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Old 07-22-2004, 06:11 PM
natdoggy231990 natdoggy231990 is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2004
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Location: Washinton, US
fixer upper sailboats

HI i am a very inexperienced young sailor and i am looking to buy a cheap (0-$4000) 20-30 ft boat and put around $1000 dollars into fixing it up. Feel free to give sugestions on boat models that would be good or any ideas at all

Thanks \
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Old 07-23-2004, 02:17 AM
bobkatz bobkatz is offline
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Location: Mid-Atlantic - Virginia
Fixing or sailing?

Nathan - while I really encourage you to look for a used sailboat, your 3 criteria:: to find one in the 20' - 30' range; for under $4k; and only put $1k into are, for the most part, mutually exclusive, if not one-in-a-million, hehe! You see, that kind of boat will most likely need a lot of "scrape, sand, paint, rewire, scrape, sand, varnish, fix all the terrible wooden things" - oh and did I mention "scrape and sand?" Hmmm! - then there's the business of SAILING!

If you really want to sail and learn more then I'd go to the closest Yacht Club on any race day and see if you can get "a ride" as crew even if it's "rail meat" to begin with. Not only will you learn each position in turn you will have a chance to sail on a variety of boats with a variety of skippers. Being a skipper is an awesome responsibility (and we can assume you will be your own one day) and learning from others mistakes is the fastest way I can think of, hehe! Also, racing puts you in critical situations where you have a limited amount of time to think and must act fast. And several times every race day! There is no better training than that even if you only intend to cruise.

Oh just in case you were wondering, the crew on every boat (even the America's Cup) is encouraged to come down and help - yes - SCRAPE AND SAND, paint and varnish. So you won't be too disappointed!

In the mean time, many people who are getting on in years but really don't want to part with their beloved boat might welcome the opportunity to sell a percentage of it to some "young blood" where you could be putting your work to use on a, say, $80k boat. The Yacht Clubs are a great place to network and prove yourself. Just a suggestion. Depends on how good a salesman you are and - if you can back it up, heh!

Good luck! Oh, and congratulations on picking the best sport in the world with some of the best sportspeople in the world! IMHO!

Chef Bob
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Old 07-23-2004, 06:28 AM
CDBarry CDBarry is offline
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Buy a Thunderbird
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Old 07-24-2004, 11:44 AM
dougfrolich dougfrolich is offline
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A Santana 22 or Ranger 23 would fit your req. They are great boats too!!!
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Old 07-24-2004, 04:48 PM
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Do yourself a big favor, don't buy a big "fixer upper" for a first boat. I tell you this out of experience, and not just my own experience. You may not know it yet but what you want is something small and easy to maintain. The cost of maintaining boats, and the time spent maintaing it, goes up exponentally with boat length. You will be a lot happier sailing a 17-20 ft boat than you will be sitting at the docks working on a 30 ft boat. A small boat you can keep on a trailer rather than paying for a slip or mooring. That alone will save you at least $1000 a year. I think you should be looking for something like a Holder 20. You can pick one up for around $3000 in good shape with a trailer.
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Old 07-24-2004, 09:45 PM
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PAR PAR is offline
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Nathan, you'll want to learn, mess-up, tear sails, run into hard sharp objects with something easily dragged off a sand bar, by hand, all the while trying to not look embarrassed, in a boat that is easily transportable, launch and to care for.

Your budget is quite nice for a beginner so you'll have the chance to have a pretty nice boat, but what boat? You've not a clue what to buy, so you've come here. Mono hulls, catamarans, tri's, all rather confusing for someone interested, but lacking some real experience. This is the key.

Experience. Getting on boats with sails, learning how they work and how to work them. The local sailing club is a great way to get rides as crew on many different types and classes of small sailers.

The best part is, once you've been aboard several different boats, sailing under different wind strengths and sea conditions, seen how some "skippers" handle situations and the boat compared to others, you'll have a much better idea of the type of boat you want. More importantly, what type of sailing you'll want to do! You'll also have made friends with like minded folks who would love to race you.

Don't let anyone talk you into "their" boat, because "it's the best" or "it the most fun for the buck" as all sailors have their own idea of the best boat (they get this opinion from THEIR experience) and you can rest assured it will not be the same as yours.

Small daysailers (less then 18') will reward you with quick response to sail trim and helm movements, larger craft as a general rule are slower to react so the learning curve is longer. Nothing teaches you faster about boat handling then a boat capable of dunking you in the drink when you mess up real bad.

Don't spend you whole wad of cash on the boat as ALL boats new from the factory or used will require some additional cash outlay for "stuff" by the experienced skipper.

Personally I'd be looking in the 12' to 15' range for the first boat. Pick one that's known to be forgiving, but has some performance ability so you'll not grow bored with it too quickly. Talk with the local guys down at the sailing club and ask them how they learned (they love that) tell them how good they are (they love that even more) and never forget to tell them how nice their boat looks. After you've buttered them up properly they'll have all kinds of advice for you. Pretend as if you really are paying attention, but use your own instincts, because by the time you are ready to buy a boat, you'll have some experience, some know-how, you'll have likes and dislikes about different boats and the way they sail, are set up and a bunch of stuff you don't yet understand.

You'll understand soon enough, because sailing is pretty easy and intuitive stuff. Beating other boats like the one you're sailing on a race course is different, that requires lots of skill and a good measure of luck. You'll get both, I can tell.

Always name your first boat after your mother. I'm not sure why, but nasty things can happen if you fool around with the boat name gods, trust me . . .
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Old 07-25-2004, 08:55 AM
SeaDrive SeaDrive is offline
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1. Choice of boat is dependent on location. Is the water warm or cold? Shallow or deep? Is the wind strong? Are marinas plentiful? Expensive? Is there a good boat ramp nearby?

2. In most boating areas, there are self-help type sailing clubs where dues are low and it's easy to get to know people.

3. I agree with the advice above that the 20-30 foot range is big for a beginning sailor.
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Old 07-26-2004, 01:30 AM
Kevin Schmidt
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I've just about finished restoring a fixer upper. The deck is completed... and just need to sand an paint the lower floor. It is a flying dutchman so a fairly simple boat and my only advice to you would be GIVE YOURSELF TIME. I budgeted 5 weeks of just evenings and weekends and it was a real push. Many nights I was cutting and sanding past midnight. It was a fun project if you have the time and patience, but don't fool yourself into thinking you'll be sailing this summer if the boat requires a lot of work.

As another poster put it, the sanding takes forever!

If you are interested, I have documented the first half of my project on my website. (Then I realized I was running out of time so I stopped updating the site... after my sailing trip this week I will put the rest of the pictures I took up)
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Old 09-09-2004, 01:51 PM
Mark 42
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Be very careful about fixer uppers.

Unless you have a trusted friend with a lot of experience in boat maintenance, repair, and preferably even building, you are taking a big risk.

The book at this URL is very helpful (well written too)

I own a San Juan 24, which is a great boat to buy in need of
maintenance and then fix up. It is a fixed keel, which limits trailerability.

The Thunderbird is a nice boat, but need to be inspected closely,
especially the wooden ones. They are also fixed keel.[1].gif

Others than come to mind:
Cal 20 & 25
Catalina 22
Venture / Macgregor 21, 22, 222, 23, 25 & 26
San Juan 21, 23, 24, 7.7, 26
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Old 09-30-2004, 12:27 PM
seamonkey seamonkey is offline
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Location: vancouver,canada
in the northwest,san jauns will fit your initial spec's,,as long as you've got decent sails ,,,motor..,,,you should be able to do what you need to stay in budget for the first year,,,,,,,,,,,,except.........MOORAGE at shilshole or anywhere will blow the budget BIGTIME!!!!!,,,let alone some more for insurance!!
I had a SJ24 in vancouver--the moorage cost 50% of boat value per year!!!!--think about it---I like people's advice above!!--don't bury yourself in re-building yet,,,crew other people's money-pits!,,,,,watch out for one of the beautiful 20-30' trailer launchers that are getting increasingly popular (for some reason!!!).
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Old 09-30-2004, 01:56 PM
dan coyle dan coyle is offline
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Location: 7800', New Mexico, US
I would second the suggestion to look at the Venture/Macgregor boats for dirt cheap decent entry level boats. And if you don't get wood, you can go sailing instead of sanding.
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Old 12-15-2004, 06:39 PM
Ol Bill
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A reply to the guy thinking about getting a "fixer Upper". I run a group for the Siren 17'2". The Siren is big enough to over night with 2, small enough to trailer like a dream. Affordable. Great support group. Challenging enough to keep your eyes wide open, stable enough that beginners have learned on them; however be sure and reef if learning. They are to the tender/sporty side for a micro cruiser.

Feel free to come visit us, and hang out if you like:

Ol Bill
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Old 12-16-2004, 01:29 AM
mattotoole mattotoole is offline
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Location: Potomac MD, USA
A Cal 20 would be right up your alley! Great sailing boat, active racing fleets, seaworthy, and cheap!

I can vouch for the Santana 22 also, having rented them a lot way back when.
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Old 12-18-2004, 09:41 PM
tspeer tspeer is offline
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Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA
One BOAT buck (Break Out Another Thousand) doesn't go very far with a 30 ft boat.

For a new boat, the total cost of ownership will be roughly twice the payment on the boat. This is includes moorage/storage, licensing, insurance, maintenance, and saving toward big ticket items like new motor and sails. Very few of these items get cheaper with a fixer-upper.

I totally agree with getting a used boat. But you want one that is in pretty good shape to begin with. There will still be enough items to fix and things you want to change.

I suggest you start crewing on other people's boats. This has several advantages: it doesn't cost you anything, you get to see what you like and don't like in a variety of boats, you learn the kinds of boats that are best for where and how you sail, and you start to build a network that can put you onto a good deal. The best deals are never advertised. A guy starts mentioning that he's thinking of selling his boat, and word gets around. Or somebody hasn't used his boat in years but never put it up for sail, and the guys in the fleet will tell you, "Talk to ___ - he hasn't ben active in some time, and might be willing to sell his boat." You also hear stories about the history of all the boats in the fleet.
Tom Speer
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Old 12-19-2004, 10:34 AM
mattotoole mattotoole is offline
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Natdoggy, which "Washington" are you from -- the state, or DC? With this info, you might get some good suggestions -- either what to look for locally, or actual boats for sale.
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