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post #36 of Old 09-24-2007
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I have owned a factory-finished 1980 Southern Cross 31 for 11 years, doing the usual coastal New England sailing things. Sundry thoughts: Like every boat, she is a collection of compromises, but fairly effective ones in my view. She is almost ridiculously over-engineered - you may not get there fast, but you are going to get there. The rig, in particular, is comically massive. Though I love the boat, there's no doubt she is a pig in close quarters. Backing down, you are just along for the ride and have little directional control. On the other hand, the boat sails delightfully in heavy weather, and, with a little tweaking, will beat hands-off better than I can sail her. She pops over following seas like a cork. New sails, particularly a nice full-batten main with generous roach, have made light-air performance reasonable. Stowage is quite limited. Some have reported cracking of the welds in the pintle/gudgeon assemblies; I've inspected mine in detail and noticed no problem. Compression post is fine, and I have not heard of problems with it. I had to overhaul the engine and thought at first that pulling the engine from the tight compartment was going to be impossible, but suspending the engine from a horizontal pipe levered with a chain fall worked fine. But getting to the stuffing box requires gymnastics - if I gain one more ounce I will not fit in the engine compartment. Water stowage is limited (45 gallons). The largest holding tank I could figure out how to install was 6 gallons; just a toy, really. I'm seriously considering installing an Airhead to prevent being forced out of anchorages to dump sewage (I just refuse to violate those laws). Since these are old boats, the majority currently on the market are probably neglected wrecks, but a good one is a wonderful boat, in my view.
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