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Old 07-07-2017, 16:57   #1
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Doing my research and wondering...

So my hubby and I have been on a few sailboats and I have obsessively stalked these forums for information about different sailboats. I was wondering if there was such a thing as a sailboat listing generator. What I mean is something where you can plug in the features you think you must have and it spits out a list of sailboat years and models that fit your criteria. If there isn't there should be one! I understand that we are going to compromise to fit what we want/need into our budget and the beauty of it is that we have the time to look around and check things out. Two of our biggest no compromises are a swim platform, because we are getting older and it will be so much nicer with the scuba tanks and such. The second thing is a decent sized berth for comfort. Not concerned with it coming with the appropriate mattress or pad, we can replace that. More of a comfort thing.
So I have two questions to all of you amazing seasoned sailors is this. (if there is no sailboat generator thingy) Approximately what year were swim platforms introduced? The only thing I have found was the introduction by Hunter around 1992. And are they only on production boats? We don't mind a production boat as we are only looking to the caribbean for a few years before venturing further.

Thank you for your help I really appreciate it!
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Old 07-07-2017, 17:07   #2
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

TomAndLee,

Actually, swim platforms can be retro-fitted, and many boats in NZ and Oz have done that.

If what you want is a sugar scoop stern, with a boarding ladder and perhaps a shower, some boats do have those, although there are some downsides to some of them, and what you actually decide to buy will depend upon the intended use, your knowledge level, and how much you have in your wallet.



So, take a vacation in FL if you've already searched Kemah, and and go "kiss a lot of frogs", look at lotsa boats, take notes.

At some point, your notes will become your personal sailboat type generator.

Ann
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Old 07-07-2017, 17:28   #3
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Thank you so much! I guess I do mean more of the sugar scoop stern. I love the look of the older boats without it but the need to dive and be able to get our gear in and out of the water is a necessity.
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Old 07-07-2017, 19:39   #4
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

G'DAy Lee (I guess you are Lee!)

Proper sugar scoop sterns have been around for a while. Our boat was designed in 1988 and incorporates what I think is an excellent example of such a feature. The attached photo is the best view that I could find quickly and not really focused upon the sugar scoop, but i thinkk if you zoom in a bit you an see the details well enough. It has a flat platform that is nearly a meter in length, running nearly the full beam width at the stern. A very useful place as you seem to have realized.

Not many production boats offer such a large area in their scoops, I imagine because it detracts from interior volume, and that distresses the sales folks. IMO, it is a good tradeoff.

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Old 07-07-2017, 19:43   #5
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Lee, Jim and I used to scuba, on a boat without a platform. It wasn't a problem, really, we loaded our gear into the dinghy, and dove from the dinghy, then got in and went "home" to the big boat, and unloaded the stuff together. A stable, dinghy will be your pickup truck, exploration vehicle, and dive platform. I wouldn't make it a primary criterion for boat choice. Leave that to seaworthiness, and ease of repairs, 'cause all boats need maintenance from time to time.

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Old 07-07-2017, 20:13   #6
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
G'DAy Lee (I guess you are Lee!)

Proper sugar scoop sterns have been around for a while. Our boat was designed in 1988 and incorporates what I think is an excellent example of such a feature. The attached photo is the best view that I could find quickly and not really focused upon the sugar scoop, but i thinkk if you zoom in a bit you an see the details well enough. It has a flat platform that is nearly a meter in length, running nearly the full beam width at the stern. A very useful place as you seem to have realized.

Not many production boats offer such a large area in their scoops, I imagine because it detracts from interior volume, and that distresses the sales folks. IMO, it is a good tradeoff.

Jim
Jim & Ann are great contributors here. Listen to what they say.

Here's how our Catalina 34 has evolved, I have a closed transom 1986 boat.

Tech Wiki – Catalina 34 International Association
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Old 07-07-2017, 20:43   #7
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Jim and Ann, thank you so much! It's all exciting and a bit overwhelming when researching. I have paid attention to your advice to others and I appreciate your input, definitely food for thought.

Stu, I agree. I don't know much, but I have picked up on quite a few members opinions that I definitely value. Out of the boats we have felt would work for us Catalina is at the top of our list and I like Dufour as well.

I need to get my notes onto a spreadsheet as we keep looking. My journal is a hot mess for sure!

~Lee
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Old 08-07-2017, 08:23   #8
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

I had similar criteria for my boat when the wife (now ex) was expecting baby number 2 and we still had our geriatric dog. I bought a 1994 Hunter Legend 35.5 and LOVED IT. The aft cabin had a KING SIZE transverse bed where we all slept together, including the dog. There was also a spacious Vee cabin with tons of storage for our guests. The sugar scoop stern was excellent. Our big dog could step right into the dinghy with ease...the wife too I suppose. And I enjoyed the built in stern shower. Yanmar diesel, shallow draft wing keel, proper stand up shower, our boat had ice cold A/C as well. I never should have sold that boat.

The attached pictures are not stock photos, they are my actual boat.
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Old 08-07-2017, 09:38   #9
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Look at boats with a sugar scoop stern, because those boats will best fulfill your needs without any additional add-ons. Plus, it's a fantastic safety feature.... just try jumping in the water sometime on a boat which doesn't have one, and try to climb back onto the boat without help. I'll bet you can't do it with 100% certainty, actually..... I'll bet you can't do it even when assisted.

I think Hollyweird actually made a horror move a few years ago about this subject.

I scuba dive quite often and I know that there's no way I can climb back onto a dinghy with my gear on. Think about it.... how would the two of you do this unless you were diving from the shore? On dive boats, you absolutely need drop down ladders or stairs and some help climbing back on even after you remove your fins etc. The only way I can get back on the dinghy is when I use a hookah system (no tanks) and do a huge thrust with my fins.... and even then it sometimes takes two tries. You're not getting back on with tanks etc. Sure you can remove the vest, but then what? Good luck trying.

And forget about rope ladders.
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Old 08-07-2017, 10:55   #10
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Diving does not require having a sugar scoop design. Any boat with a square transom like mine can be easily fitted with a swim platform including an access ladder. If your gunnel is too high, simply add a removable 2 step ladder to board from the platform. After removing your fins no problem in mounting the swim platform where you can remove your gear and place it on board. The ability to put your dinghy on davits and/or install an outboard mounting bracket for emergency use are additional advantages. On the other hand, a sugar scoop lets you install permanent steps for boarding.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:10   #11
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post

...I think Hollyweird actually made a horror move a few years ago about this subject...
It was called Open Water. Here's a link to watch and a link to Wikipedia for details.
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Old 08-07-2017, 11:56   #12
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Lee,
1) Well first off, you ask some good questions and I applaud your efforts to do the research!!


2) Unfortunately, as you're finding out, there is no real "listing generator"...
You just need to talk about your needs and desires (they are two different things) and Tom's needs and desires (which might be different from yours), and your collective needs and desires....
Then start off your searches with your complied list(s) of need and desires, and plug away!
You may have already done all of this, and that's why you're here....if so, just forgive me and forget the above paragraph!

Please don't get discouraged, cuz if you have specific needs and desires, it can take a while to find "the right boat" for you two....I spent 2.5 years looking for my current boat!

And, I realize that you were asking whether there is a "listing generator", just an fyi, without knowing your approx. budget, nor approx. what size of boat you're looking for, there isn't much specific advice we can offer you...


3) Next I can address your specific questions here....and then below I will add some even more important info (this way you won't think I'm just telling ya' what I think, and never get around to answering your questions!)
{BTW, please note that this really has nothing to do with whether or not a boat is a "production" boat, cuz unless you had a serious budget (think millions of $$$$) for a custom designed / built boat, all of these boats are "production" boats....Catalina and Hylas, Oyster and Moody, etc. etc....even Morris and Swan...
What some sailors these days comment on, in a derisive way, is about the "modern", "cookie-cutter", "massed-produced" boats....whose designs and mass-production techniques are driven by their primary customers (the bareboat charter industry)...they refer to these as "production" boats and mistakenly believe everything else isn't!
But, this is about the design of the boat, not whether it is a production boat....as they almost all "production" boats....
Remember Westsails and Tayana 37's were production boats, and many more just like 'em are as far from a modern cruising design as you can get!! (won't find sugar-scoop sterns nor big comfortable islands berths in any of those older / traditional-designed production boats!
My own boat, a Catalina 470, has 180 sisterships....over almost a 20 year production run, Catalina has made only 182 (?) of them...and while they don't advertise 'em anymore, you can still order one! There are 3 basic interior layouts (97% are the standard 2-cabin layout) and 2 different keels (6' wing or 8' fin), and 2 different masts/rigs (64' or 68')....you could order in any arrangement....

Not a mass-produced, cookie-cutter, boat....but, it is a production boat.
Sorry, I digressed!}

a) Sugar-scoop sterns / Swim platforms and SCUBA diving...
As for SCUBA diving (been doing it since a young teen in the mid-1970's, mostly from boats, power and sail...and some from beaches), like Ann and Jim, I too find diving from the dinghy to be what I do the majority of the time (hence why I have a 12' Carib RIB and 15-hp Yamaha 2-stroke!)...
EDIT:
Just to clarify, you will not get yourself into the dinghy with your gear on!!
You take your SCUBA gear off, in the water, climb into dinghy and then bring your gear aboard....(I use a nice folding SS ladder designed just for RIB's...it's $250!!! But, worth it!!)
Now, I DO keep my gear on, getting back onto the sugar-scoop stern/transom, when diving from the mothership...although I prefer to fling my weights (soft pack, removable from my belt / backpack) and place them on the sugar-scoop, and then climb out...a 100 cu ft steel tank and the rst of my gear is a bit cumbersome, but this is why I commented that having the space to do this is as important as having the swim platform itself, one without the other is a real trade-off, and unfortunately many boats with these sugar-scoop sterns, simply don't have the space to SCUBA dive from...
Remember, these are sailboats, not Dive Boats!!

You won't find many "approved dive sites" where you can anchor (can't anchor to a reef!) and most "dive moorings" aren't for your mothership...and besides some of the best diving isn't where I'd want to take my mothership, especially anchored overnight!
But...
But, there are times (more than I thought) that diving from the mothership is good! And, of course there's always "maintenance diving" (cleaning the prop / hull, diving the anchor, etc.)...

And, then of course there is always that great swim right off the boat, whether with SCUBA or not....
Nothing like a swim-platform / sugar-scoop stern for that!!
(FYI, there are differences in these too....some, like mine, are functional parts of the boat, housing propane lockers, transom showers, outboard motor brackets, gas grills, man-overboard-poles, etc..... some even have small storage / lazarette access....and some are just a couple molded-in steps...)

Here are some pics of mine...{note that I use 2 pieces of 2" wide webbing and 4 big SS eye straps thru-bolted thru transom, and some lashings, to secure each tank, for offshore voyaging, the tanks do NOT move!!....I could fit 3 on each side, but choose not to, I carry only 2 on the starboard transom / stern, allowing me to use my outboard motor hoist and bracket, as well as shore power inlets (on starboard side) and have easy access to man-overboard-pole, inflatable horse-shoe ring, strobe, etc., as well as propane tank, transom / deck shower, gas grill, etc.(on port side)..so, I carry two 100 cu ft hi-press steel tanks on the transom and if I'm out on a cruise I might also carry two alum 80's below decks, and my 19 cu ft on a hard pack in a cockpit locker, at the ready}









Here are some pics in Gibraltar, after a trans-Atlantic passage (I loaned out one of my tanks to a dock neighbor)...






Quote:
Originally Posted by TomAndLee View Post
So my hubby and I have been on a few sailboats and I have obsessively stalked these forums for information about different sailboats. I was wondering if there was such a thing as a sailboat listing generator. What I mean is something where you can plug in the features you think you must have and it spits out a list of sailboat years and models that fit your criteria. If there isn't there should be one! I understand that we are going to compromise to fit what we want/need into our budget and the beauty of it is that we have the time to look around and check things out. Two of our biggest no compromises are a swim platform, because we are getting older and it will be so much nicer with the scuba tanks and such. The second thing is a decent sized berth for comfort. Not concerned with it coming with the appropriate mattress or pad, we can replace that. More of a comfort thing.

So I have two questions to all of you amazing seasoned sailors is this. (if there is no sailboat generator thingy) Approximately what year were swim platforms introduced? The only thing I have found was the introduction by Hunter around 1992. And are they only on production boats? We don't mind a production boat as we are only looking to the caribbean for a few years before venturing further.

Thank you for your help I really appreciate it!
b) As for a "decent sized berth for comfort".....
If you mean for comfort both at sea and at anchor, it's a tall order, but it can be done...(I've done it)

Most modern mid-sized boats now-days are designed with an "owner's berth", and many (like mine) have a full queen-sized "island berth" in the owners cabin....most of the older, "more traditional", boats don't have these "owner's berths", and none that I know of ever had a "queen-sized island berth"...
But, FYI....you'll need some good lee cloths / lee boards to make these usable as "sea berths"..

Here are some pics of one my Lee Boards in my aft cabin, full queen-sized island berth...










And, a couple pics of my lee cloths on my narrow-footed, queen-sized Pullman berth...





And, some more pics and articles about lee cloths and lee boards...
Lee Boards/Cloths
Starboard Lee Cloth




4) And, now for the really important stuff...
Choose a boat on your needs and desires, AND knowing what you can change on-board and what you cannot!!

In real estate it's said that it's all "location", "location", "location"...
But, boats move....so...

a) Think of the hull, keel, and rudder design as the first (and most important) criteria....
Do you want to race downwind and pound on the slightest chop? or are looking for a more sea-kindly hull design?
{Please take note that not all modern-designed boats have flat underbodies, some are rather wonderfully designed!}
Here is a pic of my modern 21st Century design Catalina 470 in the slings.


You must look at the underwater part....the underbody....especially the hull forefoot....these are things you do NOT see when at "in-water boat shows"!! But, you must look anyway...
Also, take note of the keel....you want lead, not steel or cast iron! And, how is the keel is attached....damn well better be a dozen keel bolts, in a nice deep sump...etc. etc...
And, while most will accept spade rudders are perfectly "okay", there are differences here as well....how is it designed and built, rudder shaft, etc...
All of these things are your first "location", that is damned hard to change, if at all!!


b) Deck Layout / Design (including the cockpit) and rig..
While you can add an inner forestay to many sloops and fly a staysail in heavy air (usually not necessary for most cruisers), if the boat is properly designed and rigged in the first place, and tailored to your sailing / cruising environments, you shouldn't need to change anything about the rig...
And, you can add some hatches and port lights, and/or ventilation, etc. if needed...
But, other than these few things, the deck design and layout are what they are!!
Do you desire a good-sized cockpit, to lay down in? Sleep in? Lounge in?
Do you want plenty of room to get to and from your sugar-scoop stern?
{note that this is often over-looked!! Every pic you look at of a beautiful woman on a sugar-scoop stern should be followed by looking at the cockpit!! Is there any room to get yourself and/or more than just yourself to/from that great "swim platform"?? What about your gear??
Where is the cockpit storage?? Is there room for others on-board??}
What about the side decks??
Can you move forward without issue?? (no matter what the guys selling boats say, you WILL need to work at the mast and the foredeck, at least at some point, when sailing....so, make sure that you can do this on whatever boats you're considering....no, you won't be living at the mast, like you will be in the cockpit, but since this is part of the boat that you really cannot change, know this about the boat before you write a check!)
What about anchoring, anchor rollers, anchor locker?? (you can add / adapt anchor rollers, but most boats that have retrofit anchoring systems are a compromise at best, and a fiasco at worst....so know this up front)
Here are some pics of my Catalina 470..














And, a pic of Catalina 470 sistership...




The deck design / layout (including the cockpit) is your second "location" that is damned hard to change, if at all...


c) Basic / major interior layout and design.
You can change some interior layout....in some boats more than others....but, for the most part, any major change is a major refit (think lots of time and lots of $$$$)...
So, know up front what basic interior layout you need / desire...

-- While some focus on the berths (and getting good nights sleep is VERY important!), don't overlook the galley!!

-- Having a great galley is a incredible advantage on-board!!
Here's a pic of my galley...

And, a sisterships' galley...


(however, not having one, isn't the end of the world, just you'll never know 'til you see someone making a 3 course meal in a heavy sea in a nice U-shaped galley, well aft of the mast, etc....compared to one of those long / straight galleys amidships...)
-- Know that you'll want at least one (preferably 2) sea berths....yes, even if just cruising the Caribbean....(see my photos above)
This doesn't mean you have to give up on comfort, nor restrict yourself to old traditional designs....but, you will need to look carefully at different boats, figure out where/how to adapt their berths/settees into sea berths.... know that a midship berth is good, but also is one that is aft (people forget that the old "quarter-berths" worked great as sea berths), you just need to have it set-up as a sea berth (lee cloths / lee boards, and allowing accees in/out while in a heavy sea)...
-- Heads....not as controversial and "guns" or "anchors", but there are strong opinions on these...
I prefer having two heads....this is for redundancy!! (but, I've heard more than a few husband and wife cruising couples that have "his" and "hers" heads, and that this alone allows them to avoid divorce lawyers!!
FYI, storage is a VERY important criteria!! But, you can add storage lockers and/or open up areas for more storage, etc....(I've done this on my boat), so while it is an important part of the boat, it doesn't rise to one of the three "locations" that you cannot change..
So, if you want a U-shaped galley, comfortable island berth, and some precise number of cabins and heads, etc... then the basic interior layout / design is your third "location"!



Of course, there are many other things, systems, design criteria, etc. to think about, like ventilation (especially in your sleeping cabins), space for adequate solar array, etc. etc. etc....but, I do hope the above helps you get started...and that my long-winded ramblings didn't bore or overwhelm...
Let us know if there are other things we can help with?


Fair winds..

John

P.S. Since I'm a radio nut, and have made my living owning /operating an electronics firm (mostly commercial satcoom), it feels strange that I'm answering a question without mentioning electrics / electronics....but this time I'm giving you real world sailing info about the boat, boat design, etc...based on my own sailing / cruising experience starting as a kid in 1965...
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Old 08-07-2017, 15:06   #13
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Thanks Hamburking! I initially liked the Hunters through online research but I have allowed myself to be slowly poisoned by others opinions and we haven't even looked at one. I've never been on one but I'm thinking we need to in order to make our own decision. I'm glad you loved her so much. How long did you owner her? Did you buy her new? Any major issues?
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Old 08-07-2017, 15:11   #14
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kenomac View Post
...I scuba dive quite often and I know that there's no way I can climb back onto a dinghy with my gear on. Think about it.... how would the two of you do this unless you were diving from the shore? On dive boats, you absolutely need drop down ladders or stairs and some help climbing back on even after you remove your fins etc. The only way I can get back on the dinghy is when I use a hookah system (no tanks) and do a huge thrust with my fins.... and even then it sometimes takes two tries. You're not getting back on with tanks etc. Sure you can remove the vest, but then what? Good luck trying.

And forget about rope ladders.
I was wondering about propelling myself into a dinghy, I've never done it so I am pretty sure I won't be a pro let alone trying to mess with gear.
We were thinking of a hookah system, how do you like it?

Rope ladders..yea, umm no
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Old 08-07-2017, 15:45   #15
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Re: Doing my research and wondering...

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomAndLee View Post
I was wondering about propelling myself into a dinghy, I've never done it so I am pretty sure I won't be a pro let alone trying to mess with gear.
We were thinking of a hookah system, how do you like it?

Rope ladders..yea, umm no
Very few women would be able to hop into a dinghy from the water, and very few men over 55.

Hookah is very handy for working around the boat and shallow dives. I purchased a HookaMax 12v system which is complete crap & wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless they prefer buying Chinese products which turn to rust within a year. What junk.

If and when I replace the compressor, I'll probably just pick up a $90 Porter Cable oilless from the Home depot and use my tanks for anything remote.

Did I mention that HookaMax is crap?
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