Hi, and welcome to CF! The most important part about all of what you have said is that you want to go sailing. Stay focused on that and make it happen!
I started sailing about 5 years ago, by taking lessons at a local sailboat rental place. The lessons were about $350 or so, and were two days, half of each day on the water
and half in the books
. This allowed me to rent 22 foot boats for the day or half day. Cost was about $50 per half day. These lessons and renting
for a year taught me an incredible amount about what to look for. I would say money
Then I bought my current
boat, some would say the wrong brand (Hunter), but my take on it is that it was the right boat to learn on. I have a 2002 326 Hunter, with the single
, as opposed to either the two keel
design, or the winged keel (both were made). I have sailed about 40 days per year for the last 4 years. I have worked on the boat, upgraded batteries, installed an anchor
wench, digital radar
, side scanning sonar, and replaced faucets, and the bilge pump
, figured out how to use the spinnaker
that I bought, and in general have learned even more about what I do and don't like about this boat.
As for single
handed sailing, this boat has roller furling
for both the Jib
and Main, good points, one person can easily handle the sails
. As for the issues you will read else where about how many problems there are with roller furling
, I will tell you that after about 4 days of figuring out what I was doing wrong, I have had ZERO problems with the main and only minimal problems with the Jib
. For ease of sailing nothing beats an easy to use roller furling
main. Negative points, really bad sail shape, smaller sail less power, slower boat, etc. I have a friend who had a Hunter 340, (with lazy jacks and a non furling
main) while only 2 feet longer, he is consistently faster by at least a knot
and a half. That is to say he sails
circles around me.
Obviously my budget
was bigger than yours, and I did not plan on buying
my last boat first, I planned on buying a boat that had all the systems of a bigger boat, while still being small enough not to scare me when sailing it. I got what I wanted. Now, I am planning (scheming) on the next boat. Since I will not be limited to coastal cursing, it will be a bit bigger and better than the Hunter 326 that I have now. The advantage that I have going in to the next boat purchase
is 5 years of lessons on what works for me and what does not. (Side scanning sonar is really cool, you can see the fish
, and the sea weed, and the rocks on the bottom, but was it really worth almost one boat unit? 'Break Out Another Thousand').
BTW, after we bought the boat, I took classes
at the local POWER SQUADRON (they are everywhere) United States Power Squadrons® Safe boating fun thru education
on boating safety
, small diesel
engines, and coastal cruising, I still plan on taking the weather
class and several others. Cost of these classes
is just the materials, typically less than $50.00 for a 3 to 8 week class. This also puts you in contact with other boaters. If you don't have a Power Squadron nearby, look for a COAST GUARD AUXILIARY. Welcome to the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary Official Web Portal
they also offer lots of classes.
Sorry about how long this is, but if you have any questions, look around CF, the answers are probably there. There are a lot of very knowledgeable people here. Or ask me if it is specific to something I said. In any case, go sailing, it will be great therapy!