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Old 17-02-2008, 07:04   #1
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Hive Mind: Compare/Contrast these boats

My wife and I are now officially "seriously looking" at boats. Over the past couple of days we have looked at a number of boats and there are 2 we are seriously interested in.

Both of these offer things we really like. This is a classic "smaller, better sailing" vs "larger with lots more room" scenario. We are looking for a boat to liveaboard cruise full time with our 2 kids ages 7 and 11 and we have active grandparents who will visit. We anticipate cruising the eastern US, caribbean and hopefully to the south pacific and New Zealand. Tell me your thoughts as we are finding this a very hard decision:

The first boat is a Stevens 47. The boat is pretty nice, mechanically it is good, the rigging is good and the sails are close to new. The boat is very well setup to sail very well. The interior is in only fair condition and would require some woodwork and varnishing work. This boat also has no generator, old engine driven fridge and freezer that would need replacing, no A/C which is not a giant deal but we would prefer, the electronics are old. The boat would probably need $45K - $55K of upgrades over the next couple of years to be ready to go for us but the price is such that this would be in budget.

The other boat is a Transpac 49. My wife absolutely fell in love with this boat the minute she went below. It offers a good bit more interior room and the interior layout is fantastic. The master cabin is huge with a great layout, the other two cabins offer much more space, it has a separate shower stall and I really like the fact that it has a separate mechanical spaces room with a vise and space to store gear and work on stuff. This boat has a 85hp Ford Lehman engine (the Stevens has a Yanmar turbo 85hp). She also has a westerbeke generator, watermaker and other cruising gear. The Transpac is a 44,000lb boat... the Stevens is 10K less.

The Transpac is ketch rigged with sitka spruce spars. I have huge concerns about this. The standing rigging appears old and I would want replaced, the sails are ancient and would need to be all replaced but the spars themselves seem in excellent condition and are awlgripped. But from what little info I can find, the Transpac 49 was supposed to have come with a double spreader aluminum main mast and aluminum mizzen. So I have big questions about the history of this rig and if she is in fact carrying a full sail plan. Also, all the downsides to wood spars are a worry.

Who knows.... if the price is right... what would it cost to totally re-rig the Transpac?

The Transpac also has teak decks in fair to decent shape and plenty of teak brightwork. I love how it all look.... but do not find varnishing particularly fun.

My biggest concern is sailing. The Transpact seems like she would sail like a pig. But the ketch rig would make sail handling easier (the mainsail on the Stevens is massive... VERY Powerful). Could a Transpac be rigged to improve the sailing ability to make it tolerable? I really do not want to motor everywhere!

Then again, 90% of the time is spent at anchor and the Transpac is in a whole different league when it comes to interior comfort, space and gear.

Thoughts and opinions welcome!!!


Terry
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Old 17-02-2008, 07:15   #2
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Not to be blase but keep looking.

Boat 1 suits you better.
Boat 2 suits the admiral better.

Go with your gut on the teak. Looks pretty but by your admission you don't "love" doing brightwork. Wood is a labor of love.

Keep kicking tires. Have fun with it.

Also organize a matrix of wants and needs (I have posted a sample before) and if teak decks and wood spars are not on the list then don't look at boats with teak decks and wood spars.

At first blush this may seem limiting but there are lot's of frogs out there and you really don't want to kiss them all...
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Old 17-02-2008, 11:30   #3
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Wooden spars are not that bad. In fact they can be stronger than ally.
What is your budget? and when do you want to leave on your cruise?
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Old 17-02-2008, 11:40   #4
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I agree with Dan, sounds like neither of these 2 really “grab you both” so why commit this early into an unhappy love affair.
This is how I did it:
First Round: I wrote a very descriptive essay on what I wanted and sent it to every qualified broker out there.

Second Round: Those that listened and didn’t try to sell me on something I did not want got immediate feedback.

Third Round: I got an amazing short list of boats from great brokers who were willing to send me supplementary info to weed out the unsuitable ones.

Fourth Round: It came down to 2 individual boats being recommended by about 12 brokers and the one who recommended my eventual purchase first….. got the deal! Total time, 5 months .

Just remember, it is quickly becoming a buyers market out there, so don’t listen to the marketing hype and get everybody sharpening their pencils… Good luck!
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Old 17-02-2008, 12:03   #5
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If it was only a choice between those 2, I would avoid the teak decks. Lots of works, too hot in the topics and could be a leak nightmare.

Need to know more.
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Old 17-02-2008, 15:21   #6
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Ok, thanks for the replies. A little more info...

I have been looking at boats for quite some time. While we are in no giant hurry, we also are ready to purchase if we do find the right boat. The right boat has to be just that... and at the right price!

We went and looked at the Transpac a lot closer today. While inspecting the mizzen mast at the deck step where there was a bit of visible rust and rusty runoff from the stainless step I tapped on the mast. Ooooops. Just tapping lightly my finger went right through and one side of the mizzen at the step is rotted out.

We crawled all over and really talked about it but the additional weight, size and complexity plus the obvious need for serious spar attention and rigging help and sails and plenty of other stuff..... It all adds up to just too much stuff. We want a boat that we can use while doing minor upgrades and maintenance over the next couple of years, not a boat that is going to be nothing but a huge project with major work that must be done immediately before it can be used.

It is easy to be seduced by a giant interior of gorgeous teak everywhere but stepping back and considering the reality of living with it day to day.... a more rational need emerges. My wife and I have both agreed that our dream is NOT about the boat. The boat is merely the vehicle to help make it happen. We want the smallest boat that will work (3 sleeping cabins, solid, seakindly, good sailing and safe), a boat that will demand the minimum cosmetic maintenance.

Clearly, fixing some teak veneer and doing a bit of painting and varnishing on the interior is much easier and cheaper to do that tackling a complete re-rig.


Terry
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Old 18-02-2008, 09:56   #7
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<fixing some teak veneer and doing a bit of painting and varnishing on the interior is much easier and cheaper to do that tackling a complete re-rig…>

Yep – and a great, not too laborious, way to begin getting to know a “new” boat… I enjoy the feel varnished wood gives, although not a teak fan especially, but done right it is a thing of beauty as long is it is out of the sun – in the sun (ain’t that half the reason for cruising…) I’m not too fond of… I guess I should be honest, am fond of it on someone else’s boat, but not mine… been there did that – not too bad if you get assistance maintaining it, but the skipper is quickly demoted to maintenance officer third-class if they’re the only one doing the bright-work…

Sounds like y’all are getting your accommodations priorities better defined – seems to me that is a major step in the right direction… I think deciding what the cabin(s) is supposed to provide is the place to start; considering the size of the “crew” you envision, and then the vessel size will take care of itself… as Pelagic and others have noted, this is a buyers’ market at almost any level and in the past years or so there are far more attractive options in the “pre-sailed” market than one might imagine… Shop with yer heart, buy with yer head…
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:52   #8
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Transpac 49

I was a marine surveyor for 20 years and have lived on a Transpac 49 with my wife and 2 young kids for the past 5 years. I have lived eat slept Transpacs for this time but be careful they are not all good some are to be avoided
Take a look at
http://www.yachtrosy.com
or get back to me for any specific questions
regards
Tom
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Old 28-01-2009, 06:58   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tspringer View Post
Ok, thanks for the replies. A little more info...

I have been looking at boats for quite some time. While we are in no giant hurry, we also are ready to purchase if we do find the right boat. The right boat has to be just that... and at the right price!

We went and looked at the Transpac a lot closer today. While inspecting the mizzen mast at the deck step where there was a bit of visible rust and rusty runoff from the stainless step I tapped on the mast. Ooooops. Just tapping lightly my finger went right through and one side of the mizzen at the step is rotted out.

We crawled all over and really talked about it but the additional weight, size and complexity plus the obvious need for serious spar attention and rigging help and sails and plenty of other stuff..... It all adds up to just too much stuff. We want a boat that we can use while doing minor upgrades and maintenance over the next couple of years, not a boat that is going to be nothing but a huge project with major work that must be done immediately before it can be used.

It is easy to be seduced by a giant interior of gorgeous teak everywhere but stepping back and considering the reality of living with it day to day.... a more rational need emerges. My wife and I have both agreed that our dream is NOT about the boat. The boat is merely the vehicle to help make it happen. We want the smallest boat that will work (3 sleeping cabins, solid, seakindly, good sailing and safe), a boat that will demand the minimum cosmetic maintenance.

Clearly, fixing some teak veneer and doing a bit of painting and varnishing on the interior is much easier and cheaper to do that tackling a complete re-rig.


Terry
take a look at
http://www.yachtrosy.com
Even if this is not for you I can give you plenty of help on Transpacs I love them!
regards
Tom
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Old 28-01-2009, 07:37   #10
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More thoughts on finding the right boat

Terry,

A couple of thoughts:

First, when considering how to use the available volume of a cruising yacht, don't let the "huge owners cabin" idea dominate your thinking. A sleeping cabin in a cruising boat is just that -- a place where you spend some 8 hours a day, largely unconscious!! Your waking hours are spent in the cockpit or in the saloon for the most part, and those areas should be your first concern (IMO).

Second, if you don't actively enjoy fussing with external timber maintenance, don't buy a boat with lots of it. It is a huge job to maintain it in Bristol condition, and nothing looks much worse (or reduces resale value more) than deteriorated teak trim or decks. And teak decks as applied to many production glass boats are not very durable, especially in the tropics, and as mentioned above are often the source of leaks and eventually structural damage to the decks themselves. You might be surprised how many long term cruisers we've seen removing their teak decks (a really nasty job)... even on such iconic "quality" marques as Swan.

Third, I sure endorse the idea of providing brokers with a written description of what you are looking for. We used this tool with good results ourselves. Our approach was to give both a good idea of what we wanted AND a list of things that we DIDN'T want. For us, this included no Volvos, no saildrives, no split rigs, no ferrocement, and so on. The brokers that insisted on ignoring this document were removed from our list of folks we would do business with... saved our time and theirs.

And lastly, stick with your guns on sailing ability. In our opinion, a cruising boat should be FUN to sail, even if you really do spend most of your time at anchor (and we all do). For us, decent speed on all points of sail and good light air performance are very important. Even after 23 years of full time cruising, we sometimes still just "go out for a sail", perhaps taking some locals we've met along for a ride. If it ain't fun to sail, one is unlikely to do this sort of thing!

It sounds to me like you have got good instincts, so stick to it... there really are a lot of boats out there to consider, and likely will be more in the near future!

Good luck with it,

Jim and Ann s/v Insatiable II lying Gladstone, Qld, Oz
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Old 28-01-2009, 08:52   #11
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There is a family that is cruising their Stevens 47 currently in Mexico.
The also have three kids a bit younger than yours. It might be interesting to try to get a hold of them for some questions about the Stevens.
s/v Totem
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Old 28-01-2009, 10:43   #12
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This is an old thread, guys. Here's an update by way of another thread:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tspringer View Post
Hey! I too have a Stevens 47 and I am also planning on extensive interior refit projects. PLEASE... post lots of pictures and/or email me!

Keep us updated on progress!


Terry
The quote was posted less than a week ago.

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Old 28-01-2009, 11:09   #13
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OK then...I guess that’s that.
I sure appreciate updates....thanks TaoJones
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