Join Date: Aug 2012
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?
I'm on my second Nonsuch, so clearly I'm biased. My first boat was a Beetle cat and since then I've always loved cat-rigged boats.
The Nonsuch was designed specifically to be a coastal cruiser, which is what you want to do. They are not blue water boats. The huge cockpit becomes a liability in those situations.
They were very well built and, although out of production for many years, replacement parts are readily available for them. There is a very active owners association.
They are not rockets, but are not snails either. The NE PHRF rating for a Nonsuch 30 is, IRRC, 177. Compare with other boats you are interested in.
The sail is huge, but that is only really an issue during commissioning/decommissioning. Reefing is fast and easy. Double lines run to the cockpit. You don't worry about sail changes, or where to store "extra" sails on board.
I never thought that sailing a sloop was particularly hard, so I don't think that sailing a Nonsuch is easier....just different. Tacking is easy, just turn the wheel. Lets you tack up a narrow river where sloops may have turned on their motors. Also, not having running rigging means you can let the sail out more than 90 degrees on a run--even safely sail by the lee for a few degrees. Jibbing is exciting with such a long mainsheet. Many Nonsuch owners do a "Hudson River" gybe (or what I called and "S" gybe in my Flying Scot) in lighter winds and just tack around in higher winds. It tacks so fast you really don't lose anything.
The mast bends on purpose. During gusts it automatically hardens up the sail and keeps the boat from heeling. You cannot heave-to, but you can forereach.
As far as "strings" to pull go, I think that many folks do not realize that in addition to the mainsheet there is a "choker" that pulls the wishbone boom aft--that, along with halyard tension, controls the shape of the sail.
Lots of room on board. Not only for people, but for stuff. I'm always amazed when I go to boat shoes and look at many new production boats. Nice looking, but appear to be short on storage space.
The Nonsuch 33 was designed after the Nonsuch 30 and is reputed to be a better performer. I don't know, I've never sailed on one. There is a very nice Nonsuch 33 that just went on the market in Annapolis.
Find a Nonsuch owner in your area and I'm sure that he or she will take you for a sail.
If you have any specific questions, please let me know.
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Nonsuch 30 Ultra #343 1986
West River, MD