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  #11  
Old 05-19-2004
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help with lifes dream

I don''t understand the terms &#8217 and &#8230 in your post of 0808 19 May 04. Are they just computer burps or some kind of hip slang?
Regards, George
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My 4:50 PM, 19 May post didn''t post as typed. Omitted were the ampersand and pound sign followed by 8217 and 8230. It must have been a computer thing.
George
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Jeff as usual makes excellent points. I only dissagree with his comments about Cats.

I do not see them to be unsafer than Monohulls ( when sailed responsible )
Especially in the cruising areas you are planning to explore. And the extra room will come in handy with 3 kids.

But you have ample time to make up your mind, first start with a 24 to 27 footer

Have fun on your journey
Thorsten
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  #14  
Old 05-19-2004
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My point about catamarans are two fold; First of all there really is not a lot of feedback when sailing a cruising catamaran which makes it very hard to really develop sailing skills. If one wants to learn to sail, I recommend against a catamaran and in favor of a more responsive monohull (not just any mono-hull).

My second point about catamarans is that in heavy weather, things generally do go seriously wrong more suddenly than on a monohull and greater skills and quicker reflexes are needed at that time. If the helmsperson has not developed the boathandling skills to deal with that moment of truth, disasater is more likely to occur.

I also contend that you can get more useful accomodations and more carrying capacity in a mono-hull than a cat for the dollar but of course not more room for the same length.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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help with lifes dream

You are again on the money Jeff.

AS I also suggest a small responsive cabin boat is a must to get startet.

And you are right that things can get ugly in a catamarane in extreme situations much faster.

Cat lovers will quickly tell you that cats being much faster can outrun bad weather. Thats right and wrong and shouldnt give anybody a false sense of security.

Also depending on the cruisng lifestyle Cats might not be the for everyone, as they loose all that speed and a lot of desirable treats, when they are loaded down.

If one considers 20 % weight gain due to cruisng stuff on the boat, than these 20 % allow a lot of stuff in a heavy displacement monohull, but in a lightweight cat you barely have enough food for a week. I am exagerating of course to get my point over.

Still I personally would look very hard for a 38 plus size Cat

Thorsten
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kimby,

You admit it will be a 4-year plan of getting ready, so your most recent post asking for "boat size and makes" is really way too premature. If you follow through with your stated learning process, you will have plenty of time to narrow the choices down later.

From all the good advice I have read in some well-written books, getting the boat you''ll be cruising in too early is one of the biggest mistakes you can make (especially if your funds are limited).

Keep your dream alive and make progress as fast as you reasonably can!

Duane
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I donot think size of boats is premature> We would just like some input on boat types that would be good for this with this all being new to use we have been looking at alot of boats I am the type of person you likes to think ahead. boats of a bigger size may be harder to find were I live I just want some input. I am sure you may think I am jumping the gun but I like to look at diffrent types to see what might be the best layout and maybe things we would like to have for this long sail.
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help with lifes dream

If you ask two sailors about almost anything you will get at least three opinions. There is no more controversial a question than what is a perfect first boat, no less what is the perfect family cruising boat. There is no one size fits all answer to this kind of question. You have not told us enough about yourself and your family so that we can even begin to give you meaningful input. We do not have a sense of your budget, or physical fitness. We don''t know how barebones and spartan or plush a boat you would prefer. We do not know how important reasonable performance is to you. We do not know what your fears are (If you are more afraid of running into something than you are of capsizing, for example, you might buy a steel boat, if you are more afraid of an uncomfortable motion than of running aground you might buy a deeper keel boat. etc. )

And to begin to make reasoned recommendations we need a basis since all boats are compromises. They are compromises between optimum sailing ability and the need for accommodations or shoal draft. For example, if a boat gets wider it gets more stable up to a point but then it has less reserve stability to right itself if it goes over. If a boat is too wide and blunt, it has a lot of drag but lots of room down below. If a boat is too narrow it has less drag but if too narrow won’t have much stability or room down below. Too much weight and the boat is slow and hard to handle, too little weight the boat is fast, fun, and easy to handle up to a point but at some point takes greater skills and athletic ability.

If you ask some sailors, they will recommend a traditional design because they are a bit harder to get into trouble with. I somewhat disagree. I really think that the boat you buy should be responsive enough that you can learn proper sail trim and boat handling. I have taught a lot of people to sail and I firmly believe that to really learn to sail the boat should be light and responsive enough that you can experiment with sail trim and sailing angles and see and feel the results. I recommend a boat with a reasonably easily driven hull and reasonably modern rig and underbody. I find that fractional rigged sloops are really the easiest to learn proper sail trim on. Much of this depends on your own priorities. There are a lot people out on the water who really only understand the rudimentary aspects of sail trim and boat handling. That works for them and I am not judging them. If you really want to learn the fine points of sailing then I would stick to sloop 30 feet or less in length and of light to moderate displacement and a fin keel and spade rudder. Beginners sometimes think they prefer wheel steering, but on the size boats you are talking about a tiller is far and away better both to learn on and to sail with.

Under no circumstances should a first boat be a new boat. When you buy a new boat, there are a lot of decisions to be made and a huge amount of work sorting the boat out so that it is easy to sail and so that all of the little things are available and convenient. If you have never owned a boat and have not spent years sailing on lost of different boats (or at least a boat of your own) you do not have the knowledge base to know what it is that you want to do or what your options are. With a used boat, someone else has spent the time and money setting the boat up. You can try it out and if it does not work you can walk away and find a boat that does or knock down the price to correct the problem. People rarely hold onto first boats terribly long. As they learn their tastes, needs and goals change. Perhaps they want a more serious cruising boat or perhaps they want a to try racing. First boats tend to get beat up a bit. There is enormous depreciation on new boats, (masked by comparing base prices to the actual cost of equipping one) and so with the probability that a first boat will be sold more quickly than a second it makes no sense to buy new.

The key in picking any boat is to figure out where you are going to sail, what your abilities are and what your real needs are. Different sailing venues favor different types of boats. If you sail in an area with light winds, for example, you want a lighter weight boat with a generous sail plan or you will be very frustrated. As a beginner sailor you want a boat that is responsive enough to give you clues about sail trim and boat handling. You also have to ask yourself how are you going to use a boat. Will you only daysail, or do you think you want to spend nights aboard cruising. Do you want to trailer a boat to keep costs down or do you want to keep the boat in the water because it is way more convenient and is less abusive to the boat?

Here is a list of good first boats: (These should all be under 25K, most have inboards which I think is preferable for cruising.)

-Albin Ballad (30 feet (1973-1978) $12-20K)
These are reasonably fast and very well built and finished boats. They are not especially roomy but are good boats for short handing. They are beautiful looking boats. Most have a Volvo 10 hp diesel.

Albin Cumulus (28 feet-(early 1980’s) $15-18K)
These fractional rigged sloops would be a ideal first boat. They are reasonably fast (although 60 sec’s a mile slower than my Laser 28) and easy to handle. They are nicely finished and typically have diesels. The interiors on these boats are not exactly plush but is reasonable for the kind of stuff we do on the Chesapeake.

Beneteau First 30 or 30E (30 feet (early 1980’s) $18-22K)
Fairly modern design that should sail reasonably well. Not the most solid boats but fine for around here. They had diesels and pretty good hardware. The 30E might be a fractional rig, I don’t recall.

-C&C 26

-C&C Corvette (31 feet (1967- 1970) $15-22K) and –C&C Redwing (30 footer ( 1965-1970) $12K- 20K)
Attractive and reasonably venerable designs; they are not especially fast but OK for the era. The Corvettes are moderately long keel/ centerboard boats and so are great for poking around the shallower areas of the Bay. The Redwings are fin keel/spade rudder boats. They are really not competitive racers any longer.

Cal 2-30 and Cal 2-29’s (just under 30 feet (mid 1960-early 1970’s) $10-18K)
These are reasonably well built racer cruisers that have reasonable accommodations and pretty fair sailing ability. Like the Cal 25, the design is a dated and if the gear has not been updated will be less convenient than a more modern design. Still they sail quite well and can be a good all around boat.

Catalina 27’s: (1970’s to 1980’s) (Under $12K)
While not especially well built boats, they are reasonable first boats offering a nice interior and reasonable sailing ability. (I am not a fan of the Catalina 30’s. While ostensibly an enlargement of the 27, they really do not sail as well as the 27 and are particularly poor in a chop.)

Dehler 31 (31 feet (Mid to late 1980’s) under $20K to mid-20K range)
These are really neat little boats. They are not as fast as my Laser 28 say but are quite fast and look easier to sail and single-hand. They are fractional rigged and have a very nice interior plan. They would one of my favorites on this list for a first boat that can be both cruised and raced.

Dufour 2800 (28 feet (mid 1980’s) mid $20K)
These are OK boats with a big following. They are not my favorite but they would not be a bad boat if the price were right.

Irwin Competition 30 (30 feet(mid 1970’s) $12-16K)
These were well rounded little boats that sailed well and had reasonably nice interiors. There was one that dominated its class in PHRF for years. Irwin’s were not the most solidly built boats and so you are looking for a well maintained example in reasonably good shape.

MG27 (27 foot (Mid 1980’s) under $20K)
Nice little fractional rigged English boats. They seem to be well mannered and have an interior layout similar to my Laser 28. They have a diesel aux. But tiny tanks that will need to get upgraded.

Oday 28 & 30 (28 feet and 30 feet(late 1970’s and early 1980’s) $12-20K)
These were not the best built boats or the fastest boats in their day but are common and sail reasonably well.

1970’s vintage Tartan 30’s, (30 feet( 1970’s) under $20K)
These are my favorite masthead sloops of that era. They are good all around boats. Most still atomic 4’s but you can find them with diesels.

Late 70’s/ early 80’s Hunter 30’s, (30feet (15-20K)
These are under appreciated boats. We have had two in my family and again it is a matter of finding one that has been upgraded and is in good clean shape. My Dad raced his in PHRF and went for a couple years without finishing lower than a first or second. They are roomy and surprisingly fast.

70’s vintage Pearson 30’s (Not Flyers)
These are very venerable racer/cruisers here on the Chesapeake. They have an active one-design class and are also good boats for cruising the Bay. I have no idea how common they are where you are based. Of course they come in all kinds of condition from really well maintained and up graded with good racing hardware and a diesel engine to stripped and trashed. You can buy them from under $10K (but you would not want any in that price range) to something approaching $20K. You should find good boats in the high teens.

Ranger 29 (29 (early 1970’s) 10-18K)
These are good sailing and nice cruising boats. They should be adequate for club racing and are certainly good boats. They were not the best built boats and so again you should be looking for a clean and updated version. Still they offer a lot of bang for the buck.

Wylie 28 and Wylie 30 (28 and 30 respectively(late 1970’s to early 1980’s) 10-15K)
These are neat little boats that sail well and are really pretty interesting. The few that I have seen have good hardware and have had simple but workable interiors. They came in fractional and masthead rig versions. There was a masthead version that did quite well on the Bay. There was a one design version called a Hawkfarm but they never caught on the Chesapeake but are still raced in S.F. Bay.



If you want something that is more of a race boat than cruiser, you might look at :
J-30’s
Kirby 30’s
Laser 28’s
Shockwave (also called Schockwave 30, or Wavelength 30 )


If you want some thing more traditional
Alberg 30’s
C&C Redwings and Corvettes
Pearson Coasters, and Wanderer’s


You will find that these boats that are more traditional boats have less room and will have older equipment but they should be less money.

Jeff
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  #19  
Old 05-20-2004
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Hi Jeff:

I want to state quite clearly that I have little to no experience in these matters and was just going on what I have read and the fact that 3 children were involved and it might be easier and more comfortable for them on a cat. I didn''t realize that you needed more skill to manage a cat in a blow than you did a mono hull, sorry. In fact one of the advantages I though a cat had was that it was able to be taken out in heavier weather than a monohull because of the more sea kindly motion but I suppose that is only up to a certain point. Also a Cat seems attractive because you can get in to many more places with its shallow draft, which has to be good for cruisers. And I also have read that the new larger cats are safer than the equivalent monohull in heavy weather but obviously the writers may be biased and are usually very experienced sailors of Cats.

I am moving close to the Pamlico Sound and had thought of getting a mid 30 ft cat to learn to sail on (the sound being shallow) for a few years while my child grows up (she is 5 this summer and I thought I would buy it in about a year when she is about 6 and a more proficient swimmer). Maybe something like a Maine Cat that would allow us to stay aboard for several nights at a time while cruising around the sound and the ICW that would not be too difficult to single hand (it would just be me and her most of the time). Initially I was going to have a sailing teacher join me on board for as long as it took for me to get proficient enough to know what I was doing to be safe within the confines of the sound and pass the basic OUPV and just about all the ASA courses. Then sail the inland areas for a couple of year or two before making brief forays outside the safety of the outer banks. Eventually progressing to runs up and down the East Coast, then to the Caribbean and eventually further a field in about 10 years when my daughter is 14-17 years old.

This whole plan is an integral part of my home schooling plan for her too.

I have sailed smaller 14 fts extensively about a decade ago and have chartered 22-36 ft keel boats on a number of occasions for day sailing in protected, and I have done a lot of windsurfing but I would hardly say I knew how to sail or even how to trim sails properly. Would your advice still be that I get a 22''-24'' keel boat for the first years rather than a 30 ft Cat (seems it would be easier for me to sail and cruise the sound with my young child initially on the cat)?

Thanks for your words of wisdom all over this site, they are really educational.

Regards,
EC




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Old 05-21-2004
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I am sorry if my comments sounded like I was picking on you. My comments were not intended to pick on you as much as to demonstrate that there are a wide range of opinions out there and then to comment that my own opinion differed quite a bit from your own.

I am not precisely sure what to recommend to someone sailing in the Pamlico Sound area. It is one of the few areas on the U.S. Atlantic coast that I am not all that familiar with. My sense of that region is that you are doing sailing in waters that are fairly shallow, have strong currents, and which typically have light winds puntuated by some pretty heavy and sudden thunderstorms packing high winds.

You also say that you want to sail with a young child. A Catammaran may be a good boat for that kind of application. Cats offer a lot of deck space, which at anchor would be a good thing.

Back to my original point, if your goal is to develop sailing skills, a cruising catamaran is a poor platform for that purpose. While you can learn a lot about sailing and can enjoy being out on the water, there is relatively little ''feel'' to a cruising cat, and that feel is what provides the feed back to learn helmsmanship and sail trim. That does not make Cats a bad choice for a shallow water venue, it simply means that they are hard boats to learn to sail well on.

The whole debate about the relative offshore safety of a monohull vs a cruising cat comes down to what you fear most. If you fear capsizing more than you fear sinking then a monohull will seem safer. But of you fear sinking more than you fear capsizing then a Cat would seem safer. That said in recent years the big cruising cats have been capsizing with a comparatively high regularity and they are not staying afloat. The use of rudders that terminate within the hull shell and the addition of multiple sink drains have provided air vents that allow the cat to vent the air that is necessary to keep them afloat in the inverted position.

I would also like to touch on motion comfort with a cat. Cats are not necessarily more seakindly. They offer a different motion but not necessarily one that is more universally comfortable. It is true that Cats roll less than monohulls in most conditions, but they tend to have quicker, jerkier pitch, roll and heave motions. For many people that quick motion is far harder to tollerate than the slower motion of a monohull.

In the end, given your single-handing with a very young child and the shallow venue that you are in, I am not 100% sure of what to tell you. My initial impulse is to suggest that you proceed with your plan to buy a moderate sized Cat because it will may easier to handle with a young child aboard (although many cats are not reliable in stays and so take skillful carefully timed sail handling to even tack the boat, something that is hard to do while tending a young child.)

If you decide that you really want to develop your skills further, 3 or 4 years out, when your child is a little older and more physically mature, I would buy a monohull and use that as a training platform to develop your skills.

After owning both you will be a better position to decide which type makes sense for your more ambitious East Coast, then to the Caribbean and eventually further a field ambitions.

Respectfully,
Jeff

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