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kaweeka 12-14-2002 02:18 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
I have gone back 2 years worth of posts to find my answer but still haven''t. I am looking for the usual insightful, honest advice I''ve come to expect from the list members...eventhough this is my first post I''ve been reading for a while. goes. I live in Cape Coral, Fl where the average water depth is less than 6 feet. My canal regularly gets less than 5''6" so this is the limiting factor. I had a Catalina 30 with the fin keel and loved it but the 5''3" was a problem ONLY in my canal. Great sailing otherwise. I need to be able to leave the dock. My wife and I are occational cruisers but have been extending out abilities. We now enjoy the keys, Marquesa''s, and would like to start some greater distnces like the Bahamas, maybe crossing the gulf to Isla Muheres and down to Central America and along the eastern seaboard.
We are looking into the 36 foot range with a budget of <$65,000 , draft <5''0", good history and sailing charicteristics and not older than 1976. The pearson 365 has found its way to the top of the list for several reasons ( some rational some not) but I need help from y''all to objectively consider other boats that would fit this citeria. I''m not well versed on all the ratioos and ratings but can understand the basics. I''ll consider any advice helpfull and use it in my quest for the NEXT boat.

DuaneIsing 12-14-2002 04:37 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice

We are in somewhat of the same situation since we are relocating to Punta Gorda, FL (just north of you) in two years. We set our max draft at 4.5 ft (although we wouldn''t pass up a dream boat with 4.7 ft, I guess) for the reasons you cited.

Jeff H was extremely helpful with a list of candidate boats and SailorMitch had a great amount of good Pearson info to share. It would be best if they elected to respond to you, since it is "their info", so to speak.

I received great general advice from John Drake, but his boat, a Wauquiez Hood 38 with keel/cb would likely be above your price range.

When you have a draft limit like we do, it sure narrows down the choices. Hopefully we''ll have years of great gunkholing ahead of us. Good luck with your search.


tsenator 12-14-2002 07:56 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
Hmm....36foot and under 5ft draft would most likely put you into a wing keel or swing keel. (obviously there are pro''s and cons to both--Check the archives). There are a lot of boats that fit your criteria. But since you were fairly happy with your C30 then another boat I would say to look at is an older Catalina 36 wing keel (4''6" draft). You should be able to find an older one (around 1983-1987) that would go for less than your budgeted amount. It has a very good history (still in production and over 2100 built) and most people that have one praise its sailing characteristics. It is really a great coastal cruiser, but I know of more than a few people that have taken it blue water sailing and have been happy with it.

Take a look at the Sailnet Mail list. There is one for the C36 and you can ask there or go through the archives. Also go to they have a strong association and lots of info and helpful people. Good luck.

kaweeka 12-14-2002 09:31 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
Maybe I can send a public plea for help from these Gurus. I am a native S.F. Bay sailor and in my lifetime anything less than 6''6" in keel was only a blister on the hull. :)

kimberlite 12-14-2002 12:42 PM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice

Jeff_H 12-14-2002 01:02 PM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
I sailed out of Sarasota for a number of years in the 1970''s and still sail down there with my father when I get a chance. You live in a really wonderful sailing area. Like the Chesapeake where I sail now, you are exposed to a wide range of wind conditions and the weather can change quickly. The predominant late spring, summer and fall winds are quite light, punctuated by quick moving squall lines and lots of short chop.

Shoal draft really is important down there, as a boat without shoal draft is excluded from mnany of not most of the best cruising spots. In many ways, the west coast of Florida and keel-centerboard boats were made for each other. Properly modeled K/Cb boats offer the best combination of windward and leeward performance that can be achieved short of a full blown deel fin keel.

I am not a fan of a wing keels for that shallow a venue. Wing keels work reasonably well when you can get a reasonable span to the keel foil. When you talk about a 36 foot wing keel boat with even moderate displacement, the foil span gets so short that a wing keel is a serious compromize in performance. I found that I spent a lot of time beating up narrow cuts when I lived down there, and frankly, personally, I would consider a wing keel an unacceptable choice for a 36 footer with a less than 5 foot draft in that venue. I also think that a wing keel boat is a bad choice for that sailing area because there isn''t enough tidal range to assure you of getting off in a bad grounding.

The problem as I see it is that Keel/Centerboarders began to fade out of popularity by the early 1970''s when racing rules pretty much wiped out any rating advantage and tastes seemed to have changed. That said there were still some decent K/Cb''ers made well into the late 1980''s.

In many ways a 40 foot trimarran, like the Condor would be an ideal boat down there with their shoal draft and excellent all around performance. Unfortunately most would be outside your range.

I had previously put part of this list of candidates (albeit less expensive and older) together for Duane and have added a few that are more in keeping with your budget:

Probably my first choice in this size range and price range would be a 1970''s era Tartan 34. These boats offer a lot of well rounded characteristics, being well built and nicely detailed. There are lots of well maintained examples up here on the Chesapeake that come available in your general price range. (The later 1980''s era Tartan 34''s were also really neat boats but the shoal versions had a wing keel I believe)

Probably second on my list would be a number of different sized early Sabre''s that should be available in your general price range with a keel/centerboard.

The Pearson 323 has always struck me as shippy little boat. I''ve never sailed one, but I have always liked their looks. They would not be great performers by any fair measure but would be reasonably good boats for what you have in mind.

I like the Tartan 3000 (or the earlier Tartan 30) both seem to be very good boats. A good friend (who was new to sailing at the time) bought a Tartan 31 about 3 years ago and I have been exceedingly impressed with that boat''s performance and capabilities. He and his wife have done some pretty ambitious sailing in the three years he has owned her.

Other posible options:
Bristol 35.5 Sloop: These were available with several keel configurations but the K/cb versions sail well and are nicely built boats. The ones in your price range may not have the higher quality construction that Bristol later became well known for in the late 1970''s and early 1980''s.

Cal 34, 35, 36: (1960''s)
Of the three I like the 36 best and then the 34. These are not terribly robust boats but are very reasonable for what you have in mind.

C&C 34 and 35: Of the two the early 1980''s 34 had a better layout, construction and were
offered as Keel/centerboard boats. These are a bit more on the performance side of this list but are still good boats. They are a little short on ventilation.

C&C 37: (early 1980''s) These were very nice boats in a lot of ways. Like many of the C&Cs'' they are a little short of ventilation but they had a nice layout and good performance. At 4''7" draft the Keel/cb version would be a very good choice for your area.

Ericson Independence 31: These are not very well known boats but were essentially built for precisely what you have in mind. They too are a little short on ventilation.

Ericson 35: I have a fair amount of experience with these boats. They are a little deep and are nothing super but in thier day they offered a lot of performance and a reasonable build quality.

Galaxy 32:
These were real pioneers in fiberglass construction. While not well known today, these were super boats in thier day. You can buy them pretty inexpensively in really nice condition (look on Yachtworld at Pegasis up here on the Chesapeake)

Morgan 35, and Morgan 34 (not Out Island series boats): The Morgan 35 is a new design and offers better performance but of the two the 34 has always appealed to me more. While not a high performance boat on any objective standard, these were really good sailing boats. I have sailed them in a range of conditions and generally been quite pleased with them overall.

Pearson 35: These were real basic lets go sailing kind of boats. They offered good sailing characteristics and reasonable build quality but not super performance. They have a great cockpit, but that comes at the price of a small cabin area. Still these keel/centerboard boats might be just the ticket for poking around the backwashes of your chosen region.

Good luck,

bob-m 12-14-2002 01:46 PM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
I have friends who cruise aboard a P365 and they are very pleased with her performance and construction. In fact, I don''t think I have ever met a Pearson owner who was not happy with their boat. I can not say that about many manufacturers.

The Bristol 35 which Jeff mentions would also be a sound choice for your sailing venue. I believe the P365 is a shoal keel while the Bristol is a CB. The CB does give you some performance advantages (which may offset by maintenance issues).

Another vessel at the high end of your price range is the Tartan 37 CB. I have sailed aboard one several times in some fairly challenging conditions and came away thoroughly impressed.


mfatic 12-14-2002 06:06 PM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
I wanted to chime in since a previous poster mentioned my boat, a Pearson 323. She only draws 4''5" but doesn''t seem to suffer much for it. I have a clean bottom and some reasonably new sails and she''ll do 5 kts in an 8 kt breeze. She wants a reef as the wind builds to 20. If 32'' is in your mix, it''s worth a look.

As to the 365, there''s a lot of them on the Pearson email list and I hear a lot of good things about them. The only recurring issue appears to be corrosion on the mast collar where it meets the keel. It''s easily fixed, but you do need to un-step the mast. I think there''s a centerboard version.

My personal opinions outside of Pearson? Like Tartans. Seem to be built well. Don''t much care for Bristols or Islanders. Bristols don''t sail as well as the Pearson and the Islanders almost always have blistering problems. Ranger has some good reports. Almost bought one.

Hope that helps.

JohnDrake 12-15-2002 09:43 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
When searching for a boat with a shallow draft but cruising accomodations at a certain price point, you will find your choices quite limited. But there are some gems.

Jeff H has a great list, which is based on a lot of experience. I used to sail deep keel racers off New England but am now a convert to the K/CB design. As Duane mentioned, I have a Hood 38 that has provided me the best of all worlds.

A couple thoughts I had in reading this string. The Pearson 365 has a PHRF of 210. I think there is a great benefit to a boat that can provide you with speed, power and pointing ability. The P365 does not seem to do that. I think it is not only important in day sailing but in cruising, as you will meet a greater variety of conditions.

And there is the issue of cruising accomodations. This is something that needs to be explored on a personal basis. But generally, LWL, beam and displacement will be some indicator of the space down below.

Pearson did make a CB ver of the 36...a nice boat with a lot of accomodations for a 36 (I believe a large aft berth). It may be out of your range.

Given all your considerations, I think you might look more closely at the Tartan 37. Nice build quality and very good sailing qualities. They were built over a somewhat lengthy period of time and I believe that some may be coming down to your price range.

Other than that, I think the accomodations of the Catalina 34 and 36 cannot be beat in this price range. It is simply a question of the downside of their wing keels and their suitability for your desired cruising grounds.

Hope this helps.


kaweeka 12-15-2002 11:47 AM

SW Florida Boat Choices/Advice
thanks for all your advice. I''d like to know more about these performance statistics. I asume there is a website that will compare various boats and give data regarding motion comfort, speed etc. If anyone can point me in that direction I would be most appreciative. by the way, I am going to look at a Tartan 37 here in Cape Coral this week. Ultimately I know it comes down to one critical factor......the wife ratio.

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