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Old 06-03-2004, 20:36   #1
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more info for boat choice

hello again,

we are currently residing in Port Charlotte, Florida. our cruising experiences have been the Keys, Bahamas, and Virgins. We have sailed the following boats: Cal 25, Watkins 32, Beneteau 38, Morgan 46, Gulfstar 47, O'day 30 and on the Great Lakes an O'day 222.

We would like to purchase a 30 ft. boat, give or take a foot. we would like to keep the price under $30,000. Our intentions are to sail the Bahamas for longer periods of time and cover more area than in the past. this is why we are concerned about the size of the keel. we read jeffs response to our question on keels and even though he was very informative we still have it in our heads that a full keel makes the boat sturdier and stronger? we had picked the 3 different boats because everything we read about them suggested they would be great to sail the areas we had chosen and possibly go futher?????

we also want to sail all of the Caribbean and maybe someday the South Pacific.

we are open to suggestions on boat types and are willing to sacrifice size for quality.

thanks to everyone for their input............deb & bob
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Old 07-03-2004, 08:38   #2
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First of all, a full keel in no way makes a boat sturdier and stronger. I think if you had more esperience working on boats you would that your statement "we still have it in our heads that a full keel makes the boat sturdier and stronger" is quite falacious. In fact, it would appear that you have purposely chosen 2 models of boats (The Almand 31 has a fin keel with post hung spade rudder) whose dubious construction make the case that a boat with a full keel is not necessarily stronger than a well constructed fin keeler. Both would generally be considered unsuitable for your long term goals in terms of build quality and seaworthiness.

As your experience would suggest, your initial sailing goals include areas that require a boat with a pretty wide range of sailing abilities. You will need good light air performance in Fla and the Bahamas, and good heavy air or rough water performance crossing the Gulfstream and cruising the lower Carribean. A bit of performance really helps in cruising the Bahamas because many of the anchorages cannot be entered after dark and are pretty widely spaced. While you can anchor over the Banks it generally makes for a pretty bumpy night.

Just as a point of contrast, the following are examples of boats that are both longish keel, and moderate fin keeled designs but which are better constructed and perhaps more suitable for your sailing goals than the choices that you mentioned.

Cal 34: While these are an older design, there are a lot of really clean ones out there and they seem to be ubiquidous in the areas where you are going. Any given example may need upgrading for your purposes but they can usually be bought cheap enough to make them worth consideration.

Cape Dory 30: I am not all that big a fan of Cape Dory's myself, but they have a strong following and would be suitable for your needs. The 30 is a fin keel with attached rudder that is generally marketed as a 'full keel' model.

CSY 33: Tough boats purpose built for the rigours of the charter trades. Not the fastest sailors but reportedly good solid handling manners.

Niagara 31: These are very well constructed and excellent sailing boats. This would be right at the top of my list as ideal for what you are proposing except that they are a little short on water and so will need additional tankage added.

Pearson 323: This model would probably be near the top of my list in terms of balancing all of your needs.

Sabre 30: Well constructed and nice performing. Available in a keel centerboard model that would be a good boat for your purposes.

Seasprite 30: This is really a fin keel with an attached rudder, but they were well constructed and sail reasonably well.

Tartan 33 (early 1980's) Scheel Keel model. These are a Sparkman and Stephens designed Fin keel Skeg hung rudder sloop. They offer a bit more performance and ease of sailing at the price of a slightly smaller interior than some of the other. They were very well constructed and seem to hold up quite well.

Tartan 3000: Similar, smaller version to the Tartan 33.

Good luck,
Jeff
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Old 07-03-2004, 11:23   #3
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Ya hit the nail pretty much on the head with your comment on the CSY 33 Mr. Jeff.

They are not really slow, they just need need more wind..
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Old 07-03-2004, 12:50   #4
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I would think that a 32' Valiant would make everyone here happy!
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Old 07-03-2004, 15:49   #5
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While the 32 foot Valiant was not as good a boat as the Valiant Esprit 37 or Valiant 40, a Valiant 32 might meet their needs if Valiant 32's didn't typically sell for well more than twice their budget.

Jeff
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Old 07-03-2004, 19:35   #6
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Sturdy boat

Bob_Deb, Jeff has covered the subject more than adequately. I will start by saying that I like fin keel boats to the exclusion of all others and the only point I was going to add was make sure your fin keel boat is very sturdy and strong, not just the hull but the keel attachment points. I have had my 29 foot fin keel boat since 1979 and it is plenty strong enough. All you do after building the boat strong enough is add weight that slows it down. In my opinion you need a moderate displacement fin keel boat and you now have a list to look at. Good luck, Michael Casling
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Old 08-03-2004, 05:34   #7
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I saw a Valiant 32 on yachtworld for $27000. I make offers for my stuff and offen find very good buys that way. I love the Valiant 50. I think it would be my first choice in a new boat. We spent several hours looking on over a couple of years ago. Also it looks to me that the used Valiant 40's are coming down in price.
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