Taking the Plung

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Big_JP
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Taking the Plung

Postby Big_JP » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:16 pm

Hi Guys,

Hope everyone is keeping safe during this lockdown.

I was just hoping to get some general advice from everyone. With he lockdown I have decided to take the plunge and (when this is over and is save to do so) finally think seriously about buying my own boat. I have being crewing on yachts in my spare time for the last few years and sailing on dinghys for as long as I can remember so it only feels natural to take this step!

I have not got much cash, but i'm in a fortunate position where my current outgoings are limited enough that this is affordable. I am looking at buying a Sadler 32 or something of a simalar style. I'm 22 now and its being a dream of mine to cross the Atlantic for the Caribbean by the time I am 30.

So to stop rambling. my questions are...

my budget for the boat is around £20,000 to £25,000 I can see a lot of boats in this price range online with a array of equipment onboard suitable for Bluewater cruising such as plotter, radio, Solar panels, AIS receiver, good living space. Assuming it is all in good working order would it be naive of me to think I would not need to replace this equipment?

I will defiantly be sailing around costal waters of the UK for a few years before this so that should give me time to work out any issues that need fixing.

Thanks for taking the time to read this, anything you can think to say to help would be much appreciated. Perhaps all the waiting at the moment is making me dream a bit to big!

Thanks,

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claymore
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby claymore » Sun Apr 19, 2020 6:10 pm

Welcome,
At 22 you have time on your side and perhaps need to list your priorities?
It isn't the buying of a boat that is the tricky part - it is the running of it that will run away with your pennies.
My advice would be to wait a while - the current coronacrisis will produce results we haven't even dreamed of yet - give it 18 months then see how you are fixed.
Do some dinghy sailing - its much less costly and the skills you pick up will serve you well when you get on something bigger.
Sail with someone else who can be trusted and who will teach you
Good luck
Regards
Claymore
:goatd

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BlowingOldBoots
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:29 am

I skippered a yacht across the Atlantic at 24 and various other long distance sails before that as skipper or first mate, 41' LOA was the largest yacht. I would very much agree with Claymore. I learned to sail a dinghy when at school, windsurfed and basically understood the process within a year. I had done my Competent Crew by 15. The point is that I was sailing mad, every weekend in a dinghy, mostly at Strathclyde Country Park. That level of intensity makes you comfortable with sailing and the natural elements, to an extent. Later I sailed on 29' yachts in the Clyde crewing on races. I did not learn much from that except that being told where to go and when to go was not my cup of tea. I did a lot of dinghy cruising at sea later.

Your choice of boat looks reasonable. Consider this, there was a time when all the stuff we have on yachts now, simply did not exist, it was a far simpler affair and hence lower cost, yet just as safe, maybe even safer because one had doubt and compensated for that doubt. After learning to dinghy sail, I would recommend that your yacht should be minimalist - focus on integrity, not instruments, autohelms or navigation systems, heaters, massive chargers and battery banks, solar panels, water makers, AIS etc etc. It is all a distraction and big hole for the funds. You need a water tight hull, good rigging, good sails, solid steering gear a Knox anchor, warp rode and decent running rigging. Cookers are low cost.

My point is, learn to sail, keep it simple, keep the costs down by focussing on what you really need, not what you want. Sailing is easy and it does not have to be expensive to maintain.
BlowingOldBoots

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BlowingOldBoots
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:32 am

Duplicated my post! Deleted.
BlowingOldBoots

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Big_JP
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby Big_JP » Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:51 pm

Thanks guys,

Not sure I mentioned in the OP but I’m a qualified dinghy instructor, sailing most weekends (or was before the virus) I just have ambitions beyond my local waters haha.

Done a lot of crewing during races but it’s a lot of getting shouted at and told where to go. I’m not learning loads as there isn’t much time to think about what’s happening.

Good to hear that I wasn’t being optimistic about thinking this could be done with simple equipment. People at my local club seem to think it would be mad to buy a older boat without fancy electronics. But as you said, people have done this for a long tine without. Is there anything you’d consider essential to ensure is there?

When looking at boats, is there a “base level” to look for condition wise? Will a slightly worn hulk make a difference?


Any more insights about this would be much appreciated!

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BlowingOldBoots
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby BlowingOldBoots » Mon Apr 20, 2020 9:17 pm

Great you can sail, so just the boat bit to sort out.

A Start
Two books I would recommend that can be bought on the second market for the fraction of a price of new. Both books are by acknowledged experts in small craft surveying: -

1. Surveying Small Craft, Ian Nicolson
2. Surveying Yachts and Small Craft, Paul Stevens

In my opinion both books compliment each other and the guys have been active for decades surveying small craft and UK market as well. I also recommend https://www.morganscloud.com (actually called Attainable Adventure Cruising). It is a subscription service, not a forum, so don't expect any debate. The site owner researches aspects of offshore sailing and relies heavily on real world sailing experience when making judgements on sailing matters; it is a respected source of information. Right now he has an online book (a series of articles) 'Planning and Budgeting a Refit'. Loads of other on line books on relevant stuff. For good source of how to articles try Compass Marine https://www.pbase.com/mainecruising/boat_projects This person is skilled and makes good quality data in an accessible format. Also go to Cox Engineering http://coxeng.co.uk This bloke has done great research on yacht issues and diligently logged them. He writes for the yachting press and is an ex metallurgist with a passion for sailing engineering stuff.

A good grounding from these two books and the webs sites listed will allow you to make a fair assessment of any second hand older, GRP, boat you may wish to look at. Better to rely on your own wits than well meaning folks who may not be as expert as they think.

A Way Forward
Only you can decide what size of boat is good enough for you. The Sadler is a fine hull that will take you far. The size you are looking at 32' I think is a great size for single handed or two up and also an economical size. Do not be tempted to go larger than 36' as even at 36' costs start to hit the turn of the curve towards exponential costs. The 34' adds a bit more room without the price hike, maybe.

Try and narrow down a few choices of types such as Rival, Westerly, Sigma, Contessa. In my opinion, the deeper forefoot hulls will give you a more comfortable ride but will heal more. I would not exclude a modern hull design (fatter stern, higher freeboard) if the price was right because they too will perform and heal less but may slap more and down wind they will be faster and sail more upright. You just have to learn to sail them differently from older hull designs.

Once you have decided on the boat, research it, find out everything you can about it. https://www.lucasyachting.co.uk/sadler-and-starlight/. Get a feel for the market and what you get for your money. It is quiet likely that you may find a version with new sails for less money than one with old sails, or new rigging. Do your own research!
the

Needs Not Wants
You need a sound hull, good sea cocks, stern gear that is not worn and a rudder that is not full of water. Strong standing rigging that is fairly new and the mast and deck attachments that are not worn out, cracked or leaking. Running rigging can be replaced but it suffers terribly from UV deterioration and can be costly to replace. Good sails are a must as old sails are not worth the hassle. The deck should be water tight from rain and sea spray, hence windows and hatches must be sound. Many old windows and hatches will simply be at the end of their life with seals deteriorated. Fresh water ingress kills wood. Hence if the boat has had leaky fittings, expect damaged wood below. That can be a big issue if it is bulkhead wood and expensive if it is seats, cupboards or lining. You do not need an anchor windlass and you do not need electronics beyond a VHF radio. Simple electrics are easy to maintain. Gas systems is something that needs careful review as boats around the Sadler age will have old or DIY gas systems. Cookers and heads are ten a penny these days. The mast and boom may be worn out, you need to have a straight mast and boom with no corrosion or worn sheaves. Corrosion can be around pop rivets and fittings, especially mast bases, booms can be worn at goosenecks and both booms and masts can get dented from accidental gybes or poor on shore handling. You do need a decent compass - no matter what people advise you. Engines may be OK but at this age expect something will need to be done: couplings, gearboxes, clutches, operating cables, cooling and exhaust systems. You may find a boat with a newish engine, that could be good.

What You Don't Need
Built in electronic navigation equipment, instruments for wind and boats speed, hot air heaters, pressurised water systems, self steering systems, solar panels and wind powered generators, a USB charger point in every nook and cranny, stack packs and lazy jacks, in mast reefing and roller furling headsails. The latter is so ubiquitous that it is likely to be fitted but it is not a Need, it is a want, so if it is not fitted it does not matter. All of these can be added after you have the needs taken care of the needs. So, if they break down, remove them from the boat if the needs are not addressed and only go to the wants after that. If you own a modern phone you have a complete navigation system at your finger tips.

I'll think of some more stuff.

Alastair
BlowingOldBoots

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Big_JP
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby Big_JP » Mon Apr 20, 2020 11:24 pm

That’s brilliant Alister,

Thanks for that, more information there than in hours of reading!

Very much appreciated

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claymore
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby claymore » Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:44 am

It was very comprehensive wasn't it?
I would disagree with one tiny element. It is safer, when on your own or short handed to be able to 'dial a sail' rather than going onto a bucking foredeck to change a sail.
It is 25 years since I was sailing back from the Isle of Man to Fleetwood in a biggish sea and falling breeze. I took the genoa up onto the foredeck and whilst changing sails we came off a wave top, I executed a single point landing (knee) on the most solid bit of boat in the area (Foredeck cleat) and it (knee) has never been right since..thank God I'm not a catholic.
Furling headsails are - in my view - a basic essential.
Regards
Claymore
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marisca
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby marisca » Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:42 am

I tend to agree with Claymore (there has to be a first time!) re furling headsails but in my opinion some means of hoisting another headsail is also advisable. Rolled headsailsails, aye, even those with a foam luff, tend to produce a horrible shape as they get smaller. I have a removable forestay for the storm jib which moves the centre of effort closer to the mast and on the rare occasions I need to use it gives good windward performance.
One of the things that put me off the Sadler 32 was the baby stay which seemed to get in the way when tacking and spinnaker gybing.
Just nosy, but which is your local club that values instruments so highly?

Big_JP
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby Big_JP » Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:41 am

I wouldn’t want to give a exact club name in case any of them use this as they could probably easily place me. But somewhere along the North east coast Humber area.

What do people think to the Sigma 33 compared to the Sadler 32? Seems to be a lot of these within my price range that claimed to have been well looked after.

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Nick
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby Nick » Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:00 pm

.
The Sigma 33 is a great boat, great fun to sail, but if you are buying one for cruising make sure it is a masthead rig - known as the 33C. I've sailed one quite a bit, but if it was a choice between it and the Sadler for offshore work I would definitely go for the Sadler (which I have also sailed, though less than the Sigma). You might also want to consider a Rival 34

. . . and if prices really tank after the pandemic, who knows, you might just pick up a Vancouver 32 within your budget. They are lovely boats.

The issue with all these designs is that the accommodation layout is rather old-fashioned, with a not too generous forepeak being the owners stateroom. However, if you are happy with this then you can get a good safe boat fit for offshore passages and have plenty left for upgrades and running expenses.

Otherwise, you might just pick up something like a Moody 34 or 346 just within your budget, a decently built boat with a good sized aft cabin.

One thing to look for in an older boat is a relatively new engine - there is nothing more frustrating than having a boat that sails really well but spending all your time nursing a decrepit engine.

Upgrades I would look at if you have money burning a hole in your pocket after the purchase of an older bargain are:

a) Removeable inner forestay for storm jib/staysail
b) Def. furling headsail, but maybe with a second heavier furling jib which can be rigged for longer offshore passages.
c) Cruising chute to get your relatively heavy old tub moving in light airs, with snuffer for tranquil operation
d) Radar if possible, otherwise or as well as, AIS transponder
e) Webasto (best) or Eberspacher for UK cruising, otherwise it;s a short season
f) Fridge for when the sun comes out or the butter melts
g) Lots of solar to power fridge and other goodies - consider a stern arch
h) The best anchor you can afford, with a decent windlass. 15Kg Spade or Knox is what I would recommend for the Sadler or the Rival

Looking forward to hear what you eventually purchase if we ever get out of this lockdown.
- Nick 8)

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wully
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby wully » Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:11 pm

Heater? Worth having here if you like being dry and warm....

Save a fortune if you must have a blown air one by fitting a Planer - Eberspacher/Webasto are massively overpriced.

Better still fit a Reflecks of Dickinson and avoid the power consumption and noise issues.

Big_JP
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Re: Taking the Plung

Postby Big_JP » Wed Apr 22, 2020 11:26 pm

Thanks for all the responses so far,

I have been looking at three boats in particular after reading the above info.

Sadler 32
Rival 34
Nicholson 32

Looks like there’s a lot of good options for around and below my 20k budget and have some cash spare to fix up anything that needs attention.

Has anyone got any experience or insights into these boats?

Thanks


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