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sailbear50 07-18-2007 12:09 AM

Nelson Merek 43 pros and cons as cruiser?
I obtained this boat as salvage after Katrina and am spending a good deal of time and $ putting it back together. Inside did not take water ,both 8kw gen and perkins 51 are fine. Replaced toerail and all stanchions, thinking of putting a stainless arch on the stern for radar, antennas, wind gen, davits for dingy. Am I putting too much in this class of boat? My first was a Ranger 26 somrtime ago. This is a first for me in this size craft. Info plase too advise. Thanks j bear

SVAurora 07-29-2007 08:39 PM

Hey j bear congrats on your purchaseÖ Iíve owned a M43 for several years now and currently cruising the NW Caribe. First of all I would like to say that the Nelson Merek 43 is probably the best kept secret with regards to a quality boat at a discounted price. With that said here are some conís and proísÖ Perkins 4108 is to small at 50hp more like 40 usable, lack of fuel tankage at 50 gal thus having to carry cans on deck, one of the two water tanks is located in the bow which adds weight than again you have 80gal in the bilge (I only partially fill fwd tank), huge engine room but space could have been used better, raised bull works and teak toe rail are very nice but needs scuppers for better drainage in a heavy sea, aft storage locker is huge but the deck hatch is undersized. Lastly and one of my pet peeves is the fuel and water fills on the deck are side by side which of course is just an accident waiting to happen. I'm sure i will fill my diesel tank up one day with water or vice versa

The 43 sails like a dream, handles well and is relatively fast for a large fin keel and skeg hung rudder. On a broad reach with 25kts of wind and 6-8ft seas Iím usually surfing along at 8-9.5kts in comfort. I have a Raymarine autopilot with a S3G control box and it steers her extremely well. As you can see on your own vessel she is built solid with a sturdy mast, boom and rigging. As I mentioned above the vessel does have some short coming but nothing you canít upgrade or take care of with a bit of work. Bottom line is your going to have a quality vessel that will take you anywhere in safety and comfort. Go with the SS arch especially if you plan on cruising for extended periods as it gives you a perfect spot for a wind gen, solar panels etc.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask.

ps... I've got my radar scanner mounted on mast above 1st spreaders. Highly recommend as i can easily pick up a ship at 24nm.

sailbear50 07-30-2007 03:06 AM

Thanks for the reply SV. Valuable info. I haven't sailed alot but I loved the lines Nelson/Merek put to this boat. I think catalina after buying Morgan is now making the Morgan Catalina using those same hull designs but catalina "quality". Lots more plastic and thin glass. My previous boat was a Ranger. So I like the speed with comfort thing. I will be picking your brain further , now that you have volunteered if you don't mind. Have a few burning questions, but need to put them together for later. Thanks again , fair winds to you friend

SVAurora 07-30-2007 10:17 AM

Catalina picked up the mold in around 86 or so and changed the 43 to a 44. exact same boat but different aft cabin. The storage locker was lost for more space in the aft cabin and there is less wood inside. I think the 43 has storage problems (easily solved) to begin with and the loss of the aft locker is a no go in my book but that is just personal opinion. Than there is the catalina/morgan you speak of that just recently came out which your speaking of. yep too much plactic for me. Just ask away and i'll share with you what i know and don't for that matter.. hahaha 08-09-2007 03:23 PM

I, too, have a NM 43 project boat
It's an '87 sitting on stands in Ft. Lauderdale. Purchased in October. I live on west coast of Mexico and am trucking the boat here end of Aug. This boat has no bulkheads, engine, galley, nada. The only thing still in the boat is the bathtub, but most of the sailing gear is there: rig, winches, chainplates, etc. I figure a year just to get her sailing, 2 years to cruise.

Also have an OI 33 that is in cruise-ready condition here in Mexico that I'll use for breaks.

SVAurora 08-09-2007 07:57 PM

John.. here is the short answer to your PM. I can't reply directly to your PM since i don't have 10 posts.. how ridiculous is that but so be it.

Nice setup on fuel capacity. 100 gallons of fuel onboard would be great. Iíve actually thought about doing the same thing as you but did not want to loose my water capacity as it's amazing how much water my girlfriend uses washing her hair and the last thing i want is to become the water or electricity nazi for that matter. With a water maker onboard your in good shape. What do you have for a watermaker? If you fill the tank up in the bow your going to ride bow down. Itís not that much by the looks of things, only a few inches but enough to make for a very wet ride with the added weight up there. Itís a really crappy ride when your going to weather in 15-20kts of wind and your deck will be totally awash when the wind hits 25kts. Also you will have water pool in the cockpit when it rains unless you have drains located forward as well as aft.

I went with Trojan 6V batteries. I believe they are the T-105ís. The taller ones donít fit in the battery box or I would have gone with those for the amp hrs. I have a group 30 starting battery mounted on the starboard side of the generator plus 4 of the Trojans. Currently looking for a place in the engine room for 2 more batteries. (think i found it but that is another long winded mail) Sure I can get by on what I have but this is my home and I like using refrigeration, blender, microwave, lights, fans and the extra amp hrs are beneficial.
My current setup for electrical is the following.

Charging: 100amp Balmar through 3 stage regulator. 5.5Kw genset powering a 2000W Heart Inverter/Charger. Kiss Wind Gen (added about a yr ago and love it). Everything is monitored through a Link 2000 which is a must have in my book. I run all four 6vís as one bank but have a switch where I can separate them into two banks but only do this when Iím plugged into shore power at a marina. The Group 30 12V is the starting battery and is taken in and out of the system with a on/off switch. In practice I just make sure the group 30 is fully charged and keep the switch off and start the engine with the house bank. It works for me but other would cringe at the idea of doing this. I also run my windless off the house bank but the engine is always started when that is happening so no biggie.

Here is a hot topic just like anchors. AGM batteries vs Ďothersí. If your plans are to coastal cruise in the states than I would go with AGMís. Less of a headache with maintenance. Sure you can mount them sideways, upside down blah blah blah. But it ain't no airplane so you purchase them for maintenance and longevity. If however your heading south of the border go with 6V or 12V lead acid. Shite happens with batteries and they need to be replaced, AGM or not. Just like when my battery charger went out and cooked two of my 6V Trojans. I was able to find another set of Trojans in Honduras with no problem. I donít think you can mix AGMís and Lead acid but I could be wrong.

Out of curiosity where are your water tanks located under the bunk? By the steering or forward of that which would be near the foot of the bed. Also approx how big is the tank in this area? The reason for asking is I was thinking about putting a flexible fuel tank somewhere in this area if the fabrication on a SS or Alum day tank turns into a major pain which i know it will.


ps... John... send me a pm if you like with an email and i reply to that. however wx permitting it's up to Belize end of next week dodging the tropical waves so not much email checking than.

psss.. MxSailor, I thought I had some projects in front of me but nothing compared to what's on your plate. I bet the inside is going to be beautiful when it's done. At one point I had the crazy idea of having all the paneling ripped out while in Honduras and replacing it with solid mahogony. let me know how your project comes along. I would love to see some pics of the progress.

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