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Old 01-02-2015, 10:17   #1
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Crusing on a J 44

Our family of four is planning on the big escape soon, and have been looking at a J44 near us. We have some sailing experience, not much, and no racing experience. We plan on a Pacific loop of two years, staring from the PNW. We have two dogs, a small one and a 60 pounder.

Things we like about it:
Fast, less motoring. We really are trying to focus on less fuel and motoring.
Good upwind boat.
Great layout for the four of us.
Nice and bright interior, comfortable.
Great galley.
Sloop rig, easy to sail.
Shallow companion way for the dogs (and us).

Things we don't like:
8 foot draft. This is the single thing that seems like a deal breaker.
Inline rig, requiring running back stays in heavy weather. No sure if this matters, but is seems like a pain.
Sloop rig, less sail options?
Bolt on keel, prefer the safety of encapsulated, but maybe that is just irrational fear.
Flat bottom, possible pounding vs a finer entry. Again, is this a 1% of the time thing that we shouldn't worry about?
Not configured for cruising, so we would have to add solar, bigger house batteries, H2O maker, bimini, davits (or similar).
Asking price plus the add one would get expensive for us.

H2O tanks are 100gal, and there seems to be sufficient storage, though not great. We want to sail as much as possible, including to windward.

What are your opinions on this boat for us?
Does anyone have experience cruising a J or similar?

Thanks.


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Old 01-02-2015, 10:24   #2
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Had friends who cruised a J44 all but 800 miles of RTW. They had to abandon the boat in the Atlantic when the rudder broke. The stock rudder was very unbalanced and burned out autopiots, so they put a modified rudder on in Australia.

Other than that they were performance oriented sailors and very happy with the boat....

We took an 8 ft draft boat RTW, and loved the performance offshore. The only shallow bits on a RTP route are the east coast of Australia, and we worked the tides there.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:34   #3
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

In Dec 2000 we sailed from San Diego to Cabo San Lucas with a couple on what I remember was a J-42 or maybe a J-44. They were very experienced long distance sailors and had done a lot of miles as a couple on that boat. I was most impressed with their boat speed. We were on a Tartan-42 which was a pretty fast SORC boat but each day the J-boat would disappear over the horizon and then wait for us at the next anchorage.

We ran into them again many months later in Barra de Navidad or somewhere near there. They were headed south to Panama and then east from there.

During the months we didn't see them - they had replaced the rudder post and bearings because of severe leaking and rudder post movement.

They told us that several other J-boats they knew had had the same problem. They were not concerned for the future because the rudder bearing problem was well understood and the repair/replacement they did was a permanent solution.

I would imagine that any J-44 you find for sale now, 14-years later, would have had the rudder weakness exposed and repaired.
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Old 01-02-2015, 10:43   #4
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

I think the J44 will do the job but do have the rudder carefully inspected. The 8 ft draft would not even enter my mind in the Pacific. We cruised in both the south and north Pacific with a 7 ft draft and it just wasn't an issue.
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:13   #5
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

You guys are going the wrong way. You are supposed to tell me "no, no, that won't do at all! Here is a boat already cruise ready that would work much better!"

What areas of the world, in general, would we have to be careful around with the 8' draft? Bahamas, Chesapeake, etc?

Any issues with the inline rig and running backstays while cruising? Would it make sense to have a rigger put in permanent lower shrouds offset fore and/or aft?

Thanks for the replies so far!
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Old 01-02-2015, 11:18   #6
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

The draft is not a good thing but as mentioned is doable. Is the 44 cored hull? be sure to have it well inspected , as well as keel bolts etc.
Yes, there are much better boats for rounding the world, but that's a big debate!
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Old 01-02-2015, 16:09   #7
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

OK, let's get this boat ready for cruising, spending my money.

Here is the boat: http://www.yachtworld.com/core/listi...ywo=swiftsure&

It looks like it may have had rudder work done (new bearings), but let's assume it hasn't. The dollars I am putting after these items below are a total guess, I really have no idea.

Needs
Rudder work: $5k
Epirb and other safety gear: $2k
Bimini: $4k

Wants
Solar and more batteries, 700w, 600ah: $6k
Stainless arch for solar, dingy davits: $7k
12v water maker: $5k
12v refer/freezer compressor: $2k

That's $31k, round up to $40k. I would do all the work myself. Then reality would hit and some of it I would hire out.

What else am I missing or being delusional about?

I have read the boat is cored. However it is built by TPI who has a good reputation. With a good survey I'm not worried.


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Old 01-02-2015, 17:01   #8
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Total guess. Wishful thinking? Have you seen the boat with your own eyes or are you going by the listing and pictures? 24 yr. old boat but if it looks as good as the pictures it could be a good boat. But it may need a total refit if that hasn't been done.
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Old 01-02-2015, 17:12   #9
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

We looked at it yesterday. Looked great, no odors, etc. But what do I know? The only boat I have significant experience with is a little 20' day sailor.


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Old 01-02-2015, 17:36   #10
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

The boat looks good on the net. Its lightly equipped for an offshore cruising yacht. The asking is right up there so no deal at that price. How long has it been on there market. The layout is great for offshore,proper sea berths,good galley layout etc. I would have no problem cruising in this design. Get your anchoring gear set up right. You will be lucky to get a dime on the dollar with your add ones that you listed. He lists a SSB tuner but no SSB?? He's got the typical **** load of sails from the racing days that are worth next to nothing and try not to pay anything for them if you should buy it. Another boat you might want to consider is the Perry designed Nordic 44.
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Old 01-02-2015, 17:59   #11
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Whoops, forgot about the anchor. No windlass, no primary anchor/rode. $5-10k to put in a windlass and reinforce the bow to support anchoring. There is a nice and deep anchor locker.

The broker mentioned no SSB.

I really like the idea of a fast boat with a great layout but it is getting hard to justify converting this to a cruiser.


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Old 01-02-2015, 18:22   #12
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

I would go read this blog. Shearwater | sailing + frugality, conservation and adventure It is a J120. They are friends of mine and they have sailed from the East Coast to Spain, and back to Texas... they shipped it across country to Cali and sailed it to Hawaii. They love it.
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Old 01-02-2015, 18:30   #13
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

One other thought. If you go with a light boat for cruising then you will have to keep it light. Something that may be difficult to do with 2 kids and 2 dogs.
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Old 01-02-2015, 19:18   #14
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Triple spreader mast?! That must be quite a chore to tune the rig.
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Old 01-02-2015, 19:30   #15
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

I would suggest a more forgiving boat. Perhaps one that's equipped and has done this and that. Kinda like the good old mare you can put non riders on?


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