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Boats for the Long Haul
I'm hoping some day to sail around the world. I'd like to get John Kretschmer's advice on the following boats—Beneteau 345, C&C Landfall 35 and 35 Mark III, Dufour 35, CS 33, and Alberg 37.
John Kretschmer responds:
Thanks for your question about boats to sail around the world. There is nothing more exciting than contemplating a long voyage—I wish you all the success. The timing of your question is interesting because I just finished a book about great boats to sail around the world, published by Sheridan House.
Your list is very diverse and you must remember these are simply my opinions—another sailor might see things quite differently. Anyway, for what it's worth here are some thoughts on those boats.
Beneteau 345—This is a really nice boat, but not one I would select for the express purpose of blue-water sailing. Not because it isn't strong enough, but because of the hull shape. One factor that should not be overlooked in a cruising boat is motion: a nice motion at sea is really valuable and keeps you from becoming exhausted. Of course a nice motion does not always just mean heavy; in fact, it is related mostly to shape of the hull. The 345 has a flat forefoot and aft sections. It doesn't lend itself naturally to self steering and would require a lot of extra outfitting for blue-water work.
C & C Landfall 35 and 35 MK III—Both of these handsome boats are quite capable. The older MK III is something of a classic and one of C&C's most successful production runs. Like a lot of boats from the '60s and '70s, it is narrow but the interior space is well used. You would probably be looking at rerigging the boat and upgrading and updating gear. However, I think it would be a decent selection. I confess I have never been very impressed with the Landfall series, probably because I am partial to older C&Cs that sail well and are lovely to look at. I don't really know the Landfall 35 very well, but I have sailed on the Landfall 38 and old 48, which was nicknamed in the charter business, the Landfill 48.
Dufour 35—This is a very nice boat that seems to have fallen through the cracks in the American market. The boat is well built and the design is blue-water capable for sure. Although at one time these boats were very expensive, today they represent good values. I'd rank this one pretty high on your list.
CS 33—This boat is rather small, at least from a livability standpoint, but it is a very well-made boat that will likely stand up to the rigors of a trade-wind circumnavigation. I have sailed several CSs over the years and like the way they handle.
Alberg 37—Well, this one of course is the logical choice for the trip you mention and several 37s have already circumnavigated. It is the only boat that is in my new book. However, it also the slowest of the lot and despite being the longest it is not the roomiest. It is a well-built boat that will look after you in a blow. It lends itself to windvane steering, an important factor for offshore sailing. It is an old fashioned design, however. It heels early and easily before stiffening up. Still, it is a proven passage maker and a safe choice, and it is also a pretty good value on the used boat market.
I hope this helps. Remember, the boat is just the tool to help you fulfill your dream—it helps to keep that in perspective.