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Old 05-10-2010, 16:07   #1
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30-32' Cruising Options ?

Hello All,

Unfortunately I have joined the ranks of those who have put our cruising dreams on hold due to economic events of the last few years. Unfortunately my real estate equity evaporated and my "Boat Money" morphed into "Mortgage Money" and "Food Money".

My past sailing experience has been on boats 8'-12' and later 40'-46'. When I started seriously looking at cruising boats I looked strictly at 40'-46' boats with the idea of extended live aboard. My intended budget was $150-$200k. No longer an option.

This morning, on impulse, I looked at YachtWorld to see what kind of boat could be had in the $20-$30k range. I was supprised at the number of 30'-32' boats that could be had in that range. 32' Columbia & 31' Hunter caught my eye.

As I have never spent time on boats this size maybe you all could give me some insight as to your experience cruising on boats this size?

I don't expect to make any serious blue water crossings but instead more coastal cruising. Puget Sound, West Coast & Mexico.

I look forward to your replies.

Steve
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Old 05-10-2010, 16:41   #2
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Seems to me a smaller boat in the 30-32 foot range opens up more possibilities - you can get in skinnier water and have an easier time single-handing than something like a 40 or 45 footer.

Although I do not yet have a lot of experience doing any long-distance cruising, I purposely didn't look at anything bigger than 32 feet when searching for a boat for use in and around the Chesapeake. I ended up with a 1968 Pearson Wanderer 30, and I am convinced it is just about the perfect boat for banging around the Chesapeake and gunkholing with the family.

Yes, it's very simple and somewhat spartan, but for me, that's part of the appeal. My goal is to someday have a wooden boat, actually. The last thing I want on my sailboat is a flat screen TV, for example.

Anyhow, it's a simple boat, which to me means fewer systems to go wrong, fewer maintenance and repair items. It's big enough that I can comfortably sleep 5 or 6 people - seriously; not crammed in head to toe, but actually comfortably sleep in real berths. And the cockpit is spacious enough for everyone to be up there too. But it's also small enough to be easily maneuverable in little creeks, even for a relative newbie like me.

And it's very well built, with a very solid and sturdy hull. With a thorough inspection and probably upgrading of the standing rigging and sails, I would think it would have no problem going on longer sails, out in the open water beyond the Bay. But for the Chesapeake, it's really a very nice boat.

I had looked at a couple smaller and one larger. I found the 24-25 footers to be far too small and cramped, and even a 27 footer seemed much smaller than my 30 footer. That extra three feet really makes a big difference in interior volume - plus the fact that the Pearson is a very good design and makes very good use of interior space, so it feels larger to me than I would have expected a 30-foot boat to be.

So I would submit that for coastal cruising as you describe, you can't go too far wrong looking at a 30-32 footer, as long as it's a good quality boat.

And you are right - there are tons of decent used boats on the market these days for far less than you would have had to pay a few years ago.
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Old 05-10-2010, 18:52   #3
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Countless options in the 30-34 size range.

I have a 26 footer and found many 30-34 footers a huge upgrade in comfort, range and safety.

I liked the following boats I have seen, been on or sailed:
- Baba 30,
- Valiant 32,
- HCh 34,
- Rival 32, 34,
- Sadler 32, 34,
- Victoria 30, 34,
- Contessa 32,
- S&S (Yankee) 30, 34,
- Allegro 30, 33,
- Vagabond 32,
- Laurin 32,
- Tradewind 33,
- Koopmans,

And I think there will be dozens of Cape Dorys, Albergs, etc. in this range too.

Good luck searching and tell us what you elected.

b.
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Old 05-10-2010, 19:52   #4
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I am writing this from my IP31, which I find has the nicer amenities, shallow draft and at 31' (35 with the spar), I can handle it myself if I want. I am a fan of the Cape Dory as well.

However, I have to say that barnakiel gave you an outstanding list of options.

And, I hate to do this to those selling, but... if your budget is 30k - in this market you can easily be looking at 50k+ boats. This would add a few more to the list.

But you really asked about experience on it. Yes, a family of four has sailed the world on a 28' and were happy doing it. That would not be my family. I would say 4 is tops for full time cruising in under 35, unless you are a really - really - really close knit group. Even then you will need to consider the layout. Two cabins in a 32' is a lot of space to use/lose, so layout will matter more than size. But a cabin beats couch to bed, bed to couch, and so on, and so on...

I have seen 32's with better usable space than 36's. I have also found a lack of hanging space, and a real need for better organization skills to avoid always moving something to get at what you need in a hurry.
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Old 05-10-2010, 20:15   #5
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Yes, for $30K, you can get a hell of a nice 30-32 foot boat right now.
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Old 06-10-2010, 16:14   #6
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You get on the Yachtworld, limit the search to 'sail, 40k USD, 30-35 ft' and you will know what is up for takes.

b.
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Old 06-10-2010, 16:33   #7
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Steve, we find 31 feet perfect for coastal cruising around the English channel and we would be happy to take her further afield.

Even during the height of the summer we have no problem finding space in the busy English and French marinas. No so anyone with 45 feet.

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Old 06-10-2010, 17:38   #8
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I have cruised for years on a friend's Cal34.

The older mark I's had 2 quarter berths which I think would be great for kids since they each get their own that does have to be converted every night.

At least one has been RTW so they are built plenty strong. Since the rudder spins 360, they motor in reverse wonderfully compared to just about anything else, provided you have the tiller.

The only downside to the mark-1's is a third offwatch person would have to break down the U-dinette or sleep behind the table during a night passage.

They are in your price range.

The Cals only used a pan liner, doesn't go up the walls or overhead. I view this as better safety, probably gives you more room and makes working on deck hardware from below easier.
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Old 13-10-2010, 11:08   #9
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I am in a similar boat.

I am saving and saving and need to move on a boat by years end, and in two years take my voyage.

But its hard to find a rock solid blue water boat on a $25,000 total budget. $10,000 +- for a boat, and $10,000+- for upgrades and refit.

Seams no matter what boat you post, 100 people love it, and 100 people say it will never make it.

Been boating and sailing and cruising all my life, there are so many good and bad boats out there it is hard to sort them.

Now had I have a few hundred thousands dollars to use up, my search would go a lot easier.
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Old 14-10-2010, 00:26   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ocean Roads View Post
But its hard to find a rock solid blue water boat on a $25,000 total budget. $10,000 +- for a boat, and $10,000+- for upgrades and refit.

Seams no matter what boat you post, 100 people love it, and 100 people say it will never make it.
And then there are the 100 people in the middle who say it's all a tradeoff. The trick is to see what issues if any most of the 100 lovers say is good, what issues if any most of the 100 haters say is bad. Then investigate the recurring issues both sides bring up and make your own decision.

The hard part here is defining what a 'rock solid blue water boat' is which really sounds like the 'boat of your dreams'. Your definition probably won't match anybody elses, but that's typical on this forum.

With $25k you are not going to get the boat of your dreams, it's going to be more the 'boat of your reasonable expectations' or the 'boat of your minimum requirements'.

What are the minimum requirements:
Seaworthy: A make & model that has been RTW is indicative of this, though not definatively. With the internet it is much easier to find out what models have been around. This shortens the list of potential boats without playing the 50-million-opinions-to-sort-thru game.
Size: Solo you aren't going to need so much room and a smaller boat will be easier to handle (26-32' personal opinion). For a couple a bit more room will be required and 2 people can handle the bigger boat (28-34' personal opinion). Couple with kids, more room and stores carrying ability required but kids may or may not be able to contribute to the boat handling (30-40' personal opinion). With an unlimited budget the top end of the size range could be a lot bigger because you can afford extras to make the work managable. 40' is unlikely on $25k.
Accomodations: 1 good or excellent seaberth for each off-watch crew. Excellent would be pilot berths. Good to excellent would be quarter berths or aft cabin berths. OK to good would be settee berths or a dinette berth that has to be converted every evening and morning.
Sail area: Light winds are a lot more common than heavy weather. Whatever boat you buy will get loaded with a lot of gear. The boat needs to have plenty of sail area so that when you are loaded down and in light winds you will be more willing to keep sailing rather than starting the engine, read burning fuel at $3-6/gal, 8-12nm/gal ($0.25-0.75/nm). If you start with a SA/D ratio of 17 or 18 and figure it's going to drop 1 to 3 when the boat is loaded you will still be left with a decent ratio. A lot of boats come with spinnakers which are good in light air down wind up to a beam reach during the day. A drifter will probably be good for higher points of sail and at night on all points. With a bigger budget some form of asymetrical might be preferable.

Older boats (60's & 70's) in your price range are more likely to have been around, more time for the event to have occured. They are also likely to be a bit larger for the price.
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Old 14-10-2010, 01:14   #11
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I agree with a lot of people’s notion that 30 or so feet is a good easy to handle trade-off that will in some cases safely get you around the world. Any smaller might be a bit too cramped for most and freak them out at the prospect of encountering bad weather (not that there aren’t some extremely seaworthy smaller boats getting around). Any bigger and you start realising costs increase exponentially with the length of your boat. Over here 10 m is the usually the magic mark where marina fees etc start looking more expensive.

There are just so many threads on here about similar questions that it would be hard to tell you where to start looking. Nevertheless, if you do your research it will soon become obvious which boats have a better reputation and suit your particular needs.

Having made the same purchase in a very similar price bracket I don’t think I got a bad deal. I was lucky that it was fairly recently refitted, but the seller could not get the price he was looking for and due ongoing expenses just took an offer.

One thing I would be cautious of is how long the maintenance might have lapsed on some of the “bargains”. If possible get something that has been recently sailed and the owners have not been afraid to put money into the boat replacing bits and pieces over time. For instance: how old are the rigging and sails and has the engine been serviced or has it just been superficially detailed for sale? It is not too hard to tell a loved boat from the money pits?
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Old 05-12-2010, 16:32   #12
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Thank you all for the input. I have been poking about online looking at various "smaller" boats and stumbled onto an Ericson 34 in Portland. Asking price $10k. I havent found much info out there on this boat. The one I found looks like it may be rather sparsely equipped.
What do you all think of this boat as coastal cruiser and at that price would it be a reasonable investment knowing that I am going to have to spend $$ to add electronics & creature comforts?

Thanks again.

Steve
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Old 05-12-2010, 17:42   #13
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Allied Seawind II 32
Southern Cross 31
Westsail 32
Sea Sprite 31, 34
Bristol 32
Islander 32 Mk II

It will be tough to find an IP 31, Valiant 32 or Pacific Seacraft 31 in that price range unless it requires a massive refit.
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Old 05-12-2010, 17:46   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohave_steve View Post
Thank you all for the input. I have been poking about online looking at various "smaller" boats and stumbled onto an Ericson 34 in Portland. Asking price $10k. I havent found much info out there on this boat. The one I found looks like it may be rather sparsely equipped.
What do you all think of this boat as coastal cruiser and at that price would it be a reasonable investment knowing that I am going to have to spend $$ to add electronics & creature comforts?

Thanks again.

Steve
Probably be OK for cruising, even going offshore. Pinched ends so it will be a bit wetter than comparable older boats, nothing a dodger won't alleviate (notice I didn't say cure). Rudder appears to be a reasonable size (not too small like more extreme IOR boats). Reasonable displacement.

Short boom means two things:
A) Spinnaker slightly more likely to overpower the boat
B) Room to extend boom, add a short bowsprit, and replace some sails without replacing the whole rig should you decide you want more sail area for light winds.

There is a tall mast version that significantly increases area and slightly decreases displacement to improve SA/D. There is also an 'X' version that bubble/blister/hump cabin rather than a trunk cabin and is significantly lighter still displacement-wise.

ERICSON 34T Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
ERICSON 34T TM Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com
ERICSON 34X Sailboat details on sailboatdata.com

Outfitting costs are going to depend on what creature comforts fall into the catagory of necessary, same with electronics. Also what equip the boat comes with anchor and sailwise and what repairs need to be made.
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Old 05-12-2010, 18:35   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mohave_steve View Post
Thank you all for the input. I have been poking about online looking at various "smaller" boats and stumbled onto an Ericson 34 in Portland. Asking price $10k. I havent found much info out there on this boat. The one I found looks like it may be rather sparsely equipped.
What do you all think of this boat as coastal cruiser and at that price would it be a reasonable investment knowing that I am going to have to spend $$ to add electronics & creature comforts?

Thanks again.

Steve
A new engine can put you back more than adding an autopilot, VHF and GPS likely will. I'd rather find a sound boat, and outfit it myself than the other way around. Look at the engine, rigging, through-hulls, sails, etc.
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