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Old 10-05-2014, 14:26   #1
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Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

Ahoy! I am tryin to decide between a Cal 34 and a Bristol 29.9 for my next boat. Ill be stepping up from a catalina 22. Boat will mostly be used for sailing barnagate bay in NJ as well as costal cruising to Florida and island hopping in the keys/Caribbean. Both are in decent shape. Both have been repowered. The cal has a Nani and the Bristol has a Yanmar diesel. The reason i am choosing between these two is because my boss at the marina where I work owns them both and will give me a great deal on whichever I prefer. As of now I am leaning towards the Bristol because it seems like a more logical step up from a cat 22. I know they are different animals but would like to know if in similar condition which you would pick and for what reasons? Would love to hear from people who own or have experience with ether.. Thanks so much!
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Old 10-05-2014, 15:27   #2
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

The Cal should sail circles around the Bristol. But the Bristol has its charm. Buy the one that you are drawn to.
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Old 10-05-2014, 16:33   #3
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

I recommend that you do a Google search on both boats.

I am familiar with the Cal 34, which IIRC, has a galley on the full length of the starboard side. The bristol has a more traditional, uhm well, bristol interior.

Both will do you well. Don't compromise on moving up from a C22. Both are very "doable."

You might like the extra space on the 34.

You should also research the engine. Yanmar parts are limited and pricey. I don't know about Nanis. For example, Universals, which I KNOW are not in either of these engines, are Kubota blocks and parts are available for a LOT less at tractor suppliers.

You'll also have to factor in the cost of the rigging and sails, both types of rigging.

Wheels or tillers?

The list goes on.

You should also consider doing these things before you get a survey:

Boat Inspection Trip Tips - SailboatOwners.com

Good luck, happy homework, fair winds.

We had a C22, went to a C25 or 13 years, shoulda gone directly to our current C34!
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Old 10-05-2014, 18:24   #4
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

Here's an example:

Yanmar parts policy - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 10-05-2014, 20:16   #5
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

Buy the Bristol....and then tell me where I can pick up a good deal on a Cal 34.
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Old 10-05-2014, 20:19   #6
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

CAL... but I'm biased!
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Old 11-05-2014, 06:32   #7
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From what I've read the Cal should out perform the bristol. Also the Cal is much roomier. The bristol def has a saltier feel thou. My boss says it sails great as well. Can't wait to get them both in the water and really see for myself. As far a a survey goes the head mechanic that I work with does them on the side so we are gonna go through both boats top to bottom. Doesn't hurt that I am capable of doing any repairs and upgrades needed myself being that its what I get paid to do on other people's boats everyday. Being able to buy sails and rigging at cost is gonna help a lot to.

Another reason I was leaning towards the Bristol is I'm trying to follow James Baldwins advice of keep as small as you can be comfortable and go now!!
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Old 11-05-2014, 08:18   #8
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailmonte View Post
...Being able to buy sails and rigging at cost is gonna help a lot to...
If theses boats have no sails or rigging, RUN!
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Old 11-05-2014, 10:25   #9
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Ha no they both have sails and rigging. Just saying for any upgrades needed..
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Old 11-05-2014, 15:38   #10
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

Well, the Cal 34 has a fixed fin keel while the Bristol 29.9 has a centerboard, and draws 7" less. That might matter in Barnegat Bay, and also in the Bahamas. But if the price and condition of the two boats are roughly the same, the Cal is more boat for the money.

Now if you were comparing the Cal to a Bristol 33.3 or 35.5, I would have a different answer.
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Old 11-05-2014, 16:31   #11
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

My extremely biased position is that you should become a member of the Cal team.
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Old 11-05-2014, 19:07   #12
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

We had friends with a Bristol 29.9. It was a nice boat, but slow. They'd set out two or more hours ahead of the rest of the fleet and arrive (about 20 miles away) about two or three hours after everyone else had already anchored. If you're thinking of heading down towards Florida... it could take you a long time. They're also quite narrow, so you need to really like your crewmates - you'll be seeing a lot of them, really closely. The Cal should be much quicker and offer a good deal more space for stores and supplies that could be useful on long trips. If they're both in comparable shape, I'd go with with Cal.
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Old 12-05-2014, 06:27   #13
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Lots of love for the Cal. Any experience with the Cal in rough weather? I've heard the bristol can take a serious beating.
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Old 19-05-2014, 04:19   #14
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

We have a mooring neighbor who has a Bristol 29 and they love theirs...Have had it for years...and they have no working engine!

These boats have very different designs so you will have to research each and see what you will prefer based on research...

Do you want the mast to be keel stepped or deck?

Do you want the rudder to have a skeg mount for protection/foundation?

What kind of draft do you prefer (less draft also has more anchoring options and less worry but more draft allows higher pointing)?

How is the engine access on each boat (this means a lot to me as I work on my own)?

What kind of interior layout do I prefer (head location, galley, kind of births)?

Cockpit comfort and size?

Looks (to me, VERY important as it allows me to love her and maintain her)?

Water/Gas capacity for long term cruising?

Storage options and possible places for expanding water/gas capacity...

It will be up to you what you or anyone who is your partner as to what you should choose...

The Cal is faster, but not much faster (26 vs 24 LWL) and will turn/tack faster....Cal weighs a little more...

Good luck!
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Old 19-05-2014, 15:58   #15
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Re: Cal 34 or Bristol 29.9

From memory, the Bristol has extremely poor access to the stuffing box on the shaft. This can lead to interesting times and exertions when the inevitable adjustment is required. It would be a deal breaker for me...

Their PHRF ratings (Cal 144, Bristol 195) indicate a considerable difference in performance. Only you can determine if that is important to your choice.

Cheers,

Jim
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