Help please - cruiser wanted; advice needed!!!

ossian72

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So... my planned purchase of a Swift 18 fell through at the weekend and so
instead of feeling sorry for myself I am trying to put a positive spin on it and am hoping to find something even better!!!

The problem is I am a born-again newbie (I crewed a 60ft ketch for 6 months a lifetime ago as a teenager; and since then have only pottered about in a cack-handed fashion in Picos and occasionally fallen out of Lasers)...

What I want is a cruiser which:

- Costs between £4 and £5k
- Will be stable, safe and unsinkable
- Can accommodate two adults and two small children. Preferably we’d be able to squeeze in and camp in her for max one night to make the weekend stretch... if I would squash 3 small children in like I do in my Campervan I wouldn’t have to leave anyone with grandparents!!!
- Has a lifting keel so we’re not such a hostage to the tides...
- Is easy to maintain
- Is simple and quick to rig. I know it is all relative, but I’m learning pretty much from scratch so need something fairly idiot proof...

Depending on what I get I’ll be keeping her at Hayling Island/Chichester way, pottering around those waters initially. All things being equal, I’d like to keep on a mooring for the season then perhaps trail home for the winter (using a Volvo XC90)

I’m sure there are a million things I should mention to help you help me, but... any thoughts/suggestions????

Many thanks in advance
 

Kelpie

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Unsinkable narrows it down a lot. It's an unusual feature because it has been found not to be necessary, nor to be particularly useful- except in open boats.
Don't get hung up about specific designs. I'm guessing you can tow a couple of tonnes with an XC90? There are loads of little boats available for very little money. With these kinds of boats, you are pretty much buying a trailer and an outboard, and the boat is free. (If the trailer and engine aren't in good condition, walk away, unless the boat is exceptionally nice).
 

Topcat47

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With prices falling, you ought to be able to get your hands on an OK Centaur. Having been "there" cruising with young children, I'd not be overly happy with anything smaller, although a friend of mine had a 22' Westerly with two small kids. The thing about the centaur is you could put all three anklebiters in the fore cabin at night and have the saloon for yourself and the missus. I"m not sure you'll be able to tow behind an XC90 though. A work colleague used to take his'n home behind an old Landrover defender on a pretty substantial trailer, but that was easily 15 years ago and probably not legal even then.

Chichester harbour is a nice place to potter about with a bilge keeler but at low water, there's an awful lot of mud showing which pretty much limits where and when you do. I have a long, deep keel and it severely limits where and when I can visit Chi Harbour. You would have the advantage of already being there.

As a Newbie, I'd caution escaping the harbour for the first couple of years, the entrance can be tricky, but there's a lot of room for pottering around inside the harbour. if you're offered mooring in Langstone Harbour the entrance is even more of a problem as the race past the ferry is strong, even at neeps and that side is less interesting for cruising around in.
 

oldharry

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I too would forget the unsinkable bit. There's little enough space in a 20 -25 footer without adding sufficient buoyancy to support the boat if tis flooded. The reality is that the chances of actually sinking are so remote for the kind of sailing you plan round Chi harbour and the Solent as to be negligible. For the same reasons you are very unlikely to be able to find an unsinkable boat anyway. these boats dont fall over the way dinghies do!

Unless you buy a marina berth, you will be on a swinging mooring. You are more likely to end up in the drink from the dinghy than you ever will from the boat. Statistically you are many many times more likely to lose your life travelling to the boat in your car, than being drowned in your boat. Falling off it is the greatest, arguably only serious risk!

Topcat is right to advise caution about heading out over the Bar until you have a better idea what you are doing, as it can be a very nasty place indeed, and is a known killer. But get the tide and the weather right and it can be a pussycat! When you are ready it can safely give you your first experiences of coping with rougher conditions, with the opportunity to turn round and get out of it when you had enough! But first get your boat!

If you buy one with an inboard engine, make sure the engine is good. Outboards can be replaced, but on your budget you could pay as much again if you have to replace an inboard engine!
 

obmij

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Lifting keel - not gonna increase the scope of your sailing a great deal but will restrict your choice of boat considerably. A 26ft bilge keeler can have less than 1m draft, so with a lift keel you're only gaining centimetres.

Budget - 4 to 5k gets you loads of choice, some great boats out there and some less than great. If this is your budget search higher. A boat advertised at 7.5 k may well accept an offer within your budget. This can get you a proper little yacht. Apollo duck has 300 plus under this price.

Space - with 5 POB, even if three of them are small, it is unlikely you will regret plumping for more space, if you find a suitable boat.
 

ossian72

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Excellent point obmij... I’m just wary of not getting something too big for my experience, but actually you’re right - ample space for the kids will mean the difference between great weekends and constant stress! I’ll look at some boats advertised a bit higher then (thanks for the tip) and see what I can get for my money.
 

lpdsn

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What I want is a cruiser which: ...

You don't mention how high up or low down the scale sailing performance is. It's worth thinking about. Then blag your way on an example of two of the sort of boat you end up being interested in and see what it feels like on the helm. You don't want to end up buying a boat that is disappointing to sail. Recommendations of good boats from others, incl me, mean nothing as they (we) may not have the same requirements as you.
 

seumask

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We had a Hunter Delta 25 lifting keel before moving up to a Fulmar bilge keel both in Chichester harbour. Delta 25 is a wonderfully simple boat, good for the shallow and cheaper tidal moorings. We sail out of Hayling island sailing club and I can only suggest you consider sailing from there as you may find there are lots of options for the children and many types of sailing!
 
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So... my planned purchase of a Swift 18 fell through at the weekend and so
instead of feeling sorry for myself I am trying to put a positive spin on it and am hoping to find something even better!!!

The problem is I am a born-again newbie (I crewed a 60ft ketch for 6 months a lifetime ago as a teenager; and since then have only pottered about in a cack-handed fashion in Picos and occasionally fallen out of Lasers)...

What I want is a cruiser which:

- Costs between £4 and £5k
- Will be stable, safe and unsinkable
- Can accommodate two adults and two small children. Preferably we’d be able to squeeze in and camp in her for max one night to make the weekend stretch... if I would squash 3 small children in like I do in my Campervan I wouldn’t have to leave anyone with grandparents!!!
- Has a lifting keel so we’re not such a hostage to the tides...
- Is easy to maintain
- Is simple and quick to rig. I know it is all relative, but I’m learning pretty much from scratch so need something fairly idiot proof...

Depending on what I get I’ll be keeping her at Hayling Island/Chichester way, pottering around those waters initially. All things being equal, I’d like to keep on a mooring for the season then perhaps trail home for the winter (using a Volvo XC90)

I’m sure there are a million things I should mention to help you help me, but... any thoughts/suggestions????

Many thanks in advance


get rid of your phobia of keels and it will open up loads of boats, a great boat as already mentioned by others is the centaur, and if you make a mistake, it has bilge keels to sit on for 6 hours.
 
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