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Old 20-11-2007, 14:20   #1
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What type of boats have you owned?

As we search for that 'perfect' cruiser/liveaboard, talk to boat owners across the country, and read book after book - we have learned a lot about what is considered to be desireable in a blue water cruiser.

As we search, I (not so much my wife) foind it extremely fascinating that many of these owners end up with their current boat because of an experience they had in a previous boat - even if this experience directly conflicts with what is generally accepted as a desireable feature. For example...

One 46' ketch we looked at had all of the heavy, wooden hatches replaced with flimsy fiberglass hatches. The owner said they were like that when he got it - but that had much to do with his decision, as his previous boat did not have enough light. "As long as you don't step on em, they'll weather fine..."

One owner told me that he started in a Hunter 23' - and decided that the main thing he wanted in his next boat (the WestSail 32 we were looking at) was standing headroom, and an enclosed head. Though these are good features - I noticed many other desireable characteristics that I would have expected to be his reasonings for upgrading...

Another told me that the wide decks on his previous cruising vessel proved to be dangerous, and a waste of cabin space - so he opted for a larger boat with very narrow decks - my kids had trouble walking these without bowing to the cabin!

Maybe these strange confessions were just part of their elaborate sales-pitch, maybe ,based on their style of sailing, these were legitimate factors in their ultimate boat choice.

Either way I thought it would be interesting to see which boats we have owned, and how these led to what the currently own.
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Old 20-11-2007, 14:50   #2
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Because of available funds, I generally got whatever I could. Here are some of the boats that I have owned, and what I desired after having these boats. They do follow a pattern...kind of...

Bristol 26' - My parents boat Dad Liked: Lazerette outboard, centerboard, convertable saloon table, enclosed head. Wanted: Boat that could handle sailing under main alone.

Snark 12',Skate 12 and similar one man boats - wanted: jib and cockpit!

Chrysler 16' and similar daysailers - liked: the cockpit space, dual centerboards wanted: large cabin and self bailing cockpit.

Coronado 24' - liked: shoal draft (in Chesapeake bay), oversized cleats,blocks,chocks and hardware wanted: aft traveler, seperate companionway boards, decent winches (kit boat had jam cleats), through hull rudder (have since changed my mind on this one),pulpit and lifelines, tiller extension, hatch on deck to pull and stow jib, cockpit fed lines, no more second-hand kit boats!!

Hunter 25' liked: cockpit fed lines; wanted: roller furling jib, more deck space for moving forward safely

Coronado 25' - Liked: Full saloon, full lifeline, roomy flush deck Wanted: something a little more responsive, something a little more stable in rough conditions

Ranger 23' - liked: very ergonomic, lots of fun wanted:little more room, enclosed head, inboard

Cal 27' - liked: stability, speed, roomy flush deck wanted: to be able to see where I was going!!

Islander 24' - unhappy with square companionway boards(jam when in a hurry), liked longer keel (except when backing up)

My experience doesn't add much to what I desire in a bluewater boat - but it is interesting to consider what I found important at different stages of my sailing experience.
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Old 20-11-2007, 22:54   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by texwards View Post
As we search for that 'perfect' cruiser/liveaboard, talk to boat owners across the country, and read book after book - we have learned a lot about what is considered to be desireable in a blue water cruiser.
One of the things I have done with major purchases is put together a priorities matrix - this is also called a QFD (quality function deployment) tool as well.

Basically you put all your priorities in a spreadsheet down the Y axis. In the next column you rate the importance. Some people use a 3-6-9 scale. You can get more granular if you have lots of choices.

Then across the X axis you put your choices (i.e. boat types). Then you grade each boat's ability to satisfy your priority. I use a h-m-l scale and assign a 1-6-9 score to each level. Zero scores are allowed. Multiply out each score with each priority. Sum the columns and each boat's ability to meet your needs is revealed in sum total.

In the BS sample below the Westsail 32 most completely meets the needs of this imaginary buyer. Note I made the data up.

BTW - This works for anything. Buying a new car? How about a house? When we bought our house we set up our priorities and each house we looked at went on the X axis.

It takes a lot of the emotion out of the purchase. You can also set up as many priorities as you like but you have to be able to prioritize and differentiate. Otherwise everything comes out the same.
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Old 21-11-2007, 06:32   #4
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I find that initial expectations are often coloured by what books the new cruiser has read. Often these are very old books such as those by Eric Hiscock and L. & L. Pardey. What the reader forgets or fails to notice is that these are by individuals whose likes and wants are very different from theirs. In addition everyone seems to start with wanting to sail around the world and once out there reality sets in so they end up in the Bahamas or Caribbean. Get a bullet proof steel boat. Get a "bluewater" cruiser. Small cockpit. Large side decks. Hanked on sails.

In my view the way to proceed is to buy a boat, any boat, and sail. After a year or two or three you will gradually come to grips with what your wants and needs are. These are unique. In my latest boat I wanted a real good freezer and fridge. Sounds funny but of course this was not the only requirement. However it was a requirement.

I have had a CS30, a CS36M and a Beneteau 393. I do not intend to sail around the world having done that many times in slightly larger craft. I just like to sail where it's warm and the waters are like what's usually seen in tourist brochures.
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Old 21-11-2007, 08:44   #5
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Old 21-11-2007, 08:49   #6
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Old 21-11-2007, 09:52   #7
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Ex-Calif: I'm very curious about your prioritizing model. It seems sometimes you are using continuous variables (scales) to describe dichotomous (yes/no) conditions. Example: either a hull is fibre glass or it isn't, yet you used an ordinal value (scale) in your table. Is this because you're weighting the value of these variables for each design? That is, being made of fibre glass is important for a Hunter, but irrelevant for a Westsail?

I'm probably curious because I am familiar with a number of statistical modeling methods, but I've never thought about using those to help prioritize sailboat designs so I'm looking *waaaay* to close at the details and not getting the big picture.
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Old 21-11-2007, 10:52   #8
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Ex-Calif: I'm very curious about your prioritizing model. It seems sometimes you are using continuous variables (scales) to describe dichotomous (yes/no) conditions. Example: either a hull is fibre glass or it isn't, yet you used an ordinal value (scale) in your table. Is this because you're weighting the value of these variables for each design? That is, being made of fibre glass is important for a Hunter, but irrelevant for a Westsail?

I'm probably curious because I am familiar with a number of statistical modeling methods, but I've never thought about using those to help prioritize sailboat designs so I'm looking *waaaay* to close at the details and not getting the big picture.
For me the bigger picture is that Dan's method, despite the valid issues you point out, is that it's still a hell of a lot better than scribbling notes on notepads and then trying to sort them out later. Which is what we did last time we went boat shopping. I truly wish we had used something like this, would have been just so-o-o-o-o much easier.
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Old 21-11-2007, 10:53   #9
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We've owned more boats then I can count (dingies, favorite is the Star but also liked our wooden Thistle, IOR, MORC, OOD. Favorite was the Schock 35) we are new to cruising and now are learnig systems. Our latest boat was purchased because my wife fell in love with it. It has a pretty shear, and nice interior.

Get on as many boats as you can. Race as much as possible. The key with racing is that, regardless of the weather, you go. Just because its blowing 35~45 and the waves are up does not keep you from sailing. Although some of the new race boats are simply to light to sail in those condiditons. They can't go upwind, they do not have the weight to carry them through the waves. Hard to learn balance if you can't stuff it uphill in a blow.

Reading is great (My opinion, Best books: Minots Light, Wally Ross: Sail Power, John Kretschmer, Dancing with Mermaids?, Any Arvil Gentry) but doing is the trick. Hours on a boat are the best way to learn and hours racing count triple.
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Old 21-11-2007, 12:58   #10
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Ex-calif's method is great. I used it to select six of my last seven wives and reccommend it highly.

OK, I jest. But I do want to point out that selecting a boat, especially a long range cruiser is as much an emotional decision as a practical one. How you personally feel about the characteristics are as important as the raw numbers of performance are.

Richard
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Old 21-11-2007, 16:12   #11
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In shopping for my last boat, I had a list of things that it had to have (full keel, center cockpit, pilothouse, cutter rigged ketch), which greatly reduced the number of boats I was considering. The next thing, was to eliminate all the boats that were too unfamiliar to me, figuring it would be a waste to start over at the bottom of the learning curve again, which got rid of things like wood boats, steel boats, and multi-hulls. Nothing wrong with them, I just didn't have any experience with sailing or fixing them. That took way more boats out of the mix, and then I could focus on what was left in my price range that met my standards for soundness.
As far as boats I've owned, the very first one was a Sunflower, a plastic covered bit of styrofoam my dad gave me as a boy. She is now over 35 years old and still sailing! My boys now love it, though I must say, it isn't pretty.
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Old 21-11-2007, 16:48   #12
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Originally Posted by seaclusion View Post
Ex-calif's method is great. I used it to select six of my last seven wives and reccommend it highly.

OK, I jest. But I do want to point out that selecting a boat, especially a long range cruiser is as much an emotional decision as a practical one. How you personally feel about the characteristics are as important as the raw numbers of performance are.

Richard
Funny you say Ex-Calif's method isn't so hot. I used it and came up with a Gulfstar!

Boats previously owned:

Kells 23' (197?)
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Gulfstar Hirsh 45 (1987)

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None :*(
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Old 21-11-2007, 22:08   #13
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Amgine - I threw the example together in about 10 minutes. The sample is definitely flawed as you point out on discrete requirements. I mean a boat is either fiberglass or not, right?

However, if you decide steel is H, fiberglass is M, "other" is L and wood is 0. You can make the model fit. You could then use material as a discriminator with all the other factors. You just have to decide what Priority "Material" is to you to give it appropriate weight in the decision process.

"Standing Headroom" is also a pass fail discrete (which also depends on you own height BTW - LOL) but if you used "headroom" as a discriminator you could just measure all the different boats.

However it also can be valid to use discrete requirements coupled with priorities - some things are a complete no-go for some people.

"Richard said - Ex-calif's method is great. I used it to select six of my last seven wives and reccommend it highly."

Blame not the model but perhaps the Expectation List and the Priority Factors - LOL
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Old 22-11-2007, 00:55   #14
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I've only owned about 5 or 6 boats and 3 of those have been over 20'. I've sailed and crewed on many more. I prefer 32-36 LOD, Fiberglass, Small aft cockpit, Cutter, Diesel, wide sidedecks with high toerails or bulwarks and all the other features are kind of up for grabs. No flimsy ports or hatches please and I don't like an oil canning hull or cored hull. I could go for either full or fin keel because both have distinct advantages. My latest boat is going to be great but at 42' it definitely is too big a project for my time and money.
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Old 22-11-2007, 23:10   #15
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First Sailing experience was on my father's Big Green Ketch. Beautiful old boat that my brothers and I spent many hours maintaining...

My own boats...

10 foot green wooden dinghy
- unknown class
- Family hand-me-down that we all learned to sail on.
- Mine when I turned 6. Hated it.

Wooden Snipe
- sank the green thing (on purpose). Got the Snipe.
- My brothers were jealous.

Laser
- had a lot of fun racing

Mouette
- open daysailer/party boat built like a tank
- spent many, happy hours on this with friends sailing and camping
- shared between three of us brothers, courtesy of my Dad
- was still racing the Laser

Bluenose
- original wooden 24'6 Roue design racing keelboat
- always loved traditional lines and this boat had a soul

Soling
- started to get serious about racing
- kept the Bluenose

30 Foot Tancook Schooner
- traditional lines in a cold-moulded racing craft
- the first and last time that I spend more than every cent
I have acquiring and maintaining a boat
- started cruising solo in this boat.

Matilda
- Old boat that I got really cheap and spent far too much time refitting.
- After spending the money on the schooner I promised myself that I'd
never ever again be owned by my boat.
- Was busy building a career and trying to build up some financial
security so I economised for a long, long time.

Siren
- Smaller, faster and more fun than the Matilda. Had this boat for
years and enjoyed every second on her.

CS 30
- Finally in a position where I can afford to buy, keep and maintain a
boat without worrying. Thought about a big boat but have yet to
find one that doesn't feel heavy.
- Love this boat, all the creature comforts, lots of room yet still light
on her feet and a nice performer.

I had spent a lot of time crewing on other people's boats and when I decided to go get a decent boat of my own, I had the benefit of having seen things that I thought were good and things that weren't so good.

Although I still love traditional boats and treasure the memories of sailing my Dad's ketch and my own schooner, I seem to have gotten soft in my old age and have even developed a certain affinity for the look of fibreglass boats and an appreciation of things like propane stoves and refrigeration.

It was also very important to me that I be able to upgrade and replace everything on the boat to my heart's content, without feeling guilty that the money should have gone elswhere. Things on a 40 footer can cost a fair buck, on a 30 footer ... not so much.

There was no way that I would have been happy with a slow, heavy boat. If I were going around the world in January, I'd probably want something else, but for the Great Lakes, the CS 30 is ideal.
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