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jmshack 07-27-2001 09:30 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range

I''ve read the relevant posts for similar questions about boat buying advice. But I''d like some personal directed advice if possible.

I took a 3 day sailing course about 5 years ago aboard a Hunter 35. The course covered sailing basics, anchoring, man-overboard, etc. Because I never felt competent to "take it out by myself", I proceeded to do no further sailing ;-(

Now, 5 years later, I have 3 boys (ages 1,3,5), and am getting back into sailing. I''ve taken a few all day courses (J22 Refresher, J30 Qualification), and have hired a captain for instruction totalling about 16 hours of private instruction on the water (primarily J30). Let''s just say I''m like Starbuck--careful.

The goal is to become thoroughly competent myself in order to take my wife and boys out to enjoy safe and fun sailing.

We live in Chicago, and I''m interested in daysailing but also in crusing around the great lakes, perhaps for a week at a time.

I''m looking into buying a boat, and from what I''ve read, I need to be looking in the 35'' minimum range (3 boys, myself and wife). I''ve been aboard a Hunter 35, a J22 and J30 (racers), and a Beneteau 40.

I''m interested primarily in daysailing and crusing, not really racing. I''d like a "fast-enough" boat, but I''m MORE interested in a good comfortable (but not sluggish) sail rather than winning the Mac next year ;-)

As for budget, I can spend up to about $100K. Obviously, if I can find the "perfect for us" used boat for $40K, that would be better than spending $90K. I THINK I''d prefer a 1985 or later used boat, minimum length 33'' or 35'' preferably.

Any suggestions on boats that would likely make us very comfortable and happy? Someone once compared certain boats to cars ("a Freedom 35 is like a Mercedes, a Hunter 35 is a Ford Taurus"--I found that quite helpful ;-) BUT I don''t want to start a flame war here ;-)

Thanks in advance for what I expect will be excellent advice to someone quite ignorant of the whole topic.


henryvand 07-27-2001 10:40 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
To a large degree boats like cars have evolved to provide greater interior space relative to overall length. Many older boats in the upper 30 ft range have less usable living space than current boats in the low 30 foot range. If you anticipate doing most of the handling yourself go for a more current design offering maximum space in a boat that you can manage single handed. I took delivery earlier this year on a new Beneteau 331 (34 FT) which I handle often without crew. The interior is spacious and with furling main and all lines located conveniently to the helm it fit the bill nicely at a price that I think offers pretty good value for money. Performance wise the Beneteaus tend to do fairly well. Catalina offers similar boats in this range. The Hunters I''ve encountered tend not to be as fast - they seem to trade off ease of sail handling for performance.

Denr 07-30-2001 05:35 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
Some of the more common sailboats manufactured in the US and a fun way to compared them to their “land based people movers”:

Beneteau-Ford Taurus

C & C-Corvette

Catalina-Chevrolet Cavalier

Caliber-Volvo cars

Hunter-U-Haul Truck

Island Packet-Volvo Truck




The term Mercedes, in my opinion, should be reserved for boats such as Hinckleys and Aldens. Feel free to “pile on” this response for your favorite Foreign built boats. Warning, don’t say anything bad about the Halberg-Rassys!

rmf1643 07-30-2001 07:06 PM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
I own two of the cars mentioned here, and one of the boats. For what I pay in repair bills on my Volvo (which is now my 17 year old daughters car) I''ll be selling it soon and buying a Honda for her when she goes off to college. As far as my Porsche, ya its kinda expensive to keep around, but its worth every dime! Now my Catalina 30'' never breaks down, costs ver little to maintain and I get great pleasure sailing around the San Diego coastal areas. So maybe I should sell the Volvo & Porsche and buy a Cavalier!

dpierce 07-31-2001 11:09 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
Dear denr,

I really like your comparisons - except the Catalina. I''d liken them to basic Honda or Toyota sedans. They get the job done nicely, hold their value, and require little maintenance.

What would be the boating equivalent of a Miata?


Denr 08-01-2001 09:29 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
Perhaps a Zodiac with a Honda 4 stroke 10 hp engine.

coffeejones 08-15-2001 08:07 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
You may want to consider a 1985 or later Pearson 36. Same layout as the Sabre with 2 private cabins, large head, nice galley and cockpit. Sails beautifully and really holds its value. Had mine for 2 years and sold for more than I paid or put into it. They''re in the 70-80 range.

Silversailor 08-28-2001 07:04 PM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
Ditto on the post 1985 Pearson 36. I have sailed Pearsons for 9 years and they are solid, well built, good sailing boats. You should be able yo pick up a nicely equipped P-36, 1987-89 for $75-85K...or a late model P-38 (a P-38 with a scoop transom) for about $100K. Good luck!

MikeMoss 08-28-2001 07:50 PM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
The analogy''s to cars don''t work for me. I wish I could use them but I don''t see many comparisons. I am amused however because I drive a Corvette and sail a C&C.

The question is what boat to get and I approve of boats in the 35 foot size or even bigger. Look at a C&C 40 if the draft is not a problem. It''s such a pretty boat and they sail so well.

Denr 08-29-2001 04:34 AM

Boat buying advice for 35''''+ range
I rest my case.

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