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

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
4,525 Posts
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

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
4,525 Posts
I think we are starting to get a better understanding of what the model is exactly. The 29 and your 30 were designed by different people so the fact that they have a similar look may hide the fact that there are subtle but important differences in the hull shape.

Jeff is very knowledgeable about boat designs and has worked as a designer. Since he has personal experience with Contests of the era of yours you should listen to what he has to say. One caveat, he has a much higher appreciation of modern designs than the traditional, but the reality is that for many people the cost of a modern, quality cruising boat is just not in the ball park so the question becomes, which of the older boats is best.

Some other comments, if your fiance is going to go offshore with you, she MUST be an active crewmember. There are no passengers in boats of the size we are talking about. We cruise in a 36,000 lb, 45 footer and there is still no room for a passenger. If she tries to go along to keep you company she will be miserable and so will you. If she does not want to be an active crewmember, find someone to go with you and have her fly to Bermuda - it is a great spot to visit.

I don't think they still make the Edson pump I mentioned - that is my I mentioned trying to find one used. If it were new you could not afford one anyway. They were close to $1000 20 years ago - but they do an incredible job. I agree with the comments about Whale pumps, the aluminum castings do corrode and the pumps are very pricey - the Hendersons are better since they are all plastic.

The trip to Bermuda can be totally benign or you can get the crap kicked out of you - it is totally unpredictable. It is not like the Southern Ocean and the chance of a knockdown is very slight at the season you should go - late May - early June departure from Lake Ontario is ideal. To all the people who say that Great Lake sailing can be just like offshore, it ain't true. I sailed on the lakes for close to 40 years before heading off and the conditions are different. The lakes can be terrible in November for example, but people aren't sailing then. On the ocean we have had periods of a week where the winds were never less than 25 knots and often more like 35 knots - you never get that on the lakes. Most people think in terms of one bad storm or squall, beyond that are the extended periods of fairly high winds and swells/waves in the 10 to 15 foot range.

Not sure what your budget range is, but there are some incredible bargains around. Saw in Gam that there was a Hullmaster 27 (Brewer design/decent build I think) for $2900. It may be a piece of junk but at least illustrates what a keen seller wants. Some people are still thinking about what they paid for their boat not the realities of the market - you just need to find the realistic ones. If you are considering an Alberg 30 or Contessa 32, I would lean to the latter with one warning - many Contessas were bought as hull and decks and finished at home and that may be a very good thing or not ... Also, headroom is a bit limited as I remember if you are more than about 5'10".

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
4,525 Posts
I agree with Jeff that you need to have the best boat within your budget range. Contessa 32s are advertised in the low to mid 30k range on Yachtworld. Those who are asking 50k are living in a time warp and think it is still 2007. Not saying that this is the boat, just that I prefer it to an Alberg 30. The fact that someone did xxx voyage in a particular boat does not mean the boat is a good choice for the trip. There is a boat surveyor in Brisbane who circumnavigated in a 12 footer of some type - he did it, would you want to?

If you want to keep your Contest then you are going in the right direction of trying to get rid of as many uncertainties as you practically can. A trip to Bermuda can be a millpond where the most important thing is your fuel capacity or you can get a terrific blow.We went NYC to Bermuda on Niagara 35 in 4 1/2 days including one day of 191 miles, which is one mile short of 8 knot average which is more than hull speed - we had some favourable current and 25 to 35 knots (with gusts) broad reaching. Spent the day trying to slow down with no obvious success as you can see. So you just have to be well prepared.

One hint, once you get things somewhat sorted out, go sailing on those boisterous September days when no one else is leaving the harbour (just make sure you can get in and out safely - some harbour mouths get really nasty). Practice reefing and unreefing a lot. Spend your money on the things you rely on routinely like strong sails, sail handling gear and the right nav things rather than the stuff you read about online or in the books like storm jibs and the like. We have a storm jib, a trysail, a parachute anchor and they have never been used, although I am going to make sure that the trysail is in the track and lashed on deck before we start heading from Mauritius to South Africa.

let us know if you have any other questions.

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
4,525 Posts

tbh im not looking for a new boat because the reality is im not going to be able to sell my boat and if i did i cant think of any suitable boats because my budget is more like 15 or 20 (assuming its fully equipmented out) not 40 50 grand so instead of telling me how the boat is hasrd to control when it heels tell me how to steengthen the frame because it did seem pretty sturdy when i took it out in a small craft warning breeze and sluggish even so im guessing these flaws only present themselves in say a 35 knot wind, but since your the expert im sure you could give me some pointers ars to what to strengthen instead of just pushing me towards boats i cant aford. if i were to buy a boat in the 50 000 dollar range id go for a steel hull anyways and if the deep keel boats are so superior for durability why do u always hear of them losing there keels in the southern ocean (not that id ever plan to go there in anything short of a tallship) but back to reality and bermuda, i was wondering though if i were stuck in a full gale and i had no drogue or storm jib what would i do lay a hull with bare poles, run before the weather streaming warps. To be honest i wouldnt circumnavigate in a 12 foot boat but i have heard of contest 29s and 30s that have sailed from the netherlands to the us virgin islands so i assumed they were up to it but i suppose it may not be ideal due to the comments made but any boat can be made safer for example a catalina 27 circumnavigated and im fairly certain my boat is much stronger just from a raw fiberglass point of view even if the internal bracing was not as good but im sure if i add some stringers and a few compression posts i should be able to correct that. in terms of reefing i do feel rather happy that the boat has both slab reefing and a roller boom bith of which i have plenty of experience with, in terms of sailing in 25 to 35 knots while we dont have 35 knots often i have bbeen in 25 once or twice in lake huron crewing on my friends c and c 27 im going to post a lit of my ideas for a list of what i need to do for the boat it would help if you could tell me what my priorities are
I can't comment on reinforcing the hull since I don't know the boat. Ask around at the marina you are in - there should be someone who knows enough this to offer reasonable advice. Did you get a survey before purchase? If so, ask the surveyor, you paid for professional advice on such matters.

I doubt you will use the rollerboom. This was an older idea that died out for good reason - it did not work very well. As you rolled the boom, the boom got lower (because of the geometry of the sail) and the sail shape was lousy. Make sure your slab reefing is really sound and have a particular look for any source of chafe on the blocks or sail cringles.

Experiment a lot with heaving-to. Every boat does it differently. Some need both jib and main, some only a well-reefed main (if your main is in really good shape you might want to get a third reef point installed - often the second reef does not reduce sail enough). Running off is quite hard to do since it requires a lot of skill in really bad conditions and an iron constitution to keep it up. Moistessier was a proponent of this approach and the man is like a god (better than Eric Clapton - sorry different thread entirely :eek:) both in what he accomplished and his capabilities. You can make a series drogue if you have access to a sewing machine. Haven't used one but had a friend who did twice on his way from the Galapagos to Chile this year - both times in 40 to 45 knots and pretty large seas. He loves it.

Interested to see your list. BtW, I don't consider myself an expert - but the more you sail the more you learn and the more you realize that you still need to learn.

Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
4,525 Posts
Some reactions

the marina operator actually told me the boat was as strong as a bull on steroids hence why i was so confused when i heard jeffs opinion but then my marina operator doesnt design boats he just repairs and works on them and also happened to cross the atlantic by boat when he moved to canada in his cutter i did not get a survey because i figured i paid 13 grand for the boat i might as well put the 1 grand into equipment rather than a survey and knowing there was no coring i figurede there was nothing that could go wrong or rot and obviously the marina operator would know if it had osmosis because he put on new antifouling at the beggining of the season i figured id use the rollerboom if i needed a very tiny peice of sail as in smaller than the smallest jinb i had so i could heave to and in that regard how mmuch would it cost me in raw materials to build a series drogue and my main is 1 year old so its pretty decent shape although it is kmuch smaller than the original sail was so that contributs to the sluggishness its about half the size of my 150 genoa and reef number 2 makes the sail about half the size of that of the 420s i sailed as a 7 year old so not sure if i should put any reef point higher than that or one in the middle because the jump between reef one and 2 is enormous in terms of blocks im replacing the traveler blocks and the cleat but the rest are all new as are the winches so heres my list btw
storm jib
bilge pump
replace all clevis pins and have rigging inspected
upgrade travveler blocks and cleats
make storm hatches for doghouse windows
add compression post slash any needed strengthening
make colision mat out of an old yaga mat with grommets (heard it works wonders)
make a plate to fit to all dorade vents incase of knockdown
buld water jug locker in old inboard engine room
put spare ground tackle in box and store it in locker near center of boat to prevent it becoming a projectile
solar panels
set up sheet to tiller steering and look for windvane in my price range
add latches for all lockers and hatches
replace waterproof gaskets for all external hatches and lockers and bulkhead door
test rudder bearings the keel is encapsulated so need to worry about bolts
buy a barometer and an hf receiver any other ideas
Specific comments
  • Storm jib - could not tell from your postings if your 150 is your only jib and whether you have a furler - I would put a working jib (perhaps a 90%) ahead of the storm jib; not aware of used sail dealer in Canada but Bacon Sails in Annapolis has a huge selection that you can check online (bought my storm jib from them and sold some sails as well); their condition judgements are quite fair tending to conservative; if they something is 'good' it really is
  • I assume that the dorade vents are screw-ins; you should be able to find plates (bronze/SS/Plastic) that screw into the ring; yours might be metric which could make it tougher
  • As well as water jug storage you are likely to have extra fuel storage as well - not wild about gas below decks but it may be necessary; going up/down the Hudson is often motoring since summer winds are light and when they exist they are up or down the valley so you are beating or running
  • What is your ground tackle? Don't need a whole lot for St Georges harbour in Bermuda or the Great Lakes where depths are not too bad
  • experimenting with sheet to tiller only needs some shock cord, a bit of line and a couple of smallish blocks and is lots of fun; good luck finding the book
  • If you are singlehanding on the Lakes or down to NYC to go to Bermuda you will find a tillerpilot much more useful than a vane; the vane is really for long passages and you will not know about that until after the Bermuda trip so here is something you can delay until after Bermuda - unless you stumble on a really good deal which happens
  • Just give the rudder a good yank, up down and sideways and see if there is any play
  • As well as jacklines, check to see if there are strong points to attach your harness at the helm and just outside the companionway; I was in a race on Lake Ontario years ago where I man in a Shark was swept overboard in the middle of the night as he was coming on deck with his tether in hand; if conditions are really nasty you want to be attached while still in the cabin. You might be looking at at least two large padeyes with good backing. Each should be big enough to allow two tethers to attach.
  • Saw a nice idea for doghouse windows protection on a boat in Oz with quite large windows. They had attached a rectangular piece of plexi across the entire window and attached at either end - not fitted to the window shape at all. Makes sense because you are only trying to absorb the weight of a breaking wave before it hits the actual windown. This approach was simple and cheap.
  • sell a series drogue kit (along with everything else you could imagine in the marine sewing business); don't know if you could do it cheaper buying all the bits yourself
  • Surveyors do more than check for blisters. Do you have insurance? Did they allow coverage without a survey? Usually the insurance companies insists on a survey. I changed insurance companies after 18 months in the US because the company I had would not provide offshore coverage. Had to get a new survey because the old one was more than year old.
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