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RestlessWind 02-14-2009 12:53 PM

Ray Richards Cheoy Lee 41 Offshore??
I'm looking for information on these boats, particularly any known quirks and warnings. There are a couple of them for sale on yachtworld, and the "look" of them has really sparked my interest. Late 70, early 80 models. Lots of teak (yeah, I already know that this equals work),and the beautiful interiors really speak to me as well.

I have read the inspecting tips, here on SailNet, and understand the need for professional survey, but I don't find much specific to the Cheoy Lee here.
The boat I eventually buy will be used primarily for liveaboard and (Eastern US) coastal sailing, with the possibility of some longer passages in the future.

Any thoughts before I decide to take off and have a look at one of these?
Are they "Old Shoes"?....and if so, is that a REALLY bad thing?:D

I haven't been totally bewitched by them, really....not yet.

btrayfors 02-14-2009 04:08 PM

I have some personal and 3rd party information about the Ray Richard's designed Cheoy Lee Offshore 41.

First, I own a 42-foot Cheoy Lee sloop...for the past 20 years. Second, I chartered an Offshore 41 in Tortola many years ago and sailed her throughout the U.S. and British Virgin Islands with my family for about a month. Enough to get a real feel for her. I also have some friends who several years ago bought one in Tortola, proceeded to do major structural improvements (like strengthening bulkheads), and sailed her to the South Pacific and back to Alaska and California. Finally, I have visited Cheoy Lee's yard several times and have seen these boats building.

The Offshore 41 is an interesting design. It sails very well. It's about as fast as a Valiant 40 (I once raced a Valiant 5 miles in breezy conditions from Foxy's on Jost Van Dyke to Sopers Hole on Tortola....a draw).

The hull is very well built, like most Cheoy Lee's. Very strong. The exterior teak and spruce mast, if fitted, can be a bear to keep up. Interior joinerwork is typical of Cheoy Lee: beautiful on the surface, and functional. My kids particularly liked the round "playpen" at the forward end of the main cabin.

Like many Cheoy Lee's, though, she will have some substandard metal you'll want to get rid of over time, if previous owners haven't already done so, and some leaks. "Cheoy Leaky", and all that.

That she's an older vessel may not be a show stopper, depending on how she's been cared for over the years, and depending on your skills and pocketbook to keep her spiffy. Liveaboards and "round the buoys" sailing in the Bay can get away with letting some things go awhile. But, before you take her offshore, you'd want to be certain her standing rigging, including chainplates, have been inspected and passed by a competent rigger, and that her other mechanical and electrical systems are in good repair.

You might check out the Cheoy Lee Owners Association for some contacts and more info.

Hope this helps a bit.


RestlessWind 02-14-2009 10:12 PM

Thanks for the insight, Bill. It's very much appreciated.
I was not aware of the metal problem. That's something to ask about, and have evaluated. I'd think that any substandard material would have failed by now(and been replaced) but you never know.

That she's an older vessel is not a major issue to me, as you said "depending on how she's been cared for". That she's a well-built,sturdy vessel that sails well is good to hear.

Is there some inherent weakness regarding the bulkheads that I should be on the lookout for?


kaluvic 02-15-2009 02:07 AM

I have a CT48 of similar vintage.
During my refit I removed the chain plates and found that a third of the bolts where broken and had been broken for some time.
This was not obvious from their appearance interior or exterior.

mdidriksen 02-15-2009 12:29 PM

My family owned one of these for 28 years, so I have some personal experience, I guess. My father sold it last year and it was sad to see it go.

A couple of thoughts:

1. Perhaps not roomy by today's standards for a 41 foot boat, but still plenty of room. We were a family of 6 and would cruise for a week at a time no problem. If it has the round dinette (can't remember if all of the Ray Richards' ones do) that is a nice feature.

2. They draw 6'6", so draft may be an issue depending on where you want to go. Generally was not a problem for us.

3. They are pretty heavy boats, so not exactly sleds. Pointing ability is not great. Best point of sail is probably a broad reach in 20-30 knots of breeze. They can break 10 knots in those kind of conditions.

4. Definitely off-shore capable. We took her down to Bermuda in the storm that sank the Pride of Baltimore. Seas averaged 15 feet with sets of about 25 feet rolling through. She came through in generally fine shape. We actually cracked the top three feet of the mast, but that was due to a rigging error by the yard that stepped the mast, not a design issue (this was the first sail of the season after launching from an unfamiliar yard and they screwed up the shrouds -- we didn't realize until we were off-shore). We also had her offshore to Nova Scotia and back, including some very rough weather on the way back in mid-October.

5. The teak decks have been known to leak and create significant core damage. You should subject this to a very careful inspection, as the fix could involve ripping off the deck -- not a small job, as it will likely involve significant disassembly of the interior. My dad's boat had this in its future. You could have lived with it a little longer, but the deck was soft in spots.

6. The engine is located in the bilge. Good for sailing capabilities but not easy for service.

Hope this is helpful. They are beautiful boats (always got lots of compliments by passers by) and ours certainly generated some of my favorite childhood memories.



sahara 02-15-2009 01:24 PM

My family also owned one, which we raced some in Cruising Canvas, and also took to the BVI via Bermuda.

These are pretty boats, well maintained with good varnish and paint they are drop dead gorgeous. Ours was frequently mistaken for a Hinckley or an expensive custom, but you need to be aware of a few things.

As stated above, substandard deck hardware. We ended up changing nearly all of it. I pulled a turning block out of the toerail going upwind in not much over 20 knots with working jib.

Watch out for leaks around the toerail, and at any deck penetration. After a couple of years of extended sailing, we had taken down the headliner and rebedded properly every piece of deck hardware. CL would drill a hole and drop a bolt with bedding compound, so if the fitting leaked the core was exposed.

My main problem was keeping rigging tight. The boat has a deck stepped mast with a compression post thru the saloon. The price of that open layout is there is limited structural bulkheading in way of the chainplates. No matter how we adjusted the standing rigging, going upwind the leeward shrouds would go slack. CL also installed closed barrel turnbuckles, which IMO have no place on an offshore boat as you cannot visually inspect the threads. We changed those, too.

Going upwind in any kind of blow we could go below and see gaps working between the furniture and the cabin sole, as most things were simply not bonded to the hull.

A lot of this won't be a problem if you don't push the boat. The hulls are thick and strong. Our problem was we decided to race a boat which had not been built up for the rigors of racing. There has been a family in one of the magazines recently, cruising one of these around the Carribean. You get a lot of boat for the money.

I don't mean to sound negative about the boat, because I have magical memories of her. Until my family got that boat, I was strictly a racer, and because of that boat I have a great love of cruising, and they really do sail well. I have several trophies in my home that we won with her. But partly because of that boat, when I went to buy another boat for cruising a few years ago, I looked much more closely at some of the fundamentals of hull structure, and insisted on a keel stepped mast.

Good Luck!

RestlessWind 02-15-2009 02:00 PM

Thanks to all for the great info., much to consider. Keep it coming!

sahara 02-15-2009 07:19 PM

One thing I forgot to mention, which I view as an enormous positive for the boat, was the great number of opening ports and Dorade vents, making the interior very well ventilated relative to many if not most other boats her size.

Ours had some fairly cumbersome teak framed bug screens for the opening ports. They worked well, but were a pain to stow and were bulky.

RestlessWind 02-17-2009 02:59 PM

Thank you Mdidriksen and Sahara... excellent information and perspectives.
What can you tell me about original tankage and keel/ballast. Are there any special concerns here?

AjariBonten 02-17-2009 03:59 PM

Weren't they originally built with cast iron tankage? That's an upgrade I would anticipate making if it hasn't been done.

Though I could be mis-remembering from another manufacturer.

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