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  #1  
Old 01-16-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

My wife and I have made the decision to move from power boating to sail. We currently have a 40í motoryacht and will sell that and buy a sailboat. To start this process, I joined a sailing club and am taking lessons. I wanted to make sure I like sailing before making this switch (I really do!), and obviously wanted to know what I was doing too. In a week, Iíll be able to charter boats up to 30í. Then Iíll work my way up to the bigger boats to get a feel for what I may want to buy.

I decided to focus on looking at the big 4 production boats. Mainly because they seem to design their boats for ease of sailing which is important to me since Iím new to this. And they are priced well in relation to most others. Weíre thinking 37í-40í is around the size we may want. Mainly because my wife wants the room and creature comforts that size provides. We are in Southern California, so most of our sailing will be ocean sailing. Day sails, multi-day sails to Catalina, the Channel Islands, San Diego and eventually Northern Baja Mexico. So no major offshore cruising Ė just basic coastal cruising. The ability for me to sail the boat singlehanded is important. Iím retired but most of my friends arenít, so I will be doing weekday day sails by myself without my wife. My wife is 40 and Iím 47, and we are both in good physical shape, so there should be no limitations there. Will buy new or very late model.

In my initial pass at these boats, I liked Beneteau best. Specifically the 393. And maybe the 373 once I see it. Jeanneau seemed good too. Hunter was OK, but seemed like the Hyundai of boats. Didnít like Catalina.

So what advice do you have for us? Are we going about this the right way? What other things should we do? What might I look for in a boat that I may not be thinking?

Only one specific question at this time - in mast furling. I want all the convenient things I can have to make sailing easy, but do I really need this? Not that Iím racing or anything, but it sounds like thereís a significant performance hit with these and I donít really think not having one is making things much more difficult. In other words, the tradeoff Ė performance for convenience Ė doesnít seem worth it here. What do you think?

Thanks in advance. You seem like a real knowledgeable bunch. Iím sure your suggestions and advice will benefit us greatly.
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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

eddieb, we too are new to sailing and have recently sold a s/f to move into the sailing community. big change we''ve found is there are so many variables to the sail boats that weren''t a concern with the power boat. BUT the good news is that you are certainly in the right place to get proper and factual information regarding your questions. good luck in your search.
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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

First of all welcome to sailing. Sailing can be the most wonderful ways to spend time. We each come to this sport with our own goals, tastes, and personalites so that there rarely a one size fits all answer to any question that might fall within the broad spectrum of activities loosely grouped under the name of ''sailing''. I will try to give you the advice that I would give anyone but because I don''t know you it may be the precisely correct answer for your specific needs.

First of all, I basically agree with you that of the three big boat builders Beneteaus does the best job from a design and build quality standpoint although that can vary from model to model as each manufacturer has built some real winners and some real dogs. I basically like the 393. They seem to be good boats all around, although I much prefer Beneteau''s First Series both on build quality and sailing ability. But that is perhaps putting the cart before the horse.

As I said above, we each come to sailing with different goals. For some, it is not all that important to really sail well. For that group, it is good enough to just be able to get the boat out of the slip and with some degree of reliability, get out and get back. There is nothing that is universally ''wrong'' about being that kind of sailor. But for many of us, it is important to really understand sail trim and boat handling. By doing so we get a lot more out of the boat. It is not all that difficult to develop the skills that make it easier sail more easily at either end of the wind range, sail with less heel and a more comfortable motion, and sail faster. It means fewer engine hours and more sailing time.

If you fall in this second category where you really want to learn to sail well, I would suggest that having taught perhaps hundreds of people to sail in my life, it is almost imposible to learn to sail well on a boat as big as the boats you are considering. It sounds like the sailing club that you belong to have a range of boats available. I would suggest that starting out you spend a lot of time on boats that are ideally 22-27 foot, light weight, tiller steered, fin keeled, fractionally rigged sloops. I would also see if you can get a knowledgeble racing sailor to come along and coach you a bit. It is not that you can''t learn a lot on other boats or without coaching, it is just that boats fitting that description provide a lot more feedback and generally have the tools to help you to quickly advance beyond a rudementary and very basic understanding of boat handling. If developing a high level of sailing skill is not important to you then don''t worry about that advise. If you do follow my advice, you could easily end up buying a different boat than you are currently considering.

As someone who has single-handed a lot of boats, I would suggest that 15000-16000 lb, 37-38 feet is handy size to short-hand but above that boats become rapidly harder to handle on your own. It is not that they can''t be handled, but as boats move beyond that general displacement range it becomes harder to do as loads and the needs to be in two places at once go up quickly.

If I were doing what you are proposing I would seriously look at the Beneteau 40.7. While they are not as commodious as the 393, the 40.7''s fractional rig, better structural design, hardware and deck layout make more sense to someone sailing in your venue and doing a lot of single-handing. Fractional rigs use smaller headsails and can be more easily depowered (rather than shortening sail) than a masthead rig.

As to in mast furling, I really agree with your assessment. I think that you would be far ahead with a conventional track system and a two line slab reefing system lead back to cockpit. I frankly consider in mast furling an unsuitable rig for single handing based on my own experience with them jambing at key times and from my conversations with sailmakers who say when being candid say that they result in poorly shaped sails when partially reefed and greatly shorten the useful lifespan of a sail. And yes there is a major performance hit which in the prevallent light air of the venues you have chosen would mean a lot more motoring and a lot less sailing.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

Something you should think about that is a negitive for the Beneteau 40.7 is the sail drive. The sail drive needs annual service out of the water. Us Californians are used to hauling the boat once every 3 or 4 years. I do like the Farr design however. I do not like the pan construction system used by Beneteau as it prevents access to the hull for cleaning, it does however provide for a very stiff hull.

I like the Jeanneau construction better but not the rig on the SO. The SF series are better. There are downsides to every design and it seems like they don''t build a boat that suits me perfectly for a price that is acceptable.

I have sailed on two boats with mast furling mains and neither one worked well. Both had poor sail shape and both were difficult to furl. It took much longer an was more work to reduce sail than a simple reef. Saves time not having to put on a sail cover but that is time you have to spare when you are done sailing. Don''t like the extra weight aloft either.

Good luck on your boat search. Look at as many boats as you can and sail on as many as you can. Agree with Jeff that small boat sailing is the best way to learn. Actually I think every one should sail an 8 foot dink once in a while.

Gene
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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

Very good point about saildrive (I forgoty about that) but you only need to haul every other year for maintenance unless you have extraordinary engine hours. The zinc replacement can take place while the boat is in the water.

Jeff
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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

In favor of saildrive is the fact that the performance is generally better, and the maneuverability is a LOT better. Much easier to get in and out of the slip, something that may be surprizingly difficult when moving from power yachts to sailboats.

Also, it is generally a good idea to haul a boat out every year or every other year anyway and I''d bet most people do this anyway, even when cruising in faraway places.

Saildrives seem to be more and more common, with even some of the most respected builders of offshore boats using them.

So, again, most boats will work. All boats have things one person will love and another will hate, even when both are experienced sailors.

My advice is: Don''t buy a boat because someone else told you it''s the only choice; choose one that YOU like. Within reason, you will find that it will work for you and you''ll have a great time.

My own boat has a saildrive and a European style linear galley. Although you''ll find that a lot of people on this board will probably criticize that as not appropriate for offshore sailing, some of the most respected instructors I''ve met with thousands of open ocean miles feel it is a boat they''ll have no problem taking offshore. This galley organization opens up space for a beautiful navigation station and great access to the quarter berth, in contrast to many other boats where you have to shoo the cook out of the galley before you can access the cabin.

There are always compromizes. IMHO (not haveing done it yet but being in the process), the most important part of making a boat offshore ready is in the preparation. Even the most "offshore design" is completely unprepared right out of the factory.

In your case, not planning offshore work as primary purpose, choose the boat you like; it will be the right one!

M Murphy

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Old 01-17-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

Wow - thanks gang. I can see these message boards will provide me with wealth of valuable information. As one of you said, I''ve come to the right place.

Jeff_H - good point about what kind of sailor I want to be. I''m thinking I''m kind of in the middle. I want the relaxation and ease of sailing, yet I am somewhat interested in the technical side of good sailing, sail trim, etc. The sport of it. Hell, even with a car, I have had a stick shift in every one I''ve owned since I was 18. One of the things that draws me to sailing is the never ending learning process. It''s a learned skill that is practiced and honed while, at the same time, enjoyed along the way. You donít just learn how to do it and you''re done. I like that.

As far as the Beneteau 40.7, my impression, although I haven''t looked at it or the 36.7, was that these are "racing" boats and, as such, would be hard for a new sailor to sail and/or hard to sail singlehanded as opposed to the more cruising type models. Are you saying that''s not really true? Assuming that, I think I need to at least look at these boats. You also say this boat is better suited for my venue of sailing, Southern Cal. Is that due to the predominantly light winds, open ocean sailing, both, or neither (something else)?

OK, Iím convinced Iím not going with a mast furling as I suspected. Sounds like a no-brainer to me. Any other types of things like this I should avoid that will compromise performance for no really good reason?
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Old 01-18-2004
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Newbies buying 1st sailboat

While both the 36.7 and 40.7 can be raced, they are designed as genuine dual purpose boats. Because of the high quality deck hardware, and their fractional rigs, and tremendous stability, these are really very easy boats to sail. I race on a 40.7 that has just won the IMS Mid-Atlantics, and has won Key West and the Carribean Ocean Racing Triangle, but which also has been sailed something over 10,000 offshore short-handed and is used for family weekends. Shorthanded boats like these can get by with a lapper, which is small easy to handle jib and still have very good light air performance by any objective standard for a cruising boat. Obviously under full sail in a strong wind these boats require a large crew, but for the kind of thing that you would be doing you would probably never set use the genoa. As you get more experienced these boats actually have a pretty docile spinacker for a 40 footer.

There is mythology that boats that can be raced are harder to sail than cruisers. If I had to speculate on the basis of that belief I would say that idea comes from older 1960''s through 1980''s style race boats that genuinely were a handful. I suspect that there is also a ''fear factor'' to seeing all of the control lines that are a part of a modern race boats. But the additional compexity of these control lines can be ignored while you are learning but as your skills increase you will have the tools to make sailing more comfortable and faster.

My main point on the 40.7 is the build quality. I have been really impressed with how tough these boats are. After 3 or so years of hard use the 40.7 that I sail on still looks like a new boat and does not show signs of flexing even when a bit over canvassed with 10 people on the rail being driven hard to weather into a short chop.

I''d at least take a look at a 40.7. If it doesn''t move you, you have at least checked out your options.

Regards,
Jeff
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Old 11-01-2008
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just bought a corair 31 centre cockpit.does anyone have advice about outfitting for Bahamas cruising 1.the galley2.is a dingy/inflatable desirable or practical,tx hatrick
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Old 11-01-2008
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Hatrick-

Probably a better idea to start your own thread instead of reviving a thread that's been dead for four years. Also, highly recommend you read the POST in my signature.
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