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  #1  
Old 10-25-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

Hello All:

I am looking for some advice from people familiar with sailing/cruising the NE US coast. After having done a fair bit of inland lake sailing on small boats, some Chesapeake and lake Michigan day charters on 30 something boats, and now a few weeks of sailing in Boston harbor (never going out any further than Deer Island I am ready to buy my 1st boat.

I will be sailing single-handed a fair amount and will also have a young child on board on weekends (7yrs old) in whom I hope I can instill a love for sailing and cruising. I would want to keep it in the water and sail even in the winter.

What I think are my criteria are:

1)a rock solid boat around 30 ft that is not only going to be able to weather a blow but act in a sea kindly manner in most heavy weather and has good motion in most sea states and points of sail.

2) Is fast enough that it will give me a shot at getting out of the way of weather.

3) Is easy enough to single hand (safely with minimal need to venture out of cockpit when things get hairy) with manageable loads that are not so extreme that a reasonably fit person with (old back injury notwithstanding) could cope with.

4) Is maneuverable enough that getting in and out of a marina berth single-handed will not be a completely embarrassing event every time ;-)

5) Is comfortable enough for a 6''4" skipper, a 7 year old and occasionally little 7 year old non sailing friends and parents, and non sailing wife to do anything from day sailing around the harbor to two week cruise up the coast (and if it could safely sail to Bermuda as well that would be a great plus).

What I have come up with is two very different choices:

a) A contessa 32 or 35 for its sea kindly ride, its safety and ability to be out in most conditions without too much concern and decent amount of room below.

b)a Prout 31 or 37 Cat, apparently sea kindly ride with little or no slamming, ability to deal with heavy weather that makes monohulls of similar length sweat, and obviously plenty of room and deck space (I first thought of a Gemini Cat but eliminated it as I felt that it didn’t meet the safety criteria in a blow and was not sea kindly enough).

I am assuming that both the above boats would be able to safely deal with today’s conditions off Boston 45kts of wind and the remnants of Wilma 150 miles off shore (i.e. if I wanted to poke my head out of the harbor and sail up to Cape Anne for example). Am I being unrealistic?

Looks are obviously not a factor as I think the Prout is rather ugly and my aesthetic taste runs more along the lines of a Hinckley pilot or s''wester.

Any advice and comments would be appreciated, thanks.
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Old 10-25-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

One thing that I would say is that the Contessa 35 is a very close sistership to the IOR era Peterson 34''s. The Peterson 34''s are far more common in the U.S. and typically sell for less money. Neither boat offers particularly good seaworthiness, comfortable motion or are easy to single-hand. For that matter, while the Contessa 32 is a bit more seakindly, they are not particularly easy to single-hand as well.

I have never been a fan of Prouts smaller boats but that may just be a taste thing (From my point of view, they don''t offer very good light air performance or go to weather very well, and frankly are not that fast. I also don''t like their huge genoa small mainsail rig proportion for short-handing.)

I am not sure that any of the boats on you list would be able to handle 45 knots winds safely. 45 knots of wind is a whole lot of wind. In the hands of an experienced skipper, with proper storm sails, and since these are essentially 30 year old boats, a high level of care aimed at long term maintenance, the monohulls could survive a pprolonged period in those kinds of winds but it would not be an easy sail. I would not even venture a guess at the smaller Prout''s track record in those conditions.

In that same general price range and construction quality, boats like the Pearson 323, or a Tartan 34 come to mind.

Jeff
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

Thanks for the reply Jeff. Talking to a couple of old salts I thought that the Contessa 32 was an ideal boat to single hand and very seakindly (the fact that one of them had one for sale may have had something to do with it).

What would be on your short list in the $50-100K range for a boat based out of Boston for Coastal Cruising that was as safe as possible in heavy weather, easy to set up as a short handed boat with manageable loads, and an enjoyable ride for those aboard?

As far as a Cat goes, if not prout then who?

Thanks
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Old 10-26-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

At the upper end of your price range you might pick up a PDQ32 or PDQ36 that would meet most of your criteria in a cat that sails well. For coastal cruising it would be hard to beat the PDQ32 ( I have one )- Yachtworld has one listed close to your price range and in your area at the moment.
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Old 10-26-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

PDQ looks good but getting from the cockpit to on to the deck/foredeck looks like it would be scary in bad conditions as it lookslike you have to go up and over. Also the anchor looks like it is off one bow rather than in the middle of the front of the boat. Kanter''s book gives it very good ratings for seakindleyness and for slamming but then I sw an online article by him and the ratings had been lowered, maybe different year?

What year boat do you have, any year better than others? What wind speed and wave height start to concern you (when do you have to reef)? What are your main areas of concern with your boat? Does it slam or hobby horse? Do you know if you can completely enclose the cockpit (like the system that gemini uses and I have also seen on a prout). Is it easy to set up to be single handed?

Thanks
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Old 10-26-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

I was going to opine that you have too many criteria, some a bit opposing, when I realized the CS 36T does a good job on all points. For example, I single-hand mine more often than not, it has successfully completed two trips to Latin America, all halyards and controls run aft, and with the storm jib up and third reef in, she would have given you a nice run from Boston up to Cape Ann and back yesterday. The three blade MaxProp backs like a car. etc...Perhaps the fantasy can be real...

Bye the bye, the boat is in the water in Boston and on the market. For info see
POGO in the Listings on http://www.closereach.com/csoa/
at
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Old 10-27-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

BostonNE,

I too have a 7-year old child who I hope will take more and more interest in sailing as he grows. I recently acquired a Peterson 34 which, as JeffH says, is a close relative (in design, at least) to the Contessa 35. Jeff is right that there are other boats that may be more seaworthy, offer better motion comfort, and/or be easier to single-hand, but that does not mean that these boats are not at all seaworthy themselves or couldn''t be single-handed (for the latter, a lot depends on how they are set up). Boat selection tends to involve a lot of trade-offs, including comfort, performance, price, etc... The Pearson 323 and Tartan 34 represent different trade-offs than the Contessa 35 or Peterson 34.

Successfully taking ANY boat out in 45 knots would require experience, proper sails and equipment, and intimate knowledge of your boat and its condition. I would be a bit reluctant to do so with my boat in her present, 25-year-old raced-hard put-away-wet condition (Jeff has seen my boat) but I hope to have a lot more confidence in her after a full overhaul and refit.

Back to my 7-year old son, on our first trip with our "new" Peterson 34,he kept his eye on the heel-o-meter and was quick to bring it to my attention whenever we got above 15 degrees (see http://members.acadia.net/catamount/Greyhawk/reaching.jpg) -- that was until he found a secure place where he could wedge himself (in the deck-wells where the MOB horseshoe buoys would be stored); then he forgot all about the heeling!

Regards,

Tim
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

Responses re PDQ32 questions
- The boat is easy to move about on as the side decks are wide and flat so going forward is not a problem. The boat is actually a center cockpit layout so the central location and depth of the cockpit make it ideal for the safety of kids on board.
The basic design and hull has not changed since it was first introduced however they did increase the mast height and sail area somewhere in the 1996 to 97 area. I have a 1999 model.
I am very happy with the sailing performance of the boat. It routinely sails in the 7 to 10 knot range. Slamming is rare. I only experienced hobby horsing once when I tried to keep sailing in very light winds on a short chop - once winds are over 6 knots there is normally enough force on the sails to keep her steady. You can sail with full sails up to about 20 knots of wind, one reef gets you to 25 knots, a second reef gets you to 30. After that sailing ceases to be fun however the previous owner told me he spent some time sailing south in 50 knots off the Carolinas with just a bit of jib out - he said he never felt threatened under those conditions.
Single handing is really easy as all lines come back into the cockpit and the jib is a self tacker. With an autopilot you really don''t need crew.
The anchors off the bows is common on smaller cats - you use a bridle once you have the anchor out - it works very well.
The cockpit is easily enclosed - I saw a number of boats with full enclosures when I was shopping.
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Old 10-30-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

Thanks for the responses everyone. I have come to the conclusion that a larger 1990+ cat will fit our situation best and give us more options and for longer. While the 32 PDQ is a very attractive cruiser I would want the security of a larger cat for my child and young friends and am thinking of at least the PDQ 36 but am seriously thinking of something right around the 40ft mark for a variety of reasons, safety being just one of them. The additonal cost will push the purchase date back a year and in the mean time I will take advantage of the sailing club memberships that boston has to offer to get some more sailing experience. Thanks again for the thoughful responses everyone and good sailing to you.

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Old 12-13-2005
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Sailing out of Boston-30ft+

Join the Yahoo E-Group MassBaySailors

Search for it within the Yahoo Groups or e-mail me directly at Catalina30Ruby at Yahoo dot com

Bill Scanlon
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