First Boat-31' Southern Cross or 27' Hunter - SailNet Community

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Old 03-16-2007
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First Boat-31' Southern Cross or 27' Hunter

I'm new to sailing and have my eye on two boats that I can get next to nothing. A 31' Southern Cross, Hull #89 which will take quite abit of work to restore or a 1984 27' Hunter that can be ready to sail with minor cleaning and repair. There's alot of info on Hunter's, some people love them, others hate them. I'm really looking for advise on the SC, doesn't seem to be many out there. Good boats? Ok for starting sailor? Are they manufactured hulls or kits? etc. Any and all info on SC and/ or advice-opinion of the Hunter vs. SC for 1st boat is most appreciated.
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Old 03-16-2007
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The main point is you're talking two different kinds of boats.
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Old 03-16-2007
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Do you want to sail or do you want to work on a boat?

Forget (for a little while) about the differences between the two boats (and there are lots!). If you want to start sailing now, buy the Hunter, do what you have to do, and START SAILING.

If you decide to buy the SC, make a list of what needs to be done to make it ready for sailing, double the cost, triple the time, and go for it!

After you have sailed for a year or so you will have a much better idea of what kind of boat you want. Maybe the Hunter will be it, maybe not. Either way, since you can get the boat for next to nothing it won't cost much.

Good luck,
Barry
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Expand response

Could you elaborate? As I'm new to sailing I'm not sure what you mean. Two diffent boats as in difficulty in sailing, quality, maintenance
, etc.?
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Old 03-16-2007
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cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough cardiacpaul is a jewel in the rough
as different as a chevy nova and a dodge one ton pickup.

when you say "next to nothing" theres a reason why. typically the cost to make them seaworthy exceeds the marketable value, (even if you do ALL of the work yourself)

if you could, rip off a sheet with what the obvious issues are, we'll be sure to shoot down your dreams...
just kidding, there isn't a one of us here that doesn't want other people to share our joy and passion. Leave the cuban out of this (inside joke)
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Differences between Southern Cross and Hunter 27.

Here are some ripped off remarks on the Southern Cross:

The Southern Cross 31 is a double ended full keel cutter capable of extended offshore passages. Designed by Thomas Gillmer & built & factory finished with options in Rhode Island by C.E. Ryder. This model is well known for quality construction, outstanding offshore capabilities. She is the perfect choice for a cruising couple on a budget searching for a blue water yacht that can take them anywhere.....

The Hunter is a 'coastal cruiser' meaning that it designed for day sails, weekend trips, or longer, but not more than a fwe hours from safe harbor. The Hunter will be easier to sail and more responsive due to being a sloop (one head sail) instead of a cutter (two head sails) and having a fin keel instead of a full keel.

As previously written, think of the Hunter as the Chevy Nova - good for basic transportation. Nothing fancy, good for running to the grocery store. Not real strong. The SC is the heavy duty pick up. Capable, strong, powerful, but not so good for short trips.

Good luck,
Barry
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Old 03-16-2007
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If you want to dink around the coast, go for the Hunter. I wouldn't, because there are better coastal boats for quality and seaworthiness in my mind. But if it's a matter of getting off the dock and learning to sail, it's adequate.

If you want a boat you can grow into, however, pick the Southern Cross. It won't go as fast as the Hunter in club racing, but after club racing gets boring, you could transit the Atlantic in it. A light-air champ it isn't, admittedly, but if you ever ride in a Hunter in a squall and ride in an SC, you'll appreciate the difference.



I suspect that if you get the Hunter as a first boat, you'll go to a Catalina and then to a Beneteau. If you got the SC, you might go to a Pacific Seacraft and then, if you got rich, to a nice big J/Boat. It's a sort of philosophy of sailing idea, I guess.

The last thing is that a beat-up SC is probably worth fixing up, because it will always find a buyer (unless survey says it's truly, deeply compromised as opposed to merely neglected/dirty/crusty), whereas a Hunter 27 is a "throwaway" to anyone beyond the weekend inshore daysailer...and it's a little small for even that these days.
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Old 03-16-2007
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I say get the ocean boat, the SC. Then when you're coastal sailing and a storm hits, you have the option of heading offshore, away from the dangers of land. With the Hunter you have only one choice, head for shelter and hope the harbor entrance isn't too dangerous by the time you arrive , or it's pitch black.
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Old 03-16-2007
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Cheap boats are expensive...

Quote:
Originally Posted by gentryd
I'm new to sailing and have my eye on two boats that I can get next to nothing. A 31' Southern Cross, Hull #89 which will take quite abit of work to restore or a 1984 27' Hunter that can be ready to sail with minor cleaning and repair. There's alot of info on Hunter's, some people love them, others hate them. I'm really looking for advise on the SC, doesn't seem to be many out there. Good boats? Ok for starting sailor? Are they manufactured hulls or kits? etc. Any and all info on SC and/ or advice-opinion of the Hunter vs. SC for 1st boat is most appreciated.
GentryD,
Many if not most Southern Cross's were sold as kits, where the quality of the result varies enormously. Most people would call the SC an "offshore" design where the boat's slowness is justified by its ability to handle tough conditions, a premise that gets some arguement. Nonetheless, the 31 rates 222 in PHRF which is quite slow for the size. You'd be much better off with a classic fin keel like a Pearson or Catalina 30 unless you feel the "offshore" design (or at least the pretension of such) is important to you.

I would think it a bad idea to buy a fix-me-upper (FMU)for a first boat, as you will be amazed at the cost and time involved in doing boat work - I believe many FMU buyers (myself included) end up upside financially - putting far more money into the boat than the resulting market value. A cheap boat can end up being very expensive...The cheapest boat to buy, is to pay a fair market price for a well-equipped, well maintained, needs-nothing boat - typically the guy selling it is taking a hosing (me for example).

Hunters in general, and old Hunters in particular, have a spotty reputation, the source of a good deal of discusssion/dispute on this board. See http://www.yachtsurvey.com/boatreviews/hunter28.htm to get a feel for the reasons for the reputation. You would be better off to pay a bit more and get a Catalina.

Last edited by sailingfool; 03-16-2007 at 04:06 PM.
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Old 03-16-2007
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The SC series of boats have proven themselves capable of circumnavigations. Donna Lange is in the process of completing one in her SC 28. The two boats are very different, as the other posters have said here, and I think you really need to figure out what you want to get the boat for.

The Southern Cross 31 is a full-keel bluewater boat. It is going to be far heavier than the Hunter, and probably far slower, given the same conditions. However, in rough seas, the Southern Cross will likely be far more forgiving.

I wouldn't recommend getting a Southern Cross 31 as your first boat. Especially not one that isn't is ready-to-sail-away shape. Many new boat owners get a "fixer-upper" and get discouraged at all the work, since the boat isn't often sailable.

You also don't say what you intentions are for the boat, or what your budget is. If you don't have at least $7-10,000 set aside to fix up the Southern Cross 31, then don't even bother looking at it.

Don Casey says in his book This Old Boat, that many boat buyers generally pick the wrong boat as their first boat, and the lessons they learn from buying their first boat often mean that their second boat is one that they end up keeping for years, since they have learned what they are really looking for in a boat by then.

Older Hunters, with some exceptions, can be questionable in quality. It would help more if you said what vintage 27' Hunter you were looking at.

One other point on the Southern Cross... most of their boats had cored hulls, and if not properly maintained, run the risk of core breakdown and delamination.

If your goal is to learn more about sailing, and to have a boat you can daysail, and coastal cruise in for upto about a week at a time, then, I'd say get the Hunter. If you want to sail around the world or across an ocean, and are looking to get a boat that you can make into the perfect boat for doing so for yourself, and are willing to spend the next year or more modifying it and restoring it...then get the Southern Cross 31.

As a general rule, with used boats, it is often far more economical to buy one that is in sailable shape than to buy a comparable boat that is not and refurbish it. The price difference is often just a small fraction of what the refitting or repairing would cost.
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