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Old 09-20-2010
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Shannon 28 v PSC Orion or Niagara 35 v Cape Dory 33

After years of power boating on Long Island, my wife and I are ready to make the transition to sailing. After owning a 40 footer followed by a 28 footer, we felt retirement would be much more fulfilling accompanied by the sound of the wind versus the drone of the motors.

We know we are newbies. Last summer we took ASA 101 and 103 in southwest Florida where we plan to live. We loved it!! We plan on continuing to take lessons as well as learn as much as we can from experienced sailors such as yourselves. We are now trying to find a used boat that will fit into our plans. We realize no boat can be all things and there will be trade-offs. Ideally, we would like a boat to day sail when the kids visit, to take excursions to the islands every so often and, every once in a while, to go on an extended trip up the east coast or even to Bermuda. I know, it sounds like we want it all!

Our budget is around $60,000, but realize we need to spend less than that to save room for some fitting out. We would prefer not to have the costs or labor associated with owning a big boat and we firmly believe quality trumps quantity. Also, we don't want to pound! Our big power boat sliced through a seaway; our 28 footer, with a moderate V, pounded. Our teeth can no longer take it.

We have been shopping for awhile now and have narrowed our choices down to four boats. If we choose to go under 30 ft, we like the Shannon 28 and the PSC Orion 27. If we go over 30 ft, we like the Niagara 35 and the Cape Dory 33. All are early to mid-eighty's boats and all have newer engines, electronics, riggings, etc.

We believe all four of these are good boats. However, we know that the members of this forum are far more knowledgeable than we are and we would greatly value your advice as to what might be the best choice. It is our hope that some of you have personal experiences with these boats that you could share.

We look forward to this next chapter of our lives and the many new friends we are going to make. Thank you.

Jim
SeaQwest
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Old 09-20-2010
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Hi Jim,

Welcome to Sailnet, and to sailing!!

Those are all nice boats you're looking at. They definitely tend more toward the ocean-going variety, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Given the style boat you seem to be interested in, I would also suggest you look at some of the earlier Morris/Paine designs like the 29' Annie and 30' Leigh.

Another boat you might find interesting is the Canadian Sailcraft (CS) 36. This would be a nimbler design, probably better suited to light air on Long Island Sound. It would make a wonderful platform for migrating up and down the eastern seabord. Also, you might want to take a look at the '80's vintage offerings from C&C. Their "Landfall" boats tended to be cruising oriented, and many of their other designs tended to be a nice blend of cruiser/racer.

You'll probably get loads of suggestions -- the tricky part will be sticking to the budget. All the best of luck to you!
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Old 09-20-2010
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JRP—

Which of the CS 36 designs are you talking about? There are two, the CS36T which Maine Sail owns, and the CS36 Merlin, which another member owns.
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Thank you, John. And thanks for the recommendations. I have heard the Annie and the Leigh are outstanding boats. However, they would strain and/or surpass the ceiling of my budget and that's even before updating and fitting them out. I have heard good things about the CS 36 Traditional and the C&C Landfall, as well. What is driving me towards my current four choices is they have been deemed by most accounts to be outstanding boats as well. And these four have, for the most part, been totally refitted.

I am anxious to hear from some folks that have actually sailed any of the four. I would love to know about their seakeeping abilities, whether any of them pound, if they are comfortable for two and any other positives or negatives about the boats. I hope I posted this query in the appropriate section.

Incidentally, the PSC 31 is another one of the boats I drool over.

Thanks again,

Jim
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Old 09-20-2010
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Good original posting, will watch this thread. I would second the CS 36 as a very well built, very capable vessel. Probably my first choice but the others are very nice as well. They also made a 30 and a 33 which are worth a look.

The Niagara has two interiors, the original was more oriented to long passages and the optional "ultra" had a more open lounge area and maybe better for entertaining etc.

Have fun deciding.

Gary
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Jim,

I think you could probably find some examples of those Morris boats within your price range, and from what I've seen they tend to be well-equipped, maintained, upgraded, etc. Maybe worth another look. And, yes, I was referring to the CS36T, I think the Merlins are newer and pricier.

As for the boats you are currently focussing on, I have been aboard (but not sailed) the Shannon 28 and Orion 27, as well as a CD 33.

We looked at a few Orions before we bought our current boat. I really like them. But my wife thought they felt cramped compared to our then Dana 24. Obviously, the Orion IS larger, but the open interior of the Dana (and our current 31) gives the feeling of a roomier boat.

If you end-up focussing on the Orion, I would suggest you look for a Mark II version if possible, as they have a longer coachroof and an extra set of portlights -- all nice. Of course, you also have to decide which interior you prefer (A or C layout) -- I like the sit-down nav station, personally, but they both have their respective merits.

The Shannon 28 is a neat boat -- it has an open interior and layout similar to what we had in the Dana, only in a larger platform with a cruising fin keel and transom/skeg hung rudder. This boat felt like a Dana on steroids when I was aboard. I liked it a lot, but we needed a quarter berth which it lacked.

The CD 33 is typical Carl Alberg -- fairly narrow for its length by todays standards. I have a soft spot for CDs in general, but the one I really like is the CD 30 Mark II, which was a later design by Clive Dent. It is much beamier than the Alberg designs, and has a nice layout in my opinion. Here's an example: CD 30 Mark II

Hope this helps!
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Old 09-21-2010
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Thank you Gary and John for the great feedback. We are going to be settling around the Charlotte Harbor area of southwest Florida. The locals I have spoken with thus far have recommended a draft of no more than 5 ft. Three of my four choices are under 5 ft and the Niagara is a hair over.

Gary, I will look up the draft of the CS36. I know they are good boats, but my fear is that 36 ft is now starting to verge on "big" boat ownership with the big costs that go with it. I will take a look at the 30 and 33. The Niagara "ultra" you refer to must be the Encore they came out with in 1985. I like it, but they go for twice the price as the Mark I. My biggest concern with the Niagara is the unprotected spade rudder. Otherwise, I love the boat. I can only guess she sails beautifully.

John, you have me leaning towards the Shannon again. You are right, unlike the Orion, it has a bigger boat feel to it. Plus, I have marveled at the Shannon 28's loggings of bluewater voyages including a number of transatlantic crossings. I am sure the Orion has its list of passages as well. I know they are both great boats from two great builders and designers. There's just something about that extra foot. By the way, does anyone know what the minimum length requirement is for federal documentation?

I know what you mean about the Cape Dory. I think it is a step below Shannon and PSC in build quality, but it is still a step above the average production boat's quality. For this reason, it could be the most prudent choice for the money. I did look at the 30 ft Mark II. I loved the interior and they are newer. I think it may have been the motion ratio or one of those numbers that brought my wife back to the CD33.

I will keep searching for the Morris boats. Thus far, I have found one Annie priced way over my budget and two Leighs priced at the top of my budget. The Leighs would need significant up-dating. There is a Justine that just came on the market that is half the going price. It needs some TLC and is still more than twice my budget! Oh well, lack of funds won't make me stop dreaming about these little ladies.

Thanks for your help guys. I welcome more feedback.

Jim
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Jim,

For federal documentation, any of these boats would qualify. Our Dana 24 was documented. (It's not based on length, it's a tonnage calculation.)

I tend to agree with your thinking that the mid-30 footers are getting on the larger side for your purposes, especially your want to keep costs and draft down. Something like that Shannon 28 would give you the feel of a much larger boat in a nice relatively compact size.

One bit of advice is not to get too hung up on any one specific number like comfort/motion ratios. These stats are somewhat helpful as very general indicators, but need to be viewed within the context of the entire package. For instance, with respect to the CD30 Mark II, I would expect that boat is entirely suitable for your planned use. It has a moderate draft, great tankage, can take you up and down the east coast, and out to the Bahamas with ease. I certainly wouldn't disqualify it due to a somewhat lower comfort ration than the CD33. (That comfort ratio is a dynamic one, so you also have to view the static ratio as well. By which I mean that you will spend far more time at anchor, where the relatively beamier boat may have a more comfortable feel.)

I like pretty much all the boats you're looking at. I sense you have a preference for somewhat traditional looking boats, with a solid build (as do I). But these boats tend to lack some features that many sailors find very handy -- like walk-through transoms and swim/boarding scoops. These can be especially handy if someone has mobility/flexibility issues, or pets will be part of the crew too. So if you think these features are important, or might become so in the future as you age, it could be worth considering some models from builders that offer these features.

Just more food for thought.....
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Old 09-21-2010
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The Hallberg Rassy Monsun 31 and Rasmus 35 might also be good choices for you, since you appear to want boats that are very seaworthy.

The Southern Cross line of boats made by CE Ryder of Rhode Island might be another good set of choices to look at, as might the Elizabethan series of boats.
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 09-21-2010
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Great food for thought John and great recommends Sailingdog. You are both right, I lean towards the conservative, well-built, seaworthy vessels. I think I get that from my powerboat days going from a Post that sliced through the waves to a smaller Tiara that pounded in a head sea. The trade-off of course was when you slowed down or drifted the Tiara was rock-steady and the Post rolled from gunwale to gunwale. I preferred not to pound.

John, I understand your point about not getting hung-up on numbers. The Shannon numbers are much less conservative than the Cape Dory 33, but I am leaning towards the Shannon anyway. However, I don't know where to draw the line. The CD30 Mark II has a capsize ratio just shy of 2.00. The CD 33's capsize ratio is 1.73. Their motion ratios also have a 7 or 8 point divergence with the CD33 being higher. At what point should the difference in the numbers become a concern that performance will be or could be adversely impacted? And I realize for a racer, "adversely" would mean going in the opposite direction. I guess the answer is that the point fluctuates depending on the individual's sailing objectives and tolerances. Wow, I'm an expert on the obvious!

That is a good thought on the mobility features. I wonder how many conservative designs have scoops, swim platforms, transom doors, etc.

I am going to look at the HR Monsun and the Rasmus. And, yes, I am keeping my eye out for the Southern Cross. I love the line and Ryder's build quality.

Thanks guys. Do you know any owners of my four choices? I would love to hear how they feel about their vessels.

Take care,

Jim SeaQwest

Last edited by SeaQwest; 09-21-2010 at 03:14 PM.
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