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jenweberfuller 10-03-2006 11:43 PM

Cal 34 vs. Irwin 34
We are now looking at 2 boats that are in the length range we desire...(30 to 34 feet.) and somewhat within our price range. The Cal 34 is older (1968) but much more affordable. It has a newer fully battened main, and a spinnaker with gear. The Irwin (1979) has more "creature comforts", but not as nice "sailing" amenities, i.e. original sails, no spinnaker, no genoa cars/tracks, and a much smaller steering wheel (is this important?) and priced about $15k more. We are considering getting a survey of the Cal....
Anyway, what we're really wondering is one of these a more reputable, solid, respectable boat? We're new to sailing and we have little knowledge about different brands of boats. We will be using it to cruise with our kids (2 boys, one, 9 and a very disabled little guy who's 7) in the Northern Great Lakes area. We are upsizing from a 22ft Spirit trailerable. We want to upsize in order to be able to sail more safely in the Great Lakes with my disabled son. (He's unable to walk or even support his head well) Both of the interiors would work for our son,...he could be comfortably lodged in a quarter berth with padding. He loves to go everywhere with us!
Any advice would be appreciated.

Faster 10-04-2006 12:04 AM

JenwebFantastic that you are not letting your son's and your family's situation get in the way of persuing this wonderful pastime. Kudos to you all for that.Without direct experience on either of those boats I'll let others contribute there, but one question you asked was regarding wheel size.Many older boats and boats that were retro-fitted with wheels have smaller diameter wheels because the cockpits were not designed to accomodate them. Newer designs have T shaped cockpits to make room for a larger wheel.The smaller wheels do have a bit of a disadvantage as far as the helmsperson's visibility forward while seated. A larger wheel allows the driver to sit further outboard, with better sightlines, and still comfortably reach the rim of the wheel. Straining to reach a small wheel and still see waves and watch for debris will cause straining and discomfort on even a relatively short leg.Our last boat had a 60" wheel and had terrific driving positions (not to mention looking real cool - though the broker called it an "Ego wheel"!) Our current boat has a 32" wheel in a fairly narrow cockpit, so it's reachable but nowhere near as comfortable as the last boat.So check how well you can see forward when seated comfortably at the wheel to give you an idea of how important it may be, keeping in mind you will spend a lot of time at that position!Good Luck

sailingdog 10-04-2006 09:18 AM

Another option you may not have considered is a trimaran, like the Corsair F31. I have a good friend, who is disabled, and he prefers sailing on a multihull, as the angles of heel are much lower. He does have some mobility, and finds that sailing flatter makes it much easier for him. Just a thought.

jenweberfuller 10-04-2006 02:55 PM

Yes, we have had others suggest a multihull and it would be nice, but my husband and I are both sort of "hooked" on the monohull...we actually like to heel, comfortably anyway and enjoy the feeling of the single hull leaning over as the wind fills the sails. My son Brenden rolls a little, and it doesn't bother him as long as we have padded the sides of his "crib" with cushions and blankets. ( I have never, however, been on a multihull, so I can't say an experience on one would not change my mind!) The other reason we're not looking at multihulls is that there are very, very few to be found in the Great Lakes. I have yet to find one in our price range (up to $25,000.) The other concern is the slip fees for a multihull are sometimes double! Thank you for the suggestion, however, it is still something we are considering.:p

p.s. I did look again, specifically, for multihulls, especially something like a folding trimaran...and yes, the Corsair is a neat concept, with the folding pontoons and trailerability. It would be very stable and be something similar to what we have now, except no standing headroom, especially in the models that would be anywhere near our price range. (The F-31 is quite pricey!!) Oh, I forgot, STANDING HEADROOM is a big back is already giving out and I'm just a little on the downside of 40-something. :)

capt.terry28 10-09-2006 12:23 AM

I have owned both Cal & Irwin yachts
I had a 1986 Cal 28, she was a fantastic boat, fast well built. The 1989 Irwin I just sold was 38 feet. I am now looking at a 1969 Irwin 32, want a smaller boat as not to have so much money invested. Both are well built, great boats. I don't think you would go wrong with which ever one you get.
Good luck, Capt.Terry :)

tharbor2bush 10-09-2006 01:40 AM

small sedan vs. van
I have a cal 33 which I would recommend to almost anyone. I believe cal are strong and stiff boat with good sailing characteristic.
Irwin, in my openion, is just a different class of sailboat. It should be roomier but perhaps more slouggish, hence the analogy os small sedan and van
I will also recommend pearson and tartan for this range, but cal should has a better price. good luck and good sailing.

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