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Old 03-01-2010, 04:23   #1
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Location: Egg Harbor Twp, New Jersey
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To Upgrade or Not...and if So, to What?

Hello all,

I have a little dilemma in which I currently own a Catalina 27 that I have sailed for two seasons but am thinking of trading for something a little stronger. I live in South Jersey near Atlantic City where other than heading into the ocean; there is not much protected water to sail in. In addition, I would like to install a Monitor Wind Vane to assist me during my many single handed trips up and down the NJ coast.
I have been looking at the PS Orion 27 which looked great but down below was really cramped due to the booth seating layout. Then I started looking at the Shannon 28 which has everything I could ever dream of but has slightly less motion comfort than the Orion. I like these boats because they are in the 27-29 ft range. They fit in my slip, can be single-handed and most importantly are not over whelming when trying to squeeze in a tight marina by myself. Any suggestions regarding the Shannon 28?


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Old 03-01-2010, 07:12   #2
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A 28 footer really doesn't need a windvane - which would probably be bigger and more expensive than the boat itself. A full keel heavy displacement sailboat of that size will - if done correctly - sail itself quite nicely if the sails are trimmed well. I have single friends in such boats who only loop a leg over the tiller and then lays back and cat naps to his next destination. These boats only want to go one-way - straight ahead.
- - Setting up a windvane is a form of art work and messing with it once set, a pain. So it is used for long distance ocean cruises where it earns it keep quite nicely. With a full keel heavy little cruiser a Simrad tiller pilot draws very little electricity and can substitute for looping your leg over the tiller, if that is too much trouble.
- - Also with a stable little sailboat you can rig lines from the end of the boom through sheaves to the tiller and make your own mini-windvane type system.

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Old 03-01-2010, 07:57   #3
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interesting dilemma.

Frankly, I think your vessel is capable of managing the NJ coastline in the right weather. You definitely don't need a windvane on any vessel to do that. A good autopilot is just fine.

If you move to a " Stronger" vessel in the same size range, you're likely to spend more money, for less space on an older vessel...( narrower beam)

I think, I know where you are coming from though. My first boat was a bristol 29.9 that I felt very comfortable in doing the Jersey Coast in most conditions. But I had friends who would head out in Catalina 25's for coastal sails..on the NJ coast..
Pick your weather, and you'd be fine.

Other vessels that might interest you in that size range...are.. Pearsons, Sabres, Island packets, Cape Dorys...

Here's a Bristol 29.9 laying in Annapolis.

View Boat Photos -

But again, you don't need a windvane....

AC to Cape May is a day trip...AC to Manasquan is the same....and with care you could duck into little egg....and take the inside route....Manasquan to Sandy Hook, or the Highlands is also a day sail.....Watching the weather closely, you should be fine in the boat you have...if you want something a little more " solid" there's alot out there. But, I'd look at a lot of boats and get a good survey, to make sure your not doing major refits.
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Old 03-01-2010, 20:15   #4
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Thank you much for your informative replies. In no way did I want to convey that my Catalina 27 is incapable of navigating the waters off the Jersey Shore. The boat has performed well in heavy winds in the Delaware Bay and wild swells in the Egg Harbor inlet. The main reason I would be looking for another boat in similar size is because I purchased a Catalina 27 that was not in very good condition. Two years of sailing has made this even more so. Nothing more expensive than a cheap boat! I have replaced the alternator, fuel pump, fresh water pump, heat exchanger only to have the alternator bracket snap last season. The boat needs a new roller furler, traveler, thru-hulls, set of sails and is sorely missing a bimini and a dodger.
None of these repairs or upgrades are a big deal, but I would rather sell the boat to someone at a price that reflects these necessities and who is willing to make these repairs and upgrades to their liking. Since I would be in the market for another boat that does not need these repairs and has already has these upgrades, why not get something a bit “stronger “. I am not interested in speed and would much rather have a less tender boat.
As for the windvane, I wholeheartedly agree that I do not “need” one. I want one though! I was in Greece last summer, on the Ionian, when an Austrian couple offered to take me for a day trip on their Carter 33. The boat had an older Aries model which performed phenomenally in the heavy afternoon winds. We went down below, made lunch, kicked back…all this while the Aries kept us on a tight course through the tiny islands off the coast of Cefalonia. I got a kick out of the whole mechanical/using the wind system.
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Old 05-01-2010, 11:11   #5
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Mike - I've owned a Shannon 28 for 18+ years, cruised single-handed to Bahamas and back, lived aboard for 3 years......would be more than happy to answer any specific questions you might have on capabilities, quirks, alternatives (I started out by looking at Orions and IP 31's), etc if you PM me. I occasionally thought of putting a Monitor windvane on her but the autopilot handled everything I ever through at her without the extra weight on the transom (although there was one time in 8-10' quartering seas and 25-30 kts that a windvane would have been most welcome!). She happens to be for sale (see Yachtworld posting in Md; I now have a Shannon 37, which ought to tell you what I think of the boats and company), so you are of course welcome to come to Md to look, but feel free to write even if not in the market.
Bob & Chel
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Old 27-04-2010, 11:02   #6
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small light self steering vane

Here is an interesting wind vane
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Old 27-04-2010, 13:21   #7
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An autopilot eats electrons. For day or longer trips, the autopilot will have to be fed. That will mean running the engine for a number of hours unless you install solar panels/wind generator and even then, you may have to run the engine when the sun don't shine or the wind doesn't blow.

A lot of windvanes are quite light and some, like the Cape Horn, really unobtrusive as well as being light. Depending on the boat, you can run the Windvane with the cheapest of tiller pilots with very low current draw for those times when the windvane doesn't steer. I've owned two boats with windvanes and they steered the boat if it would sail. Freed me up to do the important things like sail trim and opening a beer. BTW, I've never sailed on a boat that could be made to self steer anywhere but hard on the wind.

There are a ton of older boats out there that would make solid offshore boats. The Bristols have already been mentioned, but there are also the older Pearsons, Allieds, Morgans, Cape Dory, etc. that are a bunch more stable and comfortable to sail than the 'modern' boats.

Peter O.
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Old 27-04-2010, 13:31   #8
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I'm quite suprprised that the Shannon has less motion comfort than the Orion. Did you sail both in similar conditions. If not, how did you ascertain this?
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Old 02-05-2010, 05:03   #9
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And I got one

Originally Posted by bristol29 View Post
Here is an interesting wind vane
And I got one for sale, I have owned two Catalina 27's and one Ranger 29 (similar in weight and performance) I would say it is very doable with a Catalina 27. Watch your weather, make the basic modifications for offshore work, and go for it.

If interested in the windvane please let me know. Due to the light weight it would be great for a Catalina, I would not put a Monitor or Aries on the back, just way to much weight, and just not needed.



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