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  #1  
Old 07-06-2007
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Boat reviews

I'm sure this is a repeating theme, but can anyone direct me to the "best" source for boat reviews by "experts"? I'm trying to compare the qualities of the 34-37 ft Bristol/Tartan/Pearson class of boats.

Thanks,
Freeman
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  #2  
Old 07-06-2007
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Boat reviews

are somewhat subjective IMO. When I bought my kayak, I did some review search and question asking over on paddling.net and got a variety of responses. For kayaking, a novice can feel "tippy" in a high performance boat until they learn to paddle it efficiently, whereas they feel right at home in wide "barge" that is perfectly fine for a lazy day on the pond taking pictures or photos. The high performance person would review the same wide boat and tell you they hated it because it was slow, did not edge well, etc. Each boat is designed for a different purpose, the review is somewhat subjective.

The same holds true for sailboats. The three makers that you have listed all made/make good boats. The prime thing is basically, in and older boat, is how well has it has been maintained. Teh other thing is what do you want to use it for. Of the list, Bristols are built like tanks, but are considered some to be slow. Pearson made a huge number of models from fast hulls to slower hulls. I don't know about Bristols or Tartans, but Pearson quality (solidness of the boat construction) may have been a little compromised in the mid to late 80's and forwards as they tried to keep costs down while adding more creature comforts for the cruising public at that time.

You may want to look at older issues of Sail or Good Ole Boat to see if there are reviews in the models that you are considering. The other thing to remeber is to realize that the On water test is nevere the same fore each boat. Different wind, chop, helmsman, etc.

DrB
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Old 07-06-2007
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Sail Net has a boat review section, as do many other sailing related sites. Googleing the boat of interest will usually point you in the right direction.

They (boat reviews) are subjective indeed, especially those posted/written by happy owners, but if you go through enough material you should get a good idea. Keep in mind that some negative reviews may be based on styling/design rather than core issues like quality of construction and hardware etc.

Many magazines now have articles/back issues on-line now too, and they can be a good source of information as well.
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Old 07-06-2007
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Another good source of information regarding a lot of different boats is the Practical Sailor two-volume boat buying guide.
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Old 07-06-2007
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boat reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Another good source of information regarding a lot of different boats is the Practical Sailor two-volume boat buying guide.
I second that recommendation, in fact I'll say it's the first book(s) you should buy when shopping for a boat.

You really want to take reviews by owners on the internet with a grain of salt. Everyone loves their boat, no matter what sort of shoddily constructed, undercanvassed tub it is.

People don't spend hours thinking of names for their cars, then paint the name on the trunk in foot high letters (although this would certainly make the daily commute more entertaining). People love their boats and everyone thinks theirs is wonderful.

Also, the magazines don't want to offend their advertisers. Read the Practical Sailor review of the Irwin 37 (after you purchase the 2 volume set) and you'll see what I'm talking about, you would never read anything like that in an ad supported periodical.
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Pedal on down to West Marine, they've usually got the two volumes of Practical Sailors Boat review book on the shelf. You can page through it. At the price they're asking, it'll probably be there next month, and next year, in case you missed a review on initial inspection.
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Old 07-07-2007
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I don't know how may boats he reviewed in it, or if the ones you are interested in are included, but John Kretschmer's "Used Boat Notebook" is awesome. John has more than a quarter-million documented delivery miles at sea in just about every boat ever made. Well, at least it seems so. He writes objectively about each boat, based on his own experiences sailing them. I've flipped through the at book stores, and one of these days I'll actually pick up a copy. And I'm not sure when it is due to be released, but a second volume is coming out soon.
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Old 07-07-2007
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Boat reviews

Sailboat owner reviews, photos, specifications On this site you will find reviews from people who have sailed and loved or hated them. Check them out wish I had found it when I was shopping.
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