to handle well in the ocean?

Also, What would be the best combination for engine/prop/hull for best fuel efficiency (MPG) for a boat in ~21' size?
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Old 13-08-2013, 07:42   #9
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Jason, have you looked at all the boats already being used on Geist and Eagle Creek?

I know the area... and I'd guess getting familiar with what people are using there now might help, at least for background and to inform your shopping. Usually owners are happy to engage in discussions about pros and cons of their boat (although you will usually hears more pros than cons).

A 21' cuddy will do OK in the ocean IN FAVORABLE CONDITIONS but that's also true of all kinds of even larger boats. There's lots of "it depends" involved. It also happens that boatloads of folks go offshore fishing and snorkeling and so forth in similar sized boats, some smaller, some larger... and the more important part is usually about the planning and the weather (sea states).

Some center console or dual console boats can also make a decent day boat (and once you get into the 25' (or so) range, you might find a decent head (which ladies appreciate, as do I) and even a tight berth below the console. IOW, a cuddy can be a good choice, but some of the other similar sized boats can maybe work too.

When it comes to horsepower and fuel... in a used boat in your price range, you're gonna get what you're gonna get. And usually, the motor that's already on a boat like that is sized accordingly, with some variation. Maybe more useful to home in in candidates, then ask about that again. In the meantime, you can expect a modern 4-stroke outboard to get you better fuel economy than most older 2-stroke outboards for the same horsepower. (Another option is to find a well-found boat with a failing outboard, and repower... but that's not always as inexpensive as it might sound... maybe not worth discussing for now unless you find a candidate that might work.)

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Old 15-08-2013, 11:56   #10
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I agree with other posters you prob want to go power. We have a 21' walk- around fishing boat which we use for fishing, day trips and overnight camping trips. We've boated in the Chesapeake bay, Texas Oklahoma and Arkansas lakes, and now florida gulf. When we initially bought the boat i insisted on the cuddy for me to get out of any weather even tho my hubby wanted a center console for better fishing. He wanted me to want to boat with him so guess who won that argument! When our boys were teenagers they got into wake boarding so we installed a custom fishing tower with a wakeboard bit from Atlantic towers. We got a lot of funny looks, a "blue water" fishing outboard boat pulling wake boarders, but the kids loved it. We sit 8, but not comfortably like a pontoon or deck boat. Most boats are a compromise. You have to decide what your primary use will be and the waterway you will mostly likely boat on, then get the boat that works best for that.
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Old 16-08-2013, 02:45   #11
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Why not an inboard diesel powered "trawler' type.

I did a quick search and found this Coastal Cruiser - a 25' trailerable motoryacht?

You'd have to ask the designer how long it would take to build. I'd guess a couple of years part time but it depends on things like build quality. My opinion is that it would be fantastic in aluminium.

It would be quicker and cheaper without the galley and shower. Could probably squeeze a fifth berth in there maybe even making it convertible for cooking.

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Old 16-08-2013, 06:20   #12
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

There are some available boats like that here in the U.S., sorta. Rosborough, C-Dory, Ranger Tugs, and probably at least one other who's names escapes me just now. Most are outboard powered, although I do think there are several inboard and/or IO powered (including diesel).

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Old 16-08-2013, 12:28   #13
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Thank you everyone who chipped in to help me.

I am kinda leaning toward a 21.5' cuddy cabin motor boat.
There is one for sale in town, it's a '03 Bayliner 21.5 cuddy cabin with 5L I/O engine.

Will this be more suitable and easy as a first timer boat? There are many more open-bow "bowriders" but I like the idea of cabin and place for a porta-potty.
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Old 16-08-2013, 14:44   #14
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

Should be easy enough to learn on, easy enough to trailer (assuming your tow vehicle is appropriate), easy enough to maintain (parts and so forth should be available forever). It's been a long time since I've been on Geist or Eagle Creek, but if powerboats are (still?) allowed and launch facilities work, could be fine.

You might find the Bayliner owners club on line and ask questions there. I assume there is one; Sea Ray, also a Brunswick subsidiary, subsidizes such a club. We often have prospective buyers join our own owners club, so they can get pros and cons from other owners. And fix-it advice after purchase.

Be aware: The small-end Bayliners aren't known for highest quality (whereas the larger ones are more upscale, very competitive, and now mostly named Meridian). The smaller ones are quite good enough vessels, but it's a value line of small boats. Very decent starter boats, and then many also last for years with owners not ever needing or wanting to change afterwards. As long as your expectations is in line with their production plan, you can be good to go

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Old 17-08-2013, 06:49   #15
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Re: Hello from Indiana - need help on boat selection...

I have heard elsewhere Bayliner's aren't that good in small vessel. What other brands should I be considering?
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