Originally Posted by gentryd
I'm new to sailing and have my eye on two boats that I can get next to nothing. A 31' Southern Cross, Hull #89 which will take quite abit of work to restore or a 1984 27' Hunter that can be ready to sail with minor cleaning and repair. There's alot of info on Hunter's, some people love them, others hate them. I'm really looking for advise on the SC, doesn't seem to be many out there. Good boats? Ok for starting sailor? Are they manufactured hulls or kits? etc. Any and all info on SC and/ or advice-opinion of the Hunter vs. SC for 1st boat is most appreciated.
Many if not most Southern Cross's were sold as kits, where the quality of the result varies enormously. Most people would call the SC an "offshore" design where the boat's slowness is justified by its ability to handle tough conditions, a premise that gets some arguement. Nonetheless, the 31 rates 222 in PHRF which is quite slow for the size. You'd be much better off with a classic fin keel like a Pearson or Catalina 30 unless you feel the "offshore" design (or at least the pretension of such) is important to you.
I would think it a bad idea to buy a fix-me-upper (FMU)for a first boat, as you will be amazed at the cost and time involved in doing boat work - I believe many FMU buyers (myself included) end up upside financially - putting far more money into the boat than the resulting market value. A cheap boat can end up being very expensive...The cheapest boat to buy, is to pay a fair market price for a well-equipped, well maintained, needs-nothing boat - typically the guy selling it is taking a hosing (me for example).
Hunters in general, and old Hunters in particular, have a spotty reputation, the source of a good deal of discusssion/dispute on this board. See http://www.yachtsurvey.com/boatreviews/hunter28.htm
to get a feel for the reasons for the reputation. You would be better off to pay a bit more and get a Catalina.