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Old 04-04-2009, 18:09   #1
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Hinterhoeller 354 Nonsuch

Hinterhoeller 354 Nonsuch

Need some opinions on this wishbone boom sailboat. This is a 33ft boat and was wondering how it performs in deep water for cruising. Also how about quality of construction and and potential problems.

Is it basically a glorified cat boat?
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Old 04-04-2009, 20:03   #2
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Is it basically a glorified cat boat?
It's not glorified at all - it is a cat boat. They are considered very well built and have a cavernous interior. Hinterhoeller enjoys a good reputation amoung builders. They have one huge sail on a very large boom and on a reach can perform quite well with a heavy load. They don't point that well and handling the large sail takes a lot of skill in heavy weather.
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Old 04-04-2009, 20:29   #3
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The mast is unstayed so less windage and the sail gathers into the wishbone when it is doused.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:22   #4
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I've had a few chances to see them under sail. There's one in my marina, and we cruised parallel with another one summer. There's a myth about pointing with catboats; they point better than most sloops because they only have one sail (a sloop can only point as high as its main, which is in wind bent by the jib.) However, without the jib to accelerate the wind they will not sail *as fast* upwind as the sloop.

My experience with catboats suggests having just the right amount of sail up is necessary to avoid weather helm. If they are sailed flat, everyone is happy, but too much heel turns the tiller into a chore.

The Nonsuch seem to be easy to manage; tacking is simply putting the helm down, without the jib/staysail scramble. The crew of both the boats I know are more elderly than the cruising average, even given that they're coastal cruisers.
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Old 05-04-2009, 13:48   #5
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There's a myth about pointing with catboats; they point better than most sloops because they only have one sail (a sloop can only point as high as its main, which is in wind bent by the jib.)
With the Nonsuch it's not a myth. Friends that owned one said that it didn't point that well. They sailed Lake Michigan with it. That said not all sloops point that well either. They don't jibe well either so it's not uncommon to tack it all the time instead of doing a jibe. It is a lot of boom to manage. I met a cat boat skipper with a wood 42 ft cat boat. She never tacks it. The boom weighs 550 lbs.

The Nonsuch is a popular boat though more so in the northeast. You can haul a lot of gear and they are a roomy boat below. Even with it's short comings it's not like other boats don't have short comings of their own.
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Old 05-04-2009, 19:45   #6
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Heh... I always seem to like the sloops that don't point well. Yes, I've heard the Nonsuch doesn't point particularly well; never heard they were hard to gybe though. What I don't understand is how the reef outhaul works, and that's after looking it over a bit. The wishbone boom is still a mystery in practice for me, though I understand it in theory.

My catboat had a boom just a smidge longer than her waterline, solid douglas fir. The gaff wasn't much shorter. There are some important benefits to hefty spars, but low effort isn't one of them.
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Old 05-04-2009, 20:56   #7
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never heard they were hard to gybe though
It's not that it is hard just that that much boom flying across isn't much harder than slowing down a freight train. Iris never gybes mostly because she does charters with it and has clients aboard. Mostly all day trips. That much boom flying around can be bad for business. You can explain it all but people just assume you are being overly cautious.
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Old 11-05-2009, 20:16   #8
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Originally Posted by fullafrisky View Post
Hinterhoeller 354 Nonsuch

Need some opinions on this wishbone boom sailboat. This is a 33ft boat and was wondering how it performs in deep water for cruising. Also how about quality of construction and and potential problems.

Is it basically a glorified cat boat?
Do you have any idea how long the main sheet is on a 33' wishbone catboat? The Nonsuch has come close to decapitating crew when she accidentally jibes. That 150' of main sheet can be a real weapon.

Good luck!
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Old 13-06-2009, 08:11   #9
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Smile Another "opinion" about Nonsuch

I was spurred to write because a fair amount of the well meant "information" above is not accurate.

The underbody of a Nonsuch is modern and efficient (as planned), thus there is no "old style" catboat "barn door rudder" weather helm. A Nonsuch will sail upwind in a breeze, untended, with the wheel brake on. The man who conceived the whole design, commisioned her, and had the first boat, NONSUCH, built . . . had won the '68 SORC - overall, the '69 Canada's Cup, raced a Soling and a Laser weeknights, and literally won everything on Lake Ontario with a semi-custom C&C One-Tonner in '75 & '76. Click on and have a look at . . . creator of NONSUCH . . . Gordon Fisher R.I.P. Photo Gallery by Nonsuch Photo Galleries at pbase.com . If he hadn't been cursed with inheriting an international newspaper chain, he knew and was smart enough that he could have been a world class naval architect. He had a mjor hand in every boat he sailed and NONSUCH more than most of his boats. He also loved to cruise extensively with his boats.

The Nonsuch will EASILY point with any "comparable vintage" cruising yacht and more than hold her own with most as to boat speed. I've run down and passed a Hinckley 46 yawl that was several miles ahead with a Nonsuch 33 while broad reaching in 15 kts of wind sailing from Pt. Judith (south of Newport RI) over to Watch Hill RI and that entrance to Long Island Sound. We were just cruising home after a couple of weeks away.

Like a Laser (also a catboat) a Nonsuch is an easy boat to sail and a hard boat to sail well. That said, very few 30-36 foot "cruising" boats have ever won Antigua Race Week - overall, Marblehead to Halifax - overall, Marion to Bermuda - class, and a bunch of other similar events filled with well sailed racing as well as cruising/racing boats.

A Nonsuch is heavy, in part because Hinterhoeller built VERY strong boats, AND because they have lots of beautiful furniture below. As built, a Nonsuch 30 weighs a fair bit more than any model of C&C 35 !

The boat is the easiest boat I know to gybe even in fairly heavy air (20 kts+). Just like tacking . . . never touch a string, just turn the wheel, and ZERO risk to boat and crew. However, just like a marconi rigged boat, a Nonsuch is dangerous in 8 kts . . . if you do NOT know what you are doing. The boom and foot of the sail are WELL above the heads of even tall crew (I'm 6'2") who are standing anywhere on the cockpit sole and that's more than one can say for many sloop, yawl and ketch keelboats I've sailed and raced since 1960.

As to 'opinions' from owners . . . I've known people who have boated quite a bit for over 20 years who were not very good sailors or seamen and I've known some who are impressive seamen and sailors after only a couple of years. Ownership and time sailed are not criteria that make anyone an authority about any kind of boat, let alone one they own. Knowledge and ability are far more important. I know people who've owned a Nonsuch for over twenty years whom I can literally sail circles around while heading in the same direction but I know they are good and competent seamen . . . just not the best "sailors". As long as they are happy and having fun that's all that counts with me.

I've sailed and raced all the Nonsuch models except the 22, 260, 324, and the 40 and quite a variety of the ones that I have sailed.

Bottom line . . . these are awesome coastal cruisers for anyone. They were not intended nor designed as blue water "far" offshore cruisers. In spite of the latter, there's a well sailed 33 that's done seven or more Marion to Bermuda Races and has some very nice trophies for the effort.

My post is not intended in any way to criticize the comments of others but rather to offer another perspective.

Cheers,

Arthur Langley - racing & sailing Nonsuches since 1987 and currenty own these Nonsuches . . .
BEAR AWAY VI 30C 14 - South Baymouth ON, Lake Huron
BROADWAY 30U 426 - Toronto ON, Lake Ontario
BEAR AWAY V 30C 54 - Brunswick ME, Gulf of Maine
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Old 15-06-2009, 12:28   #10
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I am a fan of Nonsuch's. They are well-built and a 33 foot Nonsuch may be nearly as roomy below as a 38 to 40 foot sloop. Once the sail is up, they are wonderful for entertaining or taking nonsailors sailing as they can basically be sailed by one person as there are no headsails to tack.

Among the cons, they simply do not point as high as a performance sloop. From what I undertand, that is not a myth. Also, the sail is large enough that it will be harder to get up and handle. They are probably more expensive than similar-size sloops but also may retain their value better.
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Old 17-06-2009, 06:21   #11
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I am always amused when people want to compare the pointing ability of a 30 year old "cruising" catboat to that of "performance" sloops. How many 2009 "cruising" sloops . . . let alone sloops designed 30 years ago . . . can point efficiently with any performance sloop? I've raced Etchells, Dragons, Solings, 6Ms, 8Ms, 12Ms, J35s, J105s, J44s, Farr 40s, and variety of much bigger "go (darn) fast" custom offshore machines that can point very efficiently.

NONE of the foregoing, except the J44, would I want to cruise in and I cannot afford to buy or to own a J44. A Nonsuch 33 or 354 has very close to the same, but not as much, useable space below as the J44 in a lot less boat AND sails very well and much more easily.

The sail of a 22, 26, or 30 is easy to hand pull to within 3' to 4' of the masthead and the rest is very easily winched up. How many mainsails or headsails on a 35' sloop are easier than that? The 33 or 354 certainly IS a somewhat, but not much, heavier. That said, how many headsails and mains are EASIER to hoist on a 38' to 40' sloop?

More and more Nonsuch owners . . . many who often single hand these giant, crusing Lasers . . . have added a winchbit and a cordless 28V right angle driver Winch Bit Photo Gallery by Nonsuch Photo Galleries at pbase.com

This combo will readily hoist a 250 lb. man to the masthead of a 33 / 354 and the sail extremely easily, with just a pull on the driver trigger. BONUS . . . these make ALL the winches electric winches on the boat, any friend's boat, or any boat one charters . . . all for US $400.

And once easily up, handling the sail is a total cinch. Does not even require a winch handle to trim-in sailing up wind . . . head up to slight luff, pull in the sheet, bear away to course.

The TRUTH is a Nonsuch can outpoint most sloops (very useful for "squeezing off" a boat to weather!) but is not EFFICIENT sailing like this for very long. VMG, where one wants to go, is what counts with any sailing.

Cheers !
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Old 17-06-2009, 11:55   #12
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I am always amused when people want to compare the pointing ability of a 30 year old "cruising" catboat to that of "performance" sloops. How many 2009 "cruising" sloops . . . let alone sloops designed 30 years ago . . . can point efficiently with any performance sloop? I've raced Etchells, Dragons, Solings, 6Ms, 8Ms, 12Ms, J35s, J105s, J44s, Farr 40s, and variety of much bigger "go (darn) fast" custom offshore machines that can point very efficiently.

NONE of the foregoing, except the J44, would I want to cruise in and I cannot afford to buy or to own a J44. A Nonsuch 33 or 354 has very close to the same, but not as much, useable space below as the J44 in a lot less boat AND sails very well and much more easily.

The sail of a 22, 26, or 30 is easy to hand pull to within 3' to 4' of the masthead and the rest is very easily winched up. How many mainsails or headsails on a 35' sloop are easier than that? The 33 or 354 certainly IS a somewhat, but not much, heavier. That said, how many headsails and mains are EASIER to hoist on a 38' to 40' sloop?

More and more Nonsuch owners . . . many who often single hand these giant, crusing Lasers . . . have added a winchbit and a cordless 28V right angle driver Winch Bit Photo Gallery by Nonsuch Photo Galleries at pbase.com

This combo will readily hoist a 250 lb. man to the masthead of a 33 / 354 and the sail extremely easily, with just a pull on the driver trigger. BONUS . . . these make ALL the winches electric winches on the boat, any friend's boat, or any boat one charters . . . all for US $400.

And once easily up, handling the sail is a total cinch. Does not even require a winch handle to trim-in sailing up wind . . . head up to slight luff, pull in the sheet, bear away to course.

The TRUTH is a Nonsuch can outpoint most sloops (very useful for "squeezing off" a boat to weather!) but is not EFFICIENT sailing like this for very long. VMG, where one wants to go, is what counts with any sailing.

Cheers !
Sounds like we have found a boat without flaws or compromises!
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Old 19-06-2009, 22:49   #13
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They are great boats and quite fast but they do not point as well as my CS 30. Mind you, a great many boats do not point as well as my CS 30.

I think that they are ideal for coastal cruising. I am only aware of 2 boats have been used for serious "bluewater" passgemaking. Both of those boats reported chafe issues with the sail rubbing against the boom constantly.

At a bare minimum I would be tempted to have the sail reinforced in that area with a sacrificial panel on each side and I'd make a point of replacing those panels frequently. I think there are better bluewater boats out there, but you'd be hard pressed to find a more comfortable coastal craft.
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Old 30-09-2009, 10:26   #14
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I own a 1981 Nonsuch 30. My previous boat a Seidelmann 30T would not point as high as my Nonsuch. I believe that my Nonsuch points about 5 degrees higher than the Seidelmann eved did. That said, I've won more races with ny Nonsuch than I did with my Seidelmann. On a reach notheing can touch a Nonsuch on a reach. Downwind you don't waste time hauling out the wisker pole either.
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Old 06-12-2009, 13:51   #15
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I lived on a 1991 Nonsuch 36 for four years back in the mid-90's and loved every minute of it. It was extremely easy to sail (I read a review once that said it was so easy to sail it was almost "boring." The reviewer joked that it seemed to have been designed so the gentleman sailor wouldn't spill his drink while at the helm). I thought it was plenty exciting and very fast. We routinely got into the high 8 to low 9 knot range and once hit 10.

The interior was beautifully appointed, huge, and comfortable. No shortage of storage space and a it had a very comfortable owners cabin with a pullman berth. The cockpit was a dream, both under sail and at the dock. If I remember right, there were only two winches total, halyard and mainsheet, and on ours they were both electric. So, kick back, and if the wind shifts, reach over and press the button with your big toe. We jibed without hesitation and rarely tacked around instead of jibing (I can remember doing that only once in very stormy conditions). After all, the main was probably about the same size as would be found on a 45' sloop and the wishbone boom is so high there is no chance it will hit you. The cockpit seats were wide, the backs were tall and there was no clutter. Looking back at it from the dinghy, it was a handsome boat with a little bit of "cute" thrown in.

Our Nonsuch 36's was named Magic Dragon. One time, while out sailing, we passed a Nonsuch 30 named Puff. They're fun, wonderful boats.
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