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Old 04-10-2008, 16:47   #1
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Some Impressions of Boats

I went to the Boston In-Water Boat Show today and looked at a few boats. The show was 85% power, but there were some sailboats there. Obviously I did not sail any of these boats.

1. Beneteau 34 and 37. Disappointing. The 34 has no headroom, and I would never buy a boat with the microwave oven at the nav station-- especially when there is plenty of room to put it elsewhere.

2. Hunter 37. Beautifully organized interior. Great double quarterberth aft. Plenty of headroom. Unfortunately, when I asked the Hunter salespeople what kind of keel she had, none of them knew, and the brochures did not show a single picture of the "boat" part of the boat. I also did not like the location of the traveller up over your head on some arch-like thingie where you could never get at it if it jammed.

4. Island Packet 460. Now this is a nice boat, and it ought to be for 550K. Cutter rig, with a perfectly arranged foredeck, self tending staysail on a boom. Traveller on the cabintop, all lines lead aft. Full keel with a 5' draft. Beautiful cabin with plenty of headroom and two heads. There is also an incredible amount of tankage and stowage; the aft lazarette could easily sleep two if you put in a ladder to get down there.

I had some complaints. (1) the aft head is too big. No need for two separate showers when there is no wet locker. I would use the "shower" portion of the aft head for a washer/dryer and a separate wet locker. All you need back there is a toilet. (2) cockpit a little too big for safety, although I did not check the size of the drains. (3) Boarding the boat from the swim platform, there is no way to get around the wheel without stepping over the cockpit cushions. The wheel is simply too big. (4) You have to pay extra for conventional furling; in-mast furling is standard.

But these are minor complaints. Overall this is a very fine physical layout with excellent fit and finish.

5. Alerion 33. Gorgeous boat. Daysailer with a huge cockpit and tiny cabin-- just big enough for a couple over a weekend. Perfect arrangement of the lines in the cockpit: everything labelled. The jib is self-tending. But is there some reason why these specialized day sailers never have lifelines? There were no handholds either. You could never feel safe on the deck of this boat if for some reason you had to go there.
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Old 04-10-2008, 22:28   #2
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links to info

1. Beneteau 34 and 37
2. Hunter 36, Hunter 38 (no Hunter 37 on the website, other than older designs no longer in production)
4. Island Packet 460
5. Alerion 33

(numbering per original post)
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Old 04-10-2008, 22:47   #3
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I'm pretty sure that the Hunter was the 36, not the 38. Sorry for any confusion.
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Old 05-10-2008, 09:05   #4
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I'm not a big Hunter fan but I do like the overhead traveler. I've never had one jam and it makes sailing and moving about the boat so much easier with the traveler out of the way.

My Prout traveler reached up and tripped me each time I came or went from the cockpit. I moved it up to the arch.

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Old 05-10-2008, 10:02   #5
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I'm not a big Hunter fan but I do like the overhead traveler. I've never had one jam and it makes sailing and moving about the boat so much easier with the traveler out of the way.

My Prout traveler reached up and tripped me each time I came or went from the cockpit. I moved it up to the arch.

George
Interesting. But what if it jams? Can you reach it?
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Old 05-10-2008, 11:08   #6
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Yes, I can reach it but have never had a traveler jam in 40+ years of sailing.

I think the risk is low.

George
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Old 06-10-2008, 06:56   #7
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Well then, if the Hunter sails well in all weathers, all they would have to do to have a really fine 36 ft. boat is to improve the build quality.

The difference in fit and finish between the Island Packet and the Alerion, on one hand, and the Hunter and the Benneteaus, on the other, was quite noticable, and those differences are reflected in the prices.

If I were Hunter, I would take that 36 and offer it as a "gold edition" for a premium price. Use top quality components throughout. Advertise it as hand-built at the factory and have the signatures of the builders on a gold plaque on a bulkhead.

I bet there would be quite a few takers, because the layout is very well done. Having said that, I doubt if the folks at Island Packet or Morris would be terribly frightened.
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Old 06-10-2008, 12:01   #8
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Quality/price/application...

Frankly, the boats you've mentioned are different price points, and are designed for different applications.

The Alerion, much as I love the design and would kill to own one (with a few substantiall changes to layout) is really fine and large version of that bic dinghy of a few years back, the one with the Hoyt boom. It probably shouldn't venture much beyond protected waters.

The shoal Hunter 36 isn't really a huge difference in generic design, it's clearly intended for camping out in coastal waters, has less spent on cuddly push-buttong running rigging, and simply cannot appeal to someone who could consider purchasing the Alerion because it's for a different purpose.

The IP is yet another class of application, heavy go-anywhere-in-comfort, suitable for someone with a heavy pocketbook to go with heavy accoutrements and the ability to consider taking a couple years off for an extended venture.

Every boat shines in some lights; you just need to be honest with yourself regarding what your personal light might be.
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Old 06-10-2008, 15:51   #9
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Well, Amgine, that's the "party line" but I don't buy it. Some boats are better than others and the price is a pretty good indicator.
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Old 06-10-2008, 16:14   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Curmudgeon View Post

2. Hunter 37. Beautifully organized interior. Great double quarterberth aft. Plenty of headroom. Unfortunately, when I asked the Hunter salespeople what kind of keel she had, none of them knew, and the brochures did not show a single picture of the "boat" part of the boat. I also did not like the location of the traveller up over your head on some arch-like thingie where you could never get at it if it jammed.
Without a keel, she probably does need a roll bar.

The Alerion keeps her beauty by not having lifelines and stanchions....possibly causing you to not have a crew. Beautiful boat though.
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