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post #1 of 165 Old 01-08-2017 Thread Starter
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Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

I am looking to probably downsize to a smaller boat this spring.

My primary motivation for downsizing is cruising range. I likely have another 20 years of employment to look forward to and currently only 4 week's vacation a year. I like the idea of exploring a lot of different places like Cape Breton Island, the North Channel and the Gulf of Mexico.

The problem is, my current cruising sailboat just isn't fast enough to reach any of those places in a two week vacation.

So, after two cruising sailboats over 30', I think I have figured out the best type of sailboat for my current sailing style is a trailer sailor.

I have already decided there is nothing under 20' that appeals to me. I have a wife and son and dog that come with me, so I would like a proper head and a galley.

I have narrowed my search down to 2 options a proper trailer sailor with swing keel such as a CS 22 or Catalina 22 or a semi trailerable boat that is trailerable but not ramp launchable, such as a Tanzer 26.

I currently lean towards the semi trailerable options like the Tanzer 26 due to them having standing headroom (at least the ones I would be interested in), however, by making that choice I am disallowing myself use of a lot of remote wilderness boat launches.

So my question is for those of you in cruising boats without standing headroom. How big of an inconvenience do you find not being able to stand upright in the cabin? Does it drive you crazy after a few days or a couple of weeks out cruising, or is it no big deal? I'm not looking for hard facts here, just mostly how people feel about cruising on this type of boat.

I am not worried about seaworthiness, I have owned and sailed to lively open boats in open water including a Fireball 17 and my current Prindle 16, so I am aware of a small boats limitations with regards to weather, I am mostly just interested in the liveability of the cabins for 2 or 3 weeks time?

Bay Hen 21, Prindle 16, Walker Bay 8
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post #2 of 165 Old 01-08-2017
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

Budget will, of course, make a difference.. but if you're talking sub-10K boats then it's a bit limited.

Our first and second boats (Shark 24 and Viking 28 - ironically both iconic Great Lakes boats, and we've always been on the West coast) had 5 feet headroom. We owned the Viking for 10 years as our son grew up, he first sailed on her at 18 days of age. A sweet sailing boat, and in reality, most of our time below was spent sitting or sleeping. At the galley, one stood in the companionway with infinite headroom. While we were much younger then, I don't recall a lot of complaining or 'wishing for more headroom' rather than more 'space'.

Presently it's nice to be able to walk around upright, and to be able to dress without having to crouch, but still most of our time below is not spent standing except at the galley.

It may be more difficult going the other way (from having standing headroom to not) esp depending on your agility and fitness.

Downsizing is interesting on many fronts.. we moved, over the years, from 24 to 28 to 40, then decided to downsize to a 30. Going up was easy and amazing, but after over a decade with a 40 footer all the 30s seemed way too tight, and we ended up with our 35 footer which suits us still, yet another 12 years on.
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post #3 of 165 Old 01-08-2017
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

Have you considered a Seaward 25 or 26? They are pricey but should satisfy all of your requirements.
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

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Have you considered a Seaward 25 or 26? They are pricey but should satisfy all of Ayour requirements.

I have considered them, but I haven't seen any in my price range.

However, I would consider a swing in the 26-27 ft range, if I find something I like.

I'm expecting to be boat less by spring and I have already paid my deposit for my 2017 slip, so I don't want to take forever shopping for something, I would rather stick with something that is easily locally available on the great lakes. There are lots of 22' swing keels and 26-27 fixed keel cruisers available locally, so that's where my search is focused right now.

Bay Hen 21, Prindle 16, Walker Bay 8
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

Since we own a Seaward 25, I'll admit to being biased. I can say that it would probably fit your requirements well. It's roomy, seaworthy enough for the Great Lakes, and tows and launches fairly easily (so long as you have the vehicle for the job). A used Seaward 25 can be found for half the price of a used Seaward 26rk. Personally, I like the interior better on the 25, but the 26 has the retractable keel, and a stiffer mast step due to the keel trunk. It serves the 2 of us well for 2 or 3 weeks. Add a kid and dog to that...hmmm. That depends on the kid and the dog, I guess, but there is room.

I think a Catalina 22 would be claustrophobic for your intended use, but they are nice boats.

We've been up to the North Channel with a group of trailer sailors a couple of times. Catalina 25 and Oday 26, are not out of the question for this. I'm always amazed at the creative ways owners of these boats have come up with tricks for mast raising, etc. Hunter 260 is another good choice, especially if the water ballast would be important to you in getting the towing weight down some.

Here's a link to some of the boats that have trailered up to the North Channel to sail with the group:

Boat types that have cruised with us | Trailer/Sailors Association

BTW, there were 2 Catalina 25's (a wing keel and a swing keel) up there last summer, and an Oday 26 up there the year before.
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post #6 of 165 Old 01-08-2017
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

There are really two issues here: Standing headroom (or near standing) and tow vehicle consideration.

They are related fairly closely and your most likely consideration is whether you have a suitable tow vehicle (3/4 ton pickup or van, preferably 4WD) that will give you the capacity to tow 5K to 7.5K safely. If your tow vehicle limits you to the typical 3.5K to 4.5K of a 22' boat, consider the Chrysler 22 as well as the Catalina 22, Oday 22/23.

If you can tow more, and won't really do much local trailer sailing, I'd go with a keel boat like a C&C 24/25, Cal 25, or others that typically can be trailered but must be launched with a travellift. You will have either standing headroom or just a tad short in any of these. And, the Cal 25 draws 4' and has standing headroom with the pop top up.

If you want ramp launchable, I'd give the Catalina 25 a heavy thumbs up. While they still have a swing keel and only draw about 18" with keel up, they are very roomy inside and, if you find one with a pop top, you will have standing headroom that parallels much bigger boats. Others in this class (but without pop-tops) include the Oday 25 and Chrysler 26. My son owned a Catalina 22 years ago and I had a Catalina 25 for many years. While the 22 was fun for lake sailing, it had neither the room nor the seaworthiness on the Great Lakes that the 25 had.


Unless you don't have a suitable tow vehicle, I'd stay clear of the 22/23 foot boats and go to 25/26.
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

Everyone's different. However, with every day that goes by, creature comforts become more necessary than optional. Body parts have use-by dates.
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

So much good information from everyone here. Sesmith, I enjoyed your link. Do Canadians participate as well?

Catainmurph, you are absolutely correct about my current tow vehicle being limited to 5000 lbs, sounds like a good excuse to buy a new truck

Minnewaska, yes, I am definitely leaning towards standing headroom for the reasons you mention.

The current front runner in my list is a Tanzer 26. It's reasonably fast, standing headroom, inexpensive, fixed keel and seaworthy, the design has made at least 8 Atlantic crossings that I am aware of (not to worry, I have no intention of doing this myself). Only has 1 through hull and only weighs 4900 lbs. But it is not ramp launchable. Which, along with its appearance, is the only point it has against it. Most of the time, whatever boat it is, would be docked at a local slip, I don't have the patience to step a mast every time I want to go sailing, it's really just the option to trailer maybe once or twice a year that I want.

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post #9 of 165 Old 01-08-2017
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

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So much good information from everyone here. Sesmith, I enjoyed your link. Do Canadians participate as well?
Yes, it's a mixed group from both sides of the border. If you're into facebook, the web site for the group is morphing more into the facebook group....there's a link to it on the web site.


There's also Roy Eaton's cruiser's net facebook group (based in Little Current, On.) that has a lot of info on the North Channel:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/7572335285/
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post #10 of 165 Old 01-08-2017
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Re: Trailer Sailors and Standing Headroom

I don't know how agile you are, but if you are thinking about staying out for longer periods of time, I would be less concerned about headroom and would lean towards boats with a bit more accommodations than a Catalina 22. Personally I would minimally look at boats with a permanent galley set up and a head that is not under the berths.

If my budget was tight, I would look at some of the 1960's era keel/centerboard MORC rule boats like the Morgan 24/25, Dolphin 24, Sailmaster 22/23, Seafarer 22, and similar designs. These boats sail well in most conditions and have a bit more in the way of living accommodations than the trailerables that followed ,10 years later.

If you have a bigger budget there are some neat dagger board with a bulb andboats like the Tripp 26. And if don't mind crane launching there are boats like Laser 28 that was designed to be trailerable and which has great accommodations for a boat of this size and performance.

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