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post #3 of Old 04-02-2002
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Cruising Boats

You are going through a search that very closely approximates my own recent search. I found that a $60,000 cap seemed to mean that some compromise was required. In particular I found it hard to find a boat in that price range that was equally good for coastal and blue-water sailing had both an enclosed forward and an enclosed aft cabin and which drew less than 6 feet. I ended up compromising on a boat that I could build a removeable enclosure to create an aft cabin and which also was 6''-4" draft. I also set a minuimum perforance standard well under a PHRF of 100. Some of these boats may not suit your needs or willingness to compromise or alter a boat''s interior layout. While these compromises worked for me I am not rtying to suggest that they do actually work for you.

Here is the list that I came up with in my search:

Beneteau First 38:
These Frers designed 38 footers certainly sail well and offer the desired aft cabin layout. They are reasonable but certainly not ideal boats for offshore work. They seem to be better constructed than the Idyle, Oceanis, and ''number'' series Beneteaus. I have a lot of experience with the Beneteau First 38s5 which repalced this boat and although out of our price range found the 38s5 to be an extremely nice boat even in very heavy winds.

C&C 37:
I have always like these boats. They offer a good balance of cruising and performance. While not ideally shaped hull or rig wise for offshore work, they have done a lot of sea miles. There were three models of this and the shoal keel (almost at 6''-1") and centerboard models would meet your draft criteria. In my case the C&C 37 fell just at the bottom of my performance criteria and with their masthead rig and comparatively small main was not high on my scale as a single-hander.

C&C Landfall 38:
These boats have never really appealed to me but they are reasonably well constructed and sail reasonably well. Certainly one of the slower boats on this list. The one that I knew best had a really cobled up interior plan but I understand that it was a ''special model'' of some kind. These would not fall high on my list of offshore capable boats.

C&C 38 Mk2:
This is not my favorite C&C design. Its pinched transom would limit off wind performance and comfort in a seaway but C&C''s of that era were well constructed and were pretty quick boats for their day. These boat particularly accell upwind.

Dehler 38:
Neat boats. This would be very high on my lsit for its very good sailing ability, high build quality, fractional rig (which I consider ideal for single-handing), and nice interior layout. The only problem is that they are comparatively rare in the US and they tend to be at the very top of our price range.

Express 37:
These boats are probably the best all around sailors on this list and certainly the fastest. They mostly have striped out interiors and most have drafts approaching 7 feet and so may not work for you. Depending on the year they either had stripped out interiors or pertty nice layouts (there was a C series that had an aft cabin). They would have been my second choice.

Fabola 39:
I can''t recall the actual model name but these are really cool boats. A bit narrow beamed, these Scandinavian built boats are really wonderful all around boats and were high on my list on all counts. They are pretty rare in the States.

Farr 37 (Dickenson):
Although built as out and out IOR race boats, some of these have been retro-fitted with really nice interiors. I looked at one with an aft compartment and the forward vee berth added. They would fail on your draft concerns but sometimes can be found in the mid $40K range.

Farr 11.6 (Farr 38):
This was the boat that I ended up buying. I did so for a lot of reasons. They have quite good light air ability, and are renowned for their heavy air sailing abilities. They have a fractional rig which I see as a major asset as a single-hander. They are one of the faster boats on this list. They are readily adaptable to an aft compartment but have a great layout for two people.

On the down side, at 6''4", they are pretty deep. (There is a custom one in North Carolina that only draws 5''6") They are quite rare on the US East Coast but pretty common on the West. Many of these boats have custom interiors. The one in North Carolina is especially nice, but some were completely stripped out as racing machines. These boats are sold in a wide range of pricing from the mid-$30K range on up to nearly $70K but most glass versions sell in the mid $50K range with cold molded wooden ones and stripped out racers selling for a lot less. If you are interested in the North Carolina boat please email me. I had this boat surveyed. It is a good boat but it had a quite few problems. I understand that the owner took the past 9 months and addressed many of these.

Frers 37, Frers F3:
These Hunterhoeler constructed racer cruisers are really neat and often forgotten boats. They were built in a lot of versions but there was a cruising version with a really nice interior and exceptionally good build quality. These are very well rounded designs and often sell for a very fair price for a boat of this all around quality.

Hughes 38: (late 1960''s and early 1970''s)
This is a very interesing Sparkman and Stevens design. They share a hull, deck, rudders and rig with the Hinckley Competition 38. (Hughes built the hull, deck, rudders and rig for Hinkley and Hinkley built the interiors on their Competition 38.) The problem is that Hughes built a number of 38 foot designs that were very different and several are typiclaly listed as Hughes 38''s. The model that I am referring to was only built for a comparatively limited time. Of the boats on this list they are probably one of the more offshore capable but not one of the fastest. Still they are really neat boats.

J-34c and J35c:
These are neat boats that are biased a bit toward being cruisers yet offer really nice performance. They are certainly offshore capable nut are pretty rare and are often sold outside our price range.

J-35 and J36:
These really do not meet your criteria but I ended up looking at both of these because non one design race competitive versions are quite reasonably priced.

Morgan 382:
While not exactly a high performance boat, these are reasonably well constructed and certainly offshore capable boats. There was an aft cabin layout but I have not seen one. (The 382 fell below my performance threshold but are still good boats if speed is not as important to you.)

Old One Tonners:
These can vary very widely in build quality, sailing ability and finish levels but youcan find these old race boats for as little as $25 K and build a nice workable interior into them, and end up with a fast boat. The best candidates were from the early 1970''s when these boat were still raced offshore. Webb Chiles boat is an older Morgan designed one tonner for example.

Pearson 37:
These are neat early 1980''s (1981 and 1982) racer cruisers that were nicely built and nicely detailed. They offer a fair amount of performance and are generally good all around boats.

Ranger 37:
These are old race boats and as such often have stripped out interiors but when I was looking around for my boat I saw two of these that were retro fitted with lovely interiors. These are ''small'' 37 footers so the interior was not what I would call commodious but they have reasonable sailing ability and reasonable offshore capability and with a custom build out would perhaps suit your needs.

Sigma 36 and 38:
Nice English boats.

Soverel 39:
These ex-race boats were built by Tartan and were really excellent boats in many ways. They are probably right up there with the Express 37 as the highest performer, they may fail your criteria for other reasons. Although they tend to have high asking prices they seem to sell in the mid to high- $50K range. I gave them a serious look even to the point of negotiating on a stripped out full race version, planning to alter the deck plan and to build a real interior into the boat.

Tripp 37:
Although many of these early IMS boats were built with completely stripped out interiors and very deep draft, there were a few that had very nice interiors and a shallower keel. They offer very good build quality and very well rounded sailing abilities.

Wiggers Peterson:
Nice IOR era race boats but with good sailing characteristics and some had very nice interiors. These were very well constructed boats built on a semi-custom basis.

I am late for work so I need to stop here. Godo hunting and feel free to email me since I have just been down the same trail that you are going down.

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