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post #21 of 38 Old 01-03-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

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MarkofSeaLife> May I ask the reason you say a shoal keel is a wasted boat?
Nope, not until you tell me about the disparity in the boats


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post #22 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

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May I ask the reason you say a shoal keel is a wasted boat?
Selecting draft parameters are as personal a choice as chosing what colour of pin striping you like.

A deep fin keel will offer better sailing performance in deep open water, while a shoal keel will offer greater access near shore. If you like to get into the out of the way bays, lagoons, creeks and rivers- away from the crowded anchorages, a shoal keel will let you do that, it's one of the reasons multi hulls are so popular. They go places other boats can't, but they're expensive, which leaves many of the rest of us looking to other options.

Take 2 hypothetical boats for comparison. A full keel with a 4'6" draft and a 6' fin keel. The skipper of a 4'6" keel might be satisfied with 12" of under keel clearance because he knows if he does touch bottom, the boat can take it. The guy with a 6' fin keel on the other hand might look for 2 1/2' of under keel clearance because he is worried about damaging keel bolts even with a light grounding.

Now we have effective drafts of 5'6" and 8'6". If you are in an anchorage with a shallow bottom gradient, say 1℅, that would mean you would need to anchor 300' further out from shore with one boat than with another. Many anchorages simply won't allow this to happen and you will be forced into the big deeper anchorages with the other big cruising boats. Your choice of permanent marinas will be severely restricted by draft as well, bigger deeper marinas can be more crowded, more expensive with longer wait lists.

In your original post I read you were looking at cruising South Florida, the ICW and Maybe the Great Lakes. If it was me, those would be 3 places I would be very concerned about draft and would spec the boat to a maximum draft. 5' is probably the maximum draft I would consider, but I would strive for less. The ICW is well known for shoaling, South Florida has lots of thin water and typically access to the great lakes for cruisers is via depth controlled canals in the NYS canal system. If you go too deep, it could mean adding literally thousands of miles to your trip to access via the St Lawrence or force you outside on the ICW, which you may or may not be cool with.

I don't have an opinion on the 3 boats in your original post, I just wanted to illustrate, there is nothing wrong with, in fact it can be quite prudent to, spec a boat to maximum draft, especially if you like hanging out in thin water.
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Last edited by Arcb; 01-04-2017 at 05:56 AM.
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post #23 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

I agree with Mark that there is something quite odd about the three boats you are comparing. As he says, if a Tartan 37 is in your price range the Catalina 34 seems an odd comparison unless there is something else going on.

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A shoal keel is a wasted boat.
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A deep fin keel will offer better sailing performance in deep open water, while a shoal keel will offer greater access near shore.
I don't entirely agree with either Mark or Arcb. I would say "it all depends."

There are a number of ways to reduce the draft of a boat during design. All have their drawbacks. The drawbacks get more significant as draft is reduced more aggressively. Bob Johnson has pushed the envelope pretty far with his three-digit Island Packets, for example. For his target market they are great boats; as sailing craft they are somewhat mediocre. A conservative Scheel keel (which is a kind of shoal keel, note capitalization as Scheel is someone's name) is somewhat more expensive but has trivial impact on sailing performance. Then there are wing keels which are too disturbingly similar to anchors for my taste, centerboards, daggerboards, and lifting keels which come with additional moving parts and therefore maintenance.

Once the boat is built you get what you have unless you have very deep pockets.

Some boats are so close in performance that you can't tell the difference. I can think of one hull in particular where the 7' fin and 6' Scheel keel have identical polars. On another with fin, centerboard, and wing options the polar charts look like completely different boats. Sweeping generalizations that are accurate are hard to come by.

I do disagree with @Arcb on two points.

First, in shallow water most boaters slow down (an HR54 in Orust being an exception that sticks with me). A boat that can't take a grounding regardless of keel, especially in the cruising grounds you list, has other problems.

With respect to shallow cruising grounds the biggest difference between a deep draft boat and a shallow draft boat is how close to shore you are when run aground. I've sailed my boat with 6' draft throughout the Chesapeake, along most of the ICW, and all over the Bahamas. Sure I've run aground.

I've delivered 7' draft boats to the Bahamas and sailed the Chesapeake with 9'. On the other hand I've had to grind a 5' draft boat into her slip with sheet winches. It's all about care and planning. Again, generalizations are poor substitutes for thought. I would not turn my nose up at a deeper draft boat just because it is deeper than some arbitrary number if the boat spoke to me.

A great deal depends on the cruising ground. The HR54 above hit a rock at 9 kts. People went to hospital. Running Tide (a famous Chesapeake racer) hit a rock at nearly 12 if I recall correctly. For the cruising grounds you describe, grounding in mud or sand is more embarrassing than anything else. There is no excuse for damage to a well-built boat.
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post #24 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

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Originally Posted by SVAuspicious View Post

I do disagree with @Arcb on two points.

With respect to shallow cruising grounds the biggest difference between a deep draft boat and a shallow draft boat is how close to shore you are when run aground. I've sailed my boat with 6' draft throughout the Chesapeake, along most of the ICW, and all over the Bahamas. Sure I've run aground.

I've delivered 7' draft boats to the Bahamas and sailed the Chesapeake with 9'. On the other hand I've had to grind a 5' draft boat into her slip with sheet winches. It's all about care and planning. Again, generalizations are poor substitutes for thought. I would not turn my nose up at a deeper draft boat just because it is deeper than some arbitrary number if the boat spoke to me.

A great deal depends on the cruising ground. The HR54 above hit a rock at 9 kts. People went to hospital. Running Tide (a famous Chesapeake racer) hit a rock at nearly 12 if I recall correctly. For the cruising grounds you describe, grounding in mud or sand is more embarrassing than anything else. There is no excuse for damage to a well-built boat.
I don't disagree with your content but I do disagree that you are disagreeing with me on this point

My post was very much about passage planning. A skipper with a 9' draft has to plan not to be in 5' of water, thus denying them access to that location. Yes, you can cruise the Bahamas (very general location) with deep draft, but are there places within the Bahamas that are accessible to boats of 4' draft but can not be accessed by a boat with 6' draft? I would be very surprised if their weren't.

Why is 5' a number that I target, certain canals that I chose/plan to access that are not accessible to boats of greater than 5', namely, the one running behind my house, the Rideau Canal. The Rideau along with the NYS Canals and Trent Severn Canal are very popular cruising destinations for those visiting the Great Lakes.

Here is what Parks Canada has to say on water depths in the Rideau Canal:

"(2) Normally the locks are maintained with a draught of 1.7 metres (5.5 feet). However even the 5 foot minimum is subject to water availability and all vessels with a draught of over 1.2 metres (4 feet) should contact the Rideau Canal Office prior to traversing the canal."

"The Trent Severn Canal: Water depth in navigation channel
2.4 m (8') Locks 1 - 19
1.8 m (6') Locks 20 - 45"

So yes, specific draft numbers matter to some people in some places.

That is why I am saying it is prudent for the person buying the boat, do his research and make sure his draft will allow him to go the places he wants to go and will allow him to get into a marina near his house.

If he grounds on the ICW or Florida- mud and sand- if he grounds on the great lakes- it's granite. Ever wonder why there are so many shallow draft sailboats on the great lakes? I know there are a lot of shallow draft boats in South Florida too, so I know I am not the only one who thinks draft can matter.

You only hear people with deep draft boats saying draft is irrelevant in boat choice, but you never hear it from multi hull owners or swing keel owners. It's a choice like any other. Do you want to be far from shore or close to shore.
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post #25 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

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My post was very much about passage planning. A skipper with a 9' draft has to plan not to be in 5' of water, thus denying them access to that location.
I agree. My point is that for most although certainly not all cruising grounds a somewhat deeper boat may restrict you but not exclude you.

Air draft is as important in the places you mention but it is easier to drop the rig than reduce draft.

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That is why I am saying it is prudent for the person buying the boat, do his research and make sure his draft will allow him to go the places he wants to go and will allow him to get into a marina near his house.
On this we firmly agree. We all bring our preconceptions to the table. Does the OP want to go to Great Lakes (which makes the Seaway an option) or do the canals? Different parameters.

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You only hear people with deep draft boats saying draft is irrelevant in boat choice, but you never hear it from multi hull owners or swing keel owners. It's a choice like any other. Do you want to be far from shore or close to shore.
I'm with you. That's one of the reasons I like Southerlys. I still maintain that an arbitrary draft limit, unless you simply can't deal with it in your home grounds, isn't helpful.
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post #26 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

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I agree with Mark that there is something quite odd about the three boats you are comparing. As he says, if a Tartan 37 is in your price range the Catalina 34 seems an odd comparison unless there is something else going on.
Not necessarily.

If we are talking about Tartan 37 (not 372 or 3700) the price difference may not be that much.

A Tartan 37 is likely a late 70's to mid 80;s boat and a nice to excellent specimen would be $50-75K.

I have been on spotless and well equipped T37's that listed about $60K.

A Catalina 34 would fetch (list) somewhere between $40-50K (mid to late 80's boat) while a late 90's to 00'ish boat can easily be $75K.

I seem to remember selling a spotless late C34 for about $70K.

A Catalina 400 would be hard to find below $100K unless it is a Mark I boat in less than perfect condition. Mark II's would be >$120K

$0.02...
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post #27 of 38 Old 01-04-2017 Thread Starter
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

I do appreciate all the comments, There have been a few that feel like the T37 is in a different class of boats and it is hard to compare the T37 with the Catalina 34 and I do understand their comment. The reason I am looking at these two boats is my budget is going to be around $65,000 and I have been researching both the T37 and the Cat34, I also have read that instead of buying the biggest boat within your budget that one should look for the smallest boat that you can be comfortable on and that will be able to cruise the waters in which you will be sailing in which makes sense to me, thus the reason I am considering the Cat34 because of its beam,shallow draft,accessibility to parts. I agree with jorgenl about the prices of the T37 and Cat34, I guess I am honestly leaning toward the Cat 34 with the shallow wing keel and the reason for me looking at the T37 is that you can get the shallow fin keel w/ CB which is also under 4 ft draft. If the Cat34 is a boat most would think not capable of sailing to the Caribbean from Florida I would move up to the T37. I know the SC35 is almost a 5 ft draft so she will more than likely be out of the running for me. The only thing that concerns me with the Cat35 is the wing keel and grounding, I have heard they are tough to un- ground compared to a fin keel? but everything is a trade off I know.
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post #28 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

For $65k you could get a 15 year old Beneteau 393
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

hmmm I may look into that one as well thanks Mark!
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post #30 of 38 Old 01-04-2017
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Re: Looking forward to your opinions

A classic Tartan 34 centerboard is under 4' with board up.
You can leave the dinghy on deck and walk to the beach bar...

Later, drop the board to 8 ft and be a real man...

The greatest disparity in the boats he listed is 6k lbs in displacement.
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