Gripes and Likes on V17's
I would like to hear what you owners past and present have to say about your Venture 17's. I am in the stage of rebuilding mine where I can fix many issues. I havent had a chance to sail mine yet so I would like your input. That said, what sucks and what doesn't??
Ex. standing rig, running rig, sheet angles, hardware placement and type, anchoring (rollers, type, weight, etc...), rudder/tiller issues, winch and centerboard issues, stability, anything really.
Does it sail close to the wind? Why or why not or what can I do to make it better.
My sail inventory at the moment is a pretty close to stock main and a stock jib. :D
I have had a venture 17 for a couple years now.
It's been a love hate relationship. I love the size and how easy it is to rig and sail. I love the low price and how reasonable new equipment for it is. I also love that I can tow it with just about anything. It's great for an afternoon cruise with the wife.
Now, to things I don't love. I really don't like how it performs to wind. I can't say why exactly, but it really struggles upwind. I think it has to do with a number of factors. First the free board is really high for a boat that size. The hull its self is a big ol sail trying to push you back down wind. It's really nice because even in chop, sailing is almost always dry, but it often turns into a motor sailor going up wind.
I don't like the winch design for the centerboard. The cable hums any speed over 2-3knots. Not terrible, just not ideal. Also the winch takes up a lot of room in the cockpit.
The cockpit is small. I often take 4 people sailing. We fit, but it's not very comfortable. The cockpit is too narrow. While there are seats on both sides, you cannot sit across from another adult due to leg room. This is in part due to the high hull sides behind the seats being 4-5" thick taking 10" of beam out of the seating area. Also the hull is relatively narrow at only about 6' at it's widest and probably less than 4' at the stern.
Finally it bobs a lot. That's simply the nature of a 17' sailboat, but especially if you don't fix the keel, it will bob enough (in a lake with power boat traffic) that a long shaft motor is a necessity to keep it in the water. I have a short shaft 2hp johnson on a raising motor mount, so I can set it anywhere relative to the water, but I often cannot keep it submerged without risking swamping the motor on the other end of the wave.
That seems like a lot of downers, but I do like the boat. I paid $800 in ready to sail condition with the original sails. I can't complain. I'm going to be selling it this summer most likely and home-building a 18-20 foot sport boat. Just ready for something different. I would buy one again though. I wouldn't sell it if I didn't need the room.
My best mods:
I put a hobie 14 wing shaped mast on and modified an Isotope 16 main sail (it's like a hobie 16 with a foot size that fit the boom better). It's a high roached, full battened sail. Compared to the old blown out main, it was night and day. Faster, much closer pointing, less healing, and much easier to trim. It's like a new boat. I also added reef points so I can reef normally rather than roll around the boom, which sucks.
I made some simple lazy jacks out of rope to hold up the boom. I'm a huge fan. With as light as the sail and boom are, I just used rope and I can drop them off a couple cleats on the bottom of the boom when I'm sailing.
With the new sail I converted it to slugs. Having slugs and lazy jacks makes putting up and dropping the main a one person 30 second deal. Before it was a two person job having one person unroll the sail and deal with the boom flopping all over while the other fed the bolt rope and pulled the halyard. Now I set up the boom, with sail flaked on the lazy jacks, hook up the halyard and feed in the slugs before I put her in the water. Once in, I motor out of the marina, and All I have to do is have someone hold the tiller while I pull the halyard and zip the main sail up. LOVE IT!
The other addition will be a roller reefing system. I already have a pvc home-built one ready, just haven't put it on yet. I'm probably going to buy a new jib for it for sailing this summer before I sell it. With that on the roller with the lines all led back to the cockpit I'll be happy as a clam.
Finally I would buy about half a dozen cam cleats. For the halyard, the jib halyard, the jib sheets etc. They all have the really cheap wrap around dock type cleats. Much more enjoyable to spend $5 per line for cheap v cleats or $10ish for some cheaper cam cleats. You don't need expensive ones. There aren't more than 100lbs of force on any line other than the main sheet.
One other upgrade I have seriously considered is a traveler for the main sail. The sheet set up acts as sheet, vang, and traveler all in one. It doesn't give much ability to shape the sail. I think a traveler with 3 or 4:1 block would do a lot to improve performance.
I think that pretty much sums up my experience.
One more thing, a 2hp may not always be enough in a blow. It doesn't cut through chop all that well, and if I were looking for a new motor, it'd be a 3.5hp.
sailrite sells sail kits for really reasonable prices if you can sew yourself. A new jib goes for around $200. Hard to beat that!
Wow, great reply! Thanks for all that good info. I can see the legroom being an issue, especially if I have to have my gas tank sitting in the back of the cockpit. Currently I have a newer 5 hp. long shaft with the separate tank. I am thinking of a swap to a long shaft 3.5 with an internal fuel tank.
My sails are in pretty good shape now. The jib will need to go soon though.
I am planning a mainsheet with an end boom set-up. It will be set up on the transom kind of like stock.
I will be leading all the lines back to the cockpit and using cam cleats for the jib sheets and v cleats for the halyards.
I am planning on building a roller furling jib with the pvc.
I will look into the lazy-jack system. Great idea.
If you have any specific questions please feel free to ask. My lazy jacks are really simple. Just rope. I added a regular dock type cleat (not sure the correct term) about 8' up the front of the mast where I can reach easily, then added two small ones on the bottom of the mast. The rope is basically two loops from the cleat on the mast down to two different spots on the boom. When I'm sailing I can either leave em on, or just drop them off and let them hang.
If I had some better pictures I'd post them. Maybe when I set it up for the first time this spring if I remember.
I think the 5hp would be really nice. One possibility for fuel, would be an extended fuel line run down inside the hull up to the cockpit area. Of course you'd have gas in the cockpit and it might smell though. When I first bought mine I used an electric trolling motor and I put the battery inside right next to the keel housing and ran some heavy guage wire back. I drilled two holes back near the motor and put a positive and negative post terminal on the back of the transom with wing nuts. It made the trolling motor a lot easier to use. I was thinking the same could be done for a remote fuel tank.
One other thing I liked about adding the hobie 14 mast is that it's about 1' taller, and allowed me 1' more headroom under the boom. The boom swing is kinda low. Watch your head!
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