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  #1  
Old 10-04-2009
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New Lake Michigan boat questions

We are stepping up from a Catalina 18, to, well; we are not sure.

Our home port is Onekama/Portage Lake which has a connection to the big lake (Lake Michigan) that isn’t as deep as one could wish (http://archives.record-eagle.com/2007/jul/21boat.htm). What that story does not cover is that the boat had a deep fin keel and after running aground in the channel was subsequently sunk after being turned 180 degrees and ripping off the keel during the ungrounding attempt. Though we do enjoy sailing Portage Lake what we have found was that every chance we thought we had (weather) we were out on the Big Lake trying to make Manistee, Arcadia, or Frankfort. Clearly, we have outgrown Portage.
Thus the new boat and the advice that we seek with this posting.

We would like to find something that we could still homeport in Onekama, is translake capable, stiff, fast, points well, comfortable, easy to single hand, good overnighter/cruiser. Knowing that some of those points are mutually exclusive we are willing to concede on some speed and some comfort but not on single handness or stiffness.

What we are considering is the Catalina 28 (slow?) Catalina 309, 32. Our budget is somewhere south of 90K but that isn’t written in stone. We would prefer to buy American but that also isn’t written in stone as is it, at least for us, in cars. New is nice but used is ok too. Not crazy about buying really old (so not interested in a 1970 floatswell 32 that needs just a “little” work) because we are both very busy and don’t want to spend an inordinate amount of time in repair/upgrade/maintenance. One of the things about the C18 that we like is that there is no external teak.

We are heading off to Annapolis next week with open minds. If any of you Great Lakes sailors have any insight that you could share with us we would be most appreciative.

Shawn
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  #2  
Old 10-04-2009
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We each have a somewhat different idea of what suits our needs in a cruising sailboat. Intended use, sailing experience and tolerance for maintenance (whether done yourself or paid for by your local broker). My own decision criteria is very long and detailed and no one boat fully suits all of my future destinations, one of which is a couple of seasons in the Great Lakes, where I was born and grew up.

I am partial to older vessels with proven records. The Tartan 37 at the attached link is one of my favourites and I would be looking at this one if my Great Lakes adventure was imminent. There is a strong following for these boats and an active owners association. There are many on the Great Lakes and many more which have sailed the four corners of the world. Shallow draft yet good upwind performance with the swing keel down. Prices right now are very good - as with everything except new boats.

Just my thoughts. I am not a broker and have no relationship or interest in the boat I have linked here.

1979 Tartan 37 (ST) Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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  #3  
Old 10-05-2009
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Quote:
We would like to find something that we could still homeport in Onekama, is translake capable, stiff, fast, points well, comfortable, easy to single hand, good overnighter/cruiser.
I just spent a week in your homeport and loved it.
We stayed out at the Old Portage Inn.
Our homeport is Holland and we routinely sail our boat on weekends and cruise the Southern Half of Lake Michigan. We make trips to Chicago and back at least three times a year.
That being said, I had no problems with my 5-foot draft vessel entering and exiting the Portage Lake Channel. I think the shallowest I saw in the channel on my approach and departure (and it will change year to year) was 7.5 feet. I would be a little concerned and I might have to rethink entering or exiting with any type of swell running, but I felt completely safe on our trip. (BTW, I came in at 0200 and left at 0000; let me tell you, that is one heck of a DARK channel!)
Most of the current production boats would fill your needs in my opinion. It simply is which is your personal preference.
Do you plan on racing someday or is this boat going to be used mostly for cruising? It sounds like cruising, so there are many boats available for you that can cross the lake and be used for weekending that will have draft capable of exiting your channel.
Many of the boats today are set up for short-handed sailing, but this will come at some sacrifice. We have a roller furling main and it is good for ease and shorthanded, but it comes at a price in Roach and pointing.
Its all a compromise as I am sure you are aware, but I see very little that would limit you by sailing out of Portage Lake.
If you like Catalina's, there certainly are a number of Catalina 30's out there on the used market. After all they are one of the most produced boats in the industry.
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Last edited by sailortjk1; 10-05-2009 at 10:18 AM.
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  #4  
Old 10-05-2009
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Welcome to the forums, Michigancruisers!

Knowing that you're looking for a boat that is "translake capable, stiff, fast, points well, comfortable, easy to single hand, good overnighter/cruiser" and that you don't want any exterior teak, I'd say the C320 would be a great choice. Mind you, I have not sailed on a C320, but I've looked them fairly extensively. The hull is proven to be fast for her size and is also reported to be fairly stiff. It's a Catalina, so you know it's comfortable down below and should be easy to short-hand. In your price range you'll be looking at used 320's, with both used MkI and MkII models falling below $90k. Check the C320 association website for more good info (http://www.catalina320.com/)

By the way, we cruised to Portage Lake this summer and stayed 2 nights at Portage Point Inn. Very nice new marina facilities and friendly people. Portage Lake was beautiful as well!
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Old 10-05-2009
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I like the Catalina 320 suggestion. They seem to be a heck of a lot of boat for the money. Another similar model might be the Beneteua 343, which while French design, might be made in the U.S.

I've always been a big fan of the J-32. This particular example is well north of your price range, but I've seen some from mid-late-90's that were much closer:

2001 J Boats J 32 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
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Old 10-07-2009
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You might want to consider the Pacific Seacraft 31 with a shoal keel (4 feet) which would address your channel depth concerns. These boats have an open cabin design and are quite roomy. They can sleep six and have good headroom. They can handle Lake Michigan with ease. A bit pricey, but a good value for the money considering all the safety features and the over built parts used in construction.
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Old 10-07-2009
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Catalina 309 is great. Older Tartans would be nice too for your purposes too.
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Old 10-08-2009
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Re Mortimer's suggestion of a PSC 31: You'll likely have some teak to deal with on the topsides, though I think there is a "stainless only" option in later models. I'm sure JRP can tells us all about it and validate if the PSC 31 would be a good choice since he's an owner and long time PSC customer.
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Old 10-08-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwaltersmi View Post
Re Mortimer's suggestion of a PSC 31: You'll likely have some teak to deal with on the topsides, though I think there is a "stainless only" option in later models. I'm sure JRP can tells us all about it and validate if the PSC 31 would be a good choice since he's an owner and long time PSC customer.
Mortimer has a 31 also, and like me previously owned a Dana 24. So I would concur with his recommendation, except that the OP specifically mentioned that he prefers no teak maintenance. You're right, a no/low teak option was offered more recently, but those boats will be a lot newer and therefor pricier.

If he could live with bare teak, I think the 31 would make a great boat for his purposes. The interesting thing about this model as compared to its larger sisters, is that it has a lot of features that make it a nice coastal cruiser too. The cockpit in particular is very spacious.

But I get the impression he's focussed more on the Catalina variety -- nothing wrong with that. You'll certainly get more interior volume for a given length.
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Pacific Seacraft Crealock 31 #62

NEVER CALLS CRUISINGDAD BACK....CAN"T TAKE THE ACCENT
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