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Old 21-09-2020, 07:00   #1
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22' vs 25' vs 27'

Hi All - New here, thought I would start by asking a question that's probably been asked 100x before! I've started crewing on some friends boats and been out for some day sails - I'm hooked. Gonna spend the next few months boat shopping and looking for some high level guidance.

About me: Mid 30s, been on water whole life, sailed some sunfish and lasers growing up. But before crewing a little for races, that's the extent of my sailing experience. I'm gonna take keelboat 101, etc. Location is LIS.

Goals, in order of importance:
1. Enjoy time with wife + kids (2 and 4). Relax, picnics, swimming, invite some friends out, etc. Low/No capsize risk, stable. This will be a giant failure if they don't enjoy the boat. Wife is excited, but don't want to scare her.
2. Learn to sail. Most advice is smaller is better - how true is that if I've ruled out the dinghy per above?
3. Single-hand a bunch. Will invest in auto-pilot, self tailing, etc. How much different are the 22's vs the 27's here?
4. Lose some beer can races. People seem to say that you only learn to sail via dinghy or races.

Details:
- 1-5 year starter boat. Would like to be able to re-sell without a 2 year process.
- Don't need a trailer, will be on a mooring, but might be nice for resale.
- More concerned with total cost-to-own than price of boat. If i'm reasonably confident it'll retain value, happy to spend a little more, up to 20k-ish?

Where should I focus my search? I'm thinking condition and location will be the biggest influence on the exact model, so more interested in advice for size/type at this point.

Choices:
22'ish boats that are a bit more mangageable:
Catalina 22, Tanzer 22, Ranger 23

25'ish boats that sail well, with outboards, less maintenance, and fewer systems:
Catalina 25, Ericson 25+, Ranger 26

27'ish entry level cruisers, diesels, full systems:
Catalina 27, Pearson 27, et al

Crazy:
I kinda like the Nonsuch's. If I went nonsuch 22 (or even 26), would I be learning enough for my next boat to be a 30-32' sloop given the simpler/different rig? I know they're $$$.

Thanks for all your help!
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Old 21-09-2020, 12:40   #2
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

1 - There are no boats (sail or otherwise) with no capsize risk. I've found that either you're comfortable on a monohull or you're not. There doesn't seem to be an in between, and I've yet to educate or experience someone into being less scared. My wife hates the heeling and she's a math person who understands the physics much better than most people. But, like claustrophobic people, it's not something one can easily get over.

You won't find a lot of difference in managing a 22' to a 27'. If your on a mooring and there's no price difference, then I would go with the 27'. I don't think you'll want auto-pilot (wind vane) but that's up to you. Over the next 5 years you'll have more fun with the additional space, especially wanting to take family and friends. You may have a bit more upkeep but it'll be worth it.

If you go out and sail any of these size boats over the next couple of years, then you'll learn plenty to step up. The difference between sailing a 35' and 25' is not really that much in most situations.

The only way to ensure you can sell it in the future is to keep it clean and the maintenance up (lines, ropes, sails, winches, etc.). Older clean, well maintain boats in this size sell faster than dirty ones needing work. The next owner will be just like you are today - wanting to get started without dumping a ton of money. If you buy one for $5k, sail it 20 times a year for 3 years and then sell it someone for $3k, you're cost per sail is $30 - not that much to have accessibility, fun and education. Just price it "in the middle" and you'll have lookers, and lookers equals a buyer at some point. Don't try to get all your money back out of it.

That's my $.02 worth of advice. Many may not agree with me.
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Old 21-09-2020, 13:53   #3
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

You've covered a pretty wide range there. The 22-footers (except the Nonsuch) are really meant for short day sailing in good conditions. The 27-footers are getting into starter cruiser territory.

If you're on a mooring, you probably aren't paying fees by length, so I'd be inclined to go as big as you're comfortable with, and keep the systems and outfitting as simple as practical. The larger boats will be faster, more stable, more comfortable, able to handle heavier weather, and able to fit more friends & family. My kids are about the same age as yours; a cabin big enough for them to play in without being tripped over is a *huge* plus. A larger boat also tends to have better access to all the hidden places where mechanical and electrical bits lurk.


I don't think you really get into "this is too big a boat for a first-timer to learn on" territory, at least with cruising boats, until you're north of 15,000-20,000 pounds and 36-40 feet. It depends much more on the type of boat and how the rig is set up, though. A 49er can be an absolute handful for a pair of fit, experienced sailors in their 30s, despite being tiny in comparison to a Nonsuch 36 that can quite easily be single-handed by one guy in his 70s. I found that I could handle our C&C 35 under sail just fine by myself after a couple of days of practice with two on board, except for lowering the mainsail, which we'll solve with a proper set of lazyjacks. (Right now, it just falls in a great big disorderly heap unless someone's up on deck to force it to flake down gradually.)



Total cost of ownership gets blown out of the water if you start upgrading an older boat to a higher standard than is normal for the class. Self-tailing winches, new electronics, etc. cost thousands and take many hours to install, and you get back maybe 10 cents on the dollar when you sell. Marina / mooring fees aside, TCO is dominated by either depreciation or refit & maintenance, depending on whether you pick a new(ish) boat or an older one. The lowest total TCO usually comes when you find a "classic plastic" with a solid hull (no underwater core) that's structurally in good shape and has already been re-powered with a decent engine at the previous owner's expense; add bit of relatively cheap repair and maintenance, and there's a good chance it'll still be worth about the same in five years as you paid for it now.

You won't find a Nonsuch anywhere close to your budget. They start at $25k for the baby 22 and rapidly go up from there. That said, they're good boats and hold their value well, and the only real difference between sailing a Nonsuch and sailing a sloop is learning how to handle the jib sheets and furler, which is pretty easy.
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Old 21-09-2020, 14:12   #4
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyriebuckets View Post
.................
.................................................. ..............

1. Enjoy time with wife + kids (2 and 4). ..................................
................................

I've owned a C22, C25 and this C34. We bought the C22 when it was less than 2 years old from a family your size who immediately outgrew it. We owned it for 5 years and the C25 for 13 years. The C25 has twice the volume of the C22. If you want to "enjoy time" then start with nothing smaller than a good solid 25 footer (there are big and small 25 footers). OTOH, a C27 has the same interior space as a C25 because they originally built the C27 with a lazarette for an outboard, making the interior the same size as their smaller 25. The move to the 34 was easy, more systems to learn, including "real" boat electrical systems.



For your first boat I recommend one with an outboard, because diesel maintenance, while it can be part of the hobby, is very difficult in a smaller boat, they shoehorn the engine in, access is horible, and the stuffing box simply can't even be found!


Good luck, nice presentation.
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Old 21-09-2020, 14:21   #5
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

I started on a West Wight Potter 19'. It was easy to sail, forgiving (but tippy initially!) and the learning curve was acceptable. It was ok for day sails, and over nights alone, but now that I've moved up to a 25' "cruising" boat I'm not sure I gained much from starting with the Potter.
Unlike you, when I started I needed to be able to trailer and store it myself, with a modest (trailblazer) tow vehicle. The Potter stayed on its trailer between sails, either at my home or in the marina lot. So it was a good choice for me at the time.

I now keep my 25 footer on a mooring ball. It's a good size for me and 3-4 guests for a day, and very comfortable for weekends and overnights alone or with one other person. With your kids being as little as they are, it would probably be big enough for your whole family for now. It has a trailer and is street legal with no permit required, and I have access to a suitable tow vehicle, but it takes more than half a day to launch or retrieve it, so it's a once a year task for each.
On the plus side, my new boat feels much more stable than the Potter did. Crew ballast affects it less.

Whatever you get, focus on getting the best mechanically sound boat you can buy. If you are anything like me, adding the specific equipment and amenities you want will be part of the fun.
Catalinas, at least in my area, tend to hold their value very well, as long as they are maintained. There's a huge market for them, and that doesn't hurt anything when it's time to resell.
For reference, I paid $5k for my 25' 1959 New Horizon, in excellent condition.

Whatever boat you decide on, fair winds and happy sails to you!
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Old 21-09-2020, 16:57   #6
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Thanks all - seems like most suggest that handling a 27í isnít that different than the 22í and the comforts of size will be greatly appreciated?
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Old 21-09-2020, 17:17   #7
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Are you going to keep the boat in the water or on a trailer? Former will be expensive. If you go with a trailerable, the practical upper size limit is going to be around 25-26 feet. It should work for what you intend. Smaller boats will be limiting.
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Old 21-09-2020, 18:17   #8
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

If you want to take your family of four plus any guest you will be be very crowded on a 22 and I don't think the cockpit of a 25 is significantly larger but the cabin will be more comfortable. I have seen a catalina 22 with that many people aboard but it looked like a kicked ant hill, might be fun but people are covering it. I solo on mine and it is remarkable stable compared to my expectations.
If you are resigned to marina and storage costs go for the 27.
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Old 21-09-2020, 18:35   #9
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyriebuckets View Post
1. Enjoy time with wife + kids (2 and 4). Relax, picnics, swimming, invite some friends out, etc. Low/No capsize risk, stable. This will be a giant failure if they don't enjoy the boat. Wife is excited, but don't want to scare her.

Bigger is better. Had a Morgan 25' which was too small for this and now a Hunter 26' which works. The difference isn't the length but the hull shape. Be sure you can fit enough people in the cockpit. Be sure there is space below that she will like, bright, with good ventilation.


Contrary to the advice upthread, keelboats don't capsize unless you're in weather they aren't designed for, which you won't be. You would ideally want to minimize heel by staying away from shallow draft boats that are designed for easy trailering, since you don't need that.





Quote:

2. Learn to sail. Most advice is smaller is better - how true is that if I've ruled out the dinghy per above?
3. Single-hand a bunch. Will invest in auto-pilot, self tailing, etc. How much different are the 22's vs the 27's here?
4. Lose some beer can races. People seem to say that you only learn to sail via dinghy or races.
Figure out your goals. Slow fat boats that are comfortable for family tend to sail poorly.


You don't need an autopilot or self tailers to single hand in this size range though having a tiller pilot will help.


Quote:
Would like to be able to re-sell without a 2 year process.
Good luck with that, newer is better for speed of resale. In my area 1970s boats don't sell well even in good condition (ask me how I know). 1980s boats will move if priced well. Who knows what the situation will be in a few years, probably worse but maybe not.


Quote:

22'ish boats that are a bit more mangageable:
Catalina 22, Tanzer 22, Ranger 23
too small, too tender


Quote:

25'ish boats that sail well, with outboards, less maintenance, and fewer systems:
Catalina 25, Ericson 25+, Ranger 26
Probably a good fit


Quote:

27'ish entry level cruisers, diesels, full systems:
Catalina 27, Pearson 27, et al
If you're going to go to the expense of getting an inboard and getting a boat that cannot be trailer launched you might as well get a 37'. It won't cost materially more and will give you a much better time on the water.
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Old 21-09-2020, 19:17   #10
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Quote:
Originally Posted by ForeverDes View Post
but now that I've moved up to a 25' "cruising" boat I'm not sure I gained much from starting with the Potter.
Thanks! Very helpful - I was also considering these or little catboats.
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Old 21-09-2020, 20:48   #11
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

I have both a Catalina 22 and 27.

The 22 is smallish inside but very portable on its trailer. If you have the trailer and a truck or full size car you can hauled a 22 all around the country. We have pulled ours down to the keys and had a blast.

The 27 has more room but most importantly you can stand up inside! Standard inside a cabin is much more comfortable crouching. The 27 can be trailered, mine is currently on its trailer in the back yard, but it's not a trailer sailor.

The 22 is a big small boat while the 27 is a little big boat.

27 ft sailboats are not popular in the us at this time and market prices reflect this. I bought mine for 3500 and it has a trailer. Its clean inside but the topside needs painted.

Thx-Ace
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Old 22-09-2020, 09:19   #12
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

I would look at the Cape Dory family of boats -- they have 22s, 25s, and a 27 (which is what I have). Very solidly built, full keel and thus not overly tender, simple to learn on and sail. The CD27 would certainly meet your needs for the next 1-5 years. Good luck!
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Old 22-09-2020, 09:22   #13
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

25 with an outboard would be my choice as it will sail well without the weight of an inboard engine. Also a lot less maintenance and more time to enjoy sailing . Some say there are 3 boats in your life. The 1st is too small. The second is just right size and running cost and the third is big and expensive to run and maintain and that is the last boat.
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Old 22-09-2020, 09:25   #14
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Goal number 1 is keep wife happy. The 26 and 27s usually have a private head, women appreciate that. Also a quarter berth makes a great fort and bed for kids.
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Old 22-09-2020, 09:41   #15
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Re: 22' vs 25' vs 27'

Take a look at a Coronado 25. Great sail boat with a well for an outboard. V berth up front. Head, Stove.Table converts into a double berth. Quarter berth and a nice cockpit for the kids. They are quite old but very well made and they should not cost a lot. Probably the best sailing boat I have had. Sold it for a bigger yacht to go cruising, but as a day sailer I would buy it again.
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