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Old 12-11-2015, 15:37   #1
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Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

Hi there, I've been creeping these forums for awhile in doing my research for my first boat. After months of obsessing on which boat to get (and annoying the hell out of my girlfriend in the process) I believe I have narrowed down my search to two boats. One is an Oceanis 473 the other being an Ocean Star 51.2.

My plan is to take on a two year circumnavigation in about 3 years time. Though I have very little experience with sailboats, I am signed up for all the sailing courses offered by a sailing school in Vancouver (my home base for now) here is the link for anyone curious of what I will be taking.
Vancouver Sailing Club - HOME
I also will be hiring a personal coach once I have my own boat if I feel inadequately skilled for the boat (post sail school) or if I need to become more fine tuned in my techniques.

As it stands, the plan is to buy the boat next year around this time an spend the next two getting accustomed to it, refitting anything I need to, and practicing around the coast of Vancouver and Vancouver island.

I figure a lot of people will say that I should start of with a smaller boat and I have been eyeing up a hunter (ignoring the eye rolls) though I am not exactly keen on this path as I plan to live aboard until it's time to leave on my epic adventure to save money on rent.

I have yet to actually walk either the 473 or 51.2 and have been leaning towards the 473 especially as 51.2s tend to be a little more expensive than I'm looking to spend, which is around 100k for the boat not including refitting. I have found several from the early 2000s on yacht world that fit my aim. My question is should I hit my bank account hard and go for the 51.2 or have more left for refit and go with the 473? I would love to hear reasonings behind people's answers as well. I am also open to ideas of other boats or possible similar yet slightly smaller boats.

Another thing I should include in this rather long post is that though I have many people wanting to come with me on this adventure I feel I shouldn't count on others and would prefer to have it set up for single handing or short crewed. If needed I will find/hire crew.


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Old 13-11-2015, 06:44   #2
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

You may think that your search is narrowed down to these two boats- but you are in the beginning stages of finding a boat and I'm sure it will change. Go find a 473 and 51.2 and get on board them. If you can- sail one. I suggest finding every boat you can in the size range you're comfortable with near you and go take a look. You might be surprised with what you like and don't like.
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Old 14-11-2015, 06:50   #3
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

DDabs offers good advice. There are lots of boats to learn about and evaluate. And to his point you need to get onto as many and hopefully sail them as possible. The boats you mention are production (high run rate) boats and are great coastal cruising boats but as you research you will find not what people who do extended and off shore passage making tend towards. Not that they cannot potentially do it but construction for stress and certain functionality is not as high a priority vs several blue water focused boats (price to size can be an indicator). Pacific Seacraft, Tayana (37), Island Packet, Hallberg Rassy, Cabo Rico etc are a few of several boats that are built for extended passage making. To your point you may get a slightly older boat and refit it (not a bad idea and you will learn a ton). Check out 59 degrees north site and podcast for lots of information and real world interviews with folks that are doing this. Also regarding size, space and single handing, you are in a a size range that is more expense and work. I sold everything and bought a 37' used boat that provided me with space for crew/guests (fore and aft cabins) and was as large as I felt comfortable single handing (sometimes think smaller would be nice). When I looked at a pacific seacraft 40' that really liked but was told the only way to raise the main was with the electric winch...... No thanks. You want simplicity and need to develop contingency for when things are challenging or worse. You can do it and it is a life changing pursuit.
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Old 14-11-2015, 10:41   #4
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

Thank you for the replies. There is a boat show coming to Vancouver in January which I will be attending every day of and talking to as many reps as I can. I agree preferences will change and keeping it simple is a great philosophy. I always try and keep an open mind especially when it comes to wants/needs. There are a lot of reputable blue water boats out there but I'm wary of buying something such as an island packet '35 for 100k that's already 25 years old. Yes the bones may be solid but chances are it'll be dated with so much more to refit than an early 2000s production or semi production boat wouldn't it? I definitely need to go walk them all as pictures on yacht world aren't exactly ideal for making up your mind on such a major purchase. Realistically though with the trip I have in mind the amount of major blue water work will be rather minimal compared to amount of time coastal cruising. That last point though may just show my lack of experience as well though haha


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Old 15-11-2015, 20:49   #5
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

If you are new to sailing the first thing you need to do is learn how to sail. The next thing you need to do is charter a boat with a captain for at least a few days. THEN go shopping for a boat. You are intending to circumnavigate a 47 foot boat solo, have you ever swapped a mainsail out by yourself? Hard enough to do solo on a 35 footer at the dock much less a 47 footer on the ocean. If I was going to live on a boat and sail solo (I am married) I would pick a Pacific Seacraft 37. Just big enough to handle blue water conditions and store provisions yet not too big to handle by myself.
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Old 16-11-2015, 06:12   #6
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

You'd have a PS 37 over your Swan 43?
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Old 16-11-2015, 07:41   #7
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

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You'd have a PS 37 over your Swan 43?
I am married now so there are two of us that will be sailing the boat and living on it. We thought the 37 would be a bit small for the two of us. If I was going to be the only one on the boat I would pick the 37.
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Old 16-11-2015, 08:36   #8
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

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Originally Posted by simplex View Post
Thank you for the replies. There is a boat show coming to Vancouver in January which I will be attending every day of and talking to as many reps as I can. I agree preferences will change and keeping it simple is a great philosophy. I always try and keep an open mind especially when it comes to wants/needs. There are a lot of reputable blue water boats out there but I'm wary of buying something such as an island packet '35 for 100k that's already 25 years old. Yes the bones may be solid but chances are it'll be dated with so much more to refit than an early 2000s production or semi production boat wouldn't it? I definitely need to go walk them all as pictures on yacht world aren't exactly ideal for making up your mind on such a major purchase. Realistically though with the trip I have in mind the amount of major blue water work will be rather minimal compared to amount of time coastal cruising. That last point though may just show my lack of experience as well though haha


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If you're focus is bluewater cruising then the boat shows aren't much help. Great for looking at the latest gadgets but their focus is on selling new boats that will either be raced or reside in a marina.

We've been to many shows and have never stumbled upon any magic blue water advice. There seems to be lots of focus on meeting the needs of the stereotypical 1950s housewife at the boat shows.

You can of course cruise in anything. Buying a boat, learning it and getting it ready for cruising is time consuming. 2 years will fly by.

I'd buy my cruising boat up front. Join a sailing club to build skills. Cheaper to use their boats. Many of the classic blue water books are more informative as regards cruising. Chartering is not great for boat selection IMHO. Most charter layouts are cramped and the boats have little to cruising upgrades.

Plenty of good you tube videos depicting the trials and tribulations of cruising. La Vagabonde, Follow the Boat, sv Delos, Drake Parragon, Guidos sailing channel, etc. Good podcasts like 59 North, Med Sailor, Sailing podcast, etc.

My wife and I bought a 1984 Liberty 458 that was in excellent condition. It was fully equipped for cruising. We are upgrading and enhancing the usual systems like instrumentation, solar controls and replacing the dodger. We just replaced the original teak decks with Dek King. We'll be fitting a Schaeffer boom furler next year. The hardware is all big, rugged Schaeffer.

What attracted us to the Liberty 458 was:

1) The pedigree. These boats have a superb reputation. We weren't reliant on glossy brochures, dealer bs or unsubstantiated opinion.
2) No latent defects. Most boats come off the production line with very complex systems. They are also built to minimize build costs. Few manufacturers would even build a hull as tough as some of the older blue water boats. ( i have 25 years of composite experience)
3) Depreciation is fully baked in.
4) Interior is beautiful solid teak. No laminates and cheap plastic internals.
5) The time and money we spend are all enhancements and normal maintenance. We're don't have to waste time restoring the vessel. This means more sailing time.
6) No finance. We're not suckered by the next magic design. You'll be kept busy enough on maintenance and sailing.

We've been living aboard for 2 years now.



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Old 18-11-2015, 14:29   #9
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

The boats I'm leaning may be too much boat for a single person though I wouldn't mind having volunteer crew or friends/family with me as much as possible to help out. There are plenty of forums/sites for boat owners and crew looking to help each other out. Albeit it may be a headache and detract from cruising time but it can be manageable I feel. Also may turn out that I make lots of new friends and cruising buddies! How expensive is it to update the interior of an older boat for things such as upholstery? I have been finding it difficult to find online sources for this. I absolutely love the la vagabond and sv Delos. I've watched all of their videos. I will definitely be checking out the podcasts now too! I'm also going to be starting a new topic in regards to what kind of tools or supplies that everyone thinks is a must have for being a live aboard or long term cruiser.


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Old 20-11-2015, 06:29   #10
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

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Originally Posted by simplex View Post
The boats I'm leaning may be too much boat for a single person though I wouldn't mind having volunteer crew or friends/family with me as much as possible to help out. There are plenty of forums/sites for boat owners and crew looking to help each other out. Albeit it may be a headache and detract from cruising time but it can be manageable I feel. Also may turn out that I make lots of new friends and cruising buddies! How expensive is it to update the interior of an older boat for things such as upholstery? I have been finding it difficult to find online sources for this. I absolutely love the la vagabond and sv Delos. I've watched all of their videos. I will definitely be checking out the podcasts now too! I'm also going to be starting a new topic in regards to what kind of tools or supplies that everyone thinks is a must have for being a live aboard or long term cruiser.


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There are monetary considerations you will need to take in account. A circumnavigation can take a few years and you do not want to spend the entire trip at repair yards. You need to ensure the systems will survive the trip. One set of cruising sails (main and jib only) for a 47 footer can easily cost $15,000. New electronics can run $15,000, standing rigging a bit more. A new life raft is $5,000.......plan on the boat price being just the down payment on your expedition. Some of the refit expenditures will not change from one boat to another, for example microwave ovens. But most of the stuff increases exponentially in price as the size increases.
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Old 24-11-2015, 15:11   #11
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

After considering what everyone has been saying, especially the part about changing sails while under way single handed I've since rethought possible boat choices. I've been eyeing up a 1984 Fraser 41. It's within my price range with a little left over to give it a little makeover simply for appearance sake such as new furniture etc anyone have experience with these boats?


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Old 24-11-2015, 17:55   #12
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

Don't know anything about them, but pretty handsome, cool boat. Seems to have some good design characteristics. There is one for sale on yachtworld with a hard dodger and it looks great. I would kill for something like that. much cheaper boat than a 473, so more money for you to cruise with. curious though, how would changing the sails on the Fraser be any different than on the 473?
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Old 24-11-2015, 18:43   #13
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

I have yet to do a thorough comparison but I figured smaller boat hopefully smaller sails. Logic may be flawed considering sail area to displacement ratio though lol


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Old 24-11-2015, 18:45   #14
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

Maintenance and associated bigger boat costs are making me rethink going for a 473. As well as the fact I love the look of the Frasers


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Old 24-11-2015, 18:48   #15
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Re: Oceanis 473 or Ocean Star 51.2

One of the things I don't understand is how some of these boats such as the Fraser at 41 ft but from 1984 can be similarly priced as a 473 from 2002.


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