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  Topic Review (Newest First)
10-15-2007 12:58 PM
JohnRPollard Labatt,

I would be very back and forth on this one too. It's an incredibly tough call. But no need to rush, either.

On the chopper gun construction, it was not just the decks but the hulls as well. I have noticed a distinct lack of information concerning hull construction/lay-up schedule details on their website, which makes me suspicious. All I've been able to find is this statement: "The GRP hull is reinforced with a grid structure at floor level to give it increased stiffness."

For the tender, probably the two most important items would be a good anchor/rode system and a VHF. Flares and emergency water next. It's not a bad idea to have these regardless of the draft of your mothership, though.
10-15-2007 12:48 PM
labatt John - Yes, we've given a lot of thought to the list, and that list only represents about half of our interests. We have a much bigger list that we use when we're doing a walk through of a boat.

Yes, the short draft was listed as a "must have" on the list, however that's the reason I kicked off this thread. We're reconsidering that as a primary requirement.

With regards to the decks, I'll have to ask about what they were doing in 2000. I'm surprised to hear they were using a chopper gun when you look at the quality of everything else!

Good point on equipping the tender properly. My son wants me to get one with a console! I'd rather spend my money elsewhere, but flares and GPS might not be a bad idea. I'd have to get a lockable box for the stuff though.

Based on the research we've done thus far, it looks like the east coast of the US and the Bahamas might be our only major issues. We won't be able to gunkhole with it.

I'm so back and forth with making this decision! I'm definitely not sold on it yet.
10-15-2007 12:36 PM
labatt We've talked quite a bit with Thom Wagner from Passport and had felt the 515CC would be the perfect boat. Unfortunately, with recent price changes, it's just outside the budget we set for ourselves. We want to hold true to the budget so we don't put ourselves in a potentially bad financial place. We want to save the majority of our funding for the trip itself. We'd love to buy a used 515CC, but there aren't any on the market at this point. We've looked at other Passports but none have met our requirements. I sure wish they did though, as we love our 40!!!
10-15-2007 12:06 PM
sailortjk1 I've been watching from afar and I have just one question.
Why is another Passport not an option?
I guess everything is still an option at this point.
After all you do state that you are concidering semi-custom new, which is what the Pasport is. I like the looks of the Vista 515CC. Nice boat.
Also love the HR, good luck in your decision.
10-15-2007 11:32 AM
JohnRPollard Labatt,

I perused your list and it's apparent you've put a lot of thought into this. I do notice that the HR53 doesn't meet some of the primary requirements, notably the draft. Which is a fairly significant criteria, I would think. Just a few more things to consider as you weigh the draft issue:

Yes, you can get a bigger dinghy/outboard and make the longer trip back and forth to shore, but long dinghy rides can be a major drag, especially at night. With kids aboard, in some locations it might often mean that you're out beyond the swimming/play zones where other families will have anchored. Also consider the real possibility that you could have engine trouble enroute and be sure to equip your tender accordingly (safety/survival/comm equipment).

On the plus side, she'll probably sail to weather like anything -- a useful virtue for sure.

Is HR still subcontracting their hull/decks? Last time I looked at them seriously (a number of years ago) the company that was providing the hull/decks was building them with a chopper gun, which surprised me given the HR reputation, and it was a bit of a turn-off for me. Otherwise, these seem like nice solid boats.
10-15-2007 10:41 AM
labatt John -

I spend a more than a few hours a week looking through YachtWorld at boats that meet our criteria . Some people would consider it fun, but I'm starting to tire of it! My usual search parameters are: 1) 48'-58' length, 2) Built between 1984 and 2008, 3) Cost between $300k and $800k, 4) Located in the US, and 5) Cruiser, Racer/Cruiser, Center-Cockpit, Pilothouse, Deck Salon as valid boat types. Currently that shows 168 boats. I've then removed boats from manufacturers I don't recognize (and don't show up as good in Google searches), and boats that I would consider more coastal (Beneteau, Jeanneau, Hunter, etc.). I remove boats that focus on the quality of the varnish on the exterior (we won't keep it up and I can't do that to a showpiece of a boat). I remove boats that I don't like the shape of (Amel and Mac 26's). I remove boats that cost $350k and I'll have to put $300k into in order to refit, since I'll never ever see that money back, vs a boat that costs $300k-$400k and is almost ready to go (although resale value is VERY low on the consideration list). I remove boats that need a lot of TLC. I remove boats that don't have the 3 cabin layout we're looking for, or have a weird third cabin (perhaps with a compression post or inner forestay piercing through the center of the berth). This usually leaves about 20-25 boats in the entire country that meet our needs. We then have a four page list of criteria we're looking to meet, and we examine the boats in depth against this criteria list.

We actually weren't looking to buy a boat right now. We were trying to make the decision on having one built (which will take a year or so) or buying on the used market. We were in Annapolis, so I figured we'd look at a few boats for the heck of it and we tripped over this HR53. It met almost every single criteria on our 4 page checklist except for ICW capable and a few other odds and ends (you can see part of our checklist here). When that happens, you have to take it seriously!

Thanks for your comments! Bypassing most of the ICW is what we're considering, as is your mention of the limitation in other areas. It seems that once we get out of the islands we'll do OK, but we'll have a long dinghy ride in a lot of areas.
10-15-2007 10:19 AM
labatt Morgan - I appreciate what you are saying. You do realize we're talking about getting a boat for cruising, right? We're putting our stuff in storage, renting our house, and then starting to cruise in June of 2009. We've even talked lately about selling our house and just doing this in perpetuity. When you talk about people buying larger boats just to have a larger boat, and having them sit in their slips all the time - I know that happens. But I'm fairly sure that if someone says they are going out cruising and then buys a larger boat, they'll leave the slip and actually use it.

I've talked extensively with people about smaller boats for our cruise. I absolutely love our Passport 40, but when we go for our cruise our son will be 12 (and almost 6' tall and going through puberty) and our daughter will be 8 (and living every minute of it). I can't see them continuing to sleep head to toe in the aft berth. Every night I have to climb over my wife in our V-Berth to go use the head. I usually end up kneeing her head in the process! The galley is of an excellent size, as is the eating area, but while the chart table is great, you have to sit on the edge of the settee (with no back support) to use it. I can singlehand her when I need to. Could we do our trip in our Passport 40? Sure. Is there any room for privacy or independence on the vessel? Not for a family of four. It's perfectly suited for a couple though!

So that leads us to a bigger boat. Until you get to a 48'+ boat, you don't really get any room for a real third cabin without extensively sacrificing salon space/galley/nav station. Looking at a lot of 48'-55' boats, we don't see many differences with regards to sail forces or handling. With all of the systems intact, the HR53 we're looking at would actually be easier to sail singlehanded than our Passport 40. If we lost electrics, we'd have a problem, but I believe two of us could handle it. That's one thing we'll be looking at during a test sail prior to doing a survey and spending lots of money.

Also, you mentioned boats staying in their slips. One of the reasons we're looking at a boat of this size is so that we can anchor out most of the time and be comfortable. We'll let others stay in their slips.

Morgan - I'll ask you this. To you, is there ANY valid reason to get a 50'+ boat, or do you think the manufacturers stop selling them?

CD- we'll definitely have two dinghies. Number one will be our current inflatable bottom Avon R280 with the 6HP Merc. We'll store that one deflated while on passage. Our primary will be a RIB of some sort (probably an AB, Caribe or another Avon) with a 15HP (or perhaps slightly larger so we can have fun with it AND go fast). We'll keep that one tied down to our foredeck while on passage.

10-15-2007 10:06 AM
JohnRPollard Labatt,

You could do a lot worse than an HR53. The draft would be a bigger concern to me than the mast height. Missing out on the ICW wouldn't bother me in a boat of this size, heck with that much waterline and a good forecast you coud bypass most of the east-coast ICW in just 3-4 days and save yourself weeks of slogging along under power. But having to anchor so far out in the other places you might visit would thrill me a lot less. It wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, but it would give me MUCH pause.

This is a fairly rarified cross section of boats that you're looking at -- one I'm somewhat less familiar with than say the 30-45 foot range. I recognize you've pretty well zeroed in on the HR53 (be sure to ask about that windshield glass issue I mentioned in the other thread), but this is a big investment and if I were looking in this size range there are a few other boats I'd want to compare with at least for a sanity check:

Amel: 54, or Supermaramu 53

Malo: 46 (yes, it's smaller, but in my opinion they are more creative with their interiors than HR).

Najad: 490, again more creative/flexible use of interior space than HR. Optional 6'7" draft.

Morris: Why not give one of our homegrown's a good look. Chuck Paine seems to have been able to get away with much more reasonable draft than HR/German Frers. New might be out of your range, but take a look at some of the used offerings. also

Best of luck with your decision.
10-14-2007 11:34 PM
sailaway21 Nah, maybe you're just nuts.
10-14-2007 11:00 PM
Cruisingdad I would consider and have considered a trawler - even tried to buy one several times but it just was not meant to be. Why?

I enjoy CRUISING. I enjoy sailing. I enjoy anchoring out and gunkholing in the dink (actually, that is my favorite thing). I would have ABSOLUTELY no interest in a large boat if I was not going to cruise/liveaboard. But I have said this many, many times: Cruising/LA versus weekending and vacationing is totally different. I enjoy popping popcorn on a long watch at night. Though I watch very little "tv", I do enjoy the occasional movie. I enjoy sleeping comfortably and showers and having a place I can escape from the kids. I enjoy turning on the air conditioner when it is raining outside and about 85-90 degrees! Now, this is not weekend cruising I am talking about - this is living abord and cruising full time.

When you live on your boat (at least for us) we would opt to motor half the time versus going to weather. It is not that heeling bothers us, but when you LA and heel over 15-20 in seas, all your crap starts banging around and popping out of the shelves and toys go flying and the kids can't play in the floor, etc. Why bother?? For the sake of sailing??? Nah. You are a F/T LA and can sail any time and do sail all the time. It is not worth the hassle. I have met VERY FEW liveaboards that were any different. Of course, the exception to this rule is when you are making a passage. THen you just take what comes to you and you have to deal with it.

I personally do not begrudge labatt for his selectin and size. Cruising/LA to work has to be something of comfort. Comfort is different things for different people. THrowing kids in the mix adds a whole other level people cannot appreciate unless they have/are raising thier children on a boat. THere is no real reason to "grizzly adams" it anymore. I have expressed my concerns about his draft more than his bridge clearance, though both would be a killer for me as the places I enjoy going require under 65 and under 7. However, he is aware of his limitations and will plan appropriately I am sure. He is allowed to carry a larger dink with that boat (or two, as I would suggest) than what I can comforably carry so many of the areas that are unapproachable by his 'home' will be approachable by his 'car'. THe car is one of the most used pieces of equipment... or at least it was for us.

And let's not forget, he is buying one of the finest boats made in the world... well, outside of a Catalina 400, but maybe I am prejudice!!

- CD
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