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First Sailboat - No Sailing Experience

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
Hello everyone! Thank you in advance for your input and experience. As a disclaimer I know what I am about to ask has been asked before so please trust that I am doing my own research but piecemealing a bunch of previous threads dont always help answer all questions.

I have been playing around with the idea of purchasing a sailboat. I have experience with motorboats but I never actually owned one (best boat is a friends boat). I have thought about purchasing a motorboat to enjoy with my new family but the idea of sailboat is so much more relaxing.

So here is the question - How do I spend my money? Budget is 10k but willing to go up to 15k for a boat with little to no work.

Wish list:
- Towable (4x4 F150 Crew Cab)
- Ability to navigate shallow water ( VA / NC intercoastal waterway)
- Can safely and comfortably fit 6-8 people (Dont care about length, capacity is more important)
- Enclosed Head if possible we have a little lady in tow now.
- Be able to do weekend trips up to NJ or NY and the Outer Banks from VA
- Easy learner

I did find a Rhodes 22 that looks good and apparently a bunch of things have been replace recently but the sails are 10+ years old.

I am lost when it comes to buying used items. I typically buy new cars so I have a warranty. What questions do I need to ask? What are deal breakers? Are there brands and years to stay away from?

Thanks Again!
 
May 24, 2004
6,435
CC 30 South Florida
Let me clarify, you are wanting a towable boat so that you can tow it to NY and NJ and you are not looking for boat you can sail there and back? Towable boats in that budget are basically limited in size to 24-26 ft. For me the best in that class for what you want to do would be the The Hunter 260, water ballasted. It is shallow draft, will have an enclosed porta potty. Sailboats in that size are not restricted in the number of persons it can carry; it falls under the discretion of the captain based on his experience and the water conditions as to how many people he can safely tend to and carry. I would consider 6 people doable for a day sail of a few hours but It is my feeling that having 7 to 8 people aboard a boat that size would be out of the question. A sailor needs cockpit space to move around and the cockpit may not even fit everyone. People inside the cabin will get antsy and hot after a while and having people sitting on deck is not a responsibility I would like to have. On any overnight trip I would not want to carry more than 4 or 5. When you look at used boats it is customary to make any deal contingent on a survey and a sea trial. You would pay for the survey to have a proffesional surveyor examine the boat and its systems to make sure everything is in good working order. Now that is not a warranty, just the opinion of a licensed and insured proffesional as to the condition of the boat. A sea trial is just a boat ride for you to determine if the boat handles adequately to your expectations. Another boat is Mac Gregor 26X, a hybrid to which you can mount a 50HP outboard on and even waters ski behind it but some say it does not sail as well as the Hunter and does not motor as well as a regular power boat. People that like to hang at anchor like them. The most expensive things in a boat are the engine, the sails, the hull and the rigging (mast and wires) so these are things you would want in good condition. The Rhodes 22 is a good boat and 10 year old sails may be good, it just depends on their condition. A surveyor may advise about their condition. The survey will also help to get insurance. Check also the condition of the trailer, brakes and tires. Don't be in a hurry to purchase, do your homework on different boats and do not be afraid to look out of your area to find the best boat. One last thing, boats can carry liens so it would be advisable to do a title search at the DMV prior to closing the deal to insure no surprises in getting a clear title.
 
  • Helpful
Likes: LloydB

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,827
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
6-8 people is a lot on a boat that is trailorable. The Rhodes 22 is cool, but probably way to small for 6-8. I had 7 on my O'day 25 once, we sailed for several hours and one person had to stay below. We were much more comfortable with 2-4. If you want the most capacity Hunter 260, Mac Gregor 26X or 26M are probably your best bet. I almost went to a newier 26X as I did like the motor option for windless days and the easy of a a trailer boat. We spent 2 seasons figuring out what we liked and wanted next with my O'Day 25, which in the end was a larger Catalina 310 that gives us a boat ready to sail 30 min from my house in a nice marina and tons of room to be comfortable. We had 6 on board for an all day race from 6 AM to 6 PM and never felt crowded.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,476
Hunter 216 Kingston
Hello everyone! Thank you in advance for your input and experience. As a disclaimer I know what I am about to ask has been asked before so please trust that I am doing my own research but piecemealing a bunch of previous threads dont always help answer all questions.

I have been playing around with the idea of purchasing a sailboat. I have experience with motorboats but I never actually owned one (best boat is a friends boat). I have thought about purchasing a motorboat to enjoy with my new family but the idea of sailboat is so much more relaxing.

So here is the question - How do I spend my money? Budget is 10k but willing to go up to 15k for a boat with little to no work.

Wish list:
- Towable (4x4 F150 Crew Cab)
- Ability to navigate shallow water ( VA / NC intercoastal waterway)
- Can safely and comfortably fit 6-8 people (Dont care about length, capacity is more important)
- Enclosed Head if possible we have a little lady in tow now.
- Be able to do weekend trips up to NJ or NY and the Outer Banks from VA
- Easy learner

I did find a Rhodes 22 that looks good and apparently a bunch of things have been replace recently but the sails are 10+ years old.

I am lost when it comes to buying used items. I typically buy new cars so I have a warranty. What questions do I need to ask? What are deal breakers? Are there brands and years to stay away from?

Thanks Again!
Welcome

This might help


i would also offer that you should get out on a few sailboats before you buy anything.
 
Sep 24, 2018
937
O'Day 25 Chicago
A lot of people have said that the Mac 26X neither sails nor motors well but I don't have any firsthand experience.

You should be able to tow most 25' comfortably. I know one person that tows a Catalina 27 twice a year with his F150. He says it's a bit much for the F150 but gets the job done. I've towed my O'Day 25 with an Xterra and Dodge Ram 2500. Estimated weight is 7500 lbs. The Xterra does not handle it well at all. The 2500 handled it great

If you're looking at spending 10k I would take a look at the Hunter sailboats. There's a lot of newer ones out there in great shape. I'm not sure if they have an enclosed head though. It's almost always cheaper to buy a boat in good condition than to fix one in worse condition. I have close to 10k invested in my O'Day 25 and it still needs work.

As an additional reference, I had four people on a calm evening sail in my Starwind 19. The cockpit was crowded with four people. We frequently rotated who was on the foredeck
 
Jun 29, 2010
1,123
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
My 2 cents from my experiences. Seen the 26X, D, M, and S. They do NOT sail well, why do people keep recommending these things??? I have a Beneteau First 235, I tow it with my Explorer, under 5K in weight. It is a great pocket cruiser that people on SBO constantly forget about but, oh well. Most here are focused on stuff that was designed in the 70's. Also, Beneteau is still in business.... over 135 years.... just sayin. Anyway, you could do a family cruise on one easily enough, it checks your other boxes, most have enclosed heads, wing keel drafts 2'-9" and actually sails well. I race mine.... I got mine for $10k with the trailer. You could day sail with 6 probably, but, it gets a little tight. I owned an O'Day 25 before and well, let's just say I will go with the old adage of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.....

That's my side of it.
 
Sep 24, 2018
937
O'Day 25 Chicago
The O'Day sailboats can be maintenance nightmares. A wiseman would've sold mine a while ago but I'm stubborn. You'll hear a wide range of opinions regarding their sailing abilities
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,476
Hunter 216 Kingston
My 2 cents from my experiences. Seen the 26X, D, M, and S. They do NOT sail well, why do people keep recommending these things??? I have a Beneteau First 235, I tow it with my Explorer, under 5K in weight. It is a great pocket cruiser that people on SBO constantly forget about but, oh well. Most here are focused on stuff that was designed in the 70's. Also, Beneteau is still in business.... over 135 years.... just sayin. Anyway, you could do a family cruise on one easily enough, it checks your other boxes, most have enclosed heads, wing keel drafts 2'-9" and actually sails well. I race mine.... I got mine for $10k with the trailer. You could day sail with 6 probably, but, it gets a little tight. I owned an O'Day 25 before and well, let's just say I will go with the old adage of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.....

That's my side of it.
@cb32863 I’m guilty of not knowing much about the First 235 so I went Googling! I didn’t realize it had that many “features” - nice boat!

I found this site which has a ton of info. I’m sure you likely already know about it but thought I would post it here for reference in case the OP wanted to check it out.

 
Jun 29, 2010
1,123
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
@cb32863 I’m guilty of not knowing much about the First 235 so I went Googling! I didn’t realize it had that many “features” - nice boat!

I found this site which has a ton of info. I’m sure you likely already know about it but thought I would post it here for reference in case the OP wanted to check it out.

That it is!

Yep, been a member of the forum there since I brought Seeker home from Florida 5+ years ago.
 

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
Let me clarify, you are wanting a towable boat so that you can tow it to NY and NJ and you are not looking for boat you can sail there and back? Towable boats in that budget are basically limited in size to 24-26 ft. For me the best in that class for what you want to do would be the The Hunter 260, water ballasted. It is shallow draft, will have an enclosed porta potty. Sailboats in that size are not restricted in the number of persons it can carry; it falls under the discretion of the captain based on his experience and the water conditions as to how many people he can safely tend to and carry. I would consider 6 people doable for a day sail of a few hours but It is my feeling that having 7 to 8 people aboard a boat that size would be out of the question. A sailor needs cockpit space to move around and the cockpit may not even fit everyone. People inside the cabin will get antsy and hot after a while and having people sitting on deck is not a responsibility I would like to have. On any overnight trip I would not want to carry more than 4 or 5. When you look at used boats it is customary to make any deal contingent on a survey and a sea trial. You would pay for the survey to have a proffesional surveyor examine the boat and its systems to make sure everything is in good working order. Now that is not a warranty, just the opinion of a licensed and insured proffesional as to the condition of the boat. A sea trial is just a boat ride for you to determine if the boat handles adequately to your expectations. Another boat is Mac Gregor 26X, a hybrid to which you can mount a 50HP outboard on and even waters ski behind it but some say it does not sail as well as the Hunter and does not motor as well as a regular power boat. People that like to hang at anchor like them. The most expensive things in a boat are the engine, the sails, the hull and the rigging (mast and wires) so these are things you would want in good condition. The Rhodes 22 is a good boat and 10 year old sails may be good, it just depends on their condition. A surveyor may advise about their condition. The survey will also help to get insurance. Check also the condition of the trailer, brakes and tires. Don't be in a hurry to purchase, do your homework on different boats and do not be afraid to look out of your area to find the best boat. One last thing, boats can carry liens so it would be advisable to do a title search at the DMV prior to closing the deal to insure no surprises in getting a clear title.
Thanks for all the advice. I am familiar with out of water marine surveys due to working in the Insurance field. I typically don't have many clients who have a survey done on boats smaller than 30 ft but it can't hurt right.

To clarify I am looking for a boat that I can sail to NJ / NY to visit family or down to the Outer Banks for family vacations. As for occupancy, I guess I am used to motorboats, the Regal 21' I have looked at can hold 10 people so I guess they were similar. My Cousin is moving down to VA and I plan to have him be my "co-captain". Once things have calmed down due to Covid-19, I plan to have both of us complete ASA 101 and a 103/104 combo course. So any over night occupancy would be just the two of us as we would have the girls drive up to our destination. Day sailing is where it gets tight, I can see where we would want to sail most weekends with 6 adults and a child.
 

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
My 2 cents from my experiences. Seen the 26X, D, M, and S. They do NOT sail well, why do people keep recommending these things??? I have a Beneteau First 235, I tow it with my Explorer, under 5K in weight. It is a great pocket cruiser that people on SBO constantly forget about but, oh well. Most here are focused on stuff that was designed in the 70's. Also, Beneteau is still in business.... over 135 years.... just sayin. Anyway, you could do a family cruise on one easily enough, it checks your other boxes, most have enclosed heads, wing keel drafts 2'-9" and actually sails well. I race mine.... I got mine for $10k with the trailer. You could day sail with 6 probably, but, it gets a little tight. I owned an O'Day 25 before and well, let's just say I will go with the old adage of if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.....

That's my side of it.
I originally started looking at new sailboat and the Beneteaus caught my eye very quickly but when I saw the price tags I figured my learner should not be 100k. I too like the idea that the company is still in business.
 

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
6-8 people is a lot on a boat that is trailorable. The Rhodes 22 is cool, but probably way to small for 6-8. I had 7 on my O'day 25 once, we sailed for several hours and one person had to stay below. We were much more comfortable with 2-4. If you want the most capacity Hunter 260, Mac Gregor 26X or 26M are probably your best bet. I almost went to a newier 26X as I did like the motor option for windless days and the easy of a a trailer boat. We spent 2 seasons figuring out what we liked and wanted next with my O'Day 25, which in the end was a larger Catalina 310 that gives us a boat ready to sail 30 min from my house in a nice marina and tons of room to be comfortable. We had 6 on board for an all day race from 6 AM to 6 PM and never felt crowded.
I am starting to realize I might need a bigger boat but for a first experimental boat I really don't want the cost of a marina slip. Being able to trailer the boat is a plus because 20 mins from my house is two boat ramps one dumps me into the Chesapeake bay, the second dumps me into the ICW near the VA/NC border.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,476
Hunter 216 Kingston
Thanks for all the advice. I am familiar with out of water marine surveys due to working in the Insurance field. I typically don't have many clients who have a survey done on boats smaller than 30 ft but it can't hurt right.

To clarify I am looking for a boat that I can sail to NJ / NY to visit family or down to the Outer Banks for family vacations. As for occupancy, I guess I am used to motorboats, the Regal 21' I have looked at can hold 10 people so I guess they were similar. My Cousin is moving down to VA and I plan to have him be my "co-captain". Once things have calmed down due to Covid-19, I plan to have both of us complete ASA 101 and a 103/104 combo course. So any over night occupancy would be just the two of us as we would have the girls drive up to our destination. Day sailing is where it gets tight, I can see where we would want to sail most weekends with 6 adults and a child.
I’m not trying to discourage you in your pursuit of getting a sailboat but perhaps it’s time for a little reality check.

You are comparing a 21’ bow rider powerboat which you have experience with to a trailerable sailboat. Vastly different boats and experiences aboard. BTW I own both a powerboat and a sailboat and they are both great when used for their intended purpose.

The load specs on the 21 powerboat states 1170lbs so although you could perhaps seat 10 people but they would have to each weigh 117lb, be naked and not bring anything aboard. Your estimates and expectations of how many people you will want aboard the sailboat do not seem realistic to me from a safety and comfort perspective.

The powerboat could possibly do 40knots in dead calm water in a straight line. A sailboat might do 6 knots and would likely have to take a zig zag course to get to the same place. Let’s say you set out on a 160mile journey VA to NJ.
C31B8625-7CA2-4124-B64C-A84ACA5F4D72.jpeg


In theory 4 hr in the power boat, best case in a sailboat would be 30hrs. I say in theory as it’s not likely you could do either in the computed time frames.

In the power boat people generally sit where they started while underway. A sailboat’s cockpit is pretty dynamic so lots of people shuffling around as the boat changes tacks etc. Lots of lines to trip over etc. The “cabin” on the bow rider doesn’t exist so everyone gets to be outside. The cabin on the sailboat is where people sleep, cook and go to the bathroom. Not many sailors want to ride in the cabin all the time.

I hope you continue your quest as many who take up sailing enjoy it for their lifetime. :)
 
Last edited:
  • Helpful
Likes: LloydB
Jun 29, 2010
1,123
Beneteau First 235 Lake Minnetonka, MN
I originally started looking at new sailboat and the Beneteaus caught my eye very quickly but when I saw the price tags I figured my learner should not be 100k. I too like the idea that the company is still in business.
My First 235 is a 1992 and was 10K not 100. Its a 23 (with rudder so a lil fudge there) footer. You can do 4 in the cockpit and a couple up front for day sails. Not sure where the 100K price tag is coming from unless you are looking at over 30 feet.
 
  • Like
Likes: LloydB

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
My First 235 is a 1992 and was 10K not 100. Its a 23 (with rudder so a lil fudge there) footer. You can do 4 in the cockpit and a couple up front for day sails. Not sure where the 100K price tag is coming from unless you are looking at over 30 feet.
I am sorry I meant 100k for a new Beneteau

 
  • Like
Likes: cb32863

Acvt

.
Apr 26, 2020
6
Na Na Virginia beach
I’m not trying to discourage you in your pursuit of getting a sailboat but perhaps it’s time for a little reality check.

You are comparing a 21’ bow rider powerboat which you have experience with to a trailerable sailboat. Vastly different boats and experiences aboard. BTW I own both a powerboat and a sailboat and they are both great when used for their intended purpose.

The load specs on the 21 powerboat states 1170lbs so although you could perhaps seat 10 people but they would have to each weigh 117lb, be naked and not bring anything aboard. Your estimates and expectations of how many people you will want aboard the sailboat do not seem realistic to me from a safety and comfort perspective.

The powerboat could possibly do 40knots in dead calm water in a straight line. A sailboat might do 6 knots and would likely have to take a zig zag course to get to the same place. Let’s say you set out on a 160mile journey VA to NJ.
View attachment 178213

In theory 4 hr in the power boat, best case in a sailboat would be 30hrs. I say in theory as it’s not likely you could do either in the computed time frames.

In the power boat people generally sit where they started while underway. A sailboat’s cockpit is pretty dynamic so lots of people shuffling around as the boat changes tacks etc. Lots of lines to trip over etc. The “cabin” on the bow rider doesn’t exist so everyone gets to be outside. The cabin on the sailboat is where people sleep, cook and go to the bathroom. Not many sailors want to ride in the cabin all the time.

I hope you continue your quest as many who take up sailing enjoy it for their lifetime. :)
I appreciate your honesty. The 21' bowrider is a bad comparison. That was the boat I was eyeballing before I starting researching sailboats and the idea of a weekender for a trips up north.

I understand the trip up north in a sailboat would be a 2 - 3 day trip each way if we sail with the sun. Honestly this trip might happen once or twice a year, which is why my main focus was occupancy for day sailing of 6-8 people. I am starting to gather this might be a hard request from a trailer able boat.
 
Sep 22, 2018
1,476
Hunter 216 Kingston
I am starting to gather this might be a hard request from a trailer able boat.
I’m glad I didn’t offend - forum posting is a tricky business ;)
I’m not sure how much sailing experience you have so my comments are based on my assumption that it’s little to none. I pre-apologize if I overstep.
Trailerable sailboats are great but having your boat in the water waiting to sail also has a lot of value. To use your powerboat as an example let’s say you decide to spend the day on the water. Drive to boat ramp and have it in the water ready to go in a few minutes, with a sailboat you also need time to step the mast, rig sails etc. so takes more time. Many trailer sailors have this part down to a science but it still takes more time than powerboat.
Slip fees, crane launching etc of a non trailerable sailboat are usage costs but you might get a boat that will better meet your criteria. You also won’t burn $$$ on fuel for the powerboat as the wind is free so there’s that.

The limits of people on a sailboat are related more to experience and comfort. You could put 6 guys racing a 23’ and they would have a blast on a hairy man adventure. Put two inexperienced couples and there 2 kids on the same boat and have a nasty squall with 30kn winds happen and it would not be pretty at all.

Don’t give up, keep looking and asking questions. Who knows your “little lady” might grow up to be an Olympic level sailor!
 

JRT

.
Feb 14, 2017
1,827
Catalina 310 211 Lake Guntersville, AL
I like that you are taking training, if I could offer some recommendations is to take that training first then start shopping. There are always boats for sale and deals. At least after the training you will have some good experience and resources from the instructors to help you.

If I had a starting budget of $10k I would have seriously consider a First 235 like @cb32863 said, after my time around the marina I could have had one instead of my O`Day 25 and it would have been much less work and sailed better. But we also learned getting a comfortable boat for groups pushed us to the 310, tons of people, especially those with no sailing experience is stress full on a full small boat. I did it a few times and was stressed out as I was the only one able to sail until my daughter got formal training. After that she could sail the boat herself so she was by default in charge if anything happened to me.
 
May 4, 2018
23
Catalina 25 SV Colorado
Good used Catalina 22, there's a lot around to look at, and popular enough to sell when you actually figure out what you want. You're so new you don't know what questions to ask yet, so start with a simple boat below your budget, and don't forget you always spend a few $$$ on a boat after you buy her.