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Old 08-11-2014, 19:33   #1
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Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

"Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 or Less (€48K or Less)"

While I am located in USA, I often look at the boats listed in Yachtworld and because I look around the world, I see many interesting boats that are made in Europe, but not as common in the USA. Remember this point: MADE in Europe).

Recently, another forum member asked about the best cruising boat buys for $30,000 or less. That thread/discussion seemed to spend a lot of time looking at only a few boats from American manufacturers, and that is understandable as the potential buyer is in the USA and there are many older boats (e.g. 1970s-1980s vintage) available in the USA market within that budget. Brands such as Pearson and Alberg were discussed extensively. I noticed that some discussions on this forum do tend to focus on American brands and little is said about European brands.

I am starting this new thread/topic because I am interested in boats that are ARE made in Europe, and NOT made in the USA or Asia.

Why European Manufacturers?
Simple Answer: I am curious to learn more about them.
I am not as familiar with the brands of some of these European boats that may fit the budget of $60,000 or less (€48K or less) that may be common in UK or Scandinavia or elsewhere in Europe. For example, I recently learned about the Westerly Centaur from a recommendation made by Boatie. It was unknown to me before, but I found it a very interesting boat for its size and used price. I am starting this topic to include European boats that are $60,000 or less (€48K or less), assuming that there are more boats in that budget that may also be interesting. Please do not feel limited to old boats, but remember this hypothetical budget.

I am familiar with the major French lines of Jeanneau and Beneteau. And while I have admired some of the French brands such as Amel, Garcia and Ovni, they are far more expensive than the $60,000 or LESS (€48K or less) budget that is the maximum for this discussion. However, I have found some interesting Amels and Wauquiez boats that may be 1980s vintage.

I also see some premium UK brands such as Oyster. Those also appear to be out of this budget for this discussion. So, consider a Moody and other brands.

I see brands that are made in Scandinavia (e.g. Hallberg-Rassy, Nauticat, Najad). I have found a few of those within this $60K (€48K or less) budget.

Of course some of these European brands (and other super premium boats such as Perini Navi) may be very nice but they will be outside of the parameters of this search for a good solid cruising boat for less than $60,000 (€48K or less).

For this topic, I am particularly interested in other brands/lines that may not be as commonly known to those Americans or those outside of Europe.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words
Also, I would like this discussion to be one that can help as many forum visitors as possible to learn about these other brands or models of boats. So I encourage you to post a photo of the boats you recommend, so we can all see something of these lesser known boats. Your local knowledge is also solicited, as you may know something of the reputation of these boats that others may not. Please share that insight or knowledge here.

I hope the discussion will remain open to considering all kinds of boats that fit the two criteria of "solid cruising boat" and "$60,000 or less (€48K or less)." Used or new, large or small, old or recent.

What do I mean by using a term like "Solid Cruising Boat?"
For the purpose of this discussion, I would like contributors to consider the boat for the projected use by a couple to cruise and voyage offshore from Northern Europe to Southern Europe (Med). Or from Scandinavia to the Med. In other words, the boat should be solid enough to cross some challenging open ocean areas such as the North Sea, English Channel, and Bay of Biscay etc.

Whether you would consider using it for doing a Transatlantic or circumnavigation is certainly a different point you might address in your comments, but at minimum it should be a boat you would feel comfortable taking from North Sea or North Atlantic or Baltic to the Mediterranean.

When you post a boat, please include photos if possible, and address what you like about those boats. What do you consider its features, reputation, qualities, or characteristics that might help another who is unfamiliar with that brand.
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Old 08-11-2014, 19:48   #2
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

I will start the boat posting with one boat that was highly recommended by forum member Boatie. He mentioned this boat in another thread that was discussing smaller boats (under 30 feet) that were relatively low cost today, yet good for cruising.
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Westerly Centaur

In another topic/thread, Boatie posted his recommendation for a Westerly Centaur 26 as being roomy. I had never seen one of those, but had recently been on a Cal 27 which is similar in size and comparable in price and age.

Below you will find some photos of a Westerly Centaur 26 I found today for sale for $8K and in the USA (where the OP resides). Many more are in UK.

When looking at the photos of this boat, I was surprised at the roomy interior. I prefer the layout to the Cal27 too. I like the placement of the galley for example, and it does have a head (with privacy curtain) rather than a portapotty. I am posting the photos just to enhance the discussion.

Notice this is a bilge keel boat (twin keels).
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Old 08-11-2014, 20:00   #3
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

I first learned about Contest Yachts from a cruisers who was bashing up from Mexico, on his way to some destination north of San Diego. He was assigned a slip across from mine and we chatted about his stay in Mexico, his trip up the outside of Baja and his boat. "It's built like a brick outhouse (not his exact words - I take editorial prerogative here)", he said, "We hit some nasty weather on the way up and I couldn't believe how well the boat handled." Indeed, the boat looked no worse for wear after the 700-mile trip north which can be a rough passage. Granted, this was an anecdotal recommendation at best but, regardless, it opened my mind to consider the boats built at the Conyplex yard in Medenblik, Holland, when we started our search for a bigger boat.

As with many of the manufacturers mentioned in the OP's original post, the Contest yachts are frequently in the higher price bracket than comparably-sized boats from other yards. However, I don't think that should prevent a yachtsman from considering these boats as often a seller will accept a price lower than they're asking or sometimes a buyer will agree that the additional quality is worth exceeding their budget.

I personally think it's unfortunate that Conyplex, like many other boat builders, are now just focusing on the larger, higher-end boats but that's kind of beside the point.

To the original poster, I say good luck with your search.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 08-11-2014, 21:43   #4
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Hallberg Rassy 312 1985 $59,900

Steady's Notes: Here is a boat I found appealing, made in Europe, (this one is now for sale in USA). As with any boat info or photos I post here on this forum, I have no personal connection to this boat or the seller (if it is for sale). I am posting photos to illustrate and educate, not to sell the boats.

What I like about this boat:
This looks like a nice boat for cruising and while it is only 31' LOA, it looks to me to be a very comfortable interior and cockpit too.
The interior and deck and cockpit of this boat look very nice condition and much nicer than many boats I see that are the same year.
The deck has artificial teak (Flexiteak) decks. Looks good and practical (not real wood).
The standard HR hard windscreen looks very nice and practical.
____________
Specs
Builder: Hallberg/Rassey Yachts
Designer: Enderlein/Rassey
Keel: Fin

Dimensions
LOA: 30 ft 8 in
Beam: 10 ft 6 in
LWL: 25 ft 3 in
Displacement: 11465 lbs
Ballast: 3970 lbs
Headroom: 6 ft 1 inEngines
Engine 1:
Engine Brand: Volvo
Year Built: 1985
Engine Model: 2000 Series
Engine Type: Inboard
Engine/Fuel Type: Diesel
Drive Type: Sail drive

Cruising Speed: 5 knots @ 2000 RPM

Tanks
Fresh Water Tanks: (40 Gallons)
Fuel Tanks: (40 Gallons)
Holding Tanks: Stainless steel (6 Gallons)
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Old 08-11-2014, 22:17   #5
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Quote:
Originally Posted by nhschneider View Post
I first learned about Contest Yachts from a cruisers who was bashing up from Mexico, on his way to some destination north of San Diego. He was assigned a slip across from mine and we chatted about his stay in Mexico, his trip up the outside of Baja and his boat. "It's built like a brick outhouse (not his exact words - I take editorial prerogative here)", he said, "We hit some nasty weather on the way up and I couldn't believe how well the boat handled." Indeed, the boat looked no worse for wear after the 700-mile trip north which can be a rough passage. Granted, this was an anecdotal recommendation at best but, regardless, it opened my mind to consider the boats built at the Conyplex yard in Medenblik, Holland, when we started our search for a bigger boat.

As with many of the manufacturers mentioned in the OP's original post, the Contest yachts are frequently in the higher price bracket than comparably-sized boats from other yards. However, I don't think that should prevent a yachtsman from considering these boats as often a seller will accept a price lower than they're asking or sometimes a buyer will agree that the additional quality is worth exceeding their budget.

I personally think it's unfortunate that Conyplex, like many other boat builders, are now just focusing on the larger, higher-end boats but that's kind of beside the point.

To the original poster, I say good luck with your search.

Fair winds and calm seas.
Thanks for adding to this discussion. I was not familiar with Contest boats, but a quick search found some very nice boats at both the higher price level ($300K or more) and some nice looking ones that do fit the parameters of this topic ($60K or Less).

Steady's Impressions:
  1. I like the lines of the boat. Handsome exterior.
  2. I like the cockpit, roomy and looks comfortable.
  3. I like the saloon and galley for this size boat.
  4. I don't like the aft cabin's apparent lack of headroom (aft cockpit boat).
Here are a few photos of Contest 35 boats from the 1980s. All of these are under $60K.
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Contest 35 1980s (multiple boats shown below) each about $60K
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Old 08-11-2014, 23:44   #6
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Standfast 36S

Standfast Yachts is from the Netherlands. So this is a Dutch boot.

I don't know about Standfast as a brand, but found that they made several boat sizes: 30, 33, 36, 40, 43, 50.

Also, this model of boat was sold in the US as the PALMER JOHNSON 36.

The photos I am attaching to illustrate are from a 1976 model 36s. It is selling today for about $55,000.

Steady's Impressions:
  1. I like the lines of the boat. Classic look of a 1970s and 1980s cruiser/racer. This boat was built in 1976.
  2. I like the cockpit, roomy and looks comfortable.
  3. I like the saloon. Very nice looking teak interior and it looks much nicer than many American built boats of this era.
  4. There is an aft cabin, and like most aft cockpit boats with an aft cabin, the cockpit protrudes into the cabin. But, this boat appears to have a nice bunk in the aft cabin.
  5. I like that the boat has a chart table and seat (nav station).
  6. The galley looks nice.
  7. It appears the cabin has a only a few rather small port lights and only two hatches, so the interior of the cabin may be dark and I wonder about ventilation while cruising..
Steady's Disclaimer: Here is a boat I found appealing, made in Europe. As with any boat info or photos I post here on this forum, I have no personal connection to this boat or the seller (if it is for sale). I am posting photos to illustrate and educate, not to sell the boats.
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Old 09-11-2014, 00:06   #7
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Wauquiez Pretorien 35 1982 $53,000 or EUR 43000

Made in France.

Steady's Impressions:
  1. Classic look of a 1970s and 1980s cruiser/racer. This boat was built in 1982.
  2. I like the cockpit, roomy and looks comfortable.
  3. I like the saloon. Very nice looking teak interior and it looks much nicer than many American built boats of this era. It looks "quality" and Wauquiez has a reputation for quality construction.
  4. The forward V berth looks nice.
  5. There is an aft cabin, and like most aft cockpit boats with an aft cabin, the cockpit protrudes into the cabin. But, this boat appears to have a nice bunk in the aft cabin. It looks nicer than most I have seen.
  6. I like that the boat has a chart table and seat (nav station).
  7. The galley looks nicely designed, clean design.
  8. Possible negative for a boat this old? It has teak decks. Some will like that, others won't. I like the look and feel. But, could this be an expensive repair in the future?
  9. It appears there are only two deck hatches and no opening portholes except in the cockpit/aft cabin, which appears to have one small porthole. The photos I am attaching show the cabin to be receiving a good amount of light from those portlights. But, would this boat have good ventilation in the tropics? I prefer to have more opening portholes.

Steady's Disclaimer: Here is a boat I found appealing, made in Europe. As with any boat info or photos I post here on this forum, I have no personal connection to this boat or the seller (if it is for sale). I am posting photos to illustrate and educate, not to sell the boats.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:31   #8
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Look at the Westerly Range - over 5000 boats built from ~20' up to 49'.

The ones up to about 33' would fit your price bracket. Look particularly at the Fulmar and the Storm, both Ed Dubois designs and solidly built with decent sailing performance - you might just fit a Typhoon in there which is 37' but at the price is likely to be in need of some TLC but a superb boat.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:11   #9
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Westerley's have a solid following. They are also reportedly lacking in ventilation. Could be that where they generally sail from having less openings is a GOOD thing!

The one thing not mentioned yet is WIRING.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:26   #10
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Fisher 34MS 1979 $58K


Steady's Impressions:
  1. This style of boat has the "salty" look of a North Sea fishing boat. The boat is designed as a Motorsailor. It has a prominent pilothouse with fishing boat style windscreen/windows that are considered better for visibility. It appears it would be a good boat choice if you live in an area where the typical weather is cold or wet (frequent rain). Looking at the boat from the exterior, I like the design and consider the style distinctive and with some "character" and dock appeal that is unique to this brand. At this size I have only seen ketch rigged boats. Some I have seen appears to have a shorter mainmast with smaller sails. The stock specs say the sail area is 631 ft2 / 58.62 m2. The hull is shallow draft (4' 9"), but full keeled and with a "motor fishing boat" design including high bulwarks on the foredeck and what appears to be a broad and high bow.
  2. The pilothouse looks secure and comfortable with an inside helm and good visibility in all directions. On this boat there is only one steering station (inside the pilothouse). Other brands of motor sailors may have two helm stations. So, if you enjoy sitting outside while holding a wheel in a large cockpit with friends, this boat is not a good fit.
  3. I don't like the interior finish of most of the boats I have seen from the 1970s and 1980s. The interiors look plain and they appear to have used lower quality furniture and finish. Compared to some other boats at this price point ($60K) and age (ca1980) (e.g. the Hallberg Rassy 312), the interiors look inferior. They may look nicer than a real commercial fishing boat, but they do not compare favorably to some yachts. That said, I did find one that looked like it had a nicer interior, compared to other Fishers.
  4. The head is in a very small or tight or narrow compartment. Compared to some other boats at this price point ($60K) and age (ca1980), the head compartment looks inferior. It has a fold-out lavatory. Not sure if there is also a shower (or room to shower in the head compartment).
  5. There is an aft cabin with a double bunk on only one side of the boat. It has a small hanging locker too.
  6. The pilothouse has a settee, but it appears to be only about 5 feet long. It looks too short to sleep on for me (I am 6' tall). I would prefer a longer settee there.
  7. The galley looks small and inferior to many other boats in my opinion.
  8. The cockpit is very small and tight compared to most sailboats of this length, but of course this boat does have a pilothouse. So there is a tradeoff there. It appears there would be difficulty seeing anything forward as the pilothouse blocks the view from seated position. Other brands of motor sailors and pilothouse boats may have a better view from the cockpit.

___________
Steady's Disclaimer: This is a boat I found that is made in Europe and available on the used market for $60K or less. As with any boat info or photos I post here on this forum, I have no personal connection to this boat or the seller (if it is for sale). I am posting photos to illustrate and educate, not to sell the boats. I do not own this boat and I have never owned this boat. My comments are based on what I see as I look at boats on the market and are intended to give a starting point to a discussion. Your taste and opinion may differ.
___________

Specs
Builder: Fisher
Flag of Registry: United States
Keel: Full
Hull Shape: Displacement

Dimensions
LOA: 34 ft 4 in
Beam: 11 ft 3 in
LWL: 29 ft 10 in
Maximum Draft: 4 ft 9 in
Displacement: 25760 lbs Dry Load
Headroom: 6 ft 4 in

Engines
Total Power: 75 HP

Engine 1:
Engine Brand: Thornycroft
Year Built: 1979
Engine Type: Inboard
Engine/Fuel Type: Diesel
Propeller: 3 blade propeller
Drive Type: Direct Drive
Engine Power: 75 HP

Cruising Speed: 7 knots

Tanks
Fresh Water Tanks: 2 Stainless steel (75 Gallons)
Fuel Tanks: 1 Stainless steel (80 Gallons)
Holding Tanks: 1 Stainless steel (30 Gallons)

Accommodations
Number of single berths: 2
Number of twin berths: 2
Number of double berths: 1
Number of cabins: 2
Number of heads: 1
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:32   #11
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steady Hand View Post
Wauquiez Pretorien 35 1982 $53,000 or EUR 43000

Made in France.

Steady's Impressions:
  1. Classic look of a 1970s and 1980s cruiser/racer. This boat was built in 1982.
  2. I like the cockpit, roomy and looks comfortable.
  3. I like the saloon. Very nice looking teak interior and it looks much nicer than many American built boats of this era. It looks "quality" and Wauquiez has a reputation for quality construction.
  4. The forward V berth looks nice.
  5. There is an aft cabin, and like most aft cockpit boats with an aft cabin, the cockpit protrudes into the cabin. But, this boat appears to have a nice bunk in the aft cabin. It looks nicer than most I have seen.
  6. I like that the boat has a chart table and seat (nav station).
  7. The galley looks nicely designed, clean design.
  8. Possible negative for a boat this old? It has teak decks. Some will like that, others won't. I like the look and feel. But, could this be an expensive repair in the future?
  9. It appears there are only two deck hatches and no opening portholes except in the cockpit/aft cabin, which appears to have one small porthole. The photos I am attaching show the cabin to be receiving a good amount of light from those portlights. But, would this boat have good ventilation in the tropics? I prefer to have more opening portholes.

Steady's Disclaimer: Here is a boat I found appealing, made in Europe. As with any boat info or photos I post here on this forum, I have no personal connection to this boat or the seller (if it is for sale). I am posting photos to illustrate and educate, not to sell the boats.
These may be one of the best 35 foot offshore boats ever built. They are not high pointing but are decent, much better on a reach. The build quality is absolutely excellent. They come with either shaft drive or sail drive with most preferring the shaft drive, unfortunately the engine is green.
The interior is well finished, good sized V berth. Aft cabin is only a double for a couple of skinny 18 year olds in love. Decent storage. Deep bilge. Most don't have teak decks, thankfully. Keel stepped mast. Traveler is lousy for cruising because it limits the size of the dodger. If picked up at a good price and in decent shape its hard to beat this boat in its size range...and oh I forgot in NA especially very good resale.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:35   #12
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

In lighter boats; Dufour
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:37   #13
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Here are a few more Fisher 34MS photos and illustrations.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:55   #14
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Boats Under Sail

When discussing different boats, I like to see photos of the boat from the outside and inside (interiors, berths, galley, saloon) and I always enjoy seeing boats under sail. So, whenever I have found nice photos of the boats I am posting shown actually sailing, I will post them here too. Some of the photos are larger, so I encourage you to click on the thumbnails to see them enlarged.

More photos of the Fisher 34MS
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Old 09-11-2014, 12:12   #15
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Re: Best European Cruising Boats $60,000 (48K) or Less

Boats Under Sail

When discussing different boats, I like to see photos of the boat from the outside and inside (interiors, berths, galley, saloon) and I always enjoy seeing boats under sail. So, whenever I have found nice photos of the boats I am posting shown actually sailing, I will post them here too. Some of the photos are larger, so I encourage you to click on the thumbnails to see them enlarged.

Photos of the Wauquiez Pretorien 35 Under Sail.
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