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.
San Juan 26
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.