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Old 03-20-2005
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low-budget performance passage-maker

In about 8 years from now, I intend to spend a year''s sabbatical sailing a North Atlantic Circle. I want to acquire an appropriate boat about 5 years in advance of that, to allow time for necessary re-fitting and shakedown cruises (e.g. Labrador? Bermuda?). So I''ve got about 3 years to find "the boat."

My previous experience includes a voyage from New Hampshire to Newfoundland and back aboard my father''s Cape Dory 36 Cutter, as well as several shorter passages (e.g. 250 miles) aboard boats ranging from a Paceship PY23 to an Irwin 37. I currently own a San Juan 21 (obviously not a candidate for blue-water voyaging), and also occaisionally get to sail a Galaxy 32.

My father''s Cape Dory 36 just isn''t the right boat for me. We spend an awful lot of time motoring or motor sailing, as it just doesn''t move in light air--too much wetted surface, too heavy, etc. The sail-handling gear (and navigational equipment, too) isn''t all that well laid out, particularly for single-handing.

The Galaxy 32 is a fairly nice-sailing boat, although being smaller it doesn''t have a stand-up galley, etc...

I am particularly interested in being able to SAIL (as opposed to motor) to chosen destinations regardless of the weather, which means light air as well as heavy, and to windward as well as down or across the wind. To me, this puts a premium on sailing performance. I am used to roughing it, and so can do without a lot of amenities and the complicated boat systems that provide them (and the displacement needed to carry them). Of course, I will want good navigation and communication systems.

So I''m looking for the right boat. Of course, my budget is rather limited. But, I''m not afraid of "project boats" (My current SJ21 is one).

My current preference is for a sloop in the range of 34 to 36 feet LOA, with a displacement probably in the range of 10,000 to 12,000 pounds, offering decent sea berths, basic sea-going galley, good sail-handling, a proper bridge-deck between cockpit and companionway, etc...

Without ever having stepped foot on one, much less actually sailed one, a boat that has caught my fancy is the J35 -- older well-used offerings are at the high-end of my possible budget. They are, of course, just about the complete opposite of my father''s Cape Dory 36, but that doesn''t mean they are not capable ocean-going boats. I''ve read that J35''s have competed successfully in the OSTAR trans-Atlantic single-handed race, and in the TransPac (Does anyone know if any J35''s have raced from Newport to Bermuda, around Fastnet Rock, or from Sydney to Hobart?) I''ve also read of a J35 that was cruised through the South Pacific.

Looking at current listings on Yachtworld.com of 34 to 36 footers under $40,000 in the Northeast, some others that look interesting include:

C&C 36,
Lancer 36,
C&C 35 (Mk I or II),
Erickson 35,
Bristol 34,
C&C 34,
Norlin 34,
Sabre 34,
S2 10.3

Some of these I know are thought of as coastal cruisers and club racers, and not as ocean-going yachts -- but is that because of the hull form, deck layout, or sail plan? Or is it due to issues like build quality or equipment selection?

I would welcome your recommendations for ocean-going performance cruisers (e.g. cruiser/racers) under $40K that I ought to consider.

Thanks,

Tim
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