The third time's the charm as the saying goes… I think in my case the old adage holds. I am now on my third sailboat, and hopefully will be the last for a while. I purchased a 1980 Cape Dory 28 in Miami Florida in March of 2021. My last boat (a derelict Columbia 36) took a little over a year and a half of my life, and more money and energy than I care to think about. I’ve read all of the books and watched YouTube, but still managed to make
the mistake of buying the wrong boat, not just once, but twice.
Fortunately, I am very stubborn by nature, so I persisted and managed to get a boat that actually works. Being from the Great Basin, I did not grow up around sailboats, so there was very little background knowledge when the time came for me to buy a boat. I have been flipping and working on old houses since I was a kid, and I overestimated the amount of DIY that would translate from one trade to the other. My only advice to the ambitious, is to save your money and buy someone else's FINISHED project. You will be money and time ahead, as all of the sailing guru’s suggest.
Like any advice, take all of this with a grain of salt. In some cases the old derelict boat may be just what you need. If you are planning on casual day sails and the like, this advice is not for you. Almost any old sailboat will work as a day sailor in protected waters. I’m talking for those who want to find an old ocean greyhound to take out.
Crossing Oceans Costs Money
If you have the idea in your head that buying a sailboat and crossing oceans with it will be easy, or cheap, because the wind is FREE, don’t get a boat.
If you want to be a day sailor, then get one. If you want to cross oceans, do your research and wait for the right boat. You will save yourself so much money and time. I feel I have wasted close to two years of sailing by purchasing the wrong boat TWICE.
Don't look to me for advice as to what the right boat is for you, only you can answer that question. Do yourself a favor and read as much as you can on what makes a bluewater boat before diving into the wonderful world of boat ownership.
I now have a full keeled Alberg designed boat, and I absolutely love it. It sails well and she can hold her own in rough weather. Some may not like her sailing characteristics around the buoys, but that isn’t why I purchased her. In three months I put almost 1000 miles of coastal sailing under her keel. To me the point of owning a sailboat is to move, and that is what I am able to do with my Cape Dory 28, Mirage.
I wish I had this article to read before I started my path toward sailboat ownership. Go sailing with your friends first, it just might save you a lot of money. Thanks for reading!
The Okie Sailor