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post #2 of Old 01-21-2003
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Etap''s are made in Belgium and have been around a long time. They make very good boats from what I have seen. The unsinkability comes from injecting foam between two skins of the hull -- thus you lose some interior volume.

Etap was in the US market in the ''80''s and left when the recession hit. They are making a comeback now with some new models. The new 37 looks interesting on the website, and the 39 is a knockout boat.

I know a woman who bought a 1980''s vintage Etap 30 a couple of years ago and loves it. She bought it from a couple who bought a new Etap 34 that was in the Annapolis boat show two years ago. The 30 sails nicely. I can''t vouch for the sailing characterisics of the others.

The vertical tiller is very cool in operation. Looks and acts very much like a joystick in an airplane.

One big problem with them is dealer support. Right now the only dealer I know of is the importer in Maine. But they do work with local marinas to commission boats. It just so happens that many of the boats come in through the port of Baltimore and a marina up the creek from me commissions the ones for the east coast. I know the owner of that marina and he is very high on the boats. He lets me snoop around on them occasionally.

The Etaps have several unique features that may not appeal to everyone, but they are worth a look IMHO.
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