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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
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Either boat would probably serve you well, provided they pass survey and have been well looked after. After that it'll be down to what appeals to you most about the cockpit, or the layout, or the specific berthing or galley arrangements. If you're comparing otherwise equivalent boats, look for add-on goodies like furling, electronics (recent), cabin heat, good battery banks and monitors etc.
As to the A-4 vs diesel, that's much debated and the market is geared to accept diesel and reject A-4s, there's no escaping the fact that there are tens of thousands of A4s out there. In many respects a gas engine is better suited for the typical daysailors duty cycle (ie start, run 10 minutes out of the marina, stop..... start, run 10 minutes into the dock...), it's lighter weight, smoother/quieter, and has plenty of power (30hp) On most equivalent boats with a diesel you'll get one or two cylinders, 8-15 hp, noise and vibration, (but better resale..)
1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"
".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)