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Old 05-01-2013, 16:45   #1
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Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Hey All,

I am looking to pickup a smaller pocket cruiser with the intention of fitting it out for complete off-the-grid liveaboard style cruising. Ideally I am looking to spec out the boat to be very green with the ability to stay offshore for long stretches at time without having to come back to land.

A little about myself: I am a 26 year old now back in my home state of Connecticut. I've been sailing since I was ten. My grandfather had a 30' Cape Dory Ketch that I really wish I had shown more interest in a few years ago when he sold it.

I did the Jr. Sailing thing through middle school/early high school racing Laser Radials (full rigs too but not as much or as well) and later Club 420's and FJ's on the high school varsity team. When I turned 16 I became a junior instructor at one of the local schools and I stayed on board with them throughout high school and when I was home for summer break from college. I eventually became Sr. Instructor, Jr. Program Manager and later Operations Manager/Asst. General Manager. It was mainly a junior's summer program but we also did adult education on both beach boats, Ideal's and on our small little floatilla of J-24's. The J's were a blast (after I left the school downsized and sold them off) and I helped get a junior J thing going which was a lot of fun. Aside from the Cape Dory and the few J boats my keelboat experience is limited to crewing on weeknight races but I have been fortunate enough to get a little tiller time on some older 12 meters.

Immediately following graduation I found myself as a first mate on a 70' oyster catcher turned booze cruiser and got my hands dirty keeping that old wooden boat looking good. In 2009 I took and passed the USCG Master's course but due to my inability to give up smoking ganja never finished all the paperwork or passed the drug test (I see this as total discrimination to the responsible tokers bc the alchi's have no problem getting everything in order)

I will admit I've fallen off from sailing since graduating from CU-Boulder in '08 and splitting my time between winter snowboard season and my exploits in kiteboarding (got into it in 04/05 and my participation in dinghy sailing has sharply declined since).

Since spending a few years as both a kite bum in Brazil and a snowboard bum in the high country of Colorado I've recently setup a budding snow/skate/kite boardshop in Connecticut and that's going reasonable well. The brand is growing and people are pretty into it- but I still feel pretty unsatisfied with my current setup, particularly my living situation.

I would like to begin transitioning away from the day-to-day grind of running the shop and sell off some of my shares and find some people who have more passion for running a retail shop. I want to get back on the water more and explore new kite destinations by boat.

Ideally what I would like to find is a small, but capable, bluewater boat that can be made to go anywhere and reasonable cozy for 1-2 people.

I've been looking at the usual suspects- Vega's, Tritons, Contessa, Alberg, few Tartans but is there anything that might be a little more unusual or that I am overlooking?

Thanks for any and all advice. Sail on.
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Old 05-01-2013, 17:29   #2
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Old 05-01-2013, 17:42   #3
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

The topic of capable small cruisers has been discussed at great length in other threads, some of which have become heated, but they are worth checking out if you want to know what people think and why.
I will digress here to point out that if you cannot give up smoking weed, there are certain countries that will give you trouble if you arrive with any onboard. Some Mexican ports go to the trouble of fetching out drug-sniffing dogs. I believe we were sniffed also in Cuba, ages ago, and certain friends were sniffed in the Caymans. Sorry to go off-topic, but you should be aware and plan accordingly.
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Old 05-01-2013, 17:45   #4
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Sounds like you have a good list, Cape Dory's too. Watch for beam, the narrow Contessa is a pretty little boat, but a real wet ride and as small as many more beamy 24-25 foot trailer sailors inside. Once you get to about 30 feet ... much more room for living aboard. But obviously you can do it in 27.
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Old 05-01-2013, 18:08   #5
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Yea I'll just have to pick and choose my destinations very carefully.

I have definitely found the other threads useful but just wanted to start this thread to see if I was overlooking anything and just introduce myself to the forum- I've been lurking for awhile but didn't go through the trouble of making a user name until today. Again thanks for all the replies.
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Old 05-01-2013, 18:59   #6
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

I would think it's more about how much comfort ya want !! I did a bunch of water sailing">blue water sailing in an old wooden folk boat !! 30 ft as I remember? but theres so many fine pocket cruisers out there to day ya should be able to find a bunch to look at ! I know yacht world dot com has a 100 or so LOL Good luck to ya !! I remember those days of sailin with jugs of water, and dry light food ! Those were the days LOL Welcome aboard
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Old 05-01-2013, 19:31   #7
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Have you seen this:

http://atomvoyages.com/articles/reference.html

71 small "blue water capable boats.
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Old 06-01-2013, 04:01   #8
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Quote:
Originally Posted by Capsule View Post
Ideally what I would like to find is a small, but capable, bluewater boat that can be made to go anywhere and reasonable cozy for 1-2 people.

I've been looking at the usual suspects- Vega's, Tritons, Contessa, Alberg, few Tartans but is there anything that might be a little more unusual or that I am overlooking?

Thanks for any and all advice. Sail on.
Personally I would be looking to head towards 30' simply for more onboard comfort - both at the dock and at sea. Not to say that 26 / 27 ain't doable, but another couple of feet useful.

Am not totally familiar with all the boats mentioned (me not in the US) - but as just a thought, if can find something in the US that is European built she might be priced well simply because an unknown brand (Contessa excepting! - IMO a tad overpriced for the name).

Therefore how about a Halycon 27?

Archive details of Halcyon 27 - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers

(that link has a decent boat archive - UK broker)

Or a Trintella 29?

Yacht for sale - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:35   #9
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

What is your price point? I didn't see it in the original post.
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Old 06-01-2013, 06:55   #10
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Look at the Nimble 30

Looks good too...
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:29   #11
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

A small live aboard will tend to be a poor sailer even with reduced necessities aboard ( compromises again ). With your young ,go fast lifestyle ;I suspect that it will not be long before exotic ports call and you would prefer to make them with alacrity. This of course argues for a longer waterline and a more performance oriented craft along with greater cost.
DOJ post above is spot on and should be reread along with the myriad other threads here
addressing same.
IMHO: One can have a heap of fun and adventure in the most humble of craft and would not advise getting fixated on the " perfect boat " mindset that afflicts so many newbees here.
FWIW: I sail by the Conn. coast every summer on my way to points East and would welcome a visitor for a short passage on my Contessa 32. You can PM me. Cheers.
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Old 06-01-2013, 07:46   #12
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Quote:
Originally Posted by saw77 View Post
Have you seen this:

Atom Voyages - Good Old Boats List

71 small "blue water capable boats.
Not only is there a list of blue water capable small boats at this site, the guy Baldwin kinda already did what the OP hopes to do minus the kite and the hippie lettuce. Of course, I have no proof he didn't partake.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:01   #13
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

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Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
would not advise getting fixated on the " perfect boat " mindset that afflicts so many newbees here..
+1

Given the models mentioned by OP seems likely will be fishing from a pool of boats from the 60's and 70's, and likely also on a constrained budget - IMO the "best" boat will be the one found in the best overall condition for the price (best bang for the buck!) at the time and in the location wanted - exact model being secondary (as long as within OP's ballpark of desire - the bigger the ballpark the more choice!).

The difference between a good boat and a ropey bugger! will very likely not be fully reflected in the price difference. and once boats get older having a PO (or several!) who has taken care of her (and spent some cash over the years on a few upgrades / replacements) is worth cash in your own pocket, if not immediately then in the future.
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:06   #14
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pirate Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

Well I've been eyeing boats over on the E.Coast the last few months at the bottom end of the market with a view to buy on payday... and move down to the Carib for use as a winter base....
things did'nt work out that way but... there's always another payday..
Boats that were attracting my interest were the Grampian 30-34, Hunter 30, Carter 30, Westerly Centaur, Cals....
The Grampians and Centaur were top on my list... Centaurs are good little sea boats with loadsa good useable storage space and I know they're comfortable live aboards.
The Grampian... has a few weak points but nothing thats a deal breaker individually...
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Old 06-01-2013, 08:41   #15
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Re: Best (Smaller) Boat for Aspiring Bluewater Bro

1978 Cape Dory 28 sailboat for sale in Georgia
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