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Just starting out....am I thinking right?

Mar 20, 2015
1,764
Catalina 22 New Style SHSC, Lake Winnipeg
Do it a few more times and you’ll either say This is for me
We ended up saying... 'We should have bought that international 505 and sailed it partially rigged until we were both ready, instead of buying a 16ft glorified laser"

If we had storage space I would get a fast dinghy or a Hobie with trapeze, in addition to the keel boat. I'm 54.
 
Jul 1, 1998
2,998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Armondo - for starting out there are three areas one can gain knowledge: 1) books; 2) courses; 3) actually doing by sailing one. These have been mentioned earlier and doing all three concurrently would be a logical way to go (except maybe actually sailing in the winter if the water is frozen).
Some states require a license to operate a boat and Washington is one. Completion of the Power Squadron course qualifies for the WA boaters license .

As for what boat to get, I would proffer that a small one wold be a good starter boat. One would think a smaller (used) boat would be less expensive but that’s not necessarily the case. Especially in the winter or early spring there can be 20+ footers for cheap or even free for one reason or another (can’t afford the slip rent, run down for lack of maintenance, no trailer, etc.). So small does not necessarily equate to cheap.

Something like an El Toro could be a good starter - transport in the bed of a pickup or cartop so no trailer required, or move on the property with a couple wheels under it. Later, if one gets a larger boat, it can be used as the dingy. The smaller boat will still provide a learning platform for maintenance such as brightwork, fiberglass, and possibly sail repair.

My first boat was < 12ft but after getting married we got a 16-footer that had a cuddy, cockpit coaming (read: dry boat), mainsail and jib (spinnaker optional), swing-up centerboard and swing-up rudder (highly recommended). Sailed all over Narragansett Bay, out to Block Island, the length of Lake Tahoe in one afternoon (~ 22 miles). Having said that, it was not a “performance” boat (like 505, Thistle, etc) but a comparatively dry and comfortable daysailer for a couple; you might even say “old school”. 21-ft aluminum mast. Launch time < ~10 minutes (when organized). 3hp outboard.

The bigger the boat the more difficult everything becomes so it’s a tradeoff, not to mention larger tow vehicle at some point.

Used Sails: Caution advised with regard to old sails because “blown out” sails will make the boat more tipsy and more difficult to control in gusty winds, not to mention not performing as well.
2015 Schmetterling view Aft.jpg
2015 Schmetterling view Fwd.jpg
 
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Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I saw a 26 something guy who bought an Owens 40’ boat for his first boat. I had observed it in the marina for the past several years. No idea which year. This is one of 50 wooden hulled boats built between 1944 and 1955. He and a friend were stripping the red ablative paint from the hull. I do not think it would be a good boat choice for a person new to sailing. The new owner will have a steep learning curve.
 
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Mar 20, 2015
1,764
Catalina 22 New Style SHSC, Lake Winnipeg
The new owner will have a steep learning curve.
My bet it will be sold before he sails it.
After enough time the effort to restore a boat, especially a wood one.can eat away your enthusiasm for completing and sailing it.
 
Jul 1, 1998
2,998
Hunter Legend 35 Poulsbo/Semiahmoo WA
Did Owens make sailboats? The only Owens I ever saw was a powerboat.
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
I saw the evidence. The boat matched the Sailboat data for a 40’ Owens Cutter.

It was all new to me.
 
Jun 27, 2019
14
NoneYet NoneYet NoneYet
Thanks everyone for all the great input. Isn't it amazing how many different opinions there are, but put them all together and it really helped..... I have spent a lot of time reading, watching videos, talking to owners, etc and I think what I have decided is there is almost no wrong answer when going with pretty much everything you all talked about above.

At this point, I have decided I am interested in a Catalina 22. Preferably a later 80s model, but will probably go earlier if it is in really good shape with a swing keel. I have no set timetable so that is in my favor. Hoping I might find an end of the season deal. I am in north Mississippi so sometime in the fall. Wish me luck!
 
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Jul 20, 2018
14
Catalina Capri 18 Everett, WA
Thought I would throw in my thoughts on this since I just went through it.
I am also 50 and just bought my first "real" sailboat, a Catalina Capri 18 with a fixed wing keel.
For years I have had a 10' Walker Bay RID with the sail package and jib. I taught myself the basics and never took a lesson.
I was certain I wanted a easily trailerable boat with a lift keel. Montgomery 15 was my target boat and the Compac Suncat was my dream boat.
My advice:
Get a boat that you can easily get on the water with minimal set up. Join a club if possible. Don't wait for the perfect or forever boat. Once you get some time on the water at your locale, you will start building a list of features that you want in your next "real" boat.
I don't know if you are retired or not...but I am not and the price of a slip at the marina is well worth it. There is nothing better than getting off work early to catch the evening wind. If I had to wrangle the trailer, raise the mast and get it in the water....inertia would set it. My boat is not easily launched.
I am still learning. Sometimes I think I will never get the hang of docking solo. I can foresee a time when I might switch to a more easily trailerable boat once I have exhausted sailing locally. But for right now, my setup works great for getting as much experience as I can.
 
Jan 7, 2011
1,641
Oday 322 East Chicago, IN
I saw a 26 something guy who bought an Owens 40’ boat for his first boat. I had observed it in the marina for the past several years. No idea which year. This is one of 50 wooden hulled boats built between 1944 and 1955. He and a friend were stripping the red ablative paint from the hull. I do not think it would be a good boat choice for a person new to sailing. The new owner will have a steep learning curve.
I was sitting on my neighbors Hunter 40, which is for sale. He said, I don’t sail this boat by myself. Once I am out, I can handle it, but I don’t want to dock this boat single-handed.

I guess I will keep my 32-footer for a while.

Greg
 
Oct 22, 2014
10,837
CAL 35 Cruiser Portland OR, moored EVERETT WA
Big boats can be handful to manage alone. I sail and dock my 17,000 lb 35 foot Cal with considerable freeboard solo. It helps to have a system.
I have been using what is called a Stern Bridal for the past 3 plus years. Have docked without damage in 20 knot breezes and 3 knot tidal currents. I have had to go around a couple of times when my approaches made me feel queasy. But that is all part of boat handling. I have told a marina that I am not taking the slip they offered as it was down wind and the breeze was frisky. They said no problem and gave me a slip on the opposite side of the dock into the wind. I feel no grief if I choose to go around and start the process again. I would get upset with myself if I decided "Screw it I'm coming in HOT!"

It helps to practice with the boat in calm periods so you know how it will react in the not so calm times.
 
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Jun 25, 2004
684
Corsair F24 Mk1 003 San Francisco Bay, CA
@armondo
Are you going to sail on inland lakes or the ocean?

I’ve been s trailer sailor for twenty years. If you want to get a lot of sailing done, get a boat that rigs the fastest. Otherwise, as somebody said earlier, inertia will set in. If it takes two hours from arrival to splash, you won’t day sail. Maybe for a weekend, but not a day sail.

The Potter 15 and any Compac with the Masttender tabernacle are ready to sail in under 20 minutes. They Potter 15 is too small for two adults to sleep in. 19-22feet boats the boat gets big enough to sleep two in
 
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Dec 28, 2015
644
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
Life is short. I would purchase a acceptable boat lower than your budget to allow for a couple years of seasonal slip fees. You will take advantage of afternoons and day sailing much more not having to rig and unrig.
I've owned my boat for 16 months and have a 30 min drive to the marina. I can honestly say I would have about 1/8th the time sailing on it if I didn't slip (and my boat was trailerable). You may make up some time being able to work on it at your house.

When I was in the market I was looking at trailerable 20ft, went to 27 because of family size and ended at 30 which is perfect for what I do (so far).
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,445
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
Big boats can be handful to manage alone. I sail and dock my 17,000 lb 35 foot Cal with considerable freeboard solo. It helps to have a system.
I have been using what is called a Stern Bridal for the past 3 plus years. Have docked without damage in 20 knot breezes and 3 knot tidal currents. I have had to go around a couple of times when my approaches made me feel queasy. But that is all part of boat handling. I have told a marina that I am not taking the slip they offered as it was down wind and the breeze was frisky. They said no problem and gave me a slip on the opposite side of the dock into the wind. I feel no grief if I choose to go around and start the process again. I would get upset with myself if I decided "Screw it I'm coming in HOT!"

It helps to practice with the boat in calm periods so you know how it will react in the not so calm times.
Yep, this was me yesterday, coming in just in front of a storm, blowing at 25 away from the slip, was too far from the piling to catch the mooring lines, had to back out of the runway and take a second run at it, success on the second attempt. There is absolutely no shame in understanding the situation and making the appropriate decisions based on that assessment.
 
Feb 26, 2004
20,804
Catalina 34 224 Maple Bay, BC, Canada
Sailing for Dummies.

Truly a very good book.

We had a C22, moved to a C25 for 13 years, have had our 34 for 21 years.

You CAN do it.

Welcome.
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,335
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Welcome armondo to one of the best resources in sailing. It is good to have you and, as has already been mentioned, a great first post. You've already figured out that actually owning a sailboat is not necessary to being a valued member here. I look forward to reading more about your career as a sailor.
To add my input, you've already gotten great advice about trailersailers and what kinda of things to consider. There are plenty of owners who have very easy to setup boats, yet moore or dock their boats for the season. Having a trailersailer doesn't mean you have to take her out of the water after every use. They are nice because you can pull them out and bring them anywhere to work on for a whole lot less money than a deep keeled boat. Most people on here will recommend dinghy sailing as the best way to learn and certainly they make beginning easier in many ways, but any boat can serve with the right mentorship.
It was mentioned earlier that you might take a formal course. Let me add my voice to that. The reason you might want to consider taking a couple or three ASA courses is because you sound like you're interested in growing as a sailor. Getting a weekender and being content to explore your local waters and even join a yacht club is one thing, but if you have your sights on moving up to bigger and farther adventures in sailing, the American Sailing Association offers courses that certify you to rent bareboats in exotic locales all over the world. For far less money that buying a bluewater boat over the times used for many people. If you think you might be interested in growing into a boat over 30 feet and ocean sailing some day, seriously look at an ASA course and future charters to try it out.

May the air always fill your sails and also your bilge.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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Aug 16, 2018
74
Seaward 23 Annapolis
Nobody loves their C22 more than I do, but there is one caveat I would mention when we're talking about day sailing and/or solo sailing: you may get weary of the setup and takedown procedure, especially when hauling the boat to (and back from) your lake. I myself might lean toward something in the 16' - 18' range, if I were just day sailing (or even weekending) on a lake by myself. (You were using "I" rather than "we", so I assumed it was just you?)
I'm lazy, and with two little kids I quickly decide this wasn't for me. I got a trailer boat, but put it in a slip. It still takes a few minutes to get ready, but we can get out pretty quick. Yesterday we went out for a brief 2 hour sunset sail. It was a great little sail and not something I'd have considered if I had to launch/retrive.

Of course for this convenience I'm paying $1400 a year for a slip, plus dealing with growth and my boat is stuck in one place. It's all trade offs. And if you drop something while working on the boat it falls in the water, not in your driveway :p

I agree with others here; if like OP it's just me, and possible a partner (?) I'd love to have a supersimple, light Mongomery 15 or 17! Or a potter. Those look so cool
 
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Dec 28, 2015
644
Laser, Hunter H30 Standard Tacoma
I'm lazy, and with two little kids I quickly decide this wasn't for me. I got a trailer boat, but put it in a slip. It still takes a few minutes to get ready, but we can get out pretty quick. Yesterday we went out for a brief 2 hour sunset sail. It was a great little sail and not something I'd have considered if I had to launch/retrive.

Of course for this convenience I'm paying $1400 a year for a slip, plus dealing with growth and my boat is stuck in one place. It's all trade offs. And if you drop something while working on the boat it falls in the water, not in your driveway :p

I agree with others here; if it was just me, and possible a partner (?) I'd love to have a supersimple, light Mongomery 15 or 17! Or a potter. Those look so cool
$100/month? That's a no brainer
 
Aug 16, 2018
74
Seaward 23 Annapolis
$100/month? That's a no brainer
Yes it's a mom&pop, no frills marina. Even though I don't trailer my boat, the limited width let's me have a narrow bulkhead slip. Otherwise the cheapest is over $2200 (and that's low for the area). Small boat is cheaper not just in purchase price.
 
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