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Grunfeld 03-03-2013 05:15 PM

1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
I started a thread about a month ago asking for opinions on some mid 70s bluewater cruisers, Cabo Rico, Tayana37, etc.

My budget then was about 50K. But then I saw a 1980 Valiant 40 on yachtworld for 85K and decided maybe I could stretch my budget.

Then I thought if I'm spending that much what else can I find and I now see some very nice early 1990s boats in that price range with some great interiors that look much better than the 70s boats and the Valiant but they are mostly considered coastal cruisers, like Morgans, Catalinas, Pearsons, Irwins, etc.

So the question is would the 1990's boats be a smarter buy even though they aren't as heavy duty as the 70s boats I was considering?

I know it's the sailor more than the boat. But please put that aside in offering your opinions.

My goal is to sail coastally for a year a two then set out to more adventereous trans ocean destinations.

night0wl 03-03-2013 05:48 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
Valiants are a special case...they have blisters in that area that are NOT osmotic, but due to the resin not kicking with the glass. Im hardpressed to believe that these blisters wont become structural at some point. THat being said, many a "pimple" valiant is out there which is a testament to how well they're built. Most bluewater cruiers even from the 70s ear (now 40+ years are not going to be in the $50k range. $100k perhaps.

I hope $50k isn't your end budget. Even a modern coastal cruiser in the $50k range is going to need a HELLOVA lot of work to get into shape for crossing the pond. Rigging, chainplates, electronics, and general "beefing up".

chucklesR 03-03-2013 08:37 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
Um, I hate to break bubbles, but Irwin from 37 up are considered blue water, especially by the folks that have circumnavigated in them.

Heck even the folks that have only done one ocean pretty much consider them blue water.

JimAndTricia 03-03-2013 08:50 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
If you have a budget of $85k for a boat of that age, I would suggest spending a maximum of $50k on the boat since even if you do all of the work yourself, you will easily spend the remaining $35k to get it into the shape you want to go offshore. Our current boat seemed almost perfect with only minor work needed when we bought it five years ago. We budgeted 20% of purchase price for improvements and have now spent almost 50%, and are finally ready to go. (We're leaving the west coast of Canada this August for Mexico and beyond).

Small and good is much better than big and crappy.

Good luck with your boat hunting, maybe we'll see you out there sometime.

Grunfeld 03-03-2013 11:11 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
Part of what I'm looking for, maybe most, is some opinions on the newer systems boats built in the 90's would have. Would these newer systems on production boats trump the heavier build of bluewater boats built in the 70s so one could consider them as safe for long distance off shore cruising?

Would rigging technology and improved manufacturing techniques make a 90's mid level production boat just as sound?

NaviGsr 03-04-2013 12:00 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats
The biggest difference between boats of those eras is going to be the hull design, rig configuration, and interior layout. Those are the aspects that I would consider first because they will affect your sailing and life aboard day in and day out.

Remember that what you are seeing in the interiors you like on the 90s boats is a product of the wider hulls, higher coachroofs, and flatter bottoms. There is always a tradeoff in boat design.

What kind of rig would you be comfortable handling? A 70's era cutter with the sail area split 50/50 for and aft or an early 90s masthead sloop with a blade main and big headsails? What are the winds like where you sail? Will you be singlehanding or always have crew?

Think about the underbody and displacement. You may think you want a heavy, full keel boat for your eventual goal of world cruising, but will you be miserable coastal cruising the next few years with a boat that is a bear to get going in light air? Do you like the look of long overhangs on older boats or is it more important to have the speed the long waterline length of newer boats will deliver?

Look at measures like sail area to displacement ratio, displacement to length, capsize screening, and Brewer's motion to comfort ratio.

Find the layouts you want and the rig you are comfortable handling and narrow down from there. If you aren't happy with how the boat performs and aren't comfortable sailing and living on it, you will never cast off those docklines and head out to sea!

Grunfeld 03-04-2013 12:45 PM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats

All good questions. I expect to be sailing in the Sea of Cortez for a couple of years then down the coast to Panama, Ecuador, then out across the Pacific. I'm expecting light to moderate air for most of the time in Cortez.

I've read somewhere that the average wind long distance cruisers encounter is around 11 knots. But of course you need a boat that is capable of handling rough weather from time to time.

I'm agnostic regarding long overhangs and hull shape. Are the long waterlines giving up too much to safety to gain speed? I will be single handing most of the time I expect. The type of sailing I prefer to do is to sail from one anchorage to another in good weather windows then sit on the hook for a few days reading books, swimming, fishing, and relaxing. I'd like to have some comfort but don't demand a lot of extras.

As for rigs, I initially thought of Ketch rigs for easier sail handling but again do 90's boats solve the difficulty of raising and lowering large sails with better technology?

Is the Valiant 40 a bear to get going? Would a 36' 1977 Cabo Rico ketch, priced at $50K, be a bear to get going?

Or would I be smarter buying a 1993 38' Morgan Catalina MkII at $85K. Would it hold up to my sailing plans?

kwaltersmi 03-05-2013 09:30 AM

Re: 1990s Coastal Cruisers vs. Mid 70s Bluewater Boats

Originally Posted by Grunfeld (Post 998272)
Is the Valiant 40 a bear to get going? Would a 36' 1977 Cabo Rico ketch, priced at $50K, be a bear to get going?

Or would I be smarter buying a 1993 38' Morgan Catalina MkII at $85K. Would it hold up to my sailing plans?

I think any of the above would be fine boats for your intended plans, if they are in good condition with proper gear. The milk run through the South Pacific is routinely done with Catalina/Beneteau/Hunter types.

As far as speed goes, with those 3: C38>V40>CR36.

If you're mostly planning for Baja cruising and then a romp through the SoPa, maybe considering comfort at anchor should be a priority, since most folks spend most time anchored, not actually sailing.

I personally really like what the V40 offers...somewhat of a hybrid between traditional heavy full-keelers (think W32, Tayana 37, etc.) and more modern designs with a split underbody. While not fast by today's standard, the V40 is thought of as a good performing classic bluewater boat and as you know, has an excellent reputation among cruisers.

Aesthetically, I like the Cabo Rico best, but have seen a few Tiburons badly in need of repair (leaky decks, etc.), which leaves me with questions. I also think you'll have a hard time finding much selection when it comes to CR 36's.

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