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post #5 of Old 11-26-2004
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What makes a good family cruiser boat?

T, it may seem like Jeff and I are off on our own little gig here, but the dialogue that continues between us is in fact being driven by your question...and Jeff, I think it''s clear who''s right - it''s both of us, right there in the middle of our differing comments. <g>

''Easily handled'' is IMO (and apparently yours) an important criteria for T, and not only so she can have a break from Mothering. If sailing doesn''t involve & satisfy Mom to some extent, beyond tending to the kids, she''s gonna quickly realize that an RV, a cabin in the woods, or a summer vacation to Dizzyland in Orlando is lots more fun.

My caution is that ''easily handled'' isn''t likely to include a boat intended to be raced by a crew. I didn''t mean to suggest that fast sailing boats can''t be easily handled, altho'' I may have implied that. But IMO it''s a fair assumption that most boats viewed as ''competitive'' and which a racing sailor/husband will be attracted to will presume (in deck plan, cockpit layout, cockpit size vs. cabin size, etc.) that a crew is aboard. Sheet winches distant from the helm? Mainsail trimming options that involve extra strings? Mast rake being more a requirement than an option? A longer cockpit and fewer cabin amenities? I''m just picturing a broker or salesman hearing Hubby talk about speed and the Club’s race events, and then overlooking the fact that a boat the broker can sell as competitive will be less than ''easily handled''.

Here''s the specific frame of reference I had: the British Kiel YC, a place I''ve talked about before. The sail training they do there now uses ten Comfortina 35 sloops. They are very slick boats, quite fast according to the Yachtmasters that supervise the novice crews, and with bendy rigs. These replaced Najad 331 sloops, also fractionally rigged sloops (and before them, H-R 31 fractionally rigged sloops). I asked 3 different YM’s what their impressions were of these different boats and got the same answer each time: the Confortina’s had more speed potential and were more ‘fun’ to sail…but were clearly more work and less forgiving. Two YMs mentioned crossing the North Sea in the Najads and were very impressed…but said they would not particularly enjoy the same run in the Comfortina even tho'' she''s two feet longer. It’s that distinction I was trying to draw out for T, as I think Hubby would be inclined to see a Comfortina 35-type boat as more desirable.

Jeff, I''m not sure how or when but I''d sure like to beg a ride on your boat when we next are up on the Chesapeake. I''m sure your boat would be an eye-opening experience for me to sail; I particularly enjoyed looking at the pics of her you posted on another BB. But you''ll need to watch out: I''ll pay attention to all the trimming you do as conditions or point of sail change, and then kid you about whether the boat is easily handled. <g>

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