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Old 08-12-2014, 11:09   #1
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Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Thinking of buying a sailboat and keeping it at a marina in Florida for winter months, to do mostly day sailing around south Florida, probably mostly Gulf side but also the Keys and possibly over to the Bahamas.

Love the Westsail 32 but am told they are too heavy and simply not needed for that type of sailing. Have been told to find a lighter boat with shorter draft.

Westsail draft over 5'.

Also thinking of the resale issue. There are a million boats for sale in Florida but many are obviously hard to re-sell. Not sure the Westsail would be as hard to re-sell whenever that day comes.

Any thoughts?
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:03   #2
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

If you like the Westsail, buy it, may in fact be more boat than you need, but why buy a boat you don't like as much just because it's the "right" boat?

They are heavy, and a little slow, but if you want speed, why buy a sailboat to begin with?

I believe a good Westsail has depreciated out pretty much, take care of it and it should lose little value.

You are going to spend considerable time staying on the boat I assume?
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Old 08-12-2014, 13:01   #3
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

I agree that if you really like the Westsail then that's probably what you should get. But it will limit you. The water in the Keys, and all of Southwest Florida, is pretty shallow. You are definitely going to have to spend more time paying attention to the charts, the tides, and your depth sounder than someone with a shallower draft vessel would.

I guess I would ask myself, "Why do I like the Westsail so much, and is there some other boat, better suited to this type of sailing, that I could like just as much?"

Personally, I would be looking at something like a Pearson 35, Pearson 365, Endeavour 37, Morgan OI 36, or some other boat along those lines. These are all good, solid boats, will all sail at least as well (if not better) than the Westsail, and all have meaningfully shallower draft.

Good luck, whatever you decide.
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Old 08-12-2014, 13:16   #4
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Morgan OI 33 is another option. It was originally designed for Florida Keys and Bahamas. Quite roomy for its size, has the right draft, under 4', sturdy, not a racer but will take you to Bahamas and back safely. And there are many to chose from making finding the right one for you a little easier.

I looked at one about 10 years ago when I was looking for my first boat and was given bum advice by a fellow club sailor so I passed on it at $13K (after survey discount) for 1977 with 23HP Volvo. Regretted it ever since as I ended up with a 27 footer for my 1st boat which after a few years became too small so I got a 36footer which is a bit too much for single or short handed sailing. OI 33 would have been perfect.
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Old 08-12-2014, 13:30   #5
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

If money were no option, a Southerly 38 (or 42) would be a neat choice. With the keel lifted, it draws 2'8".

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Old 08-12-2014, 14:20   #6
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

There are some cons to lifting keels, but your sailing location would benefit from having one.

Might want to try the keyword phrase "shoal draft" in your searching too

Btw, WHY oh WHY can't you filter in Yachtworld (or anywhere else for that matter) by keel depth??? /boggle ~
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Old 08-12-2014, 14:41   #7
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

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If money were no option, a Southerly 38 (or 42) would be a neat choice. With the keel lifted, it draws 2'8".




You know, this just looks wrong
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Old 08-12-2014, 15:26   #8
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Look at a Catalina 34, shoal draft. There are plenty of them for sale, they have been manufactured for many years, parts are easily available, reasonable sailing speed, very comfortable aboard.
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Old 08-12-2014, 15:41   #9
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Yes, shallow draft would be nice. You don't need a WS32 for FL. An Allmand Sail 31 with 3.8 ft draft might work on the cheap! Very roomy 31. Not sayin they are great boats... but probably get one for...$12-14k?
http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=1438
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Old 08-12-2014, 16:06   #10
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

If my geography is correct it's quite sunny in FL, so you will be spending quite a bit of time in the cockpit rather than down in the saloon. So choose something with a decent cockpit for sitting out and relaxing. A W32 cockpit is fine for crossing oceans, but a bit small for relaxing at anchor were you are going to spend a lot of time.


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Old 08-12-2014, 16:36   #11
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

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If my geography is correct it's quite sunny in FL, so you will be spending quite a bit of time in the cockpit rather than down in the saloon. So choose something with a decent cockpit for sitting out and relaxing. A W32 cockpit is fine for crossing oceans, but a bit small for relaxing at anchor were you are going to spend a lot of time.


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That's a good thought too. Some WS only have a footwell... no back rest at all...right?
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Old 08-12-2014, 16:41   #12
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Merlin,
If you're sailing the Gulf waters, the number 1 consideration is shallow draft. It will give you access to the best/safest anchorages, the beautifully remote wildlife areas and safe and easy access along the inter-coastal. The same applies for the Keys and Bahamas. With the light winds on the Gulf side, a heavy displacement boat will be motoring the majority of time and sailing very little. Plus the heavier ground tackle doubles your effort anchoring-- even with a windlass. Some might tell you to buy the boat you like . . . wisdom says buy the right tool for the job: shallow draft, light displacement, good sailing characteristics. You wouldn't pull a tool with crane would you? Good luck and good sailing.
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Old 08-12-2014, 17:16   #13
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Correction to above: You wouldn't pull a tooth with a crane would you?
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:50   #14
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Absolutely, shallow draft should be the number 1 consideration. Westsails are great boats but not suitable for the Keys. If you're talking the west side you want a crazy shallow draft. Less than 3' would be great but less than 2' ideal. For newer boats Seaward would work or one of the smaller cats or trimarans.
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:52   #15
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Re: Cruising Florida Keys-What Boat?

Check out this website for some cool boats that would work.
Parker Marine
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