I've been a small boat coastal sailor since 1980, with "offshore" experience limited to island-hopping in the Caribbean
and the Mediterranean
on bare boat charters (sloops) up to 44 ft. My wife and I have been sailing a 1965 Cheoy Lee Bermuda
since 2002, the last 13 years in Maine
. At 5 tons, and with a full keel
and 24 ft waterline, she's not fast. However, she points reasonably well, will sail effectively in as little as 5 kt of wind
, and is quite manageable in 25 kt with sails
appropriately set and trimmed. She's definitely not tender
; we have never come close to a knockdown in the strongest gusts that we've encountered.
She's very pretty (in the eyes of these beholders), does NOT pick up lobster traps due to her keel
design (which makes for far more relaxed sailing in down east Maine
than a fin keel does), and is a pleasure to take on short (3-5 day) excursions. She also draws only 3' 8" which increases our gunkholing options. We know folks who have taken their Bermuda
30 ketch to England
and back twice. Not something we would ever contemplate as dyed-in-the-wool coastal sailors, but still some sort of testimony to the basic abilities of the design.
So slow, perhaps -- but then she's an old style cruising sailboat, so that's not unexpected. As to danger
, all boats are "dangerous" in relation to how they are maintained and sailed (or motored). In our experience, this design is not any more dangerous than most boats of similar size, and certainly less so than others.