SailNet Community - Reply to Topic
Thread: Buying first boat Reply to Thread
Send Trackbacks to (Separate multiple URLs with spaces) :
Post Icons
You may choose an icon for your message from the following list:

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

  Additional Options
Miscellaneous Options

Click here to view the posting rules you are bound to when clicking the
'Submit Reply' button below

  Topic Review (Newest First)
12-09-2010 12:14 PM
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
While you are entitled to your opinion, I would ask what your credentials are? Jeff_H is a long-time member, moderator and his credentials are fairly well known.
My credentials are in me owning and sailing my 1976 S&J 45. I am only going off what I have expirenced first hand with my own boat that I usually sail alone. Jeff H contradicts himself several times just to reinforce his badmouthing of a vessel he obviously has no actual expirence with. It's too bad people are willing to believe anything someone says just because they have been "a long time member & moderator". As far as I'm concearned, his "credentials" might as well come directly out of that stack of sailing magazines beside his armchair.
12-09-2010 12:04 PM
wkeenan78 After reading a bit more of Jeff H's , I have come up with a boat that fits all his criteria as a "good boat" The Gulfstar 36' center cockpit fits his description perfectly. If you ever have the misfortune of sailing one of these in a situation other than a coastal daysail or spending the night at anchor, you will yearn for just about anything else. But according to Jeff H, it has everything a "good boat" should have. If your S&J 45 has so much weather helm that your wife can't take the helm, you should have it hauled to remove all the seaweed and crabtraps that must be attached to one side of the rudder. It does take a certain amount of skill and knowledge to successfully sail any vessel, on the same hand, any boat can be set up wrong and unbalanced. For instance, a powerboat can have ample HP but the wrong size prop and become lethargic and miserable to drive. That does not mean that it is a bad boat, just that it's set up wrong. Good luck with that "Gulfstar 36 cc" Jeff H. I wish you fair winds and following seas because you're going to need them.
12-09-2010 11:52 AM
sailingdog While you are entitled to your opinion, I would ask what your credentials are? Jeff_H is a long-time member, moderator and his credentials are fairly well known.
12-09-2010 10:41 AM
wkeenan78 I just want to say I dissagree with Jeff H 98%. I own a Starrett & Jenks 45' with a sloop rig and am very impressed with her. To say she is tender and wet is a complete joke and just shows lack of knowledge of this vessel, she has a 48% ballast ratio and over 6' draft. She holds tons of sail area, sails to windward nicely, performs wonderfully in 3' to 5' seas with 20 to 25 knots of wind, cruises smoothly at 5+ knots in 10 knot wind on a reach, 2 to 4 knots of speed in a 5 to 8 knot breeze with her 492sf main and 672 sf drifter. She is the only factory finished S&J 45 I have ever heard of. As far as "being lightly built by the standards of the day" goes, every one knows that boats were generly overbuilt in that era because the lack of knowledge about how strong and durabul (sp) fiberglass was, if anything, I would say her "light" construction was ahead of her time. Charlie Morgan did not design crappy boats and if not for the CCA ruld change, this boat would have been a real race winner. She is a very qualified blue water, world cruiser. Interior config and craftsmanship does tend to vary greatly from very good to very scary. This is one of the most underpriced blue water boats on the used market. If you are looking at one, really scrutinize the interior but know all the S&J 45 owners I have talked to will dissagree with Jeff H. However, there are lemons in every batch so always hire a reputable surveyer.
08-14-2006 01:31 PM
Jeff_H Seabreeze,

I am afraid that I don't understand your point. With regards to the first partial quote, of course, it is hard to say whether he will ultimately like this boat better than some of his other options at the time. My only point in that sentence was since he has little or no experience with boats of this size and type to which to compare the Bristol 29.9, some of the other equal or less expensive options which were better equipped, better maintained and upgraded, and more rounded designed boats to begin with may have worked better for him in the long run. I did not mean to suggest that he would not enjoy his boat.

I don't know ho wmuch you know about this fellow or the process we went through but over a fairly long period of time, I acted as a sounding board for this Gent in his search for a boat that met his needs. I provided second opinions, clarifications, references to other sources of information, copies of original literature, and alternative suggestions in response to a long list of questions. I met and looked at one boat with him that he had concerns about.

He and I went through a long process not all that dissimilar to the process that I have gone through with dozens of other folks, sometimes as many as a dozen a year, some of whom like Willaim who had some experience, but not a lot with the boat type in question, and others who are just plain new to the sport.

It was a process in which literally a several dozen boats were considered from perhaps 10 to 15 manufacturers. Over the course of his search, we discussed Willaim's goals and preferences in great detail. We exchanged ideas on items that he had read. We discussed theory and particulars. We discussed things that could be done to optimize some of the boats that he was considering and the relative costs involved. We discussed the good and the bad news on each boat, both from his viewpoint and my own experience. Ultimately, we narrowed his search down to five or six boats and he bought one of them.

Along the way, between, his readings, and discussions with me and others, I think that the fellow in question learned a lot and refined his goals, expectations and taste regarding what appealed to him visually.

I consider this a very successful process all around. I enjoyed meeting William and helping him along in his search. The process eliminated boats that probably would not have suited his objectives very well, such as the Bristol 32 or a Vanguard. The process ultimately steered him to a decision that I think was a reasonable one. The fact that the boat he bought wasn't the boat that I would thought better suited him is irrelevant from my point of view. He was buying the boat not me. From the criteria that he had given me, all of the boats on that short list were good boats in their own way. That seems appropriate to me. (For what it is worth, as he voiced them, his goals and criteria for sellecting this boat are very different that my own would be if I were buying a boat of that size and budget and so almost none of the boats on the list would have been a boat that I would buy for myself, they seemed to make sense for him)

I never, ever claim to be a mind reader. I listened to what the fellow told me and I made suggestions. The gentleman in question had very pragmatic concerns and so from a pragmatic point of view his choice made less sense to me than some of the other choices, but as I said at the start of the sentence that you chose to partially quote, "we all buy the boats that speak to us", and "the Bristol 29.9 clearly spoke to the gent in question". I don't see the problem.

As to your last point, in the last email that I had from William, we discussed me joining him for a sail; to coach him how to sail the boat short-handed and perhaps look at options to improve the boat for single-handing. Unfortunately I became quite ill about that time which cut into my sailing time around the time that he bought the boat so it hs not happened as of yet. I still hope to hear from him again, to see the boat, and to do some sailing together.

I just don't see where the problem lies.

08-12-2006 05:06 PM
seabreeze_97 "but that does not mean that he would not have enjoyed the other boats equally or better and since he has no real point of reference, would not have found the other boats much better suited to his long term goals."

It doesn't mean the opposite either. Only that person, in retrospect can answer that question. And to actually do that, one must step off the dock onto some sort of boat, your advice not withstanding.

"I am clueless as to why he chose that boat over the better maintained and updated choices that were out there at the time."
Exactly. There is no way you could possibly know what's right for him, since, unless you've figured out the Vulcan mind-meld, you cannot truly know his thoughts and motivations.

People are often impressed with pages of information, regardless of their level of comprehension. It doesn't mean the question has been answered. A person could come into a perfectly good boat, only to have you convince them it's useless or outright dangerous because it follows a for you don't like.
That's where it gets sticky, because you let your opinion of what's best for someone else get in the way. That's what incites others to come in and say, "Now wait a minute......."

Instead of just redirecting people, or flat turning them off, why not offer advice on how to ease the difficulties you've experienced on a particular boat since some will disregard your wave-offs anyway?
08-12-2006 11:23 AM
Jeff_H Oh yeah, with regards to the gentleman that I advised against the Bristol 29.9, I did so in the context of his search criteria and the other options that he had available. His goals were to initially cruise the Chesapeake but ultimately have a boat that he could take offshore to New England and Bermuda. We had located several boats that I thought were much better choices than the IOR era Bristol 29.9, most of which were CCA era boats or MORC boats of that same general era. To me the 29.9 was a heavily compromised design with a tightly pinched transom and contorted hull sections done to beat the IOR measurement procedures.

The boats that I recommended were generally the same price or less than the boat that he bought and in some cases were far better equipped. These other options included a really nice Bristol 34, a Tartan 34 that was beautifully restored, updated, and maintained by the dean of Tartan 34-dom, and which had no money spared in optimizing it for offshore or coastal use, and a couple really nicely set up Tartan 30's which I counsider to be better boats all around than the Bristol 29.9 in question, especially given this individual's goals. For what ever reason the 29.9 spoke to him, and in the end we all buy the boats that appeal to us, but from any pragmatic standpoint, I am clueless as to why he chose that boat over the better maintained and updated choices that were out there at the time. When people ask me for advice I can only give them my best advice. I do not mean it to say that there is no other course that they can follow. In this individual's case, he has had the boat around a month and used her on the Chesapeake. I am glad that he is enjoying the boat, but that does not mean that he would not have enjoyed the other boats equally or better and since he has no real point of reference, would not have found the other boats much better suited to his long term goals.

Again, respectfully,
08-12-2006 11:09 AM
Jeff_H I will start with the topic of the original post (and the last point raised in your last post). The original poster specific questions, "Is this a well built boat? How do they perform? Are they hard to handle?" and at the heart of it my comments were aimed at addressing those questions. I included additional commentary to explain my possition.

Perhaps to be more helpful I would should have suggested that, if J &S want a similar priced, well-built, full keeled or long keeled, easily handled, that offer similar space down below, a similar layout, in a more manageable package they should look at smaller boats with a similar waterline length, perhaps they should look at a boat like the S&S designed Hughes Northstar 40, CSY 41, Gulfstar 41, Moody 39, Tartan TOCK, or Whitby 42 for example.

When I say that the Morgan 45 was a CCA Rule beater (or that any CCA era boat design was corrupted by the racing rule) I am referring to several specific aspects of the CCA rule that compromise the sailing ability from the standpoint of motion comfort, seaworthiness, carrying capacity, and performance.

That definition of the CCA rule ("considered length as the basis for the rating and then had adjustments for beam, draft, displacement, and sail area, plus correction factors for stability and propeller.") is a little to terse to explain the issue. For example, under the CCA rule length was defined at the waterline, and not at the length on deck. The CCA Rule over penalized waterline length far more harshly than the real life advantage of having the additional length. There was a lopsided advantage to building a boat with as short a waterline length as you possibly could. A few feet of waterline length might give you an 18 to 21 second a mile rating change but only affect your real speed 12 to 15 seconds a mile. Changes to the rule after Finesterre made the advantage of an excessively short waterline even greater. To beat the rule, CCA era boats with racing intentions reach a point where boats like the Morgan 45, had a waterline length that was 2/3 or less of its overall length. It is important to note that cruising boats of that era, traditional sailing working watercraft, and even modern cruising oriented boats all had waterline lengths that were somewhere around 85% (or more) of their lengths on deck.

When you look at studies of seaworthiness and motion comfort, both in model testing, in studying actual storms, and in instrumented examinations of actual boats, to one degree or another, they all point towards waterline length as being a prime determinant of a boat's seaworthiness and motion comfort. Obviously, there are other factors as well, but no one factor somes up as consistently as waterline length, with the possible exception of vertical center of gravity relative to the vertical center of buoyancy.

Which brings us to the next area in which the Morgan 45 was a rule beater. In order to reduce the modifier for stability (which was measured by hanging a weighted in a bucket of water and then measuring the movement when a weight of a known quantity was moved a known distance athwartships) the beam of the late CCA boats were purposely reduced below what would have been considered a moderate beam for its day. To beat the penalty for stability, and draft designers produced boats that were particularly tender. Short waterline lengths and narrow beams tend to produce boats with small waterline planes which in turn produced deep canoe bodies. This makes for a boat that again is compromised from what is ideal in terms of seaworthiness and motion comfort. For although some of these boats like the original Morgan 45 carried lots of very dense ballast moderately deeply, the distance between the center of buoyancy and the center of gravity was quite small compared to what was typical in cruising boats of that era and more modern craft designed for offshore use.

It is true, as I have experienced and other CCA era boats will note, at a certain point of heel, as the topsides are buried in the water, the boats seem to stiffen up. This occurs because the as these narrow beam, deep canoe body boats heel, pushing the topsides into the water quickly moves the center of buoyancy outboard and begins to generate a lot of form stability. The short coming with that is you end up with a boat that has wide roll angles due to its high center of gravity relative to its vertical center of buoyancy and a boat with a relatively quick motion when heeled due to its high form stability in the heeled postion. When coupled with the propensity towards pitching, it makes for a boat with poor motion comfort compared to boats that were designed as cruising boats.

The last and possibly most significant aspect of CCA rule beating is what it did to sail plans. Prior to the CCA rule, small boats that were designed as cruisers, race boats, and that were designed as working watercraft, generally had either sloop rigs with big mainsails and small jibs (oft times multiple small jibs). But the CCA rule (for reasons explained in other posts) chose to only penalize mainsail area, without even measuring headsail or mizzen areas.

As a result the standing sail areas were greatly reduced to historically low, SA/D's. This meant that CCA era boats went to untaxed, very large overlapping headsails over come their small standing sail plans. Large overlapping headsails are just plain harder to handle. You are right that you can go to smaller overlap jibs, but when you do the already poor light air performance of these boats drops further. In the case of the Starratt Jenks, you can modify the rigs to make them better handling and beef up the steering to reduce the loads, and add bigger winches to make the headsails easier to handle, (and I aluded to that in my answer citing the Owner who added a bowsprit, and by noting that prior owners may have modified their boats to correct short-comings) but the point is, in their more normal form, these are not easy to handle boats, and that was the question. And a big part of the reason that these are not easily handled boats comes from design compromises made to beat the CCA rule.

I grew up sailing CCA era boats and continue to sail on them to this day. I get to compare them side by side to other designs that predate, and post date their period. I don't have a bias against the CCA rule per se but I am a big fan of boats that are designed to sail well, which in my opinion generally means boat designs that were not compromised for any arbitrary rule. CCA boats have their own sailing aethetic and are fine for coastal cruising, but in my opinion, given the global set of choices out there, they are not particularly ideal for anything, which is why I use the term obsolete.

08-12-2006 09:36 AM
JandS We appreciate all the information. Sure didn't mean to start any heated debates, but you all told us exactly what we needed to know. I do have to agree with the very last statement made tho. It would be better to have sailed a "beater" than to have never sailed at all. But we'll be walking away from this one and our search continues. Thanks again...

J and S
08-12-2006 12:41 AM
seabreeze_97 I'm still trying to get what you mean by "rule beater." From my frame of reference, that would mean they were successful at skirting the rules of the day and winning, but in the examples I have seen you apply this term to, you state the boats were not good boats, not successful. So how were they beating the rules?

The CCA form "considered length as the basis for the rating and then had adjustments for beam, draft, displacement, and sail area, plus correction factors for stability and propeller."

So, an example of what would seem to me to be a rule beater would be a certain 40ft fiberglass boat that used a heavy steel pipe for the structural keel, thus reducing actual ballast and receiving a nice ballast credit in the process, as well as a heavy displacement credit...and was very successful because of it. That's a rule beater. It didn't even have to break the rules to win, just exploited them to best advantage.

Other examples: "There were many other innovative gambits. Ray Hunt sailed a sloop as a catboat by not setting any headsails and did quite well. Bill Luders sailed Storm without any mainsail and also won his share. I designed a 33-foot schooner, Ingenue, which was rated with a small Bermudian foresail, which she rarely set. Instead, she raced with a huge "fisherman staysail" that set on the foremast sail track, completely filled the space between the masts and overlapped the mainsail like a genoa jib. She gained quite a bit of silver, too, particularly in races where there was a fair amount of offwind work."

That also touches on another statement you throw out there when you say the boats were dependent on 170-180% genoas. I've just cited two examples of boats built with a particular rig in mind (shall we say, dependent on that rig), but then didn't compete with the rig deployed as built....and won! Dependent? Sail tech has come a long way, and under PHRF, those boats now use 150's. You know this. And with the right skipper, they can, and do still win. So what happened? Did the boats kick their dependence? Maybe that's what was used then because it was all they could do to get a given level of performace, but dependent? Re-rigging and buying new sails is all part of it. Can we say, "Change the setup." No setup is cast in stone.

On the leverage issue. You're citing examples of boats..., who knows how well they were built? Maybe the whiners were wimps. Maybe they were too cheap to buy a decent sized wheel. Sure, maybe they were set up wrong. It also goes to the sailing they're looking at. Mild weekends? Not too much to handle there. Island hopping and stormy weather? That might be too much without some changes. Who knows?

I don't disagree that it probably isn't the best choice, definitely not for most people. However, maybe the guy leaps steep learning curves in a single bound. You never know. I do better jumping in over my head, maybe he does too.

How, exactly, is it the S-J 45 was a rule beater? And what, exactly, does that have to do with someone getting their first boat? He didn't say he was looking for his first racing boat.

Oh, and on the keel issue. I wasn't disputing what you said about different configurations of keels being compromises of one or more designs, resulting in better or worse performance. I was pointing out that your "for the record" description was inadequate. If you followed the link I posted, you see that there are several variations on the full keel, and how they vary from incarnations of the fin, in shape, length, width, leading edge, etc.

Look, heeling in a CCA boat is good. And it's awfully fun. They get better as they heel. That's how they were designed. It's not just my feeling that heeling is good. You want best speed outta one, it's on an ear. It's a difference in execution, that's all. I'm not saying it's better than newer designs that have much stiffer initial stability, but there are those who don't think you're sailing unless the boat is heeling, and I'm one of them. That's a difference in choice. You don't like heeling, get a newer, wider boat...or a very heavy, relatively wide old boat. I'm not blind to changes in sailboats. I get a little envious every time I think about some newer design surfing along when conditions permit. Mine can surf....down the back of a 30ft wave. Otherwise, nope! I start thinking about things like retractable hydrofoils, but that's not gonna happen. Such is life. I can incorporate improvements, and am doing so. I'm not here trying to say only "Old School" can get it right, but it is how we got to this point, and there's lots of knowledge there. But really, these guys whining about having to reef....isn't that why they're there...the reef points, I mean. Come on already. Sounds like they're complaining about the work involved in sailing. I wonder who told them sailing in 30 knots would be as easy as sailing in 5-10 knots? Maybe they should take up something easier, or get good at avoiding heavy air.

Face it. If someone wants a boat, no amount of advice will change their mind. I know of a certain new owner of a certain Bristol 29, or was it 29.9 that you advised strongly against. Damned if he didn't go and buy it anyway, and by all accounts I've seen, is happy he did it. He's active in the community and in the boat. If we were really gonna direct people to an easier-to-sail setup for beginners, everyone would have to buy some little 14ft dinghy to start with, then move up from there after so many hours, just like aircraft pilots....and they'd have to have a license. Here's an idea, why not preface advice on boats like this with a disclaimer. "Personally, I do not like the sailing characteristics of CCA boats. That being said...yada, yada, yada." Something like that. I dunno man, when you get on the subject, it reeks of revulsion for the CCA class in particular (though not exclusively), and I'm not the only one who's noticed.

Bottom line. It'd be great if we could all have nice wide-body, roomy unsinkable, super-stable boats. Not gonna happen. In the real world, opportunities came as they will, imperfect most of the time. Maybe this is a golden chance to get in on sailing for the fellow. After all, it is better to have sailed a "beater" than to have never sailed at all.
This thread has more than 10 replies. Click here to review the whole thread.

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome