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  #1  
Old 02-17-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

I''m about to purchase something to sail around the Carribean for several months. My budget has led me to the following possibilities; are there any I should strike off the list immediately? Any particularly noteworthy boats here? Top priority are seaworthiness and reliability; comfort is a bonus only.

1987 Dehler 25

1983 Commodore 26

1964 Cal 28

1984 Hunter 25

1975 C&C 24

1977 C&C 26

1970 Yankee Dolphin 24

1977 AMF 26

1971 Irwin 25

1974 Ericson 27

1974 Grampian Marine 23

1966 Westerly 25

1978 Pearson 26

1974 Buccaneer "Fiesta 200" 24

So far, the C&C 24, the Westerly, and the Hunter look promising. Any advice will greatly help this first-time boat-buyer!

Thanks,
Simon
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Old 02-18-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

First of all I think you have gathered a list by price more than suitability. With all due respect the presense of some of these boats suggests that you are comparatively inexperienced in sailing offshore or with the models being mentioned. I have tried to divide these into reasonably suitable, marginally suitable and totally unsuitable using normal criteria as well as your "top priorities.....seaworthiness and reliability". I should note that the average condition version of any of these boats would be totally unsuitable without substantial upgrades equaling in material costs close to or more than the value of any of these boats. I have also added a couple other suitable choices (*) as well. All of these boats will need a thorough survey and you are looking for one that has been upgraded and maintained because bringing back a real project on any of these could be a $10K-$20K proposition. Many of these designs were coastal cruisers and so will need bigger cockpit drains, a better sealed companionway, more tankage, and so on. I classified boats as totally unsuitable if structurally, seaworthiness, or sailing ability wise they were not adaptable to your needs. Marginally suitable would be in excellent shape and then you would need to do some serious adaptation. Reasonably suitable would be boats that inherrently are good boats but which have some serious liability, or which are typically outside your budget when they are in reasonable condition. Ideal includes boats that I would place at the top of my list if I were in your shoes. :

Ideal:
1960''s/70 Morgan K/Cb 28 *
1960''s Pearson Renegade 27/28 *
1960''s (Tripp) Sailmaster 26 *
1960/70''s Tartan 27 *
1970''s Contessa 26 *

Reasonably suitable:
1960/70''s Albin Vega 27*
1960''s Cal 25 *
1960''s Bristol 27 *
1987 Dehler 25
1970''s Lindenberg 26*
1960''s Morgan K/Cb 24*
1960''s (Seafarer) Rhodes Meridian
1970 Yankee Dolphin 24

Marginally suitable:
1964 Cal 28
1970''s Cal 2-27*
1975 C&C 24
1977 C&C 26
1960''s Columbia Defender
1974 Ericson 27
1980-81 Hunter 25
1971 Irwin 25
1970''s Paceship 26
1966 Westerly 25

Totally unsuitable:
1977 AMF 26
1974 Buccaneer "Fiesta 200" 24
1983 Commodore 26
1974 Grampian Marine 23
1984 Hunter 25
1978 Pearson 26

I need to go to work but this should give you some ideas.
Jeff


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Old 02-18-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Simon, I saw your post and held off while looking forward to Jeff posting his comments, as how he classifies and comments on boats is always interesting and useful. And regrettably, he is right about your list: better to discard it and whatever method you used to develop it and start from scratch on your research (which Jeff has of course helped you with).

One observation, one quibble and one addition re: Jeff''s comments. First, it will save you much time if you accept at the get-go that searching for ALL the boats that best meet your criteria will waste a lot of time, because you''ll find only a subset of them are likely to be in your geographic area (wherever that is). As with another thread on this BB, maybe small Bristols and Tartans would appeal - and even be affordable - but if you''re in the SE U.S., they will be harder (not impossible) to find. Better to at least start with the subset of acceptable models that were sold in healthy numbers in that region. (Smaller boats more often tend to stick near ''home'', where they enjoyed healthy regional sales).

Personally, I think a choice that would suit your needs well is the Albin Vega 27'' sloop Jeff has on his list, but I surely wouldn''t consider it suffering from any serious liability (assuming you survey the below-decks mast step carefully). These seem to be available here in Florida and certainly up in New England and the Mid-Atlantic States, but perhaps the $9-10K and up purchase cost is more than he was assuming you would want to pay. A number of these boats have circled the world. John Neal''s Log of the Mahina is enjoyable reading, covers his cruise thru-out French Polynesia in his Vega 27 (and back to Seattle, no small feat), and offers an appendix on fitting out a Vega for cruising that would serve you well as a basic primer. It costs <$5 via Amazon.

To this list I would add a Cal 29 (or later but more expensive 2-29, which came with a small diesel vs. gas Atomic 4). I notice these are more available on the East Coast than their SoCal heritage would suggest.

Two final thoughts: First, you talk about ''sailing around the Caribbean for several months'' but are considering surrendering a fair amount of money for the privilege. If you really meant, despite using that casual phrase, that you hope to enjoy an open-ended jaunt, then great! But if you only have a few months...well, then getting any older boat properly set up and basically safe will eat up all that time, easily, and you need to rethink your goal. Second, any small boat is only going to get truly into the Caribbean (by which I would define getting past G''Town on Great Exuma in the Bahamas) by sailing to windward well. You won''t be able to power into it like the bigger boats (which is actually a good thing...but will require more patience and more time). So choosing a boat that may be solid and strong but of limited on-wind sailing ability (the Westerly comes to mind, along with others on both lists) is probably not a wise choice. I can think of few things worse than someone discovering that cruising is a hoot and truly fulfilling...but discover the boat they poured most of their money and all of their effort into is what''s keeping them from getting where they want to go. You can go almost anywhere in almost anything...if you are lucky. But with cost & time constraints, best look for something that slithers to weather nicely.

Good luck to you.

Jack
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Jack and Jeff, thank you both for your kind and thorough advice. I''m glad I asked the experts.

You have guessed it correctly: I am not an experienced offshore sailor; simply a determined novice who wants to get out there and do it. It will be an open-ended jaunt, indeed... we are two guys with moderate savings and an itch for adventure.

After scrapping the "Pacific Mexico" idea as too ambitious and then selling the Cal 20, we thought we might find something in the $6000-$8000 range and spend another $2000-$3000 on modifications, maintenance, electronics, supplies... whatever we need for the long haul. I''m hoping to buy something in Florida, and will be out there next week to start shopping around (I''m in San Diego now).

I take your advice seriously and once again thank you for your time and expertise.

Simon
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Old 02-19-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Simon, you''re more than welcome. One suggestion if you are coming this way to do boat shopping: FL''s used boat market is huge, geographically and also re: types of boats in inventory. The more really hard work you can do on the web ahead of time, with a phone at your side and using something like 10-10-987 to cut the LD costs, the more productive your time here will be. I noticed recently that two smaller but great cruising boats - the Vega 27 I mentioned and a H-R Monsun 31 - were both in the Jacksonville area...yet it probably would be the last place you would think to look when considering bulked up inventories in the Panhandle, in SW FL (Ft. Myers, etc.) and of course the West Palm to Miami stretch.

You''re to be applauded for your goal, safe extended cruising on a small budget - it''s certainly do-able. But given your price range, I still think you need to reflect on your timetable. You''ve heard the old saw that you can pick any two of a boat''s 3 main qualities: size, price, and quality. The 3rd is determined by the 2 you choose. Going small with a limited budget - and having a base level of safety & comfort - will still require sweat equity upfront, and that takes time. Don''t overlook how much this will steal from your allotted cruising time. (Perhaps working a job to offset the living costs while outfitting the boat would be worth considering?)

Jack
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Old 02-19-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Simon, you''re more than welcome. One suggestion if you are coming this way to do boat shopping: FL''s used boat market is huge, geographically and also re: types of boats in inventory. The more really hard work you can do on the web ahead of time, with a phone at your side and using something like 10-10-987 to cut the LD costs, the more productive your time here will be. I noticed recently that two smaller but great cruising boats - the Vega 27 I mentioned and a H-R Monsun 31 - were both in the Jacksonville area...yet it probably would be the last place you would think to look when considering bulked up inventories in the Panhandle, in SW FL (Ft. Myers, etc.) and of course the West Palm to Miami stretch.

You''re to be applauded for your goal, safe extended cruising on a small budget - it''s certainly do-able. But given your price range, I still think you need to reflect on your timetable. You''ve heard the old saw that you can pick any two of a boat''s 3 main qualities: size, price, and quality. The 3rd is determined by the 2 you choose. Going small with a limited budget - and having a base level of safety & comfort - will still require sweat equity upfront, and that takes time. Don''t overlook how much this will steal from your allotted cruising time. (Perhaps working a job to offset the living costs while outfitting the boat would be worth considering?)

Jack
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Hi Jack,

I agree with the "web and phone research up front" strategy. I can''t imagine just showing up without having done any!

Maybe you can help me out with what to look for in a boat that "slithers to weather nicely"... Do the Vega and the Cal29 you mentioned take this into consideration? What about the others from Jeff''s list?

I found a ''79 Contessa 26 for sale in Punta Gorda... Looking into it now...

Simon
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Old 02-20-2004
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Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Simon, the Cal 29 should be fairly weatherly. Cal didn''t know to build boats with stubby keels back then, and Bill Lapworth (who designed most of their boats) knew about boats going to windward.

The Vega is a wonderful sailing boat, IMO. I sailed ours offshore using sheet-to-tiller steering (a form of self-steering that relies on the tension in a sheet - main or jib, depending on the point of sail - pulling against the tiller, offset by tension from surgical tubing on the tiller''s opposing side) and there are few boats on which this works on all points of sail, but the Vega is one of them. It''s not superb on a beat but especially when doing so offshore, does quite well. As I mentioned earlier, Log of the Mahina would be a very useful reference for you, no matter what boat you chose for your voyage. And no one can be poorer than a 22 year old college drop-out, which was John Neal''s position in life when he outfitted MAHINA for his Pacific passages (some of which were to weather and very long). His descriptions would be a far better answer re: sailing to weather than mine. BUT...don''t forget to look closely at that mast support column at the main cabin''s forward bulkhead.

Jack
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Old 06-18-2012
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Re: Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Hello....I need to jump in here as we are looking to purchase our first sailboat and new to sailing. When I read the sailboat list provided by Jeff it reminded me of my list and it seems it just gets more confusing!
At first I went to different sites and started looking by price, it seemed the logical way to start. Then we started looking at what we wanted to do,how much for dockage, insurance, and skill level req'd.

Then we were talking to a owner who suggested buying your next boat now? To be honest I'm worried about this purchase and hope the seller will be honest and helpful?
We started watching on You Tube the series "Cruising LeaLea" and would really like to be the owners of a Albin Vega27. This boat seems to be able to do it all....blue and fresh water.

I just wish everyone buying their first boat "Good Luck" and be careful!

Cheers,

Ron
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Old 06-19-2012
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Re: Caribbean cruisers: Advice please?

Resurection alert! 8 year old thread.

Hi Ron It would help to know what kind of sailing you plan to do and with how many people. Kinda changes the best boat advice.

BTW There are some amazing bargains to be had now esp in the 'rode hard put away wet' type of boats out here in the Caribbean just now.

A Tartan 34 went for sub 10k cruise ready with dink. OK sails were baggy, the engine used a qt every 5 hrs and the dink was patched.
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