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Old 01-02-2023, 22:44   #1
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New to Sailing, New to Forum

So I have decided to drown some money, and I would like you to be my accomplices, if any of you have a few minutes to answer a few questions.

I grew up on the east coast, have always been interested in sailing, but at 35, only now have the combination of income and free time to actually consider purchasing a boat. Spent a few weekends last summer enjoying sailing around a lake in a Sunfish, which was possible with zero training, a paddle, and a basic understanding of fundamental physics.

However, when I decided I wanted a more robust boat for sailing around the bays of New Jersey this coming summer, I found that increasing the size by a few feet dramatically increased the complexity. Something in the 20-25 foot range now has standing rigging, running rigging, some species of internal combustion, a variety of sails, keels, winches, batteries, inverters, depth sounding instruments, sleeping quarters, tanks for various maritime liquids, etc. And most frustratingly, the ability to inspect these components for sufficiency seems to have an entirely unique vocabulary and skill set.

My biggest questions were as follows:

1) Am I being reasonable on my budget? My budget has some leeway, but I was planning between 5-10k to get a small boat (20-25ft) and get it in adequate condition to sail (doing what work I can myself), and about 2k-2.5k a year in maintenance and operating costs (not including slip fees and storage, which seems to run another 2k-2.5k for summer slip and winter storage here). This seemed to match some estimates people gave, but I am beginning to second guess myself. If I am paying 500-750 for a survey to get expert advice on every boat I consider, I will pay more in surveys than I do for the hull.

2) Am I missing some intermediate step between "I enjoy sailing a fiberglass plank with a bedsheet on top" and "I want a small sailboat"? It feels like there is a massive knowledge gap, and while I certainly intend to take the ASA 101 class, I find it hard to believe two days of instruction will bridge this divide.

I know this is somewhat of a long post, and I don't expect anyone to labor too much an answer, but if there are existing resources that answer these questions that you think I might not have seen, I would appreciate any links or documents you might have.

-Mike
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Old 02-02-2023, 00:28   #2
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Welcome to the forums!
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Old 02-02-2023, 01:26   #3
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Hi, Mike,

Being a physicist helps, ultimately. But suggest reading some of thomm225's threads. He is a beach cat sailor, who purchased a cutaway forefoot full keel boat for under 10 k
and has been enjoying cruising her near to where he lives. It is one valid approach to getting one's feet wet, without spending an arm and a leg on something that you (or your sig. other, if any) might not like. I am sure using the ever-changing breeze to drive you offers some intellectual stimulation.


BUT, imo, just buy a small boat, find out how seasickness affects you and the sig. other, and then decide where you want to go from there. Unless you are what looks wealthy to me, and you can start at a much higher price level. At that point, PM Dockhead and Noelex77. In addition, there are the multihull enthusiasts. Remember to ask for downsides.


Ann (only been cruising coastally and offshore since the late '70's)
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Old 02-02-2023, 08:44   #4
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Welcome MikeMars :-)

Let's take your #2 first: Put your disbelief aside. It really IS true that ASA101 can be "mastered" in a weekend :-)

Half a century ago I instructed for the sailing school that essentially developed the curriculum EVERY sailing school uses today, and which is the foundation for ASA101. There is NOTHING to it. All that is required of you at this point in your transmogrification into a sailorman is that you can point the boat roughly in the direction you want it to go and set your sails ("trim" them) so they drive the boat forward. Beyond that, you need to be able to turn the boat so the wind comes on the other side, both by bringing the wind around your bows ("coming about") and by bringing it around your stern ("wearing ship"). That's it! You don't need to be able to do it elegantly, let alone perfectly. You just need to be able to do it somehow. You'll be putting the polish on it as you go :-)!

That brings us to your #1: A Cal 20, which you might be able to buy for five hunnert bux, is a perfect little boat to learn on, and when you've learned, the boat can be treated as a Starbucks coffee cup - it can be discarded! A step up is something like a Catalina 27. One of them, a half century old, you should be able to find for a coupla grand. And that is ALL the boat you need for now.

The LAST thing you need as a totally green novice is fancy electronic navigation gear, let alone fancy rigging. Stick to the very basics. Stick to a "hank on" headsail, rather than a roller furling one. Stick to a mainsail whose luff sets on a track on the mast by means of slides rather than a "modern" roller furling one. You'll save yourself all sorts of aggravation and learn a hell of a lot more a hell of a lot faster! Simple gear will serve you well, and you'll have no use for anything "sophisticated for quite a while. Thus your maintenance and upkeep expenses will be minimized. For guidance: My ownership expenses for a 30 foot true cruising boat are roughly Can$1K a month. That includes moorage and insurance, annual bottom paint and replacement of sacrificial anodes, a sinking fund (ironic name!) for future sail replacement and engine repairs, replacement of the anchor should I lose the one I have, triennial replacement of batteries, etc. etc.

The simpler the boat (and the cheaper) the less you have need of a condition survey. Simple, basic, sailboats are so simple that your own common sense will tell you whether some part of the boat is adequate or not. Read this and be guided by it:

Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

I would not, myself, "self-insure". What an abominable euphemism for going without insurance! On the other hand, I would not carry "hull insurance" on a two grand Catalina 27. But liability insurance you MUST have, partly because you are not likely to find moorage for the boat unless you have it, and partly because even though the Catalina 27 is a very light boat, it is nevertheless a very big hammer that can do a lot of damage to OTHER people's property if skipper drops his bottle!

Other stuff to read is Arthur Beiser's The Proper Yacht and Francis Kinney's Skene's Elements of Yacht Design both available on that abomination called Amazon

For guidance on maintenance, once you have a boat, Nigel Calder and Don Casey are two authors who have published "how to" books on every conceivable aspect of boat maintenance.

Your ASA101 is just a hoop you have to jump through. It's essentially trivial. Once you are afloat, you stand before a whole lot of "book larnin'". Hang around here. We can help you with it :-)!

Cheers

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Old 02-02-2023, 08:59   #5
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Buy a Catalina 22 https://www.smartmarineguide.com/L50213624 in good nick and go play.. if you can manage a Sunfish you can handle one of these.. do your ASA's in conjunction with hands on experience.
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Old 02-02-2023, 10:04   #6
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

What Boatman said. A Catalina 22, O'Day 22, or similar. They are easy and friendly little boats. My first "real" sailboat was an O'Day 22, now in great condition and for sale for $5500, so your budget sounds fine, at least in my area (Detroit ish). Maintenance (not upgrades) is only about $500/year if I do all the work.

These are fairly simple craft. A flashlight & a curious mind will quickly find any serious defects without paying for a surveyor. Here's a great resource for doing your own survey. Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

If at all possible, bring a friend who know about boats, or at least about mechanical things. (Not that you don't, but two minds and sets of eyeballs always find more than one set.)

ASA 101 should increase your comfort level by about 99.44%. No worries. And read everything, everywhere ;-) The forums are a great resource.
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Old 03-02-2023, 07:12   #7
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Quote:
Originally Posted by TrentePieds View Post
Welcome MikeMars :-)

Let's take your #2 first: Put your disbelief aside. It really IS true that ASA101 can be "mastered" in a weekend :-)

Half a century ago I instructed for the sailing school that essentially developed the curriculum EVERY sailing school uses today, and which is the foundation for ASA101. There is NOTHING to it. All that is required of you at this point in your transmogrification into a sailorman is that you can point the boat roughly in the direction you want it to go and set your sails ("trim" them) so they drive the boat forward. Beyond that, you need to be able to turn the boat so the wind comes on the other side, both by bringing the wind around your bows ("coming about") and by bringing it around your stern ("wearing ship"). That's it! You don't need to be able to do it elegantly, let alone perfectly. You just need to be able to do it somehow. You'll be putting the polish on it as you go :-)!

That brings us to your #1: A Cal 20, which you might be able to buy for five hunnert bux, is a perfect little boat to learn on, and when you've learned, the boat can be treated as a Starbucks coffee cup - it can be discarded! A step up is something like a Catalina 27. One of them, a half century old, you should be able to find for a coupla grand. And that is ALL the boat you need for now.

The LAST thing you need as a totally green novice is fancy electronic navigation gear, let alone fancy rigging. Stick to the very basics. Stick to a "hank on" headsail, rather than a roller furling one. Stick to a mainsail whose luff sets on a track on the mast by means of slides rather than a "modern" roller furling one. You'll save yourself all sorts of aggravation and learn a hell of a lot more a hell of a lot faster! Simple gear will serve you well, and you'll have no use for anything "sophisticated for quite a while. Thus your maintenance and upkeep expenses will be minimized. For guidance: My ownership expenses for a 30 foot true cruising boat are roughly Can$1K a month. That includes moorage and insurance, annual bottom paint and replacement of sacrificial anodes, a sinking fund (ironic name!) for future sail replacement and engine repairs, replacement of the anchor should I lose the one I have, triennial replacement of batteries, etc. etc.

The simpler the boat (and the cheaper) the less you have need of a condition survey. Simple, basic, sailboats are so simple that your own common sense will tell you whether some part of the boat is adequate or not. Read this and be guided by it:

Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

I would not, myself, "self-insure". What an abominable euphemism for going without insurance! On the other hand, I would not carry "hull insurance" on a two grand Catalina 27. But liability insurance you MUST have, partly because you are not likely to find moorage for the boat unless you have it, and partly because even though the Catalina 27 is a very light boat, it is nevertheless a very big hammer that can do a lot of damage to OTHER people's property if skipper drops his bottle!

Other stuff to read is Arthur Beiser's The Proper Yacht and Francis Kinney's Skene's Elements of Yacht Design both available on that abomination called Amazon

For guidance on maintenance, once you have a boat, Nigel Calder and Don Casey are two authors who have published "how to" books on every conceivable aspect of boat maintenance.

Your ASA101 is just a hoop you have to jump through. It's essentially trivial. Once you are afloat, you stand before a whole lot of "book larnin'". Hang around here. We can help you with it :-)!

Cheers

TrentePieds
Thank you for this, this is all good news. That website alone has already been worth its bandwidth in gold. The books I will pick up as well, and maybe an extra one on fiberglassing for when I inevitably slam into something solid enough to chip gelcoat.

And it seems like Cal 20, Catalina 22, or similar have fairly universal acceptance as good starter boats, so I will try to find something of that sort. It is good to hear a survey is not strictly necessary to determine if a boat is functional, although I will probably pay for one after purchase, or maybe make the sale conditional on the survey finding it is structurally sound. My worry was that I would be paying for a survey on everything that floats upon the Barnegat.

And I will certainly have liability insurance, yachts in the area use people of my net worth as galley rowers, so I will definitely want a company subsidizing my mistakes.

Thanks again for the detailed response, it is very much appreciated.
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Old 03-02-2023, 07:27   #8
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

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What Boatman said. A Catalina 22, O'Day 22, or similar. They are easy and friendly little boats. My first "real" sailboat was an O'Day 22, now in great condition and for sale for $5500, so your budget sounds fine, at least in my area (Detroit ish). Maintenance (not upgrades) is only about $500/year if I do all the work.

These are fairly simple craft. A flashlight & a curious mind will quickly find any serious defects without paying for a surveyor. Here's a great resource for doing your own survey. Marine Survey 101, pre-survey inspection

If at all possible, bring a friend who know about boats, or at least about mechanical things. (Not that you don't, but two minds and sets of eyeballs always find more than one set.)

ASA 101 should increase your comfort level by about 99.44%. No worries. And read everything, everywhere ;-) The forums are a great resource.
Thanks, it seems that the Catalina, O'Day, and similar 20-22s are the universally heralded way to go, so if I can find one in decent condition here, I will probably take it.

I had intended to go with a friend, unfortunately he is working in West Africa until the summer, functionally out of reach for watercraft inspections, although with a bit of reading, hopefully I will know what is relevant to record/photograph for his opinion. Will definitely be reading that website.
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Old 03-02-2023, 07:42   #9
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

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Buy a Catalina 22 https://www.smartmarineguide.com/L50213624 in good nick and go play.. if you can manage a Sunfish you can handle one of these.. do your ASA's in conjunction with hands on experience.
Yep, These can be purchased reasonably and have good resale. They are also great boats. Enjoy the journey
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Old 09-02-2023, 08:55   #10
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Welcome.

I would suggest updating your profile with your general location and your boat make & model or “Looking” in the "Boat" category. This info shows up under your UserName in every post in the web view. Many questions are boat and/or location dependent and having these tidbits under your UserName saves answering those questions repeatedly. If you need help setting up your profile then click on this link: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3308797

I would happily help more if the link above is not enough.
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Old 09-02-2023, 09:15   #11
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Hi Mike, I think your budget is realistic, as is your plan. But maybe no need to overthink it or stress over it. As a kid I learned mostly in an El Toro and a Laser. The Laser was so much fun it was easy to learn the basics without even noticing, I highly recommend it. As Boatman says, get out and play and you will learn. Don't worry too much about breaking anything or smashing the boat (but stay away from other more expensive boats!) The only class I ever took was the first day I got in the El Toro when I was 16 and that was maybe a 5 minute intro to rudder and mainsheet. I remember when I first had to sail a boat with a jib, I was terrified! All those ropes! What do I do? But after 5 minutes and someone explaining the purpose of a jib I pretty much lost all the white knuckles. Maybe get the basics and then learn to race with the teenagers; their fearlessness and competitive spirit can make it fun and you'll learn a lot more from them!
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Old 09-02-2023, 09:35   #12
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

All good comments here and another suggestion- my first boat was a Cal 20 and they are great started boats. You might want to consider something along the lines of something slightly larger like the Cats, O'Days or C&C's in the 27-28' range beaus if you find that like sailing, you're going to want to go for more than day sails and these slightly larger boats have sufficient accommodations to make the journey more pleasurable.
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Old 09-02-2023, 22:35   #13
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

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Welcome.

I would suggest updating your profile with your general location and your boat make & model or “Looking” in the "Boat" category. This info shows up under your UserName in every post in the web view. Many questions are boat and/or location dependent and having these tidbits under your UserName saves answering those questions repeatedly. If you need help setting up your profile then click on this link: https://www.cruisersforum.com/forums...ml#post3308797

I would happily help more if the link above is not enough.
Thanks, I will update the profile. I am looking at a Cape Dory 25 and a Catalina 22 this weekend, hoping to apply my newfound knowledge of examination.
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Old 09-02-2023, 22:46   #14
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

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All good comments here and another suggestion- my first boat was a Cal 20 and they are great started boats. You might want to consider something along the lines of something slightly larger like the Cats, O'Days or C&C's in the 27-28' range beaus if you find that like sailing, you're going to want to go for more than day sails and these slightly larger boats have sufficient accommodations to make the journey more pleasurable.
I have seen a few of them in the 5000 to 10,000 range, and they look nice, I just worry about the size compared to my level of knowledge, and the depth of keel. The Barnegat is basically a mud flat, so 5 foot or so of draft is kind of limiting, even their shoal drafts go pretty deep.

Although at the same time the Catalina 22 I was looking at *also* has a draft of like 5 feet with the keel down, and my initial thought was "I can sail with it partially extended" but everything I read says this is a terrible idea.

So now I wonder if maybe something like the Cape Dory 25, with a 3 foot draft full keel, would be a better choice than the Catalina, which seems to be a binary "sail with 5 ft draft, keel down" or "motor/beach with keel up."

There is also a Bayliner 27 shoal draft for like 2000, but it has been a liveaboard for years, has not moved from slip since pre-COVID, and has been universally panned in reviews.
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Old 11-02-2023, 06:14   #15
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Re: New to Sailing, New to Forum

Welcome!

Having recently purchased my first sailboat, I can chime in with one thing that helped keep the purchase costs down; only get a survey once, when you are ready to make an offer. A standard contingency is for completing a satisfactory survey, so you can still back out if any major defects are found.

You may want to check out Don Casey's Inspecting the ageing sailboat. The book discusses how to check all the systems on a boat and includes a chapter on how to conduct an initial self-survey. I found this invaluable when going to look at boats. I made a checklist in advance to quickly make notes as I went through the boat. Since I'm looking as a buyer and not a marine surveyor, the checklists helped me sort out the information after returning home. Every boat worth looking at has the potential to inspire future dreams — dreams which can easily cloud judgment after the fact. Checklists help match the broker's listing's pictures and information with that of your experience.
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