I sailed on lakes in Alabama
Had fun too.
Your intro sounds like you and the family
will have fun doing it together. So nice.
I think sailing with others at first (as crew) is a great idea, as you can learn from them and see what you like about a boat (types) and what seems comfortable for you and yours.
If you are looking for a boat to buy, there are MANY for sale
that would be good for Alabama lakes. The trailerable size would give you much flexibility. A "dinghy" or "day sailor" is a good start and could give you years of fun. Some can be VERY comfortable for a family day sailing
, some even have small cabins. Some are open. Some can be faster than typical "small cruisers" and hence more fun and thrilling for kids (or adults).
Some of my most fun time sailing on lakes was on catamarans (they get up and go faster than the typical small cruiser styled boats). NACRA is an example or "Prindle" cats. A 19 foot cat could be a lot of fun.
My advice for Alabama lake "SAILING" is to get a boat you can enjoy even if there is little wind
when you go to the lake. You might find yourself bobbing around for hours in the middle of the lake if the wind
dies on you. Big heavy boats will not move easily in light winds, and so those are often motored around or sit at the dock/marina. For example, I enjoyed sailing on a catamaran
on a lake while others on "cruiser" type boats were not moving at all, due to lighter winds and their heavier boats.
Here is a site where you can search for boats and here is one in Alabama (30 foot, new sails
, etc.. $8K asking). This is a cruiser styled boat. (and I am not suggesting this by brand or model, simply posting
the link so you can see a site where you can find boats in Alabama/Tennessee etc.) But this one is larger than what I would want for fun sailing (with light winds)....but to each his own...
1981 Ticon T-30 sailboat for sale in Alabama
Here is a site that has several boats for sale
by owners in Alabama, several in Lake Guntersville area. You can search for Tennessee and Georgia
boats too. Depending on your budget
, you could get a 25-27 foot "cruiser" style or something smaller or a cat.
Alabama sailboats for sale by owner.
Also, given that there are kids (and wife) I suggest getting something that can at least take a "bucket" head
(portapotty) and has a small cabin
for privacy (with a curtain for privacy) Why? Because it makes the time more convenient and nicer for family members who may be on the boat all day, sometimes waiting for wind.
Here is a typical "lake cruiser" Catalina
25 with outboard
. $5,000. These are common boats so there is a good chance you can find someone in Alabama with one to crew on or visit or buy. Average used price
is about $4K to $5K for boat from 1980s or so. Many see little use. Nice size for a young family, can sleep on it and it has a porta potty and basic 4 berths (bunks). Nice size for lake sailing for a long day (able to carry food
and drinks in coolers etc.).
1984 Catalina 1983 sailboat for sale in Alabama
Sailing in the ocean is obviously much different (waves, more wind, currents, etc.). While I had fun on lakes in Alabama and Texas
, I had MUCH more fun with ocean sailing. So try to arrange a trip to the beach or ocean to experience the more constant wind and waves and fun too.
You asked about books. The Annapolis
Book of Seamanship is a good start. http://www.amazon.com/The-Annapolis-...+of+seamanship
Another basic book about boating
(with lots of basic stuff to learn) is "Chapmans" which has been a "bible of boating" for about 67 years!