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Old 20-03-2010, 08:55   #1
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Solo, Strong, Bluewater Cruiser Choices . . .

I realize this is a discussion played out many times and I've read a few blogs and threads but now I'm looking more for print material (books) on this topic and could use your help finding several books. I've already ordered:

twenty small sailboats to take you anywhere
seaworthy offshore sailboat

by John Vigor who seems to have good reviews.

The boat I'm looking for should be easily single-handed and auto helm capable while I catch a meal or few hours sleep below. It also has to be a strong boat, proven blue water circumnavigation capable. These are the top priorities.

Comfort isn't such an issue with me. I'd like a bunk for two for the occasional female guest but it'll be mostly me sleeping pretty soundly for my 4 hour shift. A place to heat up some beans and a pot for waste. I can live with a sponge bath so a shower isn't needed but a shower hose would be a plus.

Speed is nice but as long as she moving forward that's all that matters. Not interested in breaking records or making dates. I'll get there when I get there.

The S&S 34 is the boat that keeps sticking out in my search so far. I am starting to fall in love with her to be honest and I need more options before I let that get the better of me.

So any reading material you can point out to me would be great. Love to see a book on design specifics concerning what makes a good blue water boat so I know what to look at and what numbers I want to see.

Also interested in any stories of those who have circumnavigated and stories of storms etc.

Finally any boat similar in size and characteristics of the S&S 34 please list it. I'm starting to like Lord Nelsons but I don't want to spend quite that much. The lower the deck is the more I like it.

Price range: 50-75k US. Age: not as important, she just has to be sound.
condition: hull, excellent; rigging, good a lil work needed and replacing is acceptable; cabin: in ok condition, i don't mind refinishing her but i don't want to gut her

Thanks in advance. Sorry for so many words and misspellings.
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Old 20-03-2010, 09:39   #2
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I would also read Greg Nestor's book: "Twenty Affordable Sailboats to Take You Anywhere."
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Old 20-03-2010, 09:50   #3
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I would definitely look at Practical Boat Buying (Practical Sailor). Also, I wouldn't fixate on any particular boat model. Instead, make a list of criteria that are important to you and use it to evaluate what you find on the market. The condition of any one boat is probably more of a factor than the model, unless it's clearly intended for use as a strictly coastal racer/cruiser.
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Old 20-03-2010, 11:26   #4
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books

I enjoyed “Used Boat Notebook” by John Kretschmer.
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Old 20-03-2010, 13:04   #5
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I agree with Ziggy. There are lots of proven smallish bluewater boats to choose from. Your specific design, layout, equipment, etc. wants/needs and the condition of a particular example are much more important than someone else’s idea, or even your idea, of the "best" boat. Obviously, S&S 34s are proven circumnavigators. Jessica Watson is on the home stretch of a circumnav in a 26 yr. old one right now. Her boat was extensively refit and has proven to be extremely strong, but she’s doing a non-stop, unassisted circumnavigation. Presumably that is not your intent - I don’t know why anyone not sponsored or going for a record would want to do it non-stop. Perhaps the most prolific/popular small circumnavigator is the Westsail 32. They are slow, heavy, full keeled, cutter rigs; but in Good Condition, they are pretty much bullet proof.
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Old 20-03-2010, 21:00   #6
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Plenty of choice. Follow your heart and get a SOUND example. Follow your sailing style too - if you have racing background, you might, or not, like the heavy long keel. If you have purely cruising background, avoid light racing boats, unless you are willing to re-learn things.

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Old 20-03-2010, 21:17   #7
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One of the things that I included in my criteria for a solo boat was low freeboard... if I go over the side unexpectedly I need to be able to get back on unassisted.

That is really the lesson you need to keep in mind, you need to be able to do everything by your self.
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Old 21-03-2010, 04:18   #8
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look at Caliber 33's and 35's. The 35's might be out of your price range but the 33'smight be exactly what you are looking for. I have one and it is a great boat - Not lightning fast but not a slug either and very comfortable for one or two people.
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Old 21-03-2010, 06:23   #9
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If you are solo sailing lower freebord is somewhat irrelevant.The boat will be moving & a few inches will not matter,Important if falling over solo is loose clothing so you can bend over & kiss your a** goodbye.marc
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Old 21-03-2010, 07:40   #10
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The problem with the S&S 34 is finding one for sale in North America. You would likely have to go to Australia or Europe to buy one.

And if you want a book on what makes a good blue water boat, read Vigor's "The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat."
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Old 21-03-2010, 13:56   #11
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Not quite so many S&S 34 in EU, maybe England (???) but I have not seen a single one ever since we left Oz.

In Europe I would go for a Rival 34 or a Sadler 34 and the likes (if the S&S 34 is what you like).

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Old 21-03-2010, 14:03   #12
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Originally Posted by marc2012 View Post
If you are solo sailing lower freebord is somewhat irrelevant.The boat will be moving & a few inches will not matter,Important if falling over solo is loose clothing so you can bend over & kiss your a** goodbye.marc
I did not say that I would not be tethered. But even hanging in a harness if the freeboard is too high, THEN you kiss your ass goodbye.
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Old 21-03-2010, 17:21   #13
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Good points here - a s rthe newer designs, even when tall at freeboard, will have the scoop with a climb on access.

But in a any case - I agree - avoid boats with 0 (zero) 'natural' access, if solo. Imagine you just go for a swim and forget to leave a ladder over the side. Have you guys ever tried to climb your boat in sucha situation?

Well, my topsides are only 3' tall ... geting onboard up the anchor rode IS an exercise.

I think tall topsides are only justified:

- in a small boat,
- in a specific boat (some workboats).

In the ocean craft there is little to justify the topsides being any higher than necessary, and in anything longer than 32' (old design) or 42' (new design) there is very little for high topsides.

So, to me, unless a specific reason given - low (NOT 'too low') freeboard for any ocean going sailing thing.

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Old 21-03-2010, 17:30   #14
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If you are going blue water cruising it does not matter where the boat is located, does it? Go to Australia to buy one. My understanding is that cruising boats can move As a plus you'll be starting much closer to where you want to be.
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Old 21-03-2010, 19:19   #15
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daddle - spot on !

I got mine in Swe! Not so far away from my home country (Poland)- yet, a boat is a boat is ... if you can get a right one, go for it - no matter where, just make sure you can afford the airfare and you have some options, should you find you were misled.

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