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  #1  
Old 09-05-2007
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Cruising on a C&C 39

Hello,

We just became the owners of a 1974 C&C 39. I am located just off Vancouver Island and I purchased the boat in the hope of going off-shore with my family - wife and two children - in about a year's time. The plan is to sail down the coast and spend the winters sailing and then leaving her on the hard for the summer months while we return up here. The first season would be in the Sea of Cortez and the west coast of Mexico, the second along the coast of Central America, through the canal, etc, etc.

Having said that I am wondering about the appropriateness of the boat for this. A review postedon the C&C owner's website on the 39 says that it is quite suitable for extended off shore cruising. However, I have a broker here who is telling me that the boat was not intended for off-shore cruising and that I would be wasting money upgrading her for the task, and encouraging me to sell the boat and look for something more appropriate. Having just bought her, I would take a hit if I were to sell her.

Thoughts/advice?

Kind Regards,
JPW
C&C 39
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Old 09-05-2007
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While she isn't a bluewater built boat, she can be used for open ocean passages and I'm pretty sure ocean crossings have been made in C&C boats that size. I know at least two sailors who have made Atlantic crossings and said they would do so again in a C&C... it was a C&C 38, not the Landfall 39.

She would need some work to be more properly suited for longer, extended offshore voyages IMHO... more tankage, more stowage, better handholds are probably going to be part of the modifications you'll need to make.
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Old 09-05-2007
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You don't say if it is a Landfall, so I will assume it is the aft cockpit C&C 39 which is NOT a good bluewater boat for a number of reasons:
hull design for speed, not comfort at sea
fully cored hull
spade rudder
inadequate tankage

If you and a couple of buddies were experienced sailors looking to go down the coast in good weather season and were fully equipped with Epirb, raft etc, I'd be more inclined to say "go for it" for these are well made boats. But you sound relatively inexperienced and I never favor putting children at risk. Your coastal waters can be quite treacherous with long stretches with no safe harbor in bad weather. Once you get down to California...all of your other plans sound quite reasonable assuming you upgrade stuff like tankage for full time cruising. My suggestion would be to hire a catain/crew to make the voyage with you to California (or truck it there) and set out on your plans with the family from there.
Frankly, purchasing a boat like a C&C39 with those cruising plans in mind was probably a mistake, but with a little prudence I think you can do most of what you plan.
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Good point... I forgot they made a C&C 39 as well as the 39 Landfall. Which model of C&C is it??
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 09-05-2007
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I had a 1990 C7C 37+ (39'6") for 10 years. Made multiple coastal cruises. The boat was more a racer than a cruiser with a flat forefoot that tended to pound through waves. With the narrow keel it was squirley in rough water and did not hold course very well. It also tended to carry alot of weather helm as well. If your hull and keel are similar it would not be a comfortable boat off-shore and could be tiring ride for the crew. Typically a boat with a longer keel and a deeper forefoot will give you a more forgiving and steady offshore ride
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Old 09-05-2007
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I crewed on a 39 from the 70s and it seemed ok for the time but had problems downwind when it was really blowing - would broach, but we were pushing it of course. It is not ideal for extended cruising but people have sailed very long distances in much worse boats.

I think you need to look carefully at everything on the boat, but this is true of any boat of that vintage. Likely a lot of stuff will need modernizing if it has not been done before now. I assume that the hull and deck coring were carefully checked before your purchase. Be very careful about drilling holes through either now. I agree that tankage is likely pretty small.

Good luck with your new boat.
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Thanks for the responses. The boat is not a 'Landfall', but a 'C&C 39' from 1974. I purchased the boat based on the broker (who of course you should only listen to with a grain of salt, but also based on the Perry review ( sailingmagazine.net/perry_cc39.html ) and a review from Sail magazine, that referenced a couple who had done a circumnavigation ( cncphotoalbum.com/reviews/review39.htm ).

I know of a family who circled the globe twice on their 1980's Beneteau First 38. This boat also has a fin keel and a spade rudder. Is there difference (other than roominess) between this and a C&C 39?

Thanks again.
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I don't think the cored hull is really a big issue on whether the boat is capable of doing ocean passages. Many of the Southern Cross boats have made circumnavigations and ocean crossings, and they have cored hulls.

I don't think the spade rudder is a deal killer on ocean passages. Many boats have made ocean passages with spade rudders. Ellen McArthur's record setting circumnavigation in a trimaran was done using a spade rudder.

The tankage can be modified.

The main obstacle is the boat's motion and shape. That is really a personal issue IMHO... some people get seasick in the slow rolling motion of a traditional full-keel narrow bluewater boat, others get seasick with the very quick, fast motion of a multihull... your boat will be somewhere in between the two.

I've sailed on the C&C 38, and like the boat a lot. I haven't sailed on the 39.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 09-05-2007
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The answer Hubans is that there is not much difference...( except that the Beneteau does not have a fully cored hull and is easier to repair and an IOR racing hull is even less comfortable at sea)...and that neither boat is a good bluewater family cruiser. Catalina 27's have gone around the world. That does not make them bluewater boats. Read the bluewater boat threads here for more on that issue.
My point was that your boat will be NOT SEAKINDLY...which means tough to control in bad weather and it will pound your kidneys out in going to windward in even normal offshore weather. My further point was that you personally do not have the experience to safely take your family down the Washington and Oregon coast safely. Combining a boat that is not easy at sea with a captain and crew that are inexperienced and throw kids into the mix and you have a recipe for big problems.
You can comfortably coastal cruise in California and down to Baja and off Mexico and into the Caribe in relative safety in your boat even though there are still issues with tankage and rougher weather will be no fun. At least down there you have the option to pull in somewhere and wait out the bad weather. Just don't end the trip early by going down the NW coast by yourself.

My words are harsh to try to help you understand what a bad idea this is and to protect your kids which I am sure is foremost in your mind as well...so apologies in advance for my bluntness.
The C&C is a beautiful, well made racer cruiser that is well suited to your home cruising grounds...but if you told your broker your long term plans he should be shot!
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Old 09-06-2007
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Personally I think experience is a bigger factor than the performance characteristics of his C&C 39. It's a capable offshore boat (likely built like a tank weighing ~8 tons). North coast sailing is nasty in the winter and can be bad during the summer also. The trip down from the north is much easier than beating into a NW wind (but I agree that a delivery captain to So Cal without family aboard would be a wise decision). Personally I would sail around Vancouver for a few years gaining experience in everything I could learn about the boat and storm conditions before going offshore. Take your time, refit the boat before you leave and learn, learn, learn, read, read, read. Take some ASA classes and learn celestial nav. Get some competent crew and someone with lots of offshore experience to crew and help skipper for your trip down from BC to San Diego in the late summer of 2011; and then join up to do the Baja-Ha-Ha.

JMHO...
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