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  #1  
Old 04-03-2010
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Looking For A Family Cruiser

My spouse, our little son (3 yrs old), and I are looking for a good family cruiser. Been doing a lot of research online (and here!). Our budget is limited! Can only spend 4500-5000 on the boat and we are starkly aware of the post-purchase costs we have to plan for as well.

We are not looking for a racing boat, but would not object to going fast. Cabin comfort is an issue. We plan to use this mostly for day trips around the Chesapeake Bay but we'd like to have the option of doing weekend trips and perhaps week long trips as our son matures. We want to be able to take our friends (another couple with a child or two, or just another couple) along for short (2-4 hour) day sails. We're pretty convinced that we need a 27 or bigger at this point. Good head room is important, too, as one of us is 6'2"!

Today we saw:
1) 1970 Pearson 26 on a mooring. Looked not great, not terrible, and was sailable, but not terribly inspiring. Corner was delaminated. Cheapest of the bunch. No galley.
2) 1979 Cal 2/27 on the hard. Was impressed by her! Beautiful cabin (well, it could be, with a little work and cosmetic changes, a few fixes) with good head room.
3) 1971 Cal 27 (Pop Top). This thing was rough and spongy and needed a lot of work. Was crossed off our list very quickly. Came with a dinghy...and we need a dinghy.

Tomorrow we're going to see a 1983 Cal 27 Mark III at a slip. Very interesting to see how this will go!

Any advice/reviews?
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Old 04-03-2010
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I would think that any boat 27' or larger in your price range will need a lot of work. Everything from soft decks to leaky fittings to rigging sails and engine needing work or replacement. But there are gems out there somewhere. Read the boat inspection tips here Boat Inspection Trip Tips
I'd try Craigs list and walking marinas looking for deals. There are people who have to sell - you just have to find them. Good luck.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 04-03-2010 at 10:54 PM. Reason: add
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Old 04-04-2010
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try looking at the early 80's hunter 27s. they have a big inside for the length, plus about 6 foot headroom, with a galley and a holding tank. they can be found in decent shape for 5 grand, and in really good shape for 10 grand. and right now there are a few on the chessy for sale.

plus they are really solid boats, with inboard diesels

edit here is a review i did on the early hunter 27's over at anything sailing

Quote:
cherubini hunter, he was the designer. his son still is involved on hunterowners.com. also emkay the cockpit design actually allows you to keep your feet on the floor going around the wheel, you have to lean over but it does. with the cockpit table up 4 can sit there and have a drink and not feel crowed and 2 could lounge behind the wheel.
the v berth at the shoulders is close to 6 feet wide, at the feet its about 2 feet, so its great for footsie.

the head space is probably 32 inches or so front front to back ( or wide if sitting on the head ). there is a hanging locker behind the head, with a few drawers. across from the head is a counter about 32 inches with a sink, and a cabinet. the foot space you see for the settes goes under the counter next to the cabinet on the port side under the head sink. on the starboard side, its under the drawers behind the head. its is the perfect size to brace your self when sitting on the inside throne if the boat goes down a wave. there is a sliding door front and rear of the head so it can be private.

the salon table is big enough when down and open all the way to play monopoly with drinks and food, but you cant get by to the head unless you walk on the settee and step down. i moded mine ( completely reversible ) to be able to open 50 % or all the way, so it does not take up the whole salon in front of the settees.

the galley is okay, sink is a smaller one so dishes dont pile up, the ice box is huge, but hard to reach all the way in to the back. i have no doubt i could put a half a cow butchered up in the ice box ( no ice thou ). i have a non pressure alky stove that works great. you would not want to cook a seven course dinner but it works for what i use. i use the companion way steps as a counter.

the nav station makes a great counter, it lifts up for storeage for map books, batteries, pen pencil etc. there are holes for charts rolled up on the side but the table does not fit full size charts. i use the nav table as the coffee table, keep the tv, drinks, etc on it ( meaning everything gets thrown there )

the quarter birth is huge, it goes under the port side cockpit seat. its got to be over 6 feet long and 30 inches wide at the shoulders. at the feet its around 18 to 20 inches.

cockpit storage, the lazerette on the aft of the cockpit is about 18 inches deep with access to the rudder stuff and 5 feet wide. the starboard side lazerette is huge, i kept 8 life vests, my jib and water hose in it, and could fit more. it has to be 4 feet deep. the sink drain thru hull valve is at the bottom, but it can be reached by removing the bottom sink drawer. luckly its not under water as the boat sits when tied up so no real need to get to it. the exhaust on my boat also goes thru the starboard lazzerete so access is good, but i have seem different exhaust set ups so dont bank on that

Last edited by scottyt; 04-04-2010 at 02:27 AM.
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Old 04-04-2010
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If you're looking at weekend trips, make sure the tallest has a berth he/she can actually lay down comfortably in. I'd second what Mitempo said about boat 27'+ being likely in poor shape given your budget.

I'd point out that the Cape Dory 25D has a lot of headroom for a small boat, but might be a bit slow on the Chesapeake.

A good book for you to get is The Sailor's Book of Small Cruising Sailboats, by Henkel, which discusses pocket cruisers under 27' LOA.
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Old 04-04-2010
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27'+ on that budget is tight, tight tight. But hey, you may get lucky.

Like Scotty said, check out a cherubini hunter 27.
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Old 04-04-2010
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Wink

Thanks for the advice! I've been combing craigslist for a while (and just did again) and unfortunately none of the boats you mentioned are available here in my area (Chesapeake Bay area). Well, there is a Hunter 27 but it is twice my budget!

I also had a look at the book Sailingdog mentioned, but unfortunately the largest boats it covers are 25'!

Anyhow, I think you might be surprised at the deals currently available. The economy is not so great, as I am sure you know, and a lot of folks are selling their second boats/daysailers around here. Or I might be very surprised by the results of the survey, we will see!

We loved the 1983 Cal 27 Mark III we saw today. But my husband cannot stand up in the cabin.

Also, is it normal to have mold in the cabin? All of the boats we've seen so far do!
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Old 04-04-2010
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At the bottom of the market, you are gonna find fuzzy boats. Where you find soft decks, you find mold. Delamination? mold. Deteriorating woodwork? mold.
Leaky ports? mo... you get my point. When moisture is on the scene, mold is his wingman.

BTW, don't discount smaller boats. I sail a boat with 6 feet of headroom, a private head, berths for four/five,(a comfortable v-berth for two,) wheel steering and autohelm, all packed into 23 feet LOA.
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Old 04-04-2010
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How about a Challenger 24/ Challenger 7.4?

1975 Challenger 7.4 (24'4") sailboat for sale
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Old 04-04-2010
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I think to a certain extent your budget doesn't cover the best kept boats, more like the neglected so I have to sell boats. They either leak a bit of rainwater and/or haven't been visited for so long condensation and lack of ventilation has caused it. I think a lot of 27' boats in your price range might require thousands to repair/replace items and get presentable. It goes with that end of the market for the most part.
On Yachtworld there are 32 Hunter 27s pre 1990 and except for a few projects their prices are mostly between 10k and 27k. There are a few around 7k to 10k but they are likely just higher priced projects. You might be better off to look for a smaller boat in better shape for your budget.
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Old 04-04-2010
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bljones
That challenger was sold in 2007 but there could be similar out there.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 04-04-2010 at 07:15 PM. Reason: add
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