my tiny sailboat – 1971 newport 16

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My “new” Newport 16.

After selling the last sailboat, I really wanted to focus on getting boat that I felt comfortable learning on. I wanted a sailboat that had a cabin for overnight excursions but I wanted it small enough to tow and avoid berth fees as I learned. Heck, my friend even poisoned my mind with taking a small sailboat to the Sea of Cortez for some Baja excursions, now who wouldn’t want to do that?

The checklist for the new boat entailed having a cabin, a trailer, being light enough to tow with my 85 Toyota Van and in being good enough shape to sail right away with limited to no repairs. I looked at the usual suspects, a West Wight Potter 15, a Compac 16, the Montgomery 15, and the Newport 16.

The Potter 15s are a really popular boat, one owner had even taken part in a transpacific sail to Hawaii on his. There is a small group in the Bay Area called the Potter Yachters, it’s a tiny sailboat cruising community that despite it’s names, allows other boats as well but the boat really does have a cult following. The next was a Compac 16, the heaviest of them all but some consider the most seaworthy of the group. There’s the Montgomery 15, a really beautiful boat but you don’t see as many and they cost a bit more. The last boat, the one I ended up buying was a boat I didn’t know much about. It had a small cabin, it seemed in good condition and came with a trailer, the price was right so I jumped on it after looking the few articles that were out there on the web. Most owners seemed to enjoy the boat just as much as any of the other small boats out there.

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Me hoisting the mainsail.

Next begin the journey of getting in contact with the boat’s owner. I text the owner, I called the owner, crossing my fingers all along that it hadn’t been sold. People who have experienced the Craigslist buying experience before know that it’s sometimes just as hard to buy something as it is to sell something. I began to come to grasps that the boat may have sold, the listing was old, I hadn’t heard back in a few days and that I should probably look for something else. Not soon after this realization, I received a call and a text from the owner. He was busy and hadn’t had the time to respond. I said I’d love to meet up, just tell me the time and place.

I drove down the road to San Pablo Point Yacht Club where the boat was stored and quickly found the owner trying to blow up the flat tire on the trailer with not much success. I walked up and asked him a few questions about the boat, he seemed distracted, slightly annoyed because he had a task in front of him he was trying to accomplish before the buyer showed up. It was at that point that I thought it might be good to introduce myself as the interested buyer and he soon warmed up to tell me about the boat while the high pitch sound of the tiny 12v air pump blew its heart out with not much success.

The San Pablo Point Yacht Club is an interesting place, it’s off the last exit before getting on the Richmond Bridge to head to Marin County. You’ll pass by old army barracks as you drive a winding road down the yacht club past the gun and rod club. When I finally made my way down the steep descent to where the marina was, I saw goats on my right and a yurt. Where did I just drive to? It felt like this place shouldn’t exist in the Bay Area where land is outrageously expensive and developers are quick to buy any land not maximized to its full multi-floor apartment capacity.

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Before cleaning.

In between him lighting up a rolled cigarette with his butane stove, we did end up getting the tire to inflate, it needed more forced air than the tiny 12v pump he was using. The guys at the shop near the marina lent us an air compressor that did the job. I gave him the cash and didn’t bargain for a lower price because I believed the price to be very fair. I then hooked up the boat and cautiously headed home.

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After power washing the deck.

The previous owner has been very helpful since the purchase of the boat with answering my dumb questions as well as offering to help me take it out and to learn the ropes (oops, I mean lines!).

The Details

Year: 1971
Manufacturer: Newport
Model: 16
Two quarter berths, a hole for a toilet, a retractable keel with a big cockpit, a fancy new rudder, fishing pole holders, a mainsail and a jib. What else does one need?

The Plan:

Learn to sail on it. Take it on overnight camping trips across the lakes and the delta.

 

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i sold a boat and bought a new one

I ended up selling the boat I purchased to liveaboard for a variety of reasons. I have not given up on the idea of living aboard a boat. In fact, it’s an option for this winter coming up. I have learned some valuable things with the purchase of my first boat that I will apply to boats I look at in the future.

Why I sold the boat?
1. Too big to comfortably learn how to sail for me.
2. Timing, currently I still have to commute three days a week to work. With the commute during the workweek and adventures on the weekend, I was spending limited time on the boat.

Those are pretty much the only two things that were driving factors for me selling the boat. I really want to learn how to sail and it didn’t look like that was going to happen with a 33 footer.

A couple lessons I learned with my first boat.

  1. Sleeping. This is a big one. You must have a comfortable sleeping arrangement. If you’re a light sleeper like me it will be hard to adjust to sleeping on a boat with the lines tugging, squeaking and the halyards from other boats slapping their masts. This was a huge one for me. I couldn’t sleep in the quarter berth in the boat because of the way you got in and out nor could I sleep comfortably in the v-berth. Sure, I could get used to it but having a studio that I was renting close by made it easy for me to choose the studio rather than the boat to sleep in. Without the studio, I’m sure I would have gotten more use to it. I found it the most comfortable to drop the table in the galley to make a large bed where I could spread out. The downfall of that is having to construct and deconstruct your bed everyday. Maybe, I’m a baby but if your sleep isn’t great, it’s not going to spell success. Think about it hard before purchasing the right boat and make sure there is a place you can feel comfortable getting a good night’s rest. A fellow dock mate and friend said sleep wherever on the boat that you’re most comfortable.
  2. Regulating temperature. It’s hard to regulate the temperature in a boat. Often I found it too hot if I left the heater on but without leaving the heater on, it was cold in the morning when you woke up. I chose to not have the heater on during the night and use warm blankets. Then when you wake up, you can turn on the heater and deal with ten minutes of being cold.

What boat did I buy? 

A 1971 Newport 16. It’s day sailer or overnight sailboat with a couple quarter berths and it’s only 16 feet. I’m hoping to learn how to sail on this boat before moving back up to a bigger size.

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