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Rustyf 01-22-2008 11:36 AM

Shoal Draft Cruiser in PNW
I have followed the thread on shoal draft cruisers in the Pacific NW with interest and it appears that racing aside that there are pros and cons to having a SD cruiser in the PNW. The cons are somewhat greater than the pros as further evidenced by the dearth of shoal draft cruisers for sale on the west coast. My question is this. If I found a desirable boat with a shoal draft keel-most likely on the East coast-bought it and shipped it to the PNW area would I pay a significant penalty if I decided to sell the boat because of the SD keel?Thanks.

sailingdog 01-22-2008 11:49 AM

I don't see why you'd pay a penalty for a boat just because it is a shoal draft version. IMHO, the shoal draft designs are actually more versatile, even if they give up a bit on their ability to point. You can enter more anchorages and often have more storm holes that you can use in a shoal draft boat.

Did you even consider that one reason the shoal draft boats aren't for sale may be that people are reluctant to sell them in an area where finding another shoal draft boat will be difficult???

Of course, my opinion may be somewhat biased, as i have the ultimate in shoal draft boats myself... a multihull. :)

Rustyf 01-22-2008 12:08 PM

No I did not "even consider..." which is why I started this thread. As for the answer to your rhetorical question I fall back on the law of supply/demand. If the demand for SD boats in the PNW were about equal then the number of such boats in that area would also be about equal. My only evidence that there are far more deep draft boats is based solely on the configuration of boats for sale on the West coast. I am new to this and have never owned a saiboat and therefor confess a certain amount of ignorance as reflected in my questions. I am looking for helpful answers-not insinuations.

sailingdog 01-22-2008 12:26 PM

Yes, there will be far more deep draft boats in the PNW... you don't have to contend with the problems that the Chesapeake or even the east coast as a whole have. There isn't an increased demand or need for shoal draft boats, and in fact, there's probably a decreased demand for them overall, given the depths of most of the harbors and anchorages there. They're probably fairly scarce in the region as a result. However, some sailors may prefer them—and for that reason may not be willing to trade up to a deeper draft boat—keeping the few that are in the region even scarcer.

I wasn't making any insinuations... and if you took it that way... grow up.

A lot will depend on what make and model of boat you're looking at too, as well as what your eventual sailing goals are. If you're planning to stay in the PNW mostly, then I don't see any reason to get a shoal draft boat, unless you want to be able to sneak into some of the "thinner" waters a shoal draft will allow you. If you're planning on going to the Caribbean, a shoal draft might make sense.

That said, why would you want to buy an east coast boat with shoal draft and then pay to ship it to the PNW. It would make far more sense to buy a boat on the west coast someplace, since the shipping or delivery charges would be far more reasonable. Even buying in the Great Lakes and then shipping it to the PNW would make more sense, and the boats on the Great Lakes would have the advantage of being freshwater boats, from an area with a relatively short season... A boat from New England or the Great Lakes that is 10 years old, will often have less wear on it than a boat from further south that is half its age.

Rustyf 01-22-2008 12:34 PM

Thanks. The only advantage to looking east of here is that there are far more boats for sale on the Great Lakes and East coast combined. For example there are only a couple 2000-2002 tartan 35' boats for sale on the West coast while there are 8 or 9 for sale east of here. Rough-very rough- estimates for shipping and related costs are about $10k to get a 35' boat out of the water and back in. Might be worth it for the right boat.

sailingdog 01-22-2008 12:46 PM

Since you have a specific boat in mind, that changes things a bit... and yes, getting one from the east coast or the great lakes would probably make more sense. Be aware that there have been some build problems with the recent Tartans that you may or may not know about. I don't know whether this will affect the boats you're looking at, but you should at least be aware of it. Read about the issue here.

Also, the keels on the recent Tartans are modular, and from what I understand can be exchanged from a shoal draft to a deeper fin or fin/centerboard, and back as needed, which may be something to consider as well.

What is your timeframe and budget roughly???

Moonfish 01-22-2008 01:43 PM

RustyF - You don't really need to worry about draft out here. Even if you contain your sailing/cruising to Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands, a 6 foot draft is not going to preclude you from most places that a 4 foot draft can go. That's not to say you don't need to be more careful with a deeper draft. Going aground around here will usually result in a very loud crunching sound, or so I imagine what fiberglass scraping and breaking on solid, jagged rock would sound like... (something I NEVER want to hear!)

Anyway, my 16,000 lb. 33 footer with 5,400 lbs of ballast has a modified full keel that is only 4' 7". In 5 crossings of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, I was glad she wasn't any shorter, and would have preferred around 5 feet. But she performs quite nicely (considering she ain't no racer), and I went everywhere I wanted to. However, the shorter draft wasn't an issue when I bought her, and I don't think it will be for anyone else who may own her in the future.

You are right in assuming that there aren't a whole lot of shoal draft boats out here on the west coast because they aren't as beneficial as they are on the east coast, with the Chesapeake, etc. We have no ICW, either, so any coastal cruising is really that: off the coast and out in the Pacific. And that's where you would want deeper draft.

But then there are really smart people like JeffH on this forum who can better explain the trade-offs between draft, hull and keel shape, wetted surface, choice of rig, etc. Because in the end, out here anyway, it's not just one thing like draft you need to consider. I guess I'm just saying it's not a huge issue that you need to worry about.

Good luck on your quest for a boat! Keep us posted. And where exactly are you located or will be doing your sailing?

Faster 01-22-2008 01:56 PM

I'd agree that you do not need to worry about having a shoal draft - there will always be buyers who either won't be that bothered either way or can appreciate the added accessibilty that the shoal draft offers. Another advangtage that shoal draft offers is especially significant in today's tight moorage market - you can put up with a shallower slip in tidal waters with shoal draft.

I'm a bit surprised that you are having difficulty finding a boat in your area, though. the selection in the Seattle and outlying areas has always seemed good to me.

sailingdog 01-22-2008 02:06 PM


He's looking at a fairly narrow and specific year/make of boat. That would limit his choice in any area... but the boats aren't all that common on the west coast to begin with, so makes it a bit limited in selection.

Your point about having a bit wider a selection of slips that can accommodate the boat is a good one, and often the shallower slips are slightly less expensive.

Rustyf 01-22-2008 04:41 PM

Thanks Guys. Your responses were helpful. I am still in the beginning stages of deciding whether to buy a cruiser. I like the Tartans for their looks and reputations although I am aware of recent reports. A 34 or 35 foot boat up to year 2002 would be affordable. My plan is to take a weeklong cruise/training course in the San Juans to make sure that sailing in that area-and Puget Sound- will give me the kind of fun and challenges that I have read so much about. I live about 5 hours from the Seattle ara where I would likely keep the boat. I also have to convince my wife that shee too would get a lot of fun out of sailing.

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