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I am currently looking around for a boat in the 30 foot range and came across a few that caught my eye: the Tartan 30, Cape Dory 30 and Bristol 32. I know that they are quite different but all fall within my price range. I grew up sailing and did some club racing, but the primary purpose of this boat will be for cruising. I do most of my sailing in Buzzards Bay, MA and surrounding areas. I've found some interesting information about all 3 boats on this website, but was hoping for some personal insight. Any additional information about any of the boats would be appreciated.

Thanks!
 

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What's your budget and are you looking to do more than just coastal cruising??? The Cape Dory owners association has a very active membership, and the secretary of the group is a Buzzards Bay sailor...
 

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Thanks for the reply sailingdog! My budget is about 30,000 and while I may do some offshore sailing eventually, I am planning to stick to coastal cruising with this boat. I will also look into the Cape Dory owners association that you referred to. Any additional thoughts on these 3 boats?
 

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Of the three, the Tartan is probably the fastest and the most lightly built of the three. I personally like the the cutter rig on the Cape Dory and am partial to Alberg designs. The Ted Hood designed Bristol 32 is also a pretty solid boat. All three are pretty capable of doing bluewater passages and the coastal cruising you're looking at.

I believe the CD30 was also available as a ketch, but I haven't ever seen one rigged that way. :D

However, I think the overhang on the Bristol is a bit excessive, and may be a bit less desireable than the other two boats, which are shorter LOA but have a longer LWL.

Another boat to consider in this size range is the Alberg 30...
 

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One of the best sites on the Bristol 32 I have seen is here:
http://www.kestrelboat.com/
The Bristol 32 lives up to the CCA standard in grand fashion, in that they like to sail on their ears. In other words, heeling angles of 20-25 degrees are welcome. At 25 degrees, the B32 has roughly 30 feet of waterline, which allows sailing above her theoretical hull speed which is based on her level 22ft waterline. Some lament her narrow stern quarters, but this also makes her less prone to rounding up like wider sterned boats (and it's a damned sexy look). She's not as roomy as even some of her own Bristol stablemates (particularly the 29.9), but there's always a trade-off between form and function in vehicles. No experience in the others you mentioned, but after spending some time recently on a 2002 Catalina 310, I love my "32" that much more. The 310 is roomier, has all the latest doo-dads and gizmos, and it just reeks "NEW!!!" However, between the burbling of the water-muffled exhaust system when motoring (for some reason, I was the only one annoyed by this), the Yanmar jiggling the whole boat (frankly stunned that wasn't isolated better...great on a Harley, but out of place on a sailboat), and the twitchy tracking of the fin-keel, I gotta stick with the older-schooled boats. 15-degrees heel was awkward on the 310, and despite the wide stern, they somehow managed to put the wheel right in the way between the two primary winches. I mean, it is a nice boat, but still........I have to say though, that sucker can maneuver. It will literally turn a 360 in it's own length with that fin and rudder design. I was amazed at how nimble it felt in response to rudder inputs. That aside, I'll stick with older, somewhat less nimble designs. They tend to track straighter with their full, or modified/cut away full keels. A major plus in mine is the Bukh diesel engine. Smooth as silk, and that's sayin' a lot since it's rigidly mounted to the hull. Yanmar makes a fine engine, but I tell ya, that thing had the boat jiggling just this side of those coin-operated vibrating beds in hotels. That's the mental image that came to mind.
Some also bemoan how when sailed into the wind in short square seas, the B32 will grind to a halt. I submit that, as with any sailboat, sailing too high into the wind will cause this, even in calm water. The simple solution, as with any sailboat, is to simply bear off a few degrees. Problem solved. You wanna pinch up tight, get a racer like one of the Frer's-designed rockets. The Bristol is stout, so not much action is light winds, but that is also not a unique flaw. The 2002 Cat, at 10,000 lbs, fared no better til the winds were 10 knots or better.
I imagine, whichever you choose, you'll soon feel very happy with your decision. Embrace her attributes, be realistic about her flaws/weaknesses (maybe even add upgrades to address them), and enjoy.
 

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Looking at the same boats...

Your three picks are all on my shopping list as well. In your research, have you uncovered which of the three offers the quickest performance? They are quite attractive and definitely stand apart from the newer ho-hum sameness, I'm just worried that they won't be as fun to sail.
 

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the Tartan 30 is by far the fastest boat of these three. The Cape Dory and the Bristol are very different designs from the Tartan. Jim L
 

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Another boat yo umay want to consider is the 31' C. E. Ryder Southern Cross.. Full keel and very solid .. there is one in ME w/ a new engine for around 32k..check Yachtworld..

Of the three I have always been fond of the Bristol 32.
 
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