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Old 22-01-2021, 02:04   #1
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Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

so I've looked into it for some time now as I have a condo that is waterfront with an attached boat slip.

I am not 100% convinced I will go through with this yet, as this is something I need to do alot more research on.

I was looking at craigslist and have found offerings for boats from the 1970s-1980s for 4-10 thousand dollars.(catalina-22) this is a comfortable range I feel like getting in the water at, because at the end of the day it would not bankrupt me if I totaled the thing.

I have a few concerns that I am looking to address before I go through with this.

1. I am a total novice. I have no experience sailing and don't know anything about the various hull designs/shapes/features. and would like to learn/take some classes, so I am looking for a boat that is extremely forgiving for a beginner. 20-ish feet maximum

2.the water gets quite shallow when the tide goes out at my slip, I am worried that if the tide goes too low it could damage the boat while it is moored, if it goes below its minimum draft(I don't know if this is a valid concern, or how to address it)

3. I see some of these boats have variable depth centerboards, is this something I can adjust to make navigation to and from my slip possible, and lower it in deeper waters?


this is not something I want to jump into haphazardly, I want to be responsible about this and make sure I make the right decisions. I appreciate and welcome any feedback the community may have
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Old 23-01-2021, 09:21   #2
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Re: Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

Not tremendously experienced but here's a few initial responses/thoughts
- take some sailing classes. You might not like it.
- do some crewing on other boats (after you take some classes)
- centerboard boats are good in shallow slips, many sailors have to schedule departures and returns with tide/depth. You may be able to motor with centerboard fully or partially up - use search function here to look for previous questions/responses about this.
- talk to those who have boats in the slips. Sailors are generally helpful, nice people if you are and don't mind dumb questions when posed humbly and sincerely.
. I wouldn't talk about totalling your boat - perhaps instead say you can afford to sell the boat cheap if you decide it was a bad idea
- read a lot here and follow links to wealth of info
- etc.
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Old 23-01-2021, 10:10   #3
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Re: Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

to the forum, Somenamehere.

+1 for taking a class like ASA 101 before buying a boat. You will surely learn a lot of things that help you when boat shopping.

Re: water depth. You could take some soundings at that condo pier at low spring tide to get an idea of your draft limit. A swing keel or centerboard lets you get in closer. These are intended to be raised and lowered easily. With a centerboard or swing keel raised, resting a little on a soft, muddy bottom won't be too bad for the hull, but a rocky bottom would do some damage. There are some boats with twin keels that can actually stand on their keels comfortably as the water recedes completely. As you start looking for boats, you can find draft info at salboatdata.com and compare that with what you measure at your slip.
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Old 23-01-2021, 12:24   #4
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Re: Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

One more though regarding boat size. Depending where you are sailing, it's not uncommon to end up in the water on boats under 20'. You'd want to know how to handle that - a very compelling reason for lessons!

Others may have specific helpful tips if you share your location (town & state)
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Old 25-01-2021, 02:53   #5
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Re: Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, somename.
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Old 25-01-2021, 04:17   #6
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Re: Debating Buying my first sailboat. beginner questions.

U can always get a stinkpotter ( motorboat ) with shallow draft.
Plenty of yachts ( sailboats in American English ) are mostly motor powered.
Almost all are part time motor powered.
Yes I'd agree with previous posters good to do some crewing to see if you like the reality rather than the idea.
What have the slip owners on either side got?
Mite be worth chatting to them.
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