Your thoughts on Albergs and Islanders appreciated
Back again from a beautiful sail on the Chesapeake. I think that, if I were looking for a boat for the type of sailing that you are proposing with a budget under $40K, I suggest that perhaps you try to find one of the following:
Allied Princess: These were purpose built as distance cruisers. I believe that there was a cutter option, but all that I have seen were rigged as ketches. These are really full keel boats by anybody''s book and if that is what you are looking for these are not a bad place to look. Again, these boats have a better build quality than the others on your list except perhaps the Alberg 37''s.
Bristol 34: These Halsey Herreshodd designed 34 footer offer a lot of boat for the money and in many ways should be nearly ideal for what you have in mind. (Should not be mistaken for a Bristol 35 which I don''t think is a good choice for what you have in mind). These were really wonderful boats that are often forgotten about these days. They should prove quite seakindly.
Cal 36: (1960''s) These really are good all around boats. They offer reasonable performance and a well proven offshore record. They would be very high on my list.
Cal 34: These were built for quite a few years and in a pretty wide range of updates. They are a real bargain but are not as robust as some of the others on this list. Still they are hard to beat for the dollar.
Chris Craft 35 (mid 1960''s) These Sparkman and Stephens designed 35 footer were orignally billed as motorsailors, but they really sailed quite well for that era and offer a full length keel and midships cockpit. They also offered very solid constructed and nice detailing.
Columbia 38 (mid to late 1960''s) While these Charlie Morgan designed 38 footers still have the painfully short waterlines of that era, these are more nicely modeled hull forms than the Alberg 35. Their spade rudder gives them a lighter helm and better tracking than the keel hung rudder on the Alberg.
Dehler Optima 101: These are a little out of character with the rest of this list, but these are extremely well constructed, Vandestadt designed fractional rigged sloops. They offer ease of handling for a short handed crew, a nice layout down below, as well as good performance and a good offshore record.
Hughes 38: (Late 1960''s)
These little known 38''s are a very wholesome Sparkman and Stephens design. The hull design was shared with the Hinckley Competition 38 of the same period, with Hughes actually building the hull and deck for the Hinckley version. The Hughes version is actually the better cruiser of the two.
Hunter 37 and 36: (early 1980''s)
While Hunter rightly gets hammered on some of thier designs, these two Cherebini designed sloops and cutters were really very nice boats for the dollar and certainly with equal of better build quality to the Alberg 35 (My family has owned both a mid-1960''s era Pearson Vanguard and two early 1980''s era Hunter 30''s. The Hunters were by far the better built of the two.) The interior layout and storage is especially well thought out on these boats.
Morgan 382 (383, 384 etc): These Brewer designed 38 footers would be near the top of my list if I were considering the type of cruising that you are proposing and had your particular comfort and stability objectives in mind. They were reasonably well constructed and a well thought out design. These boats were constructed over a reasonably long period of time with some variation in details and equipage. There is one layout with a really strange forward cabin that really has never made sense to me but the normal vee berth model should be a very good boat for your needs.
These are good solid cruisers of the ilk that you seem to be seeking. They have a strong following and should prove to be a good seaworthy boat. They are certainly more suitable than the Alberg 35.
Tartan 34: This is probably my favorite on this list of the more conservative designs. (The Dehler Optima would actually be my first choice but that perhaps reflects my tastes rather than yours). These are really wonderful all around boats.