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Old 03-12-2014, 23:47   #1
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A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

I'm planning to purchase a liveaboard for mainly coastal cruising (often living on the hook) with occasional trans-Atlantic passages (after extensive prep). I was interested in the Contessa 26, but I was worried about it's unimpressive speed. A post in the monohull forum gave me a ton of options, but confirmed that the Contessa probably isn't the right boat for me. I'd like to be able to move fairly quickly between Spring Lake, NJ and New York City or between Miami and Nassau. Is it possible that I should instead be considering a tri? I think most seaworthy cats are too expensive for me right now, but what about a Searunner 31? I'll definitely appreciate the shallow draft, and I've seen some of those in the 15k range. Basically, I'm looking for a boat that is fast, potentially seaworthy, and fairly cheap. Any suggestions?
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Old 04-12-2014, 16:46   #2
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

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Any suggestions?
Buy any boat you can afford. Start sailing. You'll figure out what you want/need when you get some sailing experience.
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Old 04-12-2014, 17:53   #3
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

It's hard to beat a Searunner for the factors you have selected.
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Old 04-12-2014, 18:58   #4
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

Thanks, Roy M. That's the way it seems to me as well. And thanks, Motogon. I completely agree. I realize that this is just my first boat, and that I'll want to purchase another in due time. That said, I want to make the best decision I can, since I'll be living with the boat I choose for at least a year or two.

Based on the great feedback I got in the monohull forum, I've begun to seriously consider the Tartan 30. But I'm still weighing this against the Searunner 31. Any input?

I'm thinking the Searunner will present a greater expense/challenge for a boat slip at marinas and for haul out and bottom paint, etc.? But how much greater I'm not sure The benefit to the Searunner is its greater speed? But how much faster is it really than a Tartan 30?
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Old 05-12-2014, 03:48   #5
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

Jim Brown put thousands of miles on Scrimshaw, his Searunner 31. I was on Scrimshaw one day. It would be ideal for what you propose. As for cost of bottom paint, i would guess a Tarten 30 would use just as much. The 31 is also demountable if you should decide to truck it to the west coast (although taking it apart is a big project not done in an hour).
Good luck on your hunt. I would go with the tri.


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Old 05-12-2014, 07:42   #6
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

Another note, buying and upgrading a Searunner is a far better investment (meaning it improves in market value over time) than a Tartan. So, you have the tradeoff: lots of cheap Tartans (and other similar monohulls), plenty of monohull slips, cheaper sailing gear (because they don't perform as well as multihulls) versus SPEED, FUN, PERFORMANCE, PROVEN CRUISING TRACK RECORD, BETTER RESALE ABILITY. Tough choices.
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Old 05-12-2014, 14:23   #7
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

You might consider an Iroquois Catamaran. One of my neighbors bought one a few months ago for under $5,000. Of course it needs some work but not a lot & it's a pretty neat boat. If it was me, instead of worrying about speed, I'd look for the best quality boat in the best condition that I could afford in the smallest size I could live with.
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Old 06-12-2014, 13:19   #8
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

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Originally Posted by land-locked View Post
I'm planning to purchase a liveaboard for mainly coastal cruising (often living on the hook) with occasional trans-Atlantic passages (after extensive prep). I was interested in the Contessa 26, but I was worried about it's unimpressive speed. A post in the monohull forum gave me a ton of options, but confirmed that the Contessa probably isn't the right boat for me. I'd like to be able to move fairly quickly between Spring Lake, NJ and New York City or between Miami and Nassau. Is it possible that I should instead be considering a tri? I think most seaworthy cats are too expensive for me right now, but what about a Searunner 31? I'll definitely appreciate the shallow draft, and I've seen some of those in the 15k range. Basically, I'm looking for a boat that is fast, potentially seaworthy, and fairly cheap. Any suggestions?
I've had a Sunrunner 31. Good boat down wind, I didn't like the way it pointed. Live aboard? No space unless you're like the couple I bought it from.

I hit 17Kn once, wouldn't fly an ama again that high. A 15hp Honda 4 stroke OB will give a true 7.5kns at 3/4 throttle. That is hull speed under power. It was sailed from the UK on it's own bottom.

I like tris. Had a Piver and wish I had never sold it. It was only 25 ft.
There was a 43 Piver for sail with the same bottom in a 15K range. Needs work but would fit your intentions if sound.

Keep in mind multihulls can be hard to find a hail out facility for or even a berth with their beam.

For what it may or may not be worth.
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Old 09-12-2014, 01:52   #9
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

What you want is a Bristol Pilot Cutter. A gaf rig cutter will give you the speed and on this route, for sure. Good prices out there right now, too. Stick to the wooden boats.
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:34   #10
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

Try a Condor 40. Now that's fast!
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Old 09-12-2014, 04:57   #11
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

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What you want is a Bristol Pilot Cutter. A gaf rig cutter will give you the speed and on this route, for sure. Good prices out there right now, too. Stick to the wooden boats.
You're joking, right?
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Old 09-12-2014, 05:14   #12
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Re: A Cheap, Fast Tri for a Liveaboard

Just to add my 2-cents, from a tri-owner:

1) As a live-aboard you'll spend most of your time on the hook or in marinas. Cabin comfort and interior amenities should take a higher priority than speed underway.

2) sailing speed is overrated. Most of the time you'll have less than optimal conditions-- light wind, no wind, headwind, or too much wind (and need to slow it down for safety and comfort).

3) multihulls are more comfortable on the hook or mooring (less roll) but more expensive in marinas and restricted in most cases to outer (more exposed) docks. Also more expensive to store.

4) Any marina with a crane can haul you out. Keep in mind that a tri should in most cases be lifted and blocked only from the center hull (bring your own slings, rigged so your boat can't roll when lifted). When lifted rig-up they're top-heavy. Blocking of amas is for stability in winds (only) and to handle snow loads - not primary weight support.
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