Quality Cruising Boat
THANKS WHOOSH!!! Your response was just what I was hoping for, and I will try to refine (or define) just who we are, and where we are in the progression of things... I struggled with what to say in my initial post, and was hoping that I would get a response or two like yours to help me communicate in an accurate and organized manner. I repeat myself, but I REALLY APPRECIATE the time that some of you spend sharing your knowledge and experience! In retrospect we are perhaps further along in the process than my initial post indicated, and we certainly have seen (and felt) plenty of "hot air" at this point. The best real help has been reading this forum, and a few direct contacts with experienced folks that we have met. HERE GOES WITH MORE SPECIFICS: (1)US: Early 60s; Reasonably fit and active but not "jocks", average size. Have hiked, camped, backpacked, now own sea kayaks, and thus don''t need or covet a 50 foot floating condo. Don''t want a boat that will stretch us physically as we grow older, but appreciate some of the emerging and helpful technology that has made dealing with larger boats easier (examples-would consider a powered halyard winch, don''t want a rig needing powered primaries, love the "Dutchman" on our Com-Pac 33 but would not want to accept the compromises and safety issues coming with mainsail furling systems). (2)PLANS: Sailing with crew of two with very occasional guest(s). No crossing of oceans, but would want to be comfortable heading for Bermuda, Belize, windward islands, etc. Compromise slanted toward strength, seaworthiness, and not "sweating blood" in case the forecasters miss (they do miss occasionally in the Ocean don''t they?). (3)BOATS: Am aware that displacement (not just OAL) means a lot, but most discussion starts with OAL. It looks like anything we should be considering falls between 17,000 (Sabres) and 24,000 (Valiant, Seacraft) lbs. One of our biggest questions (and an area where we have heard MUCH "HOT AIR") has to do with the compromises over displacement, full keel, performance, motion, etc. "Jeff H" in particular has posted several insightful comments on the importance of technology and progress without losing sight of value of tradition and proven performance. One thing I neglected to mention in the first post is our need for shallow draft. It is shallow around Oriental, and everything beyond 5 feet hurts a bit (with 6 feet being too much). This may make a modern and efficient fuller keel design less of a compromise for us, as we cannot deal with any of the standard deep fin designs. I guess this is the only design area where compromise won''t apply. We have liked the SCHEEL KEEL on our Com-Pac; it works better than I thought it would. There is some compromise in lift going to weather, but only on that point of sail, and it is not a "mud anchor" like some of the wings. (4)QUALITY: This word is more overused than "awesome", but it serves as a starting point. I hope that I communicate more effectively when I say that we are looking for a boat that is not built down to a price point, or on the other hand up to a "glitz point" either. (5)AESTHETICS: I hope that I can help clarify here too... Babas and Bayfields are beautiful, but not what we are looking for. On the other hand if one of the "Modern Hunters" best fit most all of our criteria (they really don''t though), we would really have a hard time buying something that looks like a Clorox jug. Just as examples... Seacraft, Valiant, Caliber, Island Packet are all very nice inside and out, and Cabo Rico is drop dead GORGEOUS! That observation is based on aesthetics only though, and there are many more compromise items to consider. Teak is nicer on the inside than the outside too! (6)COST: We have saved for this, but aren''t wealthy. A max target would be $250K, but there is some latitude. For instance we would possibly consider getting a loan and going higher (new) on a couple of boats that might prove to be a good fit, and where recent models seem to be holding their value exceptionally well. (7) SPECIFIC QUESTIONS: I hope that some of you will go ahead and comment on these, and at the same time we both hope they will provide additional insight into the experience based advice we are seeking. (A)What is the feeling about the Caliber boats? Will they sail and tack, and are the integral fiberglass tanks a reasonable idea, or a potential BIG problem? (we do have a bit of experience on Island Packets - seem well built, are beautiful, but do not sail well enough on the sound to be a consideration for us - we are liking the lines of the newer, bigger ones less and less too). (B)We like the size, lines, quality, and price availability of the P.S. Crealock 37, but wonder about the age of this "senior design" and its sailing ability in more moderate conditions. For a 37 footer it could be roomier in the forepeak sleeping area too (some of us guys do get up in the night, eh). (C)We have some of the same concerns for the Cabo Rico 38, and the newer, larger Cabos (40/42) seem to be beyond our reach price wise. Comments? (D)Is the Valiant becoming dated, or are the running upgrades keeping it relatively close to the contemporary designs in terms of performance? (E)We have always liked Sabres, but wonder if the experienced among you would take one across the ocean? (Ideally we would rather have better rudder protection and all "real" ports - but they are probably the best sailors of all under moderate conditions) Comments? I hope all this paints a clearer picture for those of you who will help us! We do realize that there are LOTS of compromises to consider, and we don''t have the larger boat, big water sailing experience to sift through the "hot air" and dogma without help. Also please feel free to tell us if we''re "all wet" with any of our thinking, no one is thin skinned here! THANKS SO MUCH!!! George & Marilyn.