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  #1  
Old 07-13-2007
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The family day cruiser - life is full of compromises...

I will start the thread by confessing to the futility of actually trying to find such a mythical thing as the ultimate family day cruiser, because of the compromises. But here is the wish list...

1) Must be able to have 2 adults and 4 kids on board in a pinch. It would be unusual to have everyone, but it would happen from time to time.
2) Must be able to be towed and launched by a small car.
3) Must be able to be rigged and sailed single handed.
4) Must have a small cuddy (for my family, this is a must).
5) Must be beachable.
6) Must have positive flotation.

7) Should perform reasonably well under sail.
8) Should not flip easily.
9) Should not cost too much.

10) It would be nice if it could handle heavy air.
11) It would be nice if it could double as a weekend cruiser.

The water would be medium size lakes and the NC sounds and coastal rivers (not crossing the open water on the big sounds, though).

I am thinking it would be something along the lines of this at a minimum:

That's an AMF Sunbird; I don't know that it is a good choice, though it seems to meet a lot of my criteria. It's just one of the first few I found in that size that has the seating, cuddy, beaching capability, weight, price, rigging, etc to match my list, though I don't think it really performs all that well.

A few notes...

There are a couple of reasons for wanting it to be beachable. One is just practicality for family weekend fun; it would often be the case that we would camp in a campground at a lake that has public boat ramps that you don't want to use more than once a weekend if you can help it, no docks other than right at the ramp and too much near shore traffic to make mooring a good idea. Also, exploring little lake islands or isolated beaches is fun. The family doesn't want to spend all day in the boat. Another reason is safety. If the weather changes suddenly I want to duck into a cove and pull it ashore.

Cost is always a relative thing, but I am talking under $5K and would love to keep it at $2K or less.

Positive flotation is a safety thing. I would tell everyone that if there were ever a problem you stay with the boat until help arrives or the boat washed ashore. As mentioned earlier, I am thinking public lakes and sounds; well traveled areas and in good conditions (there is always the possibility they turn bad too quick, though).

The small cuddy is so if one or two of the kids is just too tired, we have a spot for them to lay down out of the sun and not underfoot. If an adult could fit, so much the better.

Thoughts?
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Old 07-13-2007
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Check out the small Com-Pac's and Hunter's.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Old 07-13-2007
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Old 07-13-2007
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So, Andy, you're leaning in the "whole family" direction. :-)

As you've recognized, something or a couple of somethings will have to be compromised.

One boat I know and have sailed that pretty much matches your criteria is the Mariner.

Oday Mariner specs, photos, and reviews

Don't think they're made anymore, but I sailed on a friend's back in the 80's and liked it. It's basically a cuddy cabin version of the Rhodes 19. Cockpit is roomy, although it'll be cozy for six. There's a v-berth and two VERY skinny kid-sized berths under the cockpit. Room for a porta-potty. I saw a '70's era one on the web for a little over two grand.

Regards,

Kurt
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Old 07-13-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PBzeer
Check out the small Com-Pac's and Hunter's.
Ditto on the Hunters
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Well . . . I have a '73 Macgregor Venture V224. It's 24 feet long. Cockpit is almost 7'. Has positive flotation and a swing-keel that makes it beachable. The cabin is 4'9" with the pop-top down and about 6' feet with the poptop up. The pop top is about 6' x 6' and really makes the cabin feel roomy.

Sailing it single is easy, I do it all the time. As for hard to tip, I've been in some rougher and windy weather on Lake Erie and she's been very reliabile. Compared to some other boats of the same size, (Hunter, Catalina, etc.) I think she sails quite well.

As far as trailering, the boat and trailer weigh something less than 3,000 lbs. I trail the boat with my mini-van and have used a small truck (Ford Ranger) and both vehicles tow the boat very well.

As far as the cost, I paid $1,500 for her in 2001 -- boat, sails, motor, etc. She was well cared for and in good shape. I sanded and painted the bottom, added navigation lights, a mast raising system, and, over the years, updated the standing rigging - maybe doubling my investment. Its been a relatively inexpensive hobby.

I've seen the macgregors bashed about as a "substandard" or "not a real sailboat" on several boards but it serves me and my family and our guests quite well.

I hope this gives you another option -- I found the cost of mine to be a great incentive to get started sailing.
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Old 07-13-2007
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Just about ANY of the 18-22' CB model cabin boats should be able to work. San Juan, O'Day, Santana, Venture, Catalina, Tanzer..........List goes on, altho my brain went blank. The smallest boat I can think of with a cabinn is a Guppy 13, and a few offshoots of that model.

Sleeping for 6 will be tough in ANY of these boats, but the ones with bigger cockpits will work. I have a hard time iwth my supposid 30 really a 28' fin keel at times, with out someone on the rail.

Any of these boats will wiegh about 3-4000 lbs, maybe max 5000 with a trailer and gear. Any of the smaller SUV, vans with a large V6 will get you to where you are going, the smaller V8 motors 4.x to 6L would be nicer. One to two people can raise the mast. Many folks on say a Cat 22 site, will have ways of raising the mast single handed too. I have seen someone on the Jeanneau site I look at, with ways of raising and lowering the masts on the 10-15' models availible in Europe, while going up and down rivers with out stopping. IE pivotable masts about 4' up from teh base.

Marty
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Old 07-13-2007
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I remember the Catalina 25 being very suitable for most req's on your list.

Link to Catalina 25 Loading...

Last edited by T37Chef; 07-13-2007 at 07:10 PM.
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Old 07-13-2007
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I lean in many directions.

Kurt and I have had some side conversations, so he knows more about the thought process going into the next boat...

It is very possible the next boat purchase will be an Opti for my daughter and possibly a second one for one of my boys, putting this potential purchase of a family boat in limbo. But I would really be rushing things if I do that. They (the triplets; 2 boys and a girl) just turned 7 and only my daughter is showing a lot of interest and promise (already has single handed sez the proud dad!). But, I have also had a couple of people remind me that there really isn't much need to get the kids into competitive class racing too quickly. I may be better off to get the family boat first and make sure the interest doesn't wane. Not only that, some of the local events are stricter about age than others and require them to be 8.

In a couple of weeks, there is a local Opti race. I have arranged to borrow a boat that is a bit racier (light and overcanvessed; a Bucc 18) than is probably ideal for a family dayboat, but it has room for the kids and our mid summer inland breezes will probably be low. We can sail around (giving kids tiller time and whatnot) and watch the race and get a feel for whether the race (and wanting to be a paricipant) or the driving a family boat seems to be more important right now.

Either way, I want to think about the alternatives sooner rather than later. You never know when an unbelievable opportunity might come along.

Quote:
Originally Posted by poltergeist
So, Andy, you're leaning in the "whole family" direction. :-)

As you've recognized, something or a couple of somethings will have to be compromised.

One boat I know and have sailed that pretty much matches your criteria is the Mariner.

Oday Mariner specs, photos, and reviews

Don't think they're made anymore, but I sailed on a friend's back in the 80's and liked it. It's basically a cuddy cabin version of the Rhodes 19. Cockpit is roomy, although it'll be cozy for six. There's a v-berth and two VERY skinny kid-sized berths under the cockpit. Room for a porta-potty. I saw a '70's era one on the web for a little over two grand.

Regards,

Kurt
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