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davidsmcse 12-21-2012 06:32 PM

Cape Dory or Tartan
Im interested in a sailing again. I only have a few years experence and plan on sailing in my lake Pontchartain (New Orleans, LA 10-12 feet depth on average).
I'm looking at a 1980 Cape Dory 27 and a 1971 Tartan 27
I plan on sailing single handed most of the time. My wife and kids will sail less often.
My question is:
Which is better?
Which will require less maintenance (Tartan solid fiberglass?)
Which will hold value longer
Should I be worried about tha Tartan's atom 4 (gas engine)?


Ajax_MD 12-21-2012 06:54 PM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
Dude, boats that old have already fully depreciated. Their "value" is strongly linked to how they're maintained and to a slightly lesser extent, how they are equipped.

The 1980 CD could be worth far less than the Tartan if it was poorly maintained, but the Tartan was well loved.

Both are solid, well-built boats known for their quality.
Neither are speed-demons.

Here are some differences you may care about:

The T-27 has a centerboard. This is an extra maintenance item.
The T-27 has a ballast to displacement ratio of 32%
The CD-27 has a ballast to displacement ratio of 40%
This means that the Tartan will be a little more tender (tippy)

The T-27 is also available in a yawl configuration which gives you more sails to play with, and more sails to buy.

The CD 27 only draws 4'.
The T 27 draws 3' with the centerboard up.
Where are you sailing? Looking to gunkhole, or will you be in deeper water?

You're really looking at two very similar apples here, I think. Hope this helps.

marianclaire 12-21-2012 07:17 PM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
No need to be scared of the Atomic-4. Dan S/V Marian Claire A-4 powered

CalebD 12-22-2012 12:47 AM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
I happen to like the look of most Cape Dory boats. Perhaps that is because I own a Tartan 27' which is pretty similar.
The T27 may be the more versatile boat and I would not be at all reluctant about the Atomic 4 engine, since I have owned one for 10 years and it is 45 years old and still cranking.
They are both older boats that could need considerable backlogged maintenance waiting to be done.
Neither will be fast boats but since we got a new main sail we placed 1st in our Weds night PHRF division! Sometimes NOT using the centerboard on the T27 helps a lot.

davidsmcse 12-22-2012 10:51 AM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
Thanks for the posts.
I've read about soft spots on decks due to wood (balsa wood?) moisture. Is the 1971 Tartan 27 a solid fiber glass deck? Does that equal less chance of soft pots over the years?

Also I've sailed a dory 25 and the interior is tight.
Is the Tartan 27 slightly larger compaired to the Dory 27 ?

miatapaul 12-22-2012 04:04 PM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
Any older boat is suspect to have soft spots. I don't think anyone makes a solid fiberglass deck on a keel boat, it would be to heavy. There are some foam cores out there, but they still get water in them and will delaminate. It boils down to maintenance. Has the hardware been properly bedded? Have any through deck holes been properly sealed? Some factories were better than others, though I don't think there would be an inherent problem with either of these makers. Also owners sometimes add holes, that are not done correctly.

Both boats are going to have a loyal following, so resale should be good, though I would likely give the CD a bit of an advantage here. But neither is likely to appreciate and resale is should not be a major concern with a boat. My logic in an old boat is that I likely will be the last owner unless I am willing to give it away, or have a truly bristol condition boat. There are so many old fiberglass boats out there unless yours is truly stand out they just take for ever to sell and you never get what you think you should.

Both boats are going to be fairly slow, but hey it is sailing not like you need to be in a hurry, unless you want to race.

My guess is that the Tartan would likely have an advantage in light winds, but the CD would likely be more stable in a blow.

The A4 is a good reliable motor that seems to go for ever, but it is gas, so that is a concern for some. It really depends on maintenance. The A4 would be cheaper to replace than just about any diesel.

I think you should buy the one in better shape if you love it. If you don't love it then keep looking.

Kyhillbilly 12-28-2012 07:47 AM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
Want to jump in and ask about the space on the tartan compared to a catalina 27? I love the look of the tartans, bristols and cape dory. Worried about sailing in light wind conditions and the difference in space.

Ajax_MD 12-28-2012 09:03 AM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan

Originally Posted by Kyhillbilly (Post 967971)
Want to jump in and ask about the space on the tartan compared to a catalina 27? I love the look of the tartans, bristols and cape dory. Worried about sailing in light wind conditions and the difference in space.

Often, newer boats made better use of existing space. The Catalina 27 is also just a bit wider, which gives more cabin volume.

The T-27 has a better SA/Disp ratio, so it might sail a little better in light air.

The C-27 is also offered in a "tall mast" configuration, which raises it's ratio, probably making it better in light air.

The T-27 is also offered in a yawl configuration, so ditto on the better ratio.

The T-27 also has a centerboard which is an additional maintenance item, but the shallower draft with the board up may appeal to you if you're gunkholing.

Hope this helps.

Kyhillbilly 12-28-2012 09:47 AM

Re: Cape Dory or Tartan
Thanks BubbleheadMd, good point about the gunkholing, definitely see that in my near future. Have done lots of research and feel the Cat27 is the best bang for the buck with what my needs are. But I just love the look of those old boats. Thinking I will have to make a trip to check one out the near future. Mainly be sailing on lake water but want something I can haul to the east coast reasonably well and enjoy a week of sailing a few times a year. So many boats, with so many options. Can drive a person crazy trying to decide it all.

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