C&C 30' - good for a beginner?
I'm new to sailing, just learning the basics and having fun with a local sailing club. I'm in the market for my first boat and am seriously considering a 1978 C&C 30'. I live in Oregon, will primarily be learning on the Columbia river, but would love to take some trips from Astoria to the Vancouver Islands as I gain experience and confidence.
Also, I'd like a boat I can single handle because my boyfriend just isn't as enthusiastic as I am and I know there will be days I can't find crew. Any and all advice is welcome.
I forgot to mention, I'm very excited to learn how to race. That's why the C&C is so attractive to me.
I owned a '76 C&C 30 back when it was not quite still new and I think the model is a wonderful design, and an excellent boat. It sails well in all conditions, Ok in light air but outstanding in stronger winds. Many C&C buffs consider the 30 mark I the stiffest boat C&C ever designed. A great all around PHRF boat, yet a good cruiser. If you get a good one, you wil never be disappointed about your choice...after many other boats and 30 years I'd be happy to buy mine back.
Do it! First I'd suggest that you continue your sailing lessons, even getting an instructor to take you out on your boat. It's not too much especially with the trips you'd like to take. You'll love it! My first boat was an Islander 28 and I had a great time on it.
Not to sound like a sexist or stereotyping, I suggest learning as much in maintenance and upkeep as you can along with learning to sail. Being an inexperienced female sailor, and one it sounds might be pursuing her new interest "solo", you'll be prey to being taken advantage of when it comes to having repairs done. Now, if you're capable of doing or learning to do your own boat repairs, then disregard this post. Not that you have to know "how" to repair a boat, but know when a repair is warranted and hopefully having an idea to the extent of labor or cost involved will minimize the chance of getting shafted. This comes from a professional mechanic- not that I've taken advantage of people, but I've seen first hand how even men, as well as women, pay exorbenant (sp?) amounts of money for repairs, and even often unneeded ones, and not just on vehicles, but home repairs, appliances, you name it.
I say this because you mentioned a '78 model, which obviously has some age on it. Putting the whole "this is what my budget can afford" discussion aside, older boats need attention. Nothing wrong with buying an older vessel, just ensure you might one that's been well maintained. After all, you want to spend your time sailing and not fixing.
In my shopping and researching used boats, I'm discovering practically everything in the boat world cost a premium, except maybe the initial purchase of a boat (used of course). Thankfully, I have a skillset where I can perform my own repairs, should I choose to. Frankly, I don't want to have to deal w/ repairs to begin with, so my search criteria will have "little needed maintenance" high on the list.
Just food for thought. The trips between Astoria and Vancouver sound lovely.
There are a lot of good boat choices in the used market for single handing. All of them will sleep 3 or 4, when you want company.
I once crewed on a classic C&C 30, back in the day. Fine sailing boat.
I could suggest some others to consider, and most would be shorter & easier to handle when getting in and out of moorages.
Are you an OWSA member? Lots of good advice and learning opportunities thru that group.
I believe that our former boat for a very happy decade, a super-equipped Niagara 26, "Quicksilver", is coming back onto the market. My wife once took that boat on the annual May Ladies Cruise...
Another PDX area sailor gal bought that mint condition C&C 27, "Balliwick", that's been around here for decades. Great design, and one of the best-maintained 27's around, too.
I have no financial or personal interest in any boat, BTW.
Let us know how your search goes. Happy Hunting!
Thanks for the feedback everyone!
I'm definitely continuing my education through OWSA and taking private lessons. I'm not going solo on this mission, my dad has volunteered to help maintain the boat even though he's not that interested in sailing. (He wants to motor around the river in it and go fishing while I'm at work!) He has an engineering background and even spent a few years building fiberglass boats so he's not a total rookie like me. He's also my second set of eyes on a pre-survey. I'm going to learn a lot about upkeep from him.
Of concern to me about this boat, which supposedly was well maintained for years by the original owners, is that it hasn't been kept up for the last 5 years. The bottom is littered with shells. (It's in Edmonds, WA.) I know it has at least one large blister at the waterline, and I'm assuming many more. Of course I'm not going to buy without a survey, but how concerned should I be about this?
Learn to sail on the smallest boat you feel comfortable on. You will learn a lot more this way. Consider crewing on racing dinghys and you will learn a lot more about what makes a sailboat go. Consider renting bigger boats to find out what works best for you. I'd be leeery about the Edmonds boat as you may find yourself in an extensive boat reconstruction project instead of sailing. I've found that well cared for boats sell for not mch more than abused boats. Owners who truely love thier boats put in lots more than they'll ever expect to get out of the boat in resale... that's just the way it is for some of us. These boats are ready to go.
Bottom line... learn on a small boat. Get a cruiser that you feel OK with and one that you can go out and sail without "upgrading".
If you're looking at older C&Cs you should browse through C&C Yachts - C&C Photo Album & Resource Center
(its not a photo album)
This website is a treasure trove of boat reviews, designer notes, specs and technical info, old brochures, plus, plus, plus on C&C yachts.
One particularly interesting chart I came across shows the relative stiffness/tenderness of all of the 70s and 80s vintage C&C designs. It's in there somewhere.
Happy boat hunting, there can't be a dryland activity which is more fun than boat hunting!
Reply to Olson34
Thanks for the advice on the C&C 30. I just joined OWSA this year and I'm almost finished with their sailing basics class. I've been boat shopping for a few months now and as a beginner, can use all the advice I can get. You mentioned the Niagra 26', do you know when it might come on the market again? It would be interested in checking it out. I see that your homepage is an Ericson site. I've been eyeing the Ericson 32' at River City, Slow Ride. Do you know anything about that boat?
I think that the C&C 30 was a decent boat for its day and a reasonable first boat, although, not that easy to handle for a 30 footer. In a general sense, these were boats that required very large overlapping genoas to sail in light to moderate winds (roughly the same size as the genoas on my 38 footer) but with deck hardware that was not as high a mechanical advantage as I would want if I were handlng these big jibs single-handedly.
Unless you are very physicallly fit, since you expect to do a lot of single handing, I would try to find a fractionally rigged design such as a J-28, J-30 which will be much easier to handle short handed.
The other thing about the C&C 30 is that they were marginally competitive as race boats when new, but are very hard boats to race competatively, requiring large sail inventories and strong crews to race well. Again a more modern design may be better suited if you intend to race.
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