What I think of the boats at the Strictly Sail Chicago
Finally got to see these boats up close, after all had 2 whole days to do it...
This I write here, is my opinion only, don't like it? good...move along..I am not a boat critic, it's just whatI saw.
Let me tell you right away, that I would not spend money on any of the boats there...but..that's just me..nothing there I liked, which validates more and more my choice...MAKE YOUR BOAT!!!!
I may add something more to this, as we go along, but here is what I think of the boats, per brand, not any model; in particular..these are my general impressions on the brands...(off course I didn't sail on them..Chicago had a contract to sell ice to the rest of the world)...
Please, if any of you owns one of these boats, please don't think I am attacking the boats or you, it's just what, as an outsider saw, and think..only that...it's free, so if you want better, call Botin & Carkeek, or Vrojlik...
Hunter...well, I looked outside, and inside, and under and in and out...and this is what I saw..
They first built a bed, then a bed table, then a cabinet, then, to separate it from the rest, they made a wall, then put a toilet, then a kitchen...then..someone realized they are in the boat building industry, and had a guy put a hull around it...do it fast, before someone comes here....
Incredibly large inside, some pretty cool ideas, and stuff, but...but....but...had a "fake" feeling to it...altough I didn't see much plastic...it looked like the feel you get from a plastic dashboard trying to imitate leather....it's hard to explain..did'nt care for the keel attachment, and I could almost swear one of them boats had a tilted keel...!!??? maybe I need glasses. The inside looked a little on the weak (strenght wise) side.
I found the aft berth amazing, but the slapping water noise at the stern may take some time to get used to.
Outside was a little of a deception...cheap material on the deck hardware, the blocks suck..horrible mast and rig material, and the chainplates bolted on the outside...no..not for me.. The glass looked good, but also looked weak and thin...
The deck is enormous, you can almost play the superbowl there, BUT..again a weird feeling of Plastic dashboard.
I like inovation and new ideas, and admit the back stay system is great for a relaxed sailor, I found the arch an interesting concept, and since the boat seeks no performance, per se, why not make life easier)), I liked it, UNDER that point of view. BUT, again, the hardware, was really bad, and cheap...for them the solution to assure high loads is bigger larger stuff, rather than well engineered smaller stuff..
Don't care for the keels at all, and the rudders...well..leave it there, (if I bought one, it would be the first thing I would throw away)..and redesign, especially that shaft..ykes
its an affordable relaxed coastal vacation sailboat, perfect for weekends, and small to medium COASTAL cruising. I would not venture more than 100 miles from the coast, (as they come from the factory), but modified..I would.
Would I take one to the Caribbean?? YES!!
Space to spare and some cool ideas, I can see why it is so popular, it takes large spaces to see with confort, and ease of sail.
Overall, inside is a boat I would buy, for the occaional weekend with friends, but not a boat to sail, or for my kind of sailing. Some of the pumps and stuff inside could be better material. The wood work was weak.
Outside, I find a hard boat to digest, has some details that are not so pretty, and make the boat look clumsy, complicated (to the eye), and in some angle, not so pretty (sorry).
I didn't even look at the other Frankestein they had there...it shouldn't be there in the first place...and I am talking about ther McGrehunter. I vomited my Billy goat burger...:puke
So, if I was a weekend sailor, with kids and friends, and limited sailing skills or crew...I would buy one, but modify a lot.
Catalina..well, here is a boat where I get mixed feelings...(I saw the 400), didn't find it as great as CD paints it, (sorry CD, will explain why), and in CD's photos, inside, looked bigger..then once I went down it was not as large as I had imagined, in fact my boat has almost the same space, at half the weight..BUT, I understood why...the furniture is miniature...when you take a photo, you can't judge the size, but once you look for real...the furniture is small and scaled down...that glass cabinet behind the galley is really small, yet in CD's photos looks big. Nothing wrong with it, but inside, I may prefer the Hunter. I iked the beds, and the heads, but the white plastic inside was a weird thing..the cloth and materials, also looked a little on the economical side..I didn't care much for the sallon seats at all.
But overall inside wood and cnstruction is pretty good..really is.
If they carried that interior, and put it on a beneteau hull...it would be perfect...maybe Beneteau should buy catalina.
I see why and that boat being a Coastal cruiser, maybe faster than the Hunters, and with that boat, I would pass the 100 mile line from the coast, but, not go pass the 200 mile. Would modify a lot.
Outside, I found absolutely no need for a double steering, (I think it's a sales gimmick), and it had a weird feeling, they were really low, maybe to steer while seating down. The cockpit was nice, well laid and practical. The wheels are good stuff though, and manouvers seem easy.
The deck hardware, by Garhauer, is not my favorite, maybe strong, and reliable, but looks like it was hand made with a hammer, and nails...(one of the reasons i don't like Garhauer..it's great material, but damn heavy and ugly, altough now he's making a anodized blak series, that looks better..but..not for me..not yet).
The main sheet system..NO..it's crap, they could have put a harken or a Lewmar, but I understand...price cuts..so that will do fine.
EXCELLENT choice of hatches, and hatch location, clear inside, well lit.
The glass is better, and the boat breaths some more sturdiness than the previous boat. The keel...no, I would modify that, too, and the rudder while we're at it, but the shaft can stay.
Would I buy one if I were to do sailing like CD, or visit the islands?? YES...a perfect boat for weekends, small and medium coastal cruises, and some passages with the right changes..It's a boat I would buy with confidence, knowing few systems will fail, but, add $50.000 to my budget and get a new mast, a better boom, modify the keel and replace all stuff with Lewmar/Harken Ocean series deck hardware.
Now...the only thing I dislike..it's the design, the sillouette, and the stern...
I don't think catalina is adapting the design to the current tendencies, or those of the last 10 years, those bows belong in the 1970's, the boat I saw seemed (to the eye) a little unbalanced, (they had a Catalina mixed with another brand I can't remember the name), and they looked more modern, but the bows, I am sorry, they aren't that pretty, and the bow is short (from mast to bow), and the angle is too aggressive..
Overall..between the Hunter and the Catalina, maybe I would tend towards a Catalina, if the money was not an issue.
In all, I liked it, and would buy one under certain conditions, I find it a good value for the money..good buy.
Island Packet..ha..it's an O.S....if you know what i mean..(defenately not for me) has a keel as thick as that of the USS Eagle...hughe freeboard, it's a boat to cruise around and go places...but....bring a lot of diesel..(and don't invite people..they don't fit inside.
The boat seemed the best build of all boats there, (even better than the Tartans).
Solid interior, but heavy on the eye, and heavy materials. Also seemed very small inside...Liked the galley and the heads.
Excellet care in the finish..
I didn't understand why that boat has as much space under the floorboards, than above..It would be a good boat to carry sardines or 45.000lbs of Smuggled coffee...but on a sailboat??I don't know...
Inside, one breathes quality, not like a Swan or a HR, but damn good finish and feel. I liked the interior.
Outside..I went around once, and walked out..Its a boat with a mast and sails..not a sailboat. I would commit suicide after sailing on it for a week..
The cockpit is a joke, it's small and God forbid a wave decide to make itself invited..
Now...I would take that boat across the atlantic, the way it is..just add water and diesel...but studdy the windsm so one woulnd't have to sail upwind.
I would not buy it, last on my list of choices there, but only because it's not my thing,..and too exensive for what it is. The anchor locker was good enough to hide a missile base, and probably built to last a nuclear hollocaust.
The colour??? Good thing I was wearing polarized sunglasses...someone at IP, is colour blind.
Last on my choice. But none the less an excellent boat, for quiet sunday sails and go to the US, via the Azores.
JBoats...what the hell??? You saw the one on 1989?? it's the same boat..well not exactly, this one didn't have a sheer line painted on it..
No doubt a fast boat, with a lot of races and events, but please...it's getting old...they didn't change a thing...since Colombo arrived in the Dominican..it's almost like Ferrari, same engine block since 1965...
Maybe they should design a new boat..do something...J boats are excellent sailors, and believe it or not, I would sail the Atlantic with one..
It's a racer, so don't look for waffle makers inside, and expect to bang your head in the bulkhead when cleaning your butt...
The build is good, excellent well engineered deck stuff....
MY boat for sure.
Now...the price is ridiculous..you can have a boat built in Cratia or Slovenia, for half the price, and sail around the J...it's almost like the shirts with logo..you end up payiong more for the logo than fpr the boat.
Tartan..good choice of colour on the hulls, by Tartan..."patriotic blue" can make the ugliest boat look good...not that they are ugly...but....in white, you would see a different boat..
they cheated with the sheer lines, and to make the boat look balanced, the water line stripes are thick and larger at the bow, to give one the visual effect.
I entered the boats, looking back, just in case the mafia would kill me..but...good thing...I saw the man...I heard some real prime time BS, (we have more on that later).
I liked the tartans a lot, and believe it or not, I would chose a tartan after the J boat...but I don't cruise much..
The quality was good, but, one can see they are cutting corners...open doors and cabinets, and the finish is not as it should be. It's not inovative, and looks boring inside..The quality of what you see is good, but behind is not so good.
The did an excellent job finishing the wood behing the sofas, then "nailed" velcro stripes to hold the pillows...really cheap...
The heads were spacious, and the boat has class inside.
Outside, the boat's have excellent finish and material, didn't find much about the rigs.
they have Volvo engines...so good bye..
C&C...I am not talking much about this boat, the 115..I like the looks and the layout, hated the wheel.
The model on display was cracked at the bow, between the bow and the keel, on the stbd side.
I didn't poke around, but as soon as possible I will post the photos, for those that don't believe me..which does nothing to change my opinion on the boat..
I saw a 121 last year, and my opinion is made...STAY AWAY...not for me...what happened here at Sailnet doesn't help either..so I started already suspicious.
I also (altough not 100% sure, because as soon as me and Jim started poking around, a "guard dog" came looking at us, and looked like he was going to bark), saw that the chain plates were not attached to the hull, BUt to the back of the sallon sofas!! I kid you not..I tried to put my hand behind it...but the guy looking down from the companion way looked mean...look on the website yourself, on the interior photos...
I would love to hear from owners of 115 if this is in fact as I hope it's not.
The boat is so sexy and pretty, and sails pretty good, I was told.
There was a lot of BS at the reception desk there, when we asked the dealer about warranties..he said that the warranty is given by the dealer, that NOvis owns Tartan /C&C, and when asked if he wouild sign the guarantee...he looked down, smilled, took some time (realized we're not buying a boat), and said..yes!
I am tried..
Still have Beneteau, jeanneau, tghe dream Open 6.50, and more...
I'll add more later..don't go too far
Mostly I saw that everyone of them used cheap rigs...there is much better for a few bucks more to equip these boats, so as far as booms, masts, etc...it was very disappointing to see they are all opting for the cheaper masts each manufacturer makes...sad....
What model J's were there at the show?
G- I'm dying to hear your review on the Hanse 400!!!!! It's not a boat I was familiar with prior to the show, but after looking at it, and crawling around on/in it I went home a have been studying up on it. I'm pretty impressed. It seems to fit the production boat concept (german version), but with a more modern hull design and a well thought out interior with lots of options to choose from. A few ideas that would be scoffed at by some, but are very practical in the real world. ie. There is a desk in the forward stateroom (if you choose the single head configuration), but no chart table on the boat.
First the bad things...
I thought the rig was simplified.... self tacking jib and such... I also didn't like "hiding" the lines in the debris catchers on deck...
The deck hardware was a bit undersized and in general the running rigging needed some upgrades. (Of what I saw).
I thought the Teak Decks in the cockpit looked flimsy and cheap. I don't think it was teak. I wouldn't go for that option.
Wasn't the hull construction epoxy? The displacement was about 18k if I remember correctly. Which is on the heavy side for a 40 footer. I asked about the PHRF and I think they are gonna come in about 120ish. For a 40 footer... eh...
EDIT: I THINK I AM WRONG ON THE PHRF... SHOULD BE BELOW 100 (easy) for THAT SIZE BOAT.
Apparently she doesn't like large chutes ... this according to the rep...
The Good Things...
I thought belowdecks was tremendous. Great Euro-trash Styling with good fit and finish.
The boat had nice lines... Sexy to look at and easy on the eye. Fat A$$ Mmmmmmm
Removable open transom thingy. Why again? Seems like a lot of cost for a removable dock box. Hmmmm Ok.. It did look good removed.
Twin wheels.. but I didn't get a chance to sit at the helm... could be a gimmick.
I wonder what they chose for spars... I saw alot of low end Selden (no offense people) spars out there... I'm guessing Hanse didn't go down that road.
The best feature of this boat? THE PRICE.
$215k sailaway with everything but electronics....
Structurally, I'm interested in hearing Gui's observations...
17,417 if you spend the $12K to upgrade to epoxy. Rep we talked to recommended upgrading to epoxy and then upgrading the keel and putting the 1000 lbs down there. PHRF #'s that I saw looked to be around 78. (could be wrong)
A whole lot of boat for the money with a lot more usable space that other 40 footers. Here's a pic I took with my phone of the interior.
[IMG]<a href="http://s168.photobucket.com/albums/u193/T34C/?action=view¤t=Hanse400.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i168.photobucket.com/albums/u193/T34C/Hanse400.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>[/IMG]
I noticed G- forgot to "review" the only boat he did get to sail... the one that I kicked his butt all around the race course with, the CR-914. (RC boat from Chesapeake Performance Models) He'll probably come back with some lame excuse about needing his Loos guage to check the rigging before racing next time!
I really could be wrong on the PHRF... I should probably edit that from my post... I remember the J boat was a 70 something... (shorter than the Hanse)..
You'll notice the Euro-trash interior in the photo's above. It screams trendy club music - ultra thin waifs wearing black - and small cups of coffee...
The Hanse was my favorite boat of the show . . . 'til Alex took a Pee it the forward locker. Out of all the 40 foot boats I've seen it's my favorite. The only problem for me would be the 65 foot bridge clearance and 97 foot draft. That's why they don't sell them down here.
We saw one of the Hanses a couple of years ago at the Seattle show, wife like them! I had no issues with the 60 some odd foot mast height, no bridges to worry about! nor the 97' draft, as I am usually in 600' of water, so I have plenty of room! So what are the issue with the Hanse again?
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