Is there a TRUE cruiser/racer for the Great Lakes? - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-04-2011
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Is there a TRUE cruiser/racer for the Great Lakes?

Hi Folks,

I hope you are all doing great, and that you are enjoying this Labor day long weekend.

Without opening the Beneteau / Catalina / Hunter debate, I am wondering if I can get some advice on my next boat.

I have been sailing for 35 years now, and owned several boats in the past (a 1979 J 24, 1977 Catalina 22, 1976 Catalina 25 and a 1979 C&C 29). The bulk of my sailing is on the great lakes.

I have reciently sold the C&C 29 and am looking at getting something bigger for next season. I have a slip in Chicago that can take up to a 42 foot boat, but I'd prefer to stay closer to the mid 30 foot range. I've got a budget of $60,000 USD that I'd like to stick to.

Boat usage:
1) The racer side - I do lots of solo sailing and am looking to do more solo racing on the great lakes. I'm not needing a true race boat, but also don't want others doing circles around me.
2) The cruiser side - I entertain frequently (day sails) and would like a comfortable cockpit for 6 guests. I also would like something that I can comfortably cruise on for 10-15 days at a time with 1-2 crew.

So, a true cruiser / racer is what I'm looking for - does it exist? and even more, does it exist within my $60K budget?

Boats that really interest me are the C&C 99, 110, and 115 (But they are WAY out of my budget) the Beneteau 35s5 (1990), the Hunter Legend 37 (1989), and various Catalinas.

Does anyone have experience with these boats or have suggestions for a true cruiser / racer yacht?

Many Thanks in advance.

Cheers,

Chuck Buck

Last edited by ChuckBuck; 09-11-2011 at 11:51 AM.
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Old 09-04-2011
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Ah, and perhaps what you also seem to want is a short-handed racer-cruiser that doesn't require much help from your guests for daysailing or rail meat to be competitive for racing? Some of what you want could be customized, but you might not want to compete with the same rating as boats that are heavily tweaked and routinely use large crews to keep them flat.
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Old 09-04-2011
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There's an Ericson 36 for on Sailboatlistings.com in Illinois that might meet your specs. I have no personal experience with the boat but it's a sharp looking Ron Holland design and I've heard they're pretty good racer / cruisers This one looks like it has some nice, fancy sails that might get you a little jump on the other guys.

Edit: The more I look at that boat, the more I don't like it for single handed racing. Not much length on the waterline, probably gotta stand her up to move the best. The masthead rig means you're going to need a pretty significant foresail inventory. Also, I think I'd feel trapped behind that big wheel back there.

How about a T10?

Last edited by mbetter; 09-04-2011 at 06:42 PM.
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Old 09-04-2011
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The biggest issue IMHP is getting the deep draft version of the Beneteau / Catalina / Hunter or whatever as its a HUGE performance gain
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Old 09-04-2011
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In that size and price range, you are looking at mid-80s to maybe earily 90s vintage boats. That said there are lots of choices from builders that went out of business about 1990 - Cal, Pearson, Erickson, Ranger, etc. You've owned a C&C and a larger one would be a good choice, like a 33 or 35. Should be lots of those on the lakes. Others to consider would be J34C, Tartan 34-2, Cal 33-2, Express 34, Frers 33, Sabre 34-2 or Beneteau First.
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Old 09-05-2011
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Very interested in what folks say as I am not really all that qualified to recommend anything but would like to know what others think. One thing and I know I am being a bit forward, I live up in the Minneapolis area, ever need crew? Would be willing to drive down for a weekend or something.....

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Old 09-05-2011
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Express 34, Frers 33, J-33, Olson 34. I'm hugely biases toward the E-34. We have hull #1.
Absolutely love the boat. Unfortunately they're rare on the market as there were only 16-17 built. Though not a huge Jboat fan, the 33 is a great boat! The Frers, a nice design, but built by Carroll Marine which can be problematic. They have a nice website though, so information on protential issues should be readily available.In my book, it's a boat that deserves serious consideration. Ask O34 here about the, well, O-34! I don't know that any of these boats can comfortably seat 6 in the cockpit for a daysail, but the O-34, F-33, and E-34 all have very nice cockpits. We routinely have 6-8 or so in the cockpit with the tiller up at the dock. 5 is a realistic number under sail. Three on the windward bench, one on the bridge deck/companionway and one on the aft lazarette.

Frers 33 Class Website

EXPRESS 34 sailboat on sailboatdata.com

J33 Frontpage

OLSON 34 sailboat on sailboatdata.com

IMHO, there aren't any boats that have been built in the past 15 years that offer more bang for the buck than the 4 above. If there are any that sail better for even twice the price, I'd be interested in hearing what they are.
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Last edited by puddinlegs; 09-05-2011 at 02:29 PM.
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Old 09-05-2011
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On the performance oriented side of things I'd second Puddin's post above.. However for pure livability cruising and good cockpit comfort for daysailing, I do think the Catalina 34s would fit the bill. You likely won't get a Mk II for that price, but a late Mk1/1.5 would add the transom cutout.

In the Hunter legend series I like the 35.5 and 37.5 - esp the frac rig porportions, and the cockpit's pretty good. A minor beef is the 'long step' out of the dinghy onto the stern platform to the the hull extending a foot beyond the platform base. But dropping the ladder would probably address that. Difficult to find a deep-draft version though. Finding a good one of these ought to outperform the Catalina if well sailed...

A J34C or J35C would probably fit the bill too, but stretch the budget somewhat...
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Old 09-05-2011
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Are there any boats in this general class with fractional rigs?
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The Hunter Legends, (late 80s early 90s) are frac rigged with conventional (no B&R and with a backstay) rigs. A J36 or New York 36 are fracs, with relatively light rigs and runners (at least the NY36). Alieron 33 is another frac (no backstay??? not sure - roachy main though)

In the typical used 50-60K range, mid 30 footers, the masthead rig seems predominant.
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