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Old 09-10-2013, 13:23   #46
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

I recommend an Olson 30 if you can live with the fact that it does not have standing headroom. Great sailing boat, fast and extremely responsive which is great for learning. For single handing you just need to add roller furling and lazy jacks. If sailing qualities take priority over live aboard comfort, the boat is perfect.
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Old 09-10-2013, 13:29   #47
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

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Originally Posted by billcrowley View Post
Have you looked at the Nor'Sea 27?
With his budget, may not be able to find one. But they really are nice seaworthy boats to go anywhere you would want.I really like mine.
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Old 09-10-2013, 14:05   #48
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

Of course, I'll recommend a Catalina 30, as they're freakin everywhere. Some of them (like mine) even have a quiet, reliable, well running atomic 4 gasoline engine OTOH, Nobody picks up a catalina 30 because of accommodations for 1. They're popular because they're roomy (and you pay the price for that 11' beam)

But budget and availability will dictate "the boat." At 13K, you're not going to truck a boat cross-country so you'll be sourcing it locally. Much more important that what the boat is is what shape it's in. Craigslist/brokers/etc -- go look at a lot of boats.
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Old 09-10-2013, 15:38   #49
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

For several years my son lived on his 28ft Morgan (circa 1970) an extremely well built - actually overbuilt boat. It was easy to handle, slept 5 and wasn't too crowded. It had a gas inboard. Later ones had a 40hp diesel.

I agree with other posters about the Westerly and Bombay, however my pick is the Cal 34.
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Old 09-10-2013, 15:41   #50
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

Since an Ericison 29 was suggested earlier I would pass along that after owning one and loving it for 16 years then moving to a Hunter 31 I found the Fit and finish of the H31 to be far superior. modern design, fast, roomy, diesel and low cost. Sailed the H31 over 6000nm along east coast and Bahamas. Now sail a H34 in Fl and Bahamas. Both Hunters come in shoal or deep draft and are fast and fun. Lots of them avail on east coast but not sure how popular they were on west coast. Not designed for offshore but hard to beat in coastal waters. Be careful of the encapsulated keel on the Ericisons, but also a drawback on the Hunters is the cast Iron keel which as they age may need sandblasting and epoxy barrier.
Good luck hunting and just get out on the water.
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Old 09-10-2013, 15:46   #51
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

A Catalina 25 is an excellent boat for single handing and for overnight cruising. We have a Catalina 22 and we have stayed out on it for as long as 2 weeks. It is a single handler too. The O'Day 25 is also an excellent boat. Good luck in your search. You may contact me at "cowboyjack999@yahoo.com" I am quite knowledgeable about boats under 30 feet.
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Old 09-10-2013, 16:00   #52
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

I'm familiar with most of the boats mentioned and honestly, all of them are suitable. The key for you is going to be getting onto and poking around as many of these boats as you can as many of them are very different, with varying strengths and weaknesses. The more boats you climb aboard, the more context and perspective you will have with respect to configuration, value, and condition.

It would also be hugely helpful for you to get some sailing experience, and even better some cruising experience under your belt before you pull the trigger on a purchase. It will allow you to better evaluate rigging, comfort, and practicality in the boats that you consider for purchase.

Also, be forewarned that maintaining a 30' boat is not an inexpensive proposition. Buy one in poor shape that seems like a good deal, and you could quickly find yourself shelling out $$$ equal to the purchase price to fix critical systems. Most boats this size have inboard diesel engines. Find out that you need to repower and you're looking at something north of $10,000 unless you are in a position to do the work yourself and can find a rebuilt motor. Even a new boat, or one that has been exceptionally well maintained, can lead to hefty annual expenses just to keep up with maintenance, not to mention slippage/mooring, insurance, etc.

Every boat is a compromise of one sort or another. The more boats you've been on, the better you'll appreciate that, and the better equipped you'll be to choose a boat that is the right compromise for you and represents a real value with respect to condition vs. cost.
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Old 09-10-2013, 16:04   #53
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

You won't get one for 13,000 but my preference is a Flicka or Dana.
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:42   #54
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

You won't need to repower for quite a number of years. Most small diesels were not turboed. And, even if a model was - they wouldn't need it until 3000 hrs - the equivalent of 100,000 road miles. A naturally aspirated diesel (the preferred model) won't need a o/h for 6000-8000-hrs or more. I would avoid Volvo engines.
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:48   #55
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

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Originally Posted by jakenseattle View Post
Hello Experts,

I am going to purchase a coastal cruiser at 30ft or under.
I am a novice at sailboats.
I have no sailing experience.
I will probably overnight two or three times a week.
The weather is sometimes heavy here in the Puget Sound.

Geez...this forum is huge. I am having a hard time finding suggestions.
What I’m looking for are suggestions of brands and models that I can research.

I prefer to research and purchase cheaper, comfortable, better built boats…and maybe pay less and go a little older to get it.

I would really like more cabin than a true coastal cruiser and I need it to be comfortable down below. Single handing the boat is a major factor.

So please…give me some opinions. I really need suggestions of brands and models that I can research.

• 30ft or under
• Able to single-hand
• Overnight accommodations
• Comfortable
• Good build quality
• Good size cockpit

Thank You Very Much.
Your time and comments are GREATLY appreciated!


I don't know how this boat would handle in what the PNW has to dish out, but for general coastal cruising I like the Catalina 27' very much. I think the overall design is much better than the 30'. She's a little thinner and goes through waves better, is very responsive, and fast (I like fast). The cabin is very spacious for a 27' boat.

She does have a fin keel, and if you do have a lot of heavy weather maybe you want a full keel.
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:52   #56
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

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Originally Posted by cheoah View Post
Something along the lines of a Catalina 30 is very practical. My 30 footer was a Cape Dory 30, step aboard each of those and see what speaks to you.

Cape Dories are stout boats with full keels that sail very well and if you know what you're doing, can be quite fast as well. The thing I don't like about the Catalina 30's is that their companionway is so wide. If I had a Catalina 30' I would have swinging "saloon" type doors put in OUTSIDE of the slide track for the cribboards. Then in heavy weather you have the cribboards, which are stouter, as protection.

In bad weather I wouldn't want that big of an opening every time I needed to go below.

I also think they're a little sluggish to respond, but that's just me. I just don't care for them
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Old 09-10-2013, 19:55   #57
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

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Originally Posted by jakenseattle View Post
• My budget is $13,000
• Mono-hull
• Performance is important
• Traditional looks
• Overnight accommodations for 1

I don't think you'll find a decent Cape Dory, Bombay Clipper or Island Packet in that price range. I like my Hunter 31' but I'm not sure it's a beginner's boat, esp. where you live.

Personally I think I would put "full keel" on your list of things you want and then see what you come up with.

In your size range you will have a boat that can sleep at least two people comfortably, and probably a third person in the vee berth.
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Old 09-10-2013, 20:21   #58
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

Something like this might not be too bad.

1978 Pacific Seacraft Pacific Seacraft 25 sailboat for sale in California
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Old 10-10-2013, 07:33   #59
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

Take a hard look at the Bayfield 25. My brother and I bought one 5 years ago, there were six for sale in the Toronto area, and we chose the best. You may find one in Vancouver for $5,000, I saw a beauty on S. Pender Island last month.

With jib furler, lazy jacks, and an auto tiller I sail overnight in Georgian Bay and anchor it solo. I'm 5'9" and stand straight up in it.

At only 3,500 lbs it doesn't sail well into winds above 20 kt. Ours is an old 5hp diesel which sips less than 1 litre per hour at 5 knots.
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Old 10-10-2013, 09:09   #60
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Re: Best Coastal Cruiser under 30ft?

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Ours is an old 5hp diesel which sips less than 1 litre per hour at 5 knots.
It should sip a whole lot less than that. My D35 (hp) BMW sips 1L/hr which I had in the Piver.
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