Thanks for the reply. Unfortunately, I don't live all that close to most marinas
(there are a few on the Delaware River, but even those are an hour away), so walking the docks isn't really an option. I do monitor
Craigslist, SailboatListings, eBay, Yachtworld, BoatTrader, BoatsFSBO, and a few others on basically a daily basis (sometimes more like an hourly basis, if I'm bored!). But I know a lot of people use this forum, so I thought it was worth a shot.
I agree with the idea that a wheel isn't a necessity from a steering
perspective. However, my old boat was a Catalina
25, and the tiller dominated the cockpit
when underway. We have access to a condo at the shore, and tend to "hang out" there, rather than aboard the boat, so we're looking more at how the cockpit is set up when underway. My wife and I sail with our 2 young sons (ages 7 and 5) and the 4 of us pretty much filled the cockpit when the boat was underway. We like to bring one of the sets of grandparents along pretty regularly, and that made things very tight when we were on the C25. With a wheel, at least you don't have to keep a large swath of the cockpit clear for the tiller. A wheel is also more fun for kids
to steer, and is easier for my wife to steer, too (that whole "backward" thing for the tiller can be tough). Plus, I've knocked my boys in the head
with the tiller a few times, and that isn't fun for them (or me). So, although I'll lose "feel" and increase the complexity of the boat (extra belts/chains/etc.), I'll gain comfort and enjoyment while we're aboard, and ultimately that's our goal with the boat.
As to the center cockpits, you're right, they do eat up a lot of space. I've been aboard an S2 9.2 and really liked that, though. I'd love to find one of those. The high cockpit on that also should make it easier for my kids to see forward, which is a big deal. On the C25, all they could see was the bulkhead; it was almost impossible for them to see over the cabin
top, and even I had trouble seeing without kneeling on the seat or standing. I do have concerns about the high freeboard/increased windage making it more difficult to dock
a center cockpit, but hopefully I'd learn to deal with that (without damaging anyone else's boat!).
I also agree, a wing isn't necessarily the ideal, but given the skinny water
where I'll be sailing, it's better than having a swing keel
and not dropping the keel
. A shoal draft/full keel/sheel keel would be great, but those can be tough to find.
Your other point, about the survey
, is also well taken. I'm anal and will scrutinize all the places that I know to look, but I'm not an expert or even all that experienced, so a survey is a necessity. Besides, after the hurricane
, my insurance
company told me that a survey will be mandatory, even for a cheap
boat (that wasn't true when we bought our C25).
Please understand, I do sincerely appreciate your feedback, and my comments above aren't meant to be combative or argumentative; they're merely meant to provide our thought process. When our last boat was totaled, we had to figure out whether we were going to get back into sailing, and, if so, under what conditions. That made us sit down and really assess what our needs/wants are in a next "big" boat (we have a 15' Albacore, too), how/where we'll be using the boat, etc., and the wheel and shallow draft
came out very high on the list. I'd LOVE to find a sugar scoop transom (my boys really liked swimming off the boat last season), but it looks like those didn't come out until the late 80's or later, and those newer boats are typically out of my budget
, so I've dropped that from my list.