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scove 01-18-2009 06:58 PM

Personal experience with a Whitby 42?
We're looking for an affordable (to buy and maintain) long term cruiser that is safe, comfortable and sails reasonably well. We're a family of 5 so having the right layout is important. We're thinking of either spending a year in the Caribbean or Med getting used to the boat and making any required modifications/upgrades then setting out for something longer.

The Whitby 42's look interesting and appear to have a generally good reputation if they've been well maintained but I'd really like to get some personal perspective on this. I'm looking for experience reports from anyone who has sailed, owned or worked on these boats. Comments on cruising on a Whitby with kids are worth bonus points. :)

I'd also appreciate the opportunity to see one up close and in person. Please let me know if anyone knows of an owner in the Vancouver/Seattle/Victoria area who would like to give us a tour.

Faster 01-18-2009 08:58 PM

Hopefully Jeff H will weigh in here for you, scove, he seems to have a lot of knowledge of these boats.

There was a Vancouver Whitby 42 that did some extensive Pacific cruising in the '80s, it was called Feng Shui and was sailed by Jim (dammit, forget his last name - he works for the city now and was on the news during the Stanley Park storm coverage...) If you can track that story down you may get some more info.. it was covered in back issues of PY.

I can only tell you anecdotally that AFAIK they are well regarded as serious blue water vessels assuming you get a good one. I understand there were variations produced as a Brewer 12.8 too.

camaraderie 01-18-2009 09:08 PM

I don't meet ANY of your requirements scove but I did look at several when in the market some years ago as well as doing some research. Just a couple of things to help you out:
1. MOST of the Whitby's had screwed and glued hull to deck joints. Through bolting was an option. Look for an "option" boat!
2. The Brewer 42/2.8 is a very similar boat but built a bit better and a better keel. Look for those as well.
3. The boat is a solid bluewater cruiser with good room and middling sailing performance as one would expect.

Hope this helps a bit. Condition will be the key of course. There is a whole thread on the boats here:

JohnRPollard 01-18-2009 10:05 PM

Another variant is the Brewer 44, I believe, by Fort Meyer rather than Whitby.

I've sailed a bit on the 44 version. Nice, solid boats, with a swim scoop added at the stern. They were offered with various keel and keel/centerboard options, as well as rig options (cutter, ketch, etc). They are a fair bit more expensive than the standard Whitby 42, though.

Speaking as someone with similar requirements to you, I'm not sure the Whitby would be my first choice. I would be looking for a boat with a 3-cabin layout.

A somewhat similar boat that occasionally is configured with 3 cabins is the C&C Landfall 43. Often you'll see the starboard pass-through between the main cabin and aft cabin configured with over/under bunks.

Yet another one similarly configured, but a bit larger, is the Stevens 47.

lassrl 01-18-2009 10:15 PM

Hi Scove,

We just purchased a Whitby 42 in August... looking forward to lifting the anchor in May this year and cruising full time. Our price point required purchasing a bit of a 'fixer-upper' so we have a lot of work to do before then!

We too were impressed with the Whitby's credentials. I'm sure you have already searched for and found a number of positive reviews on the internet. Faster mentioned 'Jeff H' - some of his past postings on SailNet are quite favorable toward the Whitby so search the SailNet archives if you haven't already. Another positive review by Jack Horner can be found on the boatus website. Although he erroneously states (as did Camaraderie) that the hull/deck joint is not through-bolted. It is through-bolted on all Whitby 42s.

Your absolute best resource will be Douglas Stephenson. He worked in the Canadian Whitby factory for many years and is currently a broker specializing in Whitbys. His wealth of knowledge and eagerness to share it really helped 'seal the deal' when it came time for us to make a decision. He even spent two days on the boat with us showing us everything about the systems and handling her. How many brokers will do that for you?? Doug has kept tabs on nearly the whole fleet of Whitbys and I am sure he would be able to put you in touch with somebody in Northwest US/Southwest Canada that could give you a tour. I vaguely recall, from when I was looking, there were one or two for sale in the Seattle area and another in the Alaskan panhandle.

Doug can be reached at
Yachts with Experience
Phone: (705) 527-0442 Fax: (705) 527-0967
Mail: Trawlers & Sailing Yachts Inc.
PO Box 333, Midland, Ont., L4R 4L1

Doug can also verify for you, from his personal knowledge of the manufacturing process, the deck/hull joint is through-bolted.

Another thing that drew us to the Whitbys was it's very active and friendly owners association. They have a new website that has come a long way in a very short time and is still improving - Whitby Brewer Sailboat Association. There is an annual owners reunion in Annapolis in Late September/early October.

There is also a very active list server with many very knowledgeable owners. WhitbyBrewerSailboats : Whitby & Brewer Sailboat Group.

As with any boat this age a good survey is paramount.

Sorry, I can't speak to having kids on board but I'll do my best to answer any questions you have. Hope you find the Whitby to your liking and maybe we'll cross paths out there someday.


camaraderie 01-18-2009 10:59 PM

Scott...looks like we are both "right" on the hull joint. From the Whitby site:

The VERY widely spaced through bolts apparently do exist...but you can also see the pop riviting and screw holes THROUGH the laminate. I guess with the boats being built in different places in different years we might expect to see some variation in how this was done on individual boats.

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