There are all types of used sailboats. Generally speaking, there are cruisers, racers, cruiser-racers, center cockpits and pilothouses.
If you are a first timer, there is no better time to jump into one. Prices are down and deals are for the making! You have to look at the different types available (going to a boat show is the best place to start) and find what makes you feel comfortable. How it looks, how the cockpit feels and the cabin below will influence your decision. The cruiser type sailboat ranging between 25- 30 feet is a common first sailboat, because they are easier to handle for the inexperienced sailor.
When you are more experienced, your choice becomes refined. You start where you feel comfortable, just as you would with a car, and, after a while, you may like cruising and go for a larger used sailboat with more speed and comfort. Or you may turn to racing - a great sport the whole family can enjoy. You learn quite a bit about sail handling and usually join the club. They may have cookouts and activities lined up the year through. There are racing machine sailboats out there in all sizes, but with sparse interiors, less weight and more speed. But a new breed of sailboats has been coming out, getting better year after year. It is the racer-cruiser, capturing the best of both worlds.
Center cockpit sailboats present the deck forward and aft with the steering towards the center of the sailboat. This configuration allows you and your guests to relax in the stern area of your sailboat rather than everyone being in the cockpit. The stern railing usually has built in seating and some also have deck mats to layout and get a tan.
Below there is your cabin made up of your salon (living room), forward stateroom (bedroom), with a head (bathroom), and to the rear of the salon there is another stateroom with an ensuite head. This area is usually large and enticing, depending how large the sailboat is. But, best of all, I find it great after a long cruise to just go back there, close the door and relax in peace.
The pilothouse is a nice change. This type of sailboat features an aft cockpit with steering and, if the weather gets bad or if it is raining, you can duck in to the cabin ahead, which is usually raised and also contains a cockpit. That becomes your salon with another cabin area further ahead and below. Sleeping accommodations are in the salon like all sailboats and also up forward. The pilothouse gives you great visibility and everything can be handled out of the weather.
There is a world of options to explore in a used sailboat. Finding one is all part of the fun. Boat dealers and yacht brokers are all out there to help and because they want your repeat business, you can be assured they are on your side.
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