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Old 16-04-2015, 12:11   #1
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Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Hi - starting our search for an older monohull that we can use the next couple of years on the Chesapeake Bay as we approach retirement and wanted some advice on specific boats, size or features to consider. A little more about us....

- dreaming of a cruising lifestyle in the future...planning to take a liveaboard ASA 104 course and learning to sail / confirm interests over the next two years while we still have our home on the bay (we have very basic sailing experience)
- power boaters who spend most weekends fishing, but after another year of 6k in repairs to our out drive, deciding it's time to switch to sailing!
- weekend sailing this year, cruising as much as we want to when we retire next year
- we don't need a lot of headroom but prefer more light / windows; we are handy but prefer to enjoy sailing over repairing a boat (at least until we fully retire next year)
- budget not more than 30k unless you guys think I should consider more....


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Old 16-04-2015, 16:31   #2
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Folks, your plan and your budget can work. I recommend you find a quality buyer's broker. If in the Middle Bay/
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Old 16-04-2015, 19:28   #3
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

I'd say in that price range, for a possible future live aboard, in shallow waters, how about a Pearson 365?


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Old 16-04-2015, 19:30   #4
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/1981...s#.VTBh7ye9KSM


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Old 16-04-2015, 19:30   #5
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

But anything live aboard in that price is sure to need some love . . . .


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Old 17-04-2015, 05:13   #6
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley View Post
Hi - starting our search for an older monohull that we can use the next couple of years on the Chesapeake Bay as we approach retirement and wanted some advice on specific boats, size or features to consider. A little more about us....

Where, in the Chesapeake?

-Chris
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Old 17-04-2015, 08:46   #7
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

We are actually by Smith Point so was thinking something with a draft under 5 might be best. If we decide to move forward with a liveaboard we were thinking we could trade up, possibly even to a cat (idea of scuba diving in warm waters is tempting) so maybe a good starter with decent resale is better?

I saw an 80's Hunter 25 for example listed...thoughts on its size / experience it would give us to see if liveaboard a is for us? Is it best to have. 30 ft or more if we are learning on one? Thanks!


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Old 17-04-2015, 11:23   #8
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

I have spent many years (and plenty of miles) cruising the Bay and have some opinions that might be helpful to you.

I think the ideal size for the Bay would be in the 34-36' range. Maybe 33-37' if needing to expand the choices available.

Draft is an issue. Four feet or less would be great, but I have had very few issues with 4-1/2 or five feet. Six feet would be pushing it in my opinion. Depends on the kind of cruising and whether "gunkholing" holds any interest to you. Running aground is a common occurrence on the Bay, and is really no big deal. For one like myself, who pushes the limits, two or three groundings a year were common. Part of the charm of the Bay.

Many months of the year (mostly the summer months) light winds are the rule so I would look for a good sailing boat for those conditions. Slow is not fun! A 150% or better genoa may be your most used sail. I wouldn't purchase a heavy displacement boat for the Bay.

A diesel rather than a gasoline engine, and a simple sloop rig - fractional or full - along with adequate headroom and storage would be at the top of my wish list. Simple electronics, and if living aboard, a heat pump for those times when at a marina in August. An active Owners Association is very helpful.

Plenty of quality choices:
Bristol
Cape Dory
Catalina
Ericson
Pearson
Sabre
Tartan
Just to name a few of the larger builders.

Plenty of affordable boats, especially for a smart buyer, in the $30K range. Allow some additional monies for upgrading and personal requirements.

Good luck with your search.

Another suggestion would be to join an organization such as the Southern Maryland Sailing Association:

http://www.smsa.com/

They regularly sponsor cruises where you would have the opportunity to learn from others, as well as discover some different cruising grounds and enjoy the fellowship of other cruisers.
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Old 17-04-2015, 12:13   #9
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

I totally agree with Redsky.
Different from most advice, I say try your hardest to figure what you need and what you can afford without a plan to move up. You are older and do not want to waste time. Also you are more likely to please your wife with a better boat at the first. Most of the time if they decide they do not like it you can not change their mind. She will be out of there.
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Old 17-04-2015, 12:48   #10
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bearkeley View Post
We are actually by Smith Point so was thinking something with a draft under 5 might be best. If we decide to move forward with a liveaboard we were thinking we could trade up, possibly even to a cat (idea of scuba diving in warm waters is tempting) so maybe a good starter with decent resale is better?

Ah, I dunno so much about that area down there... but I'd bet it's not hard to wander boat yards and look for candidates that appeal to you.

In the 30K range, you might keep an eye on Spinsheet and Craig's List and so forth, maybe more than yachtworld.

Your approach might work, but were it me, I think I'd prefer to buy bigger in the first place, take a shot at what might really work for the long term. If you get lucky and if it also turns out you like the lifestyle, you're there. If you come close but see better candidates sometime down the road, no hurry, you can dicker at your leisure. If you instead end up with a piece of work... at least you'll learn from it, anyway.

And if it turns out you don't like the lifestyle... you will have paid rent on the trial, no matter what size boat you try first.

-Chris
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Old 18-04-2015, 07:14   #11
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Great feedback - thank you!
RDW - I'm actually the wife, so appreciate you looking out for me! You are very right!
I actually started looking at the bigger boats given comments from Redsky and the rest on
this board and they definitely look a lot more open and more 'liveable'! I usually captain our powerboat so wanted to be conservative.

Redsky - lots of valuable input! Our dock is at 4.5 ft so finding one we can keep at the house would be preferred but we definitely want to explore and wondered if we needed a dinghy for most parts of the bay (which have been challenging with power boats at times!)

Jangan and others - will check out the Pearson and other lower draft boats - saw the recent posts about the centerboards out there...sounds like it would be good for the bay but not if we decide we were ready to move to warmer waters (Caribbean)....should we stay away from them if we got something around 32 - 37?


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Old 18-04-2015, 17:19   #12
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

As to centerboards, not to worry. All the builders I listed have at one time or another produced centerboard boats, any of which would serve you well. For the Bay and/or the Bahamas, a centerboard is a very acceptable choice. In fact, I would not hesitate to take my current boat (a centerboard, though rather heavily ballasted) anywhere on the planet with the proper crew and planning. Many outstanding bluewater cruising boats from Europe currently feature centerboards, and in some cases, retracting keels (an entirely different issue). The Swan 47 for example, one of the finest (S&S) designs ever, is a centerboard and it still wins prestigious ocean races. That being said, my favorite shallow draft keel is the Scheel keel which seems to be the best performance in the boats I have owned - all of which have been shallow draft. Sadly, due to licensing costs, this keel is not seen very often. Wing keels tried to duplicate the performance, but they have their own issues.

A dinghy can be useful, but certainly not necessary for the Bay in my experience. In the Keys or Caribbean it will be a necessity. The bigger, the better. Along with a good sized motor. This is where a bigger boat will aid you in carrying a larger dink. Hard to stow even a roll-up on a small boat.

Above all, buy quality, especially in an older boat. They will likely have finished depreciating, and if well maintained, may prove to be the better investment. You will also likely find larger fuel and water tanks, and storage in general, as opposed to some of the modern boats which seem to have a design oriented toward charter operation.

There is also no substitute for the knowledge that, regardless of the conditions, your boat will see you through that stormy night no matter what nature throws at you. Good luck with your search!
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Old 18-04-2015, 17:49   #13
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Most of my friends with Catalina 34s on your bay have shallow draft keels, 4'-3" We have a VERY active owners association, so you don't have to reinvent the wheel. Main Message Board Add Catalinas to your list, the C36 is also very nice, pretty much the same boat with a different interior.

We've had our boat for 17 years, second owners. First owner sold to buy a trawler.

Happy hunting.
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Old 21-04-2015, 09:44   #14
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

I can't imagine not having a dinghy on the Bay. I've been sailing the Chesapeake for 30 years and have worn through 3 dinghys in that time. In a sailboat, most of the time, you'll be anchoring out and need the thing just to get to shore - which you will want to do - often.
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Old 10-05-2015, 17:53   #15
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Re: Chesapeake Bay Recommendations?

Hi Redsky49
Although I didn't buy my boat for the Chesapeake, I was thinking of spending some time there, since the Baltimore area has been my home for 60 years. My Tayana 37 draws 5'8" and is in the Keys, where I purchased it, at the moment. Think that's too much for the bay or is it that I would have to anchor off shore a lot because of it?
Thanks for any input.
Ken
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