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  #1  
Old 09-24-2007
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Alternatives to Bristol Channel Cutter for offshore single-handing?

Hi,

I am new here. I just discovered this forum and I can't believe the wealth of great information and knowledgeable members. I wish I had this forum when I got started sailing many years ago.

Anyway, on to my question ...

After taking a 4 year break from sailing (very busy period with my job and my family), I am ready to get back into sailing again and I am looking for my 3rd boat (I previously owned a J/105 and an Olson 30 before that.)

I've tried one-design racing with the J/105 and decided that playing bumper-cars with $150K boats (30+ in the SF bay) is not my idea of fun (especially after getting T-boned by a newbie on my 2nd race: $8K of damage which - fortunately was paid by the other guy's insurance and 2-months out of the water getting repaired.)

The aspect of sailing I enjoy the most is single-handing. I had plenty of excitement single-handing the Olson 30 and the J/105 (especially the few times that the SF winds were lite enough that I managed to fly a spinnaker solo), but now I am looking for a boat with more creature comforts and safety for sailing in and outside the SF bay (including a Pacific Cup in 2010) both single and double-handed.

My criteria are the following:

1) Adequate below-deck accommodations. 6'+ headroom a BIG plus (I am 6'1")
2) Must be easy and safe to sail single-handed (35' max)
3) Must be VERY seaworthy.
4) Not a speeding-bullet, but not a slouch either.
5) Price: ideally under $100K, but I can stretch a bit.
6) Must not be a "project" - i.e. it should not require any major repairs/updates

After much reading, I am leaning toward an Bristol Channel Cutter. I have read Jeff_H's (what a great resource you are Jeff) comments on it and they confirmed my original concern about how safe/sensible it is to have a bow-sprit in this day and age. I can definitely visualize (and feel the groin pain) of straddling the sprit in heavy weather while attempting to, say, fix the roller furling.

I looked around, but I can't seem to find another boat that would give me the same amount of bullet-proof confidence, decent sailing speed, and interior-room for the size that the BCC would provide.

Here's how I would rate the BCC on these criteria:

1) Adequate below-deck accommodations. 6'+ headroom a BIG plus (I am 6'1")

OK on headroom, lots of storage space. I can keep everything I need on the boat and keep it need and safe.

2) Must be easy and safe to sail single-handed (35' max)

All sails are small enough to be manageable. Should do very well with autopilot/vane.

3) Must be VERY seaworthy.

I think very few people would argue against the BCC on this. But feel free to. Some more modern designs might be safer by running like blazes in front of the weather, but that requires constant manual steering. I believe that in a single/double-handed situation any heavy-weather solution that requires constant ACTIVE effort/steering is not viable.

4) Not a speeding-bullet, but not a slouch either.

With a hull speed of 6.9kts and lots of sail area (if desired) I believe that the BCC is pretty good in this area.

5) Price: ideally under $100K, but I can stretch a bit.

I'd have to definitely stretch to get a decent BCC.

6) Must not be a "project" - i.e. it should not require any major repairs/updates

This will vary from boat to boat, so it's not really model-dependent.

So there you have it. As you can probably guess, I've been trying to talk myself into a BCC, but feel free to try talk me out of it or correct my thinking. This is a HUGE purchase for me and my family, I don't want to make a mistake.

Jeff_H and others, what other boats should I consider based on my criteria?

I know it's a big question for my first post

Thank you in advance for any suggestions,

Alberto
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Old 09-24-2007
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It would help if you elaborated on what you meant by offshore. What sort of voyages are you thinking about? An overnight is obviously really different from a circumnavigation.
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Old 09-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killarney_sailor View Post
It would help if you elaborated on what you meant by offshore. What sort of voyages are you thinking about? An overnight is obviously really different from a circumnavigation.
Hi,

I did mention an example of the offshoring I have in mind, the Pacific Cup (California->Hawaii), but perhaps I should have provided a few more. Another one would be the Coastal Cup (San Francisco to Catalina - can be much tougher than it sounds some years). I also would like to make a yearly trip with my wife from San Francisco to SanDiego/No.Mexico and back.

For the time being, I have no plans to do anything more extensive. That might change as I gain more confidence experience with short-handed passages of medium scope.

Thanks,

Alberto
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Old 09-24-2007
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The BCCs are nice, and I think the sprit can be dealt with if roller furling is installed. I like sprits, but I prefer when they have platforms installed atop. You might also consider:

Pacific Seacraft Dana 24 - Interior feels roomier than the BCC, and the sprit has a nice working platform

Shannon 28 - Similar to Dana 24 but roomier all-around

Cape George 31 - Like the BCC this is an Atkin derived hull (Tally-Ho!); if I was interested in the BCC I'd choose the CG31 over it (ironically, they're now made by the same company, Cape George Marineworks)

Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 - Less static waterline than the BCC, but more modern fin keel, and MUCH roomier interior

Don't forget the Morris/Paine boats (Annie, Leigh, , etc)
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Old 09-24-2007
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Perhaps a Cape Dory 33?
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Old 09-24-2007
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There is what seems to be a nice Triton located in San Rafael for 11,000 on yachtworld.After electronic upgrades you could spend the remaining 70,000 on dope, strippers and booze.
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Old 09-24-2007
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Etap32s

Rated all oceans class % unsinkable & sails 2.
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Old 09-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by albertoderoma View Post
.......1) Adequate below-deck accommodations. 6'+ headroom a BIG plus (I am 6'1")

OK on headroom, lots of storage space. I can keep everything I need on the boat and keep it need and safe.......

Alberto
Wait till you have to go to the head! Did you happen to notice the little 4' doorway you have to duck under to go forward in a BCC? That would get old fast for me. They are lovely boats, but for your requirements there are many equal, but less expensive models out there.

John Pollard is on point with his suggestions. If you could stretch the money alittle bit, there are a few PSC34 for sale near 100K on the left coast (you can talk them down some and get it for less). Also don't discount Westsail, you can pick one up for far less than 100k, and then put those savings into a few upgrades. Many of them are already fit out for offshore work (life raft, selfsteering, EPIRB, sea anchoring gear, etc. etc.).
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Old 09-24-2007
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You mentioned the Pacific Cup and the Coastal Cup...and you want to do them on a channel cutter...and wondering what speed you plan on averageing.. something about 6 knots..
There's something you have to understand... San Francisco has spoiled you.. Once you head south the winds start to drop to the point you wish you had that "J Boat" back under your belt.
You need to step back and think outside the box.. Sea worthyness isnt in the boat, its in the person behind the wheel..
At one time, yes, the choice would be a Hans Christian, a Lord Nelson,
or as you say, A channel cutter.
But take a look at the boats on the Ha Ha, or the Puddle Jump.. They are well built boats and very few are in the class of heavy weights you are looking at. It isnt that weather patterns have changed.. its that we know more about them, when the right time to cross and when its not time..
I cruise with a First 42 from Beneteau.. I know Beneteau has a bad name with many folk but the First series is built for open ocean racing
and would see more action in one season than I would put it through over the five year trip the wife and I are about to do.
And the First 42 was my second choice..My first was a First 38..
I look at it this way, with the way information is avalable today, I'll know 24 to 48 hours before a big one hits, and with the boat I have, I can be a couple hundred miles out of the way when it comes through.. and if I get caught, I heave to and wait it out..
I've been caught in the North West in some pretty nasty weather and my 42 came out just fine...
A good friend of mine had in his mind to buy a steel hull because he figured he could be pulled off a reef without damage to his boat. Well I'm not one to say he's wrong but when we both headed south for the Lats & Atts party last year on Catalina Island, I got there Two days before him.
By the way, he missed the party...
What I'm saying is that we like to get where we're going and injoy the time we have, not to set out there bobing around waiting around for 20 knots of wind so we can get on our way.......
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Old 09-24-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RandyonR3 View Post
You mentioned the Pacific Cup and the Coastal Cup...and you want to do them on a channel cutter...and wondering what speed you plan on averageing.. something about 6 knots..
Hi Randy,

Good comments and some good points.

I might be getting old but 6kts average without too many white-knuckle moments does not sound that bad to me. The hull speed of the BCC is almost 7kts. Unless I am willing to surf and steer most of the time, I don't think I'd be able to do much better with a boat in the 28-35ft range.

Alberto

PS I know that the SF bay has spoiled me when it comes to steady and strong winds. Thanks again for the advice.
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