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Old 03-01-2011
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39 soverel..location michigan

any advise or opinions on this boat,,,the asking price is $69k
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Old 03-01-2011
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My 33 is a scaled down 39 , both designed by Mark Soverel. very fast responsive off shore race boat. the 39 carries a lot of sail area for a 39' boat and most were race equiped. it does take a crew to sail one with the running back stays and check stays. the ones made at soverel were lighter then the latter Tartan model. the Tartan model has more interior finish work. the price sounds a little high for a late 80's 39 but if it has been maintained and has a full compliment of newer sails it may be worth it. great boat if you want a offshore racer or coastal cruser but a blue water boat it is not. it has a low boom and cabin, the cockpit does not fit a dodger or that type of crusing equipment very well. If one comes up for sail here in the west coast I just might move up to a 39
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Old 03-01-2011
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While there are similarities between the Soverel 33 and the Soverel 39, these are significantly different boats. The Soverel 33 remains one of my favorite PHRF race boats of all time. These are well rounded boats that sail really well in almost all conditions. They are moderately forgiving and in the hands of a reasonably skilled crew are a joy to sail. Unlike the Soverel 39, the Soverel 33, which began life as the Soverel 30, was designed under the MORC rule. The MORC of that era produced well-rounded designs that were very good boats even when no longer leading edge MORC race boats.

The Soverel 39 on the other hand was designed as a grand-prix IOR race boat. Compared to the S-33, they were fragile and tricky boats to sail well. The prototype, Locura, was built to compete in the SORC back when the SORC was still a big deal that attracted world class boats from all over the planet. It is a classic three plane IOR hullform. In its original form, Locura was lighter, deeper, more heavily ballasted and carried a lot more sail area than the later production boats and so sailed much better than the production versions.

By the time that Soverel 39's hit production, the IOR rule had changed and the boats were not as competitive as Locura had been. Unlike the MORC, the IOR did not produce well rounded boats. In an effort to make the boats more appealing to a broader audience, a nicer coastal cruising interior was added and the rig detuned from its original design. The added weight of the interior was deducted from the reduced draft keel. While this made the boat more comfortable down below, this took an already cranky sailing design and made it far harder to sail well. The Tartan versions began life more expensive as compared to other less obsolete raceboat designs of that era, such as the Express 37, J-35, Farr 37, or Frers 38.

I notice that the boat in Michigan has had wings added to her keel, but any increas in stability may be in part offset by her shallower than stock draft which I believe was 7'-2". Any comment on whether she has better or worse stability would be sheer speculation on my part.

I have came close to buying both Locura (Avalon at $26,500) and also considered one of the Tartan versions (in really nice shape for less than $50K). These were highly charismatic designs for me. I really like the fractional rig and I loved the Soverel 33 and so expected the S-39 to knock my socks off. But unfortunately, like so many obsolete race boats, its hard to find a niche that these boats fit in. You have not said why you are looking at this boat but as a race boat, (and unlike the Soverel 33) they are too tender and lack adequate sail area to stay at speed consistently. As a cruising boat, they are too tender and have such a narrow groove that it requires quite a bit of skill and attention to sail in changeable conditions, and while they can be reasonable acceptable light air boats, they were not as good as I would have expected based on the 33 and also require just the right sail for the conditions. The flats forward also mean that they pound your teeth out in a chop.

I had an interesting discussion with the PHRF measurer in Charleston about these boats. Locura ended up down there and has been heavily optimized and yet can't sail to her rating. The problem is that she is a fast boat in a narrow range of conditions and when sailed by a highly skilled crew. The problem is that outside of those conditions these boats fall flat and so have a hard time competing. Typical of many IOR boats of that era, when they lose speed due to something like a powerboat wake or chop, they have a hard time getting back up to speed.

In the end, I have followed a few of these boats on the market over the years. Most have remained on the market for many years. There was one boat that sold last year which I looked at before I bought my boat back in 2000- 2001. Near as I can tell, they have all sold for far less than $69K, fecting something less than a similar year J-35 somewhere in the mid to high $40K range.

Although you have not stated a purpose for considering this boat, if your goal is to buy an IOR one tonner, you might look at something like a Garratt 40, or J-41. Other better rounded racer-cruisers in that price and size range might include the Frers 36, Tripp 38, Express 37, Farr 37 or 38.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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39 soverel

thanks to both of your responses...this boat would mainly be cruised on the great lakes...i understand that this is not the ideal cruiser, but the speed also intreages me..i have not seen the boat yet, but the description does sound good..this is a one owner boat, with 30 k in upgrades in the last 10 years..this boat is very sexy to me, im not sure if it will be the right move, its a lot of money for me, i will take my time to make the right choice,,your in put is helpful...thanks again...ken
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Old 03-01-2011
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If you are looking for a performance cruisier for the Great Lakes, I would like to suggest that you also look at this Farr 38.
1981 Farr 38 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

This is a sistership of my current boat, which I bought after considering the Soverel 39. While the Tartan in Michigan appears to be in nicer condition and it probably has a 6 seconds a mile faster PHRF rating than the Farr 38, the Farr 38 is a lot more forgiving and is easier to keep at speed. I have had a pretty easy time sailing her to her rating in a wide range of conditions. The Farr 38 also has a little nicer interior laid out (although the Michigan boat appears to have a beautifully maintained and upgraded interior).

The South African versions of the Farr 38 like this one and mine were optimized for the light air of Capetown harbor racing and the very heavy air and sea conditions of the south Atlantic. They are surprisingly robust for a light boat and they have a great offshore record. (My boat was single-handed in from South Africa on her own bottom and I have cruised her extensively in a very wide range of conditions) You should be able to buy The Farr for quite a bit less than the Soverel and she should serve you well.

Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 03-01-2011 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011
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jeff, You say it is surprisingly robust??? does that include the two keel separations and sinkings as a result of fender washers ripping through
only one centimeter of skin thickness ?
Not to mention that 3 people died? I would not call that robust. and i seriously doubt the build spec is much different between any of these boats, unless this deficiency was discovered early on and then all boats were recalled by their individual builders, however many that was
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Old 03-09-2011
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I am glad that you brought this up. As I believe you and I have discussed in the past, the boat that sank in Australia killing two people, a boat called Rising Farrster, was an Australian redesigned version of the Farr 38 that was built without consultation with Bruce Farr's organization. This was a very different boat than the South African built standard design Farr 11.6 that I referred to as being "surprisingly robust".

To explain for those coming late to this, in 2002 (I believe) a boat that was identified as a Farr 38, being used by a sailing school, lost its keel and a large piece of its hull, sinking in less than half a minute and killing two out of the 6 crew members. There was a 2003 Coroners evaluation of that boat which concluded that the sinking occurred because the structure of this boat was not up to reasonable standards. While the boat was identified as a Farr 38 in the report, this boat had a significantly different keel, rig, and internal structure than the standard Farr 11.6 (Farr 38) as they were designed by Farr's office and as most of them were constructed.

To explain the differences in more detail, the normal Farr engineered Farr 11.6's (Farr 38's) have an elaborate system of hand glassed-in stringers and transverse framing. They have a deep sump with very deep hand laid up transverse frames extending to the bottom of that sump and approximately 5" to 7" above the hull on either side, and which extend far up on to the topsides and which are tied into stringers, bulkheads and flats on either side of the hull. The keelbolts on the standard design are clustered two to three bolts per sump bay and connected with 8 mm S.S. backing plates which then have fender washers above that.

The laminating schedule for the glass below these backing plates consisted of overlapping laminate from of the two hull sizes, as well as over laps of the the transverse frames resulting in approximately 40 to 56 mm of thickness below the bearing plates (approximately 1.5 to 2 times the thickness required by ABS 1996 amendment) depending on the particular sump bay. The stardard 11.6's had a 6'-4" draft fin keel without a bulb, with more keel bolts, and a larger contact area as compared to Rising Farrster. The South African versions, like the boat in question had slightly heavier scantlings (mostly wider tabbing and more hand work) and weighed a little more than the New Zealand, Australian, Swedish, or Canadian standard versions of the boat.

Rising Farrster was built off of a heavily customized set of molds which was modified by eliminated the sump and skeg altogether. The internal framing was also greatly reduced from the Farr 11.6. Instead of the deep transverse frames that were hand glassed over the keel sump, Rising Farrister had no sump and very shallow transverse frames which minimally lapped onto the keel area and did not cross the portion of the hull where the keel bolts were physically located. Rising Farrster had thinner hull skins than the stock Farr 11.6's. The hull skins passed across the bottom of the boat, rather than the double lap at this point found in stock Farr 11.6's, resulting in a skin thickness quoted in the Cornoners Report as being 5.5 mm approximately 10-15% of the hull thickness at this point that would be actually present in standard Farr 11.6's.

Further adding to the problem, Rising Farrster was fitted with a slightly heavier than a stock 11.6 custom keel, which had a bulb rather than straight fin and had greater draft (which has been variously quoted as having 7'-2" to 7'-6 draft) and so concentrated the loads lower increasing the loads on the keel bolts. Adding to this death wish design, in comparison with the stock 11.6's, Rising Farrster had fewer keel bolts, which had small bearing plates which did not tie the keel bolts together (effectively behaving as fender washers as you note) and a smaller keel contact bearing area.

The amazing part of this is that Rising Farrster lasted a long as she did. Then again the Coronor's report indicated that even with all of that there was a 1.5 safety factor, but of course that is less than the safety factor of 2 required by the ABS and essentially a quarter of the safety factor in the standard Farr 11.6.

In actual service the standard version of these boats have held up extremely well. As recently as 4 years ago, there was a still a one design class of Farr 11.6's in the Heineken Capetown to Rio Transatlantic race, a race that spent the first week in 40-50 knot winds and ended in light air on the South America. Pretty good for roughly 25 year old race boats some of which had done this race on a regular basis. This last running of the Capetown-Bahia race had a single Farr 11.6 which was 31 years old. I think that you would have to agree that this track record is 'surprisingly robust' considering the grueling conditions that the South African based boats are routinely race in.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 03-10-2011 at 06:48 PM.
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Old 03-09-2011
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Jeff your detailed report actually is just a delusion
These boats are all simply under built, truth be told
just like the J-44 they very most likely lost their keels as a result
of thin underbelly and high dynamic stress exceeding tensile strength
This is just simple math. too thin a hull , , no amount of words can explain this away.

To get speed, (what buyers are addicted to ) means reducing strength to make a lightweight hull

And guess what , BOATS SINK , and hope you are not inside when it happens
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Jeff
also , please reference your specific statements with links, I never came across
these detailed claims you make,
being an engineer with structures and materials background I investigate all keel failures so I am interested to see these reports.

The only report I found was the one that sank was the one out of Texas
on it's way to Isla Mujeres? Interesting there are two cases. Thanks
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Oh and one more thing you mention is that these were optimized for the light air of Capetown harbor racing and the very heavy air and sea conditions of the south Atlantic.

Please explain how a boat, any boat can possibly be optimized for both light and very heavy air. ? This seems just too good to be true.
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