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Old 16-12-2009, 12:59   #1
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Good Day, All

My name is Alan and I have been a small boat sailor (owned up to 20') all my life. After a reasonable career at Duke University I have accepted an early buy out offer and am retiring at the end of January. Now I face the problem of should I bite the bullet and indulge myself in a life long dream of a live-aboard sail, or just slink off into the shadows . . . . hmmmmmmm, what to do, what to do.

So I thought I would start here by asking some basic questions that have come up in my searching the used-sailboats-for-sail websites and hope you good people will help me out.

I have seen "fiberglass" and "reinforced fiberglass" hulls notated and wondered what the difference was and should it be an issue for me. I anticipate coastal sailing and maybe a bit of out island Bahamas..

Also seen sloops and tall rigs. Is there actually a difference?

I am concerned what brands would be good to look into and what brands to avoid in terms of maintenance, i have read horror reports on some brands, but don't know enough to make any value judgments.

Also, how old is too old? When do sailboats just become a liability no matter how well they have been taken care of?

I guess that's all for now, I am sure I'll have tons more questions before I make up my mind one way or another.
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Old 16-12-2009, 13:42   #2
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Hi Alan,

Welcome and good luck in deciding on your direction. Have given my responses in the body of your text..........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Welch View Post

So I thought I would start here by asking some basic questions that have come up in my searching the used-sailboats-for-sail websites and hope you good people will help me out.

I have seen "fiberglass" and "reinforced fiberglass" hulls notated and wondered what the difference was and should it be an issue for me.

RESPONSE. Same - no difference.

I anticipate coastal sailing and maybe a bit of out island Bahamas..

RESPONSE. Nice. Anything from 24 to 34 foot should see you feeling comfortable and in control.

Also seen sloops and tall rigs. Is there actually a difference?

RESPONSE. A sloop has one mast, of no specific height. You'll tend to find rig sizes are determined by production boat designers - the shorter the rig the less sail area, the higher the more sail carried.

I am concerned what brands would be good to look into and what brands to avoid in terms of maintenance, i have read horror reports on some brands, but don't know enough to make any value judgments.

RESPONSE. Oh, with this question you'll be sure to get 100 opinions. Most sailors tend to recommned only what they know, and tend to disparage anything else. I suggest this is where you get out and look around at actual boats. Find those that appear to meet your needs, and then come back and ask again.

Also, how old is too old? When do sailboats just become a liability no matter how well they have been taken care of?

RESPONSE. Afraid a solid glass fibre boat is going to one day create a ecological issue, as it is not an easy material to dispose of safely. Basically, provided it has not got osmosis, or any core used in the fabrication is not damaged, or the glass has not delaminated in any way - it will do you ok up to and beyond 30 years.

I guess that's all for now, I am sure I'll have tons more questions before I make up my mind one way or another.
Hope my comments help get you going. We aways need more sailors. As always mu views are personal opinions and suggest you should get to a library and start studying so you can make more decisions yourself. Lots and lots of good books will help you begin to learn a lot more.
Enjoy it.
JOHN
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Old 16-12-2009, 13:53   #3
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Thank you John, I appreciate the answers and information.

Delamination, is this also referred to as blistering or is this something different. And how to tell if there is core damage, can I do that or is this a job for a survey?
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Old 16-12-2009, 14:34   #4
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Alan,
Congrats on the retirement. Between the living aboard and sailing option and just slinking away into the darkness, I think you can guess what most of us here would say! I would recommend a survey in almost any case. To repeat a little, try not to get too overwhelmed with really big boats. Chase your dream, and then tell those of us still waiting for retirement how great the Bahamas are!
Spencer
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Old 20-12-2009, 13:44   #5
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Aloha and Welcome aboard!
Tall rigs are sometimes production boats that come in two rigging configurations. Catalina is one that comes to mind. They have their standard rig for a certain length and a tall rig for the same length. Both are sloops but the tall rig has a longer mast and is made more for areas that experience a lot of lighter winds.
Good to have you here.
regards
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Old 20-12-2009, 13:54   #6
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Ah, that would make sense.

Thank you for the welcome, John.
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Old 20-12-2009, 14:59   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alan Welch View Post

Delamination, is this also referred to as blistering or is this something different. And how to tell if there is core damage, can I do that or is this a job for a survey?
Delamination is when the layers of fiberglass start to unbond from each other. The laminate then loses all its strength.

Moisture meter will tell you if the core's wet. Wood core that gets wet is going to rot and the boat will lose a significant portion of its strength. Even foam core that gets wet will cause problems. If you are going shopping for a used boat, buying a moisture meter can save you a ton of money you might otherwise waste on surveys. They are cheap to buy, easy to use and can rule a boat in or out in minutes. Unless you like fixing core, and few do.
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Old 20-12-2009, 15:12   #8
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please, just a question for my own edification..but a taller mast doesn't always necessarily mean a boat carries more sail than a shorter mast, does it? I am thinking of a longer boom in situations where the standing rigging isn't designed for tall masts. Catboats, trimarans, etc.

There must be loads of calculations on the differences between skinny heads way up high in the faster air vs a larger foot but down in the'dirty' air near the water surface, as well as the leverage of different mast lengths and their affect on moment arm, CG, etc...
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Old 20-12-2009, 15:23   #9
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jdoe, thank you very much for that tip. I will buy one before starting the search for my boat.
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Old 22-12-2009, 11:10   #10
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Aspect Ratio is defined as the height of the sail squared, divided by the area of the sail.

See ➥ High Speed Sails

And ➥ SailPowerCalc
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