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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Oh, I've read a thousand (or more) of these "what do you think of boat x". Now that my long and winding boat search seems to be coming to a head, I get to post my own!

What do you think of a Cape Dory 31 or 33 as a first displacement boat? I expect I'd sail shorthanded or perhaps singlehanded for the most part. Would like a bluewater capable boat (think bermuda capable). Small enough to learn to singlehand in the relatively near term but large enough to provide tankage / displacment for extended cruising at more than minimalist comfort level (but no expectation of generators or big boat luxuries).

My prior experience is limited to charters and dingies and beachcats. I am less worried about sailing a larger boat than about motoring in close quarters, picking up a mooring single or shorthanded and becoming comfortable with diagnosing and maintaining the systems. I figure I can hire an instructor for a week or two, call in all my favors, and finally then beg friends to crew . . . but ultimately, I will still be learning when crew runs out and the wind is up. Is a fairly heavy 33'er simply too much boat?

I think I may be taking the boat progression out of order (maybe not so uncommon?), but it is a consious decision. In the long run, I expect I will own a smaller boat. Near term, I expect to have a window of opportunity to do some extended cruising over the next 2-3 years and really would like to buy and prepare just one boat.

I'd like to buy and outfit for 50-60K and having done so have a boat for which I can predict maintenance costs over the following 24-36 months. There are a handful of CD's which have been on the market for over a year which might meet those criteria. I am interested in any and all views. Experience with the CD33 in particular would be great to hear (I read the cape dory board pretty religiously), but also interested in hearing why its the wrong boat too. I don't need a racer, but I'd like a boat that can make progress to windward (the 330 has a taller rig) and isn't a total dog. Is the full keel totally outdated -- if so what would you look at instead (P365? Old old Cal 39/40 B40? . . . all too much boat?)?

Looking forward to the responses! Thanks!
 

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It would help if you said where you plan on sailing the beastie and what kind of sailing you want to do with her. If you're looking to compete in the "round-the-can" races on Wednesday night... no, not so much... since the CDs are fairly heavy, slow, full-keel boats generally. :) If you're sailing on a lake with light, variable winds...again, not such a great choice... More information is always better than less when seeking advice.
 

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Recognizing that you would not get the same kind of overall performance from these designs as you would from some of the modern offerings, these would be pretty good boats for the sailing you describe.

Personally, as much as I like the Alberg designs, I would be more interested in some of CD's later designs by Clive Dent. For example, the CD 30 MkII, introduced in the mid-late-'80s ('87?), is proportionally beamier than the narrower Alberg designs that preceded it. The extra volume makes for a roomier interior -- the cabin seems nearly as large as the longer 330. Also, they are newer and probably won't need as much "renovation".

Here's a link I found to the CD30 MkII brochure:

http://www.capedory.org/specs/brochures/CD30MKII_brochure.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
John

Thanks John.

The 30MkII's are comparatively rare (maybe 30 built compared to 3-400 of the original 30's) so I have never seen one in person. I have been on a number of the original 30's and they seem very small for their LOA. While they have certainly crossed oceans, I can't begin to figure out where extra tanks, gear and equipment would go for extended cruising.

I am comfortable enough, from the reading I have done and the people I have spoken to, that when properly prepared the CD's are solid enough for the type of sailing I'd like to do.

I have a number of nagging thoughts in the back of my mind (its my nature . . .) the biggest of which is: Can I step right into a heavy 33'er and not be bogged down by it being "more boat than I can handle".

How would you have done sailing the 31 as your first boat? How long do you imagine the process to singlehanding her would have taken you -- a full season of active sailing / planning / practicing -- or more? As I mentioned, I am budgetting to pay for a week or two of instruction and then I likely have a week or two worth of knowledgeable crew I can call in . .. then I begin to place myself and / or whatever suckers might "want to come sailing" at risk! P~)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Sd

No orange bouys for me Dog! Once you push a 19' beachcat through lumpy seas at 20knts, its hard to get too worked up about the diff between 6.7 and 7.1knts.

I am also not too worried about sailing in super light air. But I imagine it would be nice to make some progress on 7-10 days -- since there are just far too many of them!
 

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Stinky...
I think the CD's are fine choices for open coastal cruising and blue water especially singlehanded. Of the 3 you list, the 330 would be my choice but will also be the hardest to find. I note JRP's mention of the 30II and would prefer that to the 31.
Have you been aboard all 3 boats? If not...it is foolish to mark any of them off your list as their similarities far outweigh their differences and ONE boat may actually appeal to you more from a deck layout and interior standpoint than the others.
Assuming all three boats are acceptable to you...I think your best bet would be to look for the boat in the best condition as THE primary factor in your decision.

I note that recently elsewhere you are looking for recommendations for NON broker boat sites. My own experience is that such sites are always worth a look for the hidden gem but it seems you feel that broker sites are to be avoided. Is my feeling correct?
If so, I would further say that in my opinion ...when dealing with true cruising boats (as opposed to low value trailerables) the no broker or free sites are where the "cheap bastards" go to sell their boats. The same mentality that governs where they try to sell their boats has far too often been applied to the care and maintenance of their boats over the years.
You on the other hand...should be looking for a boat that has been maintained to the highest standards. Believe me...those boats are MOST often placed with brokers because the owner KNOWS he will never get what the boat is worth compared to the "beaters" in the classifieds. You should buy a boat that costs MORE than the soldboats average your broker can show you. (After the survey tells you that it IS in superior condition). The extra money you spend on the purchase will come back to you many times over in time, money and effort during the re-fit and subsequent years of cruising and when it does come time to sell...you'll still have a boat worth more than the other CD's on the market.

This view of mine does not apply to ALL boats for sale but it does apply to CD's and other classic cruising boats. It also does not apply if you are highly skilled in glasswork/carpentry/diesel/electric and plan on relying on your own skills to bring a boat in poor condition back to life. I am referring to the more typical scenario where one buys a boat for cruising, engages the yard for major refit work and personally labors only over unskilled work like bottom painting and sanding teak.

BTW...yes you CAN step right in and handle a 30-36ft. boat!!! You will be surprised how much EASIER it is than a 25 footer!! Sure...some practice needed...but you won't be blown around as easily in close quarters on a Dory!!
 

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One thing to remember, the full-keel boats are usually less than docile in reverse... :) Other than that.. you should be fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Hey Cam

Thanks for the response Cam.

I am not particularly adverse to brokers. Yachtworld seems to cover the brokered boats very well. I was looking for additional sources -- and maybe that gem you mention -- since my search ranges up and down the east coast.

Of the 31, 33 and 330, I have been on a number of 33's but neither of the others (I hope to remedy that in the coming week!). I understand that the 330 has the same hull as the 33, with a slightly taller rig, T shaped cockpit, substantially more tank capacity. The 330 also trades the q-berth and charttable for a second deep cockpit locker (and I believe a larger wet locker). The 31 is an odder duck. It has the head to port at the bottom of the companionway. Some CD'er really like it as a combo head / wet locker, but it is fairly unique (though I guess the PSC Dana has an equivellent set-up). The upshot on the 31 is they are limited in number and fairly high in demand so either the 33 or 330 will likely be cheaper.

I really don't know enough to evaluate all of the trade offs between the 33 and the 330. Beth Leonard writes about water capacity as a primary objective measure of crusing range -- that led me away from the smaller cruisers (both CD's and other cool little boats). I suppose that strongly favors the 330 as well . . .. As you suggest, the best boat available will probably be the deciding factor.

I hear and appreciate your caution about worn boats -- I am fairly handy, but I want to sail not rebuild a boat -- avoiding a hidden project boat is at the top of my list of priorities.

Thanks again, a little informed reassurance doesn't hurt at this stage!
 

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I previously owned a Cape Dory 30, currently own a CD31 and have chartered a CD33. Yeah, I have a thing for Cape Dorys!

Everything said above is correct IMHO. Cape Dorys are fairly heavy and not the best choice for light air. They do, however, really excel in rough conditions. I have not found the 33 to be a problem singlehanding, but you REALLY want to be sure it has an autopilot. Personally I prefer the cutter rig of the 30 or 31 for ease in singlehanding.

Go look at a few, trail sail them before you make a decision. Bottom line - you gotta love a boat to buy it.
 

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Having owned an Alberg 37 for the last eight years I can attest to the qualities of Carl's work. He drew very lovely boats with great lines that sail very well in most conditions. You just need to have the right gears for them I found my A37 an extremely good light air boat if the seas were flat. I also carried a pentax 164% deck sweeping genoa and had a good suit of sails otherwise.

I looked at the Alberg designed CDs prior to buying the Whitby built 37. I liked the layout of the 33 the best of the ones you've mentioned. I don't think any of those boats would be too much to handle. The only hard part is getting them in and out of the slip, the rest is really easy. I single handed the '37 all the time. She was rigged as a yawl so I'd often sail jib and jigger ...about like sailing a CD typhoon. ...well maybe a bit of an exageration but still a breeze.

At any rate I don't think any of those boats would be too much boat. In fact sometimes I think the larger medium displacement boats are easier to handle than a light weight smaller boat.

If you should decide to look at an Alberg 37 I know of a nice yawl that is about to come up on the market.

Good Luck.
 

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The slip exit challenge with a Cape Dory, or any other full keel boat, is easily solved with a bit of practice and a long dock line. Warping into or out of the slip with a long line works well - somewhat like using a spring line to get onto a dock against the wind or current. If the boat wants to back to port and you need to go to starboard to get into the fairway, have the long line around a piling to starboard as you back out under power, and keep a bit of resistance on the free end of the line as it slips around the piling to tug the stern around. Once you are clear of the slip, hit neutral and haul the cleated end of the line back in (so as to avoid the embarassment of fouling the prop.)
 

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The slip exit challenge with a Cape Dory, or any other full keel boat, is easily solved with a bit of practice and a long dock line. Warping into or out of the slip with a long line works well - somewhat like using a spring line to get onto a dock against the wind or current. If the boat wants to back to port and you need to go to starboard to get into the fairway, have the long line around a piling to starboard as you back out under power, and keep a bit of resistance on the free end of the line as it slips around the piling to tug the stern around. Once you are clear of the slip, hit neutral and haul the cleated end of the line back in (so as to avoid the embarassment of fouling the prop.)
----You also learn how to direct the prop wash. also once you get her moving with a good burst of the throttle put the boat into neutral so the rudder will work a bit better.
 

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Thanks John....How would you have done sailing the 31 as your first boat? How long do you imagine the process to singlehanding her would have taken you -- a full season of active sailing / planning / practicing -- or more? ...
Blowin,

I think with your background, and a little bit of help/lessons from an experienced sailor, you'll be fine in a boat this size. As another poster mentioned, a mid-size cruising boat can in some ways be easier to handle than a smaller or pocket cruiser, especially out in heavier conditions.

The trickiest part to get used to will be docking manouvers, but if you're on a mooring or the anchor most of the time it will be less of an issue. Wait for a calm day and then take some time to practice docking, it will improve your skills and boost your confidence.

....The 31 is an odder duck. It has the head to port at the bottom of the companionway. Some CD'er really like it as a combo head / wet locker, but it is fairly unique (though I guess the PSC Dana has an equivellent set-up). The upshot on the 31 is they are limited in number and fairly high in demand so either the 33 or 330 will likely be cheaper.
I prefer the aft head arrangement. Especially for short-handed sailing, it makes it more convenient to take a quick duck below. It's also handy for peeling off the wet foul-weather gear. The Dana is configured like that, as is our larger PSC 31. Speaking of the Dana, you might look at a few since they're in the same price range.

By the way, what kind of tankage are you talking about in those CD models being discussed?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Tankage

Hi John -

The 330 has 20 fuel and 85 water. As for the 33, by 1983 it was up to 21 fuel and 74 water. I just checked this and it is more capacity than I'd thought, but I don't know if I was mistaken or if it was less in earlier years . . ..

I like the Danas a lot and by all accounts they are very capable. I don't know that I would *want* to do extended crusing in a Dana both because of the single cabin and also the smaller platform. So maybe the Dana is a boat that I move "down" to in a couple of years . . .. The Orion on the other hand is a boat I have considered and probably could be happy with. All of the PSC's are pretty sweet to my eye and have some great features (like the stantions bedded in the raised bulwark instead of in the deck).
 

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That's pretty decent tankage for boats of that size. For comparison purposes, our 31 footer (actually 30.5' l.o.d.) carries 23 gal diesel and 65 gal fresh water (+6 gal in the hotwater tank)

Our biggest limiting factor has always been the 16 gal holding tank.;)
 
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