Choosing a boat

  • 14 Feb 2018 6:26 PM
    Message # 5737527
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have received several questions lately about "What boat to choose" or "why did you choose your boat" or "how to choose a boat".  My answers to this are my own personal opinions and vary greatly depending on the situation...so I'll start the conversation and see who else chimes in.

  • 14 Feb 2018 6:44 PM
    Reply # 5737553 on 5737527
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I have owned 16 sailboats in the last 35 years.  These ranged from an ancient 30 foot sailboat with a wooden mast to high-performance racing skiffs to a handbuilt dinghy to my current 45 foot performance cruiser.  Each served it's purpose in it's time...and I frankly fell in love with 10 of them, so my number 1 criteria for a boat YOU MUST LIKE HER!  

    My second criteria has always been PRICE.  When I could only afford a beat up old Crysler dinghy (it was free)...guess what I had.

    Third criteria is what you want to do with the boat. Do you want a fast boat, do you want to gunkhole up into creeks on the Chesapeake or cross oceans? 

    For example, as a young athletic guy, I had Flying Dutchman (at the time the fastest dinghy in the world) that needed huge amounts of work just to keep her from flipping over.  But she could scream across wave tops like a banshee.

    Later, I had a 22 foot South Coast with a swing keel.  She was not fast or terribly comfortable, but she had two bunks, was cheap to operate and I could pull her right up to the beach or into any conceivably navigable bit of water.  I probably saw more of the upper Chesapeake in her than any other boat.

    A few years ago, I wanted a boat that was big enough to take friends or family out for a few hours but was easy to launch and fast.  I picked up my second Hobie 16, which I sailed all over the Potomac (occasionally buzzing PSC boats).  When I got the itch to start doing longer cruises with my family I decided to move to something bigger...

  • 16 Feb 2018 8:49 AM
    Reply # 5740202 on 5737527
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    No limits...moved up to a Morgan 454 with big comfy cabins, a quick hull and designed for open ocean.

  • 18 Feb 2018 4:20 AM
    Reply # 5742431 on 5738626
    Deleted user
    Anonymous wrote:

    I'd like to see what comes after " ... "   but I do not see a way to read the rest of the posting.

    Is there a limit to the length of posts or am I missing some way to read the rest of the post?


    The "..." in this case was not an indication that the forum had limited the length of the post, but a stylistic way of writing. That was simply the end of the post.

    While there may be a technical limit, I was able to create a post that had far more text than I ever expect anybody to write in these forums in one post. In practical terms, there is no limit to the length of a post.

    Last modified: 18 Feb 2018 4:20 AM | Deleted user
  • 18 Feb 2018 5:03 AM
    Reply # 5742434 on 5737553
    Deleted user
    Anonymous wrote:

    I have owned 16 sailboats in the last 35 years. Each served it's purpose in it's time...and I frankly fell in love with 10 of them, so my number 1 criteria for a boat YOU MUST LIKE HER!  

    My second criteria has always been PRICE.  When I could only afford a beat up old Crysler dinghy (it was free)...guess what I had.

    Third criteria is what you want to do with the boat. Do you want a fast boat, do you want to gunkhole up into creeks on the Chesapeake or cross oceans?


    I am newly back into sailing, with far less experience than David, but have read a variety of things over the past decade to have my own bit to add here. I completely agree with David that you need to analyze your wants/needs, skills/experience, crew size, budget, available time, and gut feelings to find the boat that is the right fit for you. Find something that is the right balance for your circumstances and that, most importantly, excites you to get out on the water! Remember too that as your needs may change (a very likely thing in many cases), you may need to change boats down the line as well.


  • 16 Mar 2018 7:56 PM
    Reply # 5983158 on 5737527
    Anonymous

        As other posters have said:  Make sure the boat is fit for your (real) intended use (not the things you would "like to do one day").  See if she "talks to you".  You'll have to live there, in a small space, in various weather and places.

        We have been searching for a boat for the last two years.  We've shopped for monohulls and multihulls.  We've "inspected" about 35 vessels of various lengths, hull forms, ages, prices, and everything else.

        We were once accused of being "boat surveyors"; we denied it.  (We are not surveyors; just boat shoppers.)  Then the broker told us we spent as much time on an "initial look" as some of the "professional" surveyors usually spent.

        We have many examples of "things to watch out for", already in a presentation. 

        After you find the "hopeful one", by having given a "close first look", you'll need a real professional surveyor.  We know a truly good one in the DC / Annapolis / Bay area, willing to travel. 

        I'll add some items about what to look for in a surveyor.

        Anyone interested?

    Thank you

  • 18 Mar 2018 4:09 PM
    Reply # 5985230 on 5983158
    Deleted user
    Anonymous wrote:

        Then the broker told us we spent as much time on an "initial look" as some of the "professional" surveyors usually spent.

        We have many examples of "things to watch out for", already in a presentation. 

        After you find the "hopeful one", by having given a "close first look", you'll need a real professional surveyor.  We know a truly good one in the DC / Annapolis / Bay area, willing to travel. 

        I'll add some items about what to look for in a surveyor.

        Anyone interested?


    Remember that brokers are there as your agent and once you buy a boat, they get their commission as payment for working with you.  Don't waste anybody's (their or your) time, but don't feel pressured to buy something you're not comfortable with just to satisfy them. They work for you after all.

    It would be best to start a new topic in this forum and put your detailed surveying tips and tricks there along with input from other members.  You can attach files to forum posts, so feel free to upload your presentation.

    How to choose a surveyor and a recommendation for one you have worked with are always welcome as new topics too!  It's best to spread out and keep topics focused.  Forum moderators will help keep things organized for everybody's sanity. ;-)

    If you have a whole lot of information on one or many topics, like to write, and need an outlet, let me know privately and maybe we can arrange something else.

  • 24 Jun 2019 2:16 PM
    Reply # 7640794 on 5737527

    David, & others,

    I just joined PSC, and live in Lancaster, PA. I have only owned a sunfish & a 25' N American in the past, the latter having to be moored as it was a bear to trailer.  I am looking for something that I can easily trailer & sail in PA lakes as well as the Chesapeak. I don't think I'll do overnighting but wouldn't mind a small cabin.  My research has led me to consider Catalina 16.5 & 22Sport, Hunter 15, 18 or 22, & Montgomery 17. I have the funds to buy any of these but for general frugalness would prefer a used on in good shape.

    Any major comments on the choices but more importantly where would a good place be to look for these for sale?

    Thank you, Peter C

  • 25 Jun 2019 7:17 AM
    Reply # 7651959 on 5737527
    Robert (Administrator)

    Hi Peter,

    Welcome to the PSC.  The Club uses Catalina Capri 22's for the river fleet.  They are easy to maintain and trailer-able.  Parts are plentiful and they are a perfect day sailor.  If you do some 'marina shopping' you will likely come across someone who is selling, especially when we get towards the end of the season.

    You can do a general search online, for example, here is a listing for one out of NC.

    https://www.sailboatlistings.com/view/79996

    You are welcome to come out on Wednesday nights to see if this boat fits the bill.

    Rob,

    Last modified: 25 Jun 2019 7:19 AM | Robert (Administrator)
  • 01 Aug 2019 6:50 PM
    Reply # 7808322 on 5737527
    Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Peter, any of those boats will serve you well, but on a lake in Pennsylvania you may enjoy something smaller that will sail well in a breath of wind, Pennsylvania hills tend to interfere with the breeze.    Smaller boats are also easier to trailer and store.  

          Several of the boats you mentioned all fit in the "pocket cruiser" category of boats big enough to sleep aboard, though just barely.  If you plan to camp aboard some nights, a Catalina or South Coast with a pop top are much more comfortable than the Capri 22s we use for training, and the swing keel on them is easier to trailer.  

        Boats under 20 feet are usually not suitable for sleeping aboard (West Wright Potter being an exception)...which would lead me back to a smaller, light wind boat for the lake.  The smaller Hunters and Catalina are all well supported and easy to deal with.  You could probably get an older Lightning, Thistle or 420 for about the same price, they are much more sprightly boats in light wind and have excellent support from the racing community.

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