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Discussion Starter #1
I need some advice. I am looking for a boat in the 24-29 ft. range for around $10K with full keel to liveaboard and do moderate coastal cruising in New England area until my skill level is up for a Caribbean trip in a couple of years. I have been looking at old Tartan 27s, as I like the keel/centerboard option, heavy displacement, shallow draft, and have read that it is seakindly, forgiving, and a good starter boat. I have been sailing Lasers since I was 7 (now 31) and have been sailing my mom''s Catalina 22 with her on an inland lake for 2 summers. I am a "seat of my pants" sailor, but am now catching up by reading lots of sailing books, magazines, and websites for the last two years. I am concerned I lack the skill to singlehand a boat that is large enough to live on. I plan to only sail in fair weather at first, possibly get sailing friends to help, and take a training course if needed. All comments welcome. Thanks.
 

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Kimberlite,
Hi, I am currently in Philadelphia, but will be moving to Maine as soon as I can--at least by the fall. Where are the get togethers? (I signed up for the Tartan list, and am receiving info, but am having trouble posting any messages.) Do you know what the Maine Boat Builders Show is all about?
Thanks.
 

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Moving to Maine, huh? What part? If you want to find a boat, troll the yards from Rockland to SW Harbor. I saw a Bristol 32 sitting at Devereaux''s in Penobscot (on the road to Castine) last summer. My Bristol 35 sits on hard in SW Harbor right now. Probably will have to sell, but resisting. I''m 2500 miles south enjoying the Caribbean. Racing the Puerto Rico Heineken Regatta this coming weekend. St. Maarten was great. Wish I had my boat. There MAY be a Tartan 27 in the yard at Winterport, Maine. When you get on board any boat, ask yourself how you''d sheet the main, genoa sheets and doink around with other paraphernalia while steering. The Bristol''s mainsheet is aft of the helm. The Jeanneau and Beneteau I''ve been racing are on the bridge deck and cabin top, respectively. The cabin top setup is impossible to singlehand well. The Pearson Vanguard, Coaster and so forth might work well for you. Gas engine should probably be avoided. Find out how old the rigging, look everything over. There''s also a yard out back of Belfast that often has boats sitting around with For Sale by Owner signs. The demand is higher in Portland area, so if you can find an out-of-the way yard in the Penobscot Bay region you might find your deal. Should be a good summer up there. The winter has clearly sucked. See you in Rockland at the NABF (north atlantic blues festival) or maybe Lobsterfest. Keep your options open on boats. Sometimes it''s take what you can get for the price. I saw a nice 31'' Contest, older but great boat, for about $15,000 in Belfast a few years ago. Right place, right time.
 

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The Tartan 27 is a nice little boat. In fact it is one of my favorites from this era. The keel/CB lets you get into shallower venues and still have decent windward performance. Tartan 27's have made quite respectible passages.

They are getting pretty long in the tooth so great care should be taken in surveying one. If the standing and running rigging has not been replaced, you can expect to do that. Like any older boat, you need to check for delamination in the deck and at high flex areas.

If the boat has its original engine it needs to checked very carefully. Things like sails, instruments, upholstery, fuel and water tanks, electrical systems,propshafts and deck hardware etc. are likely to be at or near the end of their useful lifespans. Collectively these problems can easily be twice the value of the boat so look for one that has had these issues addressed even if it is a bit more expensive.

By modern standards of course they are quite slow and not very goo din light air. That makes a big difference when you talk about distance cruising on a small boat. It means that you have to carry a lot more supplies and a lot more fuel. Carrying a lot of weight in a small boat can reduce the safety of the boat as boats disperse the force of a gust in two ways, accelerating and heeling and the added weight in supplies can make the difference between a knockdown and fast trip.

As to the full keel the Tartan falls somewhere in a grey zone. Although it is hard to believe the Tartan was actually designed as a MORC race boat. They have a cut away forefoot and a pretty long overhang between the ends of the keel and the ends of the boat. My experience on board these boats is that they do not track any better than a properly designed fin keeler. Now then, under sail you can adjust the CB to balance the helm some. They tend to have a fair amount of weather helm when tuned to have good windward performance which can be balanced quite a bit with the CB.

As to vulnerability I would suggest that the centerboard and trunk are as vulnerable to damage in a grounding as any well made fin keeler.

I guess my point here is that I would not limit myself to so called "full keel" boats. There are a lot of good boats out there in your price range.

Good luck
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Viexile, Thanks for the local input on boats in Maine. I am moving to Portland or somewhere near there, but will go where the work is. (I am looking for work in park management/outdoor recreation. But have not found many prospects in Maine yet for the summer, which may push me elsewhere temporarily.) I think Pearsons would be good, too, but have not found many. I agree, the right place at the right time is always important, so I hope to drive up to Maine in a couple of weeks and will check out the spots you mentioned. The winter has clearly sucked all along the east coast it seems, and I would love to escape from Philly before the dreaded heat and humidity sets in. Maine summers are paradise, and that is one of my attractions to the area especially such lovely places as Rockland, Camden, and Bar Harbor. Anyway, happy sailing in the Caribbean; it sounds nice!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Jeff_H
Thank you for such a thorough reply regarding the T-27. I am seriously interested in one that has had a lot of improvements since 1996, ie. new sails, new forestay, shaffer roller furler, new cb pennant and pennant drum, and a well maintained engine. I''m going to go look at it and will definately get a survey before buying any boat. Your comments about full keel vs. fin keel are interesting. I have had a little reservation about the T-27 because of its lack of ability to go to windward, (and I love beating!). But they are supposed to shine on a reach, so I guess that balances it out some. I have considered the Cal 2-27, but have not found many/any on the east coast. The Paceship 26 was recommended to me. I guess the full keel is appealing for it''s old fashioned sturdiness, and maybe that is a bit of an antiquated way to view things. (I think this is an ironic preference for me since nearly all of my sailing has been on the ultimate light and fast Laser.) But, full keel just sounds safer. Guess I''ll do a little more research.
 

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Actually they point pretty well, just not very fast, but where they loose out is on reaches where more modern designs are much faster. They are actually pretty fast dead down wind with thier masthead spinackers and their Centerboards raised.

Jeff
 

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You may want to read a book call "The Coast of Summer" about a couple who cruised the Cape and Islands around Southeastern Mass on a Tartan 27. The author's name is Anthony Bailey and used to write for New Yorker magazine, but it offers plenty of good information of the positives and shortcomings of this particular boat. From the vast majority of owners, it is a true classic plastic boat with pleasing looks, somewhat tender with a tendency to hobby horse in a seaway.
 

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A boat that you could consider is the contessa 26 , it is about 6000-12000 $ usd for a good condition one. Also Alberg 29 and 30's are nice , the 22 is a little tight but nice .
Happy boat hunting.
Cheers,
Vetterr
 

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Besides for the fact that this is a 10 year old thread and the fellow bought the T-27 and really enjoyed it, and that he has not been here since August 2001, his goals were a good coastal cruiser. He was concerned that the T-27 did not offer enough performance, especially up wind or enough room to live aboard for the summer (from another thread). So a boat like the Contessa 27, which is extremely cramped down below would not be a reasonable suggestion. An Alberg 30 or 29 offers slightly more room, but does not point as well as a Tartan 27. An Alberg 22 makes less than zero sense failing on all counts. And a Bombay Clipper does not sail worth a darn and and was not constructed as well as the Tartan so would make no sense except for the live-aboard aspect. I would suggest that if you are going to make suggestions, that you try to keep them more germane to the context.

Jus' say'n
 

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I would look at a simlar boat, Cape Dory 27 or 28.
The CD 27 will outsail the T 27. There may be a higher price on a CD 27.
They do retain value if maintained. I'm not a fan of Keel/center board boats.
The construction of CD is better over all. One is for sale up in Winterport.
 

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For anyone inyerested in this 10 year old thread, the Tanzer 27 which they built in early 80's was made from a Paceship 26 (1973) mould. Personally I like these boats and feel you should be able to find one at a good value price and they are a fine boat to begin with. Though I prefer the fixed fin the centerboard edition would make sense in some areas.
 

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First off I feel like I owe Vetter and Dulce Suema an apology. I am sorry for snapping at you both.

I did want to address Omaho's comments:
In terms of the comparason of the Tartan 27 to the CD 27, I would like to hear the basis for saying that the Cape Dory will outsail the Tartan 72. I have not seen any reason to believe that to be even remotely true. Besides for the Tartan 27 typically rating 21 -27 seconds a mile faster than the Cape Dory 27, the Tartan will outpoint the Cape Dory by quite a bit. In terms of ease of sailing, the Cape Dory 27 is comparatively tender and develops a wicked weather helm in a stiff breeze. While the Tarten will develop a bit of weather helm as well, you can 'trim' that out with the centerboard resulting in a nicely balanced boat that still points well and makes minimal leeway. Even in terms of motion comfort, the Tartan has one of the nicest motions in a chop of any 27 footer of that era that I can think of. I have always been impressed by it. The Cape Dory not so much, tending to be a real roller and pitcher.

While the Cape Dory 27 does have a much nicer looking interior, and certainly a better offshore layout than the Tartan 27, it is not as livable an interior if the goal (like the OP) is a summer liveaboard. In terms of build quality, S&S was one of the first design firms to begin to understand the need for internal structure, smaller panel size, limiting flexure, resin ratios, and upping the ante on material handling methods. And Tartan had evolved from a company that built one-design race boats. The construction methods and engineering on the Tartan 27 were quite sophisticated for that era and the typical hardware and deck layout was first class for the time. By any objective standard, in comparason the Cape Dories were pretty crudely built.

Lastly, I don't know why you personally are not a fan of keel centerboard boats but I would suggest that this is a great way to go for a small cruising boat offering shoal draft, and as compared to most liong keel boats, typically offering much better performance all around.

Respectfully,
Jeff



I would look at a simlar boat, Cape Dory 27 or 28.
The CD 27 will outsail the T 27. There may be a higher price on a CD 27.
They do retain value if maintained. I'm not a fan of Keel/center board boats.
The construction of CD is better over all. One is for sale up in Winterport.
 

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I just love it when Jeff_H gets riled up! Especially when he is defending my old Douglas & McLeod built, S&S designed Tartan 27'.
I saw that this thread got revived but decided to try and be a better man and not take the bait. I figured that SailingDog would be along to remind everyone that this question was asked 10 years ago (about the same time we bought T27 #328).
There are lots of different boats available in the 27' range out there to choose from; each with it's own set of compromises, proponents and detractors. I know that we all tend to "love the boat you're with" and I am no different; I love my Tartan 27'. Hell, if I'd bought a 12' styro-foam Sea Snark 10 years ago I'd probably love that too, ungainly and un-seaworthy as it might be.
Ten years ago my research turned up that the Tartan 27' was akin to the Cadillac of production FRP boats in it's day. I've learned quite a bit more since then. It may well be one of the first FRP production keel boats made in this country with around 700 hulls made from the early 1960's through mid 70's. The design firm of Sparkman & Stephens was a class act at that time and made some great innovations on the award winning boats they had built prior to the T27. There still are a large number of T27's being sailed by happy owners (we have over 300 members in our T27Owners yahoo group).
We actually race our old shoe T27 in a PHRF fleet. Even though our nearly full keel does not point as high as most of the boats in our fleet and we have a shorter water line then most we actually won our Weds. night series sailing against the likes of Catalina 30's, Tartan 30's, and a Cal 28' & P30 among others. I can tell you that it was not because we are brilliant strategists. We won because we showed up for almost every race and the T27 has her own tricks for keeping up with the newer, lighter, "better designed" boats. I'm not sure the new designs are "better"; they are merely newer.
One of the problems with these internet forums is that anyone can post a message and in a sense we all pass ourselves off as 'experts' when we are merely posting our subjective opinions. I'm sure these latest boat suggestions to this now (nearly) dead thread were made with the best of intentions. However, over time it is possible to see who is just throwing out an idea and who (if any) really knows there stuff. I believe that Jeff_H posted on this thread way back in 2001 if anyone can read back that far. Jeff_H is one of the (few) people here who really do know a lot about the merits of different boat designs.
Now, if anyone had suggested a Pearson 30' instead I doubt that Jeff_H would have taken exception as much as he did.
 

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"By any objective standard" "Cape Dories are crudely built." Thank you JeffH for settng me straight on this. You are man of much knowledge.
I wlll not expound on this any longer. This is so ONLY because you are so easily angered. That said , you shuold do some more homework.
Try comparing both on "Sail Calculator." They are so similar in strict numbers
that there is no point in further debate.
Control the ire and seek help.
 
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