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Old 28-03-2011, 20:50   #1
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Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

We are looking for a family cruiser to be used primarily on Long Island Sound and the Elizabeth Islands and Nantucket. We are looking at a Vineyard Vixen 29. From what I can tell there were about 25 of these boat constructed in Martha's Vineyard Shipyard.

I have a draft limitation of 4' 6" and will be sailing with children ranging from 3 to 10. Needs to be easily handled with plenty of space in the cockpit for cruising.

Can anyone tell me about their experience with this boat or recommend other boats to meet our family needs?
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Old 30-03-2011, 19:51   #2
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Searching YachtWorld I see a couple of Keel/centerboard designs that would allow us to purchase more boat that still meets our 4'6" maximum draft requirement. Does anyone have an opinion on the 33' Pearson 33 K/CB or the 32' Endeavor Keel C/B?
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Old 31-03-2011, 06:10   #3
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

I would be looking for a Tartan 34 w/centerboard.

Another option is the Pearson 35 w/centerboard. It has a huge cockpit. The downside is no quarterberth, so the kids would have to sleep on the settees.
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Old 31-03-2011, 17:38   #4
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Thanks for the feedback. Added both to my "wish list" as well as the Morgan 35 and Bristol 35 (both centerboards). Seen mixed reviews on the Morgan but high praise for the Bristol. Given my low budget I am looking at a boat from the 70's so original build quality is big. Any thoughts?
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Old 01-04-2011, 19:08   #5
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

Curmudgeon's P35 suggestion is a good one. Shoal draft, comfy, reasonably well built without being super pricey. The cockpit is huge, but having the wheel forward means you can have a drink handed up from the galley, instead of making someone come all the way aft to bring it to you. It also means the dodger protects the helmsman as well as anyone sitting by the cabin trunk. Getting out to MV will be more enjoyable in a something bigger than 30'. The plural "children" also indicates a situation where bigger is better. They will each need their own space aboard, and will grow quickly to be able to help with operations if you're concerned now about taking on that much boat. We have friends with an old Tartan 34, and others with the newer version. The newer Tartans are nice, but a bit cloroxy. They may be out of your price range. The old T34 is pretty small for the family you describe, though it would be quite capable for the trips you've outlined. The cockpit is small, which is good for rough conditions, but won't you be trying to avoid those most of the time? or good looking The Bristols seem to be a bit nicer. The have a better reputation than the Tartan or Pearson, and are probably priced accordingly, even if their condition doesn't warrant it. Everything is a balancing act. Welcome to the high-wire!
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:11   #6
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

You don't mention your budget, but all the boats mentioned are good choices. Full disclosure -- I have a Tartan 34 on the market. Previously we owned a Bristol 27. The first generation Bristols are very solid CCA designs, but are pretty tight below. If you can afford a second generation Bristol like a 35.5, take a look. They're gorgeous.

We loved our Tartan 34, but it's got pluses and minuses for a family (don't they all!) We sailed ours to Maine and down into the Block Island to Nantucket zone frequently. The four foot draft with the board up is a real plus on the south side of Cape Cod. They're a very pretty S&S design. They sail very well though the sheeting angles don't get you to weather like a newer boat and, as with other IOR designs, they tend to wallow when pointed too deep downwind.

There's decent space below to pack in a crowd of kids if they get along. The bulkhead table is a real plus in that it's out of the way when not in use giving more space below. The ice box has access from the cockpit as well as below. That's a plus with a bunch of kids on a hot summer day. The big cockpit with the wheel forward and the traveler just in front of the wheel is a double-edged sword. Good access to sheets and the companionway. However, guests/children are sitting behind the helmsman and there's a lot of clambering around to move ahead/behind the helmsman. The boat is initially tender so you're heeled going to weather which makes the clambering more of a challenge. The admiral and I managed a very creditable pas de deux and never had issues when it was the two of us. More of a challenge with a crowd.

There are a lot of solid designs in your target size range. Many of the more common ones -- Bristol, Pearson, Tartan -- come with active on line owners' groups to help solve issues. Unless you have very deep pockets, don't discount the value of that support. A fellow Tartan 34 owner gave me a brand new rudder for a case of beer a few years back. Long story, but good people.
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Old 02-04-2011, 07:22   #7
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

You might take a look at a Nonsuch 30 or 33. Lot's of room and a nice roomy cockpit. It's a great coastal cruiser. They have a five foot draft but, there are some built with shoal drafts too that might fit your needs. I've sailed a 1986 Nonsuch 30 on Long Island Sound and the waters up to Boston since 1995 and have never felt the need to look at another boat since I bought it.
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Old 15-09-2011, 19:24   #8
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

I have a Tartan 34 1974. The cockpit is about 9 feet long. That is long to me. The boat was designed to the CCA rule, not the IOR. At least that is what Olin Stephins says.

These old boats are great, but many need so much work. I think that the best boat may just by the best one that you can find.

The Tartan 34 does have a 4 foot board up draft, this has been great for the skinny waters of the Chesapeake and Florida.

I think that everyone loves their boat and thinks it is the best, I am no different. I have had mine since 96 and dont plan on letting her go anytime soon. I looked around at a lot of boats in the same class. I chose the Tartan 34, because of its reputation and price.

Good luck
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Old 16-09-2011, 08:21   #9
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

I may wind up having to pass on the Irwin 25 that I'm considering. Not sure that it's quite the right size for you, but if you're open to it, let me know. From what I could see (and I'm still new to boats, so you shouldn't REALLY rely on my perception), she was in decent shape.
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Old 16-09-2011, 14:54   #10
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Re: Family Cruiser for Long Island Sound and Beyond

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snappykk View Post
Searching YachtWorld I see a couple of Keel/centerboard designs that would allow us to purchase more boat that still meets our 4'6" maximum draft requirement. Does anyone have an opinion on the 33' Pearson 33 K/CB or the 32' Endeavor Keel C/B?
1975 Pearson 33 for sale in NC for 7500.00 nice boat ..large cockpit ..roomy boat new bottom paint ,thru hulls,clean..needs finish on decks ..atomic 4..not my boat ..owner may nego.wants it gone...
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