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Old 08-07-2020, 16:17   #1
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Starter boat advice

Hello all,

I would like the hear the collective advice of the forum on my first sailboat. It’s a long initial post but I’ve seen better responses when details are provided.



I live in Colorado and have taken only an ASA 101 course so I’m very inexperienced. My long-term goal is to move aboard permanently in ~3 years with my wife and likely daughter who have also completed the ASA 101. Initially I considered completing the 103 in Colorado and then moving to 104/114 (current goal is a Cat) on a coast somewhere. All three of us want to learn and gain experience so the formal classes become quite expensive.. Now I’m reevaluating that plan and considering buying a “starter” boat somewhere easy to fly to, like Houston/Kemah (assuming COVID is eventually done..).



My though process is by buying a solid used boat I could gain a world of experience far beyond just taking some classes. I could sell it after 3 years and recoup a significant part of purchase. Another benefit is the insurance which looks for ownership and experience beyond just the ASA certifications.


Also, in the mix of possibilities is to place the boat in charter to offset some expenses. I expect to use the boat for a long weekend almost every month and a few week-long jaunts throughout the year, maybe 60-80 days a year.



I’m sure this discussion will morph into a discussion about which “starter” boat so I’ll offer up some intended uses and priorities; It needs to be a “real” boat with real systems since the primary reason for buying is learning, should be comfortable for a family of 3 to live aboard for a week while learning in coastal waters, stability and comfort are more important than performance, relative ease of sale in 3 years, relative low depreciation, viable for a managed charter to offset some expenses, lastly I prefer a boat newer than 1990 and under 60k.

So, to the request of advice;
Does my plan to buy a used solid boat instead of renting/training on a school’s boat make sense relative to my goal of moving aboard in 3 years?


Does it make sense to consider placing the boat into a managed charter program to help offset expenses?


Which boats fit the bill? Hunter Legend 35.5 and Catalina 36 MK II are just for examples of what I’m considering.

Thanks in advance for the replies.
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Old 08-07-2020, 16:35   #2
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Re: Starter boat advice

You do not need to offset expenses. You can simply start with a smaller boat kept in a less expensive location. Alternative: charter, do not buy.


Buy a boat when you need one, not 3 years ahead.



b.
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Old 08-07-2020, 19:24   #3
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Re: Starter boat advice

You learn to sail on a small boats (dinghy) near enough to home that you can sail every week or two. This is particularly true inland.

Sail Delmarva: The Merits of Learning to Sail on a Small Boat

Cruising boats are about learning systems, fixing systems, and planning trips. They don't teach you about the wind and the balance of forces, or rather it takes a lot longer, like many years instead of a few months. A small boat teaches you about heavy weather everytime it touches 15 knots, and you learn is a safer environment. Oh, you will learn to operate the boat, but you will not learn the feel of sailing with just a few trips per year.

Learn to sail a dinghy well in a range of weather, and you can learn a cruising boat in a jiffy.

Example. You could learn to drive with a car or an 18 wheeler. But you are MUCH better off learning how to drive on ice in a car on side roads than in a semi on the interstate.

You can get something nice for $1500 and sell it for $1500 when you are done with it. Or you might decide to keep it for fun sailing near home!
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Old 08-07-2020, 21:43   #4
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Re: Starter boat advice

If you want to cruise on a sailboat, learn to sail first. Don’t try to learn it all at once.

Start with a couple Lasers and go sailing for 3-4hr twice a month. For at least one season.
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Old 08-07-2020, 21:54   #5
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Re: Starter boat advice

my advice : you cannot learn to sail on a yacht or by doing 'courses'. start on a small dinghy (laser or similar)...make a mistake, you get wet...you learn quickly

after a year or 2, graduate to a small sporty keel boat, where you can feel the boat respond. another 2-3 years...

only then will you start have to have some idea of what you are doing, and can move on to a displacement yacht.

good luck

cheers,
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Old 12-07-2020, 18:25   #6
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Re: Starter boat advice

I have been "studying" blue water boats for 8 years now, and I believe you should do the same: learn HOW to buy a boat, by learning the way boats ultimately FAIL, or like a home, break down over time and require constant maintenance.
It is a raw debate, but I would tell you NOT to buy a catamaran if you're truly world sailing:
(evidence):

A. The rudders are completely unprotected; get ripped off by the unseen coral balmy, unfortunate night sailing, or (usually)... dragging anchor.
a. Learn which anchor(s) to buy,
and how to use them, and additionally learn the perils of mooring (dive the site).

B. When catamarans get in trouble, first both rudders get ripped off, and then they have NOTHING to stop them from being washed (on top of) the reef// boat is the wrecked// totalled// it's over.
a. certain blue water monohulls have protected rudders, but more importantly, when they get in trouble (still bad), they lay on the SIDE of the reef, not irretrievably on top of it.

C. Catamarans can FLIP in horrible seas, to the peril of all. Monohulls get knocked down, and self-wright.
BOTH can be dismasted, so that's an even bet.

Synopsis:
Blue water (to me alone) means monohull... and very particular ones at that. Read up on light, mid, and heavy displacement boats, and you will quickly learn how (payload) as a liveaboard gets you in serious trouble with light displacement vessels, which is what a catamaran is, and ever shall be.

Coastal sailing/ and docking, seem IDEAL to me for Catamarans... but I don't believe they are the very ((safest)) bet in BLUE WATER passages.

Bull Durham:
"Learn how they break, then it will come..."

B
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Old 12-07-2020, 18:44   #7
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Re: Starter boat advice

Also see:

Youtube:
The Kimberleys nightmare.
Zingaro is wrecked.

Learn from others.

Look at (heavy displacement) Westsail boats, learn WHY they're safe... then Tayanas. Light displacement vessels are built for purpose (racing). A Sail(plane), would NEVER make a good CARGO plane....

THEN.... once you understand true blue water monohulls, take the next step, and realize that different areas of the world (oceans) require different boats. IMHO... best is a blue water, THIN WATER sailboat.
Not many of those, but THOSE will take you absolutely anywhere, and do so safely.

Seek and destroy!
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Old 12-07-2020, 19:39   #8
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Re: Starter boat advice

Sailing is the easy part, anyone can do it.
Suggest you start here ..
Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection
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Old 12-07-2020, 20:06   #9
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Re: Starter boat advice

If there's a lake or pond near you of any size, you can start sailing now.

Why fly across country just to sail? No more lessons needed unless you really want more.

Sailing in Colorado.

https://www.denversailing.org/

https://www.denversailing.org/learn-to-sail/

https://www.denversailing.org/calendar/

You can by something like a 19' Lightning which has main, jib, and spinnaker and sail all you want. You can even race them across much of the US.

Of you could get a Thistle, Laser, Beach Cat, etc.

All are trailerable also

https://ben.lobaugh.net/blog/45710/s...sailboat-today

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/lightning

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/thistle
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Old 13-07-2020, 03:11   #10
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Re: Starter boat advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Papasail View Post
I have been "studying" blue water boats for 8 years now, and I believe you should do the same: learn HOW to buy a boat, by learning the way boats ultimately FAIL, or like a home, break down over time and require constant maintenance.
It is a raw debate, but I would tell you NOT to buy a catamaran if you're truly world sailing:
(evidence):

A. The rudders are completely unprotected; get ripped off by the unseen coral balmy, unfortunate night sailing, or (usually)... dragging anchor.
a. Learn which anchor(s) to buy,
and how to use them, and additionally learn the perils of mooring (dive the site).

B. When catamarans get in trouble, first both rudders get ripped off, and then they have NOTHING to stop them from being washed (on top of) the reef// boat is the wrecked// totalled// it's over.
a. certain blue water monohulls have protected rudders, but more importantly, when they get in trouble (still bad), they lay on the SIDE of the reef, not irretrievably on top of it.

C. Catamarans can FLIP in horrible seas, to the peril of all. Monohulls get knocked down, and self-wright.
BOTH can be dismasted, so that's an even bet.

Synopsis:
Blue water (to me alone) means monohull... and very particular ones at that. Read up on light, mid, and heavy displacement boats, and you will quickly learn how (payload) as a liveaboard gets you in serious trouble with light displacement vessels, which is what a catamaran is, and ever shall be.

Coastal sailing/ and docking, seem IDEAL to me for Catamarans... but I don't believe they are the very ((safest)) bet in BLUE WATER passages.

Bull Durham:
"Learn how they break, then it will come..."

B
Geez, Papa. Way to squelch their plan!

They didn't ask "catamaran or monohull" and please avoid turning this thread into YET ANOTHER debate about bloody cats versus monohulls!

Do you even own a boat?

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Old 13-07-2020, 03:16   #11
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Re: Starter boat advice

Dllama,

Please listen to the good and knowledgeable advice of Barnickel, Adelie, ChrisR, Thinwater and Thomm225. They are all veritable old salts who are providing you with helpful perspectives drawn from their own personal experience...

Good luck!
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Old 13-07-2020, 03:25   #12
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Re: Starter boat advice

One good thing about buying a "starter boat" is that they don't usually cost that much so you don't have to "study" on it too long. I studied on it 2 weeks as the boat was 70 miles away and on the other side of a $13.00 toll bridge

I bought my blue water "starter boat" for $2,000 which is maybe closer to what some pay for a survey. I was sailing it within a month after cleaning it out and doing a bottom job. It had been on the hard for 5 years. The PO had passed so their was no information passdown

After 9 years, I'm still sailing this "starter boat."

I bought my first starter sailboat (Hobie 16) for $1700 in 1992. I paid too much for that boat but my son or I used it for maybe 8 years along with 3 other beach cats for racing or day sailing

I bought my first starter boat for fishing in maybe 1971 I paid $300 for boat, motor, and trailer. One of the rims on the trailer disintegrated pulling it to bay side (from seaside) to launch it. (lesson 1. Check for rust on the trailer rims)
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Old Today, 09:57   #13
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Re: Starter boat advice

I want to throw some weight behind "learn to sail on a dinghy". "Sailing" as defined as using the wind to move a boat, is best learned, defined as imprinting your cerebral cortex, on a small boat. I agree with the post about small boats being about sailing and cruising boats being about systems. Learn to manage the vectors first.
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Old Today, 17:48   #14
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Re: Starter boat advice

I support the idea of a starter cruising boat specifically because much of the skill needed for cruising is in systems management and operation, just as you seem to understand. BUT I also believe that at your stage of development you will be far better served with a dinghy or day-sailor type boat that you can sail locally... and very often. As others have said, a much better way to become a competent sailor.

chartering a cruising type boat is, to me, a poor way to learn either the sailing or the management portions of the skill set. The charter boats are often not well set up as sailing platforms (maxing creature comforts and crew size being the aim of design) and the management issues are addressed by the charter company so you learn nothing. It can also drain off the available funds at an alarming rate!

There have been endless threads addressing this question, and there have been endless arguments re starter vs go-for-the-ultimate boat schools of thought. You will need to sort through these factions to determine what fits for you and your family.

Good luck with it!

Jim
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Old Today, 18:08   #15
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Re: Starter boat advice

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
I support the idea of a starter cruising boat specifically because much of the skill needed for cruising is in systems management and operation, just as you seem to understand. BUT I also believe that at your stage of development you will be far better served with a dinghy or day-sailor type boat that you can sail locally... and very often. As others have said, a much better way to become a competent sailor.

chartering a cruising type boat is, to me, a poor way to learn either the sailing or the management portions of the skill set. The charter boats are often not well set up as sailing platforms (maxing creature comforts and crew size being the aim of design) and the management issues are addressed by the charter company so you learn nothing. It can also drain off the available funds at an alarming rate!

There have been endless threads addressing this question, and there have been endless arguments re starter vs go-for-the-ultimate boat schools of thought. You will need to sort through these factions to determine what fits for you and your family.

Good luck with it!

Jim
Once again I think Jim hit the nail on the head. If I read the OP correctly his goal is not just to learn how to sail but how to sail, operate and navigate a cruising boat with all the related systems. I agree that sailing a small boat is arguably the best way to learn the fine points of sail trim, balance, etc but that teaches you nothing about cruising and seamanship.

The idea of recovering some of the costs in charter may or may not work. Most charter operations want new or close to new boats. However a new or newish boat will almost certainly take a big hit in depreciation so you will most likely lose what you earn from charter income in the resale down the road. You might find and exception to this and some charter operations do take older but well maintained and reliable boats but do you due diligence because these are usually smaller, one off operations and the risk of problems, loss, non payment, etc are higher than the big name companies.

Some may disagree and say it's too big and too hard to handle but I learned to sail on a 36' Morgain OI. Most boats in the mid 30s will be large enough for a family of 3 to comfortably weekend and sail on and will also be large enough to have all the systems and equipment one needs on a live aboard cruiser.

Look for a good deal on a slightly older boat in good condition that has already taken the new boat depreciation hit, keep it a few years and you shouldn't get hurt too much on the resale when you decide to move up.

Regarding experience, classes are OK for some but for me I learned more in two weeks crewing on a delivery than two months of study. The reading and study gave me a solid background and made the hands on learning process much more effective but actually making a passage was the deal.

If you don't feel ready to go on your own you might find a captain or experienced friend to take you and the family on a cruise or even on a charter.
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