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hellosailor 03-18-2009 01:55 AM

What's the sweetest boat you've ever sailed on?
By that I mean, a boat that is well balanced, can be easily trimmed to hold a course on her own, without an autopilot or a hand on the rudder. A boat that doesn't pound in sloppy seas. A boat that sets her shoulder in a blow, and then politely holds it.

A boat that is simply sweet, well-mannered, a pleasure to sail on. As opposed to some that have a very narrow notch where they are well-trimmed, or need constant tending on the helm (like a J/24).

I'd have to say the most well-mannered one I've sailed on yet has been the Islander28, which even Bob Perry said was a wonderful surprise in terms of how mannerly it was. (And the basis for a number of his later and larger designs, for that reason.) It may be relatively heavy, and the builders did tamper with the design (changing the keel-stepped mast to a kludged deck-stepped one with an offset support), but it balances quite easily and then continues to sail itself, with no one on the helm. Something I haven't seen done on any number of boats from any number of makers, both larger and smaller.

So what boat has particularly impressed you? Not for being fast, not for being any one thing, but for being so well-mannered that it puts others to shame, and shows how boat design really is an arcane art.

WanderingStar 03-18-2009 10:08 AM

My Pemaquid Friendship Yawl. Designed as a sloop a hundred years ago to fish the coast of Maine, they are handy, seaworthy, and stiff. Mine was converted to a yawl. I could tie off her tiller, balance the sails, and make lunch, even nap (!). She's also so handy I sailed her for several years without an engine. In winter I could work her into tight docks by using just the staysail and mizzen. With a sheet in each hand, and my knee on the tiller, she'd spin right about. Sweet.

JohnRPollard 03-18-2009 10:31 AM

Although our current boat is very nicely balanced, we don't have the sail inventory to keep it that way in all wind conditions.

On our previous PSC Dana 24, with the Yankee and Staysail set, it was positively dreamy, through a wide range of windspeeds, the only variable being the # of reefs tucked in the mainsail.

But, truth be told, the very sweetest sails I've ever experienced were in dinghies. There is nothing quite like being down there with the water rushing past just below eye-level.

SailorGregS 03-18-2009 10:41 AM

I'm going with the C&C 30 MKII. Rock solid, great lines, and goes like the wind. (funny)

mgmhead 03-18-2009 10:52 AM

Best Boat? The one I own, or the one I'm on. As long as I'm sailing it's a great boat.

Faster 03-18-2009 11:17 AM

The coolest rides we've had was on our Martin 242, racing in Howe Sound with 20+ knots and flat water, planing into the double digits with the kite up. On a par with that was surfing down the rollers off St Vincent on a Bene 36.7, rushing into the teens there too.

But I'd have to say the sweetest boat I've been on would be our recent week on a friends' Passport 40 in Mexico. Solid, steady, extremely well mannered, dry and comfortable... verging on luxurious.

christsake 03-18-2009 11:47 AM

Palmer Johnson 43. Sailed out f Baltimore in 30 knot winds with all sheets up, and she barely broke 20 degees heel. Made a winner out of me.
Next was my Irwin 37. Goes straight without touching the helm, slices through 6 to 7 footers, sweet ride. Same for the 38 Endeavor next to me.
Then there is Larry's Pearson Vangard...great riding boat.

billyruffn 03-18-2009 11:57 AM

Sweetest boat?
Mine :p

Freesail99 03-18-2009 11:59 AM

Island packet 485, I love it.

labatt 03-18-2009 12:11 PM

Yep... I'd lean towards my Passport 40. Even loaded down with thousands of pounds of cruising gear, she'll still point at 30 degrees apparent and, if you balance the sails right, track on course with barely a touch on the helm.

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