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Re: Is Hughes 35 A Offshore Boat ?
This is my first post to the forum. I came across this thread about a Hughes 35 and found it rather helpful and enlightening. A friend of mine and I bought a 1980 Hughes 35 (Northstar but S&S design I believe) in the fall of 2014.
We sailed it down Lake Ontario from Toronto into the Bay of Quinte over the first few days of October with most of the trip in some pretty nasty weather. We managed fairly well overall, considering at one point we had to deal with 60kph/33kn gale or near gale force winds with 8-10 foot swells.
Although we as the crew were pretty worn down by the end of the 3 day voyage, the boat seemed to handle it quite well. No equipment issues, and the rigging held up really well. I only have a moderate amount of sailing experience, but I would say the only thing I noticed was a fair bit of twisting and constant attention on the helm while on a broad reach. I suppose any sailboat that size would have some undesirable twisting on those size swells, but perhaps a full keeled boat less so.
At times, we seemed to average 8.5 to 9 knots no problem on a beam reach and once hit a peak of 9.6 on the backside of a few swells coming off the quarter. We were really making good ground, considering with the overhangs that the actual LWL is less than 30'. It is billed as a racer/cruiser (interesting that it seems to be billed as a racer first, then cruiser), even though it has a fair amount of interior space and lots of standing headroom. Also, just to note that it has a 170 genoa and we had it up in protected waters later in the trip with no more than a light breeze on a beam reach and it kept an easy 5.5 - 6 knots.
Although this boat could probably be a coastal cruiser, I am not sure about long ocean passages with large weather windows, but then again I am not experienced enough to say. We may keep it in freshwater and down the road look at another boat for bluewater, but after that passage, I am quite confident about the boats ability to handle strong weather. It is more about how much comfort will the crew have during a rough passage I believe is more the question with this boat.
Anyways, I would really like to chat with any other owners of a Hughes 35 to compare notes etc. It would be most helpful to me as we are still getting to know this boat. It would be great to hear form other owners or previous owners about experiences or anything of note they found about their Hughes 35's.
Thanks and happy sailing!