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Do you think this boat is up to the tasks i set for it

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Discussion Starter #1
hello everyone im kinda new here well not really i mean ive been lurking the forums for years but i never really had a need to ask questions till now. But recentrly instead of crewing on friends boats i went and purchased my own since i was eager to get more on water time myself. SO in august i purchased a contest 30 type a the one that klooks like the 29 on deck. Now i am planning for a hop to bermuda and back within the next 5 years when i have finished work on the boat. Now i have a few questions a) the absence of a compression post anywhere in the boat strikes me as odd is it like that for all of thses boats i mean it seems relatively stiff and solid just curious, two i was wondering if to sprevent the likliehood of being swamped in the case of a large breaking wave i should mould some port covers that could be fastened on the exterior of the window. Next the boat i bought did not have a built in stove, although all the others ive seen do it just seems to have had 2 iceboxes instead of one and a stove. next the bow has side to side stringers which im sure provide support to the foredeck and while the boat seems very heavily built the boa weems rather weakly built in comparison any ideas for strengthening it. also the traveler has clam cleats and id lkike to change to cam but i need no input on that really however i would appreciate any plans of the hull, deck or others specs because im also planning on fitting some sort of a windvane most likely i will build it myself due to general poorness aha. also it seems to not have a bilge pump so a diaphragm pump is priority numero uno. however in terms f installing one would i be correct to assume putting a loop to the top of the deck floor with an ano siphon vlve and a thru hull halfway between the waterline and the the deck and maybe a seacock as well. a bilge pump is particularily important because well everything drains to the bilge in this boat the sink the chain locker all of it however the hull does seem very solid and the inside is completely covered in epoxy which definitely the chainplates were inspected by a rigger and he said they and the standing rigging are almost new and have plenty of life in them so thats good. so pretty much any info on the boat would be appreciated in aditttion the rudder seems rather trembly im assuming thats due to turbulence caused by the keel and skeg in any case it almost feels as if it has prop wash constantly which it doesnt because the inboard we replaced with an outboard although it still has a working transmmission. So my list of things to get so far is blge pump, windvane, storm jib, storm hatch covers, solar panels to charge batteries, a series drogue, a collision mat and some tarp just in case some sailtape and some jacklines (already have the harness crewing on other ppls boats) any other ideas, the boat is very barebones with no chartplotter or speed sensor or wind or anything, i have a compass some charts and a handheld gps and a vhf personally even when im on friends boats with a chartplotter i double check by hand anyways
 

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I put Contest 30 into a search engine. The consensus is the boat has good craftsmanship, strong construction, and the helm is balanced. The deck has no balsa core to rot out, so it may seem thin and might give a bit. You could always put a compression post in, but may want to check with other boat owners to see if the arch holding the mast is strong. Probably is. The propeller could cause the turbulence around the rudder and you may want to have it pulled, but leave the shaft in place, otherwise plugging the shaft hole so that it is impossible to leak might be a problem. The original engine was said to be an A4 gasoline. At 10 horsepower, it has to be a direct drive running at low RPM. You might also want a small electrical bilge pump that will keep the water down when the boat is unattended, besides a large manual diaphragm pump. As for electronics, at least get a depth finder, GPS and VHF radio combination. A chart plotter would also be nice.
 

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Some general comments

hello everyone im kinda new here well not really i mean ive been lurking the forums for years but i never really had a need to ask questions till now. But recentrly instead of crewing on friends boats i went and purchased my own since i was eager to get more on water time myself. SO in august i purchased a contest 30 type a the one that klooks like the 29 on deck. Now i am planning for a hop to bermuda and back within the next 5 years when i have finished work on the boat. Now i have a few questions a) the absence of a compression post anywhere in the boat strikes me as odd is it like that for all of thses boats i mean it seems relatively stiff and solid just curious, two i was wondering if to sprevent the likliehood of being swamped in the case of a large breaking wave i should mould some port covers that could be fastened on the exterior of the window. Next the boat i bought did not have a built in stove, although all the others ive seen do it just seems to have had 2 iceboxes instead of one and a stove. next the bow has side to side stringers which im sure provide support to the foredeck and while the boat seems very heavily built the boa weems rather weakly built in comparison any ideas for strengthening it. also the traveler has clam cleats and id lkike to change to cam but i need no input on that really however i would appreciate any plans of the hull, deck or others specs because im also planning on fitting some sort of a windvane most likely i will build it myself due to general poorness aha. also it seems to not have a bilge pump so a diaphragm pump is priority numero uno. however in terms f installing one would i be correct to assume putting a loop to the top of the deck floor with an ano siphon vlve and a thru hull halfway between the waterline and the the deck and maybe a seacock as well. a bilge pump is particularily important because well everything drains to the bilge in this boat the sink the chain locker all of it however the hull does seem very solid and the inside is completely covered in epoxy which definitely the chainplates were inspected by a rigger and he said they and the standing rigging are almost new and have plenty of life in them so thats good. so pretty much any info on the boat would be appreciated in aditttion the rudder seems rather trembly im assuming thats due to turbulence caused by the keel and skeg in any case it almost feels as if it has prop wash constantly which it doesnt because the inboard we replaced with an outboard although it still has a working transmmission. So my list of things to get so far is blge pump, windvane, storm jib, storm hatch covers, solar panels to charge batteries, a series drogue, a collision mat and some tarp just in case some sailtape and some jacklines (already have the harness crewing on other ppls boats) any other ideas, the boat is very barebones with no chartplotter or speed sensor or wind or anything, i have a compass some charts and a handheld gps and a vhf personally even when im on friends boats with a chartplotter i double check by hand anyways
i don't know this particular boat, but some comments I would make:
  • Not sure you need storm shutters for the ports unless they are quite large. If they are the standard size I suspect you are ok without them.
  • Having everything drain into the bilge I find particularly undesirable. You may want to put a couple of throughhulls in for this purpose. What does the head do? Perhaps you can use it for the head sink drain too.
  • If you would feel better having a compression post go ahead, at worst it would provide a good handhold in the middle of the boat and that is always a good thing.
  • Have you had the boat out of the water to test the rudder? Just give it a good tuck or two in any direction it can move. If it wobbly then you need to replace a bearing or two, if not, the wiggling might just be an oddity of the boat.
  • Edson used to make a monstrous great manual blige pump - they claimed a gallon a stroke. Check the consignment stores and see if you can get one - way better than a Whale or Henderson. I would agree with someone else who suggested an electric one for routine water. They are cheap and easy.
  • If you are going with the outboard rather than an inboard, have you pulled old engine? Would provide a terrific storage space.
  • For cooking, the cheapest and easiest approach might be an Origo, non-pressurized alchohol 2 burner. You could use one of your ice boxes for longer term food storage and strap the cooker to the top.
  • Before getting a storm jib, imagine what it would be like to change jibs at the point the storm jib would be needed. If you have a furler it gets nasty since when you lower the jib it is only connected at three corners and you need to keep it onboard before you can remove it. How large a crew do you envision? hard to with one person. Would it be possible to install a removable inner stay just for the storm jib? Deck would need to reinforced and you likely would want running backstays for support.
  • Keep your eyes open for a used Monitor or Aries vane. You do see them on eBay sometimes. Handmade vanes can be tricky to get to work. The ones I have seen being used cruising are typically on very long-keeled, traditional boats that probably would steer themselves pretty well anyway. Also, see if you find a copy of John Letcher's book on steering a boat with lines from sheets to tiller (if you have such). Final steering thought - if this is going to be a one-off trip to Bermuda a wheel pilot autohelm would likely be all you need. If you are going to do a lot of offshore you will want the vane.
  • On a 30' boat you will be pressed for space so if you can have one item do two or three things you should. In this regard you probably could use the storm jib as a collision mat. Since you are unlikely to use either, don't spend more (in terms of space or money) than you have to.
  • I would either go for a chartplotter (they do make life easier) or at least a second handheld GPS. Again there is the question of one offshore passage or many. If the latter and you are going strictly with paper charts it can get very expensive. If you have a plotter you do need some paper charts not everyone there is and you can get by with older charts. If you are only doing Bermuda you only need a couple of charts at the Bermuda end to go with the local charts or chartbook at the US end.
Good luck
 

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Discussion Starter #4
the older version of the 30 which is th one i have has a doghouse so the windows are pretty large i wean there not giant panels like some of the new jenneaus and such but there not tiny either however they are quite thick but id like to be as prepared as i can possibly be id like to be able to take a 120 foot breaking wave broadside and survive, rigless of course but survive. the head drains directly to the water via a thru hull with a masive seacock, no macerator or holding tank at all the not having drain thru hulls does help have less thru hulls therefore less things to cause sinking. and again with the compresion post a) good handhold b) u can never be too prepared for the worst in terms of the rudder its out atm for winter storage so ill test it before launch this spring and ive heard edson makes the best bilge pumps so ill definitely be hunting for one and yes i sdo think an automatic one would be a good idea in addition, the inboard has already been removed, im thinking of screwing a plywood floor to the engine mounts and using it as storage for freshwater jugs, oh and it already has a honda 4 stroke 8 hp outboard on it which sems to be reliable and it charges my batteries as for cooking i have a two burner butane stove but i want to make it gimballed somehow, as for the storm jib it has hanks no roller furling and a downhaul for safety ans it has a bowsprit of two and a half feet so i could always have the storms jib on the outer forestay, thanks for the tip on the collision map that is true takes space that food could have been in, in terms of chartplotters i may sucumb to them but ive always had a thing agaisnt them mostly cause of one time when the blidin light of it made me unable to see the buoys in a narrow chanell so i kinda marked them as a hazard rather than a help but it is true that charts are expensive but theres always photocopying and i o have a laptop with charting software which i can use as a cabin chartplotter if it is necessarry. in terms of wther bermuda would be the only offshore trip hat depends on how it goes if it seems like it goes well i may take the azored route over to europe and explore the med and the north sea, if not its just a hop back to canada. in your opinion though will i need a series drogue and a storm jib my main is also boom furling so that acts as my trysail kinda i will experiment with sheet to tiller, although im on the lookout for a vane, i have heaard since the keel is a long keel not full or 3/4 but a long shoal fin with a skeg that steering should be pretty balanced and if i let go of the tiller it does take a goodd while to veer off course as for the arch it definitely is strong because in my maiden voyage on her just seeing how she handled we had some decent swells around the bruce peninsula and there was no flexing at all its not the deck thats thin its just the bow near the deck to hull connection i dont like but i suppose that part is far from the water anyways
 

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Discussion Starter #6
oh i thought i saw an edson manual bilge pump on the sailnet store for like 100 bucks or is that different. but yes 700 dollars is rather significant as in i could use that money for a storm sail or a series drogue or as part of my windvane budget or for an ssb radio but holy 30 gpm i could rip my keel off and still keep afloat.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
yes i think i will go with that one that you posted earlier 20 gpm is a very good output rate i mean if the water is coming any faster than that ur first priority should probably be stopping the leak not pumping away although i am not planning on being alone i will have my fiance with me however she has no interest in actually sailing she just wants to come along for the sights and the experience not so keen on triming the sails or manning the helm. how would u instal the pump so that it can be used from the cockpit id asume u mount it under deck with a hole drilled thru where the handle goes
 

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You have the absolute wrong boat if you would "like to be able to take a 120 foot breaking wave broadside and survive". My family owned a Contest of the same era as your boat. While Contests were beautifully finished inside, from a build quality standpoint and mopre specifically from a structural viewpoint, they were very poorly engineered and constructed. While some of the built in defects may have been corrected by prior owners, and some of the could be corrected with a massive rebuilding effort, there is no work around for the poor handling characteristics of these boats.

And while this is true of many boats of this era, structurally, the internal framing of the Contests consisted of softwood framing poorly glassed into the hull. These elements included ncluded the tranverse frames which transfered the keel loads out to the hull.

Another questionable structural element was the mast support. On our boat, the mast would compress the deck to the point that if you chose to close the door to the forward cabin, the deck would compress making it impossible re-open the door again until sheets were eased and the point of sail altered sufficiently to take the strain off of the mast support.

Other build quality issues which may have been corrected by now, included a dubious electrical system which would cut out, and short out at random, black iron fuel tanks and iron engine exhaust systems.

During the time that we owned our boat, my father remedied as many of these built-in defects. The rest we lived with.

But the sailing characteristics was the worst thing about these boats. These were early fin keel-spade rudder boats. The hull forms were such that as these boats heeled over, they would jack up out of the water, and suddenly and unpredictably reach a point where they would aerate their rudders and round up without any warning. I have been on other boats with this same issue, but these were the worst that I have ever experienced. In many boats with this problem, there was some kind of clue that this was about to occur, and you would learn to watch for that clue such as limiting the heel to a maximum heel angle that was safe to prevent the round-up. In the case of the Contest in gusty conditions, this happened so suddenly, and without a 'tell', that you could not play the sails quickly enough to prevent the round up, and the round up could be so quick that it can throw you onto the other tack.

In constant wind and wave conditions this was not much of a problem, you could tweak and feather, but in the larger waves encountered offshore, and with the difference in wind strength between the trough and the crest, these boats would quickly wear down a crew.

For that reason, while these boats might make reasonable coastal cruisers, they would be somewhere near the bottom of a list of boats that I would ever think of making an offshore passage in.

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #12
i was unaware of the rounding up, seing as i only sailed her twice so far having bought her at the end of the season for a relatively low price, i was under the impression that the bloaty feeling would lead to relatively higher comfort offshore and durability, my forward door does close but that might just be coincidental but i thought mine had a skeg so im not sure wether that means mine will round up to im more used to production boats so i figured the sluggish motion would have increased safety offshore so maybe i should reconcider i kind of bought it under the impression that it was a decent offshore boat seing as it has simmilar lines to an alberg 30 and a good capsize ratio, but having heard this i think i may just refinish her and sell and mybe buy a different boat for the bermuda trip instead not that theres much chance of hitting 120 foot waves between here and bermuda at the right time of the year but my number one priority is safety
 

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Discussion Starter #13
its a shame i hadnt hear this stuff before i bought or i might have opted for the contessa 26 i was looking at for the same price but alas with boats like these its hard to find information....which model was urs btw
 

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ALERT .I was amazed at how my big whale gusher deteriorated over time. Both the castings and the rubber parts. If you haven't done so recently, check it out before you REALLY need it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
oh so maybe i willl go with the henderson one instead of whale because that doesnt sound very promising, but atm i am rather perturbed by the previous comment it does not instill faith in my boat in me because i was under the impression they were very stoutly built fir the north sea as every forum i had consulted before buying had said and how she felt told me but having not done any offshore work and only being familiar with beeneteaus and jenneaus and the like i just noticed she looked much more hevily built than them but now i am having second thoughts and im not sure i bought the right boat hmm
 

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With all due respect, there is no resemblance between the below the waterline lines of a Contest 30 and an Alberg 30. While I am not all that great a fan of the Alberg 30's, the Albergs were more of wine glass shaped hull while the Contest had a much harder turn of the bilge, and shallow vee'd bottom, which caused them to jack upward out of the water, and round up. The Alberg has a longer keel than the Contest (although that is somewhat offset by the Contest's more efficient detached rudder).

As for the issue of the capsize screen formula, as I have explained many times in the past on this forum, (and I am about to explain yet again) the capsize screen formula and the Motion Comfort Index tell almost nothing about the reality of a boat's likelihood of capsize or its actual motion comfort. In fact they provide so little indication of a boat's behavior that to rely on them in any way borders on the dangerous.

Both of these formulas were developed at a time when boats were a lot more similar to each other than they are today. These formulas have limited utility in comparing boats other than those which are very similar in weight and buoyancy distribution to each other. Neither formula contains almost any of the real factors that control motion comfort, the likelihood of capsize, or seaworthiness. Neither formula contains such factors as the vertical center of gravity or buoyancy, neither contains weight or buoyancy distribution (of the hull both below and above the waterline), the extent to which the beam of the boat is carried fore and aft, and neither contains any data on dampening, all of which really are the major factors that control motion comfort or the likelihood of capsize.

I typically give this example to explain just how useless and dangerously misleading these formulas can be. If we had two boats that were virtually identical except that one had a 1000 pound weight at the top of the mast. (Yes, I know that no one would install a 1000 lb weight at the top of the mast.) The boat with the weight up its mast would appear to be less prone to capsize under the capsize screen formula, and would appear to be more comfortable under the Motion Comfort ratio. Nothing would be further than the truth.

And while this example would clearly appear to be so extreme as to be worthy of dismissal, in reality, if you had two boats, one with a very heavy interior, shoal draft, its beam carried towards the ends of the boat near the deck line, a heavy deck and cabin, perhaps with traditional teak decks and bulwarks, a very heavy rig, heavy deck hardware, a hard bottomed dingy stored on its cabin top, and the resultant comparatively small ballast ratio made up of low density ballast. And if we compare that to a boat that is lighter overall, but it has a deep draft keel, with a higher ballast ratio, the bulk of the ballast carried in a bulb, its maximum beam carried to a single point in the deck so that there was less deck area near the maximum beam, a lighter weight hull, deck and interior as well as a lighter, but taller rig, it would be easy to see that the second boat would potentially have less of a likelihood of being capsized, and it is likely that the second boat would roll and pitch through a smaller angle, and would probably have better dampening and so roll and pitch at a similar rate to the heavier boat, in other words offer a better motion comfort....And yet, under the Capsize Screen Formula and the Motion Comfort Index it would appear that the first boat would be less prone to capsize and have a better motion when obviously this would not be the case.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #17
im not disagreeing with u its just rather upsetting to me having done all this reasearch hearing all thses things about how its stoutly built and suited to offshore work and then seeing the boat and noticing the sluggishness and figuring that because it feels almost like a suv of boats it must be heavier bult and therefore less likely to smash to peices, but i will agree that there were some amazing benefits to the way race boats today are built for example the lift of a deep bulb keel and the negative drag it creates is definitely a safety feature because it actually reduces capsize rishk and everyone whos passed high school physics understands that the farther away a weight is on a fulcrum the more leverage it has although it also makes it terribly unprotected in groundings, but so i guess im just not quite sure which end to beleive on the contest side wether the enormous percentage of the total displacement that is ballast would actually help in terms of preventing a knockdown and in the case of a 120 foot breaker im fairly certain any yacht would be knocked down im more intersted in would the superstructure survive i mean obviously the rig would be toast u say that all the 60s 70s boats were like this does that mean if i decide to sell and buy a new boat i shouldnt look at alberg 30s or contessa 26 or 32s either and yes im aware the alberg and contest have different underwater lines i was talking about the way they look in water. and does the skeg provide any stability advantage over a spade rudder or is that what causes this rounding up which might be rather frightening when trying to heave to which i havent tried on this boat yet not that it works terribly well on any fin keel boat anyways
 

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Is this the Contest 30 you have? It is the only Contest 30 listed, built starting in 1974

From Sailboat Data:
 

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Discussion Starter #19
nope there were to very different versipn of the 30 that version is the modern layout mine is the contest 30 mark 1 sailboat data doesnt actyually have it but in essence it is a contest 29 that had an alumium mast and an l shaped sett instead of an i sahape and 1 foot more length and 1 foot or so more beam as well as some other nonimportant details like a hatch at the stern, a slihtly different forward hatchumm the door to the forward cabin is also ofset to one side of the mast as opposed to directly beneath it that may be why i havent noticed the hjamming of it when sailing but it is more like the 29 than the 30 that u can see on sailboatdata in fact the 30 i have was a vey limited production run it was almost just a different version of the 29
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Contest Yacht Owners Club if you go to the model overview and scroll down to contest 30 mk1 it was designed by gerard luyten as opposed to vsan essen or zaal as the other thirties all in all there were about 4 or 5 fdifferent contest 30s built, all by different designers but yes this is essentially the 29 but modified and having an offset bulkhead
 
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