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Old 03-09-2011, 11:46   #1
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Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

All,

My wife and I have spent the better part of a year researching potential vessels for purchase. We plan to spend most of our time exploring the Chesapeake Bay, perhaps a few trips up and down the coasts, and eventually an offshore vacation or two towards Bermuda (say over a 5 year period). We currently have one small child (< 2 years old) and are considering another. Our primary criteria are safety, comfort, and reliability. There might be some very casual around the buoys racing but I've gotten most of my competitive sailing out on J/22s and Sonars. We love to sail and plan to spend lots of time at anchor and not sitting in a marina slip. We are currently considering vessels between 33'-35' at less than $100k (preferably around $50-$60k). With one or two little ones, we feel that the 33'-35' size ranges is large enough to be comfortable but small enough that one person can handle the vessel when necessary. My wife really wants two enclosed cabins so the kids have their own area. I really like the idea of a modified fin keel and a skeg on the rudder. Since we plan to do some offshore work, solid glass below the waterline seems important and an encapsulated keel is attractive (but not a dealbreaker if bolt-on).

Since this is unlikely to be our only boat as we are young and our kids will grow, resale is important. As such we are leaning towards older, "higher-quality" boats that have the potential to retain their resale value. I have no illusions of a boat as an investment but mitigating monetary risk is important. Also, I understand there is no perfect boat and that everything is a tradeoff.

I've spent many hours pouring over data in spreadsheets, ratios, etc. We've tried to look at as many boats as possible to get an idea of what we like and don't like. Nothing is set in stone, but we are leaning heavily towards the Caliber line of sailboats, specifically the 33/35. Also high on the list are the Tartan 3500, Ericson 34 or 38, and the Pearson 36 (no centerboard). I've looked at non-US made boats like the Hallberg-Rassys but they are simply too hard to find (and the teak decks scare me). As for age, we are looking at early 1990s maybe late 1980s. So with all that said, I thought I would tap into the expertise on this board with a few questions:

1. As for the Calibers, my biggest worry is sailing ability with the somewhat heavy displacement in the light air of the Chesapeake Bay. Also, I like a boat that points reasonably, and I am worried about upwind performance. If things get ugly and I need to get away from a shorline, I want to be able to get their without firing up the engine. Also, we don't want to spend all of our time motoring. From what I've read, it sounds like big genoa's and a asymmetric spinnaker should help mitigate the heavy displacement. Is a Caliber simply not the right boat for the Chesapeake?

2. As for the Tartans, are they core'd below the waterline? I am worried about buying an older boat that isn't solid glass. Should I be worried about this on the Tartan's or other boats?

3. Another concern with the Caliber's is resale. There don't seem to be many of them. I've read that most of them sell outside of Yachtworld and other brokers.

4. Are there other considerations that I should be thinking about that I am missing?

Josh
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Old 03-09-2011, 13:59   #2
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

Basing your purchase decision on the fact that you may in 5 years go offshore for a relatively short trip doesn't sound wise. Why not purchase a boat that will sail well in the light winds of your primary sailing area, that is easy to handle single handed, as that is what will happen often with young kids around. Your fear of cored hulls and desire for an encapsulated keel seems unfounded. A boat that sails really well with good deck gear and layout, can make all the difference between essentially owning a power boat with sails or owning a sailboat. Take a look at a J/34c. You can sail it all around with just the main if you want. Nice roomy down below, motors well, available in shoal draft if you want it for the C Bay. And if you do decide to go offshore, remember there were 2 J/30s that got caught up in the famous Fastnet storm and survived fine - external and core hull and all.
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Old 03-09-2011, 14:35   #3
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

The J30 is a nice boat, the guy down the dock from me has one. Paid, like, 18k. She has a very nice ash interior. Maybe too small for a growing family, but any boat is, really. The Tartan 37s are fast and a little bit bigger. Center board option for the c-bay. Cape dory 36, but she is a tank in light air.
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Old 03-09-2011, 17:02   #4
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Island packet 35...we love ours. Tons of room and storage. Light air is somewhat of a problem but once it gets above 10 kts its not really an issue. Plus we can sail even once the winds really start blowing.
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Old 03-09-2011, 17:36   #5
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

I'm gonna get killed for this post, but we purchased a Nantai 37 in 82 and lived aboard in the Chesapeake for several years with 2 young children. We enjoyed sailing the Chesapeake, Great Lakes and offshore and are about to go again (Bermuda included, as well as Bahamas and on to the South Pacific). You can find them for sale between $25-40K with everything you'd ever want.

Ours has Aussie mast and rigging (Ronstan).

The kids liked it enough to move aboard after graduation and now want to "borrow" it to cruise to places south with their children young children.

You won't be doing any racing (although we did well in the round Kent Island race one year for fun).

This boat is built like a tank! and is really laid out well for cruising with children (2 cabins and 2 heads).

Lots of tankage, good expanse of deck for the kids to move about, large cockpit for evenings in the anchorage. Off shore the main hatch is the highest thing in the cockpit, which is shallow and thus easily drained.

Sure they require upkeep, but teak will grow on you.

I know that many have unkind things to say about Teak Taiwan boats but we have nothing but good experiences with ours. Even the old school Volvo MD-17 still runs great.

Save your money for the goodies that you'll want in the future,,,,
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Old 03-09-2011, 19:48   #6
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

Bristol 35.5. Older Tartan 37. Pearson 35. All centerboarders, all capable of doing what you want do.
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Old 13-10-2011, 18:38   #7
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

Its been a busy few months so apologies in advance for disappearing on this thread. I've take some of the advice to heart and I've adjusted my boat list accordingly. Also, the wife and I have done some additional looking around. I think one and two on the list is the Tartan 3500 and Catalina 36 (MKI or MKII), both probably in the early to mid 1990's. Also on the list are the Tartan 372 and Catalina 34. I do love the Tartans, but part of me agrees with the mantra of getting out on the water as soon as possible, as cheaply as possible. Saving the extra cash for other stuff seems prudent. My budget is somewhere around the $50k-$100k. Any thoughts on these boats would be great, keeping in mind that most of the sailing will be done in the Chesapeake and with a family of 3-4 with small kids. Thanks in advance.
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Old 13-10-2011, 18:49   #8
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

take a look at the Jeanneaus - we have a 2003 ds40 and it has a lot of room and sails like a dream _ and we are novice sailors -- she is a bit heavy but does kick up some dust when she gets going - we have a shoal draft so it worked well in the cheaspeake when we sailed there - the model we have has a kevlar fiber hull -
we bought her new and have over 11,000nm on her and a few squalls we would rather not remember and she handled them like a champ -
the older Jeanneaus are better - say before 2003 or so when beneteau bought jeanneau - as they are real soldly built boats
and you have a good dealer there in annapolis - and no i get nothing out of it expect to say we love our Jeanneau

just our opinion
chuck patty and SV SoulMates
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Old 13-10-2011, 18:55   #9
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You could get campy and do a corsair f27 or 28. Great fun shallow so you will go where others dream of. Cover lots of water and get in early to enjoy the place. Important with young kids. If you are just concentrated on the bay for the next several years I would look at a Tri if you shucked out 50 k you could get one he'll of a sailing machine that would stand up to a lot of big mono hulls on the chessie. Did it so I know.
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Old 28-10-2011, 15:18   #10
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

Engineer Sailor,
You sound a lot like me 20+ years ago. Having just sold my boat, and rifled through my old logs and gear, seeing my daughers old baby life jacket, the life jacket she wore as a child and getting tears in my eyes now that she is off to college - and as a fellow Engineer, I offer this:

Don't over analyze your boat choice. Get something sound and safe with a dependable engine and go out sailing on a regular basis. You will know later what you will need later. A year analyzing is a year lost.

I sailed all around the Chesapeake. Get a chart set of the Bay and mark the 25 places you most want to see. Compare the 6' depth line to the 3' depth line and see how many you have to cross off. My bet is not too many.

Make sailing fun for the kids and your wife. Do not expect them to share your vision. To a kid a collected shell or reading a story in the cockpit can make the trip. To your wife it could be not cooking or a sunset with a glass of wine.

Do more than your share of the work, diapers, cooking, dishes, cleaning, planning, lugging ice and groceries etc... Never yell, always be positive.

Get a dingy that can pull kids in an inner tube.

Start with short cruises, maybe just around the basin, to another marina. Sail on reaches or downwind. Use just the head sail. Make it easy. Take it slow.

In 20+ years you have what you want.
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Old 28-10-2011, 15:29   #11
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

CS33 (with quarter cabin) or a CS36 either the Traditional or preferably the Merlin. Good solid boats all over 20 years old now but still going strong. I may be biased.
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Old 29-10-2011, 12:08   #12
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Re: Yet Another Boat Purchase Advice Thread - Chesapeake Bay

Quote:
Originally Posted by Perigrine View Post
Engineer Sailor,
You sound a lot like me 20+ years ago. Having just sold my boat, and rifled through my old logs and gear, seeing my daughers old baby life jacket, the life jacket she wore as a child and getting tears in my eyes now that she is off to college - and as a fellow Engineer, I offer this:

Don't over analyze your boat choice. Get something sound and safe with a dependable engine and go out sailing on a regular basis. You will know later what you will need later. A year analyzing is a year lost.

I sailed all around the Chesapeake. Get a chart set of the Bay and mark the 25 places you most want to see. Compare the 6' depth line to the 3' depth line and see how many you have to cross off. My bet is not too many.

Make sailing fun for the kids and your wife. Do not expect them to share your vision. To a kid a collected shell or reading a story in the cockpit can make the trip. To your wife it could be not cooking or a sunset with a glass of wine.

Do more than your share of the work, diapers, cooking, dishes, cleaning, planning, lugging ice and groceries etc... Never yell, always be positive.

Get a dingy that can pull kids in an inner tube.

Start with short cruises, maybe just around the basin, to another marina. Sail on reaches or downwind. Use just the head sail. Make it easy. Take it slow.

In 20+ years you have what you want.
So well said.
Welcome to the forum Perigrine.
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