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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Boat Review and Purchase Forum
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  #1  
Old 12-15-2004
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Blombo is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

I''ve been lurking here for some time and have learned a lot, so i want to thank everyone for taking the time to answer questions with so much detail. This is really a great site.

I have virtually no experience but my wife and i are planning on taking a 3-day class through SI in the Bayfield area this spring before purchasing a boat. I am wondering what boats we should be considering for sailing between the Duluth Area and Apostle Islands? Given the historical reputation of the area, our first concern is safety and stability and secondary would be comfort.

As for accommodations, we would like a boat w/ an enclosed head and one that is comfortable for at least two couples (Not in settee births. The only sailboat that i have access to is a 42'' Lord Nelson so that isn''t a very good comparison given that i would like the price to be around 20k... 30k at the top end. I am thinking a boat in the 27 to 33 foot range for size, and have been most interested in a Catalina 27, Bristol 32, Cape Dory 28, Pacific Seacraft 25, and a Ranger 33. These seem to be the ones most available in this area for the price. Any thoughts on others that i should be considering. I have read past posts on all of these and am aware that they don''t seem to get very high reviews from some of you. The boat would be used for weekend trips along the coast with an occasional week long adventure.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions.

David
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Old 12-16-2004
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owenmccall is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

Do you mean "virtually no experience" sailing, or just in sailing keelboats? If you do not yet know how to sail, you will find it very difficult (if not impossible) learning properly on these leadmines you ask about. You should (IMHO) set aside a bare minimum of one year sailing in single-handed dinghys before you even think about actually purchasing a keelboat.

Owen McCall
(US Sailing Instructor)
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  #3  
Old 12-16-2004
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Lake Superior

David,

You certainly will receive a variety of thoughts on the proper way to learn how to sail. There are loads of sailboat owners out there who have little or no experience on dinghys and managed to learn how to sail. My first boat was a 27 footer, and my total dinghy experience prior to buying that boat was an afternoon on a Sunfish on vacation in Key West. Somehow I learned to make the pointy end go forward.

These days lots of people jump right in to sailing, buying 30-40 footers even as their first boat, and never look back. These days people don''t have, or don''t want to take, the time to start with a dinghy and move up through a progression of boats. That also can take a lot of money, not to mention aggrevation buying and selling boats. Take the class, read a lot, volunteer to crew on other people''s boats. Then spend lots of time on the water -- that''s the best teacher there is.
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Old 12-16-2004
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Blombo is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

Thank you for the responses thus far. I have done a lot of reading of past posts and am well aware of the variety of opinions voiced regarding the need to start with a dinghy and work ones way up in length, but i do truly appreciate the caution.

As w/ most things there are a variety of thoughts on teaching, and often the paths lead to the same place. I have been riding motorcycles for 20 plus years and the general advice given is to start on a small 125cc bike and work your way up. The reality is that i, along with numerous other have learned on full size bikes, and w/ practice end up in the same place... hopefully in one piece. My wife learned to shoot a handgun starting with a 45 cal, most would recommend starting with a 22. In a very short time she was outshooting most guys at the range. The idea that it is "best" to start out with a dinghy may very well be true, but the reality is that some of us would never sail if that were the only option to sailing. Again i do appreciate the advice.

So back to my stated question. If i were to go down a different path, what types of boats should i be lookig at given the conditions and criteria i outlined?

David
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Old 12-17-2004
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henryvand is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

I would not like to get caught out in Lake Superior with an outboard on the transome. When the waves pick up it will spend half it''s time out of the water. I would look for a boat witha reliable inboard engine so the prop is down under the hull.
You might do well to look at Canadian listings - check www.boatcan.com or www.boatforsale.net. I had a Tanzer 8.5 (28 ft.) a few years back that would probably suit your needs nicely.
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Old 12-19-2004
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donlincoln is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

David -
For the price range that you''ve listed, you''re not likely to do better than the models you''ve named. Certainly some, like the Cape Dory and the Pacific Seacraft, have better "seaworthy" reputations than the others, but the bottom line is that all of the boats you''ve named safely traverse Lake Superior all season long without major incident. These boats are not ocean voyagers, but since your use will be more of the daysail-weekend-occasional cruise variety, any of these boats would be an excellent choice. When that sudden summer squall pops up out of nowhere, there is nothing better to have than experience, but that is tough to get unless you get out there.
Don

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Old 12-19-2004
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Lake Superior

David,

Many of us hold back from responding to posts such as yours because the usual cast of experts jump in so quickly. But given the lack of traffic on your specific query, here are some thoughts.

But first, my bias: I currently own a Pearson, my second one. In general, I don''t think you can beat them for price and quality. My opinion only of course. Other opinions may vary.

I did a search on Yachtworld typing in your price and size range for an idea of what else is out there in addition to what you have named already. The following Pearsons are worth a look: 30, 303, 33 (early 70''s vintage is in your price range, not the mid-''80''s version), 323 and 35. My favorite of that lot for your purpose is probably the 323. Very salty boat that others have done a lot of bluewater sailing in. But you also seem to indicate a preference for two cabins and not just settee berths for a couple, so that will limit your choices also.

Other boats that caught my eye are the Sabre 28, Sabre 30, Tartan 30 and Tartan 33.

I cut my sailing teeth on Catalina 27s and 30s. If you can get one that''s been babied, they are worth a look.

Hard to tell from your post how much looking you have done, but get out and see as many of these (and other boats) in the flesh as you can. For the liveability part, lie down in the vee berth and aft cabins (if they have one) in the boats to see how comfy they are. Also think about where 4 people are going to stow their stuff for either a weekend or a week.

If you narrow it down to a few models, I also suggest joining that email lists here on Sailnet. You can ask questions about the particular models you''re interested in and get input from current owners. Contrary to what people think, my experience with owner input here on Sailnet is that they tell you all about their boats -- both the good and the bad. If someone sugar coats all their comments, discount what they say. EVERY boat has compromises and downsides. Input from current owners also is much better than an opinion you might get on this BB from someone who was on a particular boat once 10 years ago.

If nothing else, lurk on the email lists and read about the problems others write in about. You can get a wealth of knowledge just by doing that.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-20-2004
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Blombo is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

Great to see some replies to my question. I was starting to wonder after 250 views w/ little response. I too thought some of the "usual players" would have had some input. Hopefully they will still jump in so that i can bennefit from their experience.

SailorMitch, i have done as you have suggested by joining various boards, which has been helpful. My wife and i like the Catalina 27 that we looked at. It seems to be a very well taken care of with lots of extras. I was more concerned about the advice that i received from the owner of the Lord Nelson who suggested that i would be wishing i had gotten something else if i got caught in a Lake Superior squall. As henryvand had suggested i am only looking at boats that are inboard given the conditions i will be in. Obviously taking the three day class in the spring will give me a pretty good idea of what is available out there. We plan on using our off-time to do some looking at different boats in that area. The class is in Bayfield and they have about ten marinas in the area so we should at least be able to see alot of what is out there. My wife have looked several times at two of the places that are close to us so my questons were based on what they had available. We have been inside all of ones that i mentioned w/ the exception of the Cape Dory 28 which was sold before i got there.

Anyway, i appreciate the ideas and feel free to keep them coming.

David

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Old 12-22-2004
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paulroad is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

David,
There are a lot of good boats out there in that price range. Being from ohio I am a little bias towards Tartans. I had a tartan 30 that I did complete refit on and sailed for many years. I have since moved up to tartan 37. Just make sure you get a survey done because I have seen very espensive boats in bad shape and cheap boats in great shape. It all depends on how they were maintained. Good luck with your search and hope you find something.
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Old 12-26-2004
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dameware is on a distinguished road
Lake Superior

Thereís a 1966, Tartan 27í, located in Superior listed for $7,000.
http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listing/pl_boat_detail.jsp?currency=USD&units=Feet&checked _boats=1132668&slim=quick&
Itís a centerboard model and was designed by Sparkman & Stevens.
This is a great little boat and a very good price.
It should get you where you want to go on Superior.
Might be a good place for you to start?

p.s. I got my big boat start sailing the Apostle''s out of Port Superior, just south of Bayfield. What a fabulous place for cruising, when the weather cooperates!

Bob...
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