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By that I mean, a boat that is well balanced, can be easily trimmed to hold a course on her own, without an autopilot or a hand on the rudder. A boat that doesn't pound in sloppy seas. A boat that sets her shoulder in a blow, and then politely holds it.

A boat that is simply sweet, well-mannered, a pleasure to sail on. As opposed to some that have a very narrow notch where they are well-trimmed, or need constant tending on the helm (like a J/24).

I'd have to say the most well-mannered one I've sailed on yet has been the Islander28, which even Bob Perry said was a wonderful surprise in terms of how mannerly it was. (And the basis for a number of his later and larger designs, for that reason.) It may be relatively heavy, and the builders did tamper with the design (changing the keel-stepped mast to a kludged deck-stepped one with an offset support), but it balances quite easily and then continues to sail itself, with no one on the helm. Something I haven't seen done on any number of boats from any number of makers, both larger and smaller.

So what boat has particularly impressed you? Not for being fast, not for being any one thing, but for being so well-mannered that it puts others to shame, and shows how boat design really is an arcane art.
 

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My Pemaquid Friendship Yawl. Designed as a sloop a hundred years ago to fish the coast of Maine, they are handy, seaworthy, and stiff. Mine was converted to a yawl. I could tie off her tiller, balance the sails, and make lunch, even nap (!). She's also so handy I sailed her for several years without an engine. In winter I could work her into tight docks by using just the staysail and mizzen. With a sheet in each hand, and my knee on the tiller, she'd spin right about. Sweet.
 

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Although our current boat is very nicely balanced, we don't have the sail inventory to keep it that way in all wind conditions.

On our previous PSC Dana 24, with the Yankee and Staysail set, it was positively dreamy, through a wide range of windspeeds, the only variable being the # of reefs tucked in the mainsail.

But, truth be told, the very sweetest sails I've ever experienced were in dinghies. There is nothing quite like being down there with the water rushing past just below eye-level.
 

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Best Boat? The one I own, or the one I'm on. As long as I'm sailing it's a great boat.
 

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The coolest rides we've had was on our Martin 242, racing in Howe Sound with 20+ knots and flat water, planing into the double digits with the kite up. On a par with that was surfing down the rollers off St Vincent on a Bene 36.7, rushing into the teens there too.

But I'd have to say the sweetest boat I've been on would be our recent week on a friends' Passport 40 in Mexico. Solid, steady, extremely well mannered, dry and comfortable... verging on luxurious.
 

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Palmer Johnson 43. Sailed out f Baltimore in 30 knot winds with all sheets up, and she barely broke 20 degees heel. Made a winner out of me.
Next was my Irwin 37. Goes straight without touching the helm, slices through 6 to 7 footers, sweet ride. Same for the 38 Endeavor next to me.
Then there is Larry's Pearson Vangard...great riding boat.
 

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Island packet 485, I love it.
 

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Yep... I'd lean towards my Passport 40. Even loaded down with thousands of pounds of cruising gear, she'll still point at 30 degrees apparent and, if you balance the sails right, track on course with barely a touch on the helm.
 

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Offshore... Oyster 435 - it's a brick, but once you lose sight of land it's a wonderful wonderful brick

Donnybrook (custom carbon monster based on a SC70) was a cool ride until the force 8 and 9 on the nose started, then it started pounding like you'd never believe. There's just something about giant planing hulls and going uphill in 40kt+ with 20-25ft seas... lol. That BFS guy would have needed to change his underwear. Stunningly responsive helm though
 

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Sweetheart Boat

I have only ever been on three sailboats so not alot of experience, but as far as being the sweetest...well, it would have to have been the first sailboat I was ever on because that was the one where I discovered sailing and was bit by the bug. It was an old 26' Thunderbird back in the 70's and that little sweetheart put the dream of ownership in my mind until that dream came true. I still like the one I have today but it was a Thunderbird that gave me the inspiration to persue the dream.

:eek: Giulietta does 15 knots easy!:eek: How so???
 

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Discussion Starter #15
15 knots on a J/24 is easy, you drop the mast, load it in a C130, and then drop the boat bow first from 25,000 feet. "No problem, mon."

Giulietta is a semi-custom based on what?? Surely not a 100% custom hull?

"Brick" brings to mind some other things I was thinking about pretty much anything over 40' feels like...maybe a well-mannered bus, but still...with varying degrees, at that point they seem to feel a bit, well, impersonal.

Pearson 424 yawl: Suicide for any helmsman taller than Danny Devito. Sloop, a good plow horse, so to speak. Frers 45...nimbler and quicker, but she still needs a helmsman all the time.
 

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15 knots on a J/24 is easy, you drop the mast, load it in a C130, and then drop the boat bow first from 25,000 feet. "No problem, mon."
Just make sure you've got everybody aft of the traveler... they get a bit twitchy at those kind of airspeeds and you don't want to bury the bow ;)
 

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15 knots on a J/24 is easy, you drop the mast, load it in a C130, and then drop the boat bow first from 25,000 feet. "No problem, mon."

Giulietta is a semi-custom based on what?? Surely not a 100% custom hull?
based on a delmar conde 1200 IIRC... :) See HERE.
 

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Just last week we went out on our friend's custom-built Columbia 50 for the first time. It wasn't finished by the factory, so I'm not really sure exactly what it is. My friend said it was a 52 deck, so the original builder stretched the hull to fit... Still a Gary Mull design, though. Anyway, WOW. What a sweet sailor! We were just outside of Friday Harbor between San Juan and Lopez, wind was 12-15, and with a single reefed main and 130 genoa we effortlessly did 8.5 kts. She felt strong and powerful, with very little helm...

They sailed the boat from Maui to Friday Harbor three years ago in April. Took them 14.5 days. That's pretty good even for some TransPac times.

It's not as fast or as pretty as Gulietta. But then, there aren't too many boats that are! Still, for $60,000 my friends have one helluva boat...
 
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