Opinions sought: Good boat to cruise from New Orleans up to Maine...and is cheap. - SailNet Community
 
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post #1 of 10 Old 09-19-2010 Thread Starter
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Opinions sought: Good boat to cruise from New Orleans up to Maine...and is cheap.

Hey folks,

I am looking to buy my first sailboat. I have experience dinghy sailing, day sailing, some overnight racing, and coastal cruising (short stuff mostly), but all on other people's boats. I have not had to buy anything before, and I find it terrifying. So, I come to you for advice.

As stated in the title, I want to cruise from New Orleans up to Maine, stopping to explore and visit places along the way. I am thinking of a boat around 30 feet and - hopefully - in the $15,000 range. 30 feet, because I am comfortable with that size sailboat, and $15,000, because I think I could afford it. Of course, this is all subject to change.

Thoughts?
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post #2 of 10 Old 09-19-2010
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I sailed a bristol 29.9 for years... they're still out there and probably in your price range. Cape Dory's of the same vintage...there are many others I'm sure that will fit the bill. Keep in mind you will probably want to keep at least1/3 of your budget in reserve for getting the boat ready for sea.

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post #3 of 10 Old 09-20-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks Tempest.

Thoughts about the Niagara 31?
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post #4 of 10 Old 09-20-2010
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I'll point out that you don't want a cheap boat. You want a good boat at a good price. Getting a cheap boat is a waste of money.

Also, reserve about 15-20% of your purchasing budget for refitting, repairing and upgrading whatever boat you get. Most boats, unlike cars, need to be customized somewhat to work for the individual using it.

Sailingdog

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post #5 of 10 Old 09-20-2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outtahere View Post
Thanks Tempest.

Thoughts about the Niagara 31?
Your budget might be a a bit of a stretch as far as getting a boat in that size in a condition for long coastal cruise. But it sounds like it could be an awesome trip.
The N31 was a Club Racer with a potential for coastal cruising. Used to be a popular fleet in New Orleans but not raced that active there now. Still some around but tend to be more tired from when I was there. But most of the boats I knew were probably destroyed when Katrina hit.
It has the potential depending on condition, most I knew would need a lot of work to take a long cruise.

Jordan
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Oceanside CA
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post #6 of 10 Old 09-21-2010
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In that size and price range you are looking at a boat from the 70s, maybe early 80s. A 30 year old boat is probably going to need work, maybe a lot. Condition is everything. Lots of choices. Don't focus on a particular make and model. Find a good one at a good price.
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post #7 of 10 Old 09-21-2010
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I had a Niagara 31 for a number of years. It is a very good boat with surprisingly good sail performance (perhaps not surprising since it is a Frers design).

A couple of things to consider: the trip you want to take will have a lot of motoring in it so make sure that you get a large enough engine (often boats wer sold with marginal engines to keep price down). Also engine condition will really matter. Finally as was pointed out - you are likely looking at a 20 to 30 year old boat - condition will really, really matter.

Back home on Lake Ontario after something over 36,000 nm circumnavigator. Not surprisingly there is a lot of stuff I want to get done on Ainia both cosmetically and functionally. Getting an early start so it will be ready to go for next summer (Lake Superior?).
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post #8 of 10 Old 09-25-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks folks.

I have more questions for y'all. On the local market of interest right now is a Bristol 27 and a Southern Cross 31. I have read the reviews of both of these boats in John Vigor's 20 Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere, but seek more information.

The Bristol 27 is, absolutely affordable, though the reviews are mixed as far as how tender the boat is and how much work the boat would need to take it as far as I would like to go. I don't know the year of the boat yet, but I assume it is well past 40 years old. Additionally, I sailed on one a few times as a teenager and don't remember it being a particularly tough boat, and wonder about it for a long cruise.

The Southern Cross 31 is affordable compared to sister ships that I see for sale which, of course, makes me wonder what type of work needs to be done to this boat.

I have not contacted the owners yet, and a survey is a ways off, but I would like opinions on these boats as far as handling, suitability for a long cruise, and anything else that y'all think would be helpful. Additionally, it will likely be a several years before the boat, my bank account, and I are ready to go on my long cruise. How is the SC 31 for for day sailing and weekends?

Thanks.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-25-2010 Thread Starter
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Also, sailingdog, good point about the "cheap boat." You're absolutely right, I want a good boat at a good price.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-03-2010
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The Contessa 26 may fit your bill, there are few out there in pretty good shape, and many people did use for long ocean passages. It has a small cabin, but is within your budget.
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