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akwilco 09-28-2012 06:57 PM

San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
I'm considering purchase of a San Juan 28 in the Puget Sound area. I've looked her over at the dock while traveling through the area, but was unable to arrange a test sail during the limited time I was down there (I live in Alaska, so it's an expensive round trip flight, weather/schedules precluded sailing). At the dock she looked well kept up. A marine surveyor has been contacted to do a survey. Before I go too far down this path, a couple questions:
- How important is the test sail? Is not being able to do one a deal-breaker?
- If I don't have an opportunity to do a test sail, what are other people's sailing experiences with these boats? Good/bad experiences welcome. Specifically, given the type of sailing I plan on doing, light-air capability, ability to work to windward, how stiff is she, motion in waves, weather helm/balance, etc.
She would be sailed on the inside passage, mostly daytrips, single or double-handed most of the time, occasional weekends. Experience tells me that most sails will end tacking several miles up a channel to get to the harbor. Winds around here tend be quite variable, but generally light. Tides can be squirrelly, as well.

Faster 09-28-2012 08:18 PM

Re: San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
One of these raced quite successfully on the local level in the 80s/90s, it's going to be a bit typical of the IOR influenced designs of the day.

Whether or not to take a test sail ..... well, I doubt many sales fall through based on the sea trial unless it's a real one-off oddball or the trial turns up a mechanical/structural issue. But I'd sure like to have sailed it before plunking down any serious cash....

marcusc130 09-28-2012 09:13 PM

San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
My previous boat was a San Juan 28. I found it to be very well balanced and tracked very well upwind. I generally sailed her in 5-15 knots with a full main and 120% headsail. Above 15 knots, I needed to reef the mainsail to keep the helm balanced. I found that she heeled quick to about 15 degrees, but then settled in and felt very stable. Downwind she was a bit of a handful, as the pinched stern tended to yaw quite a bit with a following sea. Had a couple of fun knock downs because of that, but it was sporty out and I had up a large A-sail. Both times she recovered nicely. Overall, she was a great solid boat, and since she was my first keel boat, has a special place in my memory.

One maintenance note; check the chainplates for leaks. It's a weak point and caused at least one boat to lose her rig in the '80s sometime.

SloopJonB 09-28-2012 10:59 PM

Re: San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
IIRC the San Juan 28 was a shortened San Juan 30 - they put a plug in the end of the mould to shorten it up. The SJ 30 was designed by Bruce Kirby as a production version of his personal 1/2 tonner "Accolade" that was built by the Gougeons - lots of info about it in their book.

blt2ski 09-29-2012 12:06 AM

Re: San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
hmmmmmm......have not heard of the 28 being a shortened 30! it was supposed to be a Clark design according to what I could dig up about it 5-6 yrs ago before buying my boat. Looked at them closely. Most have a mid 190's phrf rating, and do pretty well overall. I too have a mid 190 rating with my Jeanneau that is pretty similar in size etc. Altho with less pinched ends than a 28.

Generally speaking, SJ's have a pretty good build rep, sailing rep etc. Some like the 26 are a bit sluggish. Not sure how that happened, but it did.

Kirby did design the SJ30. Clark held off building it, so Kirby liked the design so well, he had Gudgeon's build him one. Clark then went and built a fiberglass one.


blt2ski 09-29-2012 12:09 AM

Re: San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?

Check out that link and pdf, more info than you can shake a stick at on the clark boat company that built SJ's and many others local here in puget sound.


xluke 10-03-2012 05:57 AM

Re: San Juan 28 - Sailing Qualities?
I have a SJ28 (in fact, she is for sale San Juan 28, 1980, Lake Ray Hubbard, Rockwall, Texas, sailboat for sale from Sailing Texas) and she sails like a dream. I find that she points very well even with a roller furling. She handles heavy weather with ease though she won't hesitate to dip a rail if you have too much sail up (i.e., full 155% genoa and full mains'l in 20+ knot winds). In lighter winds she is very mild mannered. I find she balances very well with little effort. In fact, she balances so well I've used a jury-rigged tiller autohelm to steer her while close hauled in 15+ knot breezes. She is relatively light so carries some motion when in heavy seas but has no problem cutting through them. The most wind I've had her in was 50+ mph in a thunderstorm on the lake and she handled it gracefully (though was sailing near hull-speed bare polled). She is a well made boat and I will be very sad to see her go.

Good luck and have fun!

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