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All,

I have found a Rhodes Chesapeake 32 built in 1961 at Danyard in Denmark that I am interested in buying. Any information regarding this model or tips/suggestions would be welcome. The deck/interior/rigging/engine are all new and imaculate. Any ideas on value??
 
J

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These are nice boats. They are slightly less beefy and slightly less commodious than their near sisters, the Pearson Vanguards which were also 32 foot Rhodes designs of the era. If I remember correctly the Chesapeakes were imported by Henry Walton of Annapolis, Maryland and were beautifully finished with mahogany trim and nice stainless steel and chrome plated cast brnze details. (Walton''s son still lives in Annapolis)

These boats sail well for a boat from that era and seem to be well behaved in a breeze. That said, by today''s standards these boats were painfully slow and quite wet. The have a short waterline by any objective standard and so (if they behave like the Vanguard which my family owned for quite a few years) they are not too great in a chop. They are also next to useless in light air.

I am not terribly fond of the sail plan on these CCA era rule beater boats. Boats of this era were designed with comparatively small and low aspect ratio mainsails and counted on the use of very large genoas in winds up to the high teens. As a result they are a lot of work to sail well. The wide single spreaders, the wide shroud base and longish keel keep them from pointing as well as more modern designs.

These boats were typically sailed with large heel angles at speed which made working below a little difficult and uncomfortable. It also made it pretty wet in the cockpit in a seaway. They do have a slower motion than the early fin keel spade rudder boats that followed them but they also roll through wider roll angles.

The longish keel (which is not really a full keel as classically defined) had a cut away forefoot and a raked rudder post that was pretty far forward in the boat. In their day, these were considered to be more like a long fin keel with an attached rudder than a full keel. The cutaways reduced wetted surface and increased speed a bit but it also meant that they do not really track like a full keel nor do they have the light helms of spade rudder boats. The general proportions of the rig, the large heel angles and the rudder attached to the keel resulted in a lot of weather helm in a breeze which really wears you down on a long leg and causes the autopilot to use a lot more amps than a boat with a lighter helm.

Of course then there is the usual old boat concerns. You need to have this boat throughly surveyed by a really competent certified Marine Surveyor. Boats of this era can have a mix of problems including standing and running rigging that is well past its useful lifespan, deck rot and structural bulkhead separation, fiberglass fatique at high stress areas, rudders and rudder posts that well in excess of thier useful lifespan, tired sails, deck hardware that is underpowered and undersized (by modern standards) and imposible to find parts for, dangerous hardware like reel winches and roller furling booms, engines in need of rebuild or replacement, upholstery that has lost its give, instruments, plumbing, electrical systems that are obsolete and past their safe lifespans, aesthetic issues and so on. While none of these problems may be present on the specific boat that you are considering, even a combination of a few of these items can quickly add up to far more than these boats are worth in perfect condition.

To me boats like the Chesapeake 32 are wonderful to look at. Sailing them evokes an aesthetic of a different era. They were simple boats that offer a type of experience that that is different than more modern designs. If that "come with me now to yesteryear" character appeals to you then the Chesapeake 32 was one of the better boats of that length and time frame.

Good luck
Jeff
 

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Jeff,

Thank you for an enlightning email. Your thoughts on sailability are especially well timed as I intend to take the boat on a sea trial next w/e. I have already contacted a surveyor and intend to do a full survey. The rigging is all new, the deck renewed, and the cabin is completely redone in a traditional style. The quality of the refit is excellent (as far as I can tell), and the woodwork is very nice. As you rightly mention, this type of design appeals to a certain asthetic sensibility that transcends logic and common sense. A ''return to yesteryear'' is certainly in the offing.

I do not know much about the value of a boat of this era. Any thoughts?

Thanks for your time.
 
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My sense is that a Chesapeake 32 in really good shape, with everything repaired, replaced or upgraded, might be worth somewhere around $20K. In recent years, most of the Chesapeake 32''s that I have seen for sale have had an asking price in the $14K to $17K suggesting a sales price under $15K. If you have one in prime condition anywhere near (and below) $20K it is probably a pretty fair deal.

Jeff
 

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In theory, in practice....

With all due respect to JeffH, he should know better than to generalize about performance when it comes to specific sailboats. He says Rhodes' short LWL/ cutaway forefoot/attached rudder design produces a slow, wet boat with a lot of weather helm. ... Well, having owned one (the Meridian, a smaller version of the Chessie 32 from the looks of its underbody), I have to tell you this hull design balances beautifully, tracks like a train, and moves respectably in light air. In fact the Meridian's helm was perfectly balanced on all points of sail, including beating. In a hard breeze, I could drive the boat to weather with no hand on the tiller at all --- the tiller just horsed around a bit as the boat plowed on. Amazing, really.

Many of Rhodes' designs were noted for their excellent balance. I daresay Mr. Rhodes knew exactly what he was doing, when it came to designing to the CCA rule. (Small mains and large gennies on CCA boats, Jeff? Well, they were masthead rigs, but maybe you are confusing these conservatively rigged boats with the IOR "rule-beaters" that followed?)
 

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ByrSac -

You do know that this thread had been dead for almost 10 years? :)

I've spent quite a number of years sailing a Vanguard, and Jeff_H is correct. Terrible in light air, slow, and develops quite a bit of weather helm in a breeze unless you reef early. Downwind in a breeze can take quite a bit of effort to steer. Depending upon the point of sail, wind speed, and waves, I could get the boat to steer with the tiller free, but I've sailed other boats that were much better.

Your Meridian is probably closer to a Vanguard - the Chesapeake 32 was a centerboard boat. And like the Vanguard, the Meridian is no speedster, with a PHRF of around 285.

As far as mainsails on the old CCA designs - these boats were designed for large overlapping jibs - around 170%, due to the way the additional area was treated by the rating rules. A more modern design not constrained by the CCA rule would have put more area in the main and used smaller overlaps in the jib.
 

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slap, with all due respect, your statement that chessies are centerboards needs to be corrected. just went over to see my neighor's chessie. no centerboard. just a big keel. no slots. he never had a centerboard on it. nor any evidence of one. so just where do you get your info from?
 

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just went through my dad's old files. he was involved in ev pearson's and dick fisher's forays into the fiberglass world back in the 50s-early 60s. nope. chesapeakes definitely did not have centerboards. got the plans/photos/specs right here . think some folks are getting the chessie confused with similar designs. to further edify some of these armchair sailors, the chessie was not built to a cca standard. otherwise it would have had a centerboard, etc. it was built initially for the very choppy baltic and north sea area and represented a really conservative "sea" boat. think some of you younger folks have never really sailed such a boat. now back to my luders 33.
 

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AFAIAC, any Rhodes boat is worth owning just because it will be so beautiful. No-one ever drew a more beautiful sheerline than Phil Rhodes.
 

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AFAIAC, any Rhodes boat is worth owning just because it will be so beautiful. No-one ever drew a more beautiful sheerline than Phil Rhodes.
Chesapeake 32.... pretty.....



Indeed...:) But it would be hard to try sailing one of these around the PNW in summer, I suspect..
 

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I may be biased but I agree that they are great looking boats. If you like the look and use them for what they are designed for you will not be disappointed. Rhodes made some great boats that have stood the test of time.
 

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Chesapeake 32.... pretty.....



Indeed...:) But it would be hard to try sailing one of these around the PNW in summer, I suspect..
Naaaa - just have a 3 oz. 225% Gennie on board. :) It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone put a modern high SA/D rig on a boat like that. Adding 6 or 8 feet to the mast would probably perk things right up in light air.
 

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Hello All,
I was the proud owner of Chesapeake hull 55 1962 and sailed it to Mexico from San Francisco twice. Great boat with very few problems . I was once coming up the coast of California in 20+ foot sea in winter and the Chesapeake came through without any gear failures.
Because of its beauty she was in commercials for Penzoil,Topsider Rolls Royce, Sausalito Art Festival, and Crazy Shirts did there entire catalog on the Chesapeake 32. I sold it for $25,000.00 .I started sailing on her when I was ten years old and bought her for $18,000.00 when I was 16 years old.
 

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Hello Bob,
Thank you for your reply.
I guess we both have good taste in yacht design. That is quite the compliment coming from you to Phil Rhodes. I also enjoy your designs and have sailed on a CT 54 from California through the canal ,I deliver Reknow the Cheoy Lee to PV, sailed on many Tayanas one of which won the Oriental Cup in North Carolina. My favorite was the Valliant I raced one from the Sausalito Yacht Club.
Would you ever consider being a speaker for the Wednesday yachtsman luncheon at the Saint Francis YC?
 

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I purchased my Rhodes Chesapeake in 2009 and when i did I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life. After owning "modern cruisers" with fin keel, wheel steering etc. I found the vessel to be unmanageable with rough seas and higher winds. But something has happened over the years.... I've become a better sailor. She has taught me well in understanding how she works. As my other sailboats and with modern cruisers you just simply raise the sails and move. The Rhodes Chesapeake I have found can handle any conditions with ease. She trims beautifully.... I can have her balanced and sailing on her own while I read a book with my feet off the side in 20kt winds. She's pretty and fast. This boat was not built for creature comforts though you can squeeze a bit inside. She was built for sailing first. If you want a dock queen buy a Hunter or Beneteau..... If you want to sail, I mean really really sail buy the Chesapeake.
 

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I know of one Chesapeake 32 for sale that does have a modernish fractional rig. There is a 1964 Chesapeake 32 in Norwalk CT for sale, I would include the link but this site does not allow me until I have 10 posts. If you see one with a sail number of 165 this is my dad's old boat, he rebuilt everything on her in the late 80s-early 90s including replacing the original rotten wooden mast with an aluminum one, kept the same headstay length and raised the mast 6 ft while shortening the boom along with new decks, basically new interior, new engine and all systems. What a dream to sail in light/medium air. She had a little bit of weather helm as the breeze increased, but for summer in new England, you just reef early. I really miss the boat. I would have bought her back but I just recently bought a 40' Luders 27. Overall the Chesapeake 32 is a great small cruising boat.
 
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