Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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First of all, I would disagree with your statement that "For most part, all blue water vessels are heavy." From my perspective, I suggest that statement reflects something of an anachronistic point of view. Many, if not most, of the respected blue water boat builder of yore who are still in business have shifted their newer designs to more moderate L/D's as the current science based understanding of offshore safety, and the evolution of the technology of boat building has moved towards lighter yet more seaworthy, seakindly, easier to handle, better performing, and ultimately safer designs to take offshore.
Perhaps I come at this differently then most folks but in a general sense, I believe that a long distance cruising boat needs somewhere between 5,500 and 11,000 lbs of displacement per person, and that the number of people who you anticipate distance cruising aboard will dictate your ideal overall displacement. (Some people prefer as much as 15,000 lbs/person, but personally I do not subscribe to that heavier number for a wide range of reasons that can be found in many of my other posts around this forum.)
From there I suggest that ideally a boat that will be used in a wide range of applications, including both coastal and long distance cruising, (such as you are planning) should ideally have an L/D less than 200, and for ease of handling an SA/D over 20.
To a great extent the kinds of boats that you are describing are very poorly suited for coastal cruising, especially in a venue like the Chesapeake Bay, essentially spending most of their time underway as a slow powerboat with masts, will therefore be very disappointing to own for coastal cruising, and will be next-to-useless as a platform to learn to sail well.
To answer your other question: In my opinion Bayfield's are no worse than an I.P. (which I do not consider particularly ideal as either offshore or coastal cruisers), a little worse than a Shannon, and a lot worse than a Caliber or Valiant.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay