Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: New England
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Re: Contemplating a huge mistake...?
I thought I'd chime in, as we were looking for our first boat a few years ago. Ended up buying a 40-footer in good shape, a Freedom 40/40 with a free-standing CF mast, and a self-tacking camberspar jib. We love it, as it's solid, stiff, fast, well thought-out and easy to sail short-handed. It is pretty much the right size for us (a couple in our late 40s in good condition) and can accommodate guests with kids, though sometimes I wish it was a little smaller, especially in tight-quarters docking and wrestling with the heavy boom and huge full-battened main. But we had done Sailtime for two years (also on a 40-footer) so we knew we could handle a 40-footer.
I would recommend looking at our boat's little sister, the Freedom 35 also designed by Pedrick (the mid 90s sloop, not the 80s cat ketch), though it is not available with a pilothouse which you seem to like a lot. A few are for sale on YW now in the 70-80K range.
Btw, that Gulfstar 52 does look awesome and I am a believer in buying the boat that you just love the looks of (provided it makes sense otherwise). But it is a huge boat, especially for a first-timer sailing short-handed. 44000 lbs! And I think ours at 24000 is heavy and not easy to manhandle at the dock. One concern looking at the specs is that it only has a ballast of 5000 lbs at that weight. Can that be right? I guess it's basically a motor boat with sails.
Our Freedom 40/40 has a ballast of nearly 10K at 24K gross weight.