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Old 15-10-2007, 21:27   #1
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Newbie in Panma

Hola all! I have been reading and lurking for a little while and decided to make my first post.

I am living in Panama City, Panama and have always had the dream to have my own sailboat and one day do some cruising. I have been on a couple charters and that is my experience thus far. I do plan to take courses and be certified as well as bareboat chartering before I even consider buying.

My question is what type of boat should I be looking for? As I am sure most of you may know Panama lies between the Atlantic and Pacific, so I have blue water to both sides. I have been doing some reading on blue water boat vs island hoppers. Do I need a blue water boat if I am going to stay fairly close to shore?

My plans are eventually just to do some local cruising like the caribbean side of San Blas Islands etc, not ocean crossings. I want to get something of at least 32 feet - max 39 ft, here is what I have been considering;
Gulfstar 37-39
Endeavour 32-39
Irwin 32-39
Catalina 32-37
Island Packet 32

Any others I should be studying?

My budget will be around $75k more or less to buy the boat with budget allocation for refittings, repairs, painting etc.
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Old 15-10-2007, 22:18   #2
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Welcome to the Forum, pancanuck. I take it you're a transplanted Canadian, eh?

A young man, responding to the first stirrings of his maturing hormones, thought it would make sense to ask a group of older men what type of girl he should seek out. Should he look for one who would be high maintenance, on the theory that he might one day travel great distances with her and she could almost assuredly stand up to whatever life dished out? Or should he select one less high maintenance, whom he could travel short distances with, having a good time flitting from party to party with her on his arm, knowing he could ignore her from time to time, but be fairly confident that she would reliably get him home?

Oddly, the older men were less than helpful. Some had chosen party girls, some life partners. They each spoke of the excellence of their choice, and encouraged the young man to choose as they had chosen.

This provided little in the way of helping the young man make up his mind.

Finally, he spoke to an old graybeard who had had many women of all descriptions, and though he could go on at length about the virtues of each of them, he acknowledged that not a single one had been the "right one" for all situations, yet he still loved them all.

"But that must have cost you a fortune," said the young man, "And you have nothing to show for it!"

Chuckling, the old man stroked his beard, then replied, "Son, I've learned just what to say to a woman, and when to remain silent. I know just where to touch them, and when to keep my hands to myself. I've learned when to be generous with them, and when to deny them - when it's over, and when to begin again."

"How does that help me?" asked the desperate young man. "I still don't know what I want."

"I didn't know either, when I was just starting out," the old man said, "but I was a very willing student."

The young man looked puzzled. "So what?" he asked.

"So, every woman I've loved has taught me something," the graybeard replied, "and if you are just as eager to learn, by the time you're my age, you'll most likely know which one's the right one for you."

TaoJones
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Old 15-10-2007, 22:36   #3
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Aloha Pan,
Welcome aboard!! Sounds like you are looking at the right size boats except I would not go over 36. Of the ones you've listed I only have experience with Catalinas and they would suit your needs. I like cutter rigs, aft cockpits and diesel engines. Although the Catalina is not a cutter you could add a baby stay and make it a slutter which is a combination sloop/cutter.
Good luck in your decision.
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Old 16-10-2007, 15:06   #4
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Accept the fact that whether you get a coastal boat or blue water boat, once acquired you'll wish you had the other. So as Martin Luther said: "Sin boldly, young man."
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Old 16-10-2007, 15:57   #5
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Thanks for all your replys, yep I am a Canadian expat living in Panama. I guess my biggest concern is safety, second to comfort. I don't want to go and buy something that is going to put my safety in jeopardy if I get caught in some bad ocean weather. I would gladly sacrifice light air performance for safety when the *&^% hits the fan.

What are some characteristics that make a sailboat blue water capable vs a coastal cruiser or day sailer?
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Old 16-10-2007, 16:22   #6
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Aloha again Pan,
We've had this discussion with several other folks. I think if our search engine starts working right again you might want to search for "blue water" and see what you come up with.
There are a lot of opinions because everyone has one. Blue water in my opinion means heavily built. A Catalina is not heavily built (about medium) but is good for coastal work and inexpensive.
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JohnL
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Old 16-10-2007, 16:28   #7
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I just checked and the search engine is not working as well as it used to. Try bluewater, then try blue, then try offshore. Maybe one of those will get you in the right area.
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Old 16-10-2007, 17:39   #8
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Hello from the Sister City of Panama City Florida....

Good idea to ask for comments on type of boat... but the fact is no one can actually tell you what you need until they know what your level of skill is, what your immediate and immediate and long term needs and wants are and how deep your pockets are. Add to that your personal preferences and what ever anyone says may or may not fit your idea of a good boat.

You have indicated you have made several charters... what type boat did you use in them and are those the same areas your planning on sailing in for the near term? What did you like and dislike about them?

Good deals in your price range are often available in boats about to come out of initial charter 4 to 7 years old. If your in the area, it would be easy to check them out in person. It is very easy to get yacht brokers to notify you when they get or are going to get a boat they will list. Harder and often more complex to buy direct from an owner in many cases when your a newer sailor.

Many of the boats you listed in your price range will probably need extensive refurbishment and be more than 10 years old. Some are basically better quality boat than some of the ex charter fleet but overall refurbishment cost need to be considered and how it fits with your plans on being on the water or in the boat yard doing work.

I would recommend you get familiar with a few styles available and learn their strengths and weaknesses and put most of your effort into locating one with the best characteristics that fit your budget, time availability and cruising needs for the next 3 to 4 years... Not sure anyone is really ready to make a good decision on their first boat being the one they will want after they length of time.

Keep an eye out and don't be a motivated buyer... find a motivated seller...
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Old 16-10-2007, 21:29   #9
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I will check the search engine on this site and research more on what is defined as blue water boats. For the charters I was on a Beneteau 36 and a Hunter 40, I did like the size of those boats and felt it was something I could live on, although the others I mentioned I prefer for reasons of better quality (at least in my humble opinion).

Thanks to all for your input, I can see I have a lot of deciding/researching to do but then I am in no rush. This will be a multi year project of learning, getting some hours logged on the water then looking at the short list of candidates. Glad to be a member of this forum!

PS: If there are any expat sailors living in the Panama City area drop me pm or email, love to hear from ya!
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Old 17-10-2007, 06:02   #10
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Welcome

Welcome from another displaced Canadian on the other side of the world 10 months out of the year. Boat still on the Canadian West Coast. I think TaoJones hit the nail right on the head. The perfect boat will be the one you fall in love with for what ever reasons. I have had a lot of boats and looked at a lot of boats, loved them all and this is the best one yet, for now. It might even be the last one. Good luck, eh.
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Old 17-10-2007, 12:40   #11
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Hello Pan. Your list is fine. I had a Gulfstar 37 and took it all over the Carib. Sturdy boat that you can find at a reasonable price level. The IP is sturdy and surprisingly roomy if you do not take your extended family along. There is such great coastal cruising around both Panama coasts. I would look for something with a good diesel. Not underpowered and good deck ventalation given the location. Lots of great boats available out there that fit the bill. Start small and if you like it get a larger boat.

I love Panama and hope to be cruising there soon.
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Old 17-10-2007, 16:27   #12
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[quote=pancanuck;105765]
I do plan to take courses and be certified as well as bareboat chartering before I even consider buying.
[quote]

You have an excellent instructor in PC. Contact Capt. Pete @ Reef Runner Sailing Reef Runner Sailing School, Charters, and Fishing in Panama City, Florida

Pete is a super guy and an excellent instructor!!!!

Tell him that Roger & Evans sent you.
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Old 17-10-2007, 16:36   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rleslie View Post
You have an excellent instructor in PC.
Oops! Wrong PC (Panama City), Roger and Evans.

Pancanuck is actually in Panama City, PANAMA.

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Old 17-10-2007, 20:11   #14
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[quote=rleslie;106086][quote=pancanuck;105765]
I do plan to take courses and be certified as well as bareboat chartering before I even consider buying.
Quote:

You have an excellent instructor in PC. Contact Capt. Pete @ Reef Runner Sailing Reef Runner Sailing School, Charters, and Fishing in Panama City, Florida

Pete is a super guy and an excellent instructor!!!!

Tell him that Roger & Evans sent you.
You got my hopes up there for a second leslie! Oh well I thought that was to good to be true, ironically I am looking at Florida (or the Caribe) to take lessons and get certified. Would prefer to stay in country for the tuition but haven't found anything yet. If anybody has any links for Panama classes (in english) give me a holler.
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