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Advice for a solid coastal cruiser
I hope you do not mind yet another what kind of boat for cruising question, but I really would like to ask your advice regarding a few boats that we have on our short list and I’ve found that because of the multitude of choices available I am becoming more than a little confused. I have been reading these posts for a few years now and although I do not always agree with what everyone says, the majority of the advice offered contains true gems of wisdom that I really appreciate.
For a bit of our history, my husband and I are still novice sailors having only owned 2 boats in the last 7 years, so although we have a good grasp of the basics, there is still very much for us to learn. The 2 boats we owned were a Catalina 30 and an Alberg 30. The Catalina, though a great boat for entertaining at the docks and sailing around the Chesapeake (in high tide) tended to literally beat us up when caught in a blow and we also did not like the fact that we could not easily reach the handholds while down below when the waters were rough. On the other hand, the Alberg was a much nicer sailing boat overall and was definitely more sturdily constructed, but we felt it was too small for us and our eventual plans to branch out and start cruising the Eastern US and Caribbean islands and it also had a very annoying tendency to become rolly on some points of sail under certain wave conditions. Finally, we primarily sail as a couple, so we’re really are not interested in purchasing a sailing condo that can accommodate a household of people, we have no aspirations to cross an ocean, but we do want a sturdy, safe, and reliable distance coastal cruiser.
As for our likes, we really prefer the lines of the more traditional boats and find them very aesthetically pleasing to the eye and our choices are further limited by the fact that we wish to spend about $30,000 for the boat. We realize that because of this, anything we buy will have to be seriously upgraded and updated before we actually start any serious distance cruising and, therefore, plan to use the next 5 years performing those upgrades while cruising around the Chesapeake getting to know the boat inside and out.
The boats on our short list thus far are the Tartan 34 classic, the Luders 33, and the Allied Seabreeze 35. Right now, of the three, we’re leaning more toward the Tartan for being able to morph into a comfortable distance cruising platform while still being a fun boat to sail around the Chesapeake. The fact that it has a shallower draft means we’d be able to get in and out of the skinny water areas of the bay without having to wait for high tide like we had to do with the Catalina before some of the channels were dredged. We’d likely not even seriously use the centerboard until we started distance cruising. We’re also interested in getting a boat that has a workable seaberth and can be single-handed without too much problem just in case one of us gets seasick or is somehow incapacitated while sailing.
So, the questions I have for you are: Are we on the right track with the Tartan 34? Is there anything inherently wrong with any of the boats on our list in light of what our current and future plans are? And finally, are there other boats we should be considering?
Sorry for the length of the post and thanks in advance for any information you’re able to share.