Given that asking for opinions may be like opening the flood gates, I'm willing to take the chance. I'm considering buying either a Rhodes 41, an early 39 or a 44 Countess. All great boats. My plan is to circumnavigate over several years. These boats are all known for sturdy, bullet proof construction.
For those that have owned them, I have owned 2 39's, what are the pluses and minuses of each.
Not knowing them I cannot speak to the other yachts on your prospect list but as we had a 1963 Rhodes Relient in the early and mid '70's so I can that yacht. She is a beautiful boat and still fits my vision of what a sailing yacht should look like. Unfortunately however, although over 42' LOA, the yacht's LWL is in the 29' range which does make her rather slow, at least by some standards. The yacht needs a good blow to get moving but once under way, she does carry her way and move through .seas in a stately and determined manner. A broad reach is her best point of sail and with all canvass flying--including her mizzen spinnaker, she does move right along and is certainly a thing of beauty. She is also quite endurable, if not to say comfortable, in a blow and handles weather well under a "jib 'n jigger" rig, i.e. reefed mizzen and #3 jib or, if fitted, a staysail. She will also heave-too quietly and predictably under that rig at about 60º off the wind, slowly forereaching. The yacht is lovely but with acres of brightwork requires constant maintenance and care and, frankly, tho' I dispaired giving her up, the relief of little brightwork on our subsequent yacht was gratefully welcomed.
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