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  #1  
Old 06-26-2013
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First Boat - Nunsuch?

I'm in the beginning stages of looking for a first boat and in-spite of some of it's drawbacks (pointing, etc) I'm being drawn to a Nonsuch 30 or 33 and was looking for some input, advice or other suggestions. But first a little background on myself and some of the things I would like out of a boat and what attracts me to a Nonsuch.

First, I'm a novice sailor but spending this summer racing, sailing/learning with friends and possibly taking a proper sailing class over the winter so the simplicity of the "wishbone-cat rig' is interesting, I don't want complicated.

Second, I'm 6'5 and plan on weekend-ing, cruising (no racing) and using the boat as a "floating vacation cottage" along the LI Sound, Hudson, Barnegat etc. so I want max space/headroom which the N-such has.

Third, my wife and I are planning to start a family and want to take the kids with us from the youngest age. The Nonsuch's large VERY enclosed cockpit seems like a safe choice for keeping active toddlers contained, not scrambling over the rail and again the large cabin will also be a bonus with extra crew.

So that's about it in a nutshell, any ideas, suggestions or input will be appreciated.Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

I sailed a nunsuch a couple summers ago.

The size below is hard to beat and it seemed well made.
The good things speak for themselves so I'll mention the things that I noticed were a little different.

There is no topping lift or for-stay so the mast is a little bendy.
If I was motoring in a little chop into the wind with the sail up, sheet-ed tight it was wise to sit down.
Standing up the fitting at the end of the boom (I believe it was the 33' or 36 model) was right over my head and looked like it could easily crush my skull.
Sailing it would not be sheeted in that tight so it would not be a problem. The situation only developed when trying to motorsail into a headwind.

The sail is very large for the size of boat. Their is a scary amount of main-sheet strung across the cockpit when running. A jibe felt to me like it would be especially unpleasant.

A lot of people love them especially new an older sailors.
I never sailed it enough to get past my, oh it's different stage, but I suspect it would grow on you.

If you are a novice sailor I don't think the nunsuch is easier to sail just different.
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

Good reputation, simple rig as you say, (perhaps TOO simple once you get used to racing with your friends, you may 'miss the tweaking' eventually)

Agree the cockpit is kid friendly.. sounds like you've thought this through. In our area much of our sailing is likely to be beating, so for us the losses involved there would be a deal breaker.. plus the enjoyment of string pulling to try to optimize performance on a more conventional rig.

Whatever gets you (AND your kids) out on the water works!!
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

Not having the ability to heave-to is another shortcoming. But before you take any negatives to heart and strike it off your list try to find someone who owns one. Also buy the review from Practical Sailor; I read it once a long while ago and it was pretty positive. Finally, I believe Gary Jobson owned a 26'er at one time and thought highly of it.
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

One other thing I have noticed is it seems to be a lot of money for the boat. I understand they are fairly high standards kind of boat but never seemed to me to justify the premium.

Cool boats I like the cat rig, but that is one honking sail and can have really big loads on it.

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Old 06-26-2013
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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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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
There is no topping lift or for-stay so the mast is a little bendy.
If I was motoring in a little chop into the wind with the sail up, sheet-ed tight it was wise to sit down.
Standing up the fitting at the end of the boom (I believe it was the 33' or 36 model) was right over my head and looked like it could easily crush my skull.
Sailing it would not be sheeted in that tight so it would not be a problem. The situation only developed when trying to motorsail into a headwind.
I've heard of one or two Nonsuches without topping lifts, but they are suppoed to have them and all the ones I've seen do have them. (You can see the topping lift in my photo below.) Tighten up the topping lift, the mainsheet, and perhaps add a third line running to a stern cleat, and the boom isn't moving at all. Should be way above your head.
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

Quote:
Originally Posted by davidpm View Post
I sailed a nunsuch a couple summers ago.

The size below is hard to beat and it seemed well made.
The good things speak for themselves so I'll mention the things that I noticed were a little different.

There is no topping lift or for-stay so the mast is a little bendy.

the mast is meant to bend when the wind gusts. This spills air so the ride is smoother than with a stayed mast. At the point where you want to reef the top of the mast will be bent about 4 feet.

If I was motoring in a little chop into the wind with the sail up, sheet-ed tight it was wise to sit down.
Standing up the fitting at the end of the boom (I believe it was the 33' or 36 model) was right over my head and looked like it could easily crush my skull.
Sailing it would not be sheeted in that tight so it would not be a problem. The situation only developed when trying to motorsail into a headwind.

in conditions like this we would hook a block and tackle from the clew fitting to a stern cleat so the boom would be held in two directions and you would not have to have it very tight, just snug. To have the fitting near your head, at least on a 30 you would have to really crank the thing down and bend the mast.

The sail is very large for the size of boat. Their is a scary amount of main-sheet strung across the cockpit when running. A jibe felt to me like it would be especially unpleasant.

at first, gybing can be intimidating but it is actually not bad at all once you get experienced with it. I used three techniques depending on the wind strength (again on a 30). In really light stuff I would just grab the entire sheet, all the parts and pull it in and throw it out on the other side. Note that you van sail by the lee quite comfortably so no steering is involved. In moderate winds I would pull in the sheet, you would have a winch, change course and the ease the sheet like a regular boat. The third one in stronger winds, say in the low 20s, is just crash gybe and make sure that your entire body's s below the level of the wheel hub. It starts really quickly but builds a large pocket of air behind the sail which slows it so there is no real crash. In stronger winds, eg with a reef in, best to tack (I guess that is a fourth technique). This is not hard because you have no jib to worry about.

A lot of people love them especially new an older sailors.
I never sailed it enough to get past my, oh it's different stage, but I suspect it would grow on you.

If you are a novice sailor I don't think the nunsuch is easier to sail just different.
I sailed a Nonsuch 30 for a number of years, in fact won the first ever Nonsuch race, an overnighter on Lake Ontario. Standard race crew, helmsman, someone on the sheet and a wine steward. I think it would be an excellent choice for your intended purpose.

Someone mentioned that they are pricey. Two reasons: they are built well and are in good shape and supply and demand. BTW, there is an excellent owner association which is a plus.
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

If I were just starting out, I would buy a Nonsuch 26 which are much easier to sail. Almost as much room, lot more reasonable price, and for sure more comfortable environment in which to learn. Then in a couple of years evaluate a move up, at which time the price of the bigger ones might be a tad more reasonable.
Just sayin....
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Old 06-26-2013
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Re: First Boat - Nunsuch?

With all due respect to davidpm, No boom clearance issues on any nonsuch i have ever seen... even the one regularly kicking our ass on wednesday night races:


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