Originally Posted by contracorriente
Hi Bombay Clipper 31 owners!
I'm considering buying a Bombay Clipper 31 and wanted to see if you could give me more insight on the boat. I will learn to sail with this boat, I only have experience being a hostess on a a charter boat.
I looked at this boat the other day and I fell in love with it because of the roominess inside.. everything seems to be my size. The boat is in Panama where I live so I will spend the next few years learning to sail in the Panama-Colombia coast. Do you consider this a good beginner boat? I hear you on the tank look and FEEL. But do you think that learning to sail on this boat will better prepare me for sleeker, faster, more 'navigable' boats in the future? OR NOT? The mast is so far forward, what is your experience maneuvering it?
I don't think i'll be able to single hand for a few years, but do you single hand this boat? I'm 5.1", is it realistic that I could single hand it one day? The boat I looked at is in really good shape. The only thing I need to look at now is osmosis in the hull. Any other suggestions of things to look at knowing how yours has aged over time?? The sale price is great. Is this a deal I can't miss or should I look for other beginner boats? Oh and what do you do for a fridge? you have one? if so where? THANKS SO MUCH FOR ANY INSIGHT YOU CAN OFFER ME!!!
FarCry - the pictures of your boat make me want to buy mine fast and make it look as good as yours.
Let me reply to your post in order
Do you consider this a good beginner boat? I learned to sail on it. The guy that bought it from me learned how to sail on it. It is very forgiving, solidly built and simple. I feel those are are good features for learning on.
But do you think that learning to sail on this boat will better prepare me for sleeker, faster, more 'navigable' boats in the future? OR NOT? I believe that if you have a solid sailing foundation, you can step on nearly anything with sails and make it go. As you get it going you can then start "tweaking" things and see if the boat goes faster, closer to the wind, heals less or whatever else your goal might be. Because it's a robust small vessel, the inevitable mistakes should be less painful to the boat and your pocketbook. I'm not sure what you mean by navigable. Far Cry could turn around in about her length with proper use of the rudder and prop walk. As far as faster... That's a term I really trip on. A BC31 by the numbers should be barely faster than a snail. In reality, once I had some more skills and racing experience, I regularly beat "faster" boats to the same destination in races. That is boat on boat, when the gigantic racing handicap was added, I really did well. I see no downside to learning on a BC31 and then moving on to something bigger. Before I forget, Far Cry was the deeper draft version drawing about 5'. Most BC31s I've seen for sale are shoal draft and 3.5'. I literally flew by one of those that was on the same tack I was on. So keep in mind my comments are based on Far Cry.
The mast is so far forward, what is your experience maneuvering it? I guess I never noticed that it was proportionally that much farther forward than other sloops of that size and vintage. I thought it maneuvered great. Backing into my slip at the end of a trip was a white knuckle experience the first 10 times until I learned to not spare the throttle and build up a lot of speed before shifting into neutral. She then behaved very civilized. There are a lot of places I could easily maneuver a BC31 that would really be tough on my Freedom 39 and I am paid to put boats in slips in a windy place!
I don't think i'll be able to single hand for a few years, but do you single hand this boat? I'm 5.1", is it realistic that I could single hand it one day? I didn't single hand very often for a variety of reasons. One, my wife or friends always wanted to go! Two, I never ran the lines back to the cockpit to make it easier to single hand. Three, I never had an autopilot installed so it was kind of a dance to getting everything just right so I could dash to the mast and pull the main up. I think it's realistic that a 5'1" person could single hand a BC31 if, the boat was setup to do so. The guy who bought Far Cry had never sailed a day when he bought the boat. He is a smart guy and a fast learner. I took him out maybe 10 times over the course of a month after the purchase and he has been single handing it ever since. I think with proper instruction a person can be taught to do most any skill.
The only thing I need to look at now is osmosis in the hull. Any other suggestions of things to look at knowing how yours has aged over time?? Far Cry had maybe six 1" diameter blisters that I did have fixed. Osmosis...depending upon who you listen to, can either be ignored or is going to sink the boat tomorrow! I personally wouldn't get too excited on a BC31 because the hull is solid glass that is 1-1.5" thick. I fixed mine because I had just stripped off 30 years of bottom paint to the bare gelcoat. It seemed like the right thing to do. If I hadn't stripped off the built up layers of paint, she would still have blisters and I wouldn't have lost a moments sleep over it. My boat was structurally still in excellent condition. There were no soft spots on the deck. I would strongly suggest you have a surveyor and a rigger go over the boat. It's old!!! Who knows what has been updated or what needs to be replaced? I can't provide any insight as to what problems to look for as I didn't really have any other than cosmetic.
Is this a deal I can't miss or should I look for other beginner boats? That would be like me telling you to buy a specific car from the 1970s. Is it a good deal? Maybe, maybe not. You need to hire a professional or at least a trusted knowledgeable friend to look things over for you. If the boat is truly in good shape, I think it's an excellent starter boat. It's not like it's going to depreciate any further if you decide to sell it!!!
Oh and what do you do for a fridge? you have one? I used the factory installed icebox for the first few years in the galley until I fell into a great deal on a barely used refrigeration system. It was a one day install into the existing icebox and was possibly the 2nd best improvement I made on the boat, the best was the paint job! There are all kinds of retrofit options for an icebox or even an Engel 12v fridge could be a sufficient option for you to consider.
Thank you for your kind comments regarding Far Cry. She still looks pretty.
Good luck and let me know how things go.