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post #1 of 10 Old 11-20-2003 Thread Starter
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

We''re a family of four looking to cruise on Leech Lake in northern Minnesota - a large water with a long & interesting shoreline, but also several narrows which in dry years become shallow enough to be troublesome for cruisers with drafts of 4 feet or more. Therefore I''m asking for nominations: what boat would you recommend that is 1) roomy enough for a family below, 2) shallow-keeled, 3) lovely to behold, and 4) priced reasonably? We''re serious at last after years of idle dreaming, so all replies are appreciated.

Thanks,
Reuben
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-20-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Catalina 30. 3''10" draft with wing keel. Roomy and user friendly. Many available. Strong owner''s network for support.
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post #3 of 10 Old 11-20-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Be careful, though. The Dashews write that bulb and wing keels are very hard to get out when run into the mud.

Chas
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-22-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Reuben,

I''m surprised you didn''t get more responses. If you really want to limit your draft to 4 feet, you could consider the full keel Island Packets. Some consider them to be overpriced and not very stellar in performance, but they are roomy and better built (IMHO) than the average boat. The major downside is the cost, since they are not really that "reasonably" priced.

If you can live with 4.5 feet of draft, the Catalina 36 MKII with the wing keel is definitely in the reasonably priced range and its many owners really like its interior layout. As to lovely to behold, well it''s like many other mostly-plastic boats built today. It will never win a beauty contest if the judges want varnished exterior brightwork, or an old-fashioned "shippy" look.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.

Duane
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post #5 of 10 Old 11-23-2003 Thread Starter
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Thanks, Duane. I''m impressed by what I''ve seen of the Island Packets, but you''re right, they''re a bit out of my price range. I''m afraid four feet is my absolute maximum draft and 3.5 or even 3 would be best when the lake gets shallow, as it did this past autumn; a number of sailors wound up trapped in a small bay and ended up cruising to and fro grashing their teeth for the last month of the season. Something like a Westerly Centaur might fill the bill but then I''m down to 26 feet and a tight fit with the family. Someone did write suggesting the Catalina 27 wing keel which was produced briefly with a draft of 3''4"; that would be a good candidate, or possibly the Catalina 30 (3''10"). I''ve seen the 36 MKII and it''s a lovely boat. Thanks for your suggestions -- Reuben
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-23-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Reuben,

Whenever absolute minimal draft is the deciding factor, I think of multihulls. Is there a used one in your price range?

Good luck,

Duane
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post #7 of 10 Old 11-28-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

Reuben,

Perhaps you might try a trailorable boat with a centerboard or swing keel. My 1995 MacGregor 26 draws 15 inches of water with the swing keel up. She has two large berths and a long and short settee. Other features make the Mac 26 quite safe for a family. But I wouldn''t call it a cruiser. If you live near a lot of lakes, trailoring might have an advantage.

Chas
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post #8 of 10 Old 11-29-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

There are a lot of ways to go here. If cost and appearance is important and sailing ability less important, there were large numbers of keel centerboard boats built during the 1960''s that would make good family cruisers and would be well below your maximum draft. Of course these boats are up in yeares and so maintenance costs will be comparatively high. Although these boats hold their resale values quite well, they are a little harder to resell than more modern designs and you are not likely to see a very large percentage of your expenditures on upgrades come back at resail time. They also tend to have less room than newer similar length boats.

If you were to go the modern boat route, Beneteau First series offers a really nice balance between good sailing ability, better construction than the other ''value oriented boats'' and clever interior layouts.Some of the smaller Beneteaus of the 1980''s and early 1990''s were available as centerboard boats. Others were available as either bulb or wing keels.

As some one pointed out Wing keeled boats can really get planted when they run aground. With all due respects to the Dashews, they are only partially correct if they said both wing and keel boats are hard to unstick. While there is some variation depending on the specific configuration of the keel, recent testing and in a separate insurance industry analysis results suggests that the easiest keels to unstick are bulb keels. Next comes short bottomed fins, followed by longer chord shoal draft fins, followed by full length keels and wing keels being nearly equally the hardest to unstick. Boats like the IP are a real bear to free when grounded and with their post hung rudders being basically the same depth as their keels, thier rudders are extremely vulnerable to damage. This is not a good choice if grounding is a concern to you.

Jeff

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-30-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

After much searching of data I nominate the Ensenada 20 also manufactured as the Balboa 20 or RK 20. I am looking for on at the present time to be able to cruise the Tennessee River next summer
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post #10 of 10 Old 12-30-2003
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers

After much searching of data I nominate the Ensenada 20 also manufactured as the Balboa 20 or RK 20. I am looking for on at the present time to be able to cruise the Tennessee River next summer
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