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Old 04-02-2008, 20:15   #1
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Sailing Convert

I readily admit to having lurked on this forum for a few weeks. I have been a powerboater for 30+years, (no, I'm not the guy that refused to yield right of way the last time you were out for a sail) and I have an uncle who taught me the fundamentals of sailing a couple years ago. He has a Catalina 34 on Lake Texoma, and I know enough to get into trouble.

I took the Admiral out on the Catalina and she had a good time, although it was cold that day. We spent this last Thanksgiving in Georgetown and sailed a rental Hobie a little bit. I think I'm succeeding in convincing her that a sailboat is in our future. She gave me gift certificates for some ASA training last weekend, Basic Keelboat and Coastal Cruising. Can't wait to schedule that..........

I'm fishing for opinions as we begin a search for a boat. First of all where we live in MS the small craft habor won't be servicable until '09 due to Hurricane Katrina and the glacial pace of the city council. (Don't get me started)!! So we are not in a hurry.

Our goals would be a boat for primarily daysailing in the Gulf, with occasional weekending among the barrier islands we have here (12-15 miles offshore). I wouldn't anticipate any extended cruising, maybe marina-hopping down the Florida panhandle later on. Our preferences run toward 38-40 ft center cockpit designs, due to her preference for a queen centerline berth with headroom and my impression that a CC would be easier to singlehand (access to traveler looks much better than on an aft cockpit). From a budgetary standpoint, naturally I'm all for saving, but I think this is a pay now or pay later proposition. So maybe up to 100k or so although I think that's way cheap for our expectations.

Any opinions appreciated,

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Old 05-02-2008, 00:18   #2
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Aloha Mac,
Welcome aboard! I'm the guy that always recommends a boat no longer than 36 on deck and definitely an aft cockpit so you may not want my opinions. I also recommend fiberglass hull, diesel engine and I prefer cutter rigs. You'll hear other opinions I'm certain.
There was something you didn't like about the Catalina 34?
It's good to have you here and there are a good majority of forum members who will give you all kinds of opinions.
Good luck in your search.
Kind Regards,

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Old 05-02-2008, 04:04   #3
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Aloha, John!!

Small world, my son is based at K-Bay !! I'd say the only thing I don't like about the Catalina 34 is, it isn't mine, since I'm certainly willing to sail the "boat of opportunity." Jokes aside, I watched my uncle upgrade over the years, and the 34 is his third boat. I want to try making one purchase that I can live with long term, and that is partly what drives us to look at the larger boat with the center cockpit. I suspect most of the active sail handling will fall to me, so I do like the layout of things on a CC.

I'd be very happy with a Beneteau 36 CC, but the wife isn't too crazy about the "clipped" shape of the berth on that one. I haven't seen a centerline berth on anything smaller than 38'...

Having never sailed a CC, is there a driving force to avoid them? I suspect they are a wetter ride in heavy seas than a comparable aft cockpit ( I rarely see one without a dodger)

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Old 05-02-2008, 04:15   #4
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Hi Mac and welcome, I can't recommend a specific model, but if you have a hundred grand burning a hole in your pocket you should be able to get a nice daysailer.

Good luck on your search,
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Old 05-02-2008, 04:51   #5
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Welcome! Getting started with sailing after power boating isn't that hard since all your experience is not to waste. All your time on the water is a valuable thing to have behind your now. Nice to see your wife got you the ASA series of classes. They are a good way to start. Bring your wife along too. It's worth it. She will learn a lot and it's just going to ensure you both have fun. It's perhaps the one thing to always be thinking about. It is all supposed to be fun.

Given your ability to keep a boat is limited for a period you might go ahead and work through the ASA courses, then do a charter or two. Getting more time on the water is probably the best use of your time in between. Sailing your uncles boat sounds like a plan for a bit as well. Miami Strictly Sail is next month. If that took you two years then you might be in a better position.

Your budget is going to work more along the lines of the 34 ft boat. The concept of space below is perhaps the one change you need to consider. To get the queen centerline berth with head room just doubled your annual costs plus killed the budget. Having one serious requirement like that dictates a lot of other things you might not want. It means looking at a lot of the details in any boat you consider. Center cockpit boats don't get all that efficient with space until you reach about 44 ft and many of those don't work well. Annual costs will be an issue once you start getting that large and your plans really don't require it.

If you are used to power boat maintenance then I would say sail boat maintenance isn't any less but includes some additional gear and a smaller engine. The difference between a 34 ft boat and a 40 ft boat is not just 6 feet. Having made that step a year and a half ago my back tells me it's a whole lot more. For weekending and marina hopping with perhaps a week or two you can actually do it with a 30 ft boat and have some comfort. You will probably want more though. Your use is looking more less displacement (you are not hauling tons of supplies) probably in the 33 to 36 ft range. I think the Catalina 34 in an older Mk II design might fit the budget and the goal pretty well. There really are a whole lot of different boats in this range. I think you'll do better at least starting form there and looking at more boats.

Better yet work on getting aboard a few more boats and perhaps even a charter. Familiarity starts to make boats feel more comfortable. You really are going to need the Admiral along on all this too. The transition from power to sail changes the shape of the boat and the head room drops until you get into the really large boats. It's the hard part of getting used to a different style boat. Strictly Sail Miami is just around the corner.
Paul Blais
s/v Bright Eyes Gozzard 36
37 15.7 N 76 28.9 W
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Old 05-02-2008, 09:09   #6
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As you and others have said, you have plenty of time to check out a wide variety of boats. It's way too early to narrow your focus, but you have to start somewhere. If in the end a 40 footer with a centerline queen is what it takes to make the difference between daysailing and weekending or otherwise keep the Admiral happy, there are some (not many) reasonably priced aft cockpit possibilities:

1987 Hunter Boat For Sale=
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Old 05-02-2008, 18:14   #7
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There's no doubt I have a lot to learn. Murphy's Law is apparently alive and well, as a business commitment will take me to Fort Lauderdale the week after the Miami boat show!! Sounds like to key short term is to pursue the training, and take advantage of that to "troll" the marina and ask lots of questions.

Thanks for the "welcome aboard" and as I shop more actively I'll check my impressions with the experts on the forum. No doubt I"ll need input for everything from the purchase process to plumbing the head.

Thanks again,

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