Originally Posted by killarney_sailor
Jeff is very knowledgeable about boat designs and has worked as a designer. Since he has personal experience with Contests of the era of yours you should listen to what he has to say. One caveat, he has a much higher appreciation of modern designs than the traditional, but the reality is that for many people the cost of a modern, quality cruising boat is just not in the ball park so the question becomes, which of the older boats is best.
I prefer to describe my preferences a little differently. It is true that I am a big fan of many of the newer design trends, but I am also genuinely a fan of traditional working watercraft and the designs which faithfully derive from them.
What I am not a fan of, is the CCA and IOR race rule distorted designs which came in the period (1950's, 1960's, 1970's into the 1980's) between the era of traditional sailing craft and the present. I am also not a fan of some of the so-called 'character boats' which pretend to be traditional designs above the waterline but offer none of the virtues of either modern designs or the traditional, while retaining the liabilities of both. I know that some people would refer to these CCA design (and to a lesser extent IOR designs) as traditional, but I do not. I see these distorted designs as an aberation from the millennia long, trial and error evolution of wholesome design principles which resulted in the better working water craft, as well as, earlier purpose built cruising designs.
My criticisms of older boats are often misunderstood. I completely understand that not everyone can afford to buy a modern design to go distance cruising. The real point of my comments is not to suggest that only new designs are suitable for cruising. My real point is to suggest that if one wants to voyage under sail cheaply, one should search for one of the more suitable designs of an era.
The cost difference between buying a well-designed and well-constructed boat of any specific era, vs something less suitable is negligible. But the inherent seaworthiness, sailing ability and robustness of the better boat will reduce the inherent risk, as well as the costs to upgrade and operate the boat. This is especially true as these boats are now 40-50 years old and so the impact of poor build practices are more likely to become apparent when these boats are subjected to the stresses of being fully stocked during an offshore passage.
I would also note that I am highly skeptical of the 44% ballast to displacement mentioned. Based on the Contest 25 and Contest 29's of that era, I would expect the ballast ratio to be down around 35-36% or so. That is not especially good for a narrow, shoal draft 30 footer.