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Old 09-01-2007, 13:14   #1
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Boat size and cruising question

Hello friends!

Just have a simple question as I mentally gear up for sailing on the Great Lakes in 2007.
My wife and I have an 1976 Oday 27. Very roomy and set up nicely for cruising, with only a few minor modifications. Our son is a freshman in high school, so in 3 years, we'll be empty nesters. I'm 37 and wife is 33. We might relocate to Florida, so my wife, who's an RN , get her nurse anesthesia schooling done.

My question is how would a 27' fair as a bluewater cruiser? The Admiral (aka wife) says she ideally would love to have a 45' boat for ocean cruising one day, but for now, would a 27' do well for navigating down the Florida area and then for cruising in the Caribbean?

Would enjoy your comments, feedback and open opinions.
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Old 09-01-2007, 13:21   #2
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Aloha Shellback,

Speaking from one shellback to another I believe that 32 to 36 lod is the ideal cruiser but for what you have in mind there is no reason why you can't do it in your 27. There have been many smaller boats out there. Just make certain your rigging is in good shape and you watch your weather windows.

I think if it is a matter of delaying your dreams to get a bigger boat then go in the 27 as soon as you are able.

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Old 09-01-2007, 14:29   #3
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27' boat for cruising

John

Good to see I'm not the only shellback on here. I gained my shellback status in 1989 while in the Navy aboard USS Constellation. crossed the equator 6 times.

yeah I am still planning on cruising and getting more cruising experience on the Great Lakes. A circumnavigation is slated for July 2007.

I do like my wife's thinking when it comes to getting a bigger boat one day. She's likes the comfort of having a boat that can handle the swells, large waves and nature of open oceans. (she's seen enough of the Water Channel, Lats & Atts and some sailing DVD's I have to see waves can be big!).

Thanks!
Mark
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Old 09-01-2007, 14:48   #4
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I'd be a little hesitant, not with the 27 feet of boat you have, but the displacement and/or capsize screening ratios. I had an O'day 302 (my last boat). I took it anywhere around the coast without a second thought. It performed well. However, when things got rough, I was tossed about the cockpit like crazy as it lurched from side to side. This made sailing very difficult.

I don't suggest you should run out and buy a brand new boat right now. No need to waste the money. What I am saying is that if you are heading to the Caribbean, you will be on some pretty good stretches of open water from time to time. As it gets rough, you won't be able to say "screw it" and put in for shelter.

Compare the O'day's displacement and displacement to ballast ratios with boats known to be good (or even marginal) bluewater boats. Only by looking at the numbers will the facts start to show themselves.

Incidentally, I go out in much worse conditions in my current boat (26,000 lbs), than I did in my O'day and am not even affected, except maybe by a splash or two. The boat sits solid and cuts the choppy stuff. The O'day used to ride over it all, causing some really rough rides.

So, cruise and cruise some more in the O'day. Head to FL. Do whatever you wish... Even the Bahamas. But once you are talking about heading off into bluewater and/or Caribbean cruising, you might want to look into a boat that won't be as rough on the crew.

Keep in mind, however, that while the Admiral might like to have a 45' boat (I have one now), the complexities, cost and sheer weight of everything is so large compared to the O'day, you'll wish you went back. She'll be doing a lot of very heavy lifting with lines, etc... Nothing that you are probably currently used to. This is why John's post is so accurate. He hits the ideal cruising size for 2 people right on. He hits a lot of things right on.
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Old 09-01-2007, 15:43   #5
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Aloha Shellback,

I just came across my Shellback certificate the other day but can't put my hand on it just now. I only went across the line a few times on USS Long Beach back in 79 or 80. Good initiation, eh?

Probably a lot of "Slimey Wogs" lurking about this forum so we shouldn't talk too much about what a good time we had.

Thank you Sean for the very kind words and "back at ya."

JohnL
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Old 09-01-2007, 18:26   #6
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Oday 27 & cruising

HI all,

Sean - thanks for your input. Appreciate your comments. Those are points I've considered too. I used to sail an Oday 23, and she too handled rough weather great, but yes, your point about riding the tops is accurate.

Oh, it's going to be several years before we get to the point of going out as empty nesters. Three more years till our son is off to college, but it's ok to dream of cruising now. So more than enough time to consider our options. Might sail my 27' in the Great Lakes, and also do some bareboat chartering in the caribbean to gain experience down there too.

Even though the admiral would "like" to have a 45' sailboat, the sheer fact of handling, size, weight and bow-to-stern increase in cost, maintainence etc, would be too much for us probably. I'd personally stick to the 36-40' range myself.

John - arrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh yes, I still have my shellback certificate..even carry the card in my wallet case I run into a slimey wog who dares to say they're a shellback without proof LOL ahhhh yes, the ceremony! what an experience..on a carrier, was brutal day long experience...earned it from 2nd deck, hangar bay and flight deck torment, but fun all around. I have old pics of that day. Was better the 5th time I crossed going 'round-the-horn of South America from San Diego to Philly, that crossing, it twas I, *arrrgh* as the shellback dishing out the pain & misery..*fond memories* to all Shellbacks and wogs, ..a friendly toast to ya matey! (all for friendly fun ya'all)


Mark
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Old 09-01-2007, 20:37   #7
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There is a middle road, or compromise between big and small.
I can recommend the CSY 33 or similar size boat:
She is like a big "small" boat, or a small "big boat"

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Old 10-01-2007, 02:56   #8
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What people are writing are well worth noting. The Bahamas should not be a problem with your 27 footer. The Caribbean might be a little tough. I am not sure that I want to do it in my Mac 26M but the Bahamas is OK. The additional cost may be a problem for the rewards. I am planing to cruise the Bahamas in the winter and go to the North during the summer.
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Old 10-01-2007, 03:55   #9
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The prime irritant, to Maggie & I, to living-aboard & cruising a smaller boat (28'-6" LOA, in our case) was neither safety, comfort, nor speed - but storage.

When you live-aboard (and cruising IS living-aboard), even the most minimalist amongst us needs “stuff”, and space to store it.

Even when stripped to the essentials, we all require food & water. The longer the time/distance between re-provisioning ports, the more of these essentials we must be able to carry. Hence Coastal cruising, the Bahamas, Caribbean and etc., don’t present insurmountable problems to the mini-cruiser.

Offshore voyaging requires more provisions, hence a "larger" boat.
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Old 10-01-2007, 08:47   #10
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"Borrowed" from a different forum:- Yachting and Boating World: Living the dream...... with a Centurion 32


"We have been living on our 27 ft Albin Vega for nearly six months.

We sailed her here from Scotland to the Canaries and intended to cross to the Caribbean. We have decided to stay in the Canaries for a few months instead for various reasons - none of which were to do with the seaworthiness of the boat or the practicalities of the actual crossing (which is usually easier than getting to the Canaries).

In all that time and in various ports we have not met another couple living on a boat under 30ft. It is simply a question of expectations and budgets . . . to us a Centurion 32 would be luxury, we just can't afford a boat that big, while to most forumites it is scarily small for offshore passages and impractical for living aboard.

The Vega is perfectly adequate though if you really want to live the bluewater dream for a year or longer. We met Chris on the Vega 'Tradition' in Porto Santo - we have since heard that he made Dakar with no problems, and he is currently half way from there to Brazil. Another Vega currently in Graciosa (near Lanzarote) is heading for Tahiti in the Spring. These are both singlehanded though.

Not being able to afford a 40ft boat may just be a handy excuse for a lot of people to remain behind that PC.

Yacht 'Fairwinds'
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This is from their Website, describes what a 27ft Albin is etc. UK prices £9k to £12k - (USD 17k-23k??)

Albin Vega Cruising Yacht Review


You could say that "beauty is the eye of the beholder"............but as always, if you wanna do something - their is usually a way.

Albin Vega archive details - Yachtsnet Ltd. online UK yacht brokers - yacht brokerage and boat sales

Would I "pop accross the pond" in one? Probably not, but not unequivocably. pootling around the med for a year or two? why not.
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:45   #11
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Shell, rather than all of us wander off in the direction of discussing blue water boats, let's zoom in on what you are proposing: cross a portion of the Lakes to the NY State Canal System & Hudson River New York State Canals: Maps, exit New York for the hop down the New Jersey coast and into Delaware Bay, then via the C&D Canal to the lovely Chesapeake (which may steal your heart and change that RN schooling plan in FL), then the ICW all the way to Biscayne Bay, if that's your preference, then across to Gun Cay, then the banks enroute the Berries & Nassau, and then most likely down the Exuma chain to G'town.

Given that route, by far the most heavily used system is going to be your engine. Also, the speed of advance your boat can average will be a factor, as it will directly affect the length of your days while running and also shape the ratio of days to stop and smell the roses vs. days to stay ahead of late Fall's weather-bite. Assuming you leave Lake Erie in early June, that run seems a reasonable goal so long as your powertrain is in good shape, holds up well, and you get the mix of movement days (which will be consistently shaped by weather systems) to layover/sightseeing days. Once you leave the USA, the main issue for you may be tankage as the Bahamas lack abundant water sources...and for that matter, fuel can be hard to get in some places, as well. Do you carry 12G of diesel and 30G water?

From the SE Bahamas outward, I personally think it's a different story. The reference to an Albin Vega is worth considering; she's a very able sea boat and has many ocean crossings to her credit. If you compare her ballast and hull design with yours, and her accessible storage (to Gord's point) vs. your liner-type interior, she really is in a different category re: suitability. I would sail a Vega further SE and thru-out the Caribbean without concern because I have great faith in her fine sailing qualities and her ability in lousy seas. Small Odays were not built with the same uses in mind, and I would personally not choose to take her farther afield than the Turks & Caicos Is. (geologically, just an extension of the Bahamas).

But look at the wonderful trip that leaves! I can't imagine why you aren't already loading up the lockers. <g> Good luck to you. For more relevant feedback, look for a CS27 website wherein the owner took his 27' CS sloop down to the E Caribbean island chain and then back north. If he still has it posted, it's worth a read - lots of good advice for the trip you plan...and perhaps he's tell you 'Heck, yes - go all the way!'

Jack
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Old 10-01-2007, 11:47   #12
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I met a guy that went mostly solo to Australia from Philadelphia in a Newport 27. When he got there he flew home. He said he needed a bigger boat. Trouble was he met a girl there and got married. They both left again from Philadelphia in a Beneteau 36 on a second trip. I saw him just after left on the first trip and again when he was starting the second trip and I have to say being lucky is far better than being good.

Going a bit bigger can't be a bad idea but it does beg the question of when does bigger mean you can't afford to go? When does smaller mean you shouldn't go? The best record I know of is California to Austrailia in a boat 8ft 6 inches.
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Old 10-01-2007, 12:47   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Euro Cruiser
I would sail a Vega further SE and thru-out the Caribbean without concern because I have great faith in her fine sailing qualities and her ability in lousy seas. Small Odays were not built with the same uses in mind
Shellback - I am not entirely aufait with my North American Navigation (or even Geography!) - but it does sound a "bit of a trip" down to Florida! - whether an Oday 27 is a reasonable vessel to make the trip is a bit beyond me (not knowing these boats or the areas involved) - not saying it isn't, just saying "I don't know".


Euro Cruiser - I must confess I was not intending to "promote" any particular vessel over another (I'd never heard of an Oday before!) - more a case of me trying to say that sometimes "27 foot is enough" (maybe not ideal, but enough)..........and the extract mentioning the Vega 27 I posted was recent and stuck in my memory. (and I already was aware she was capable little boat).


Quote:
Going a bit bigger can't be a bad idea but it does beg the question of when does bigger mean you can't afford to go? When does smaller mean you shouldn't go?
This is the Million dollar question (Pun intended!)
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Old 10-01-2007, 13:20   #14
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While all the points above are valid, when you start cruising the comfort and ability to move the boat in less than desirable conditions do matter. A good friend started cruising this fall in a Catalina 30 -- got beat up coming from NY to Annapolis, bought a new 40 ft boat to continue on and really sees the difference. I expect they will really appreciate the difference now as they head outside from Cape Fear down to FL. Where their Catalina might avg 4 knots they are now averaging well into the 6s.

The arguement is more than which boat but what level of comfort, seaworthyness etc do you need to make the journey comfortable for both you and the Admiral.
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Old 11-01-2007, 19:09   #15
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Hi all!!
Wow, big response! I'm happy to hear all the feedback on this inquiry. First and foremost, this dream to become a bluewater cruiser won't happen for several years, so I'm happily not in a rush (have 3 years to go until son graduates and is off to college).

If I did transition the Great Lakes and then through the Seaway to the ICW and off to the Bahamas & Caribbean, I'd definitely do it on a bigger boat though. Given engine power etc, the Oday 27 is a great bluewater cruiser, but salt water cruiser and to handle a trip like that, might be too limited to us. I'm looking to build my experience with sailing the O'Day 27 on the Great Lakes, then move up to a 35-38'. I'd do 40' but don't want something my owne wifey couldn't handle. Plus, the $$$ makes a difference for fees, maintenance etc.

Everyone's points, suggestions, comments are GREATLY appreciated!! Love it! Great to see i'm in good company

Mark
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