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Human-Sized Sailboat Search


Julie Mo
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I'm hoping the brain trust here might have some suggestions what boats could fit our search.  Mostly we'll do day sails.  Occasionally we'll do overnighters and maybe once a year sail to the Keys or Bahamas.  Local sailing requires a max draft of 5' with 4' or less preferable.  Here's what we've seen so far:

 

The other day we looked at a Precision 27.  I had never even heard of Precision before that.  I really liked the interior with its lack of bulkhead separating the often useless forward cabin found in smaller boats.  Great galley.  Comfortable when eating, relaxing or sleeping.  Topside, the lines looked great.  Everything can be done from the cockpit, except docking.  View from the helm was great and the overall feel was really nice.  I was ready to sail away.  But...

 

One of the first things I do when looking at a sailboat is get a feel for moving about the deck.  How is it getting out of the cockpit and running forward when needed?  And that's when it all came crashing down.  You couldn't get out of the cockpit.  The bimini blocked you.  Working your way around the bimini meant you have to hold onto the frame while overhanging your body over the lifelines.  And it was tentative.  I'm not the agile deck monkey I used to be. 

 

I looked at how they mounted the bimini bracket on the deck and wondered if it could be moved but didn't see any options that would open up easy access to the foredeck. So we had to walk away.

 

Next up was a Catalina 27.  Approaching it, it was really nice on the eyes.  Very clean.  The exterior looked almost new.  Large cockpit.  Easy getting around the deck.  Take this boat's exterior and the other boat's interior and I'm in.  When we went below the party ended.  The all too typical layout with the unsleepable forward cabin, unless you're under 12 years old.  No galley.  It had a microwave the owner mounted in the forward cabin.  There was a space for the galley but no sink or stove.  We could fix up the galley but where would we sleep?  My SO is 6' tall.

 

Any ideas on other sailboats to search for?

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I prefer fixed keel anyway because of some of the nightmares I've heard about centerboards.  Wing keels are a bit iffy because they can get really stuck in the sand.  Sheel keels are great, shallow and low center of gravity for the draft.  Same with bulbs.  Fin keels are out because the draft on any one over 20' would probably be too deep.

 

 

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Up here, the residual value of a 25ft fiberglass sloop rigged boat with outboard auxiliary is about $2500.  Local boat brokers charge a minimum of $1000 to sell a boat so a lot of people donate them to our Community Sailing Association.  Those of us who belong to the organization, therefore, get to try out different boats.

 

By far my favorite was a ketch rigged Kenner Privateer designed by Thomas Gilmer.  The boat was fitted with a Yanmar Diesel engine.

 

A boat like this would be ideal fo two people who want to do limited cruising.  The ketch rig breaks the sail area into smaller easier to handle individual sails.  With a breeze the boat reached hull speed under jib and mizzen both easily handled from the cockpit (the jib was roller furling).  The full displacement hull handled well when picking up a mooring or docking in a marina.

 

The Yanmar diesel was 100% reliable, and avoided the gasoline fuel fume explosion problem.  An inboard also avoids one crew member hanging over the transom while messing with an outboard.  I taught myself how to to the limited routine maintenance on the engine which was not difficult.

 

The boat had a solid fiberglass hull.  Avoid balsa cored hulls.  Two of us were even able to replace the propeller shaft, Cutlass Bearing, and stern tube.  The guys at the marina shop who were around while we did it said that we did a good job but took for ever!

 

Roger

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The search has been frustrating.  Boats that provide what we're looking for, the ones we can afford need a lot of work.  The ones that are close to sail away are out of our price range.  Anyone know the lottery numbers for the next drawing?  All I want from the winnings is enough to pay for the boat and a few other things.  You can have the rest.

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Stick in there Julie.

My wife and I just went through much the same thing when we decided that possibly we would buy a recreational vehicle. In our case it was not as much of how much we could afford but how much we were WILLING to afford. After getting over the initial sticker shock of what the average recreational vehicle actually cost we spent a lot of time looking at stuff that in our opinion was more junk than fixer uppers. The present owners/dealers acted like they were pristine and did not seem to understand our reactions.:o:blink::(:omg:

 

But we stuck with it and on Sunday we found one that would meet our desires, (Admittedly revised desires) at the price we were willing to spend. It isn't perfect but it is far from bad and I do intend to make a couple of small mods that will better fit it to what we were looking for in the beginning. 

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Lou, when I was seriously considering being a liveaboard I spent countless hours educating myself about everything and anything I could find.  When it came to list price I found it's pretty universally accepted by brokers and buyers that most boat owners value their boat at about 1-1/2 to 2 times what it's worth.  That's based on sales data I received from brokers and from owners who bought direct.  One broker we talked to the phone over the other day said the sailboat we called about was initially listed at twice what it is now.  He said it's not uncommon for this to happen and it takes time for owners to accept the fact their precious gem isn't as precious to buyers.

 

Richard, when we looked at the Catalina I considered the bulkhead to be structural.  I've seen Catalina builds in progress and the it's obvious the company isn't into overbuilding.  They may look pretty but they are more like a Chevy than a Benz.  Same with Beneteau, Dufour, Bavaria, Hunter and other production boats.  They used to glass tab the bulkheads in.  Now they use glue.

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Saw a Morgan 32 on Sailboatlistings.com that was a bit more than we wanted to pay but had been on the market for over a year so we might be able to make a deal.  It's in Summerland Key, about a 150 mile sail from here.  What a great way to get my sailing fix.  So we contacted the owner.  SOLD!  That's the problem with that website.  Owners don't always remove the listing after the boat is sold.  The search continues... 

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