Join Date: Jun 2013
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Niagara 35 too slow? - and - surveys of cored hulls
I'm digging almost everything about a 1979 Niagara 35 that's locally available. I'm looking for a solid, liveaboard, cruise-able, singlehander-friendly boat and it seems to fit the bill. I even like the weird cabin layout, quite a lot, actually!
My only big concern about the N35 is its sailing performance. Its short LWL, ratios, and local PHRF (153) point toward a staid cruiser that especially won't do well in light air, which isn't such a huge problem since my local waters (northern California) are more breezy than not. But I'm an occasional racer and a geek and like to tweak lines and trim and fly spinnakers and want a boat that can be responsive to all that. I don't like to motor if there's any breeze at all. I'm fine with getting horizoned by ULDBs, but will be sad if I'm struggling to tack the boat in <10 kts TWS. For perspective, other boats I've been thinking about are Cal 39, Catalina 34/36/42, Ericson 34/35/38, Islander 36, Pretorien 35, C&Cs, late Pearsons, possibly even cruisey IORs...
So is the Niagara a totally lame sailer? Does anyone out there race one, or regularly fly a symmetrical, or make it move well in light air? How about pointing, can it do better than 45 degrees off the wind? My concern is that the few criticisms (including Robert Perry's) I've read are very valid, that it's a boat that sails well only by the very low standards of the average cruising sailor. Available online info paints a vague picture. Cruisers seem to think it performs great, but as Perry notes, that doesn't mean too much.
On a related note, the seller showed me the last survey. "No areas of delamination in hull or deck found" was the only thing relating to hull condition. That seems very brief for a cored hull boat. Shouldn't there be more detail, e.g. moisture readings, details about what areas of the hull were actually sounded, etc.? I plan to ask for more details if/when I get a survey done; is that not a reasonable request?