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post #1 of 23 Old 10-12-2013 Thread Starter
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Cruising vessel questions.

I am searching for a live aboard cruising vessel which I will buy, fit out, and sail away in 3 years; I plan to start on the East Coast of North America and then work the Carribean will probably cross the Atlantic. I wonder if anyone on this forum can answer some questions from personal experience about the following classes of vessels.

Morgan Out Island 51.
Formosa 51.

First of all, I DO NOT CARE if these vessels are slow, I DO NOT CARE if they won't point as high as a race boat. What I DO care about is stability, safety, ease of sail handling (can I single hand these vessels with some contrivance?), access to vital components, physical comfort for a lady, RUGGEDNESS, and behavior in a blow. There is not so much information about these vessels on line as I expected. I know we all have our preferences but PLEASE don't tell me I'm an idiot for considering these vessels vs Swan, Amel, Island Packet, or whatever your baby is!

From my understanding, the Morgan OI 51 is just an expanded version of the OI 41 with the same virtues and compromises if I am mistaken, please correct me in this. I know almost nothing about the Formosa 51 except she has LOTS of wood to maintain and she is a beautiful vessel...she was Martin Harvey's boat on Captain Ron; in particular, I wonder about the wooden masts and their care/ruggedness/repair.

FYI: I am a professional mariner with over 25 years at sea (Navy, Commercial Fishing, and the Merchant Marine) and a lot of time under sail but only in vessels less than 32'. I want this to be my last boat and keep her under me for 20-30 years. I will be chartering larger vessels in the interim.

Thanks in advance for your good advice!
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post #2 of 23 Old 10-12-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

Not sure if you are completely fixed on the length. In the the spring of 2015 I will be selling a completely refitted Tartan 41..


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post #3 of 23 Old 10-12-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

You had better get a very thorough survey on the Formosa. They were not well built boats. Whether you can handle either boat is more a measure of your abilities than the design of the boat. When things go wrong on a boat that size it's big things going wrong.

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post #4 of 23 Old 10-13-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

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Originally Posted by bobperry View Post
You had better get a very thorough survey on the Formosa. They were not well built boats. Whether you can handle either boat is more a measure of your abilities than the design of the boat. When things go wrong on a boat that size it's big things going wrong.
Yup.....and always about 0300!

Thanks for the input about the Formosas, I vaguely remember a buddy of mine saying the same thing years ago. All that wood seems like a royal pain too!
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post #5 of 23 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

a 3 year project on a boat like that you won't get much real work done as you will only have the time to do the normal annual maintenance.

No boat is maintenance free but some boats are a nightmare unless you want to give up your cruising plans and become a dock yard worker.

With some of these boats the only reason some buy them is the cool looking windows at the stern. It invokes the dream of waking up with a palm covered island filling the windows. Sorry, mate, but it doesnt happen that way. You park the boat where the wind is holding you offshore... the windows see sea. Strike that dream!

If you were in commercial fishing ponder this question: what type of boats did you fish from? ONe that is suited by design etc for the fish you want? Or one that looks like a romanticized fishing boat?
I bet you went for the one thats going to be making you dollars.
Well, the 'dollars' in cruising is being able to cruise... not continually fix the boat.

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Last edited by MarkofSeaLife; 10-13-2013 at 08:12 AM.
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post #6 of 23 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

Of the two I would choose the Out Island, but my first reaction is that both boats are very large. Any particular reason why you need something so large? Lots of comfort in a boat quite a bit smaller. Singlehanding would be possible with the right gear but I am guessing that you will have to add these at considerable cost. One of the reasons we bought our boat is that the original owner basically bought the option list so, for example, the primaries are 65s and we have Hood main furling.

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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

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Of the two I would choose the Out Island, but my first reaction is that both boats are very large. Any particular reason why you need something so large? Lots of comfort in a boat quite a bit smaller. Singlehanding would be possible with the right gear but I am guessing that you will have to add these at considerable cost. One of the reasons we bought our boat is that the original owner basically bought the option list so, for example, the primaries are 65s and we have Hood main furling.
Thank you for your good advice!

I see the issue much as you do and I am leaning (very early in the process) toward the OI. I simply asked questions about the largest vessels which would be acceptable to me and meet my other criteria as well. There just isin't that much information readily available on either class and I was just hoping that someone would have some first hand (or even second hand) information to give me. I am coming off duty tomorrow late and I plan to stumble around some boat yards with a slightly confused look about me....

Again thanks for you help!
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post #8 of 23 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

I would seriously reconsider the size.
mid 40 should be more than enough size and weight to provide a comfortable ride and be more manageable.
then all repairs and maintenence are easier and less expensive. Mooring and dockage are not only cheaper but easier to find.
lots of people out in under 40' boats too.

I think you will be overwhelmed with the entirety of ownership of a 51.
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post #9 of 23 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

NA prices seem to range 60 - 100K for the OI51. Wide range, doubtless wide range of condition and/or seller's expectations.

For that money I think, like the others, that you'll find newer, better, more easily managed boats in the 36-40 foot range that should do you just fine.

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post #10 of 23 Old 10-13-2013
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Re: Cruising vessel questions.

Well I retired onto a boat and expected to be singlehanding some of the time.

I have a fairly light 44 ft cutter and that is about as much as I can manage. Anything larger and I could not recover the anchor manually, recover the genoa if it went over the side. I could not handle the mainsail on my own if I had to remove it for repair.

Sure I can sail a bigger boat with suitable systems. Safety is all about dealing with things that go wrong.

If you are set on a larger boat make sure you consider a ketch. I looked long and hard at a Morgan 462 and in the end decided it was just to big.

Before you buy anything around 50ft I would suggest you go for a sail on one and crank the main up on your own, recover the anchor without using the power option and furl the genoa.
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