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Need Help with an Upgrade

1446 Views 9 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  Hudsonian
Hi all, I am just starting to do some research on potential upgrades for my Pearson Ensign. I'm looking for something in the 28ft-32ft size range under $30k. Having read a number of threads, I've seen that it's generally helpful to give a fair amount of background in order to generate relevant feedback (I say that as an upfront apology for what will probably be a long intial post :eek: ) here goes:

I would cartegorize myself in a lower intermediate level with respect to sailing expereince/knowledge. I have a reasonably good understanding of basic sail trim concepts, but am not particularly rigorous when it comes to applying that knowledge (I'm looking to change that). I don't race and almost all of my expereince has been as a daysailor within enclosed bays on the Maine coast (mostly Penobscot Bay) where there are a lot of light air days in the summer (5-10 knots) together with pretty flat sea conditions (usually no more than 2ft-4ft waves).

I anticipate that the boats primary use will be as a day sailor and that I will frequently have several people on board (including my kids who will be 7,5 and 4 next summer), but also anticipate singlehanding frequently. I would like to take a couple of short cruises (1-3 days) each years and learn to race - if I had to choose, I would take speed and performance over cruising comfort.

Given the boat's likely primary use as a daysailor, I would define comfort by spacious cockpit and not the cabin. Given the age of the kids, I'm hoping to find a reasonably deep cockpit, but am not wedded to it.
I would like a sloop that performs well in light air (5-10 knots), points well, is highly responsive, fast and generally "fun to sail". As a point of reference, I find the Ensign a little sluggish (although I do love it).
Mine tend to run a little traditional - undercut stern, low profile doghouse..I'm a littel worried that this aesthetic may run counter to what I outlined in the "sailing" department above.

Improve my sail trim skills
Start racing
Teach my kids (my sister just got a Herreshof 12.5 which the kids will start on, so this would provide a step up for them down the road).

JeffH posted a very useful list on an old thread which I spent a fair amount of time looking at. The boats I find appealing from that list are:
C&C Redwing 30
Irwin Citation
Alberg 30.

What are people's opinions about the boats I listed above in the context of the criterea I outlined?
How do the boats compare to one another?
Are there other boats that people would recommend?

Appreciate any feedback - thanks!
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The three boats that you've mentioned aren't stellar light-air performers. We were in Penobscot Bay for about three weeks this summer, and can identify with the light air issue. A Pearson 30 or similar-sized but more modern C&C would provide you a much larger range (and enjoyable sails) in light air. A J/29 or J/30 would get you into the racing scene quickly, but might not have the daysailing cockpit space of other designs like the Tartan 10. (That design's great cockpit is offset by its accommodations below deck.) In Penobscot Bay there are likely some Sabre 34's, but that may be getting too big or expensive (and they might not be as quick as a J/30). Everything is a balance, so finding the right boat for you depends what you're willing to compromise on.
My experience with a Cal 27 and a Tartan 30 are that the are good light air boats if the sails , especially the jib, are in good shape. 7 knots true will move them along ok. With your budget you could buy one in reasonable shape and repower, if you don't like the a4. If you use the a4 make sure you get a CO detector. My daughter was napping below when mine went off because of a leak in the exhaust manifold. Very glad I had it.
Thanks for the responses. I looked at a couple of Tartans online and they look interesting and in the right budget. Going to a yard next weekend to look at a Tartan 26 for 5,500 - guessing from the price that I can count on a lot of work. May be a bit small, but interested to check it out.
You may want to check out the boat evaluations done by Good Old boat magazine. They also occasionally have boat comparison articles written by Ted Brewer where he compares 3 older class boats of a similar type. these articles are right up you alley for the question you asked. Critical to light air prefoprmance appears to be the sail area to displacement ratio. It's also critical that the boat suitable light air/racing sails. Often you have a roller furl which is a comprimise.
From my very limited experience in Penobscott Bay I'd look for a boat with a radar and possibly a class 2 AIS set although the latter is new and I don't have expereince with them.
I'd agree that the Tartan 30 is a much better choice than the three you've got listed. A Cal 27 or Cal 30 would be a good choice too. While a lot of people like the J/30, I'd point out that a lot of them were raced very heavily, rode hard and put away wet... leaving a nightmare of issues for the next owner. Of course, that could also be said of the Cals...

If you're really looking for speed and performance, then a Corsair 28 might be a better choice... Multihulls do far better in light air and have performance characteristics that a monohull would be hard pressed to match.
You might look for a Pearson Flyer. I've seen several for sale in New England that are well within your price range. They have a huge (8') cockpit with real seat backs, good for family daysailing. The interior is spacious but not much there other than settees. It's not a cruising boat, but you could certainly weekend on it. Good light air boat, good boat to start racing on. The big issue on these boats and on similar boats (J/30, J/29) is going to be finding one that has been well maintained or rehabilitated. The cheaper examples of all of these boats will likely need a lot of work (core replacement, rigging updates).
The Tartan 30 has a big deep cockpit and sails well. It would be tight for 4 overnight, but with kids probably ok until they get older. Singlehanding in any of these boats can be a challange since all are old and tend to lack self tailing winches, control lines to the cockpit etc. Finding one in good shape with the right upgrades can be a challenge. The T 30 was offered with a tall rig which has some advantages in light air.
Baboon - thanks for the suggestion. Have tracked down a couple tartans in my area that I'm going to take a look at. Like the idea of the tall rig for those light days. Thanks again.
Try J-27 or Laser 28 for much better performance than the Tartan 30, which is really long of tooth. They should come in for far less than $30K.
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