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Old 11-02-2010
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Pearson Vanguard, or other, for first cruising boat

Hi All,

We're a couple in our late 20s, with a few of years of sailing experience, sail training and ASA certification between us. We're based in New York City, sail Sonars with a sailing club and charter when we've got time to go out for longer. We're interested in buying a sailboat that'll help us improve our skills and gain a better understanding of all of the mechanical systems.

We'd like to spend less than $20,000 on a 30-35' boat that can:
- make it safely with 2 or 3 people on board from New York to, say, Martha's Vineyard, and
- confidently handle severe weather along the coast, as I'd like to get a chance to practice our foul weather procedures in actual foul weather.

We're interested in safety over speed, and are perfectly comfortable with and used to full-keeled boats. A fixer-upper is not an option: our careers don't allow us the free time to rebuild a boat.

We'd like a sloop or cutter rig, an inboard diesel, and wheel steering (yes, yes, yes, I know that a tiller feels more "direct," that autopilots for tillers are an order of magnitude cheaper, that wheel steering is more prone to failure, that a wheel crowds the cockpit, etc. -- but I like to stand when I steer, and I love the feeling of standing at the wheel of a sailboat... and isn't that feeling what we spend all that time and money chasing anyhow?)

My searching has lead to the Pearson Vanguard as the #1 choice. Most Vanguards on sale today have been converted to wheel steering and have had their original Atomic 4 gas engines replaced with diesels, so they fit the bill. Prices range from $10,000 - $20,000, depending on kit and location.

However, I got some feedback from Jeff_H, who questions both the build quality and sailing abilities of the Vanguard, and suggests the Tartan 30, which I think is just a touch too small.

So - those who own or have sailed Pearson Vanguards: does the Vanguard sound like the right choice? What are they like to sail and to maintain?

Everyone else - any other boat suggestions?


Thanks so much!!
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