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Good beginner boats?

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Hi all,

 

Finally got my account activated, yay!

 

I'm very new to sailing (recently finished a class), and just starting to look up boats. I'm looking for something that's easy to sail and safe for coastal sailing with the wife/family. I see the Southerly 23 listed for pretty cheap (about $5k on avg, is that right?) but I've seen mixed reviews from forums and other places. The Variant also looks good, but a bit more expensive (around $7k average?).

 

I'm also keeping my eyes on Tracker 7.7, Reactor 25, Raven 26, and Farr 727, but those are a lot more expensive and I'm not sure if it's worth the investment for a first boat.

 

Thoughts/info/recommendations would be appreciated. Keep in mind that I'm a complete beginner. Also, I definitely don't want a trailer-sailer, as I've heard that they're a bit harder to sail and/or not quite as safe.

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Add the S&S 24 to your list to watch for.

 

Ah, right, yeah I forgot about them since I can't seem to find any of them on trademe.

 

Do you guys know what are the benefits of the more expensive boats (Tracker, Reactor, etc) in comparison to the cheaper ones (Southerly, Variant)? Does it have anything to do with safety or ease of handling?

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As someone who's recently gone through the same process, my best advice is to get on a few and have a look around - you'll quickly start to see big differences in things like cockpit space, headroom etc.

 

Ravens for example are really roomy inside - great for sailing with the family - but perhaps at the expense of a bit of performance. Variants have bugger all headroom, but they're great value and very stable/safe little boats. My partner recently sold his for about 5k so you can pick them up pretty cheap. Reactors have a reputation for being incredibly seaworthy little boats - many have sailed oceans - but I found them a little too cramped for my liking, etc etc.

 

Have a sail on them too if you can - you'd be surprised how many complete strangers will be happy to take you out for a quick sail so you can see how their boat handles! Try the class associations for contacts.

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Sweet, yeah, that's a great advice actually, I should at least give them a look and see what they're like. My family and our immediate relative are relatively short (I'm 5'6", wife's 5'2"), so headroom's not an issue. Space isn't a big deal either as it'll be 99% of the time just me or me and the wife.

 

Curiously, what did you end up buying?

 

I see such a big variation in prices between even the same type of boats (for instance, Reactors going for 10k to 15k; Ravens for 10k to 20k), it scares me just thinking about what could be wrong with the cheaper ones, while at the same time I have to keep in mind that it may perhaps be a bargain. So scary.......

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Im not sure if there will be any in your price range, but H28's are good little cruisers and they wont scare the family.

 

A friend of a friend actually has an H28 for sale, but the asking price is $26k, which is about 15-20k out of my price range, hahaha. :cry:

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Im not sure if there will be any in your price range, but H28's are good little cruisers and they wont scare the family.

 

A friend of a friend actually has an H28 for sale, but the asking price is $26k, which is about 15-20k out of my price range, hahaha. :cry:

 

'Asking prices' and 'Sale prices' are two completely different monsters in todays market. Offer him $10K and see what happens - you might be surprised.

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I think BB has it right, go suss and see what 'fits' you best.

 

Don't forget that when you do that try to imagine what it would be like at the end of the second day of totally crap wet weather. That's when lots of space suddenly isn't quite enuff, especially with kids aboard. And while pondering that also remember a damn good boom tent can make a lot if knot all of the cockpit a very viable living space even in crap weather.

 

I wouldn't rush into a purchase just at the moment but it something comes up grab it. I think prices won't rise for a while even if a lot of the boats mentioned have been pretty much the same price for many years now and will probably stay similar for many more, assuming the boat is looked after. So I don't see any price rise pressure to worry about.

 

The main differences between a lot of the boats you mention are only space and speed. Obviously the bigger faster cost more than the slower smaller.

 

But here's an interesting thing I ran into just last week which could be of interest to you. I have a R930 so a 31ft yacht. She has OK room and performance. I happened to be rowing past a random boat and got the call to come aboard for a beer as the dude recognised me and I did something good for him he tells me. Being a thirsty sort of a dude I did. His boat was also a 31ft yacht, a bit older and knot as fast but when talking space the difference was massive. We can swing a decent sized kitten yet he could easily swing a full grown lion. Outside they looked similar but inside was like hopping from a 30fter to a 40fter. The morel of that dribble is 'Don't judge a book by it's cover'. So don't write a boat off by thinking it looks to small from the outside, you could be horribly wrong.

 

And if you see one you like make a silly offer, at worst case all you'll hear is 'No try again' but you, as a few have over the last year or 2, may just hear 'Oh, OK then'.

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