Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Thanked 190 Times in 155 Posts
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These are boats that I want to like. They are pretty and come with an interesting history. The Choey Lee Offshore 31 was a rework of the Bermuda 30, which was a rework of the Herreshoff H-28. They were built in wood and glass. While the H-28 was a wonderful boat for its day, the wooden Offshore 31's and Bermuda 30's violated Herreshoffs cautions about raising the sheer, and adding a doghouse. The H-28's were intended to be constructed of light materials with minimal interiors, while the wooden Cheoy Lees had comparatively heavy planking, decks, and interiors.
Depending on who you believe, ballasting was reduced to compensate for the extra weight, injuring stability and motion comfort, and the sail area was reduced to compensate for the reduced stability. That combination resulted in a boat that reportedly was not as good in lighter air or heavier conditions than the H-28 that they were based on.
The problem got much worse with the glass boats as their hull weights went up greatly over the wooden boats and their ballast weight was further reduced. They also went to iron and concrete ballast further reducing stability. I have sailed some of these and they are useless in light to moderate conditions and not very good in heavier going. They don't up wind worth a darn (while the original H-28 sailed remarkably well for a long keeled ketch).
Build quality was sketchy and a proper restoration would leave little more than the somewhat sloppily laid up hull. You could build a boat from scratch and end up with a much nicer boat than restore an Offshore 31 that has not been maintained.