Newbie to boating - advice?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Jm fails, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. Perkyshai
    Joined: Dec 2012
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    Location: Norman, OK

    Perkyshai Perkyshai

    Hi folks!
    I am an absolute newbie to sailing, and I appreciate the information in this thread, particularly the books and course suggestions.

  2. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Dang Fast Fred, the name is worth that, LOL, really sounds like a decent deal! I know I'd be ahead buying yours than doing a project on the Luger! But the draft is too much and I'm not in your neighborhood...:mad:

    I'm new again to sailing as well after years of buying fuel. I'm also thinking along the same lines ofa project as that's all I can get as a deal in the midwest. Boats are higher here, less competition for sellers and only a few players in the game.

    I'll assume you want at least the 27' for enough room for the family and know what you need.

    As others have said, you'll be dollars ahead getting a boat ready to go, if you want a project, get a good boat full of teak, you'll have plenty of projects. Updating can be an ongoing project with any boat, just takes time and money and you can always improve something.

    With my limited sailboat knowledge, I'll try to answer more specifically.

    Sail inventory, good sails are crisp, they crackel a little when you wad them up a little. Look for worn spots along the edges and seams.

    Lines should be decent too, not frayed or chaffed from blocks, etc.
    Check stays and wires. Rigging hardware is or can be very expensive, I'd check for slop or tightness of bearings with everything that turns.

    Look at the deck and hull connections and inspect for cracking, lose connections. There is a difference between surface cracking in the gel coat like hair line cracks and cracks in the decking especially at stress points, the latter being a concern. Check the bottom for the same around shaft/engine mounts. Rudder as well and how it is hung, after looking at some day sailors and off shore boats you'll see the difference in how rudders are connected and I'd say go with the heaviest design with sufficient hardware. If there are blisters see how deep they are, if the fiberglass is boiled up get an estimate.
    Check the mast step at the bottom of the mast, splits, cracks and if other crap has been added like shims of plywood as an after market do it yourself repair for a problem.

    Check keel bolts and for cracks around the hull from running aground, I'm not concerned with surface flaws as much as damage. Ask what bottom coatings/paint has been used and research it as mixing bottom paints and zincs can be a mess requiring it to be stripped.

    If the bilge stinks you could have a problem with plumbing. Check tanks and fittings. Water stains might indicate leaks. I tap on tanks to see if rust falls off if old metal tanks.

    I tap on about everything including and especially the the hull to hear dead spots. Walk the deck for soft spots, if you can press in on the deck you have a poorly built boat or a problem.

    I'd check electrical connections, they should be tight and clean and wiring should be in a chase or bound securely, not running all over the place with electrical tape over sloppy splices. You'll see if there was a good wiring job at the panel, everything secured, clean and labeled.

    Run the engine. I'm thinking that oil in the bottom may not be a big deal with diesels, normal, it's when oil is sprayed on the sides or top of the compartment that indicates oil is going places it should not be. Check mounts and look for leaking stuffing boxes...may not have these issues with a 27 footer.

    Like anything else, how clean the boat is will be a reflection on how well it was maintained in areas you can't see. Most project boats I see are full of trash, junk, clothes, jackets or other crap and if it isn't related to working on it, I stop looking. An abused boat is usually dirty, trashy and full of junk as the owner is too lazy to clean it out to show it and probably too lazy to care for anything, IMO.

    I'm sure I have missed tons of stuff, may have made some errors according to the experts here, I'm no expert, barely past brand new, but that's what I'd look for.

    Getting someone to go with you is your best bet. I would not pay for a survey for a project boat....usually, I'd get estimates on deficiences found. A survey does not guarantee anything, nor do any other inspectors.

    Well, tried to help....some, but you're probably like me, finding a good hull, deck, rigging and interior stuff doesn't mean you will get a good boat. Most folks here have sailed many boats for many years, design and build them, it's how it was constructed and the design that makes a good boat, not the decals and eye wash. What I think might look good might be a really bad sailboat, since I like narrow with little draft, you want just the opposite for blue waters.

    I'd suggest what was suggested to me, define the purpose first, where you will be sailing and what the boat must do and that will take you to the right design more than style. Mine has to be an easy one to single hand as a newbie, that means no kecth or tall rigs carrying multiple sheets flying, KISS is where us newbies need to be.

    I'm asking similar questions about a project about a Voyager, I'm getting an idea of costs of stuff from ebay and used boat equipment suppliers. Check on prices from everything from the wind indicator to bottom paints before you decide to get a project. I'm planning on at least four times the cost of the boat, 8k for a 2k boat....but probably more!
    Joined: Apr 2010
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    I see several thoughtful answers here from experienced boaters.
    So added is a further 2 cents from 50 years of sailing, USCG SAR time and much design, use and building of simple traditional boats.
    You speak of 'boat' as if they were basically all the same, only differing in detail. I may be reading your post incorrectly but this is what it seems to say.
    How is a semi-truck different from a Maserati, a cab over delivery truck, a Tesla speedster, a Prius, a VW van, a Porsche?
    That is how different boats are from each other. Each is designed for its own job and reality.
    Ask yourself two questions.
    a. What do you want the boat to do for you?
    b. See item (a) above.
    This is very hard for most newbies to answer since they have such vague ideas about the reality of water, wind, family cooperation, budget, time and all the other realities that make up boat owning and use.
    What does the boat do for me?
    How is it satisfying or practical?
    Give you a project to exercise organizational and hand skills and show off craftsmanship?
    Provide a safe haven to cruise Florida waters with your family? (How many, what ages, what skills and attitudes? How long the cruises and where? All these decide the right boat.)
    Cross blue water to the Isles of the Blessed, wherever that is?
    Have a teak deck and a steward with endless mint juleps delivered to the deck chair while you view the passing throng?
    Many people acquire vessels that wind up in the 'acres of wasted wealth' that constitute most modern marinas, seldom used because they are not realistic about the question above.
    I strongly recommend you research cheap simple boats specifically suited to the thin waters of Florida and this is a good place to start.
    Ruell's boats are suited to family cruising in the waters of your state, while a fin-keel production boat bought used and trashed you may be considering is quite a bit less so.
    Manufacturers have to please the herd and often their offerings are design compromises with mediocre sea-keeping qualities due to racing influence and manufacturing short cuts that show up when the boat has been neglected.
    Some few are outstanding stout good boats but most are suited to narrow uses like weekend racing or a night at anchor close to home.
    Forget everything you think you know and start over and practical solutions will appear.
    Here are some alternative shallow draft interesting boats just to show the range.
    If what you want is just another racing-influenced plastic bleach bottle, by all means buy a Beneteau or the like, but if you want to cruise shallow water where things are interesting, check out what others have used.
    If you are cruising to the Isles of Enchantment and Dusky Maidens, think heavy displacement and lots of water and food, plus expensive electronics and more, plus the room to actually live for months at a time.
    The best sailing and cruising is usually close to home, and to me that means shallow draft for Florida.
    I just sold my last Florida lot...

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  4. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Straight answers are few and far between on this site!
  5. FMS
    Joined: Jul 2011
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    FMS Senior Member

    There is no straight answer for a project boat. Visit a marina year after year and you will see the project boats that didn't get completed. Very infrequently can someone who is not an expert at doing this stick to a budget, and nine times out of ten it turns into more of a project than was planned. I am glad to read that JM knows it will not be cheap and wants to do it for the sake of doing it. This is a spirit that is disappearing.

  6. Chenier
    Joined: Oct 2012
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    Location: Massachusetts

    Chenier Junior Member

    I recently bought a boat the size that the original poster was considering (27) at the recent Mass Maritime 'donated boat' silent clsed- bid auction, for under $5k. I have had numerous smaller sailboats and still do, and have experience with fiberglass and such, but for this I had a knowledgable person with me who helped narrow down the candidates, with particular attention to engines and electronics, which I'm less comfortable assessing.

    The one I finally ended up was an 80's boat with had a very decent Yanmar, and came with pretty much everything, including newer sails with a fully battened main and roller jib; radar, sonar, gps tracking, autopilot, pedestal stealing; stove & electric fridge; hot&cold incl cockpit shower; inverter. Hull and deck looked good, and the boat, while not glamourous, has a reputation for at least being sturdy. This oneveven came with fenders, shore power cord, newer dodger and cushions, and such - pretty complete.

    The semi-annual auction is a two day weekend thing, and after a first walk-through Saturday, that night I research that boat ( and some others) on-line and saw that a prior owner until 5 years ago had been active in the Owner's assn and had discussed progress on projects on an on- line forum up until he sold it to the more recent owner, with pics and all. It was an interesting history of upgrades, including new head and fittings, fuel tank upgrades, new rigging ( then), redone sole, etc.

    The boat had a shoal keel which was fine for where I'm intending to use it (south Florida).

    The Mass Maritime auction is over for the Fall, but each May and Nov they have some interesting new stuff. And the backdrop is that your purchase dollars are.going to a good cause. If you look at their site now you can see what didn't sell at all this time around. The prices indicted are 'book' and they have an unpublished reserve, that in these left - over cases obviously was not met. The folks running it have a good reputation for being knowledgeable and forthright.

    It's too soon to know if this was the smart way to go, but considering the price and the cause, one might do worse.
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