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Old 20-09-2015, 10:04   #1
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Best quality coastal cruiser

Hi fellow sailers,

I am looking to buy a decent quality first boat between 25-35' for local coastal cruising and some live aboard capability. Most of sailing will be to cruise between San Diego and Catalina and Ensenada. I am not planning to race the boat but do fun weekend sailing trips and local cruises. Budget is under 60K for a used sailboat. What would you recommend for quality construction and reliability and value? I learned to sail in the BVI a year ago on a Beneteau 51' yacht but this boat is out of my budget.
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:08   #2
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

25-35 is a very big size spread, you might want to start by deciding on a smaller size range before you can get any helpful advice. For example, my 35' has basically nothing in common with a light Hunter 25, and yet, both meet your parameters.

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Old 20-09-2015, 10:10   #3
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Do you want a thousand opinions? First of all 25-35 feet is a huge range and spans a vast difference in everything. Second of all there are probably hundreds if not thousands of boats that fit the bill on the West Coast. Based on your OP, why the hurry to buy a boat with hardly any experience? Take your time, sail more boats, take more lessons.....My main suggestion? Yachtworld. Now, get some popcorn and beer, sit back and enjoy the responses.
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:28   #4
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Understand. With super expensive slip fees in San Diego, smaller is better. My requirements are:

2 cabins and 2 heads for sleeping 2-4 people
electric winches
single handed sail ability


So thinking 30'-33' would be good range and not kill me on slip fees. Above 33' the slip fees are outrageous.
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:44   #5
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

OK I'll bite... but seriously, give us a little more info please. We better narrow down your interests and preferences or these replies will be all over the map and probably not too useful to you. And conditions off the Cal coast don't usually compare to BVI (although they seem to this year!) If you are new to the idea of coastal cruising it would be smart to check sites like atomvoyages.com. Bluewaterboats.org has many tried and true designs, but not all of them. With a budget of $60K that is a lot for a 30 footer (I'll go for your mid range.) You can get a great boat for that. I would say budget $40K for the boat and 20k for the other stuff that is bound to come up that you'll need. Some of us here prefer some old school designs for the simplicity and strength (though not necessarily the speed) for cruising. Personally I'd look for skeg or keel hung rudder, a heavy, hand laid up hull, no keel bolts and a diesel... but that is me. If I had 60k I'd look for a Pearson Rhodes 41 or a 365 (obviously more than 35 feet.) But there are some boats I'd like to look at that don't match my usual preferences like a Nonsuch 30 (has keel bolts but stoutly built.) But I wouldn't rule out cats and trimarans with your budget and cruising ground. Not sure if that helps.

edit, ok now we are getting somewhere. 2 heads are not space efficient on 30-33 feet IMO. I think you should look at a Nonsuch 30. It won't need electric winches but you can put them on.

Here is one in MDR
http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...192216074.html

that's my 2 cents
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:46   #6
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by sjenner View Post
Understand. With super expensive slip fees in San Diego, smaller is better. My requirements are:

2 cabins and 2 heads for sleeping 2-4 people
electric winches
single handed sail ability


So thinking 30'-33' would be good range and not kill me on slip fees. Above 33' the slip fees are outrageous.
Two heads is generally going to require that you move up closer to the 40' range. Heck, in the mid 30's, a lot of boats still don't have a second cabin, but rather an open quarter berth. A notable exception would be the Catalina 34, but there is still only one head.

However, in order to sleep 4 people, you don't necessarily need two cabins. Many boats in this range have long enough settees in the salon to make excellent berths, with some even converting the dining table into a double berth.

A good place for you to start, might be just to check out Yachtworld.com in your range. Take a look at the pictures and look up the layouts. This will get you moving towards understanding what you really want. This San Diego brokerage (no affiliation with me) offers a list of the boats they have sold in the area, organized by length.
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Old 20-09-2015, 10:52   #7
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Appreciate the quick replies. I am single and want 2 cabins to have enough for friends. So looks like a bigger boat will be required. Goal is solid high value quality construction. At this point it appears that I need something like 35-40' and will have to bite the bullet for higher slip fees.
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:15   #8
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

With all respect, your desire for two heads and electric winches reveals you do not yet have the knowledge or experience to skipper a boat. My advice is to contact your local Laser fleet. They can assist you in purchasing a used Laser. With their support and assistance, learn to sail her! That will take one year. (You should also purchase and read Sports Illustrated Book of Small Boat Sailing and Laser Sailing by Dick Tilman.) In the next season learn to race. By the end of the season you should be able to finish in the middle of the fleet at club level. (I am assuming that by now you will be reading everything you can get your hands on.) Now you might want to get a larger one design, perhaps a Thistle or a Lightning and start travelling to some regattas. If you ask a lot of questions, keep your eyes and ears open, and read and reread everything on the subject of sailing, racing, and cruising--you might also take a few Coast Guard Auxillary courses--you might be ready to purchase a "big" boat by the end of your fourth year in the sport.

I know a fellow who did exactly that. In his fourth year, he came in tenth in the Star Olympic trials. You might not progress to that level at that speed, but you'll know what boat you want and how to sail her.

Good luck.

And never tell anyone that you once wanted a boat with two heads and electric winches.

Paul
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:30   #9
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

A Laser is not going to help you get any better understanding of what is available in a boat with a cabin. For all we know, the OP thinks he needs electric winches because he has been on dinghys and can't imagine how useful larger winches are.

On the other hand, joining a club that has a variety of boats might help you understand what you can be comfortable with.

I think that once you get on a few boats, you may start to realize that you compromise more than you gain by having two heads in this size range. A good layout with one head will offer a slightly larger head and will have more open space. Can't you wait for someone else to finish in order to have more overall comfort?
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:41   #10
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

My choice would be CS34. Well built, v-berth and aft cabin, aft head with separate shower (only one head but that's what you'll find in this size range).
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:47   #11
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Howdy!

Your budget is enough to get a nice boat in that size range, if you buy an older boat. It does not have to be very old.

Here is a thread I suggest you view, and consider subscribing to it. In it you will find several boats of different types. Some cost much less than your budget. One of those that is currently available and in SOCAL and looks very nice for a boat at that price point and age is the Morgan OI33. It looks like a good choice for that area and the kind of casual cruising you hope to do in SOCAL. With your budget, you could update it with any toys you want, get a start with owning a larger boat like that, and learn to sail it well. It is low initial cost, so your budget will allow for any upgrades or repairs that might be necessary.

Boats Less than $30K
Boats Less Than $30K Recent Noteworthy Finds

On the other hand, you could spend more of your budget and get a larger or newer boat. Your choice.

A few more opinions, take them with a splash of saltwater.

Regarding your wish list of electric winches and two heads:
1. I think the "two heads" is not important for a single guy (like me) with occasional guests, but that is your choice. I would not want a boat below 40 feet with two heads. Why? They take up too much valuable room in a smaller boat. Imagine you have a small studio apartment with one bathroom. People share bathrooms. Its a boat. You will likely be in a marina and there are restrooms available at those.

2. Electric winches are nice, but usually only found on larger boats (that have much larger masts (where hoisting a large mainsail can be tiresome) or when the owner of the boat is getting old and weaker and must have some assistance on the grinding. On a boat that is under 50 feet, I don't think most people would need electric winches. You can purchase a boat with manual winches and buy a portable battery powered hand drill with a special attachment that allows you to use it to grind the winch for you, if you must have that.

Good luck on your future sailing adventures!
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Old 20-09-2015, 11:52   #12
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenhand View Post
A Laser is not going to help you get any better understanding of what is available in a boat with a cabin.
The man's (I assume) problem is not not knowing what is available in a boat with a cabin; his problem is that he doesn't know how to sail. By the time he has earned the right to call himself a sailor, he'll know what boat to buy.

Paul
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Old 20-09-2015, 13:54   #13
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

Dude I took an intensive six week live aboard sailing course and did just fine. I do know how to sail and frankly have zero interest in racing. Lasers suck not what I'm looking for!
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Old 20-09-2015, 14:09   #14
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

If you want to stay inside that $60000 budget, drop one of the heads and the electric winches, you should be able to find a suitable boat in the low 30's if you drop those features.

I'm not really sure what you'd be doing in the second head that you couldn't do in the first one. Aside from fixing two heads instead of one.

I'm with you, racing does nothing for me, however, I am an enthusiastic dinghy sailor.

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Old 20-09-2015, 14:17   #15
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Re: Best quality coastal cruiser

I think what Paul is implying -- albeit less than tactfully -- is that two heads and electric winches would be way, way, way down the priority list for most experienced sailors looking for a good boat in that size range. Most would have sailing performance and structural integrity priorities instead... things that are far more important in the long run.

While you may indeed have learned how to sail, you have not lived with sailing and boat ownership. Your posts make it obvious that you are unaware of how high-quality boats in that size range are generally equipped... most would not even have two heads or electric winches available as a factory option.
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