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  #1  
Old 07-16-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

I am looking for my first "big boat". Something that can be comfortable on the east coast for weekend trips and possible extended trips offshore. I am looking for stability and comfort. Can this be done for under $30,000? Sailing will be for only 2 people. Can 25'' boats achieve this or does one have to move up to over 30'' (or something in between)? I have small boat (sunfish) expierence and plan to take some basic sailing and offshore courses with my fiance. We are not ready to make a full live aboard life committment, but it may be a possiblity in the future (early retirement 20 years down the road). Sailing would be done on the southeast atlantic coast and the Gulf of Mexico (mostly coastal). Thanks.
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Old 07-17-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

There are lots of boats that should meet your needs and budget. I would suggest that 27 to 30 (31)footers are probably better for two people doing extended offshore cruising than a 25 footer but there are suitable 25 footers out there as well.

In a general sense I think you want a boat with at least 5000 lbs displacement (although my wife and I would cruise for 11 days at a time on a 4100 lb 28 footer) in order to carry the gear and supplies for two people and given the light air summers in your chosen venue, I would try to stay below 9,000/10,000 or so pounds of displacement. You will probably want a minimum of 30 gallons of water. Secure storage will also be important.

More traditional designs are generally less expensive and more cramped but have a certain aura to them. More modern designs will offer more space, better hardware and sail handling gear, and a bigger cruising range. Here are a list of some suggestions:

Traditional boats:
Bristol 30: These mid 1970''s era, Halsey Herreshoff designed sloops offer a nice balance of traditional lines, reasonable build quality and nice sailing characteristics.

Corvette: These 1960''s era C&C designed sloops sail well and are nice all around boats. They can be bought the $15 to 20K range leaving some budget for fix up and upgrades. They will probably have a gas engine but with proper care there''s nothing wrong with a gas inboard. These are centerboard boats and their shallow draft with the baord up allows access to back water corners of the cruising rhelm and with the board down they offer nice windward performance for a boat of that era. You will probably need to add additional water storage as 25 gallons is a little on the light side for two people.

Ericson Independence: These are very nice cruising sloops. They combine a fairly modern underbody with a traditional topsides and rig. Good all around boats.

Niagara 31: This is a German Frer''s designed cruising oriented boat. Hinterhoeler does a nice job with build quality and she should offer reasonably good sailing characteristics.

Tartan 27: Good solid little go anywhere cruisers. They offer well rounded although not particularly fast sailing abilities and like the Corvette thier keel/Centerboard set up allows access to shallower venues without giving up windward ability.

More Modern boats:
Albin Ballad 30: Really pretty 30 foot Scandinavian boat. These sail well and offer good build quality but are a bit cramped down below.

Cal 2-30: These are OK boats. They would not be on the top of this list for build quality, level of finish or sailing ability but they do offer a lot of boat for the money and gnerally are readily available.

Dehler 31: These are extremely well built modern boats with an extremely nice layout down below and a really nicely proportioned rig for shorthanded sailing. Should be one of the best sailers on this list in a wide range of conditions. In my mind this (along with the Tartan 30) would be my top recommendation except that they are fairly rare in the States.

Express (Goman)30 (not the M) The Express 30 was a reasonably well constructed 30 foot performance cruiser. These Steve Killing designed sloops offered a nice mix of accomodations and sailing abilities.
Tartan 30: These are about my favorite boat in this price range for what you would like to do. They offer good build quality, very nice sailing manners and a nice layout.

I am out of time here. I should have been in the office alredy so more later.
Jeff
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Old 07-17-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Jeff, Thanks for the thorough answer. Since I am new to the market, I have really only been looking at boats in current production (that can be found online). I have heard of some of the boats on your list, but not all. I will definitely check into these. Buying something older and definitely more affordable does not bother me, but is there a constant maintenance factor that must be considered with these boats. I know all boats should be treated well and kept, but I don''t want to have to be making constant repairs. Is it assumed that the older boats will need much more maintenance than a new production boat? I have been looking at the Beneteaus, Catalinas,Hunters, etc. I have read that these boats aren''t necessarily the best for cruising and are better suited for inland lakes and bays. Also the price tags on these are out of my range. So it looks like the vintage used boat is the way to go. I just worry about the the high maintenance that come along with the boat. I want to sail, not work on sailboats. Maybe this is the price to pay to afford to do so and I need to accept that. So if these boats will the the job done for under my price, maybe I should start looking into them. Again, something stable and that would be a good weekender, or extended week or two week trip is what I am looking at right now. Thanks again for the input.
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Old 07-17-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

There really is no such thing as a no meaintenance boat. if you buy new you have depreciation, fit out and warrantee expenses as well as the work to fit out a boat. With a used boat you may also have fit out and there will be ''issues'' but a well maintained boat should be no less reliable than a new boat.

The problem with the big three manufacturers is that they really do not have anything new in your price range that really meets your ''extended offshore'' cruising goal. I don''t have time to get into detail right now but there are basic threshold criteria that I would expect in a boat that I wanted to take offshore (such as Seaberths, tankage, secure storage areas, etc). While people have sucessfully gone offshore in all kinds of boats, the smaller boats from the big three maunufacturers generally are optomized for coastal cruising and generally lack these threshold items.

Regards
Jeff
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Old 07-17-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Jeff, again thanks for the great insight. I do plan on regular maintenance and understand that that is an integral part of sailing and owning a sailboat, I was just curious as to whether the older boats needed a little more work. It seems as though and well maintained boat whether it be a 2003 or a 1969, will be a good boat. I have browesed various classifieds online and have found that the boats you listed were very affrodable and stylish. As you mentioned, they also left a lot of money for fixing up things and for other cruising expenses. While I am several months, if not a year or two away from my purchase, I think I have a good start. Thanks.
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Old 07-18-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Hilega:

You''re off on an exciting adventure. I sometimes think nothing in sailing was as exciting or good to my wife and I than our first 2 years of "sailing" - the year of shopping and the first year of owning.

OTOH I think you''re asking a very prescient question about ''older boats'' and ''maintenance''. When you mix a late 70''s/early 80''s boat (take Jeff''s example of a Bristol 29.9 which fits your needs) with your stated quest ("Something that can be comfortable on the east coast for weekend trips and possible extended trips offshore."), you get a huge work list. This isn''t meant to scare you off the search but you just need to be realistic about things. As just one example, would you take your 15-20 year standing rigging offshore? (Rarely do folks who use their boats for local cruising replace their rigging wire unless it flunks a survey, yet the careful buyer is looking for the more lightly used boats and inherits just this kind of issue. You can see the conflict...). Everything from the bedding compound on the portlights to the injection pump on the diesel is losing its battle with age, and to underestimate the commitment or budget that will ultimately be required is to line yourself up for a series of disappointments that really are avoidable.

First, let me offer two suggestions for how to mitigate all this pending grief I''m describing (and perhaps inflating just a tad, but I''ve been there):
1. Consider buying a boat from the New England, Great Lakes or Pacific Northwest areas. Boats there all experience short seasons, low U/V damage (so they keep their looks much longer, and gear like canvas dies slower), and on the Great Lakes the boats see little corrosion. This is the opposite of what many will be inclined to do as it''s more difficult, adds expense, requires travel time (which can also be great fun) and isn''t "easy". This is one perfect example of where a professional, experienced (many years with one firm, preferably his/her own) boat broker can truly earn their commission. (Another example is when helping an inexperienced buyer, provided they are ethical and have a good track record in the area. Such brokers really do exist).
2. Lower your sights. Your stated goal is a huge challenge without buying a lot of work and worry. You''re just starting out; who knows how you''ll feel about sailing in 5 years? (''Early retirement in 20'' will take care of itself). Given your limited experience, the best thing you can do is pick a boat that sails well. It will bring the joy of sailing along with its maintenance needs, and you''ll need the former at times to offset the latter. Pick something that can safely be sailed to the Abacos, Dry Tortugas and Keys - that''s plenty ambitious enough for a beginner to set as ''offshore goals'' from SE Florida, and all those destinations can offer abundant challenge and satisfaction. Stay at or above 30'' as that will allow you to consider more distant cruising with some systems mods. But above all, seek out those boats that are well built, have a good sailing rep, and have a minimum of ''gear'' and ''systems''. In your price range, such gear & systems most likely will be old & worn, and you''ll need to replace them eventually, anyway. Better most of your money buys a soundly built, good sailing boat with decent sails and a reliable engine. Period. Anything further is gravy and perhaps a distraction for a newcomer.

Now, a specific rec: if you use Yachtworld (which is down right now, or I''d give you the URL for this boat), search for ''Albin Ballad'' and ''30 ft''. You should find an excellent example of what''s possible for less than your budget, little used and with a great rep among N European sailors who sail the Ballad in the North Sea. It''s layout is spartan but highly functional; it''s a great sailer which is why it''s dimensions are modest by contemporary (CatHuntBen) standards. Worried about transport cost? It comes with its own galvanized 6-wheel trailer (according to a fellow who almost bought it). It''s enjoyed short seasons being sailed on the Great Lakes, which is why it looks in good shape (tho'' some wood work is needed on the companionway and locker lids). It''s been on the market since I was in Trinidad (summer of ''01) and, with fall looming, the price should be quite negotiable. And it will cross the Atlantic, tho'' it will hold fewer friends for cocktails in its cockpit.

Obviously, I don''t know if this is a ''good boat'' for you, but it''s a good example of what some shopping and a little knowledge about boats can turn up. I''m sure there are many others. Good luck on the hunt!

Jack
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Old 07-18-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

One of the better articles I read during my search for a sound cruiser was offered to this site by Jack(WHOOSH). That article and many others coupled with comments from Jack, Jeff, Marybeth and several other authors helped me make a sound decision.

Visit: http://www.mahina.com/cruise.html

Going through YW withdrawls,
Paul
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Old 07-19-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Jack,

Thanks for the words of wisdom! I understand the great tasks (at least on paper) that come with offshore sailing and that you don''t just throw up the sails and head out to sea. I am new to this and will be dipping my toes in before I waid and definitely before I dive in head first, so don''t worry about that. My goals are ambitious and maybe not reasonable, but I would like to some day. When I start sailing the big boats (big to me) i will be going with baby steps and when the time (if it comes) that I want to be able to do more with my boat (more than a weekend) I will re-evaluate my boats performance and if it is not up to the task, then I would look for a new boat to upgrade. This is going to be a very slow gradual process. I am in the process of relocating within the next year or so, the my purchase is pending that. It also depends on my location (basically unknown). So my reworded/adjusted game plan is to look for an affordable, sturdy, used 30 footer and plan to use that as a daysailer and weekender. Once my skills improve, confidence builds, and ambitions grow, I will re-evaluate the boats capabilities and see if it is up to the extended voyages and offshore journeys. Again, I am young and new to sailing, so I have time. I do plan on taking basic sailing course and a bareboat or offshore course (offshore-sailing.com). Thanks again for the info. (Don''t worry you haven''t scared me off)
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Old 07-22-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Hi
what else can I add ???
Just that you are better off with a good old boat, where you have to replace SOME things as time goes by, than to shell out big money for a relative NEW boat, where you will replace everything in the next 5 years ....

My boat is 30 years old, and I love it. Most of the Benecathunt owners in our marina are jealous about my boat ...

Thorsten
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Old 07-24-2002
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Comfortable weekend, or extended offshore cruiser for 2....

Hi, everyone:

How would your recommendations change if, based on hilega''s original post, you substitute Lake Michigan coastal and across-the-lake cruising (v. east coast/Gulf) and 4 people (v. 2)? Thanks.
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