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post #12 of Old 09-21-2002
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Older Full Keel boats

Seems like the perfect place to seek some last minute input and get some discussion underway on the last point in the message that began this thread, trailerability, at least enough to easily store a boat in the backyard in the winter.

I had a Mystic 20 catboat, which turned out to be a great boat for a beginning sailor in the shallow bays of Long Island. I''ve been wanting to stretch my cruising range and increase the comfort level in rough conditions, so have decided on a Stone Horse, a 1930s Sam Crocker design that has a full keel but only 3''6" draft. There were just 150 of these built between the late 60s and mid-80s, and were designed for Buzzards Bay chop and single-handing.

The hull is fiberglass cored with Airex, and the wood mast is stepped on the keel. The sailplan has two foresails, a furling jib and self-tending staysail. Another distinctive feature is the raised deck. The one I''m planning to buy is on a customized trailer in the seller''s yard. But at 23'' LOD (not counting the bowsprit and boomkin which, unfortunately, the marina does count...) and with 2000 pounds ballast, this isn''t a boat for quick launching and retrieval. The trailer basically serves to save on winter storage costs.

I like everything about this boat, from the tight but efficient and homey cabin layout to the spacious and close-to-the-water cockpit. But I''ve also considered the O''Day 22, an eminently trailerable boat with a swing keel and an immediate, thrilling acceleration in gusts that is very different from the steady soldiering of the full keel Stone Horse. And the Pearsons and Tartans. These alternates are all widely available at less than half the cost of the Stone Horse (prices I''ve seen range from $12000 to $19000).

But the Stone Horse is what grabs me, and that''s the clincher for me. Traditional lines, tanbark sails, and lots of brightwork. As challenging, tiring and time consuming as varnish work can be, its also deeply satisfying.

The 1971 Stone Horse I''m considering was repowered and had new sails and standing rigging made about 5 years ago.

It''s not too late for me to change my mind. The beginning inquiry was for a boat that could be kept in the backyard on a trailer and cruised single handed in the Caribbean. Very different waters and conditions than the Northeast. But if you were looking for a shoal draft boat that could be easily single handed and comfortably cruised in shallow bays and along the NE coast, what would you choose?


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