We are looking at a Newport 33' as our first sailboat. It appears to be in very nice condition. Does anyone have an opinion? The draft is listed 3' 6". Could that be a typo? Thank you very much in advance.
Try the link above for more info on the Newports. When I looked at the site there was a description of a shoal keel as well as the regular one. 3'6" would be about right for a shoal keel but I couldn't find the actual spec for it. As for a Newport the answer would be "it depends". What are your cruising grounds and how do you want to sail the boat? If you are in Puget Sound and the using the boat in the summer you'll be fine. If your sailing on the Oregon coast in winter I'd find another boat. You will need a very good surveyor. Newports were built to a price point. They are notorious for leaks around chanplates, deck fittings etc. The last two Newports I looked at had rot on the bottom edge of the main bulkheads and in the deck core. I am handy enough to do the needed repairs but I decided against it because in the end no matter what I did to the boat it was just a Newport with a (deserved) reputation for being built cheap. That was me, your deck leaks might have already been fixed and the boat would be a good sailer to learn on and enjoy cruising. If you like the boat, it surveys out well, and your doing primarily summer coastal cruising, go for it! It will be a fun and nice sized boat for you.
I have a good impression of Newports as being a good value and having pretty good sailing characteristics. Many (if not all) of them were designed by C&C's design people, who designed many excellent sailing boats from that era. A cousin has a Newport 28 that he has been very happy with. It could make sense as a first boat. Make sure you get it surveyed.
I own a Newport 33 and love it. The shoal Draft is around or just under 4 feet I thought it was 3' 9", there are dimentions on the Newport Website which I believe is sponsored by Sailnet. The shaol Draft has a mast with an
"I" dimention of 40.00 and the Full mast "I" dimention is 43.00. My boat has a 43' mast with the shoal keel. Great sailing and fast but I tend to get overpowered over 20KTS with the full 150 and main.
I sail in New England and the SW wind in the afternoons tends to blow in the 15-25KT range daily. I sail to Block Island, Cuttyhunk, and the Vineyard regularly and have been in 12 foot seas with no problems, in fact she sits well and is happiest on an ocean swell. The shoal draft does not point quite as well as I had hopped but all in all I love the boat.
If it has been cared for over the years you should have many years left to enjoy her. I believe a great value for the money in that size range.