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Old 20-04-2010, 14:58   #16
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Originally Posted by Randoneur View Post
What about cutter vs. sloop?? Does a cutter have the advantage over a sloop??
In theory there may be a performance advantage. In practice cutter rigged boats tend to be heavier, shorter rigged, and slower boats. An exception would be the 80s vintage Hunter 37Cs - shortish mast, but very fast light wind performers (also a good boat to consider for Bahamas/Caribbean cruising). The obvious advantage is more sail plan options, but this also makes for more work. You will not find too many cutter rigged boats in the 32 foot range, and it is doubtful that you would gain any advantage sailing to windward from Florida to the Virgins. Prevailing winds are from the east and the Virgins are a thousand miles southeast of Florida - that's why you island hop - plus it's a lot more fun that way.

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Old 21-04-2010, 05:31   #17
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Originally Posted by Randoneur View Post
Thanks everyone for the responses. Based on the information, 32 ft. would be the minimum, so I think I should be looking at 34 or 36 for the new boat.

Good Sailing everyone!!
As mentioned before, length really isn't the prime measure for "livability". It's volume. Friends of ours sold their Pearson 34 and bought an Island Packet 31, and increased their interior living space and storage by about half.

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Old 21-04-2010, 06:00   #18
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I don't think a cutter has a performance advantage. But a cutter has a more flexible sail plan to cover a wider range of wind conditions. But you have to tack an extra sail unless the staysail is self tending. And a self tending staysail comes with its own set of tradeoffs, e.g. less usable deck space forward of the mast.

Actually I think the most flexible rig is a masthead sloop with an asymetric cruising spinnaker on a roller in front of the Genoa, as on the new Tartan 37. Then add a removable inner forestay for a storm jib and some running backstays, and you are in business.
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Old 21-04-2010, 06:58   #19

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My tartan 27 did an honest 6 knots, and most of the time Pegasus at 45 ft. does 6 knots..

The bigger boat, if heavy, is not faster than the smaller.. regarding wind etc... more important
is choosing a route that minimizes hazards, by choosing the right time of year, for example..

More important, is choosing a boat that lets you go crusing rather than one which is so expensive it keeps you working... Save the money for a club membership, drinks at the bar, meals in the club lounge, and occasional nights in the marina......

At first glance the Westsail 32 seems a much better choice than the Southern Cross 31.. Both are cutters... the 32 is roomier, but it sails like a tank, while the 31 sails like a witch... The 31 will
permit you to tack into anchorages, onto your mooring, upwind when it counts, is well balanced
has sufficient interior room, has a seagoing cockpit, needs a smaller engine, or none at all. and is cheaper to run..

If you are dead set on a 32 try a Vanguard... but the 31 has more interior space, due to shorter ends.

Also, somewhere in this thread a person expounded on CCA boats being unseaworthy due to long ends.. Rubbish!! Dorade, one of the first of this type sailed across the North Atlantic both east and west via the northern route, which is stormy, with no problems.. Further CCA boats were beamy compared to others of that time, since most were keel centerboarders, they had moderate draft, making them practical for east coast US cruising. There were many examples in the 30-35 ft range with 4 ft of draft... any of which cruised and can cruise again..

Not liked today, were the simple interiors of those boats, but they were and are practical interiors.

Forgotten, this was the era of hard dinks, every boat had to have a place to stow one on deck, and most did.

Big problem with many of them was they had balsa cored decks.. I had to strip out the soggy balsa from that of my Tartan 27, and replaced the balsa with polyurethane foamed in place.

Latet I sold that boat for more than I paid for it.

Also, since production runs on these boats ran into the hundreds, you can go to Bacon and get good used sails for many of them at a fraction of the cost of new ones.. However, with SailCut you can sew new ones at home... as I did aboard Pegasus in Wong Keng Tei, Sai Kung, Hong Kong....

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Old 21-04-2010, 07:29   #20
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I was watching PBS last night and saw an interesting documentary about a couple with three children who cruised and lived aboard in the Nova Scotia area. Go to their website at: IceBlink Sail - Homepage. Two aspects of the documentary stuck out to me: the small size of their yacht and the lack of a cruising kitty.

Their first boat was a 25' Cal. On this little old cruiser, they lived maybe not comfortably but happily it seemed. They said, "Only when we to land and live in a house for a little bit and then come back can we see what people talk about. But once you adjust to your surroundings of the small boat, then you do not notice it. It is only when you change from larger accommodations to smaller." In the end, they like having a small boat and would not choose a yacht larger than 36 feet, they say because of the limitations of where you can go. Big boats are limited because of draft and simple size restrictions. With their little Cal, they could truly go anywhere and that made up for the accommodations and slower passagemaking. They did move up to a 33' Steel yacht later.

The other interesting part was their ability to cruise without any preparations. They said, "The most important choice is to just get going. Once you realize that you can find jobs anywhere, then you will not worry about having a kitty to get through on." It certainly worked for them by working odd jobs, but they also seem talented at writing and photography, so I am not sure if everyone could be so clever.

It is a different perspective and is real evidence that you can still cruise in a 25' sailboat with little to no savings.
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Old 21-04-2010, 07:46   #21
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I haven't been in the Bahamas for decades but I spent four years in the Caribbean very recently.

Met a French couple with three small kids on a Pogo 30. They said they had all the room they needed because they had a good dinghy.

Met an American couple on an Albin Vega. They said they couldn't have been more comfortable.

Saw and met a wide variety of single men and women on small, 30 feet and under, sloops who were very comfy. All had sailed a long way to get to the Caribbean. It is upwind from America to Trinidad. Hard sailing in reinforced trade winds. The boat and the crew must be strong.

People are adaptable. Cruising couples look into our boat and wonder if we are sane. We wonder why they want all that stuff. You get the idea.

Two major points of failure:
Standing rigging.

Secondary points of failure:
Leaking deck fittings and port lights.

If you take care of those four things, new or rebuilt carefully, you are good to go... on the vessel you find suitable for your life style.

My personal short list: a really comfy mattress.

So, there are some field observations plus more opinions.

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Old 21-04-2010, 07:50   #22
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Most boats are pretty big in the Caribbean. The bigger boats are necessary if you are alongside or at a mooring in the major yachting centers. (RV Parks for yachts...)

When I saw a small boat, I always dinghied over for a chat and an answer to the questions, "is you boat too small, the right size, etc?" Interesting folk in small boats.
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Old 21-04-2010, 09:06   #23
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Originally Posted by NormanMartin View Post
Interesting folk in small boats.
Interesting folk in big boats too. Medium size boat people suck.

Notes on a Circumnavigation.

Somalia Pirates and our Convoy
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Old 21-04-2010, 11:58   #24
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The best size boats are ones that you can carry, and ones that you can live on.

Being able to stand up in the cabin is a huge plus.
You will hear people say that you don't need standing headroom, because you only eat and sleep inside, both of which are accomplished without standing up.

I have lived on a 22, without full sitting headroom, a 24 with full sitting headroom, and a 26 with full standing headroom. Guess which one is my favorite?

Full standing headroom, that is the size boat that you want if you are going to be cooking or putting on pants inside.
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Old 22-04-2010, 12:43   #25

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Which boat...

If you to to NZ you can find many good 3 skin Kauri boats from the 70s that are
ready to go and for sale. Kauri does not rot... these boats are cold moulded..
Most have fin keels and spade rudders... all are weatherly... average price is
NZD $ 30,000... about USD$ 16,000...

If you don't want to go that far... look at a CCA boat from that the same
size class ....
If you want a us boat that is ready to go... look at the SC 31 again... at $ 24,000
it is a bargain....

I just checked Colvin Gazelles... they are going for twice that...

Yes, boats in the Caribbean tend to be large... forgotten is why... most of them went there to charter... not to cruise... most of them never leave port...

Your point regarding the small boat, small budget, small children who go... reminds me of Seraffyn and the Pardeys... who went on a shoe string budget .. no engine
no pressure water... no roller furling... but they went in their twenties.. are you going in your twenties??? Thirties/?? Fourties?? Fifties??? Sixties???? ever???

To make it while working odd jobs... the boat must be cheap to run....



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