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Old 09-24-2007
albertoderoma albertoderoma is offline
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Alternatives to Bristol Channel Cutter for offshore single-handing?

Hi,

I am new here. I just discovered this forum and I can't believe the wealth of great information and knowledgeable members. I wish I had this forum when I got started sailing many years ago.

Anyway, on to my question ...

After taking a 4 year break from sailing (very busy period with my job and my family), I am ready to get back into sailing again and I am looking for my 3rd boat (I previously owned a J/105 and an Olson 30 before that.)

I've tried one-design racing with the J/105 and decided that playing bumper-cars with $150K boats (30+ in the SF bay) is not my idea of fun (especially after getting T-boned by a newbie on my 2nd race: $8K of damage which - fortunately was paid by the other guy's insurance and 2-months out of the water getting repaired.)

The aspect of sailing I enjoy the most is single-handing. I had plenty of excitement single-handing the Olson 30 and the J/105 (especially the few times that the SF winds were lite enough that I managed to fly a spinnaker solo), but now I am looking for a boat with more creature comforts and safety for sailing in and outside the SF bay (including a Pacific Cup in 2010) both single and double-handed.

My criteria are the following:

1) Adequate below-deck accommodations. 6'+ headroom a BIG plus (I am 6'1")
2) Must be easy and safe to sail single-handed (35' max)
3) Must be VERY seaworthy.
4) Not a speeding-bullet, but not a slouch either.
5) Price: ideally under $100K, but I can stretch a bit.
6) Must not be a "project" - i.e. it should not require any major repairs/updates

After much reading, I am leaning toward an Bristol Channel Cutter. I have read Jeff_H's (what a great resource you are Jeff) comments on it and they confirmed my original concern about how safe/sensible it is to have a bow-sprit in this day and age. I can definitely visualize (and feel the groin pain) of straddling the sprit in heavy weather while attempting to, say, fix the roller furling.

I looked around, but I can't seem to find another boat that would give me the same amount of bullet-proof confidence, decent sailing speed, and interior-room for the size that the BCC would provide.

Here's how I would rate the BCC on these criteria:

1) Adequate below-deck accommodations. 6'+ headroom a BIG plus (I am 6'1")

OK on headroom, lots of storage space. I can keep everything I need on the boat and keep it need and safe.

2) Must be easy and safe to sail single-handed (35' max)

All sails are small enough to be manageable. Should do very well with autopilot/vane.

3) Must be VERY seaworthy.

I think very few people would argue against the BCC on this. But feel free to. Some more modern designs might be safer by running like blazes in front of the weather, but that requires constant manual steering. I believe that in a single/double-handed situation any heavy-weather solution that requires constant ACTIVE effort/steering is not viable.

4) Not a speeding-bullet, but not a slouch either.

With a hull speed of 6.9kts and lots of sail area (if desired) I believe that the BCC is pretty good in this area.

5) Price: ideally under $100K, but I can stretch a bit.

I'd have to definitely stretch to get a decent BCC.

6) Must not be a "project" - i.e. it should not require any major repairs/updates

This will vary from boat to boat, so it's not really model-dependent.

So there you have it. As you can probably guess, I've been trying to talk myself into a BCC, but feel free to try talk me out of it or correct my thinking. This is a HUGE purchase for me and my family, I don't want to make a mistake.

Jeff_H and others, what other boats should I consider based on my criteria?

I know it's a big question for my first post

Thank you in advance for any suggestions,

Alberto
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