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Old 04-18-2014
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Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

Sorry about the length of this post, but I figure I will get better advice if I give a lot of details about what I want from a sailboat.

First, I’m a reasonably experienced sailor that has owned a few different boats. I learned to sail on my parents’ 18 foot catboat. Since then I have owned these boats in this order: a Catalina 27, a home-built (not by me) 44 foot trimaran, and currently a West Wight Potter 19.

But, I’m planning a new adventure for next year, for which I’m considering getting a different sailboat. My plan is to trailer a sailboat to Whitehorse in the Yukon Territory, and then sail down the Yukon River all the way to Bering Sea. From here I have two choices: Sail all the way home to the Seattle area, or have my boat barged back. Going back up-river against the current is not a choice for a small sailboat.

My current boat, a West Wight Potter 19, would work well on the Yukon River, but it is not appropriate for a long trip, even a coastal gunkholing one, on the Bering Sea and North Pacific. If I decide to have my boat barged back from Alaska, I will probably stick with my Potter. But If I decide to sail back, what boats should I consider buying?

Here is what I think my requirements are:

A boat small enough to trailer.

A boat seaworthy enough for coastal cruising in fairly rough weather.

I’m hoping to get a boat (with trailer) for about $10,000, but would go to $15,000 for one that is well equipped.

I have a strong preference for a boat with a centerboard, swing keel, or daggerboard. As far as I can tell, the Yukon River is not charted, and the mapping seems to be topo maps surveyed in 1956! I doubt all the sandbars were kind enough to stay put. Although I think there will be adequate draft when in one of the channels, I expect staying in the channel to be a challenge. I expect to hit bottom on a regular basis. Being able to raise the keel to get off a sand bar should be very useful.

So, finally, here are the boats I’m considering:

Jeanneau 27 Fantasia - Really too big with a 9.4’ beam

Ericson 25 CB (not the “+”) – High Displacement/Length ratio of 268, and ballast/Displacement ration of 46%. But, with a shallow draft (2.0’) it may not be any more stable than other boats on my list.

Kent Ranger 26 (Richards Design) – The cabin looks high.

Parker Dawson 26 (aka Midship 25) – Low ballast ratio of 27.5, but since it’s in the swing keel the stability might be as good as others as long as the swing keel stays extended.

O’Day 26

San Juan 26

Morgan 24/25

O’Day 25

Gib’Sea 7.6

Montgomery 23

Ericson 23 CB

Comments on these boats, or ideas on other boats that I should consider, would be appreciated. In particular, I would love to hear your thoughts on the quality of construction and seaworthiness of these boats.

Comments on my sanity for considering such a trip, while appropriate, are likely to fall on deaf ears.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

A very interesting concept. My first reaction as a cruiser and canoe tripper is to wonder about river conditions beyond just draft. We were in Whitehorse last August and there was a canyon there that I might have taken a canoe through but no sailboat for sure. You could launch downstream from there but I wonder if there are similar sections of river further downstream. I think I would like for a book or blog about canoeing down the river and see what people have to say.

My reaction is that any boat suitable for doing the river would not be up to the passage to Seattle. Another concern would be timing. What is the earliest you could go down the river - you would want to avoid the worst of the spring rush I think. Would this mean early June? How long would it take to get down the river? Would this give you time to make the sea passage. Without working the distances I think probably not.

Thinking totally outside the box, if someone gave me a bunch of money if I could do the trip, I might try something like a Hobie 18 or a little bigger With a reduced rig and camp at nights both on the river and along the coast. Not sure how you would do carrying enough food and boat spares.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

SeaPearl 21. or a Dovekie. i think with your requirements, those would be the two most suitable camp cruisers, inside your budget.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

Do it in a portland pudgy! 6" draft, and up to the worst the bearing sea has to offer. A little low on space though.

Welcome to sailnet! Your post was the perfect length for what you're asking. So often the post is, "What sailboat should I get to sail around the world." with no detail.

I love your idea BTW. Sounds like a fun adventure!

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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

I'll probably catch a bunch of crap for this but have you thought of a Mac? they're cheap. Find one in Seattle, truck it up there, sail it down and then unload it when you're done .

Fire Away.....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
My first reaction as a cruiser and canoe tripper is to wonder about river conditions beyond just draft. We were in Whitehorse last August and there was a canyon there that I might have taken a canoe through but no sailboat for sure.
You are probably thinking of Miles Canyon. This is above the dam at Whitehorse, and since shooting the spillway on the dam doesn't seem like a good idea, I'd be launching below this. Whitehorse rapids were eliminated by the same dam. This leave Five Finger Rapids and Rink Rapids.

Humph, I wanted to post pictures and links of the rapids, but I can't since I haven't made 10 posts yet.

Anyway, from the videos and pictures I've looked at of of canoes in the rapids, I'm not concerned at all about them. I've sailed in substantially bigger waves.

Note that they do run a small tour boat (maybe 40 foot long) through miles canyon. You can easily find pictures with a Google image search.
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Old 04-18-2014
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

I think it was Miles Canyon. I was not concerned about that one since you could launch downstream of it.

I don't think that the problem with a sailboat is the size of the waves it is the lack of manoeuvrability. Sailboat engines are not that powerful and I think you would have the quick ability to turn that you would in a canoe. Depending on the boat, the prop could be half out of the water at times too, which is not a good thing for sure.

What schedule are you thinking of? Suggestion of something like a Dovekie is interesting, but it seems pretty slow and I think you would spend a lot of time windbound, even in the river let alone the ocean.



















?
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Finished the circumnavigation in early February in Grenada. Have to work on a book project for the next several months so the boat will be waiting for next year.

Last edited by killarney_sailor; 04-18-2014 at 08:17 PM.
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
SeaPearl 21. or a Dovekie. i think with your requirements, those would be the two most suitable camp cruisers, inside your budget.
Thanks for the suggestions, but I guess I should have mentioned that I really want something with an enclosed cabin. I don't want the mosquitoes to carry me off during the night.

Also, if I sail back, I'll be passing through areas like the Aleutian Islands, with average highs in August not breaking 60 F, and an 85% chance of rain every day. I'm too old to take these conditions in a boat without an enclosed cabin. In fact, I'm so feeble I plan to add a vented heater to the boat. Seriously though, it's hard to keep anything dry under these conditions without a heater.
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

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Originally Posted by MedSailor View Post
Do it in a portland pudgy! 6" draft, and up to the worst the bearing sea has to offer. A little low on space though.
What, a 6" draft? Why so deep? That's the same as my Potter!

But the pudgy would make a nice tender.
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Re: Another “which boat is best” post, but with details

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Originally Posted by MikeGuyver View Post
I'll probably catch a bunch of crap for this but have you thought of a Mac? they're cheap. Find one in Seattle, truck it up there, sail it down and then unload it when you're done .

Fire Away.....
Humm ...

If I was OK with one that was a bit rough around the edges, even if I couldn't sell it or give it away, I could always scuttle it and maybe still be out less than the cost of shipping a boat back on a barge.
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