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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, all. I've been all over these forums and too many other Inet locations to count (didn't do my "real" work today) and I'm still looking for some expert advice. I did like the recent exchange between CD and Nemier; that was outstanding on both sides!

As my Bristol post originally mentioned, I'm looking at a "retirement" plan in 6-8 years. It involves lots of open bluewater and many miles of it. As such, I'm looking for a boat that is built for that ultimate goal.

In addition, here is the other criteria:
1 - Stability and Safety - VITAL
2 - Speed - steady, doesn't need to be a racer (see #1)
3 - size, 34' - 39', handles stowage and potential crew/visitors
4 - crewed by 1-2 people for long durations
5 - Purchase budget < $100k
6 - Healthy & handy, comfortable with "hands-on" work and technology

After researching for the last couple of years, I was looking closely at a Valiant Esprit 37'. It's been suggested to me to entertain a Vancouver 36' (Harris design, early 80s); I'll be looking at one shortly.

So, with these two in mind, I'd like some input. First, what do y'all think of these 2 designs and how do they compare? Second, what other suggestions might y'all have in the price range and of comparable (or newer) vintage?

I would like the boat to be in US to facilitate purchase; it will be slipped in mid-Atlantic and SE U.S. over the next several "working" years. This will provide me time to get to know the boat, her characteristics (good and bad), and "work her out" while I get the kids grown up and off to college.

Thanx for all your advice; I'll take it all.

Smooth Sailing - Keith
 

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For around 100k, you can find an older Shannon 38 or Cabo Rico 38 that is structurally sound but perhaps in need of a little TLC. Short of maybe Hinckley or Morris, you really can't find a better built boat than either. Both are extremely forgiving and as good as anything out there in terms of safety at sea.
The Valiant Esprit, which is a great boat, will be more close-winded than either, and will certainly be easier to dock with its shorter, deeper keel. A longer keel makes for great tracking and a more forgiving motion at sea, however, and will take a grounding better, which is of concern if you are going to be doing a lot of shallow water sailing and exploring. In addition, the Shannon and Cabo Rico have rounder bottoms and heavier displacement, indicating that they will have more room for stowage and, when weighted down with supplies, will not suffer as significant a performance hit.
 

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Telstar 28
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A southern cross 35/39 would do the trick too.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A lot of replies in a short couple of days. Sailing experience I'd call moderate. Grew up (and obviously sailed) in San Diego and have a business office in the DC area; there often sailing and working. Definitely will be "furthering the education" as it were over the next 5-6 years.

In WY - yes, until the kids are into college. Meanwhile, I'm working on a boat that can be slipped in the Chesapeake in summer, south in winter. It will likely end up as a temporary office at least part of the year.

I've looked at the Cape Dory and appreciate the Alberg design. I'm trying to minimize exterior teak so that "business trips" don't become complete maintenance trips; that defeats the point of using them to "further the education." This was one of the draws of the Valiant Esprit 37'; the Southern Cross looks similar.

I just had a recommendation to look at an Ericson; any thoughts?

I should clarify and say the price range is purchase; with the time frame, obviously provisioning will come later (and hopefully more $$ :-D). The size is predicated on 1) needs, 2) slipping and maintenance costs.

Does anybody have any experience with the Harris-designed Vancouver 36'? It appears to be a solid boat, and the full-keel appeals for it's bluewater benefits and shallow water capabilities. Again, performance, while nice, is certainly below these two things (it will not be raced; that would require boat #2 :p).

Please keep up the great discussion; I'm taking lots of notes.

Keith
 

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Practical Sailor just did a review on boats under 100k. CC, Tartan 37, and Ericsson were some mentioned.

To understand boat reccomendations, we need to know what you consider blue water and what your destination(s) are. If you mean to do long distance cruising potentially across the Atlantic/Pacific, Tayana 37 comes to mind. That is a seriously stable, go anywhere boat.

Brian
 

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Avoidance of exterior teak is probably a wise idea if you will have limited time to perform maintenance. It looks beautiful, but sure takes a long time to do right! That eliminates my earlier suggestions, the Shannon 38 and Cabo Rico 38, as well as the Tayana 37.

I will second the Tartan 37 and the Niagara 35. Both should be good performers, are suitable for cruising, and have limited exterior teak. The Tartan 37 is particularly well suited for shallow water sailing, with it's keel/centerboard design (around 4' with the board up) and skeg-hung rudder. The Niagara's unprotected spade rudder might make me a little nervous, but there are plenty of long distance cruisers with spade rudders out there...

A boat more particularly designed and constructed for bluewater sailing is the Pacific Seacraft 37 (an older model should be right around your price limit), or for a little less, the 34. Manageable exterior teak, long keels with skeg-hung rudders, and extremely well-constructed. Interior space is more limited than some of the other designs mentioned here due to narrow beams, but the interiors are very well designed and quite functional. Narrower beam also has significant performance and seaworthiness advantages, and should not be viewed as a drawback.
 

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Hey SailingWY

I too have been looking for a boat in this size, but not in that large a price range. I was given this web site: atomvoyagesDOTcom/articles/boatlistDOThtm (change the DOT to “.” ) and it has proven very informative in regard to cruising boats. Many guys have advised me to spend less on my first boats and to keep more money in the bank. I like many of there ideas about sailing cheaper and sooner apposed to working for what one believes to be their dream boat and not only spending more money do to a higher sale prince but also the added loss of compounded financial interest-if you are financing.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
OK, all, this is the first chance I've had to get back in and clarify.

CD - bluewater to me is not seeing the land for 1+ weeks (i.e. major crossing - Atlantic to/from Europe, Middle East, and Central/South America). I've looked at boats on the Practical Sailor list; I must say I consider many of them borderline for the extensive plans I've made.

As an update, I did look at the Vancouver 36' I mentioned. She's got a non-standard layout - no v-berth. Rather, the head is at the bow and the berth is aft of the head on the port side. There is no quarter berth (much mechanical storage instead) and the settees have limited extensions for berths. I would say she's designed to sleep 4 as opposed to what I've often seen as 6 at this size.

I will say she's built hell for stout, with all tankage along the centerline under the flooring, and rigging that is unlike any boat this size I've seen in the last 3 years of looking. With a 5' draft and 3/4 keel (shaved at front) she looks to run under sail well and stable.

I'll also say I took the opportunity to look at a Pearson that was close by and there is absolutely NO comparison in quality and "safety" considerations.

Does anybody know about the Vancouver 36'? Other thoughts about any other boats in light of my criteria and what I consider bluewater (NOT coastal cruising, for sure)?

Still taking notes in WY after a recent business trip to the east coast.

Keith
 

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Broad Reachin'
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Keith,

Based on your criteria, here's a few boats that would be on my priority list:

Pacific Seacraft 34
Southern Cross 35/39
Island Packet 35
Baba 35
Hans Christian 33t/34 (nice 34 just listed in SF Bay)
Alajuela 38/Ingrid 38

As you can see by most of my preferences, I'm a sucker for a heavily built double-ender with a nice wood interior.
 

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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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If I had your budget and objectives I would be taking a serious look at this Farr 44. 1984 Farr Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

At a similar displacement to the Valiant 37 and Vancouver 36, this would be a lot more of a go anywhere, do anything sort of a boat.

Jeff
 

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I'd add the Elizabethan 33, and the HR Rasmus and Monsun...
 

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....Does anybody know about the Vancouver 36'? Other thoughts about any other boats in light of my criteria and what I consider bluewater (NOT coastal cruising, for sure)?

Still taking notes in WY after a recent business trip to the east coast.

Keith

Keith,

As kwalt suggested, take a good look at a Pacific Seacraft 34. It may not be ideally suited for sleeping six (it can, but few boats in the size range you're targeting will do that very well) but in almost every other respect it fits the bill.

One advantage of these PSC boats over some of the other models mentioned is that they have a fin keel with skeg hung rudder, rather than a full keel -- which should yield a modest performance advantage. You should be able to find a late '80s vintage PSC 34 in your price range.

Also, with all due respect to Jeff H, I would not consider the Farr boat to which he linked to be a good match to your criteria. Even discounting the fact that it lacks many desirable features for off-shore sailing (a raised toe-rail for secure footing, handholds on the deck/coachroof for bracing, abundant ventilation, etc), a 44 foot boat will nearly double your ownership/ maintenance costs over a mid-30 footer. And it will not be easily managed by a short-handed crew.
 

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With all due respect to my knowledgable colleague John Pollard. I had not noticed that this particular boat does not have grab rails on the cabin top. According to the literature for this boat it should have molded in toe rails and teak grab rails on the cabin top. I did not see them in the picture. Grab rails are comparatively cheap to add, toe rails are not.

But that aside I do want touch on the cost issue raised by John and about why I recommended this boat, which seemingly is at odds with the other 'go short and ponderous' suggestions above. To begin with, to a great extent maintenance costs and ease of handling are propostional to displacement. While this is obviously a substantially longer boat than many of those suggested, it is of similar displacement and in fact less than many boats being recommended. As such it will have similar bottom paint area, engine size, sail area size, but will have a less expensive sail inventory cost because of its simplified sail inventory requirements. It is true that it may require a longer dock, but its shallower draft than many of the other boats being suggested may allow it to take a shallower slip and therefore a less expensive slip for its length. Its long waterline length should allow it to safely carry a lot more of the kind of cruising gear and supplies than many of the designs being proposed.

And as to the reason I chose to recommend this particular boat I came back to the two key points in the original post, the original poster said two things; his planned use of the boat "involves lots of open bluewater and many miles of it." and "In addition, here is the other criteria:
1 - Stability and Safety - VITAL".

A boat like this was intended to make long passages pretty effortlessly. This was a design intended for long distance cruising in one of the toughest sailing venues in the world. If he truly wants to cover a lot of offshore miles, a boat like this would sure beat banging your head against the wall in a plodding short and heavy for its length design.

But he considers safety and stability vital....This particular boat has a kevlar hull to increase impact resistance. With its very high ballast to displacement ratio, and moderately narrow beam to length ratio, this should be an extremely stable boat across a wide range of heel angles. As has been discussed at length, in virtually every study of seaworthiness, the single factor that is most likely to improve seaworthiness and motion comfort is length.

Given his long term goals and budget, I don't really see why he would consider a shorter for its displacement solution.

But then again I tend to have a different philosophy than many around here.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Jeff,

Sure, a longer boat has many advantages. But as I have said before (elsewhere), reduced ownership cost is not one of them. Nearly every fee I'm aware of in the marine industry charges by the foot. No credit is given for low-displacement or low-wetted surface area. As such, length is the cost driver. The sail inventory on that boat alone would drain most wallets.

You point out that the O.P. mentioned how stability and safety were vital. Those are two related issues, each with different aspects. Stability of course includes calculated design attributes such as the Limit of Positive Stability of the vessel, but it can also refer to the very real sense of stability or instability one feels moving about deck in a seaway. Ideally, the design would incorporate features that contribute favourably to both.

Using the PSC 34 that I mentioned above, the calculated LPS is in the neighborhood of 144 degrees. That is significantly better than most production boats, including many much larger boats and probably the Farr 44 above. But then take a walk around deck. Wide, clear side decks, raised bulwarks, abundant handholds, 30"+ lifeline stanchions are all in evidence. These are all aspects that contribute to not just an impression but to an actual increase in stability and safety on deck.

Now look at that 44 Farr design, on which all of the above attributes are absent. Will it sail faster? Of course. But will it promote or reduce anxiety, inspire or sap confidence, punish or forgive the mistakes we all make?

Different sailing styles, to be sure. But the answers to the above questions drive my inquiry more than theoretical hull speeds and polars alone. These are all aspects of sailing and sailboats and sailors that make it fascinating to me.
 
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