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I am based in Marlborough and after so many years dreaming of sailing I am now decided to get into it!

Having the Marlborough Sounds just at our door step seems just to easy!

I am planning to go cruising with my young family over the weekend (kids 7 & 4).

I have settled on the idea of getting a trailer sailer probably around 20'.

I have spent hours reading and searching the web but I still have many questions:

My budget is of around $10,000 but not much more.

I have a Subaru Forester 2.5 with a tow bar rated 700kg unbraked and 1400kg braked. It looks like one of the major deciding factor is the towing capacity of the vehicle and also having a trailer in good condition. Therefore I have been wondering if a water ballasted design such as the Jim Young 6 is a good option to keep the load trailer + yacht + gears as low as possible so my Subaru could tow it easily?

Also lighter boat means lighter and simpler trailer so cheaper and less trouble, is that right?

Many people seem to argue over the ply vs. GRP and the only Young 6 (seems in very nice condition from what I can see on trademe) I found is ply as it think this is the only material it is built out of.

I would obviously consider any other design with fix ballast such as bonito 22, Farr 6000, Tasman 20, or else but I am worried the weight could be an issue to tow it easily and hopefully travel a bit like to Abel Tasman or Lake Rotoiti???


Finally, I am planning to do the Day Skipper course to learn the good basics of navigation plus go on Tuesday to the Waikawa weekly races to learn good sailing technics with experience crew. Any other suggestion on how I should begin?

Thanks in advance for the tips.


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Hi Damien? I grew up sailing on trailer yachts in the sounds, a Noelex 25 to be precise. I still race a trailer yacht here now, more on the sport end though (which I towed with a WRX for a while). I'

Also, the compound at Waikawa costs $103/month. Might be worth doing even just for a few months of summer. Does make using the boat much easier, and therefore you will much more often. I would also be


davidson m20,plenty of room,sail reasonable ok,not too heavy,had one for 2 yrs and bit caught out in stuff weather i should of been home,like all trailer sailors,rigging derigging is a pain,fortunately we had a place to leave it rigged. For 10k you can buy a reactor 25 or similar but then mooring required.

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I brought a Venturer 20 about a year ago but soon upgraded to a Sabre 20. The sabre has so much more cabin room and feels a lot more capable. Small cockpit but that doesn't worry me at all. I think the bonito 22 is a nice yacht but the layout doesn't utilise the space very well in my opinion. A boat park is well worth the money if there is one handy. Setting up a trailer sailer takes up precious time and is a hassle no matter how good the set up is. The benefit of a TS is that you can bring it home and do all your maintenance economically. I would look at as many as you can before buying

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Welcome Damien.
I think you have to be the most pre prepared future sailor I have ever seen here on Crew. You have covered all the bases really well. Best of wishes on your search.
I had a quick look on trademe and I reckon this one would be a great buy of you bidded $10K and managed to get it for that. I don't think I have ever seen such a well prepared Boat. It has everything you would want and well fitted out for a small family that wants to overnight or even a week or two in the Sounds.
Otherwise a Tasman 20 would be a good choice. There are so many great little Trailersailers around.
And if you get a Boat and start cruising the Sounds, keep an eye out for us and knock on the Hull anytime.

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The forester will tow 2000kg no problem. You can likely get the local tow are place to certify the bar for up to 2000kg quite easily. The issue is braking, and not many of the smaller boats have trailer brakes - makes a huge difference to safety on the road. More complex and costlier on the downside. A trailer park is the go for easy use. Many trailer yachts are used a bit when purchased, then sit at home under the covers, as it's too hard to tow and rig.

Kim youngs boats are good, but there will be more maintenance with a ply boat. I'd pick that or the Farr though.

The sounds is great, just keep a weather eye out all the time, and listen to the forecasts. You'll have a great time, and some memorable family adventures :-)

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+1 on the Young. I have a friend (experienced sailor) with a Y 5.7 who has sailed his out to the Barrier from Auckland on a couple of occasions. The Ron Given Joker 6.7 is also water ballasted and a good performer. A ply boat in good condition is relatively simple to keep on top of maintenance wise, especially if its kept under cover,but if you're not good at that, go for glass.


Try to find a boat that has been in continuous usage and kept maintained, rather than some old dunga thats been sitting in someones back yard half full of rain water for 10 years. You may pay a little more but a well found example should contain less unpleasant surprises. Also make sure the trailer is good. A new one will cost thousands. 

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Thank you all for your speedy reply and advise!!! Much appreciated.

I understand the pain it can cause to set up mast and rigs but I understand to try to keep sailing on a budget is the price to pay. My view is to start with a TS to experience sailing properly and who knows I could always upgrade at later stage if I have the virus??

Here the link for the Young 6. It seems in very good condition but I am unsure of trailer. I am in touch with the seller.




In regards to towing weight, with my car I am not planning to change it seems that water ballast is the only way to go? Are they any other lighter TS that could be towed by my Subaru Forester??

A couple other which look great but heavier:

Tasman 20 seems very heavy???


Farr 6000 a bit dearer but hopefully negotiable:


Bonito 22 seems quite heavy though:



This one you advice wheels looks like it still need a bit of work to tidy it up and quite big to tow???



Also, what are the must have gears (safety and others) I need to consider to sail comfortably?


And suggestion sailing training? Day skipper course? Proper sailing lessons? Waikawa races on Tuesday night with experienced skipper?


Thanks all!!! Always keen to get help from passionate and knowledgeable people!

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Tasman 20s are heavy. You'd tow the Farr ok, (boat is 885kg, + trailer) provided you don't put heaps of gear into it! All those ads will be negotiable I reckon.

The trailer is VERY important. A new one will cost close to your total budget. They often rust from the inside out, so issues can be hidden if not very closely inspected.

Go to your local yacht club and see if they run adult learn to sail, they should be happy to help!

You need to go and look at the ones you are interested in - one will stand out for you :-)

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