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Old 27-09-2012, 21:48   #1
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Cape Dory 31 or 33?

I am interested in purchasing a sailboat for the purpose of offshore passage-making and live-aboard cruising and have been doing research. I am an avid sailor (though not yet sufficiently experienced) and sail a Yankee Dolphin 24. The boats I am interested in (and would appreciate any wisdom on choosing between) would be a Cape Dory 33 or a Cape Dory 31. I intend to cruise part time in the Great Lakes and along the northeastern coast for several years until sufficiently experienced and having gained sufficient knowledge of the boat, in the meantime fitting it out. For the future possibility of living aboard, there would be two aboard and would intend to cruise trans-Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the Caribbean. Thanks in advance.
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Old 28-09-2012, 05:40   #2
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

Both of these boats are good boats, the question is whether they match your needs well. The 31 was one of the few Cape Dory's that was not an Alberg design although from a distance it looks quite similar to other models. Some people would consider this boat pretty small for offshore work although it would make a nice coastal cruiser for anyone willing to live fairly simply. I do not have any real sailing experience aboard the 31 so I really don't feel qualified to comment on it further. These boats have been sailed blue water so it can be done.

There are actually 2 33's, the 33 and the 330. The 330 is probably my favorite Cape Dory in this size range and if I had to pick between the 31 and the 33, it would be my choice. They are well constructed and sail nicely although they still pitch and roll more than a lot of the modern boats but they do it in a gentle way usually. Several 33's have been sailed long distances and the reports that I have heard have always been good.

I would suggest that you investigate the Cape Dory Owners association and its forum if you haven't Welcome to the Cape Dory Sailboat Owners Association's Home Page. The forum is really good and you will find many owners of both models including ones who have sailed them long distances.

There are certainly other boats out there capable of doing what you want to do so don't limit your search too much. If you want a smaller boat for your intended cruising, then both of these would be a decent choice.
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Old 28-09-2012, 05:44   #3
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

i delivered a 33 cape dory across the pacific 2 years ago,a great little boat,well constructed ,fast and safe
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Old 28-09-2012, 11:09   #4
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards the Cape Dory 33 for the additional sea-berth. I am an avid scuba diver and would bring my scuba equipment along. The sea berth in the 33 seems ideal for storage of gear, the 31 doesn't have the berth. Also for long passages I would imagine the additional length would make it marginally safer, while still being well within the capabilities of a two person crew. Does additional size result in additional strain on the steering assembly, and as a result result in more likelihood of an autopilot failure. Thanks
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Old 28-09-2012, 13:42   #5
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

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Originally Posted by Dolphin204 View Post
Thanks for the advice. I was leaning towards the Cape Dory 33 for the additional sea-berth. I am an avid scuba diver and would bring my scuba equipment along. The sea berth in the 33 seems ideal for storage of gear, the 31 doesn't have the berth. Also for long passages I would imagine the additional length would make it marginally safer, while still being well within the capabilities of a two person crew. Does additional size result in additional strain on the steering assembly, and as a result result in more likelihood of an autopilot failure. Thanks
i found the 33 to be very well balanced on all points of sail,we used a monitor windvane that steered via a wheel clutch virtualy effortlessly in winds up to 40 knots it only struggled in wind less than 5 knots.

we averaged 5.5 knots over 4500 miles,generally we were able to hold 6.5-7 knots in 25 knots down wind,upwind without pushing too hard she sailed well between 4.5 and 5.5.

on leaving hawaii the boat was very heavily loaded with 500 liters of diesel in tanks, cans and 44 galon drum in the saloon,stores for 3months,and an extra 100 liters of water in cans,as well as full tanks.

if fitting an electric auto pilot i would reccomend a mechanical or hydralic ram attaced to the quadrant.
we did find the wheel pilot slipped in any sort of a seaway,but this generally coincided with wind,and probably needed the belt adjusting.

great little boat and very well built.
the universal 30hp diesel,pushed her along nicely
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Old 30-09-2012, 16:59   #6
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

Klem, the 31 is most certainly an Alberg design. You are mistaken.

Dolphin, I have owned a 31 for several years. If you have any specific questions I'd be happy to help. All my cruising has been coastwise but a have friends with a 30 and 33 who have made the jump to Bermuda in the last two years and they had no issues whatsoever.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:54   #7
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

Dolphin, that sea berth might be really handy as a sea berth
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Old 01-10-2012, 10:16   #8
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

Have you considered the CD 32?
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Old 01-10-2012, 11:37   #9
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

As a CD owner I can tell you to buy based on condition...

join the CD forum
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Old 01-10-2012, 17:34   #10
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Re: Cape Dory 31 or 33?

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Klem, the 31 is most certainly an Alberg design. You are mistaken.
Thank you for correcting this, I had gotten it confused with another model.
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