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Old 21-01-2006, 00:22   #1
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Looking for a Cruising Sailboat!

Hello everyone!

I have been considerig the option to purchase a sailboat. Myself, and my family (my lovely wife and my three precious kids) collectively decided to go cruising for 4 years. I really like the Columbia 45. The part that I get confused is that some people call the Columbia 45 a motorsailor and others a sailboat. I want a sailboat that points well, with a good motor to do some motoring as well. I guess I want both. Any sugestion in terms of my confusion? Is a Columbia 45 a good sailboat as well as a motorsailor? In addition of the C45, I have also been looking at; Schock Santana 39', Cal 39', and the C &C sloop 39'. Any suggestion on what be a good afforable sailboat for cruising? Your advice is highly appreciated. Thank you!
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Old 21-01-2006, 04:16   #2
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Location: Currently based near Jacksonville FL; WHOOSH's homeport is St. Pete, FL USA
Boat: WHOOSH, Pearson 424 Ketch
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The Columbia 45 was built to a price, without the intention of serving as an offshore cruising boat, and at a time when Columbia's construction methods were basic but hardly impressive. Moreover, C45's are now ancient - as a design and as a boat - so you will need to plan in a huge amount of refurb and upgrading unless the previous owner has just finished such a project. I'd also note the C45 has a huge amount of windage for its length and displacement, which always brings handling and performance compromises with it. It srikes me as a poor choice...

Now, having said that, I recall a multi-month series in Latitude 38 a few years ago which reported on a bachelor owner of the small sister, a C35 wherein he did a 9-year circumnavigation, had no major problems with the boat, bought it for a song and so had a 'cheap ride', and picked up female crew easily the whole way 'round. The point of the L38 articles was to suggest that the choice of this 'cheap, poorly designed' boat was less important than able seamanship and not being in a hurry, sked-wise...and didn't impede on the fun of the adventure. To what extent this would be your experience (with a C45) is your call...but my own conclusion is that the C35 fellow's experience is no guarantee.

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Old 21-01-2006, 17:31   #3
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I will be a little more blunt than Jack, the Columbia's built after 1970 should be condemned by the Coast Guard. They were built worse than cheaply plus the fact that they are UGLY. Rumor has it that Bill Tripp, the designer, didn't have an accident but killed himself over the embarassment of having his name associated with those boats.

Specifically, they have large unsupported expanses of flimsy fiberglass. These large panels flex/oil can at sea and eventually fracture. The bulkheads and other supporting members inside were either not glassed to the hull or only lightly tabbed and will break loose under only moderate abuse. The huge windage of the ugly topsides makes them sail like maniacs at anchor threatening all the other boats near them. The keel supports are simply glassed in sheets of plywood to which the keel is bolted. Adequate for light use if water does not intrude and rot the plywood. If that happens, it's bye bye keel.

The sailing qualities are okay though I question there directional stability and ultimate controllability. I owned the smallest one of the lot and it was absolutely unsafe with winds over 20 knots as the rudder would stall out and the boat uncontrollably round up. Don't know if that carried over to the bigger boats but the designs are essentially the same. There were three hulls, the 34, 39, and 43 that were produced in various configurations and numbered sizes under either the Columbia or Coronado name. They'd just slap a different deck and interior plan on whatever boat they were manufacturing.

I'd seriously look elsewhere than Columbia for a cruising boat for other than near harbor coastal sailing. They really aren't designed for more than calm water day sails.

There are Columbias that have made some long passages. Anybody can get lucky. Hell, think someone even crossed the Atlantic in a Bathtub. The problems come when the boat begins to fall apart in the middle of nowhere., btdt. It is not an experience that I'd knowingly go through again.

There are a number of boats out there that will fit your needsl. Assume you want a midcockpit boat in the mid 40' size. There is a Westsail 42 in Honolulu now in the $60's. It's rough but the basics are there and with a lot of elbow grease and some money, would make a good boat for a family. There is also a Cal 46 in Kona that's been on the market forever, a rediculous offer might take it. Other boats to look at are Ted Brewer designs, the Kelly/Peterson 46 and a host of others. Be cautious of boats I call TT's (Taiwan Turkeys). There were a bunch of these Garden design ripoffs made by CT and other yards that are poor sailors and poorly constructed boats. The hulls are sound, but unless they've been totally rebuilt, they are a nightmare. One I sailed on was built with no caulking in in the deck and cabin. Leaked like a sieve and eventually rotted out, the rigging and engine preceded the deck in it's demise.

Peter O.
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