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post #1 of 17 Old 07-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Narrowing my search

Hello, and thanks in advance for any input I receive.
My husband and I are looking to purchase in the next several months a 35 - 42 foot cruiser. We live in the greater Puget Sound area, and the first year's worth of destinations will be circumnavigating Vancouver Island, Alaska, back home, then on to Mexico and the Sea of Cortez for a winter. After that...who knows?

My husband has been racing and sailing in the area for 30+ years (including the Vn Isle 360). I've only been sailing for 3 years, but am enjoying learning. In my professional life I am a mountaineer, climber, guide, etc., so am accustomed to hardships and and taking calculated risks (although I find that being a new sailor with little experience makes it hard to make judgement calls...)...

Our budget is about 80K total: I imagine about 50-60K for the boat, with another 20 - 30K for fixing up. We're good at maintenance (been partners in an Ericson 34 for years) and can take on quite a few projects.

Our choices are narrowing, after months of looking, to a few boats that are available now. Despite his racing experience, my husband is attracted to salty-type double enders: so we're kind of narrowing down to a Rafiki 37, which is purported to be at least as good in many respects as a Tayana 37, but for less $$ and perhaps fewer maintenance issues. I want to enjoy learning to sail, so am interested in a Cal 39, perhaps an older Tartan 41 or a Morgan 382...

While accomodations are not super important, other than having one decent double bed, headroom is (hubby is 6'3"), and I'd love to have a way for another couple to visit us and be able to sleep comfortably and not have to keep pulling out settees every night (one reason to consider the Cal 39).

I've searched this site and others, googled til my fingers are sore, looked at specs, several respected lists, etc. I was surprised to read on this site that the Cal 39 is not the slam dunk I was thinking it to be. I'm having trouble finding any info at all on the Rafiki, save from the "through the cracks" article I read here, and a couple of short comments on the old rafiki email list (which seems defunct.)

Any input from any of you on these boats?
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post #2 of 17 Old 07-24-2008
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Many of the Cals are primarily racing boats and do not have a very seakindly motion. If you want a report of how seakindly the Cals can be, you should look up Liz Clark's blog on s/v Swell. She's currently sailing around the Pacific in a Cal 40...and has a good entry on how the Cal 40 really is during heavy weather—it isn't what I'd call well behaved.

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post #3 of 17 Old 07-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Thanks Saildog, I will do so. One of the hard parts about buying a used boat is not being able to sail one first, other than after an offer is made, usually. Seakindliness is quite important to me, and one of the main reasons my husband prefers full-keeled boat for now - I think he doesn't want to scare me off by geting a skittery boat -- but I know he loves to sail, and I am concerned about getting a boat with good enough performance that he will enjoy it. I also want a boat where I get the "cause and effect" thing - not just a truck that will pund through seas no matter what I do wrong...
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I think at 6'3" hubby will find the Rafiki a bit confining even though it has headroom down the middle...but it is a solid passage maker assuming all the normal age related stuff is is taken care of and you get a good survey. I'm not a big fan of tiller steered boats in that size range as they can be quite a handful and if YOU are gonna be steering too, you may want to make sure that not just the "big guy" can handle her in heavier conditions.
Anyway...given your budget the T37 and the Rafiki are logical choices in traditional style boats.
You might look at a Cape Dory 36 as well in your price range as this would meet your headroom requirements and be suitable and lovely as well!

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Another choice might be the Alberg 37.

One thing to be aware of... standing headroom is nice, but having a berth that is long enough for him to sleep comfortably in is a requirement. I know many sailors that are sailing in craft that don't have standing headroom throughout the cabin, but I don't know of any sailing on a boat that doesn't have a decent sea berth for themselves.

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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Thanks. Indeed, I am counting on equal time at the tiller, as well as at all the other tasks! What is the point of going on an adventure if you don't learn a lot and and begin to master the skills necessary to complete the journey??? Here's a newbie question: Why is steering with a tiller more difficult than turning a wheel? Is it b/c the tiller is directly attached to the rudder, while the wheel works the rudder via a set of gears, which reduces the amount of force necessary?

As for a Cape Dory - hard to find, from what I've seen so far. Do you know of any members on the site who have a Rafiki, and if so, would it be copasetic to email them with a request to discuss their experiences with their boat?
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post #7 of 17 Old 07-24-2008 Thread Starter
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Sailingdog - we are trying to get info on the lengths of the berths on these baots - as I mentioned, it's been downright difficult to get info on the Rafiki. IMO, the v-berth is not a place fit for sleeping, so I'm always looking for a decent-sized quarter berth, and at least one longer settee (I'm only 5'7, so generally no worries for me...)
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post #8 of 17 Old 07-24-2008
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Originally Posted by carlab3 View Post
Thanks. Indeed, I am counting on equal time at the tiller, as well as at all the other tasks! What is the point of going on an adventure if you don't learn a lot and and begin to master the skills necessary to complete the journey??? Here's a newbie question: Why is steering with a tiller more difficult than turning a wheel? Is it b/c the tiller is directly attached to the rudder, while the wheel works the rudder via a set of gears, which reduces the amount of force necessary?

A tiller generally has less mechanical advantage than a wheel, so requires more force t deal with lee/weather helm given the same boat with same conditions.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Carlab...there are 7 CD36's all asking less than 100k on yachtworld.com right now. Do a search there to see some.
here's one: 1982 Cape Dory Cutter Rig Full Keel Boat For Sale

Don't know any members with Rifikis...but yes you can send PM's to members with inquiries about their boats...There is a thread on what boats members sail.

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post #10 of 17 Old 07-24-2008
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Which Cal 39

There are 9 Cal 39's built between 1970 and 1988 plus one made in 2001 by another company. There are 2 versions built in 88, a fin and a wing keel. Except for draft they are pretty much the same. Wing keel 5.33 draft, fin 7 feet. Thet both have 17,500# displacement, 7000# ballast, 750 sail area, SA-Disp 17.88. So they may satisfy you and your husbands desires for a boat that can sail.
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