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  1. #1
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    Default Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    My sailing experience consists of going out with various friends in an assortment of sailboats from 16 to 24 feet in length. Since I only do this once or twice a year, I can't say that I've ever developed much expertise at this.

    I would like to improve my sailing skills, and would like to find a small used sailboat that one person can easily handle, but can carry two to four people if necessary. It should have a fiberglass hull and not require a lot of maintenance.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a particular model of boat to look for?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by northernmerc View Post
    My sailing experience consists of going out with various friends in an assortment of sailboats from 16 to 24 feet in length. Since I only do this once or twice a year, I can't say that I've ever developed much expertise at this.

    I would like to improve my sailing skills, and would like to find a small used sailboat that one person can easily handle, but can carry two to four people if necessary. It should have a fiberglass hull and not require a lot of maintenance.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for a particular model of boat to look for?
    On the sporty/racing side would be boats like the 420, and up, on the leisure side would be the Capri 14.2 and up.

    The boats mentioned are open 14' daysailors that are the minimum size to carry four persons. They are easily handled by one person, both to launch and sail.

    As you get into larger craft - 16' and over - you begin to need two people to help rig and launch. Though single-handing is certainly possible for larger trailer-sailors, it's more convenient with two when lengths rise above 20'.

    Prices start around $8,000 new, $2,000 used. Of course, "deals" can be found, especially if you don't mind fixing up or refitting an older boat.

    Look for a small boat sail course. Most are for keel boats around 25' and up, but you can find the Capri used in some Sailing Club sponsored courses. Any hands-on course is good and don't worry about the training boat being an exact match to what you will be getting.

    Lots of credible organizations hold classes -

    American Red Cross
    ASA
    US Sailing
    Local Boat Clubs
    some Municipalities

    Cost ranges from $200 to $1000 a course, depending on the time spent on the water and boat used. Check around your area, Spring classes will fill quickly.

    Some sailing schools come with boat rental privileges for graduates. That might be a way to experience different boats before you make a purchase decision.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Thanks for the recommendations, saildan. I looked up information on the boats you mention, and they look good. I'll add them to the list of possible candidates.

    I saw an ad for a Precision 15 that looked very nice but is a bit pricey. A friend has a Wayfarer (not for sale) that also is a nice boat. I'm sure you get the idea of the type of boat I'm looking for.

    I'm hoping to find something in western Canada (prairies area) or the northern plains states. That will limit my choices to what is available within driving distance. I suppose that shipping a boat thousands of miles can become very expensive.

    If anyone has any leads, drop me a PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    I'm hoping to find something in western Canada (prairies area) or the northern plains states. That will limit my choices to what is available within driving distance. I suppose that shipping a boat thousands of miles can become very expensive.
    I'm not near a coast either. It's not uncommon to do a 1000 mi round trip to pick up a boat to bring here.

    Remember border crossing includes duty fees to the country you are bringing both boat and trailer into. Not a big deal so long as you make sure to have all the correct paperwork. Know what you are going to need before you go. Check the respective country's border crossing guidelines - they're on the net.

    Here are some boat resources -

    http://www.trailersailor.com

    National ads (not just Texas)
    http://www.sailingtexas.com/cboats.html


    And look up owners groups for the boats on your list. They sometimes have a For Sale area.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    I guess they call this the prairies for a reason. It ain't the ocean, and we don't see many sailboats up here. (Although motorboats are very common.)

    Quite possibly, I will have to drive 1000 miles or more, each way, to find something suitable. Any leads on boats, especially in the 14 to 17 foot size range will be appreciated.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    You should also add the American Sail 14.6 and the 18. They are very stable, sturdily built and the company has been making them for many years. www.americansail.com

  7. #7
    Senior Chief Petty Officer paulspaddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by northernmerc View Post
    I guess they call this the prairies for a reason. It ain't the ocean, and we don't see many sailboats up here. (Although motorboats are very common.)

    Quite possibly, I will have to drive 1000 miles or more, each way, to find something suitable. Any leads on boats, especially in the 14 to 17 foot size range will be appreciated.
    Where are you located northernmerc? For some reason I have north Alberta in my head, but you mention 'prairies'.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    I started out with a Mayflower...12', lateen rig (read unstayed mast), 90 pound hull, exceptionably stable, can sit 4. They don't make them anymore, but if you can scare one up they make an outstanding first sailboat.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulspaddle View Post
    Where are you located northernmerc? For some reason I have north Alberta in my head, but you mention 'prairies'.
    You're close - northern Saskatchewan. Lots of power boats but not many sailboats to choose from.

    Thanks for the ideas; I added the American Sail and Mayflower to the list of possible candidates. So far I have only found two used sailboats for sale within a couple of hundred miles, and they are a 22' and 25'. That's bigger than what I'm looking for.

  10. #10
    Senior Chief Petty Officer paulspaddle's Avatar
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by northernmerc View Post
    You're close - northern Saskatchewan. Lots of power boats but not many sailboats to choose from.

    Thanks for the ideas; I added the American Sail and Mayflower to the list of possible candidates. So far I have only found two used sailboats for sale within a couple of hundred miles, and they are a 22' and 25'. That's bigger than what I'm looking for.
    My families history is in the Glenbush, Heburn, Meadow Lake areas. Still have many cousins farming the area.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by paulspaddle View Post
    My families history is in the Glenbush, Heburn, Meadow Lake areas. Still have many cousins farming the area.
    Nice country over there. I don't suppose that you know of any day sailers for sale down Winnipeg way?

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    I have a 16' stow and go, it was built by Dauphin. They bought the Advance sailboat co. mine is a 1981 about the time they went out of business. It is built on a sweet sixteen hull and has a small cuddy. I have sailed singlehanded & have had 3 adults on board. I'am a novice at sailing, had never been on a sail boat, got a book and read it so I had a clue where to begin. Have had a lot of fun on it and seems reasonably stable. I have only ever saw one other but there are a lot of sweet sixteens around, basically the same boat. I gave $800.00 about 3 years ago for mine and found it on craigs list. I think a 16' is the right size for a daysailer. Another type I looked at while shopping was a flying junior, it looked to small for more than 2 normal size people. Good luck in your search.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    troll through the E Bay listings for sailboats. I saw some interesting boats there.

  14. #14

    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    I bought my sailboat from a seller on Craigslist.com I paid $1000 for a 17ft Venture, with trailer and 4hp outboard. Interior needs refinishing, solid hull and sails, it has become my spring break project.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by moki View Post
    I bought my sailboat from a seller on Craigslist.com I paid $1000 for a 17ft Venture, with trailer and 4hp outboard. Interior needs refinishing, solid hull and sails, it has become my spring break project.
    That sounds like the kind of thing I would like to find.

    I did find a nice, restored wooden Wayfarer 16 foot, built in the 1960s. But the owner wants a premium price for it. Any experience with wooden boats in this size range?

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Quote Originally Posted by northernmerc View Post
    I did find a nice, restored wooden Wayfarer 16 foot, built in the 1960s. But the owner wants a premium price for it. Any experience with wooden boats in this size range?
    Wood sailboats can be really sweet, but they are quite expensive compared with their fibreglas counterparts owing to the tedious hand labor involved in their construction.

    Wooden boats are, for the most part, heavier, slightly slower, and require more upkeep. But, boy they sure do look classy when they're well preserved.

    Have you looked through the boats at Sailing Texas. It has for sale by owner ads from across the country and no viewing or finder fees to the buyer, not even the impositon of needing to log in so you can shop.

    I know the States is a long road trip for you, but cruise around the photo gallery alone, it's great for seeing what sorts of boats are out there you may want to try on for size.


    .

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Thanks. A bit of a road trip would be OK, but I can't see driving to Florida or California or Texas to pick up a boat. Somewhere from Minnesota to Montana would work though, I suppose.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Any recommendations for a small inexpensive sailboat?

    Just my opinion, but i would seek out your local (racing) yacht club and volunteer your services as pick up crew. You'll learn alot in a short period of time, and the skipper will probably allow you to steer the boat to and from the race course, which will build your confidence at the helm. In the meantime, I'd look for a nice used Catalina22; they are plentiful and a perfectly good c22 should be found in the $2-4k range, with trailer & motor. A c22 is easily single-handed, but will accomodate the 2-4 guests you'd like to take along as well. The rigging is pretty simple & straightforward. It's got a fairly tight cabin, but you could anchor out for a night or two, which is alot of fun. Start out sailing on light air days; read all you can on sailing basics; keep crewing on the side. You'll have a blast! -DK

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