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My son and I race Wednesday night beer cans mostly because we both work weekends, so can't race much on weekends. We also want the ability to cruise with family when we can get a weekend day off.

I've heard that we should concentrate on a boat that does well in typical San Diego Bay weather (Say fairly steady 6-12 knots). One gent recommended a Catalina 30 "Tall" as a boat that does well in the bay.

We've raced Catalina 27's and find them too small for a large family, so we are thinking 30-36 feet or maybe up to 40 feet. I've crewed on a number of Cats and Hunters and similar 36+- footers and like the size, speed and space.

We notice that the larger boats really won't get moving until the wind is way above what we normally see in the bay, so it looks like in this case, bigger is not better.

Anyway... What specific things might we look for to have a lively beer can racer??
 

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I would look at PHRF ratings of boats available in SD. Look for good boats with somewhat higher ratings than the other boats that race. i say this with tongue in cheek but it does carry some truth to it as well. A higher handicap boat with good sailors aboard and a nice set of sails can kick some rear in Wed night type racing. The Schock 35 seems to be a popular competitive boat. Good luck in your quest. its half the fun!
 

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You want a boat that is light, with a powered up sailplan (like the tall rig on the C30). SA/D >20 and a lower D/L ratio that similar length boats.

The C30 tall gives me an idea of your budget. You may also consider

J/30
C&C 29
Tartan 10
Pearson 30

For a stretch budget, you will probably like

J/100
J/105
J/35
C&C 99
Beneteau 36.7
 

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Or a Capri 26 or 30 the Catalinas stripped down for racing, the outboard models are faster. And for a masthead rig Catalina a big freakin' genny (150%) is required in SD.
 

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I like the suggestions so far.

Along the lines of the Schock 35 suggestion, and if you can consistently muster 5-7 crew for racing, you might look at a New York 36 (also built by W.D. Schock and very similar to the 35 but fractionally rigged.)

It's kind of a tricky order though. If it was just for the beer can races, it would be easier to make suggestions. For that, on a budget, I'd maybe look at something like a J-29. But the suggested J30 has a lot more cruisability.
 
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