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Old 10-09-2005, 08:56   #16
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Fritz, Just saw this discussion. Hope I'm not too late to jump in on this thread. Just finished dodging a hurricane. I am not near as experienced as many who have responded thus far but I wanted to offer my perspective because I was in a somewhat similar situation as you just a few years ago (Loved the water and sailing on boats, reasonably good health, wanted to move to the coast and start doing some serious cruising, could afford to buy a boat, looking forward to retiring shortly, barely moderately mechanically inclined, etc.) I, too, had lots of questions and lacked confidence in my abilities to handle a boat by myself and its various working systems. But my attitude was and still is; if others can do it so can I. Now, five years into retirement I can see how my confidence and abilities have increased with experience. Your confidence and abilities, too, will no doubt increase as you gain experience. And there are some things that can only be learned the hard way. And those times will come. As they say there are only two kinds of sailors: those that have run aground and those who are going to run aground. Some of the things I would do differently and some I would not change. Now for my two bits for what it is worth. In buying a boat, I think the first consideration is new or used. Lots of pros and cons to both choices. I bought new. I went to the St. Petersbugh Boat show and bought a "boat show special" Still had to wait a year to get it cause I just looked at the display model and the boat I wanted had to be back ordered. Boat show specials can offer you a bunch of add-on gizmos at a real savings in $$$. If I had it to do over again, I would buy a slightly used vessel. Usually a good bit of depreciation the first two or three years and the boat may be even better than new cause the bugs (and they all have bugs) may have been shaken out and fixed by the time you acquire it. Also, the equipment bought by the former owner frequently comes with the boat and you get the stuff for a fraction of what the original owner paid. Just don't buy too old or you may be faced with replacing old equipment and gizmos. The Pacific Seacraft is an excellent boat. Don't know if you need a boat that high end if you are going to be primarily sitting at dock with just short sails or coastal sailing. If you buy a new boat, remember that depending on what the manufacturer puts on as standard equipment, you will have to spend an additional large sum of money to make her ready for sea. It could easily cost you an additional $20,000 to $50,000 for such items as radar, GPS chartplotter, electronic charts, single-sideband radio, EPIRB, dingy and motor, dingy davits, paper charts, extra batteries and battery monitoring systems, ground tackle and dock lines, and more. It will depend on how much you feel like you want or need. And yes there is the cost of insurance which is expensive and much more so if sailing to foreign ports or more than 50 miles offshore. While you can get domestic boat insurance from such major companies as Allstate, Progressive and Boats US, you will have to go to different companies to get offshore insurance. And to go to Mexico, the Mexican government requires you to buy insurance from companies that do business in Mexico. You get the picture. Regarding Mexico cruising. I can't offer much advice here except to suggest you purchase a copy of "Mexico Boating Guide" by Cap. John E. Rains. It seems to be a good guide to both coasts. And you will see by reading it that the east coast of Mexico is ignored by cruisers except for the Yucatan peninsula area and for good reason. Seems like your major decision if you have your heart set on Mexico is either the west coast of Mexico (lots of cruising and good ports from the Sea of Cortez all the way down) or the Yucatan Peninsula area. Lots of folks seem to like Isla de Mujeres. There are some other smaller ports in Mexico just south of the Cancun area. And that area offers a jumping off spot to the Caribbean Sea. Where ever your choice you need to be aware of your legal requirements regarding foreigners keeping their vessels in Mexico long term. Hope this helps from someone who still has a lot to learn but it sure makes life exciting.
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Old 10-09-2005, 11:45   #17
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If you really must go the monohull route!!!!!

Dont know many of the US designs very well, but you might come across some European boats, thus recommend that the Hallberg Rassy boats are well worth a second look.
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Old 12-09-2005, 16:59   #18
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Thanks for the good tips

I'm looking into a number of the issues that you raise and will definitely read the suggested book. I'm pretty familiar with both coasts of Mexico and, if I decide on the east (even though it has a lot of drawbacks), I would have no interest in going into the gulf.

I've now eliminated Island Packet from my list and am currently looking at Pacific Seacraft and Tayana. I'm no longer considering a new boat, but rather looking at used boats -- those that are not more than five years old.

Thanks again.

Fritz
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Old 14-09-2005, 15:07   #19
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Fritz,

I'm curious why you deleted the Island Packets from your list. I am familiar with the negative posts you're referring to and their source.

I'm not on a mission to sway you. I own an IP and love it. I've cruised in the past year with Tayanas, Vancouvers, Cals, Morgans, etc. and have always been happy with the performance and comfort of the IP. It is well built and capable of carrying the water, fuel, and provisions you'll want for full time living aboard.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

I'm glad your age question has already been answered and properly. The best age to start cruising is the age you're at when you decide you want to go.


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Old 14-09-2005, 16:06   #20
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perfect boat

Fritz,

There is no perfect boat and it's never too late to start. Buy a boat you feel comfortable in. I would get something in the 38 - 42 ft. range. It might not be the fastest, most sea-kindly, strongest boat out there but for the vast majority of us it'll be fine. Just drop in at Georgetown in February and look at the fleet. There's usually about 300 - 400 boats down there then. Everything from 20 ft. to 120 ft. From $5000 to 5 million. As for being too late you'd be surprised at how many couples are out there and never sailed before. They take a week or two of lessons, some courses and learn on the way. Most of them know their limitations and try not to chew off too much at once. In a couple of years they're fairly proficient.

Good luck . You'll know the right boat when you see it.
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Old 14-09-2005, 20:20   #21
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ConchCruzer/Island Packet

Regarding why I eliminated the Island Packet from my list, first let me say that everything that I've read suggests that IP builds a very high quality line of boats whose owners love them. Also, please remember, when reading my explanation, that I am admittedly feeling my way and, therefore, know that my reasoning might be flawed.

Let me further explain that I had narrowed my search to only the 37-foot models of the Tayana, Pacific Seacraft and Island Packet and didn’t (and still don’t) have an opinion on the other lengths.

Here’s how my thought process worked:

1) First, I admit that I read Jeff’s persuasive posting on the subject. It got me thinking that, whereas I wanted a heavy displacement boat, the IP might be on the extreme end of the spectrum. From the start I questioned why the IP 370 was so much beamier than the other two. If the wide beam didn’t affect performance, why didn’t the other manufacturers follow IP’s lead and provide the additional livable space.

2) I compared the three boats by plugging their specs into the following Web site (that was recommended on this forum) and reviewed the various ratios that were generated:

http://image-ination.com/sailcalc.html

The other two boats were more attractive in the areas of: displacement to waterline, LWL to beam (I think), motion comfort and capsize ratio.

3) Then I read the following articles that seemed to confirm what the above Web site suggested and/or favored the other two’s designers:

http://www.sailingusa.info/design_winds.htm
http://www.pacificseacraft.com/html/...os/PSC40BP.pdf

4) I also read several forums (including the IP-specific forum) and found a recurring theme expressed by IP owners – slow but safe. For the type of sailing I anticipated, I felt that there were just too many “slow” references.

5) Last but not least, I liked the looks of the other two 37 footers. Whereas I love the looks of the other IP models, the 370’s wide beam makes it unattractive to me.

You asked a fare question and I hope that I gave you a reasonable answer.
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Old 14-09-2005, 21:36   #22
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While the long keeled heavier boats may not be my favourite I do like the way William Crealock designs some of his boats. I say some because he has some designs that he was paid to design years ago for Clipper Marine that he likely would not have on his resume. I think the ones he has designed more recently better reflect his own ideas.
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Old 14-09-2005, 22:04   #23
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What's wrong with Clipper Marines

I have a 1976-CM23'TK sitting here on a trailer that''ll show up a lot of other boats. For a boat that weights in at 1100 lb. she'll take a lot of rough weather and will not blow down. She'll point up every time. And I've had'r up to 10 knots surfing the San Juan's.

BTW there are still a lot of them around. I monitor a web site just for CM's and a new member pop on about every month. Most of them have been ignored in barns and back yards for years. But with a little clean up and sometimes a little interior work they are like new again. Wish I could say that for a lot of other manufactures out there.

Here's the History:

"Clipper Marine, was originally founded in Sausalito, Ca. And their goal was to build trailerable 'glass boats. As such, they were the first to use the swing keel in a small boat. All the boats were designed by W.I.B Crealock of Pacific Seacraft fame. The original dozen or so boats were all 21, with cast iron keels. Once production got rolling, they moved the assembly line down to Santa Ana in '72 or '73. The plans were redrawn, and soon a bilge keel 23 was being produced. This was one of the first to use high-performance NACA foils, and is supposed to be a good performer. The original plans for the 21 were enlarged to the 26 MK I with a doghouse, and later a MK II flush deck. All of these were pretty good sellers and the decision was made to produce a 30 and 32 ketch. This was the start of the company's downfall, as they just started increasing the hull length for the new boats without doing anything to the rigs. The rig on the 26 and 30 is identical, and they added the mizzen on the 32. The 32 was unique in that it was the largest trailerable boat produced up until that time. In the meantime, they also started producing a 1/4 tonner (26 ft with a high aspect fixed fin keel) and a couple of other 24-26 designs based on the original 21 hull design. Crealock was involved in the redesign of each one, by the way. In about '76 the decision was made to produce a true blue-water boat, and Crealock sat down with a new sheet of paper. The drawings were even completed, and a hull mold was actually started. Unfortunately, the owner and CEO disappeared with the company bankroll one night and the company filed bankruptcy. The mold for the 37 and the drawings were returned to Crealock, and he made some minor design changes before having the first boat produced by none other than Pacific Seacraft. And from that, the legend of the Crealock 37 was born, which is one of the most sought after sub 40-foot cruising boats.
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Old 15-09-2005, 06:11   #24
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Thumbs up An Owner's Perspective

Fritz,

You're doing your homework! The research and time spent looking is fun and rewarding. Finding the boat that suits you is a great feeling.

I read the material on the websites you posted and am not convinced that you gave the IP's a fair chance. Again, I'm not hell bent on a mission. I like the Crealock designs as well. The top contenders on my final list were the PS 37, Caliber 40, Valiant 40/42, IP 380, and Cabo Rico 38.

First, lets look at the numbers for my Island Packet 40 from the US Sailing calculators:

Sail Area/Displacement: 17.8 (between cruiser and cruiser-racer)
Displacement/Length: 261 (midway between light and heavy)
Ballast/Displacement: 43% (stiffer than average of 35%)
Motion Comfort: 32 (just as predicted for a 42' LOA)

None of these numbers, by US Sailing's standards, would indicate an unstable or uncomfortable boat. Beyond the numbers, US Sailing goes on to say that a beamier boat with more living space may be more suited to ocean cruising. In the real world of cruising, I have found this to be true. For every day spent sailing, I spend 4-6 days at anchor, enjoying the comfort of my IP.

Let me suggest some other websites for you:

Sail Charbonneau
This is a great site with some good folks that enjoy cruising!

Voyage of Eventyr
This is my website! (hosted by Hayden Cochran, thanks Hayden!)

Ventana's Voyage
Another site with great info on cruising.

One more:
Yacht Jasp
An IP on a trip from the UK to Austrailia.


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Old 15-09-2005, 09:22   #25
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I left a word out in my post, it should have read WIB would probably not " like " to have on his resume. I said that not to discredit WIB, he did what he was paid to do, but to suggest he may want to distance himself from the actions of Clipper.
For instance do you think the 37 would have been a better boat if built by Clipper.
The 21 was a nice small boat but did not have a keel flap or adequate rigging and could not beat a San Juan 21, its main competition.
The 23 is a nice small boat that would be better with a better rig.
The 1/4 ton was a 24 foot boat and one did very well against the competition. They are quite nice for a small boat.
The 26 with the fixed keel sailed quite well, but again the rig was not so hot and the 30 had an 8 foot beam and was proportionaly challenged. Again the rig was not so hot.
There is a 23 near me at the yacht club, I sold the boat new.
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Old 15-09-2005, 16:22   #26
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Fritz, I'd like to offer a few add'l thoughts for you to consider...

First, if you aren't already, become a Latitude 38 addict, get the free magazine each month, and reach it religiously. (It has been available at all West Coast West Marine stores in the past...but also elsewhere). For your area and your plans (non-specific tho' they are, they at least start in the California/Mexico region...), it offers the most relevant, most current info you'll find in print. Moreover, the editiorial 'tone' that is offered is usually irreverant, practical, and often from folks doing what you want to do. This can be very helpful, even tho' it may challenge some strongly held views.

Second, as in many threads like this one, there is a tendency to think 'length' when thinking about boat size. LWL or LOD or LOA, all 'length' measurements, are not nearly as relevant for someone with a short-handed crew and/or short-handed wallet than displacement. So step away from thinking 'length' for a moment; think displacement and it will help you see boats in a new and more relevant light. E.g. it makes a Westsail 32, whatever you want to think about that boat itself, suddenly move from a 'smaller' boat (which its 32' LOD and interior layout certainly suggest it is...) to a 'bigger' boat. Just to give you one example, my 42' ketch is identical to a W32 in length, mast height, (almost) beam, draft and sail area. However, in many ways they are very different and living in one is far more comfortable in every respect than the other. Let displacement be your 'size' gauge, compare apples with apples, and you'll understand what your getting from a given boat as well as what you are committing yourself to in size and cost of anchor, size and cost of sails, etc.

The advice you've been given on getting aboard boats and getting some experience on the water is of critical importance, at least if you are going to make a - for you - good boat selection. What isn't perhaps said as much as it needs to be is that sea time is not as hard to get, assuming you don't currently have access to a boat, as it might seem. Visit YC's, read BB's at the local marinas, walk the docks, and always, always offer some help with a smile on your face (stand-in crew for the beer can races, help when moving the boat to the yard, help in the yard, etc.) and explain, simply but clearly, why: You're looking for onboard experience so you make your own boat choice more thoughtfully...and you'll help them with their needs in exchange for that opportunity. There are very few boat owners who won't resonate to that motivation, as this thread proves.

There is soooo much verbage spent on BB's like this one about boat choice. Unfortunately, there needs to be a lot more content offered on all the consequences that flow from boat choice. E.g. I don't quibble with the general build quality of PS boats (altho' I had one, had massive blistering problems with it right out of the box, and found the company couldn't be bothered with this - at all - until I threatened to walk around the Annapolis Boat Show with a big sign telling my tale, at which point they grudingly refaired the hull but didn't fix the problem). However, those pretty but pinched canoe sterns take away a lot of reserve buoyancy and storage space. If you will be living aboard and cruising, you need a boat that can accommodate BOTH a lot of bulk and handle a lot of weight in a sea; this is where canoe shaped hull forms don't measure up. Don't dismiss canoe-hull hull forms because of this, just tick that as one of the downsides of that choice. I can tell you I've met many cruising sailors, PS owners included, of this hull form who moan and goan about all the access (to engine mechanicals, stern gear, exhaust, etc.) and storage limitations, no matter how pleased they are with their boats.

It's just my opinion but I think you are getting incrementally coached towards getting a bigger boat than you will find, long term, you need. This is a trend that is international in scope (tho' we North Americans seems leaders of the pack) and can be a fool's errand in practice. The notion doesn't start with 'you need a bigger boat'; instead, the lure is twofold: First, to be 'safe' and 'comfortable', the boat has to be bigger. Second, that there all these "systems" you absolutely MUST have in order to be safe and comfortable. Of course, where does one put all this 'stuff' except aboard a bigger boat. Try to be realistic about this, look around, read what people write, and I think you'll find that a single guy is not likely to be cruising with more than one significant other or, lacking that, won't need more than 2 other crew. A 10-ton boat is more than enough for that kind of job, more likely a 7- or 8-ton boat. As just one of many examples (and an acknowledged generalized comment), no production boat is going to be stronger, more sea kindly, better built or more ergonomically, functionally designed than a used Hallberg-Rassy 36. It measures 7500 Kg or 16,500#, three functional sleeping cabins (including the main cabin with its 2 sea berths), and reasonable storage & functional galley, chart table, cockpit, etc. for circumnavigating. This boat may or may not be your particular cup of tea, but the point is that this "much" boat (re: displacement) is all that you need, probably a bit less.

In this regard, I'd highly encourage you to read the relevant chapters in Beth Leonard's Voyager's Handbook on boat selection and its relevance to one's cruising and general financial plans. Unless you are unlike the rest of us, you are - financially speaking - mortal. As such and presuming you really do take to the cruising lifestyle with relish, you are going to find yourself limited, financially. Pick one thing to add to the boat, and there's another you'll have to give up. Pick two things, and you'll live with less care to the boat in other areas than you'd like. Beth does a better job of articulating the linkage between the choice of boat, the complexity of a boat, and the financial consequences of these choices than anyone else who's written on the subject.

I've written way more than I should have but, like everyone else, would love for you to get off on the right foot. Good luck and keep peppering the group with questions and you'll get lots of potential answers: just remember that YOU get to decide which ones are right...for you.

Jack
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Old 15-09-2005, 21:44   #27
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Thanks for the Input

You guys give me so much to think about and I really appreciate it. I will continue to read more -- especially the book/links suggested and take another look at the IP 370.

JACK

Regarding the size of the boat that will meet my needs, I should clarify a couple of things about myself:

1) I'm 6'5" and weigh 235 pounds -- that is, I'm a big man who needs more space than an average-size person, and;

2) I lived aboard a Mason 33 for five years in San Diego (thirty-five weeks a year). Whereas that boat wasn't uncomfortable, I definitely would like more room in the next one –- but still a manageable size. I haven't been aboard any of the boats that I'm considering, but hope that the length of these boats will be a good compromise between comfort and ease of short-handed sailing.

Regarding your comments on displacement being the size factor to focus on, the Pacific Seacraft 37 at 16,200 #’s displacement would seem to best fit that criterion (provided your blistering and service problems were aberrations).

Regarding your suggestion to sail on as many boats as possible, my work and the fact that I’m presently landlocked require that I do as much preliminary shopping by Internet before traveling to one of the coasts to demo boats.

DELMARRY

Last night, I finally got around to reading the Newsletter/Web site that you recommended (http://www.bajainsider.com/). I read it cyber-cover-to-cyber-cover and loved it. It’s well written and offers a wonderful combination of boating and tourist information about Cabo and La Paz. In turn, I’d like to recommend to you the following article that I recently read that gives a brief description of many ports on both the east and west coast from Central America to the U.S:

Cruising World, September 2005
Article entitled, “Coast to Coast”
By Pat and John Rains
Page 144

It describes suitability of anchorage, marine services and the shelter each port offers from weather. It also shows distances between them. It’s a quick read that provides an up-to-date status of each port.

Thanks again,

Fritz
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Old 16-09-2005, 01:19   #28
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Thanks Fritz

I'll pick it up!.........................................._/)
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Old 16-09-2005, 03:00   #29
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Fritz, if you found the Rains' article potentially useful to you, you might want to consider putting their book on your list, which is titled something like From Florida to California via the Canal. As delivery skippers (mostly large power boats), they have written a basic guide for the route you are considering. Its value to you right now, when you aren't passage planning, is that it will give you a feel for the eventual task at hand, which in turn might elicit some add'l thoughts on your part on boat choice and/or perhaps put a perspective on the ones you have.

Yes, as a bigger guy you will struggle to find a good selection of boats 10 tons+ that give you full headroom, which for obvious reasons (overall exterior appearance, freeboard, stability, etc.)seems to be designed out of most boats. Given that, I just didn't want you to underestimate the 'cost' commensurate with choosing a larger boat, both in financial and operational terms. E.g. larger cruising boats often lack short-chord keels and spade rudders, which in turn make them a handful when maneuvering in small harbor basins, or when pinned to a dock in a rising wind, or when dealing with a tidal current in confined spaces. I've been amazed at how many 30+' boats in N Europe are now equipped with bow thrusters, but the reason becomes obvious as they frequent small, old basins now increasingly jammed with other boats, sometimes in stiff winds and/or tidal streams. We carry a bow thruster on WHOOSH - it's my wife with a big boat hook! - and manage, but we have also found our 11 ton boat damn difficult to deal with at times. The importance of this issue, or even its existence altogether, is usually ignored by the cruising books.

Along with the consequences of size, another issue you are dealing with right now is choice of boat vs. what your plans will require of it. All types & sizes of boats have made the Central American/Canal/Caribbean/East Coast sojourn, in both directions, and so long as you wisely stick to those portions of the calendar that give you compatible weather, boat choice is not as critical insofar as ultimate structural demands on the boat. OTOH if you choose the Milk Run into the South Pacific, things will eventually change dramatically unless you stay in the lower latitudes and Dockwise the boat back to the USA. Were I in your shoes, I would be concerned about either ending up with 'too much boat' or 'not enough boat', assuming of course financial limits and so what you spend on the boat will come out of your total financial package and therefore the cruising kitty. While it may not be feasible for you, I'd encourage you to lock in on your ultimate *realistic* cruising plans insofar as possible before finalizing your boat choice. If you want the South Pacific to be a viable, safe alternative for you, that's fine so long as you're willing to pay the price (in boat choice) it would suggest.

Two thoughts about the PS 37: use the salesman, other boat show shoppers or whomever, put 2 of them and you in the cockpit, let them have the room 'up front' and then see how you feel about the cockpit ergonomics back aft. In temperate climates and tropical cruising, the cockpit is your most used 'room' (assuming adequate ventilation and U/V protection) and you should insure your size fits its spaces pleasingly. Now...with you 3 sitting there, think about inviting over the crew from the boat 'next door'; how will it work as an occasional social center, in your opinion? And operationally, you should be able to move easily/smoothly from the protection of the dodger to the wheel and inevitable instrument pod; no 'climbing' over or around should be required.

Second, look at how the PS boats are made: for decades, they've utlized interior secondary liners rather than building the boat up from the hull incrementally. One of the downsides of this construction approach from a cruising sailor's point of view is that it limits access to all of the hull and reduces potential storage space. To connect this thought up to my previous one, if I were serious about a SoPac run, my own view is that a PS 37 is the right size with a suitable rig and of sufficient construction quality for the run, but probably lacks the storage capacity & tankage most folks would prefer. Some of the solutions cruisers fall back on when this happens is adding gear (e.g. a watermaker because of inadeqauate tankage, which may or may not work when you need it most) and jamming things into a boat's interior, which only detracts from its liveability. All boats will present this dilemma to an owner on longer runs, but some far less than others.

You strike me as being on the right track and working towards a solution to the puzzle well; keep it up. And don't overlook the depth of experience available to you at the SSCA's discussion board, as well (http://ssca.org/sscabb/index.php). Good luck to you.

Jack
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Old 16-09-2005, 12:18   #30
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Fritz,

Personally I like the direction you're taking - moving (gently) towards a PS37 - but then, I just put an offer on one so I'm biased! (Hopefully next week's survey will come out good.)

I am interested to hear what people would have to say about this one - it's had it's keel modified - reduced draft from 5'6" to 4'11". The mod was done by Mars Metal - using input from Mr. Crealock. They increased balast from 6200 to 6400# in the process.
Our intent is to wander into the South Pacific for a year or so and then after a few more years building a kitty, head out into the wild blue yonder. (With any luck we'll get totally smitten by cruising and will continue around the world instead of coming back!)

As a design, the PS37 seems to be a no frills, solidly built cruiser. It's not as roomy as others of similar length - what drew me to it was it's reputation as a solid performer. Hopefully it'll meet all expectations...
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