Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Bristol Channel Cutter
These are wonderful little boats. If you are into traditional boats, these boats are really proven quantities in the world of offshore voyaging. In a lot of ways they are repostedly better sailing boats than the Westsail at both the light and heavy extremes in the weather. They are certainly one of Lyle Hess''s most enduring designs. These are tough little go any where boats with about as beautiful lines as you will ever see on a boat. Like the Westsail, many were owner built and were prone to the kinds of workmanship goofs, and construction errors that one might expect from an owner built boat.
Because they were shaped to sail well in a wider range of conditions than many traditional boats and without a focus on accomodations, and they are only 28 feet on deck, they tend to be less roomy down below than many bigger seeming boats like either the Westsail 32 or more modern designs. Still the one that I knew best had about as nice a two person, offshore interior as one could concieve of and was packed with lots of very useable storage(some of which I helped to design). There is so much to really love about these boats in so many ways.
On the flip side, these are brawny 28 footers. They take a lot of energy to sail well as all of the loads are quite large. While they are big boats for a 28 footer, they are tiny boats for a 14,000 lb boat. Obviously, they are not going to offer the light air performance or speed of a more modern design in any conditions. I really think that tacking a sail to a bowsprit in this day and age is a dangerous idea that makes no sense at all for a serious offshore boat. Something will go wrong out there and trying to work four feet forward of the forward most point of buoyancy is a dangerous ride in any kind of rough conditions.
Still if you are into small traditional cruising boats, IMHO they don''t get any better.