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Old 12-10-2011
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C&C34 or Mirage 33


I'm looking at my second boat (current boat is a 1986 Mirage 25 -I've been quite pleased with her). I am moving up in size since we spend all of our summer holidays onboard and the 25 is a bit tight on space for 3 of us and all of our gear.

My short list is currently between a Mirage 33 and a C&C34, both are 1982 models. I also really like the C&C32 from the same era but I dont have one in my sights that is in the right condition for the right price. Basic criteria includes i. Well built boat with good sailing characteristics, 2. Shoal draft -5 foot is the max, and i would rather be lower (Im in a shallow marina on a very large shallow lake). 3. Headroom - wife is nearly 6 ft, Im almost 6'6". 4. its mostly for cruising - i can see some club racing in my future. 5. i will be single handling

The Mirage 33 appears to be in really good condition, gear meets my needs but it is missing a couple comfort items (cold machine, wind instrument). However the canvas, sails, hull are all in well maintained condition . Big binus in this boat is the headroom, drawback is the price (min $10k more upfront than CC34) and Draft is right at my max.

The CC34 is a swing keel. It has an attractive asking price, well equipped but the sails and canvas need replacing. I can put those purchases off for a couple years, but after I do those upgrades my total ownership cost on the two boats is nearly identical. This boat has balsa in the hull, Mirage doesn't, so it will require very carefull inspection/survey. The CC has more sailing gear - most of which i would need to learn how to use. The autopilot is on the fritz. This one only has 6'2" headroom (for the right price I can wreck my neck - at least the wife will be happy). But, it is only 4' draft - swing keels come with additional issues but Id rather have those than have a boat stuck in the marina wwhen we have a dry season.

Both have yanmar diesels, onboard heat, minimum electronics.

Assuming all else is equal - what would you choose and why?
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Old 12-10-2011
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We looked at both these models in our last search. In the end we went for something else, but only because at the time the Mirage was overpriced (a year later friends bought that very boat for 15K less), the C&C had a few issues and we were after two good double berths without using the dinette.

The C&C 34 has a cored hull with some history of occasional issues there. She's a good looking boat with the standard traditional layout, well regarded etc etc. Decent cockpit too. Personally if 5 foot draft is allowable I'd probably pass on the complications of the centerboard.

As a Mirage 25 owner you're familiar with Bob Perry's work.. always attractive, well mannered boats. The rig looks smallish on the M33, but she goes surprisingly well with her easily driven hull, narrow beamWL and as such will be rather easy to handle. Great cockpit, nice traditional layout too. Our only beef below was the (to our minds) overuse of liners and the resulting 'frigidaire' feel with all the white glass, esp in the quaterberth area. Our friends have installed a proper teak and holly sole that has really raised the warmth of the cabin space and looks great.

Given the difference in canvas conditions I'd probably favour the Mirage if the draft is acceptable.. the price is likely negotiable and a couple of years down the road the extra few K will probably mean little if you're happy with your purchase.

Best of luck!

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
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Old 12-10-2011
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Thanks, Id agree that the quarterbirth in the Mirage 33 area looks plain, but I kind of liked the sole which I thought looked clean and bit more modern than teak/holley. To spruce up the interior I would be tempted to fit a piece of teak 1/4 inch plywood against the interior of the hull and try to match the sole finish.

My gut says Mirage as well, its in equal condition to my current Mirage - and that has been very tough to come by! The deck is nice and clean as well - not a worrysome crack or mark on it and all the required lines are run to the cockpit.

The price advantage of the CC34 is hard to ignore though. I should mention that the 10k price difference is a best case scenario. Im already counting on working the price down a solid chunk! If they dont like my number, my decision may lean towards the CC. In that scenario I will have a boat with brand new canvas and a good set of new sails for the same price as the Mirage when the sails and canvas will have 5-6 years of age/use.

Are there any C&C champions out there ?
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Old 12-10-2011
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I owned a MIrage 33 - a very well built boat. There is a reason they are often priced higher than similar C&Cs. The Mirage sails well with a well balanced helm and a powerful rudder. Handled well in strong winds and big waves. Hope this helps.
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