Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Looking for a quality 27-30ft boat
To begin with, you have set some difficult goals. For $7,500 you can find some boats that are capable of making the kind of cruise that your are proposing and you might even find a quality boat within your price range but it would be quite difficult to find a quality boat that is also in good shape in your price range. That will be the proverbial needle in the haystack. It will one of those widows saying, "Ever since Harrold died I have not known what to do with his Tartan 27. He had just finished retoring it and now it blocks up the garage. It you happen to $7.5K its all yours." It happens but the norm in $7500 boats is that they tend to be pretty beat up quality designs or slightly newer junkier designs in slightly less beat up condition.
I agree with the idea that you try to find a boat that was good quality to begin with rather than but some boat that started out cheap 20 year ago and went downhill from there. A little sweat equity never hurt anyone and a fixed up quality boat is a joy to own but a fixed up junk will always be fixed up junk. Make sure you leave yourself a decent ''warchest'' to repair and upgrade the ''little surprises'' that occur when you buy a well used boat.
In this age and size range there is no real advantage to one keel type over another. There will not be large speed advantages nor will there be much better tracking ability. No 27 footer that I know of from this price range really tracks well. Also there really is no such thing as a boat with a really seakindly motion in the normal group of boats implied by your price range.
Most boats from this era tended to develope pretty bad weather helm and that can really wear you down or use up a lot of battery capacity pretty quickly in a breeze. I suggest that keel centerboarders like the Tartan 27 allow you to adjust the centerboard to balance your helm and will let you get into thinner water than some deeper keel boats. Fin keelers like the Cal 25 have more balanced helms and so while they also develop weather helm the force required to steer is less.
Most boats in the price range you are talking about were designed to one of two racing rules CCA or MORC. The MORC (Midget Ocean Racing Conference) boats tended to have longer waterlines and really be designed to go offshore. With their longer waterlines they have better motions in a chop and can carry more gear. They will often have more spacious interiors because MORC had minimum accomodation requirements.
Boats in that era tended to either have inboard engines or outboards mounted in a well. Inboards are the clear preference for the kind of thing that you are proposing as outboards on boats of that era are not too great in the short chop of your chosen sailing venue.
What ever you buy, you need to get it surveyed because a $7500 boat with problems can very quickly turn into a $7500 mistake or a $20000 boat. You can expect to find some ''issues'' with any boat in the age range implied within your budget. Unless very well maintained and updated by a previous owner, you might expect to want to address some combination of the following items:
·Sails, chainplates, mast step and associated suporting structure, standing and running rigging that are beyond their useful lifespan,
·an engine that is in need of rebuild or replacement,
·worn out or out of date deck, galley, and head hardware,
·worn out upholstery,
·electronics that are non operational, or in need of updating,
·electrical and plumbing systems that need repairs, upgrades to modern standards or replacement.
·Blister, fatigue, rudder, hull deck joint or deck coring problems
·Keel bolt replacement (bolt on keel) or delamination of the hull from the ballast for a glassed in keel.
·And perhaps a whole range of aesthetic or structural issues.
On my list of recommendations would be the following: Most are from the 1960''s
Bristol 27: Carl Alberg designed CCA era boats. I have a afair amount of experience with these old girls and they are good sailing boats. Most had GreyMarine or Atomic 4 gas engines.
C&C 25: These are a little faster and more agile than most of the boats on this list. They have really nice handling characteristics in a Chop. That said they are also deeper than many on this list.
Cal 25: These are strange looking little boats. I have spent a lot of time on these little raised decked wonders. They really sail extremely well. They offer a nice interior and are easily located in your price range. They were often raced one design so you find them (at least up here on the Chesapeake) with updated deck hardware, sails, and electronics well within your price range. Because they are still raced you can find very nice used sails for these boats. They have a couple short comings. Their outboards are mounted in a notch in the transom. In a following sea, you can take water over the transom. In most years the companionway slides went almost to the cockpit sole. This meant that a following sea can get down below pretty easily. I would suggest that you modify the companionway slides so that the lower boards can be locked solidly into place when you are offshore.
Cal 27: Flush deck- A bigger version of the Cal 26. A bit rarer and does not have the one design advantages of the 25. Still these are pretty good boats.
Cape Dory (series 1)These boats were built early in Cape Dory''s history and were not as well built as some of the later CD''s. Still they are not bad boats. They would not be in my top 10 on this list but if one came along I would look at it. These boats are narrow and have large cockpits and so a little cramped down below. Also early ones did not have a self-bailing cockpit which is not very good for the Gulfstream.
Chris Craft Pawnee or Capri: Both were nice S&S designed small crusiers. There is a Capri up in Michigan with a dual axle trailer for $6990 but the ad says make an offer.
Folkboats or Folkboat derivatives: (Marieholms and Contessas) These are the quintessential go anywhere boats. I owned one and thought these were really wonderful boats. Even compared to other boats on this list they are cramped but they can be really nice sailing boats. They pretty much top this list in terms of the best boat to get caught in a storm in. That said some early ones did not have a self-bailing cockpit which is not very good for the Gulfstream.
Pearson Ariel (26): These are also Alberg designed CCA type race boats. They offered a reasonable layout and good construction.
Rhodes Ranger (26): These were early Seafarers. They were built in Holland to a very high standard. Some had Volvo diesels or small Palmer or Grey gas inboards but most had outboard wells.
Sailmaster 26: These were wonderful little Bill Tripp designed MORC boats. Beautifully constructed in Holland. Most had outboard wells but inboards were optional.
Tartan 27. This would be my favorite of the small 1960''s era boats. Unlike most boats from this era which were designed to be CCA racing rule beaters, the Tartan was designed to race under a very early form of MORC. The MORC racing rule produced wholesome little offshore boats that had good sailing characteristics. The Tartan was an S&S design and in that era that was as good as it got.
Anyway, I need to get to the office but this should give you a pretty good list to start off with.