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Old 04-03-2014, 08:25   #1
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Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

I am looking to upgrade from my Cape Dory 25 to something 30-34 ft, to get standing headroom, an enclosed head, and a real galley. I live aboard and sail Cape Cod and the islands in the summer/fall season, and am tired of camping I found a Contest 33 (listed on yachtworld - New London, CT) that I am really interested in, but haven't been able to find much information on the boats, at least not in English! Are there any Contest 33 owners out there who can speak to their experiences sailing and maintaining the boat? Particularly engine work, finding parts, etc. I am not very experienced when it comes to boats, but definitely prefer to do work myself and learn as I go. Also, are there any problem areas to pay special attention to when I go to check her out?

Alternatives I'm considering are the C&C 32, 33, 34, or Ericson 32. I love my Cape Dory and would consider one of the larger models, but they all have fold-down tables in the main cabin that partially or entirely block access to the head and v-berth.. trying to avoid that.

Any thoughts appreciated.
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Old 04-03-2014, 08:35   #2
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Type Contest 33 into the search feature. There was a thread a year or so ago that might help you. I was looking at a Contest 30, and could not find much information on the early ones. I think Contest changes designers in the mid or early 70s (at least for the 30) so the year of the boat could make a big difference. Good Luck. _____Grant.
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Old 02-04-2014, 20:53   #3
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Have a look at my thread I just started back at it. I have been doing a lot to my boat in the mean time. Don't let all the work put you off. Conyplex contest 33's are very well made dependable boats that can go world wide if you wanted to or up the coast on vacation as well. Mine was owned by a old man that wouldn't maintain it properly so I have a huge work in progress. She's on the hard now and getting much needed repairs the right way and she will be all the better for it.
Also there is some very good info and I have actually talked via email to one of the designers in the Netherlands so if you do need a little help he may have the answer you need.
Conyplex Corporation Contest 33
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Old 02-04-2014, 20:57   #4
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

I saw that boat in CT online. I just can't take the blue. But the aft chain plate port side seems to be common, I replaced all of mine. Also the contest came with a volvo MB2D Diesel engine. Mine was locked up and pulling it tonight I saw the engine water inlet is directly below the engine at the back. Make sure it doesnt leak and has a clamp. my rutter needs work now make sure it's not loose and flutters.
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Old 06-04-2014, 08:42   #5
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Thanks for the heads up - I did read through the older posts awhile back but hadn't been back. Very helpful thread!

I am undecided on the blue based on the photos, sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. I am planning a trip to go see it and a Niagara 31 in Essex CT (also on yachtworld) next weekend. Those two along with a Sea Sprite 34 are topping the list. Any experience or comparisons to be made between the three? The sea sprite is local and I like her lines the best, but she has a survey indicating areas of high moisture.. not sure how to weigh that.
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Old 06-04-2014, 09:10   #6
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

The Contest 33 - information for cruising sailors
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Old 06-04-2014, 18:51   #7
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by muirgen74 View Post
Thanks for the heads up - I did read through the older posts awhile back but hadn't been back. Very helpful thread!

I am undecided on the blue based on the photos, sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. I am planning a trip to go see it and a Niagara 31 in Essex CT (also on yachtworld) next weekend. Those two along with a Sea Sprite 34 are topping the list. Any experience or comparisons to be made between the three? The sea sprite is local and I like her lines the best, but she has a survey indicating areas of high moisture.. not sure how to weigh that.
Mine needed a lot of work and still does. It'd on the hard but if you go to
www.flickr.com/photos/penneys__auto/
I have uploaded pics there and you can see for yourself but you have probably done that already. I just had to fare in the place whee the encapsulated keel meets the fiberglass hull. It's not structural but in the thread on my boat #115 it is spoken about and Dick Zaals own explanation is there to look at. It put me at ease about having to replace my keel bolts. One lees thing to do before I leave.
Definitely get a survey it is well worth the money Saved!

Company Profile | GRP Contest keels | Dick Zaal Yacht Design
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Old 06-04-2014, 21:05   #8
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

I don't have any first-hand experience with a Contest 33 but I have owned our Contest 48 for almost 18 years and I can tell you that our boat is built like a brick outhouse. Even going hard to weather she doesn't creak or groan. She handles well and can almost steer herself (we often take our hands of the wheel - with the autopilot disengaged - and see how long she'll hold a course. The record is almost 15 minutes). The attention to detail in her construction is remarkable and many of the craftsmen who have worked on her say that things were done on our boat that aren't even done on the really high-end production boats.

The other aspect of owning a boat designed by Dick Zaal is that he's been very responsive to any questions I've needed to ask. For example, I wanted to have boat shirts made and asked him if he had a digital line art drawing of the boat. Of course, our boat was designed and built in the pre-computer days but he went ahead and had one of the blueprints digitized for me.

There are few countries that have been building boats as long as the Dutch.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 18-04-2014, 07:06   #9
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Quote:
Originally Posted by muirgen74 View Post
Thanks for the heads up - I did read through the older posts awhile back but hadn't been back. Very helpful thread!

I am undecided on the blue based on the photos, sometimes I like it sometimes I don't. I am planning a trip to go see it and a Niagara 31 in Essex CT (also on yachtworld) next weekend. Those two along with a Sea Sprite 34 are topping the list. Any experience or comparisons to be made between the three? The sea sprite is local and I like her lines the best, but she has a survey indicating areas of high moisture.. not sure how to weigh that.
I AM PLANNING TO GO SEE THAT VERY BOAT IN NEW LONDON. DID YOU GO SEE HER? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU THINK? I HAVE READ SOME MIXED REVIEWS ON THE CONTEST 33. SOME SAY SHE IS FAST, WILDLY SEAWORTHY AND FIT FOR HEAVY WEATHER IN BLUE WATER, WHILE OTHERS SAY SHE'S SLUGGISH AND SHE'LL ROUND UP WITHOUT WARNING. HAVING NEVER SAILED ONE AND BEING THAT THEY ARE SOMEWHAT RARE IN THE NORTHEAST, I AM AT A LOSS. NICE LINES AND GOOD WOOD BELOW. I TOO HAVE MIXED FEELING ABOUT THE TURQUOISE. SOMETIMES YEAH! SOMETIMES YIKES!
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Old 16-06-2014, 15:29   #10
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Hi all,
Sorry I missed the last few replies, did not get any email notifications for them

D.C.Y. - I did not go see the Contest 33 in New London - did you?? It is still for sale last I looked. I thought she looked like a great boat overall, but am partial to more traditional lines myself.

After lots of looking, researching, and thinking, I have narrowed it down to the Sea Sprite 34 previously mentioned and a Cape Dory 33. Just need to pull the trigger on one of them....
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Old 16-06-2014, 17:27   #11
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

I did go see her. Really cool boat. Felt like they were asking way too much. And the deck had a few too many de lamination issues for me to even get too interested. But I could see how one in real good conditions could turn my head. Esp below. But between the deck and the old engine, I was gonna offer something like 2k but realized I had the same problem: I am attracted to classic lines. So we drive on up to Martha's Vineyard and saw an allied seabreeze 35' and a Pearson Alberg 35'. Though I liked them both we ended up with the Alberg. Better engine, more headroom (I'm 6'4") and no centerboard. That sea sprite sounds like a real contender! Go for it! Will we see you on the sound this year?
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Old 19-06-2014, 05:50   #12
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Re: Contest 33 capabilities and problem areas

Congratulations! I like the Seabreezes and Albergs too, and have read a lot of good things about them although I have not been aboard either.

I decided to go after the sea sprite. Hope to be cruising the sound soon! At least, cruising in something bigger
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