Bombay Clipper 31
Anybody have any of the Bombay Clipper models?
1980 Bombay Clipper
Really enjoyed the pics of your Clipper it is beautiful. We are in the process of
purchasing one now. We are going to look at it this coming week.
Must admit we do not know much about this particular boat as this week will be the 1st time we have ever seen one.
If possible could you give us a review of its weak and strong points and what you think about your Clipper?
I have read mixed reviews some favorable and some that say she is not good off shore and is slow. We have already put a deposit down sight unseen except for some pics and as I mentioned are going to see it and if we like it sail it home. This trip will take us from New Jersey into the ocean down to the Chesapeake Bay a trip of around 400 miles. Any suggestions you might give would be appreciated.
Take care and thanks for the great pics
Thanks for your kind comments regarding her appearance.
Initially I thought it sailed to wind like a slug probably because I'd spent so much time on more racing oriented boats. My impression has evolved over the years nearly full cirlce after racing her a dozen times and doing quite well even in boat on boat racing against everything from a P-26 to a Catalina 42. Once the handicap is added she is very hard to beat on a windward leeward course. The boat is not what I would call fast or nimble at all though. What I would say is that a feeling of rigidity and stability provides a very confident feel in rougher seas. The boat is easily trimmed and balances very well holding a course without any steering input for long periods of time (5-30 minutes). Being so wide for a 31' boat the shroulds are quite far outboard preventing one from sheeting in a genoa with a small enough angle to be able to sail tight to the wind. With a genny furled or a smaller sail the jib sheets can be re-fed through the rigging much further inboard helping the windward sailing angle substantially. I think everyone wishes their boat sailed faster and pointed higher but it is what it is, short, fat and heavily built.
One important point to keep in mind...my boat is the deeper keel version which is about 5'. The majority of the BC31s I've seen advertised are the shoal keel. I have been told the shoal keel sails very poorly to weather. I do not have first hand experience though.
My boat has a Yanmar 2QM15 which will push me along near hull speed in flat conditions but really struggles when motoring into bigger seas. Most of that falls back into a boat that gets very fat right away past the bow and does not "slice" through the water but plows instead. I find myself motorsailing much more often then motoring which gains 1kt at least and makes for a much more comfortable ride when I have to hurry to an upwind location. A few more horses would be a good idea.
The interior is huge for a 31' vessel and makes for great usable volume on longer trips. The head and cockpit are large as well. Not having 1/4 berths creates very large storage spaces in the lazerettes. The boat really only sleeps 4 adults though because of the layout.
I would not choose a BC31 for frequent offshore work but there are others here with more experience who may be willing to chime in. A short, fat boat with a proportionally large cockpit and a smallish fuel tank are typically not the criteria people wish for when going out to the big water. Also remember you are looking at a boat that is nearly 30yrs old and most everything should have been updated or replaced a couple of times. Would I hestitate to take mine offshore for one crossing or trip? Probably not from a seaworthiness standpoint but I would need to do a multitude of alterations before I was comfortable with everything. There are much better boats for offshore passages, I think. The few times I have been in rougher conditions (10'-16' seas and 30+kts of wind) the boat seemed to have no issues or bad habits at all. It is built like a tank and feels like such when pounding into big waves. There is no shuddering or shaking like that I have grown accustomed to on the J-boats, Hunters, Jeanneaus and Benneteaus that I find myself on much of the time but rather just a very solid thud when hitting large waves.
If you have any other specific quesitons I'd be glad to give my impressions.
Purchasing 31' Bombay Clipper
Thanks for the reply. We (my son and I) enjoyed the insight. The boat we are going to look at Monday morning is a shoal keel with 3' 6" draft.
So ours will not be the same in all respects as yours, but the information proved useful. I imagine in rough seas it will have the same solid feel as yours which will be new to us. We have been sailing a 23' Aquarius with a retractable keel, a very light boat in comparison to this heavyweight. This was our 1st experiance with sailing. Our top speed was 7.3 knots and we were able to sail in light winds. We own a 27' O'Day now and will probably sell it. We only had it for a brief while and decided we did not want to invest much time and money into it because of the condition she is in.
I know we are going to enjoy the roominess of the BC31 as we enjoy taking company on sailing day trips.
If we purchase it and I think we are we will sail her home from Southold New York to our home in the Chesapeake Bay this Friday coming. This will be quite an adventure for us as we have never been on the Ocean before. All our experience is in rivers and the bay. We will be sailing 24 hours a day in shifts the whole time we are in the Ocean. We will go up the Deleware bay to the D&C canal and down the Chesepeake to the Potomac river and into the Wicomoco River and home.
Any suggestions you might have on things that we should absolutely have with us would be appreciated. We have a navigation system and the furthest point from land we will be is 65 miles. The total trip will be about 500 miles straight line.
I am not able to post a picture of our BC31 but will do it soon.
I assume you are having a very good surveyor go over everything before you consider purchase. It might be wise that you mention to your surveyor that you intend on taking off for a 500 mile ocean trip very shortly after purchase. I trust you'll make time to do some "shakedown" trips before heading out the big trip. A daytrip is a much better time to discover a serious issue than when 60 miles offshore.
My biggest suggestion for what you and your son should take with you is...a sailor experienced in ocean crossings. More than gadgets I can think of nothing better than finding someone willing to go along and help with watches who has "been there and done that".
I see you mention that you will have a navigation system along. I strongly suggest having no less than three ways to navigate. A spare hand held GPS could be priceless if things really go bad. I would also want something like a liferaft. A decent dinghy on deck would be better than nothing. An EPIRB or at least a SPOT. A spare handheld VHF. I can go on and on. May I suggest you start a new thread here and ask the whole forum what they would take on a 500 mile nonstop trip on a boat that they have owned for a few days.
Let me know how things go, I am intriguied.
I also have a 31' Bombay Clipper. The boat is very roomy for a boat this size and in my opinion sails well. I also have the 5' draft so can not comment on the shoal keel. I have found the boat to be very sturdy and have had her out in some good winds and waves inside and outside of the San Francisco bay the boat handled it well, I never felt it flex at all just like Farcry said "built like a tank". I have to agree with Farcry's post so I won't repeat what he said. I am a bit nuts so I won't lecture you on taking a boat you just bought on such a long trip. The boat will make it, seems they usually do, it's the crew who bails first. I am not at my boat so can't post any pics. I live aboard and love my boat very much with all the room and comfort these boats have for their size. Please keep us posted on the trip and how you think the boat did.
Bombay Clipper Purchase
Well we made the trip from La Plata MD. where we live to Southold NY yesterday. A trip of almost 400 miles one way. When we arrived we were shown the Bombay Clipper that we had with great anticipation been waiting to see. The boat was nothing like in the pictures. Sad to say it was a complete and utter mess. It was full of water and smelled of mold and mildew.
The way it had come to be in this state of neglect we soon learned from the people at the marina. The doctor who had bought the BC31 had high hopes of restoring the BC31 and was in the process of sailing slowly down to Florida where his home is.
There he was going to fix it up and move it over into the Bahama Islands.
He and his wife were going to vacation on her. Both are doctors.
In a bad rainstorm he was looking for safe harbor and pulled into Plum Island.
This is a goverment owned island where they do experimental work on disease and its effect on animals. He was promptly put under arrest by armed guards with AK 47 Rifles. His boat and he were towed to the marina where we went to see the boat. While towing the boat the company Sea Tow pulled it at greater than hull speed and water got into the boat and flooded it. Ruining the batteries and doing other damage.
The Doctor was taken to the hospital. The people at the marina didn't know what was wrong with him. Maybe a mild heart attack or something. As soon as he was checked out of the hospital he headed for home in Florida.
He didn't get far before he was involved in a near fatal accident. A piece of tile hit him in the head and did some damage that he is slowly recovering from. To add insult to injury his wife has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and is already losing her vision and has had to quit her job. Needless to say he left Southold NY and has lost interest in the boat. The towing company didn't even close the hatches so all the rain and weather we have been having has made the situation worse.
We closed the boat up for him and turned around and headed for home carrying all the supplies and the 3 marine batteries we had purchased for the boat and drove the 400 miles back.
We were looking forward to owning a BC31 and thought this was an excellant oppurtunity to get one at a great price. We have decided to hang on to our 27' O'Day continue to customize it the way we like and continue our search for the boat of our dreams next year.
Its such a crazy story that I didn't even want to reply to your request to keep you posted but there it is. I guess the lesson is make it easy on yourself and hire a boat surveyor next time to do the leg work, Or look closer to home.
Sorry for being so windy and thanks so much for all the interest and advise.
Wow, sounds like a good move to walk away on that one. Thanks for letting us know what happen. I feel for the people and the poor boat being towed so poorly and not looked after. It sure seems to happen alot nowadays with nice boats left to rot. I have a Westsail 32 next to me that just breaks my heart to look at it. My all time favorite boat just sitting for years and years and the owner has never even hosed it off, what a shame.
Beautiful photos, sad sad story about the failed trip! Better luck next time!
We (the Sea Scouts) just were just given a nice old Bombay Clipper (shoal keel) and I'm wondering about the jib sheet rigging...where should it come into the deck at (i.e between which stanchions) and has anyone considered moving the truck-rail out to the edge of the hull? I realize she's fat (in a lovely way) but the jib sheet geometry just puzzles me...any suggestions?
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