I finally made a deal on a sailboat that I feel is absolutely perfect for what I want to do, is beautiful, has a great amount of potential. It's a 1974 Clipper Marine 30, and I think that it is a far more thoughtfully designed and well constructed than it is being given credit for. I think I'm also in a good position to make this CM30 into the perfect boat for me, but that isn't the position everyone is in. I know there have been many negative opinions expressed, and I can't comment on the build quality of any other CM's, but other than the riveted deck/hull joint, nearly every other negative comment simply doesn't hold true for the boat I just purchased.
The hull is hand-laid and doesn't flex, neither does the top. The lifelines
and stanchions don't cause flex when weight is applied. Below, everything that's bolted through has a backing plate, and every bit of wood is solid, no laminates. Oceans of teak
below. The 1974 cabin is a bit sparse because the boat has had very few creature comfort upgrades made (porta-potty only, no sink in the head
, no electronics) but this is a plus for me because I get to put in exactly what I want, where and how.
I love the cockpit
and the forward-placed outboard
motor-well. It cleans up the transom, gives easy access to the engine
, keeps the prop in the water, and pushes water back over the rudder
. My 30 has the retractable shoal draft keel
, which is a great feature for me, since I'll be sailing the upper Columbia
and Snake rivers most of the time. I also love that it's a 30 foot boat I can live aboard that is trailerable, so when I move to Seattle
in 3-4 years I can take her with me and she'll be just as happy gunkholing around the Sound and cruising the islands as she is chasing Chinook here north of the dams. It's not speedy, but it's an easy to single
hand 30 footer with great potential as a versatile live-aboard.
I should point out that I'd read only the first few pages of this thread before I went to check her out. I'd researched the boats for 3-4 days before I went to see it and had encountered a lot of negative opinions, but not --it seemed-- from people who actually owned one --especially a larger one. It's true these are obviously not blue water boats, but neither is it true that they aren't good boats for their purpose. If you're looking for an affordable coastal cruiser that you can trailer and live aboard, don't be afraid that this thing is going to crumble like it's made out of Saltines and good intentions.
That said, I only paid $4k for the boat and trailer. Had it been any more, it would not have been worth it. And I mean ANY more. It's worth it for me, because I'm retired and I'll be living aboard
for the next 4-6 years, so I have a lot of expendable cash to shape the boat into more than it currently is. In 4 years I'm going to have the nicest Clipper Marine 30 in the PacNW that I can feel safe on in almost any conditions, but not many people who have real lives and responsibilities and restrictions on how they spend their money
would be able to turn these (beautiful, I think) coastal sailors into regular ocean-going boats, much less deep water, big seas boats. I'm relatively certain that I can get this boat to a point where I'm comfortable taking it up the Inside Passage
and into moderately heavy weather. But this modification (combined with adding the live-aboard and safety
features I want) is going to cost me a lot of boat bucks. Tens of boat bucks. Multiple tens.
If you want a blue water cruiser and don't have multiple tens of boat bucks to spend, then this isn't the boat for you. If you want a blue water cruiser and have multiple tens of boat bucks to spend, then there are better options and you've never even considered these boats. If you want a solid, affordable, well designed, roomy coastal/lake cruiser/weekender then walk up to a CM and decide for yourself. I can't speak for any of them except the one I bought, but it is no death trap of shoddy construction. If, like me, you need an affordable, trailer-able, live-aboard, shoal draft
river cruiser that can transition to a live aboard coastal island hopper, and you have some money
to put into the boat, then you might have found a great boat for you.
I'll post some more pictures for the Clipper Marine enthusiasts on Sunday after I get her home.