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Looking for what new (used) boat to buy

Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
I've been sailing a Cal 21 since 2015 and love this boat! What a sweet sailer! I can sail circles around the other boats on the lake. I bought a new suit of sails for her, sanded her bottom, applied barrier coat and ablative anti-foul, and in April I'm adding 100# of lead to the bottom of her keel to make her less tender. But . . .
This summer I'd love to cruise the Maine Island Trail. The cabin space in my Cal is way too cramped for even a week of cruising. I've been looking at the specs, pricing, and availability of a Catalina 25. They go for $5,000-$10,000. $5K would suit my budget nicely. There are versions with a swing keel, which I prefer, both for anchoring in shallow coves, as well as for trailering to the coast, to the lake, to my back yard for winter storage. But the performance specs on sailboatdata indicate the Cat 25 will be a sluggish performer compared to my Cal 21. So, I am looking for suggestions for other boats to consider.Requirements: $5K price range, swing keel, enough cabin space for a week of roughing it, AND sprightly performance.
 
Mar 29, 2017
452
Hunter 30t 9805 littlecreek
A J24 can be had for cheap fast little boats but still cramped. there are som Hobie 33 still floating around for $10,000 you give up comfort for speed and speed for comfort. If you were a phrf racer the handicap benefits on side of slow comfortable boats or you can try modifying a comfortable boat as I did with my h30 bigger sails and less stuff inside to go faster
 

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Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
Holy crow! I had no idea there were trailerable 33' boats! I think maybe a Hobie 33/drop keel is now my dreamboat! $10K is a stretch. But surely there's at least as much cabin space as a Cat 25. The H33 performance specs on sailboatdata are impressive! Overall better than my beloved Cal 21. Thanks!
 
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Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
rgranger, thanks for those suggestions. Have you sailed any of those 4?

rgranger, thanks again!
Couldn't find on sailboatdata a Mac 26C, only 26D, M, S, X..
But I'm liking everything I'm reading about the Mac 25, in terms of performance, cabin space, and price point.
Now all I have to do is find one!
 
Nov 26, 2012
1,258
Hunter 34 Berkeley
I had a Catalina swing keel. Not a bad sailing boat but not great. You might consider the cat 22 as well. Probably more of them available in your price range. You are at cross ways with yourself somewhat wanting a swing keel and sprightly performance. Maybe "pretty good" performance is more realistic. Overall the C-25 is a pretty good choice. Comfortable, roomy, built in head and easy to maintain. Not a bad sailing boat. If you want performance look at the Hunter 25.5 or a nice Olson 25. Great sailing boat.
 
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Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
rgranger, thanks for those suggestions. Have you sailed any of those 4?
Hello @jimshipsky

Sorry about the confusion. The Mac 26C is a misnomer. The "C" stands for "classic" and is used to denote both the Mac 26S (Swing keel) and the Mac 26D (Dagger Board). They are essentially the same boat but with different keel designs. Both are water ballast, easy to tow and have a lot of interior cabin space for a trailer sailor. They can also be had for the price range you specified. Check @Sumner on this forum. He has done a TREMENDOUS amount of very cool mods to his 26C. When MacGregor started making the 26M and 26X people started to call the 26S and 26D "classic" hence the "C". They are "classic" because the 26M and 26X are those hybrid types that you can put a 50HP outboard on, pump out the ballast tank and supposedly waterski behind. In my opinion they are neither very good sailboats or very good powerboats but they are very roomy inside and people either love or hate them. I don't love them.....

I have sailed a Mac 26C and I recommend you read some of Sumner's posts if you want to get a feel for how they sail. I have chartered a Rhodes 22 and then purchased a derelict one to restore. It is still in my yard waiting on a new interior. In my opininion the Rhodes 22 is the largest 22 foot sailboat on the market. It feels much larger inside and out. Very user friendly and one of my favorite pocket cruisers. You can read more about them at this website( Home )

I have not sailed a Mac 25 but I did used to own and sail a Mac 22 which is the same boat just a bit smaller. The Mac25 is a swing keel with heavy cast iron keel. The Mac25 has a nice cabin including an enclosed head. If you look at one pay special attention to the condition of the keel and the pivot pin for the keel. The M25 is about as large as I would go and still call it an easy trailer sailor. Winching up that keel is a chore even on the M22 so I can only imagine what a Mac25 keel is like. I should also mention that I used to own a Balboa 26. The Balboa sails very well and they were marketed as a trailer sailboat but dang... that was a beast and not something I wanted to launch more than once a season. Fully loaded the Balboa starts to approach 5000# displacement.

I have not sailed an H23.5 but I do own an H26 now (and love it) which is almost the same boat as the H23.5 just 3' longer. I did not mention the H26 in my original post because of the $5K limit you imposed but if you are going to $10K there are a lot more possibilities. I'd add the H26, the H260 and the Catalina 250. All three of those are also water ballast like the Mac 26C and can be easily trailered. The interior design of these is a bit more advanced than the Mac 26C and the construction is a bit more robust.

I have been biased towards retractable keel trailer sailboats as I have constructed this analysis and I talk about that some in item #2 below. Some things I'd recommend as you sort through your options.
  1. Figure out how important the trailering part is. Do you want to be able to occasionally take your boat to a new location or do you want to store the boat in your driveway? Having the boat in your driveway means you can tinker with it, and you save on slip fees BUT you won't go for a quick 30 min sail or even a "quick" two hour sail if it takes two hours to launch and an two hours to retrieve. But if you plan to keep it at a marina and trailer it to new sailing waters once or twice a year... then you can consider more options
  2. There are two things to consider regarding the retractable keel nature of a trailerable boat. The most obvious is that it allows you to put it on a trailer easily. The second is that it allows you to sail in shoal water and even beach the boat if you desire. If you are not over concerned about shoal water in your area, there are a lot more decent trailer sailboat that you can look at (i.e the Coronado 23-- and I used to own one of those also :)
  3. For water ballast boat the "swing" vs dagger board is important. A swing keel with bounce over a sand bar, a dagger has to be pulled up and if you hit something at hull speed, you will damage the dagger board.
Have fun shopping.
 
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Apr 26, 2015
506
S2 26 Mid On Trailer
You need to be about 4' tall to like an overnight in a Hobie 33. If you find one for $10,000 it fell off the trailer and was dragged a few miles down the freeway. Sailed and raced them in the '80s and still looking for one, at a reasonable price, as a fast daysailer.
 
Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
rgranger, thanks for the Mac 26 clarification. I've not been drawn to water ballasted boats, because they put the ballast where it does the least good, due to its having almost no lever arm. While my Cal 21 concentrates about 320 lb. of her 360 lb. ballast at the very bottom of the keel, where it has over a 4' lever arm. But I finally realized something about swing keel boats. I've read they are hard to keep on course and don't point as well as a fixed keel boat, tending to pivot about the keel I've not noticed my Cal doing that. In fact, there are times sailing solo when I go to the foredeck and she steers herself just fine. Ah, but the pointing. Swing keels are skinny to allow them to fit closely to the hull when raised for trailering. Cleary a wider fixed keel will have greater resistance to leeway, can poimt higher, and can develop more lift than a swing keel. I know there are fixed keel boats out there that can be trailered, but have no idea how to search for them. The trailer for my Cal has a telescoping tongue, which extends about 6', allowing me to launch on a very shallow slope ramp. That kind of trailer would allow me to launch a fixed keel boat from a ramp. Do you know of any trailerable fixed keel boats, around 25', with plenty of cockpit space for daysailing most of the time, and adequate cabin space for a week or so? :)
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
I know they exist but I like to sail in the NC outer banks so I NEED a swing keel. Of the ones I mentioned above that fit your criteria the Coronado 23 would be the only one with which I have experience. I liked mine. It is a large 23
 
Mar 2, 2019
120
Oday 25 Milwaukee
The view from here . We have sailed our Oday 25 for 15 plus years now . It's shoal draft centerboard combination is a compromise . With a trailer extension we can launch in very shallow ramps . No ballast tanks means one less problem . It sails fairly well, has an enclosed head and by sleeping athwart ships a queen size bed is possible and very enjoyable
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
I forgot to mention that the Rhodes 22 has a combined fixed and swing keel set up. That boat was specifically designed for the shoal water of the Albemarle sound. The Albemarle is rather shoal and also has a long west-east fetch so it can get real choppy. So the Rhodes 22 has a flared bow to deflect spray. There is a shoal fixed keel that holds the ballast and a swing center board that folds up inside the shoal keel. It is a compromise. The fixed keel helps the boat stand up in a blow but the swing keel will kick up over a sand bar. There is no ballast in the swing keel part.

You made a comment about fixed keels having better pointing ability. I don't think that is necessarily true. But you are correct about fin keel boats being able to pivot about the keel. I think that is why you see a lot of fin keel boats designed for racing. You want to be able to come about quickly as you come around the buoy. Don't forget that the rudder also contributes to the lateral resistance so a fin keel boat can still track well if properly designed. Also, a lot of cruising boats will have long fixed keels to protect the rudder. If a fin keel boat comes up on some underwater log etc., it can hit the rudder on a fin keel boat but a long fixed keel will deflect the object from the rudder. And of course, a long fin keel is restricted to deeper waters.
 
Sep 25, 2018
209
Catalina Capri 22 Capri EXPO 14.2 1282 Stony Point
Sailed a 23.5 for over 10 years. Difficult to balance and had extreme weather helm when the wind kicked up. Lots of room inside but I only day sailed it. It is sitting in my yard on it's trailer waiting for me to do the paper work to donate. Fair condition w/ 4 year old sails. It's built like a tank yet very easy to trailer. want it cheap?
 
Jan 19, 2010
7,962
Hunter 26 Lake Martin AL
Sailed a 23.5 for over 10 years. Difficult to balance and had extreme weather helm when the wind kicked up. Lots of room inside but I only day sailed it. It is sitting in my yard on it's trailer waiting for me to do the paper work to donate. Fair condition w/ 4 year old sails. It's built like a tank yet very easy to trailer. want it cheap?
When I first got my H26 it had rather bad weather helm. I got a new main sail and that fixed it. Before I got the new main, I would raise the centerboard about 4 or 5 inches and that would help a lot. When you tip the board up, it moves the center of lateral resistance backwards. But you are correct about the Hunter water ballast boats being tender in a strong wind. Mine is very good up to about 15 mph and then I'm reefing hard and spilling wind to keep her on her feet and the rudder in the water. But! I do love the cabin and cockpit space at anchor. For sailing performance, there are a lot of better boats.

Hey @jimshipsky if you are up for a drive there is a really sweet Compac 19 for sale on the Montgomery AL craigslist site for $2,900...I've been coveting it for weeks and I would really like to buy it but my wife would shoot me if I buy another boat. :thumbup: The trailer it is sitting on is almost worth the price and the boat looks great. Even if the sails are blown, (and I don't know that they are) it is a great buy.
 
Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
Serenity on Hudson: I'm assuming you have a Hunter 23.5. While I like the "cheap" part, I'm not a fan of water ballast. A review I read mentioned the same sailing issues you named.
While I'd love to test-sail my next boat, my hunch is that it may not be in the water, and it may involve a several-hundred-mile drive back with a U-Haul pickup towing it. Meaning I'm pretty committed before setting out. As a result, I expect my choice will be "by the numbers". Namely, the numbers sailboatdata lists under "Sailboat Calculations". Looking at those numbers, the 23.5, ballasted with 1000lb. of water, doesn't carry much sail area for the 3000 lb. displacement: SA/Disp. = 18.20. My Cal 21 has a SA/Disp. of 29.49. My interpretation of those numbers is that when a puff comes along, the Cal, being so much lighter, accelerates well, while the heavier boat takes a while to get going.
So far, the Macgregor 25 seems to be my ideal boat. The Sailboat Calculations say her performance will compare favorably with my Cal 21, while providing a LOT more cabin space. Only problem is, while 7000 were built, there don't seem to be any for sale that I can find. Maybe come April?

rgranger: I agree that keel shape is probably not a determinant of pointing ability. If that were so, then a full-keel boat ought to point well. I don't think so. I'd like to learn what characteristics contribute to pointing well. Probably has far more to do with sail trim. I have Ted Brewer's book on sailboat design on request from the library. I do envy a full-keel boat's ability to shrug off underwater obstacles. The first time I soloed an International 210, I unknowingly snagged a lobster pot warp, and was mystified why nothing I did produced any response in the boat.
 
Mar 29, 2016
74
Cal 21 Sidney, ME
rgranger: Unbelievable! I just e-mailed the owner. If she's still available, I think you've found me my dreamboat! Many thanks. :cool:
 
Jul 7, 2004
6,501
Hunter 30T Cheney, KS
rgranger: Unbelievable! I just e-mailed the owner. If she's still available, I think you've found me my dreamboat! Many thanks. :cool:
For that price incl the new OB, I don't think you could go wrong. Hopefully the trailer is ready to roll.
I wonder if those coolers are included.