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Old 06-01-2018, 05:56   #16
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

Mid to late 1980 pearson 36-2 is a great boat.... Catalina 36 nice boat,..... my opinion is buy as much of a boat that you can afford and don’t be timid. Like one person said before there is a lot of classic plastic out there. Just start shopping around.
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Old 06-01-2018, 06:08   #17
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Beautiful boat, but I doubt it will be for sale in June/July. Do you think a 38 footer can be handled with just me and 2 kids? I'm thinking docking could be a challenge.
I think something like the Beneteau 331 would be more suited.. however looking at the prices today I should have hung on to mine.. they seem to have appreciated in value..
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:42   #18
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

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Hello,

We moved down to Fort Lauderdale and plan to stay 3-4 years (we're a military family). We're looking to get our first sailboat this summer. We should be able to take advantage of a military marina for a cheap slip.

At this point, I'm in the research phase to find out what size boat, old is okay, "mandatory" options to have, and wind up with a rough shopping list of potential boats. (Catalina or Hunter 30 comes to mind)

Background:
We have 2 boys, aged 5 and 7. I just retired so I'll have free time to sail and work on the boat. I'm very handy and can fix about anything, but I'm new to sailing. My wife and I took a multi-day sailing class in a Catalina 16.5 and I've sailed a few times solo so I'm comfortable with that boat, running the sheet and jib, etc.

Sailing: I envision day trips or overnight trips on weekends around Miami and the Keys. During the summer when the kids are out of school, we could stay out longer but my wife works, so I might be "solo" with the kids sometimes. We can also do a couple of 1 week long trips a year- thinking about the bahamas or other explorations.

Requirements: Shallow draft. Air conditioning. Sleeping for 4 without having to break down the dinette for the kids every night. I want a real helm, not a tiller. I'm assuming I need a jib furler and auto pilot if I'm going sail "solo" with the kids.

When I buy a boat (I've owned 3 powerboats) I have a tendency to fix and replace everything until it's as good as, or better-than new. So maybe I should get a later model.

Budget- I have no idea, but hoping to stay under $30k all-in for initial purchase and set up. We have the budget for slow and steady upgrades, but not dumping thousands in right away.
Since when is a tiller not a real helm?
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Old 06-01-2018, 09:57   #19
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

I'll recommend a Hunter Legend 35.5 (early 90's). They are fairly affordable and came with an excellent list of original equipment, which more than likely has been upgraded further.

Full disclosure, I owned one and it was great. Tons of room below. Easy and forgiving to sail alone. I had mine when I had a 2 year old girl, an expectant wife (now ex), and a geriatric dog. And they all appreciated the air conditioning and sugar scoop stern. Your boys could easily share the big forward cabin, while you and the mrs have some privacy in the aft cabin with king size transverse bunk.

Yes, it ticks all your boxes...shallow draft (winged, bulb keel), furler, single line reefing, yanmar, bow roller, and many more boxes you didn't even know you wanted. This is one of Hunter's very best models.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:03   #20
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

Zimm,

With regard to your concern about docking a larger boat, don't worry too much. I grew up sailing on a Catalina 27, and then a C&C 26 with my dad. I then went for 35 years without sailing a "big boat" (I had a Laser and a Sunfish). I bought a Pearson 36 cutter about three years ago, and I was very anxious early on about docking, because I often single hand. But I learned that all it takes is practice. It is really no harder to dock a 36 foot boat than to dock a 27 foot - you just have to spend time learning how your boat responds in various conditions.

The advantage of having a slightly larger boat is you will feel more confident if you decide to strike out for the Bahamas from Florida (something I highly recommend once you have some experience). But there are good arguments to be made for the Catalina 30, especially with regard to resale. As for AC, if I were you, I'd go for the quick-and-dirty window unit solution; at anchor, you truly do not need AC. The breeze takes care of cooling - I have slept soundly many nights at anchor in the Bahamas.

All the best - you won't regret getting the boat and the adventures you will have with your wife and kids.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:05   #21
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

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Since when is a tiller not a real helm?
I was going to say something about that too! Having owned both types, and dealt with autohelm issues on both...my preference is definitely a tiller, even on a "big" boat. Simple doesn't break.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:16   #22
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

I suggest you see what is available locally. A boat for sale locally has many advantages. Go see a few boats in your price range and you will quickly get a feel for what you like (and don't). IMHO, you don't pick the boat, the boat picks you!

Also, I sailed with my two kids when they were little. There are whole threads on this. I found they needed their own space and privacy...their own bunk...where they could make a mess without concern. My kids shared the vee berth on a C&C25. When the weather got bad, they would withdraw to this safe place. It was comforting to me to know they were safe, and I'm sure they had pretty scary/wonderful times listening to the thunder, feeling the waves smash the bow, and the whole place heeling over sharply...all while cozy in their pajamas with blankets, pillows, and stuffed animals all around.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:17   #23
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

In Florida, dont be enticed by a deeper draft for bargain money. In Fl there's a reason why they are cheap there! Get the shallowest you can find. Should be a lot of fun! If you are going to resell in 3 years get a popular brand like Catalina etc. Although I'm not sure if Cat does much shallow draft. In warm waters a swim step is very nice to have and a shower handle near the swim step.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:22   #24
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

I am presently looking for a boat in the 30-35 foot range. Some great boats like Irwin, Morgan, Endeavour, Pearson and Tartan are readily available for well under $30,000. Most if not all of them from the mid to late 70s are solid hand laid glass. Most are modified full keels with a cutaway forefoot and a skeg hung rudder. They may not be the fastest boat afloat but are very sea kindly. Make sure the boat has upgrades (especially the engine). Many come with modern electronics and a lot of extras and generally draw less than 5', which is great for Florida,and the Bahamas.

Just my 2 cents worth
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:40   #25
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

It was not our first boat, but starting when our daughters were about 7 and 11 we owned a Santana 525. It was like camping in a VW bug. But we spent up to a week at a time at the Channel Islands and they loved it. A couple of years later we had the Santana and a 36' Bill Lee design, and I personally missed the tight quarters of the Santana because we had enough room then to bring other peoples whiney kids with us then. I think a 30 footer would be ideal for you.
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Old 06-01-2018, 10:43   #26
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

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What, you're going sailing with two little's without your wife? I doubt that she'd be too thrilled with that. And if my 4'10" 105# wife can "drive" a 42' boat, there's no reason yours can't a little 38. Moreover, if a 70+ year old "old fart" (as my daughter would say) can single hand our boat into a slip or a mooring, alone, there's no reason you can't with at 38. It really "ain't" rocket science. I suggest you speak with/correspond with the seller. He's right here on the forum and you might find common ground to both your advantage.

FWIW...
This. My wife is 5 feet tall and can handle solo the steel cutter in my profile pic...all 16 tons of her. The boat, not the wife. It's just a matter of training and practice.

I was going to suggest a Catalina 30, but those kids will be bigger quickly and something five feet bigger is more fun to sail. Around Florida, I wouldn't rule out a centerboarder, meaning you'd want bigger because the centerboard trunk takes up space in the main cabin. That's actually a minor tradeoff in my mind.
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Old 06-01-2018, 11:30   #27
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

I bought my 86' Catalina 34' for 32.000. She is roomy and the best feature is the aft cabin. It has a queen size bunk and a teak door for more privacy. The saloon is open and we don't feel cramped with visitors aboard. I think it would be perfect for you and your boys. I think the 34' would be a better choice than a 30' with an open quarter birth. The 27' would be very cramped. The V birth is small and so is the dinnett. We looked at one and my wife told me if I bought it she would not spend a night aboard.

I am so glad I found a 34' in good shape. We love it!

Excited for you! Have fun!

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Old 06-01-2018, 11:41   #28
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

Zimm:

My impression on reading your OP was that you carry a ballast of preconceived notions about sailboats that prolly came having driven smallish powerboats. Looks like a lot of members have been at pains to relieve you of those notions :-)

If I had two young lads to "drag up" during the summers, while their mum's working ashore I would start with a Catalina 27 or, even better, a Columbia 26(I), because they are essentially "small boats" with "mid size boat" accommodations: Big enuff to go crusing for a coupla weeks at a time, though not much more. They are, however, VERY easily handled by a couple of lads, let alone their dad. For my money, the Columbia is a FAR better behaved boat than is the Catalina, and because of that, she'll prepare you better for a "big (well behaved) boat".

Either boat you should be able to pick up for $10K fully found for moderately serious cruising. When you are ready for "real" cruising, you'd get all or most of your money back from the resale. On a forty footer, you'd be had pressed to do that!

The handling of either boat, including maneuvers alongside coming and going, I could teach the three of you as a group in a single day. So could any reasonably competent instructor. Thrown in that day would be the basic "personal safety" stuff. After that, you just have to put the polish on it yourself. Basic sailing, the aerodynamics, the trimming of sheets, etc. would be the next days work. Thrown in, that same day for light relief would be the COLREGS - The International Regulations for the Avoidance of Collisions at Sea After that you just go out and sail and sail and sail till you get good at it.

THEN, after that, you can begin to educate yourself to become a competent Cruising Skipper, which is a kettle of fish of a whole different colour :-)!

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Old 06-01-2018, 12:28   #29
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

One thing’s for sure, you could run that Columbia 26 into docks and into rocks and keep on sailing! I endorse the c26 too, it has other advantages, though a beginner may find the Catalina easier to maneuver around the docks.
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Old 06-01-2018, 15:43   #30
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Re: What size/type first our first sailboat- 2 adults/2 kids sailing in Miami/Keys

I have the perfect boat for you! A few more pesos but you’ll be turnkey!!!!!!

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