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  #1  
Old 11-17-2002
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

Will be retiring in ''06 and am currently trying to get an idea of a good liveaboard boat for costal/inland cruising as a singlehander. So far, I keep coming back to the Hunter 320/326 (shoal draft) as having the best combination of the things I am looking for. Mast height, ease of handling, space utilization.

My main question is, having a CE classifcation of B, is this a boat that could venture into the Carribean or make it down to the Panama Canal and up to the West Coast?

John
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Old 11-17-2002
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

The short answer- Probably not......

Perhaps if you are an excellent seaman, lucked out with weather and so never ended up trashing through high winds and seas, the Hunter 320/326 might work for that trip, (less suitable boats have made that voyage) BUT if I had to make a list of ideal boats for that voyage and which cost somewhere below $90,000, the Hunter 320/326 would pretty close to the bottom of my list.

This is not about Hunter bashing. I personally think that Hunter offers a lot of boat for the dollar and makes very nice coastal cruisers. BUT coastal cruising boats have completely different needs than boats intended to be going offshore.

When I look at the major attibutes that I consider important to going offshore, (Low center of gravity, lots of storage most low in the boat and the ability to absorb the weight of this storage without hurting the seaworthiness of the boat, storage that is safe in a knockdown or roll-over, 30-70 gallons of water per person, robust construction, good seaberths located near the center of bouyancy, Vee''d hull sections forward of the keel, flat and comparatively clear of tripping hazzard decks, good ground tackle handling gear and storage for the weight of a lot of chain, small portlights, access to the hull surfaces from within the boat without having liners in the way, a sail plan that can be quickly depowered or else offering flexibility in reducing sail area by some means other than by furling, a cabin that is easy to move around when heeled, and so on), the Hunter 320/326, falls near the very bottom of my list of boats that I would consider for the kind of voyaging you are proposing. The Hunter 320/326 fails on robustness alone (hull deck type, shroud attachement into deck only, size of openings in deck spacing and connection methods of bulkheads, lask of backstay etc.) but the other deficient items are far easier to quantify, objectively understand, and collectively would be deal killers if I had your cruising program in mind.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 11-17-2002
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

Thanks Jeff, that''s the kind of input I was looking for. And btw, was thinking a used boat, not a new one. 50k or under is my target amount.

How far I venture is as much a question of seamanship, as boat. Only sailed on lakes to this point (current boat a H26, after starting the year in a Mirage 5.5), and have just got back into sailing after 30+ yrs.

As much as I would like to have the capability to go anywhere I would chose, I know that the Gulf Coast and Eastern Seaboard with forays inland (TN river system for ex.) is more realistic given my level of experience. Not that I''m precluding possibilities, just trying to be pragmatic about it.

I do KNOW, that I am going to live on a boat whether it be marina based with occasional trips or living on the hook exploring the coast and waterways of America, or venturing offshore. So inital cost, upgrades and maintenence are my primary concerns in a boat I can live on comfortably.

Thanks again, your views are appreciated.

John
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Old 11-17-2002
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

Wife and I have same idea in mind only trying to get ready for next season to start our journey.
Had initally decided on new boat, Beneteau 331 but after much consideration and info. from sailors like Jeff H and others we went the used boat route.
We did a lot of looking at new boats and putting on paper what we wanted since we intended to spend a lot of time in close quarters. 331 was okay but decided not quite big enough.
On a used boat you get a little bit more for your $ but can cost more then expected in unforseen costs. Not all the time. Depends on the condition of the boat you purchase.
You need to decide what you want on and in your boat, what you want to do to it relating to repairs discovered when it''s surveyed along with unseen/surprise repairs. Even if you do a lot of the work yourself it can be a bit costly. Parts for boats are NOT inexpensive. Used parts hard to find and sometimes questionable when purchased from someone or somplace unknown to you. New parts are $$$$$$$$$$.
To date we are close to exceeding 5K in known and unknown costs and are going to add another 3 to 5K for new upgrades before we take off.
Do not regret the used boat route and are very happy with our purchase.

Good Luck
Ray & Joanne
Dream Catcher
38'' Irwin CC
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It is important to remember that the $5K to $10k that you spent is comparatively small when compared to the combined cost of depreciaton and odds and ends that are needed when fitting out a new boat from scratch.

Jeff
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

Jeff''s point is very good. Buying a boat that some one else has equipped for cruising is far more economical. Also buying a boat that is suitable for your purposes may be worth looking longer or paying a touch more. One criteria I used when looking was "How would I do aboard at anchor somewhere socked in by four days of rain and wind?" I have a good marriage but do not think a 32 foot boat is big enough for that kind of confinement.
We were on a tight budget too and ended up buying an older but bigger (36 ft) boat.
Good luck - Todd
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Old 11-17-2002
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Coastal and Inland Cruising

Once again, thanks for the input. Having four years to wait, I''m sure I''ll "fall in love" with a variety of different boats. Any advice I receive though, will be good for making that final decision. I appreciate all of you taking the time to respond.

John
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