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Old 17-02-2008, 08:01   #1
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Question Best weekend/vacation cruisers by decade?

Seems like every decade from the 60's forward has its share of classic boats, as well as serious dogs (in both quality and sailing). I'd like to start a discussion on what some of the old veterans that have proven themselves are, and how they compare with some of the newer production models; and what manufacturers are to be avoided, especially for specific periods in their history.

We are looking to buy something used and put it in for a weekend getaway. We want something that can handle coastal cruising, such as from Beaufort, NC. to Cape Fear, etc., but is also suitable for use in the shallow waters of the sound and inner waterways. Most of the time we'll be in inland waters or short ocean day sails, or in the slip working or just getting away. But, we don't want something that precludes an extended vacation elsewhere either.

What I am not sure if is whether to get an older "classic" cruiser from the 70s or 80s, or something newer and perhaps more production oriented. Total cost of ownership is a big deal for us, as we continue to fail to win the lottery Slippage, mortgage, insurance, upkeep, etc. are all things we will need to factor in, especially of we decide on an older boat.

We've bareboated many times in the BVI and elsewhere, and have owned a boat before (albeit a OB runabout), so we do know what we are getting into, at least to some degree.

Any help, ideas, pointers to other information, etc. would be most welcome!

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Old 17-02-2008, 11:14   #2
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I am very happy with my 70 Tartan 27. She is a classic. Kind of tight for two.

Absolutely no idea what sailing to Cape Fear would entail.

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Old 17-02-2008, 12:04   #3
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From the 70s I'd vote for the Morgan O/Is. These are strong, heavy, roomy, boats with full keels and shallow draft. Models range from 28 to something like 50 feet. They are very different from a modern production cruiser/racer. But, in their day they became one of the most popular coastal/island hopper cruisers ever made, and you still see plenty of them all over the East Coast, Bahamas, and Caribbean. These are not fast sailors, but they have large engines and make excellent cruising boats. Of course, they are now all old and condition is everything when looking at boats of this vintage.
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Old 18-02-2008, 09:28   #4
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If Masonboro and Cape Fear River inlets and the like are your major inlets, your limitations are less as you doubtlessly know from boating in that area… shoal draft is attractive, but having bitten off on the big-boat/center-board notion, I’d suggest against it; we seldom lowered the board and (on an Irwin 42) I really couldn’t see that it did much – ketch rigged – and every haul-out it was an added maintenance chore… shoal draft is good and except for the last few degrees of pointing ability at least as good as deep keels for general use

As for old v. new; large v. small, heavy v. light; whatever… each has their advantages and it sounds like you’ve already gotten enough experience to have formed a reasonably informed opinion… for weekend enjoyment, I eventually was not too content with a “charter” sized boat during the decade or so I had the Irwin – boat was fine, but a bit hefty for casual day-sailing… for a non-liveaboard boat, low maintenance is one of the keys for me… it is one thing when I lived aboard and could happily putter with minor maintenance items in the evenings, but to make multiple trips to the marina to “fix” the inevitable rather than to sail eventually gets old even for rabid sailors…

Any boat more than ten years old stands a good chance of needing some upkeep tweaks, so the actual boat condition is at least as important as the model, style, type, designer, pedigree, vintage, etc., etc… I am increasing tending to like boats that have developed reputations as being somewhat doggy performers (narrow, long-keeled, heavy, high-wetted areas, slack-bilged…) so I probably can’t offer much useful general design opinions, but I’d go back to the upkeep issue as much as anything – other factors being equal, a boat that is a joy to be around is more often used for its intended purpose – a rather personal thing -- but when there is a mismatch between the boat and the skipper, they eventually begin avoiding each other…
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