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Old 10-01-2005, 08:45   #1
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the ideal boat....

Ok, I know there is no such thing (except the one you currently lust over and can't afford!). But you all did such a good job with SSullivan recently on his quest for advice on boats to consider I'll throw out my parameters and expect to get flogged into reality by anyone who wants a shot!
1) This boat will be the full time home for a family of four (mom, Dad girl 6 boy 9) for an indefinate period of time.

2) We would love to cruise the canals and riverways from the East coast USA to the Great Lakes as well as those in Europe. Draft less than 6 foot is desirable.

3) would be nice if each kid could have thier own semi private and permanant bunk - no sleeping on the dining room table!

4) The budget is low, low low, but we are very handy and plan to do some repairs and upgrades ourselves. <$100,00US

5) Dont' mind living like Henry Thoreau, but don't like self flaggelation either. Comfort and convience are nice.

Any suggestions?

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Old 10-01-2005, 12:15   #2
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Check out Newporter 40 they have a good bit of room and a lot of bunk type berths or maybe Landfall 39 these are just a few of the boats I have been looking at. They are old but sturdy and right in your price range.


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Old 13-01-2005, 04:08   #3
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Check out the Kelly Person 44/46. Go anywhere center cockpit cruiser. They are older boats but in your price range.
S/Y Sirius
Moody 47
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Old 13-01-2005, 10:33   #4
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I do not think I could recommend specific boats given your criteria but would post a comment for you to think about and others to contribute to.

To me there are more fundimental questions you need to answer before getting into specifics. First and foremost is the question of newer/nicer/smaller vs bigger/older/needsmorework. My decision some time ago was to buy on quality. I also chose a specific size range based on displacement rather than LOA and bounded all choices by rig and PHRF. My thoughts were that performance is a key component in the way *I* sail. If the boat does not sail well, then we are simply going to be a motorboat...might as well get a trawler. And I sail for fun...sailing...even day sailing will be one of my chief activities when I am cruising for good. For comfortable living aboard for two with an occasional couple as guests, displacement of a min of perhaps 14,000-18000lbs was needed ....but in order for the boat to be handled by myself alone or short more than 24,000lbs. In looking, I was really in the 18,000-22,000 lbs range.

So, those parameters gave me a boat that could be sailed well, fast, shorthanded and lived aboard comfortably.

Looking through boats that would become my future retirement boat, I found it was easy to find a lot of crappy, neglected boats with lots of problems. Over the years, having owned several boats, I have an firm understanding of just what a drain on your resources a bad boat is. Many dock neighbors have had many horror stories. I set a limit of 1985 or newer for a number of reasons. First, it is more difficult and more expensive to get my insurance co to insure a boat older than 20 yrs. Wiring on boats older than 1980 should also be looked at as suspect. And the older the boat the more owner mods it generally had....many of these will be inferior and problematic.

Chosing a boat that was well designed, well built and well maintained proved a long search but more than worth it. It forced the choice to a smaller, better built boat but that has worked out to be a great choice. It saved me from spending too much money on basic issues of seaworthiness and focus on upgrades for comfort and safety. It also means that the boat is now offshore ready ahead of sched and I will have a boat that I can spend the next few years enjoying, rather then working on. A boat that will likely remain problem free ...and thus lower total ownership cost...more importantly...less cost out of pocket when cruising.

To make this shorter...finally in short, looking at boat designs from the 70's through the 90's, it was easy to see than many 35-40ft 1980-90 era boats had the accomodations of most 42-48ft 1970's and 60's era boats. My boat has the largest vee berth of any boat I have ever seen, including any boat designed today. Can't hate that.

Other than the above, you would have to decide on your other critical needs based on the cruising areas you intend to go. For my cruising, there was a need for shallow draft and offshore pointing ability. Fortunately, a keel/Cb design works well for me. As for your need.....if you want a private stateroom for each kid (not a bad idea) I am only familiar with a couple boats that will accomodate that: the french charter boats... Bene's and Jeaneau's. Of course Liza Copeland cruised for over 6 yrs with her husband and three kids on a Bene first 38 (which has two aft qtr cabins). I met a wonderful Canadian couple last season in FLA who were also cruising with three kids. Their boat was actually the Copelands first First 38. Those kids were 6, 10 and 13, two boys and a girl. The private aft qtr cabins .....while very small on the bene great for kids. The two older kids who had the aft qtr cabins were happy as clams.

Not a bad life.

Hope this helps

s/v Invcitus
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Old 13-01-2005, 14:37   #5
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I could not have said that better. I would add that you need to figure on 2 1/2 to 5 long tons per person, in other words 6500 to 11,000 lbs of displacement per person. Since you will be cruising with young children, I would suggest staying at the lower end of the range.

While I basically agree with John's advice to go smaller and high quality, I am a big fan of the Kelly- Peterson 44's. (avoid the Formosa built knock-offs) and so like Jon D's advice.

I would suggest that you avoid the Newporter 40's. These were semi- poorly built, 1960's era plywood motorsailors. Bad idea unless your hobby is boat maintenance.


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Old 14-01-2005, 07:08   #6
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Hi Jeff

Happy New Year, hope you are doing well. We still have to get together.

I like the KP44's too....have to find the better built ones you stated. An aft cabin would give the parents more privacy...but then they would be farther away from being able to listen in on the kids to see if that are getting into trouble (I am sure that would have been MY parents thought!)

One thought I do have for the poster is whether or not they would benefit from a private cabin for each kid. I have not cruised with kids (except for being a kid myself) so I really do not know. But then on the Bene 38 the Canadian family was cruising on, the 6yo was thrown up into a pilot berth. Seemed to suffice. That said....I talked with the boy and he was looking forward to the day his 13 yo brother went to boarding school so he could get his cabin .

Actually, I guess any vee berth could be converted to the older "over/under" configuration and thus two rug rats could get thrown in there. You might also be able to create an upper pilot berth or pipe berth in a qtr cabin, so two kids can fit.


Hope this helps

Best to all.


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