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post #2 of Old 08-26-2003
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boat check - to Jeff H and others

All of these boats have a reasonably good reputation as seaworthy boats. I am not a big fan of the Dickerson 37 as an offshore boat. Although the Alberg 37''s and Cape Dory 36''s have gone offshore successfully, their short waterline lengths and propensity to hobbyhorse in a chop would make them less than ideal to my way of thinking.

I am a little at a loss as to how to advise you here. We all come to sailing with our own goals and tastes and experiences. I know very little about your own goals and tastes and experiences but judging by the list of boats that appeal to you, they are very different than my own.

Two years ago, I went through a search for a boat for my own needs. For all intensive purposes I could summarize my objectives and price range in a very similar manner to the way that you have summarized your goals above. None of your choices are boat that I personally would have considered appropriate for my own use as a single-hander. This does not mean that I think that your list is wrong, but with the information available, it does make it a little hard for me to advise you.

I don''t know if this will be helpful to you but to explain why these boats were not on my list in a little more detail, I really prefer boats that have easier to handled sail plans (fractionally rigged sloops) than older style cruising rigs. Because, all other things being equal, displacement controls how easy a boat is to singlehand, I prefer a much lighter boat as a single-hander than you have on your list. So, while all of these boats can be single-handed, they are all heavy boats and so carry comparatively large complex sail plans. While these most of these models are available as cutters, ketches or yawls which break the sail plan into smaller pieces, they still require huge sail plans with comparatively large sails to sail in light to even moderate conditions. This means more sail changes than you would expect on a well thought out more modern design.

To put this in perspective on many of the boats that you are considering, even though their sail inventory is distributed into more sails than they would be on a similar length sloop, most of their mainsails are each bigger, for example, than the mainsail and their genoas much larger than genoas on my similar length but substanially lighter 38 footer. In my mind that would make these boats substantially harder to single-hand.

The large displacement of these boats and comparatively small sail area and stability in relationship to that displacement, also means that even with the use of large genoas these boats would not really be very good boats in the typical light winds of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas late spring, summer and early fall. Then again I really hate to motor when I could be sailing.

Of course, that is all about how I view single-handing and clearly is not representative of your tastes and goals. But without knowing more about why you singled out this particular group of boats, it is hard for me to provide more meaningful comment.

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