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Old 11-03-2009, 15:32   #1
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Opinions sought on some cruising yachts - trying to decide and buy!

Hi There - Im trying to decide on a cruising yacht to buy - my requitements are as follows -

must be able to singlehand
suitable to live aboard
able to withstand heavy seas
performs like a sailboat..i.e. could be raced too maybe - safety is the first priority but agility and fun to sail is second for sure
budget.....could go to 80k for something restored and 110% ready.

id welcome your comments on any of the below - ive listed them in order of what i think id like - budgets are an inescapable constraint sadly -

hinckley 38
anything S&S
Morgan 40 by North America
Catalina 38
Pearson 39
CAL/Jensen 39
CAL 40
Islander 36 - 40

Id appreciate any opinions on these or other boats - i can see a few good looking Pearson 39's, Cal 39's and Morgan NA 40's for sale.

all comments appreciated - thanks
eric


shortlist includes -
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Old 11-03-2009, 17:52   #2
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Eric

Not being much of an expert on any of the boats you ask about I can only offer general suggestions many of which you may already be aware of.Also not having any idea of your past experience plus my being a newbie to the forum, you may already know much of this..if so please pardon.

You and I are both facing the how much boat for $$ budget constraints because Im searching for my next boat after living ashore for a little over 2 years.


I cant comment much on the common production boats around... I know that there are some excellent ones and some not so good. What I can do is give you a few observations based on my experience.

You dont describe much where you plan to cruise. Its pretty important for a number of reasons. If you plan high latitude cruising with the sea conditions and temperature extremes that are entailed, it requires a lot different boat than you would use say primarily in the tropics. Draft is another consideration closely coupled with the above. My Pacific boat, a PJ 54 cutter that was drawn by Gary Mull drew 9'. She sailed like a dingy, had a b/d ratio of close to 40% but didnt have the most comfortable motion in a seaway. The draft kept me out of a LOT of places. She won most races I was in and I did some 200+ mile days in her noon to noon without a problem. I loved her dearly but I could not end up getting into a lot of places I wanted to go. She couldnt be beat passagemaking though.

Do you plan to live aboard full time? Its another consideration. In spite of what I ve wished over the years I find that I spend most of the time living aboard either on the hook or in a marina. A boat that seems comfortable in this type of situation may not be especially good underway on long passages.And, vice versa. Small interior features can make a huge difference between a decent crusier and something that is better left alone.

To me,boat choices end up being as personal as choosing a mate. Someone who loves the ocean and wants to go can make something work that might send others ashore pretty quick. Along with this, something well designed can make a lot of difference between getting to the end of a short easy passage worn out and disgusted, and a longer, more difficult passage rested and relaxed.

As far as the production boats you talk about I ve seen some beautiful absolutely top notch Hinckleys but I think you are going to pay for the name as much as you will for the quality. On a budget that can be trying.

I am in agreement with you about S&S. They did some beautiful designs particularly back in the late 60 s and early- mid 70s and still do today. I tried to buy one of their designs, one of the Charisma sisters in aluminum but found out about her too late and someone else bought her. Some of their boats are breathtaking beauties, sail like witches and are good sea boats. That combination incidentally can be hard to find.

Some of the Morgans are excellent as well. I ve seen a lot of them in various far flung places, they seem to hold together well and the people that have done crossings with them swear by them. I think though its important which Morgan, who actually did the lines and who built her.

The others, although I ve sailed a few of them in years past, I dont have enough experience to comment on and Im sure that there are many others here a lot more knowledgeable than am I.

One thing I will say, with fiberglass or GRP is to be EXTREMELY careful and get the absolute best surveyor you can find to really rip whatever your choice is apart particularly if you plan to take the boat offsoundings for extended periods.I can not stress this enough and I think most others here will agree. Passage making with the continued, sometimes for weeks, cyclical stress loads on a rig and hull and keel will uncover flaws that might never be apparent in occasional weekend cruising and around the buoys racing..... Sometimes, depending on where, with disastrous results. Refer back to my comment earlier i.e. choices are very personal. There are a lot more GRP boats making safe, fast passages than probably anything else...only be aware that in a wooden, aluminum or steel vessel many times (but not all ) bad construction or design flaws will be more apparent. Shoddy workmanship, sub standard materials and insufficient wet out of the laminates, to name a few.... can be more easily convered or hidden by the outer laminates in a glass/GRP/composite boat . The knowledge of the surveyor you hire and the reputation of the builder are paramount with GRP in my opinion.

Finally and I will shut up (old people ramble LOL) buy the smallest, best quality, best outfitted boat that will work for you and your cruising plans. Maintenance, harbor and light dues, slip rent and so on go up exponentially with size. Ditto haulouts. Ditto refits. Ditto re rigging one ( and if you keep one and sail her offshore regularly this will be depending on the boat between a 5 and 10 year task any way you cut it). You will be more prone between passages if alone to take her for an afternoon sail (after all thats what its about) if she is say 35 ' lod rather than say 45' lod. The smaller vessel wont strain your budget, you will be more prone to blast free for extended periods rather than shorebound working to pay for maintenance and cost of ownership in the larger vessel. Again this is the reason I stress best quality and best outfitted for the $. I ve seen lots of people who bought more boat for a lower price and then had their dreams dashed by the cost both in terms of time and expense, of a major refit. Every yard it seems has one of these broken dreams or two lying around somewhere in the back, that someone gave up on.....

Good luck. Choose wisely and Go sailing !!!

Sunshine and trades over the quarter
Carr
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:00   #3
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Hey Carr - thanks so much fo rsharing your thoughts - i appreciate them and will heed your cautions - i agree getting the smallest boat that will do the job, and that is in ready to go conditon is the goal - as for destinations - i will be south pacific / caribbean bound - unlikely tobe going far north latitudes - the catalina 38 is starting to look good - she is a production boat but with plenty of displacement and performance and comfort - also good resale -

the morgan 40 also looks great the CAL 40 and 39 both get great raps as tough, durable, seaworthy boats with kind motion and conforts.

ill clearly keep searching - again thanks a lot for taking the time to share your thoughs Carr.

any luck in your search?
ec
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:31   #4
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Picking a boat comes down to a lot of good reasons and a lot of compromise. The more good reasons you have the better. Making the money work might be only one of them and sale price isn't even most of the cost when you do that. When looking at used boats as the age increases the brand name significance tends to decrease. Old boats are never what they used to be. Well cared for and well maintained tend to show better results over the long run. Intended purposes also create a better short list than brand names. In a 40 ft neighborhood the prices wander all over. The ones on the low end of the price scale rarely measure up unless you add a lot more money after you buy them so don't always cost less. Many of the ones that fit the criteria you outline would fit there. Sight unseen I would suggest none are suitable.

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buy the smallest, best quality, best outfitted boat that will work for you and your cruising plans.
My advice as well. It might be the only short answer that means anything. The biggest small boat that works will cost the least and be the most reliable. Cruising is more about hauling lots of stuff around the ocean than anything else. If down to a short list always negotiate for the better boat to save money.

Your list of criteria is far too general to be useful selecting a boat. All but one has any meaning that can be measured. Your price range is the only measurable criteria and appears to result in the list of boats you have found. If you can't afford a newer high quality 40 ft boat then you need to adjust the agenda so the boat you can afford will work. Smaller boats would yield more alternatives and some of those might be better if you can enumerate the purposes you seek to put them to. Cruising encompasses a lot of possibilities and precluding some does not eliminate most.
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:36   #5
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ec

Sounds good. I like you will be primarily tropical. The farthest North I plan to be is possibly Northern Europe or somewhere in the UK for a while... I would like to winter over there and spend time in some of the cultures then see the Med on the way back across the trades..... with the rest of the time where I can manage to surf in the wintertime without freezing. I plan to go back to the Pacific and hopefully if I dont run out of money time and health, the Western Pacific. No real end time or destination just to go and wander before I have to use an airline ticket to do it.

I know many of the Cal's and the Morgans are supposed to be good boats....

Earlier on another post here I found this page and have looked at the various boats. Not having owned a production boat before I found both the boats presented (and specifically some that were absent) fascinating.

Mahina Expedition - Offshore Cruising Instruction

It has been and will continue to be a valuable reference for me.....and if you have not seen it, it might be of interest to you as well. .

As far as my search goes, having primarily cruised metal, I think Im going to stay with it. My preference is aluminum, having owned 2 aluminum boats. Steel is a distant second and I wouldnt consider wood at this point due to the maintenance required in the tropics. So far, there are a couple of Beeldsnijder designs I like in the mid 40' range in Europe but they well may end up being out of my budget. Additionally there is one more on this side in Ft Lauterdale but that again may be more than I comfortably want to spend. Id love one of the Trinellas but they are very costly..... they are beautiful though. There are a number of steel boats around, some good and some not so. I ve looked as far afield as New Zealand and Australia.

Now seems to be a good time to buy from what I ve heard from various brokers and from what Ive seen. I just returned from 6 weeks in the US (I live in Veracruz Mexico), primarily a driving trip spent walking docks to see what was available and talking to brokers and other sailors. St Petersburg, which back when I lived there in the 70 s used to be a cruisers' haven. I didnt see nearly the number of boats being prepped, or run into nearly the number of transients that I expected to. I also didnt find the variety of boats there and in that area that I expected to either. I ended up going pretty much from St Pete around the FL coast through Al, Miss, La and Tx. on my way back home. What did strike me was the number of fiberglass boats for sale and the huge number of empty slips in marinas...... the Fl east coast is for the next trip.

I hope I am wrong but the oceans may be with whats happening in the world economy, a lot emptier than they were 10 years ago.

In any case let me know how you come out and what you choose. Hopefully in the next few weeks I ll have a little bit better idea of what I want to budget and may well be off to Europe for a while to look at boats there. I hope.

Carr

Im editing this because I just saw Paul's post and he makes IMO some great points that I missed. Paul I also agree and its great input... about hauling LOTS of stuff around the worlds oceans and it is that..... by the time gear and spares are aboard plus everything else, one many times must look for the boot stripe.

Later
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Old 11-03-2009, 21:58   #6
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I would forget the Catalina, Cals and Islander. You can get a whole lot more boat for your buck without those. A good quality boat which makes a good cruiser and a fun racer would be a Tartan 37 fixed or swing keel. Probably $50K- $60K.
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Old 12-03-2009, 10:38   #7
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The Catalina 38 is vastly different than other Catalinas and I disagree with Celestial about that point. Tartan 37 is a good boat. Suggest you look at CS36T's as well given what seems to be your design preference.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:12   #8
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The Catalina 38 is vastly different than other Catalinas and I disagree with Celestial about that point. Tartan 37 is a good boat. Suggest you look at CS36T's as well given what seems to be your design preference.
If we are talking about the S&S designed IOR rated Catalina 38, I stand by my statement. Quality is ok on them but versatility on all points of sail are limited compared to other designs. A CS36 is another good choice.
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:32   #9
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aweseom thanks a lot you guys - im going keep looking and talking - i just quit my job after 7 years and am heading home to oz live - would love to sail there - and hence the search.

anyone hear much about the Morgan 40 built by North American?

i do love the tartans. quality is somehow pretty visible eh?
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:53   #10
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Apparently There are 2 distinctive Morgan 40's If you are talking about the full keeled Offshore 40 "classic", I've been told you almost have to turn on the engine to tack. It also comes with a later modified fin keel version which is reported to sail much better.
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Old 12-03-2009, 12:52   #11
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thats funny - hey may i ask - what dont you like about the s&s catalina 38 - they look to have solid displacement and performance remarks appear good - is it the constuction you feel is a weakness?
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Old 12-03-2009, 15:27   #12
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Aloha Eric,
There are well made boats in each of the builders you've mentioned. I would say the Catalina 30 is a much better boat than most other Catalinas but I'm not familiar with the 38. I do like the smaller Catalinas compared to their production boat counterparts. A Pearson Tritan or Vanguard are much better than many of the other later and larger Pearsons but there are some owners here who might want to chime in. The Cal 40 is a proven racer cruiser but some of the other Cals just won't perform. The year of build is also extremely important. Some earlier productions were extremely well made and their later counterparts just don't have the same quality.
The really big consideration is how well the boat has been cared for by previous owners.
S&S designed many great boats but that doesn't mean the builder built them very well. A good builder of an S&S design is a good combination.
I always recommend a 32 to 36 foot LOD hull so I'm not familiar enough to comment on some of the boats you've mentioned.
Good luck in your search. Going aboard a boat with a critical eye is very important. Take a surveyor with you and check how well everything is put together. If you can get a diagram of how the hull to deck join is produced then really look at it critically. Several boats have a problem there and Islander seems to have a few models that need to be recaulked due to leaks.
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Old 12-03-2009, 19:07   #13
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Hi Eric,

I've been watching the market to see if my next boat is out there. My sense is that you're not going to find many 38' to 40' boats that are 110% ready to do offshore cruising for 80k. I suspect that vessels of that size in that price range will be over 25 years old, and will require some considerable additional investment.

It would be very helpful to know your cruising grounds. Draft and rig height might be critical to your goals. Tankage is important. Cruising budget? Are you planning on being self contained? Wind, Solar, Generator, high output alternators? Or will you spend time ashore at a dock?

I would double your budget.. plus...or begin to think smaller or plan on an older boat that you will have to invest time and money in.

The ability to race and withstand heavy seas...38' to 40' 110 % ready to cruise for 80 grand.....is a tall order imo. Something has to give.
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Old 12-03-2009, 19:33   #14
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thanks for that - how do you like your sabre 34 - she looks great.

and looks like youve done some cruising too - my style will be trying for fast passages and travelling light - i wont be hanging out foryears living aboard - sadly im not at that stage yet - for now ill want to do fastish runs, and offshore races, often singlehanded - ill want to be able to be out for 3 weeks if i have to (crossing the pacific) but wont be looking for the super glamorous accommodations - ill likely leave the boat at some marina, fly out and go work, then fly back and sail onto the next location.

im starting to think 36 ft and no more than 38, and down to 33 ft. starting to think of about 14k displacement - not sure - just know i want to be safe and warm out there and not regretting corners i cut trying to save money.

doubling of budget is out of queston!!

that damned compromise...seems to be a part of everything!
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Old 12-03-2009, 21:50   #15
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Hi Eric...Sounds like you are performance orientated. It's a fine balance of strength vs speed. Certainly Tempest's Saber is an excellent boat as is the CS36 and Tartan 34 and 37. Here is a Tartan I saw in Yachts for sell. Nicely finished and no slug.
1987 Tartan MkII Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com=
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