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Old 07-07-2002
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Virgin Sailboat Shopper

My wife and I decided a year ago that we were going to learn to sail and own a sailboat that we could enjoy. We moved to Houston and are looking for a sailboat that will be responsive and perform well upwind. Additionally, the boat will need a shallow draft because the water from the marina in Clear Lake is blown out toward Galveston Bay with the winter winds plugging the deep drafters in the mud. We are looking at 36’ to 40’ boats and are interested in Tartans, Pearsons, Ericsons and a C & C (7’4” draft concerns me) that we saw this weekend. Our budget is $70,000 and that seems to leave us in the Benehuntalina market but I do not know if their designs move well to the wind. Can anyone comment or suggest a performance cruiser that could work for us?

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Old 07-08-2002
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First of all a 33 to 40 foot sailboat is a very big boat to really learn to sail on. While you can learn the rudimentary aspects of sailing on a boat this size, it si very hard to really develop the finer skills of sailing. Of course people''s definitions of ''learning to sail'' can vary pretty widely so if developing a high skill level in sail trim and boat handling isn''t important to you, then you might get by with a boat that size.

As to the topic at hand, of the big three manufacturers, in general sense, Beneteaus First series seems to have the better windward performance. Beneteau has several series that they manufacturer from their basic (Idyle, Oceanis and ''Number'') series to their more performance and better build quality (First) series, to some extremely high quality custom and semi-custom series which we don''t see much of in the US.

In that size range the 38s5 is a really nice boat. I have spent quite a bit of time in and around the 38s5''s. They sail very nicely on al points of sail. The 38s5 can be gotten with three keel options with the two deeper (5''6" and 6''1") options being lead, and the shallower option being iron.

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Old 07-08-2002
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Virgin Sailboat Shopper

Paul, the realities of the marketplace - and the nature of boats, as well - will dictate that after you buy your $70K, 36-40'' boat, you will be spending a lot of time learning about maintaining boat systems vs. learning to sail. (Is that what you are looking for?)That size boat will generally be equipped with pressure water, ''semi-smart'' 12V electrical systems, etc. and, because of its age (dictated by your budget) will also abound in previous owner-installed add-ons (some perhaps not well done) and rig/engine/thru-hulls/etc. in need of servicing or perhaps even repair/replacement. This is just the nature of more complex boats that have seen 8-10-12 years of service.

Personally, I find this one of the most rewarding aspects of boat ownership, but I''m in a small minority of sailors most of whom own sailboats so they can sail them. If sailing is your and your wife''s primary interest, I''d suggest you seek out some local clubs and enjoy some first-hand sailing before venturing into boat ownership, and especially ownership of a larger, more maintenance intensive boat.

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Virgin Sailboat Shopper

A couple other thoughts here, I just noticed your price range. The Beneteau First 38s5 would exceed your budget. You might look at the First 38 which was an older model.

I think in the under $70K range for 36 to 40 footers you are really talking about older (late 1970''s to early 1980''s era) boats. I would suggest that in that price range that you look for a better quality boat, which perhaps means staying on the smaller end of your size range and looking at a slightly older model.

In that price range some options might include;

Albin Status: Well built boats that sail quite well.

C&C 36''s (late 1970''s) 40/41''s (early 1980''s): Early 1980''s era C&C 40''s and 41''s came in shoal draft models and keel/centerboard models. The K/CB models offer better windward performance with the board down.

CS36: A not extremely well known Canadian company that built very nice boats with a very good quality for the dollar.

Dehler 36 and 38 which are a very nice German built boat; very nice quality and sailing ability.

Sigma 36: A nice quality English boat.

Tartan 37 and Tartan 41:


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