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Old 04-24-2012
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Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

I've raced, cruised and sailed my own boats as well as others for about 10 years now. Mostly in and around Charleston, SC with a few deliveries up to MD and one Daytona to Charleston race in the stream. I've owned boats from 16 to 27 feet, worked and sailed on boats as large as a 140 ft tall ship and have a Captains license. Over the years I've realized that I like racing mainly because I enjoy boats that sail well. I do enjoy the competition of racing but over all I would consider myself more of a cruiser. For my wife and I there's nothing we enjoy more than sailing out to a nice anchorage and spending the night, even if its just in the harbor. In looking back the boats we've enjoyed the most, they were the ones that sailed the best, had the best sail controls and an easy deck to navigate. They were also minimally outfitted. One of our fondest was an engineless Starwind 19 without even a battery. We sailed that boat all over Charleston and even offshore a few times. That's what lead us to buy our current trailer sailer, a Starwind 223 that we are getting ready to splash soon. It's a great boat that should work well for us at the moment and we plan on keeping it for the next few years. I'd love to trailer it down to Fl and sail it over to the Bahamas for a few weeks.

For some reason I always catch myself dreaming about the next boat and far away places. Until recently it's always been accompanied by a salty boat like a Hans Christian or Pacific Seacraft. I've realized over the last few years my ideas about what makes a good offshore cruiser have changed. as well as the realization that we probably will not be crossing any oceans, and if we were our budget would never get anywhere close to those big cruisers.

So for our next boat we'll need something under $35,000, maybe 40k at the most. It'll be my wife, myself and our currently 7 month old daughter. I can't rule out the possibility of one more little crew member in the near future, so four of us. I'd like to have something comfortable for cruising in and around Charleston with the ultimate goal of an extended trip to the Bahamas or north, maybe for a few months at the most Oh yea, it has to sail like a dream, have wide side decks and sail controls that can be handled by one. My wife needs to be able to single hand so something that sails well under main alone would be nice. I'd also like to do some local inshore and coastal racing. I hate to throw boats out there because it may bias you but I've been looking at J/28's and J/30's. I know the 30 seems a little light on ballast but a couple came through the disastrous Fastnet race, one even was singlehanded. I'm not sure if it's in the same category but the Pearson 32 seems ok also on paper. They can all be had for under $30,000 it seems.

I love the J/boats, the sail handling setup is really nice. I especially like how the mainsheet and traveller are set-up in the cockpit near the helmsman at the end of the boom. I also prefer tiller steering. I hate how cruising and racing are so segregated from each other. As far as sail handling, what makes a great racer also makes cruising easier. I've been on many "cruising" boats where the sail handling and deck layout were horrible for sailing, and that's what we enjoy, so I've been leaning farther and father towards a performance cruiser, or racer that we can coastal cruise.

After reading this it seems silly to want another boat to park at the marina. I just sold a Beneteau First 235 because I got tired of paying dockage. The Starwind is a relatively cheap boat to own, and we have about 1/4 the amount of $$ tied up into it as we did the Beneteau. If we stick to our plan, in a few years we should be in better financial shape and hopefully we can justify it. Maybe look into a mooring, hey that could be a thread on its own, mooring or dock? LOL!
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Last edited by snider; 04-24-2012 at 11:45 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

Mooring can be very helpful on the wallet...I have done it for 4 years and am on my 4th boat...I launch my dinghy from a small patch of beach w/public access right-of-way due to a storm sewer at end of a road where it dead-ends into the bay....Any beach will do if you have a truck to haul the dinghy to near your mooring...I use a dolly I made to push my dinghy down the street anright into the bay and float it off...then stash it in the bushes until I get back from the boat which is about 400 yards offshore in 7 feet of water...If I were you I'd consider finding a much cheaper and plentiful older project boat with a strong hull and good rigging and good interior in the 33-36 foot range...and work on her a bit every week...but has a good enough interior for the wife and kids as a inshore daysailer in the meantime...Then, in a couple years you might have a good boat you are comfortable with that is bigger, laid out for singlehand the way you want and for half the price of buying one on the market...by then you might need this size-range and you'll have a boat that might be good for extended bahamas trip...But you have young children and a full-time job I presume...But...

... I would not want to venture very far offshore with a family or several people in "most"boats under 33-34 feet for even a weekend and definitely not a long one-two week bahamas venture...Bahamas is better I have heard if you can arrive there laden with water and food for your trip...due to the costs...so an old late 70's early 80's IOR like a Catalina,Hunter Ranger,Pearson etc..33-36 footer needing projects done but in decent shape is going to be in the $10,000-20,000 range and able to carry alot of supplies and your crew...and still be fun and roomy daysailer...Marina are nice because its easier to work on the boat...on mooring you only have some hours in the mornings before the wind pipes up and it gets a bit harder to work on projects...obviously an over-size anchor and lots of chain rode helps you sleep...or sleep better...
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Last edited by souljour2000; 04-24-2012 at 10:00 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

Thanks for the reply. I should have added that I'm absolutely DONE with project boats. Most of my boats in the past have been projects. The ones that weren't were a dream. My current Starwind has been sitting in the backyard for over a year while I've replaced the starboard side settee, hanging locker and chainplates. I also painted the interior. The list is still pretty long but hopefully I'll splash her in a month or two. I hate to think of all of the sailing we've missed working on this boat. I'd rather pay a premium and get a turn key boat. I don't mind replacing some running or standing rigging but anything much more than that, no thanks.

As for small boats. I want the smallest boat that'll meet our needs. I've been offshore in some small boats and large boats, there have been a few times I have been worried, once on a Beneteau 393 rounding hatteras , another on my Beneteau First 235 during an offshore race. Truthfully the loads on the 393 were so great that I was more intimidated on the bigger boat. Not to mention the winches were undersized. I was much more comfortable and always felt in control on the 235. An Albin Vega 27 just circumnavigated the Americas, including the horn. So I think overall size matters less than the design and build quality of the boat, as well as prudent seamanship. It's also a good way to keep costs down. Sails, hauling, bottom paint all go up exponentially with size. My wife is intimidated by most boats that are pushing over 30. I'm sure she'd grow comfortable if I get her out on some bigger boats, but all of our sailing together so far have been on boats 30 feet and less. I'd love to have a J/34c or J/35C, but they are not in the budget. So while I respectfully disagree, thanks again for the reply.
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

Agree to disagree but if you ever spent more than a week or two on a boat with even just yourself it can get tight and claustro-phobic in a hurry unless everything has it's place...and it takes at least that long just to figure out where that place is.....it can be done what you are thinking but will require some field-testing IMHO...maybe see if you can borrow a neighbor/friends,etc. 28- 30-footer for a long weekend and take your family to Hilton Head,etc ...if you can... in exchange for a cash/barter or detail the boat for him,etc...and see if it's big enough maybe...good luck..

Last edited by souljour2000; 04-24-2012 at 10:14 PM.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

Thats a good idea, thanks. I've spent over a week on board before with a crew I had only met as we shoved off so I know what you mean. As for the fam, we've only ever spent a few nights onboard, and that was before the baby. We're going to do a three or four night trip on the Starwind once we get it in the water. I'd love to borrow my friends Sabre 30 hmm.
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Old 04-24-2012
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Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

I just bought an Olson 34 for many of the same reasons you mention. A great performance cruiser that will keep up with the J's easily. She's very comfortable for up to a week too. Theyre a little hard to come by, but right at the top of your price range.
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

There you go...Hilton Head would be a bit far though in retro-spect...Didnt realize it was so far south...I guess I was thinking it was further north but confused with Myrtle Beach or something...Anyways...enjoy the summer and get your feet wet or out on the water in something...that's all that matters if your a water-nut like me...
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

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Originally Posted by marcusc130 View Post
I just bought an Olson 34 for many of the same reasons you mention. A great performance cruiser that will keep up with the J's easily. She's very comfortable for up to a week too. Theyre a little hard to come by, but right at the top of your price range.
Thanks, I'll look into them.
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

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Originally Posted by souljour2000 View Post
There you go...Hilton Head would be a bit far though in retro-spect...Didnt realize it was so far south...I guess I was thinking it was further north but confused with Myrtle Beach or something...Anyways...enjoy the summer and get your feet wet or out on the water in something...that's all that matters if your a water-nut like me...
Yea Hilton head is a little far. There's an inlet about 15 miles down the coast we've sailed too a few times and anchored for the night. It's a nice few hour sail. I really want to go to Bull's bay north of here. It's a large shallow bay that's protected as a wildlife preserve, pretty uninhabited. Hilton head would be nice maybe with a stop over for the night and a few days to spend there. There's 4 navigable inlets between here and there in good weather.

I just read an article by practical sailor about the Olson, looks promising, however you're right, I don't see any for sale. They also wrote about an Express 34 that looks promising. Both good offshore boats.
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Old 04-25-2012
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Re: Changing Tack, Ideas About the Next Boat

Years ago, I lived and sailed out of Savannah and kept a boat in Charleston. Its a great place to live but it means that your quest is not simple. Getting a boat which offers the level of accommodations that you would like is pretty easy, but I would respectfully suggest that you also need a boat which can deal with the strong currents, is safe offshore, has good anchoring gear, and is shoal draft. I would also suggest taht while keeping a boat in the water at a marina is expensive, if you live anywhere near your boat, you will get a lot more use out of a boat which is rigged and ready to go vs launch and hauled each time. I always point out that may make the boat cheaper per hour of use.

If I had to think of one boat within your price range that meets all of that, my initial reaction would be something like the keel/centerboard Tartan 34. These represent a nice mix of good build quality and a nicely evolved design. The Centerboard means less draft, and yet the point very well. Many of these boats were raced and so have upgraded hardware and sail inventories. They have an inboard engine and are surprisingly fast for a boat of their era.

But there are other nice options out there. A few which spring to mind would be;
Bristol 33/34: This little known model was a nice mix of good build quality and excellent sailing ability. 1971 Bristol 34 Sloop Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

C&C 34: Centerboard version

Cal 34: A typically lower buget option.

Hunter 34: (1980's) While Hunters are often maligned, this was a very nice design that sailed well and was reasonably well constructed. You need a very thorough survey on these boats, but a good example might make a reasonable choice for what you want to do.

J-34 C: This might be out of your price range and should not be mistaken for the 34 IOR.

Pearson 10M: These are a little deep, but they are nice sailing boats that can be purchased very cheaply.

Sabre 34 (centerboarder): Again a very nice mix of build quality and sailing ability for that era.
\
More Later...
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