Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40 - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 39 Old 03-05-2015 Thread Starter
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Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

Three bluewater boats at the upper size limit of what I'd be comfortable single-handing offshore. Budget under $85,000. Range - Pacific ocean. Am interested in your thoughts comparing/contrasting these three boats. Thank you.
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post #2 of 39 Old 03-06-2015
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

I would cross off Down Easter from my list, due to issues with quality of construction. The other two boats are: Valiant - good but watch out for blisters on hull, FP - better choice but hard to find.

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post #3 of 39 Old 03-06-2015
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

The Downeaster also has a pretty short rig as well, and apparently is fairly tender (I've been on one, but never sailed it). I like the look of them though, and there is a lot of space down below.

I assume you've decided against others like the Tayana 37, or Pearson 368? I'd recommend my boat as well, a Rafiki 37, but they are slightly smaller than your target, and are hard to find.

Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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post #4 of 39 Old 03-06-2015
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

I owned a DE38 for 5 years, great boat, served us well but not in the same category as the Fast Passage 39 or Valiant 40.

I will admit to a major bias, but put a Whitby 42 on your list.



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post #5 of 39 Old 03-06-2015
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

There are 3 Passport 40s on YW under your price cap.. they'd need some TLC, no doubt, but good bones and IMO a better boat than those three.. better, brighter layout, much better cockpit, 'prettier' to boot.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/Sail/type/Passport/40/1

A Passport 42 is something of a 'Valiant' knockoff by Stan Huntingford, IIRC.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/cate...pe/Passport/42

Keep an eye out for a good Fraser 41/42 (aft/ctr cockpit respectively) too. A tad rare, perhaps, but can be found up and down the West Coast.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/category/type/Fraser

Not sure you want to limit your list to just those three.

Ron

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".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)

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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

My father circumnavigated on a Downeaster 38. Certainly would not be my first choice due to performance issues, and the giant windows.

But if you get truly serious about one, I could give your contact information to him and I am sure he would be happy to chat with you about it.

Get the Fraser. Erps will be with you shortly, I expect.

David

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"They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house. I'm not made of stone!" -Krusty the Clown
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post #7 of 39 Old 03-06-2015
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

I agree with some of what has been said. The three boats listed are fairly different in design. Not at all familiar with the Fast Passage 39, but the Valiant 40 has a very good reputation. The designer of that boat, Bob Perry is a somewhat frequent poster on this message board and if he happens upon this thread I'm sure he can offer some great advice.

I've owned and sailed a Downeaster 38 for the past 8 years. I'm not sure what build issues krisscross has experienced, but my experience and those of other owners that I've talked to, are that they are very well built boats. I've also been on several Westsails (which have a good build reputation) and in my opinion the Downeasters are very similar. They are solid layup on the hull, over an inch thick below the waterline. The bulkheads are all heavily tabbed in. I have heard of one hull that had blisters, but I don't think it's common. My hull has none.

Not saying they're perfect. Any Downeaster on the market now would be pretty long in the tooth, and will have associated age related issues. If it has the original wiring, it will likely need to be replaced. Same with the engine. The caprail will likely leak unless it's been recently rebedded and it would be a good idea to replace all of the standing rigging before any hard sailing. I think these are reasonable issues when you are buying a 32-40 year old boat.

The Downeaster does have a short, low aspect rig, hurting it's speed in light air. The schooner rig offers a bit more sail area and flexibility, but I've always thought that putting two sticks on a 38 foot boat was a bit much. An asymmetrical spinnaker helps greatly off the wind. I don't think that the Downeaster is particularly tender compared to other boats of similar design. It has less initial stability than most flat bottomed, beamy boats of today but that's to be expected from the design. Basically you'll heel to about 10 degrees in the first 10 or so knots, up wind. But it will heel only another 5 or degrees up until you are cracking on in 25 knots or so. Then you start reducing sail. I've only had my rail buried once, and that was in 40 kt gusts.

Performance wise, meh, if I was in a hurry to get there I would fly. They don't point well compared to a sloop rigged fin keel boat, but it's also not nearly as bad as you hear people describing at the yacht club bar or on forums like this. (They can sail upwind, FFS, square riggers can sail upwind!) On the other hand, they do track very well. On a close to about a beam reach, they will sail themselves if your sails are balanced.

They have tones of storage aboard. I can literally have tools, boxes, spares, and random stuff stacked up almost to the overhead and it all has a place to get stowed when the work is done and it's time to go sailing. The lazarette could be it's own berth, I throw everything in there.

Maneuvering the boat under power in tight spaces is always a challenge. I enjoy the challenge but some might find it off putting. Backing up in any kind of wind is very difficult. The bow wants to blow down wind and this windage is almost always going to be more powerful than the rudder in reverse. This is definitely a liability for these boats but if you own one, you pick your battles and sometimes you will find yourself anchoring out rather than taking a slip because the T-dock or bulkhead is full.

Summary (IMO) for the Downeast:
Good:
Solid (in my experience) heavy duty build
Tracking ability
Comfortable motion in most sea states (subjective)
Roomy, plenty of storage
Looks, they are quite pretty, I think

Bad:
Light air boat speed
Pointing ability
Maneuverability (backing up in particular)
Age

Hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, let me know.

-Argyle
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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

Argyle:

You certainly know the boat better than my indirect knowledge.. (I have very limited time aboard)

Would you please comment about the engine access/room, and what you thought of
the small cockpit well.. I know my dad used deck chairs in the cockpit, and was pretty happy with that.

My Dad had Leisure furl roller furling, and really liked it. I am pretty sure he also got rid of the staysail "club"

I know he reinforced the big windows after one broke during a blow, which was pretty scary for him. Curious if you have done something about it.

I know that he pounded ashore in Bonaire for several hours during a blow. Took him a while to get it fixed, but he completed most of his circumnavigation after it.

He never could figure out how to back it up without warping..

I know he replaced the tanks, which I think were black iron..

Sorry.. don't mean to hijack the thread.. Your response was well thought out and written.. Just curious of your impressions.

David

1987 CS 36 Merlin "Kyrie"

"They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house. I'm not made of stone!" -Krusty the Clown

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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

I'm watching this thread and enjoying it. It's good that we can all share opinions. It just feels good.

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Re: Downeaster 38 , Fast Passage 39 , Valiant 40

I appreciate all the knowledgeable input. Those three are in my first group at the larger end of what I'm considering. Others on the radar are the Baba 30, CT Cutter 34, Valiant 32, Alajuela 33/38, Tayana 37, Bristol 28 Cutter, Cabo Rico 38, Pretorien 35, and Pacific Seacraft 34. I think the Hans Christian 33 would be pushing the final budget.
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