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Old 18-02-2020, 12:43   #1
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Best Starter Family Sailboat for Lake Lanier

Hello - My name is Doug. i live in Alpharetta, Georgia

I'm new to the group - so hopefully I can look around for information and advice as necessary.

I spent my high school years in Coronado - San Deigo - sailing with my best friend on their new HobieCat 14 - both in the bay - and off shore. My friend's older brother was a very successful Star racer, as such - he was asked (and thrilled) to help shake down Hobie 14 #1 - that's when we had to get one for ourselves. We would actually carry the boat from the Glorietta Marina - across the strand - and into the ocean near South Beach. There we would surf the august swells with the Hobie, capsize at times - pop the mast back up - and do it all over again. - great fun. Back in the day we would also sail out a mile or two - tie off to kelp - and swim around. (Then we saw Jaws - no more kelp swimming!)

Fast forward many years through undergrad and grad school on the east coast, corporate rat race, second marriage, and now I am able to be partially retired. With the extra time now available I've decided that I would like to get back into sailing, along with with my wife and 6 year old daughter - as a family -

I'm thinking we will start at Lake Lanier, since we are only a 40 minute drive away from several marinas. Although I long for a live aboard pocket cruiser - mono or cat. I'm supposing we will start with a 22-28 footer mono with a low entry price just to test our the families real interest - I only have one vote.

Since my wife has no sailing experience - we have decided to take the first couple of ASA certification courses at Lanier - any opinions on a good school for this?

Here is what I (we) are probably looking for - any suggestions are welcome!!

- Easy to handle with 1 or 2
- Sleep up to 6

- kid friendly (easy to get into and out of water)
- store and prepare food for up to 2-3 nights -

- good price - but able to hold value or gain value with improvements
- reasonable sailing performance - balanced with comfort

Eager to get knowledge from folks who might have already been where we are - or know someone who has!


I'll have to think if a snappy nautical term to end my posts
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Old 26-02-2020, 04:29   #2
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Re: Best Starter Family Sailboat for Lake Lanier

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Doug.
Gord May
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Old 26-02-2020, 05:30   #3
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Re: Best Starter Family Sailboat for Lake Lanier

Hi Doug,
I would get something 22-25', sleeps 4, name brand, with a trailer...unless you think you'd be content to only be at marinas on Lake Lanier. If you will use the boat more as a cabin then maybe 26-28 might feel better. Refit the boat with a nice swim ladder and any safety type gear it is missing. Seems like there are a few boats in your market for 3-6k$ on Craigslist.

I bought a cheap 'off brand kit boat' 21' fixer upper and I am still fixing 2 years later. We have done some sailing but in retrospect I should have paid a little more so I could have sailed a lot more before having to do an extensive refit. I like projects but this one got away from me.

There is a family 3-4 people on my home lake that runs a Catalina 14.2 on a trailer. I see them at the lake and about town and they're always having fun, although it is not an overnight type of vessel.
Big dreams, small boats...
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Old 26-02-2020, 06:18   #4
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Re: Best Starter Family Sailboat for Lake Lanier

I would be inclined to get a cheap and cheerful, ready to go, easily trailerable boat for starters. Slips on Lanier are expensive and the lake very one dimensional, ie narrow running SW - NE so you will need a motor to get back to your slip or ramp regularly. On holidays and summer weekend you can walk across it on the boats. You might decide you would like to try some of the other lakes in the region. IMHO of course.
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Old 26-02-2020, 07:27   #5
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Re: Best Starter Family Sailboat for Lake Lanier

It has been 30 years since I have been on Lake Lanier and I never knew it particularly well. But I do not recall any sailing-oriented marinas that had equipment for handling large sailboats. Generally, anything over 26' will require some sort of shoreside assistance to launch and haul, and for mast stepping and unstepping. (There are exceptions)

On the other hand, Lanier is a reservoir with variable water levels, and therefore, very deep ramps, which means you can get by with a deep keel if you want.

If you will be trailering the boat yourself, your choice of tow vehicle affects your choice of boat. With a lighter tow vehicle you need a lighter boat which means one of the water ballasted ones like the Hunter 260. You could also look at the Catalina 250 which was made in various keel configurations including a water ballasted version. Both were made in large numbers and are readily available on the used market. Both have cutaway transoms that allow easy access to the water.

There are other alternatives.

Any boat in this size range will be a tight fit for overnights with 6 people. In fair weather you can have kids sleep in the cockpit, which helps.

You should be able to get something ready to go for $10,000 or so.

Many of these boats aren't set up properly for single handing but that's a fairly easy thing to fix.

Enjoy the search
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