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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I want to buy a boat to drag from Abilene, Tx to the gulf coast to single hand for 2 or 3 weeks at a time, once or twice a year. The cape Dory is beautiful and that makes me want one. If sailing performance is the same I will buy a Cape Dory. The Oday would be the keel/centerboard model and the Catalina would be the swing keel model because of the shallow draft.

The main thing I'm worried about with any of these is the up wind performance. I've owned 2 sailboats. One (Venture swing keel) had amazing up wind performance the other (Starwind) was very bad. A boat that won't sail is not worth having. I would also like to hear about any other issues you think I should know about.

I understand the reliability issue with taking a swing keel boat (Catalina 25) where my life could depend on it. But if it will sail and the others won't then I might do it anyway.

I'm pretty sure I don't want to trailer a fin keel for obvious reasons.
 

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I can't compare the boats; I previously owned a C25. I also sailed in VERY shallow water, so the keel was up most of the time, and I have no idea how well she would sail to windward with the keel down. I'm also one of those who warns about the perils of the C25's swing keel arrangement. However, even I am practical enough to know that, with proper maintenance and care, the swing keel is fine. You just have to commit to being diligent about your maintenance and inspection routine, and be ready to replace anything if it looks flaky. Mine was a 1984 that was kept in salt water, and I highly doubt the winch, cable, etc. was ever replaced. Before we splashed the boat at the beginning of last season, I had the entire assembly inspected by a rigger, who said it still looked good.

I think any of the boats on your list will be fun. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. No matter what you choose, good luck with it!
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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Any boat, not properly maintained, is a deathtrap. And every boat has something different that needs more maintance and care than another boat. I would not let the swing keel scare you as long as you inspect and replace anything that looks suspecious at least once a year
 

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The C25 swing keel won't be a problem. Its a very nice boat. The CD25 will not be a great upwind (or any other direction) performer due to the full keel and weight. The CD will also be on the tender side too for her size due to the narrow beam.
 

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If I'm not in a hurry, I would pick the boat that is safest in bad weather. Cape dory 25 followed by Coronado 25 would be my choices. CD is not fast but a very safe boat in bad weather. It also has a very shallow draft and low maintenance configuration. I would just make a plug for the outboard well opening, which lowers the drag after you pull out the outboard when sailing offshore.
 

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If your primary concern is ability to sail to windward, then I would say the Catalina 25 would be the first choice. I owned a fin keel C25 and raced it for many years, and the swing keel C25 is reportedly faster than the fin by a miniscule amount. I have no experience with an Oday 25 CB, but raced against a fin keel Oday 25, and it pointed and footed nicely, so I would guess the Oday would rank at least a close 2nd in pointing. The CD would rank 3rd in pointing.

But, you should choose the boat that makes all the best compromises for your particular use. If you are planning to do mostly fair weather coastal cruising, the C25 will work well. None of those boats should be in sustained heavy weather, but the CD would be the better choice if prolonged heavy weather is likely.

And, my first concern in buying a boat is to find one that is fundamentally sound and in good repair. You know, better than us, how you intend to use it, so you have to make the compromises that will fit into your plans for the boat.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I didn't mean to sound like up wind performance is the only thing I care about but it is the main thing that I'm worried the Oday and CD won't do. I will be doing singlehand coastal cruising mostly in the gulf but eventually may want to cross the gulf stream to the Bahamas. I will be doing this for 2 or 3 weeks at a time and expect that I would find myself 50 - 100 miles offshore once in a while and may be in the occasional thunder storm. I expect that I will always be safe in Abilene for any extended bad weather.

Before posting, I assumed the sailing performance of the C25 would be good. This may be unreasonable but I have a fear of the swing keel falling off or beating a hole in the hull in a storm. If not for that, I would just buy a C25.

The Oday's keel/cb configuration relieves my fears of loosing my ballast and seems like it could be a good sailing boat with the CB down, but I don't know. If the sailing performance of the keel/cb Oday is close to that of swing keel C25, I will buy an Oday 25.

I think my research has eliminated the CD. I know that I can't tolerate a boat that won't sail.
 

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Had a CD as one of my first boats. Before Robinhood took all the CD tooling up to Maine they were made in the town next door. Things that favor CD and all Carl Alberg designs are they are strong designs that were built with strength in mind by CD. Never did blue water with that boat but she saw many squalls and t storms. As said there are faster boats and boats that point better but think given construction methods CDs are most likey to be in structurally good shape for the choices you have proposed. Also given old time construction ( no liners etc.) all of the boat is accessable so upgrades/repairs and getting a good survey are easier. Believe Robinhood Marine still has the bits and pieces for that boat if you need them.
 

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Sea Sprite 23 #110 (20)
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I look at it this way: Cape Dorys always seem to command a price premium over similar boats. It might be because of the name, but I am also sure it is due to how ruggad they are.
 

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It is important to differentiate between the Cape Dory 25 and 25D. This comes up a lot, but they are two completely different boats.

The 25 was originally produced by Allied as the Greenwich 24, designed by George Stadel. It is lighter, has an outboard well, and less interior space/headroom. The 25 was produced for about 10 years by Cape Dory.

The 25D is an Alberg design with an inboard diesel and substantially more head room. The production run was smaller and these boats are harder to find, in addition to being more expensive. The 25D has made fairly substantial passages and John Vigor discusses it in one of his books.

My general recommendation for people desiring a 25D is to look at other CD models, unless they are absolutely set on the 25D. They are one of the best CD designs and it has the most functional interior of the smaller Cape Dory boats, but they are harder to find and generally much more expensive. You could likely find a 27 or 28 that is heavier and has a little more room for less money. The combined production run of the other boats will likely make it easier to find a boat as well.

Also worth noting is that newer CD models (1980+) tend to demand a higher premium than 70's models. While the build quality of structural components (hull, decks, etc) remained consistent until shortly before their downfall, the interior trimmings on some models were not as good in earlier boats. The general layout will be the same, but later model boats may have a few extra racks, shelves, and better quality wood throughout. If that doesn't matter to you, finding a model from the late 70's will save you some $$ for other improvements.

As for the 25, there were a lot built and you should be able to find one easily, if that's what you want. Do not confuse the two boats, though. The 25 is well made (I'd shoot for later years, though) and owners seem to like them, so this isn't a knock against them either. They just don't have the same qualities that a number of the other Cape Dory boats do.

As for not pointing well, I don't have that problem (CD27). Sure other boats point closer, but we're talking a small margin. I'd take the quality and construction of the CD over being able to point a little closer any day. They also have positive qualities that a higher pointing boat may not have. Like anything, it's a trade off.

There are some gotchas with all the Cape Dory models, like with any boat. Most problems or issues are not uncommon to fiberglass boats in general. The most common and talked about problem are the chainplate backings. Earlier model boats used mild steel backing plates for the chainplates, which isn't a problem unless a leak occurs in the thru bolts. I've seen some that have no rust at all and others that flake apart, ours are somewhere in between. They also aren't easy to inspect (I use a $25 borescope to inspect them) or replace. Some owners have replaced them with stainless, some have gone external, and others don't have any problems. The later model boats used aluminum which AFAIK has held up better.
 

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You mention "dragging" the boat, then you might want to consider that a CD is going to take a significantly bigger rig to trailer it, if that is what you meant. Of course you are in Texas, and I guess every one there has a big Pick Up truck! What do I know I live in the North East and drive a car that has no towing capacity.

Certainly the Cape Dory will be the best looking, have the best off shore capability and likely resale value. But the other boats would sail circles around it. I would not be put off by the swing keel at all. Maintain it well and don't give it a second thought. Oh and the Cape Dory will have a lot more varnish work too! For offshore I would want the Cape Dory 25D for sure, but it sounds like that would be farther off for your plans so I think go with the others, save some money and go sailing. If you feel you need something more substantial then sell and go up. While the Catalina may not be the highest price, it is likely the easiest by far to sell. Every one knows them, and the sell quickly if priced right.
 

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I had a full keel O'Day 25 that sailed beautifully. I thought it pointed very well. My only knock on it's sailing performance was extreme weather helm when I let her heel hard. I honestly considered adding length to the rudder instead of doing what I should and take in a reef. The boat sailed in a very balanced fashion when I kept her at a proper angle...old habits die hard, and I used to bury the lee stanchion bases on my dad's Pearson 35 :)

I'm looking to pick up a shoal draft O'Day 25 at the end of the summer to keep in the Florida Keys. Never sailed one, and it has a lower aspect rig to make up for the shallower keel, but to me it's the ideal compromise...legitimate trailer sailer, but plenty stout enough to handle the 6-8 footers that are so often out in the Gulf Stream outside of the reef. And a great cabin for a 25; that's a nice bonus. I was happy with the build quality of my last one.

Had a CD 28 motorboat, and I was happy with it's build quality. There were some significant gel coat crazes in stress areas, though; I had a few yardbirds tell me the gel was actually too deep in those places and the depth made it brittle. Great sea boat for a 28.

Good luck.
 

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I had a Cape Dory 25D which is a completely different boat than the CD25 (thanks CD for making that so confusing).

My CD25 had an inboard 1 cylinder Yanmar, standing headroom, and a huge head. I would have sailed it just about anywhere.
 
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