Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 101 Old 1 Week Ago Thread Starter
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Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Finally, I'm ready to buy my first big boat. Boat I'm looking for is a conservative design in fiberglass, 30-36' long (ideal range 32-35'), 12,000 to 15,000 lbs. displacement, draft of 6' max. Built by a reputable yard, in good condition (not a project) and coming with good essential gear. My priority is safety at sea, good motion while under way, and the ability to control the boat in all conditions by a crew of 2. Things I'm looking for are smaller cockpit, high bridge deck, encapsulated keel, keel stepped mast, tiller steering (preferred, but not a must have), good access to engine (and a good engine), preferably with wind vane already installed, good ground tackle with windlass. Prefer simple, reliable setup (KISS principle rules). Boat will be sailed short handed and possibly single handed at times. Something like a Cape Dory 33, Contest 33, Nicholson 35, Morgan 32, Bristol 34 or 35 (not a centerboard model). Looking for a boat on the East Coast, maybe on Great Lakes too if it is a good find. Budget for the boat: $30,000 plus another $15,000 for required upgrades. I have worked on sailboats for many years so I'm not afraid of tackling most repairs, upgrades and routine maintenance.

I have owned boats and sailed most of my life, but these were all smaller, simple boats, up to 22' only with outboard motors. I camped on these boats for 1-2 weeks at a time, sailing mostly on Pamlico sound in NC. I crewed on bigger boats, but done short passages only (longest one was 6 days with 3 days off-shore). Next year in spring (May) I'm taking a 3 year sabbatical from work to taste the life of extended cruising. I'm planning to buy the boat by the end of this year or in early 2018. I realize I have a LOT to learn but I'm planning to take it slow and steady. Initially I will sail along the East Coast and later going further south and hopefully eventually crossing Atlantic at the right time of the year to cruise the Med. Low budget cruising, that is, out of sheer necessity ("...we were poor, but we didn't notice")
If you happen to know someone selling such a boat or share your experiences in that regard, please let me know.
As always, your input is greatly appreciated.
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post #2 of 101 Old 1 Week Ago
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Make yourself sick. Look at the Channel Cutter 34. The last and biggest boat Lyle Hess drew. A true bwb, drop dead gorgeous and beautifully built by a guy in Canada known for attention to detail and strong boats.
Only issue is they are ~350k and you're not likely to see a used one for sail.
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

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Make yourself sick. Look at the Channel Cutter 34. The last and biggest boat Lyle Hess drew. A true bwb, drop dead gorgeous and beautifully built by a guy in Canada known for attention to detail and strong boats.
Only issue is they are ~350k and you're not likely to see a used one for sail.
Yeah, that is real boat porn...

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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Your boat requirements are similar to mine. I ended up with a Valiant 32. I would consider other keel configurations, too. Encapsulated keels can be great. However, if you ram something, it would be hard to stop the ingress of water from the inside, would get the ballast wet, and tend to be a thicker keel. The Valiant 32, actually, is a continuous hull mold (like an encapsulated keel) with the lead bolted on the outside to the bottom. Has the advantage of a short lever arm on the keel bolts, deep bilge, and the protection of a blob of lead if I have a hard grounding.
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Valiants 32 are great, but they are usually hard to find or cost too much. I'm not completely opposed to a bolt on keel, but it has to be a truly superb construction, and not many boats are built that way. The more traditional designs, like 3/4 full keel ride better over obstacles such as fish nets.

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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Sure you've already done this, but from this search:

(Sail) Cruiser Boats For Sale

I see several candidates (interesting that I selected only 'cruiser' and 'cutter', but still got a preponerance of fin keelers...)

Anyhow, an Allied Luders, Bristols, Cheribuni Hunters, a Rafiki and an interesting raised Salon Brit boat stood out for me..

If you choose to consider finkeels, a couple of CS33s (little sisters to Maine Sail's boat)
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Finding a boat of that size with a tiller and encapsulated keel is not going to be easy. The vast majority will have a bolt-on keel and a wheel. If you are flexible on those two points, it will open up your options significantly. Boats with a shoal keel would seem to be less susceptible to damage from grounding due to the smaller lever arm and wider base where it attaches to the hull. I came to my current boat with a wheel from over 30 years with boats with tillers. I got used to it pretty quickly. I sail on friends boats with tillers occasionally and now don't find much difference. The added mechanical advantage of the wheel is helpful especially for my wife who doesn't have a lot of upper body strength. She finds our 33 footer easier to steer than the Pearson 26 we had in the 80s.
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

$30k will do it.
I think most boats offered will be just south of your 12k min displacement until you hit 36's.
For tillers, I think right away about Tartan 34c...many around...but are centerboards.

Cherubini 37 cutters are around....

The real money hit is all the dam equipping
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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

Right now I'm leaning towards Cape Dory 33, which are easier to find but not often in my price range. They come with a wheel, which I'm OK with, but fit the rest of my requirement list. I have seen a couple of Nicholsons 35 and a Contest 33, which I liked as well. Nicholson 35 is probably a best sailing boat of this lot. I sailed smaller centerboard boats all my life and I'm not sure if they can take the abuse a big storm on an open ocean can dish out.

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Re: Looking for a 32-35' offshore boat

1976 Bristol 34 sailboat for sale in North Carolina
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