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Old 12-12-2008, 08:28   #1
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Question 40 Choate or 36 Lancer?

Hello everyone - I'm a wanna-be cruiser getting ready to pay out my cash savings to buy a great boat. The minimalist lifestyle of a liveaboard has always called to me and I am finally making it a reality after a respectable input of hours researching.

I'm here to ask you your "professional" opinion on two boats which I am deciding between, a 1982 40' Choate and a 1983 36' Lancer Sloop. Of course, both of these boats will need work to get them going (new holding tank, new head, lotsa elbow grease, and some sail repairs).

My question is - which of these boats will probably last me longer? If I am willing to put in the effort to restore the items in the boat, which hull is more offshore capable and likely to cause me less grief in the long run? I recently chatted with a broker and he expressed much more excitement over the Choate than the Lancer. He also called the Lancer "a great beginner's coastal cruiser".

Any other thoughts about these two models are welcome. Please feel free to PM with any of your experiences or tales about these types of boats.
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Old 12-12-2008, 12:21   #2
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Aloha SS,
You are looking at two very different boats. One is a racer/cruiser which would be good for making speed through the water and is definitely ocean capable but is on the lighter side for long distance passages and will be uncomfortable on heavier weather at sea. The other (Lancer) is a motor/sailer built to motor around and sail once in awhile and not built for speed. The Lancer might be comfortable for living aboard. If I were you I'd find out what you really want to do with the boat before jumping in to buy.
Do you want to do some sailing?
Kind regards,
JohnL
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Old 12-12-2008, 14:17   #3
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My how things change quick!

Hi Skipper John - Thanks for the post. I've been making some phone calls today and it really looks like the Lancer is not our choice based on some research. We were also thinking hard on that Choate, but a local boatyard owner has told me that the engine (a Pathfinder) is not necessarily built for what we want to do. That same boatyard owner told me to wait two months to buy because most sellers are waiting for the boat show. He also said that it is going to be easier to buy because most sellers are accepting half their price. Do you think this is the case? I talked to a couple of brokers and they don't agree.

What we want to do.... We love to sail. We both are learning always by research and classes. So we are still a bit novice, but we want to liveaboard and enjoy the cruising life. I'd like to think that this means we'll eventually go far offshore and perhaps get really gutsy and circumnavigate. We've got the drive in us, but we're working on the confidence in our skills.

We've been seriously looking to buy for the last year, but then the economy tanked.... So we're operating on a smaller budget, but still keeping the dream.
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Old 12-12-2008, 14:29   #4
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Though Lancer made a number of powersailer models, the 36 that was built in the late 70's-early 80's was not one of them. A Bill Lee design ("Merlin", Santa Cruz 27 to 70), the 36 was a surprisingly quick boat, good handling, well built, and comfortable down below. An easy boat to sail short handed. Most all were masthead rigs, but there was at least one that was built with an optional Bruce Farr designed fractional rig.

As for the Kaufman designed Choate 40, a good way to get some additional info is by contacting Dennis Choate at Dencho Marine (www.denchomarine.com).
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Old 12-12-2008, 17:55   #5
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As a Choate 40 owner I can agree with most of above. The question; is the one your looking at set up for cruising or racing? They make both. That will determine how much work it will take to set up for cruising.

If it's off shore it'll be slightly heavier and smoother. I'm adding a bulb to my keel to make it offshore friendly.

As for the Pathfinder motor. It's the old VW truck motor. I plan to re-power as the final works. The motor is light weight and not good for over a 18,000 # boat. For the Choate 40 racer it's fine.

The next question; how well was it maintenanced?

If you need more info on the Choate 40's, let me know! I know them inside and out.
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Old 12-12-2008, 19:24   #6
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The Pathfinders are okay engines. They will push a boat heavier than 23,000#s for long distances. The second owners of our Westsail 32 put a pathfinder in it and cruised for a decade. On their return to Kona, they took a novel route. The sailing route to get back to Hawaii was down to NZ, then north through French Polynesia and back to Kona. They decided to go a more direct way, sailing north to the ITCZ and then powered east in the doldrums to the longitude of Hawaii, then sailed north to Kona. They powered for something more than 2 weeks straight at more than 5 knots. They sold the boat after their return and it was put into a dinner cruise business with almost daily use. AFAIK, it's still got the Pathfinder and running strong, probably with more than 5,000 hours.

The Pathfinder is the non turbo VW Rabbit diesel engine of the late '70s, btw.

Aloha
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Old 13-12-2008, 09:08   #7
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This Pathfinder has 7000 hours. It's all how a motor is maintained!
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Old 13-12-2008, 11:20   #8
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Aloha SweetSurrender,
Sorry I misled you about the Lancer 36. My experience with Lancers (from a distance) has always been with the motor sailer version. And this appears to be a different animal. Might be a good one. I don't know.
Good luck in your search and this forum is a great place to get many opinions. Some, like mine, might be incorrect.
Kind regards,
JohnL
P. S. My aunt and uncle used to live in Owensboro and my in laws live in Lexington.
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Old 13-12-2008, 11:21   #9
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Oops. The P. S. was meant for another post. Am I confused or what?
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Old 06-08-2010, 22:46   #10
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Lancer 36

I am currently in Tahiti with my Lancer 36 that I sailed from San Diego.
That being said, I would be careful to take advice from people who do not have specific advice with the boat you're asking about.
I'm not going to post much on the forum because I don't want to start a debate or an ego fight with people,
However, If you would like to email me about my experiences with my boat, I will be happy to tell you what I've learned about them.

My 2 cylinder yanmar pushes me at about 4.5 knots at 1500 rpm in flat conditions. I haven't had a problem yet though because the thing sails very well in light winds. But, the engine is certainly Aux.

Cheers and good luck!
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Old 07-08-2010, 11:53   #11
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Aloha and thanks for offering the clarification. There was another question recently about the Lancer 36. If you do a search at the link after my signature you can find it.
I did apologize for steering someone wrong and I've tried very hard not to do it again. I hope my past posts are not offputting.
kind regards,
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Old 08-08-2010, 11:55   #12
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Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Steve.

Please don't hesitate in sharing your knowledge & experience, just because everyone may not agree with your conclusions. We may argue here, but we do so politely, and with utmost respect for each other's person (our facts & opinions are fair game, though).
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