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  #1  
Old 12-10-2008
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..another request for boat recommendations

Hello fellow sailors. I am looking for solid advice that may help save me time in my search for a sailboat. Any feedback is much appreciated in advance. Below is my information:

Experience: I am 38 years of age and in good shape. I have been sailing at home here in Pensacola, FL for (3) years. I am a part of a sailing club and regularly sail 22' - 26' Catalina (Capris). I have taken the ASA classes through "Bareboat & Coastal Cruising". I have also had over a dozen days on various 33-39' Beneteaus (part of the charter business that the club owns) as crew and skipper. I intend on continuing my education and experience on the water.

Where: I intend on buying a boat in the next 24 months and taking trips along the coast of Florida, Florida Keys, Caribbean, and very possibly further. I understand that like many things in life; there will be trade-offs in any boat. I just want to try and get the best boat for "me". I want to be able to enjoy day-sailing this boat on the Pensacola Bay or Gulf in winds 10-15 knots; yet still be able to take her on a bluewater voyage and feel relatively safe that she could handle heavy seas. I would rather give up having a "bullet proof" boat that could round the Horn without any worries to have a more roomier cockpit that I could stretch out in, a bit more speed under light winds, and more maneuverability with docking situations. But not so much that I am limited to coastal cruising. Does this boat exist?

Singlehanding: The boat would be comfortable for my wife and I for extended periods of time and yet still big enough to accomodate another couple for a (3-4) day trip or so. ***The boat would also have to be very manageable for me to sail alone.*** This part is not negotiable as I sail a lot on my own. I do not want more boat than I need.

Budget: I would like to not spend much more than $60K on the initial purchase (and hopefully get a boat that was coastal ready), and then spend more over next few years to refit her for longer voyages. I would love to get by with less initial purchase; but I thought that i would list my maximum at this point to see if I am being realistic.

Summary: I am pretty mechanically inclined and a big DIY'er. Although I have not done a lot of repairs on boats; I have been reading a lot of books on the subjects and have been helping friends with maintenance/repairs on their boats. Point being: I am not afraid to get my hands dirty and do some of my own work. I would prefer a boat that has a strong hull and easy to maintain (not a lot of exterior wood surfaces for the FL sun to eat up).

Anybody care to share some boat recommendations? Or characteristics that I should look for? How about sailplan? This is a much debated subject, however I think I can pretty much rule out a Yawl or Ketch.

Fair winds and calm seas,

Clint
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Old 12-10-2008
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endless choices
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Old 12-10-2008
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Do you plan on going bluewater eventually or just island hopping and coastal cruising?

That will make the choice of boat very different. Lots of boats out there for the budget you've got. I'd highly recommend saving about 20% of your budget for the refitting, upgrading and repairing of any boat you do end up buying.

Best advice I was given when looking at boats is that the PRIMARY PURPOSE OF THE BOAT IS PRIMARY. If you're mostly going to be sailing as a couple, but only occasionally have another couple aboard, buy a boat that is designed for sailing and living on by a couple... and make whatever accommodations for the short visits you have your guests for.

Getting a boat much larger than 35' for your budget is going to be a bit tight IMHO.
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Old 12-10-2008
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Yes, there are loads of boats that would fit your requirements. Many of the intermediate sized Catalinas, Beneteaus, etc would probably work for you. There are litterally dozens of different models to choose from.

If the run-of-the-mill production boats are not up your alley, one boat that I immediately thought of is the CS (Canadian Sailcraft) 36. Several forum members sail them and they sure seem like a lot of boat for the money, which happens to be within your budget.
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Maybe a late 80s or early 90s Catalina 34.
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Old 12-11-2008
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Hello,

While I love the standard production type boats (Catalina, Beneteau, etc.), in this case I would recommend boats with a more sturdy reputation.

The manufactures that come to my mind are Sabre, Tartan, C&C Landfall, and Pearson, and the previously mentioned CS.

I would look at boats in the 34-36 range, maybe as big as 38. That size boat will give you the size for an extra couple, small enough to be easily single handed, and big enough to handle some rough weather.

Specifically, the Tartan 37 has a great reputation. Same with the Sabre 36 and 34, Pearson 365, and the CS 36.

Good luck,
Barry
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Clint... your needs are very basic except for the "Caribbean" portion of the intended use. I would draw a distinction between cruising the Bahamas chain all the way to the Turks and Caicos....and between sailing to windward to the Caribbean. While you can use virtually any boat for the former...you need a better built and more purpose designed boat for the latter. Given your very limited budget...I would encourage you to think hard about how realistic the Caribe portion of your plans is. If it figures high in your plans...then you really do need to think about a boat that is built for it and sacrificing cockpit space and room down below in order to get a capable boat within your budget.
Space cockpit/below...build/passagemaking quality....price: Pick any two

Check the bluewater boats thread sticky at the top of this forum for specific model ideas.
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This is all good advice (with exception to "endless choices" response).

I guess I would sacrifice some space in the cockpit & below (and maybe save a bit more for cost of boat). I definitely feel that "bluewater" is in my future. I definitely don't want to have a tank that doesn't move in lighter winds and is extremely hard to maneauver (like some full keel designs I have read about).

I appreciate the boats listed above. I had a few on my list already.

What type of sail plan & rig is best for solo sailing?

Thanks for your responses.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SailorClint View Post
What type of sail plan & rig is best for solo sailing?

Thanks for your responses.
Opinions vary on this one, partly due to sailing style/preferences, ability/experience, and sailing grounds.

In the size range you are looking at, there really is no need to split the rig with two masts, as on a ketch or yawl. I might even go so far as to say you probably don't need to split the headsail plan either (as on a cutter), at least for 90% of the sailing you'll do.

But many bluewater sailors prefer the cutter or double-headsail rig, which allows a combination of a smaller headsail and staysail to be used. A lot of coastal sailors prefer a fractional sloop, with a smaller headsail and more drive in the proportionally larger mainsail.

For shorthanded sailing, I like a sailplan that makes it relatively easy to "switch gears". On a typical modern, fractional rig, the first downshift usually amounts to flattening the sails (snugging outhaul, backstay, etc). On less "tweekable" arrangements, reefing the main or downsizing the headsail is often the first step. This is obviously more labor intensive, so a solo sailor might want to consider a more tunable/tweekable rig that can get you up to the 20 knot range without need for sail changes or reefing.

Then again, this approach might just amount to postponing the inevitable. A double headsail or cutter rig with a 3-reef main, properly rigged for single-handing, might be the ultimate solution for the widest range of wind conditions.
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Old 12-11-2008
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The cutter sailplan is going to give you more muscle when beating in heavy airs, and as Capt'n Pollard says, allow you to "switch gears" to meet the variety of conditions you'll surely encounter.
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