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Precision 18
Reviews Views Date of last review
2 5434 Sat March 25, 2006
Recommended By Average Price Average Rating
100% of reviewers $3,850.00 8.0

Description: Precision 18
Keywords: Precision 18

Junior Member

Registered: May 2004
Review Date: Fri June 4, 2004 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: None indicated | Rating: 0 


When I set out to purchase my first boat (after a long time sailing OPB, and then a long hiatus altogether) I had some fairly strong limits on what I could buy.

I need a boat suitable for sailing the inland lakes of northwest Minnesota (shallow draft), in a good condition for less than $5,000, to accomodate myself, wife and two kids as required.

The Precision was almost the perfect answer. The only reservation I have is that my wife's has very little experience sailing.

The boat has soft bilges and an external keel. It will, as expected, tend to heel a bit then setup and go. To me, this is an excellent form of feedback to how I and the boat are doing. To my wife, it's "tippy".

The solution to this problem is to sail the boat well. The boat sails well with minimal weather helm under main alone. The factory jiffy-reefing works just fine, and sets up easily.

In my experience (and mostly to suit my wife), the jib comes down around 12-15 and shortly thereafter a reef goes in.

The boat should be self-righting, and I inadvertently tested this when I got caught just off the dock beam to the wind with the main sheeted home on the centerline. Along came a very nice gust and over went the boat. We probably got to 70 or 70 degrees but popping the mainsheet and crawling up to the highside, the boat righted very quickly.

I found handling the halyards at the coach roof to be a bother. Newer models come with halyards led aft, a modification I just made this year copied from the newer model production hardware and placement.

The boat is very responsive to being sailed. You will notice small changes in trim immediately in boat speed and heel. If you're coming mostly off of smaller boats, you'll find the Precision a rewarding sailing experience.

In very light air, I believe a genoa would be in order. On the boat as I found it, all of the sheet lines are fixed and not on tracks. Newer boats I believe come with jib tracks on the coachroof for the working jib.

We haven't overnighted in the accomodations below. I could see myself and one of the kids overnighting, but it would be tight for more than that. There are no galley facilites. There is the supplied cooler-step, and a spot for a porta-potty.

If I could make any change in the boat, I'd probably trade a foot of cabin for another foot of cockpit, to make it a more commodious daysailer. Precision thoughtly offers the new 18.5 model if you want a nice size daysailer of similar lines.

The boat seems very well constructed. I looked at a lot of boats in the Twin Cities and outstate Minnesota area in the less than $5,000 category, and my boat was in fabulous shape. The deck hardware is all first rate. The lights are tiny, but it gets dark pretty late this far north so that's not been a worry.

While there aren't any active, competitive "fleets" that I'm aware of, owners are spread throughout the country. There are two on my lake alone. There's a very active discussion forum on Trailer Sailor, and PrecisionsOwners.com has an active mailing list. There's a lot of support (question answering) and enthusiasm for the boat.

If you're looking for a small, sporty boat with a spot for the pot and to get out of the sun for a bit, take a hard look at the Precision family.
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Paul Skinner
Junior Member

Registered: March 2006
Location: Daytona Beach, FL
Review Date: Sat March 25, 2006 Would you recommend the product? Yes | Price you paid?: $3,850.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great handling, quality construction
Cons: Limited cockpit space, small cabin

I picked the Precision 18 after trying a number of similar sized "pocket cruisers". The P-18 was the best handling of all of them, and had a quality of construction and finish matched only by the similar sized, poorer handling, Compac, at a far lower cost. The P-18 is quite fast on a broad reach, and points better than most other monohulls I've owned.

Mine came with a too-small 2.2hp short-shaft auxilliary, which I upgraded to a 5.5hp long-shaft. In the ICW, it's been a huge benefit to have the horses to overcome a direct headwind and opposing tide.

I also added Harkin single-line reefing to the main, since I found myself reefing often in the breezy conditions on the ICW around Daytona Beach. The CDI Flexi Furler I added made headsail changes unnecessary, allowing cockpit control of the recut Genoa. Mine still has the original main halyard located on the mast, and I may decide to run it aft eventually.

I'm fortunate to be able to leave it fully rigged on the trailer and launch it close to the trailer storage lot. I would not enjoy trailer sailing it, since stepping the mast is a bit of a chore, especially with a roller furling jib.

The cockpit is comfortable with four adults, gets crowded with five, and I've taken as many as six, with the self-bailing scuttles taking on water occasionally. Serious overnighters will want to consider a bigger cabin. The porti-potty is a huge plus with women on board, and the V-berth is large enough to accomodate a couple if they're cozy. Only the smallest children would want to sleep in the two under-cockpit berths.

The previous owner fabricated a Bimini top which mounts on the safety lines, and fits below the boom. On a blistering Florida day, it's a livesaver, and would make a great option for Precision to offer.

I highly recommend the Precision 18 as a fine handling, well built "pocket cruiser".
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