Join Date: Jul 2000
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J/80 - Opinions Needed
I had the same criteria as you when I was looking for a boat. I am primarily a daysailor and have small children. I sail on Lake Michigan, so I wanted a safe boat that my wife and children would be comfortable on. I looked at the J80. It is a nice boat, and fast, but it is very expensive (over $40k new) and it does not have a very comfortable cockpit for cruising.
The boat I chose is the Colgate 26. It is great for daysailing. The cockpit is about 13'' long. There is a ton of room if you just want to stretch out or take out 7 or 8 people. It has alot of nice saftey features: Positive flotation. One was recently hit broadside by a 40'' motorboat going at a high rate of speed. The boat was nearly split in two, but still did not sink. It has an open transom, which at first my wife did not like, but the forward part of the cockpit is somewhat separated from the last 3-4'' of cockpit by the main travler. The open transom is a nice saftey feature: if someone should fall overboard, it is easy to get them back in.
The cabin is very small, but does have a large v-berth and 2 large quarterberths. There is not alot of headroom. There is space for a portapottie. Like you, a large cabin was not my priority.
The boat is fast. Jeff is under the impression that the J80 is faster. Not true unless you count the J80''s large assymetrical spiniker. If you just sail the two boats with main and jib, the Colgate will keep up and frequently beat the J80. I have confirmed this with the Naval Accadamy--they bought a bunch of Colgates, and occasionally sail against J80s. I am amazed everytime I go out sailing how many boats I fly past. It is a real treat since my last boat was a big slow tub.
The Colgate is a great looking boat. When I first got it some people thought it was a J80--they look similar. They are about the same size and displacement.
Now for the price. Big difference between the J80 and Colgate. Starting price is about $27k. That includes almost everything (sails--including spiniker, electrical system--battery, solar charger, Harken roller furling, winch handles etc etc etc). All that you need to buy is sailcover, cushions, anchor and outboard. I got a trailer also.
If you have any questions about the boat email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a comprehensive web site at www.colgate26.com All the pricing and equipment list is there. I''m sure that Steve Colgate would talk to you about the boat.
It really is a nice boat and I''m having alot of fun with it.