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Old 28-08-2015, 07:41   #61
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
Hmm. I spent the 80's cruising the lower 3 Canadian lakes in my Dads Grampian 23, which is definitely a sub 30' design (with my mom, dad and 2 brothers).

In May I had probably a foot of mud on the leading edge of my rudder (skeg) after transitting the Murray inside the channel with a 4'8" draft.

Sounds like an awesome trip across the Western Basin, thems is good sailing waters .

You never have draft issues in Western Lake Erie with 6' draft?

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SOUNDS LIKE GOOD TIMES IN YOUR GRAMPIAN. MAYBE YOUR END OF THE LAKE IS A LITTLE SHALLOWER THAN WHERE I AM. I WAS JUST SHARING MY EXPERIENCES WHEN I SAILED MY CATALINA 25 ON THE GREAT LAKES. A FEW FEET MORE OF BOAT CAN MEAN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A "OH NO" AND A "WHAT'S THE PROBLEM" WHEN YOU SEE THE DARK CLOUDS MOVING IN.

IN THE 20 YEARS THAT I HAVE BEEN SAILING MY CATALINA 36 ON THE GREAT LAKES THE ONLY ISSUE I EVER HAD WITH 6 FOOT DRAFT WAS A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN THE WATER LEVELS WERE LOW, I COULDN'T GET INTO ALGONAC, MI BECAUSE THE ENTRANCE TO THE CHANNEL WAS TOO SHALLOW. I HAVE GONE UP THE SYDENHAM RIVER TO WALLACEBURG, ON. WITH NO PROBLEM.

GOOD LUCK ON FINDING YOUR NEW BOAT. JUST A THOUGHT. IF YOU BUY A BOAT THAT IS TOO BIG FOR YOU, IN A YEAR IT WILL BE JUST RIGHT. IF YOU BUY A BOAT THAT IS JUST RIGHT, IN A YEAR IT WILL BE TOO SMALL.
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Old 28-08-2015, 11:32   #62
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I don't really have an end of the Lake, I've sailed my Fantasia 35 out of Bluffers Park, Toronto, Port Dalhousie and Gananoque. All of Lake Ontario tends to be much deeper than Erie. The problem is canals, bays, rivers and small harbours.

I know Western Lake Erie well, I spent years ice breaking there with the CG, and I fished commercially there as well. You get a good sense for water depth when setting nets- very good sense actually.

I know with a 6 foot draft I've heard sand pinging off my prop going into Wheatly harbour. Close into shore every where in the Western Basin is bad. Stick to the shipping channels, no problem. Any way, draft can be a seriously limiting factor on the lakes.

I agree, there are times on the lakes a longer water line can be of benefit, especially when transiting any of the lakes lengthwise, the extra half knot of speed can help.

In terms of size for seaworthiness though, for every 5 feet of length and every foot of draft you are sacrificing lots of hidey holes where you might have been able to weather a storm rather than stay out in it.

I think sailing style will really influence the right compromise.
I'm more or less satisfied with my 4'8" draft, but often find myself limited due to length and air draft.

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Old 29-08-2015, 07:47   #63
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

We have 6' draft and sailed through Erie and Ontario last season. We're currently located in the Bay of Quinte (although on the hard this season). If I were staying in the Bay, or mostly sailing Erie, I would definitely want something with shallower draft. These areas are freaky-shallow (speaking as someone used to Lake Superior). I'm sure I could manage, but it would close some areas off for cruising.

BTW, my previous boat was a Grampian 34 which had a draft of 5'. Great boat, and never caused us any grief with keel depths.
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Old 29-12-2015, 14:27   #64
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I have been sailing the Catalina 30 on the great lakes for Several years and she is a great boat. Here are some of the important attributes:
Safe
Good livable space
Great galley
Comfortable cockpit
Very easy to sail
Only 30 ft. After 30 feet everything becomes a lot mor expensive. Marinas etc...
Lots of parts available at good price.
Very easy to work on this boat.
Draft is only 6 ft max
Lots of storage for food, tools stc...
Best
Robert
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Old 29-12-2015, 20:14   #65
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

I disagree with the choice of Catalina 30.
Draft is too deep.
Many are atomic 4 equipped...you want a diesel.
Too much money for an old boat.

No need to get stuck on one particular model. See whats for sale. Choose from those.

The C&C27mk4 is a very nice boat with original yanmar and 4.5' draft.

The paceship 29 has 3' draft and will get you into incredible spots no other sailboats can visit.

Like you have heard here so many times, go small and go now. The C&C25 is a great little boat, so cheap to buy, such a great sailor, with 3'10" draft.

There are so many boats for sale. Prices so attractive. Grab something good before the Americans come up north with their big dollars and buy up everything.
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Old 09-01-2016, 02:21   #66
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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Originally Posted by Jaguar001 View Post
I've recently earned my Cansail Level 2 at the Fanshawe Yacht Club in London, Ontario and have the use of a Mirage 24 on Lake Erie. I've been out on Erie now 3 times, the first with our instructor and the second two times with other recent grads of the course. All I can say is....I'm HOOKED!!

In about 2 years, when my daughter graduates university, I'll actually have some disposable income again lol and have decided that I want - no, want isn't right - I NEED to buy a boat. Talking with a few more seasoned sailors at our local marinas, I've been told a few times that a Catalina 30 (or more) Tall Rig is my best bet. I've no interest at all in racing and the intent is to essentially use a boat as a cottage on water, affording my wife and I the ability to leisurely travel all over the Great Lakes or even beyond, should we gain the right experience to do so. Now I've learned enough at this point to know I have not learned nearly enough. But here's what I have figured out so far...

1. The boat can't be too big
2. There are times in life to be cheap. Buying a boat isn't one of them.
3. NEVER buy a boat without a very recent survey.
4. Take your time and get the boat you want, not necessarily the one that's in front of you.
5. Education, education and more education is key to actually enjoying boating, gained by training through courses and hands on experience.

If I've missed anything, please let me know. I'm very interested in advice from those of you who have gone through the process of getting a boat and about the pitfalls you encountered. In terms of training, I will be taking the basic navigation course this winter through the Canadian Power Squadron to start with and then further courses based on their recommendations.

So does anyone agree with the Catalina Tall Rig suggestion or are there others that merit attention?
I started on Lake Ontario and cruised in 24ft to 30ft boats for some years all over the Great Lakes. Like most I eventually succumbed to the urge to go south to the Bahamas and Caribbean. In my research I found that most knowledgeable cruisers recommend a vessel of 40ft or more to go south. After purchasing a 43ft boat I sailed 3500 miles single handed from Lake Ontario to the Caribbean and stayed for 6 years.
If you believe that you will succumb to the same urge as I and others then you might want to consider investing in a larger boat and leisurely prepare for the day when you sell up and sail.
Your choice of vessel would be totally different. Ocean vessels have shorter masts, heavier sails and better grade stainless steels than fresh water boats.
I would have saved a lot of time and costs if I had stopped to consider what my ultimate goal would be.
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Old 12-01-2016, 15:04   #67
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

To the original poster, Jaguar100, I think discussion of equipment (which a boat certainly is) is premature. I hope I haven't missed something fast forwarding through the thread, but it seems to me you are coming into the sport later in life. Nothing at all wrong with that, but the first thing in front of you is not the choice of boat, but rather, to learn to sail.. Go to your local yacht clubs. Generally, if there are several clubs in an area, one will be a real sailing-oriented club. What one design classes do they sail? Buy into one and learn to actually sail the boat in all winds on all points of sail. Then learn to race. While you're doing this, read everything you can about cruising and voyaging under sail. Two years from now, you will be in a far stronger position to make a decision about a boat for you to experience your dream.

Paul
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Old 12-01-2016, 20:25   #68
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

A Mirage in that size range is as good as it gets for a good cruiser and better sailing boat. My 27 is so well balanced there isn't a need for autopilot. Very good construction.

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Old 12-01-2016, 20:31   #69
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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Originally Posted by Paul J. Nolan View Post
To the original poster, Jaguar100, I think discussion of equipment (which a boat certainly is) is premature. I hope I haven't missed something fast forwarding through the thread, but it seems to me you are coming into the sport later in life. Nothing at all wrong with that, but the first thing in front of you is not the choice of boat, but rather, to learn to sail.. Go to your local yacht clubs. Generally, if there are several clubs in an area, one will be a real sailing-oriented club. What one design classes do they sail? Buy into one and learn to actually sail the boat in all winds on all points of sail. Then learn to race. While you're doing this, read everything you can about cruising and voyaging under sail. Two years from now, you will be in a far stronger position to make a decision about a boat for you to experience your dream.

Paul
You may have missed in my original post that I did learn to sail at my local yacht club and have been out now many times. Since earning my Cansail level 2, I have been out unsupervised about a dozen times. While I will not claim to be a seasoned sailor yet, I feel I have reached the point where starting the process of deciding which features I want in my own boat. As I had mentioned in the OP, I have about 2 years to go until I am in a position to purchase so I thought surveying opinions here would be a good start.
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Old 12-01-2016, 20:33   #70
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Re: Best Sailboat for Great Lakes Sailing

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Originally Posted by nortonscove View Post
A Mirage in that size range is as good as it gets for a good cruiser and better sailing boat. My 27 is so well balanced there isn't a need for autopilot. Very good construction.

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I must admit I have enjoyed the Mirage I've been sailing this past summer. It's a tad on the small size but it's been fun for sure. If I were to end up with a 30 footer I wouldn't be unhappy with that. 30' is the least I'd like since we plan on extended sails...weeks at a time...so the room below deck will be important, especially to my wife and as others have cautioned, she MUST be happy if I hope to be happy.
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