Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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I would say that SailingDog has basically hit the nail on the head. As a broad generality, the materials to complete the hull and deck of a sailboat is roughly 20% of its overall cost. In your $11-12,000 description you are also including the keel which typically is typically not in that 20% number and your labor, which in broad general senbse puts you at roughly 40% of the cost of the boat.
The issues that I would have with the Vagabond 26 has little to do with its keel and rudder type or its overhangs. My main gripe would be with its hull form and interior layout. The Vagabond 26's hull form appears to be generated to make it easy to construct in sheet plywood rather than to produce a boat which offers a comfortable motion, or seaworthiness, (or decent performance for that matter). Similarly the interior layout makes sense for a family weekender, but not for a long distance offshore single-handed cruiser.
I personally have no problem with trying to do a circumnavigation in a small, modern design, but ideally the design needs to evolve from its purpose (long distance, offshore cruising) and not from the materials which seem easiest to work with, or from what is available on the market.
As SD suggests, there are designs which are well suited to the purpose of being a dedicated distance cruiser. I would think that the Southern Cross 28 or 31 that SD mentions would to fit bill as would the Contessa 26, albeit a lot more Spartanly. I am not a big fan of Cape Dories. I know that they have done reasonably well as cruisers some folks but personally I have never been all that impressed with their design or build quality. Other choices if you want to go full keel and traditional are some of the other folkboat derivatives, or H-28 derivatives.
In a general sense, there are a number of suitable existing boat designs out there that are adaptable for your purposes. If you are handy and think you would enjoy the project then picking up one used and rebuilding is not a bad way to go.
If you chose to build a boat for the purpose, then there are better designs out there than the Vagabond.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay