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Old 13-01-2021, 13:15   #1
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1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Hello everyone. First time buyer looking for some advice on which boats are comparable to IP 350.

Hereís my background (as someone may ask). Iím in year 2 of my 3-yr plan to become live-aboard cruiser with big plans (no, I will not use the C-word). Note that I have some past experience sailing on Lasers AND have lived/ worked on a 300 ft tall ship when in was doing my 2-yr mandatory military service in the Navy).
Year 1: completed ASA 101-104, read dozens of books (Slocum, Moitessier, Pardeys, Cornell etc) and joined local boat club (which provides me free use of a 28 ft Hunter which Iíve skippered single-handed few times last summer)
Year 2: signed up for ASA 105/106, will take more courses (marine diesel, electrics, weather etc). Will also try to get out more on other boats - which was tough last year due to Covid (if anyone in the Annapolis area is looking for crew for day or weekend trips, please let me know!!)
Year 3: buy the boat and start living the dream...

So far so good (but please tell me if Iím missing anything here...) but hereís the problem. The next big step is deciding which boat to buy. And for that I could really need some advice. My point of reference is the Island Packet 350. Itís the only ďbluewaterĒ cruiser Iíve sailed on (friendís boat) once and I liked what I saw. Yes, I know (from this forum only as I lack benchmark) that ďIsland PigletsĒ are slow, not great upwind and a PITA to maneuver in tight marinas. But I like the idea of full keel for safety and Iím not too worried about speed (don't care if I arrive 1-2 days later). Oh, and I like the fact that thereís several boats in my range ($75-150k) in the Annapolis area (as I have no plans to fixate on a boat of which no more than 2 are for sale in the entire US at any given time...)

But I also don't want to decide on a particular boat without at least investigating alternatives. So my question to the forum is: which boats in the 34-38 ft range (as it will only be me and, hopefully, one significant other) are comparable to the IP 350?! Again, selection criteria are:
- full keel or similar (I know fin keels are faster but I want sth forgiving when I ground her)
- sloop or cutter rig, 34-38 ft
- Year built? Iíd prefer sth younger (10-15 yrs) as I want to sail off without spending months repairing or refitting (I assume thatís realistic in $75-150K price range?!). But perhaps an older boats thatís fully refitted works, too?
- Draft is a question I have: I would assume the first 1-2 yrs will be spent sailing in the Chesapeake and Bahamas - both shallow. But after that I plan to sail to the Med and beyond so a deeper draft makes sense for ocean crossings... Is there a compromise?

Not sure if I covered it all. In summary, a solid, proven bluewater cruiser (no production boats), ideally one that has all the advantages of an IP but maybe less of the disadvantages (speed, maneuverability). But maybe thatís asking too much? Open to suggestions, esp. from people whoíve sailed (or owned) different boats that fit the above criteria so can provide advice.

Thank you very much in advance for helping me with this. I know the experienced members here get these questions from us newbies all the time but please know how much we appreciate you taking the time to help us. Very grateful indeed.

Regards, Ralph
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Old 13-01-2021, 13:21   #2
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Your prospective “bluewater” boat is a “production” boat.
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Old 13-01-2021, 14:37   #3
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Thanks and duly noted
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Old 13-01-2021, 15:05   #4
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

First off good luck with you plans.

I know if feels like you are asking a relevant question with answers to be offered. But in reality you aren't. There are so many boats that can be successful in "bluewater". And all boats are compromises of one sort or another. There are obvious boats much better suited for near coastal sailing and might want to stay away for those. Outside of that, IMO, it has much more to do with the sailor, having well maintained equipment, and the skill set to use the equipment effectively.

There are people that cross oceans and avert disasters in boats you might be suspicious of going out on the bay in. On the other side there are lots of stories of people getting into trouble they can't get out of in very well found boats.

All of that to say only you can answer the questions you ask. As you have been, get as much experience as you can. Really spend some time processing the cause and effects of your choices that are a reality of having to be self reliant at sea. And make sure when you get a boat that it is ready. Not pretty with the newest technical gadget, but really ready for the stresses it will face offshore. Play out as many what ifs as you can think of. Answer all of those questions to the best of your ability. Most stories will reveal the catastrophe is always a result of many dominos falling. The key seems to be to never allow the dominos to line up. Stop the "issue" when its small, before it has time to gain momentum.

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Old 13-01-2021, 15:21   #5
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

I was thinking like you a few weeks ago. A guy here called Jim has changed my mind. The minute you see the fact that fin keels could also be great safe sailboats, you'll find yourself in an endless ocean of new opportunities and ambitions. Please give yourself that chance before spending your hard earned money on a full keel. At least, throughly investigate the bluewater fin keels before your purchase; at the end of the day, you can always buy your IP 349. If you still insist with your full keel decision, then here's another option for you. https://www.caboricoyachts.com/
Good luck.
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Old 13-01-2021, 15:29   #6
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Thank you Foster and completely understand. And if I could live again, I would win the lottery at 20, retire and spend the next 30 yrs sailing. But I don't have that choice so trying to do everything I can now - read, take ASA courses, skipper on a 28 ft boat etc.
All of which is great and part of the learning. And yes, I understand that "every boat is a compromise" and what's best for each sailor depends on skills etc. And that other factors play a role. Which is why I thought it helps to provide detailed background...

But I still need to figure out WHICH boats to consider in my short list. Which is why I thought it would be helpful to provide the IP 350 as a reference point, hoping that some kind soul (who can put that boat into context) can provide names of 'comparable' boats. Because I have no idea where to start. If I like a car in the parking lot, I walk around, look a the badge and do some research. How do I do that here?
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Old 13-01-2021, 15:34   #7
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Thank you Full. I'm in fact not at all married to full keel. I am looking for safe boat (rather than fast) so happy to consider fin keel. But, to be honest, it's that "ocean of opportunities" that baffles me, i.e. I have no idea where to start my search and I don't want to consider dozens of possible boats. Would rather spend my time wisely following only a handful of possible boats that are a good fit and esp. those (like the IP 350) where there's plenty of boats on the market to provide comparables. I know that one can spend years searching for the right boat but I don't have the time for that...

Thanks for the link to Cabo Rico. Interesting but how did you narrow down the choice at first? I'm looking for 34-38ft and have $100-150K to spend... Where do I start??
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Old 13-01-2021, 17:29   #8
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

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Originally Posted by Ralph71 View Post
Which are "bluewater" fin keel boats. And how did you narrow down the choice at first? I'm looking for 34-38ft and have $100-150K to spend... Where do I start??
I think when you make a long list of what you want to do with the boat, the perfect sailboat will present itself in the end. Maybe that sailboat is already there, right in front of your mental vision, and you're just looking for verfication from seasoned sailors, which is wise.
First thing first, I believe that you'll get there fast. You have the most important thing figured out; you have a good budget for a reliable used monohull. I've met people who did what you want to do with a fraction of that budget - on older boats though, 80s - 90s / saying this disregarding the future maintenance costs. This portion of the post is a little blur for me, but I think you should be fine.
You've been on an IP 350 as a passanger and loved it. You want to cruise around the shallow waters, so IP's shallow draft will help. You don't care about speed. You are fine with it's limitations in regards to manevouring in the marinas... Then you want to sail across Atlantic, and the specs and reviews say that it very well can. On paper, it appeares to be the right boat, but now, you wonder if it really is...
I can only tell you my own story so far, and I hope it'll help you a bit. You have more exprience than I do with sailing. I've sailed a bunch of various dingies, and very recently started looking for 27 - 32 ft full keel sailboats. After listening to the wisdom of experienced sailors here, I'm set with a Catalina 22 as my first sailboat. These days, I'm debating if it should have a fin keel or a centerboard - far from what I had been looking for initially. You see, while investigating my future sailboat options, I've decided that I'd rather buy a well designed fin keel in good condition than a badly engineered full keel or a good full keel in bad condition.
Especially, looking for a used sailboat, I believe the used boat market will dictate what you'll have to buy more than what you want - and widening your options by including the other types of keels in your list, you'll end up spending way, way wisely. My concern was, just because you are only looking for full keels, your buyer radars probably will be excluding some sailboats that might very well do everything you need with a fraction of your budget.
My Catalina 22 choice might turn into a bad, bad decision, but if I buy it used, then it'll be a decision I can walk away from with a smirk on my ugly face and a long tale to tell when I'm drunk. Regardless of my bad joke, I don't think I'll ever regret buying that sailboat. Thousands of them have been produced. Parts are avaliable, everywhere. Dozens of them are on sale; it's buyers market. It's simple, not many things to breakdown, so as a newbie I can easily handle the issues. It's sailing capabilities are well known and proven; I've not met a single folk who had a negative thing to say about it. It's like buying a Corolla; it's hard to go wrong with it.
Hanging around here, in no time, you'll have a long list of ~38 ft bluewater sailboats. What I mean is, your list will expand from one sailboat to a dozen - just because you added the fin, bulb and other type of keels on it...
One advantage you have is the fact that you've already single handedly sailed a fin keel, Hunter 28. Did you like it? Or hated it? What is your opinion on that boat? I think it's a fine example of fin keels; maybe one of the expert folks here is kind enough to enlighten us all more on the subject, which might help you with your decision. Is what you will experience with a let's say 38ft fin keel sailboat that can safely sail across Atlantic similar to what you've experienced on Hunter 28? Probably, this question won't have a straight answer, but might help.
You can also ask your friend to give you another ride on his IP350, but this time you can take over the command a bit, and that way, you can compare the experience with Hunter 28. What better way is there than hands on experience? Next year, you'll be sailing bigger sailboats that can probably do the job, so you'll be comparing a bunch of sailboats with your friend's IP. I'd ask tons of questions to the instructors if I were you.
Just take a look at this one,
https://amel.fr/en/amel-50/
I'm not recommending it or something, but just study it a bit. Here, I'd like to ask a question to the sailors who have acrossed the oceans, would you rather do that on an IP or an Amel? I've talked to many folks who sailed everywhere on a mainstream 38ft something production sailboat.
I hope my story will help you; just go back a few weeks here and see my earlier posts. I wanted to start with an IP27 and eventually graduate to a IP349. Now, I'm in the market for Catalina 22 and very confident with my decision
Covid postponed my sailing plans. Right now, I'm building an outrigger canoe with crab claw sails to sail on a lousy Midwest lake; it's sad really...
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Old 13-01-2021, 17:44   #9
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

You need to be honest with yourself about what you are really likely to do with this boat. How will you really use it? Are you actually likely to take off on a circumnavigation? Are you more likely to cruise the North American East Coast and Caribbean? If the latter then in reality you will spend a minority of your time aboard sailing and a much smaller percentage passage making. Meanwhile you will be eating, sleeping, recreating, working? and generally living aboard. Much of what feels important now won't feel so important later and things not on your horizon now will be important later. You may end up caring a lot more about what kind of anchor you have than what kind of keel you have. If you are only on passage 3% of the time then 97% of the squalls you encounter are at 2 AM (squalls love 2AM ) will be at anchor.

You will get pushback on your question and rational here for the simple reason that we (cruisers who frequent this forum) see a constant stream of people with variations of your question and position. Five years ago you could count me in that group, so I understand. We see many folks boxing themselves in to chasing a small set of boats that tick certain boxes because of the fixation on certain aspects of boat design generally attached to the word "bluewater", when in reality a much larger set of boats would meet those people's needs and have many advantages forgone in that smaller set of boats. Think through your realities. Perhaps you are someone who will actually spend a lot of time passage making. Most people do not end up in that camp for many reasons. You can go an awful lot of places without ever making a passage longer than two or three nights, and with reasonably conservative weather tolerances you don't need a 'bluewater' boat for that. Pretty much all of North and South America is reasonably available to a competent cruiser with what you could call 'a well found production boat.'
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Old 13-01-2021, 18:09   #10
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Here is a solid writeup of rationale plus a good list of bluewater boats to start with while you are sitting in your arm chair
https://www.mahina.com/cruise.html
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Old 13-01-2021, 18:16   #11
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

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Very helpful site. TY!
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Old 13-01-2021, 18:47   #12
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Here is a solid writeup of rationale plus a good list of bluewater boats to start with while you are sitting in your arm chair


Thank you very much Paul. I've seen referral to this website a few times on CF thread over past 12 months and this is indeed my #1 source for my peer group analysis to date...
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Old 13-01-2021, 19:00   #13
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

You need to be honest with yourself about what you are really likely to do with this boat. How will you really use it? Are you actually likely to take off on a circumnavigation? Are you more likely to cruise the North American East Coast and Caribbean? If the latter then in reality you will spend a minority of your time aboard sailing and a much smaller percentage passage making. Meanwhile you will be eating, sleeping, recreating, working? and generally living aboard. Much of what feels important now won't feel so important later and things not on your horizon now will be important later. You may end up caring a lot more about what kind of anchor you have than what kind of keel you have. If you are only on passage 3% of the time then 97% of the squalls you encounter are at 2 AM (squalls love 2AM ) will be at anchor.

You will get pushback on your question and rational here for the simple reason that we (cruisers who frequent this forum) see a constant stream of people with variations of your question and position. Five years ago you could count me in that group, so I understand. We see many folks boxing themselves in to chasing a small set of boats that tick certain boxes because of the fixation on certain aspects of boat design generally attached to the word "bluewater", when in reality a much larger set of boats would meet those people's needs and have many advantages forgone in that smaller set of boats. Think through your realities. Perhaps you are someone who will actually spend a lot of time passage making. Most people do not end up in that camp for many reasons. You can go an awful lot of places without ever making a passage longer than two or three nights, and with reasonably conservative weather tolerances you don't need a 'bluewater' boat for that. Pretty much all of North and South America is reasonably available to a competent cruiser with what you could call 'a well found production boat.'

----------
Thank you so much for your detailed reply Doug. Yes, I have seen a number of similar threads here over the past 12 months and had actually tried to avoid same mistakes by giving more details. The short answer is "Yes"- I DO plan to circumnavigate. But I've seen far too many replies thrash the OP by telling him (usually a he) that no newbie who hasn't been sailing for min 30 yrs, and/or owned at least 5 boats, should ever even talk about the c-word. Hence I avoided it... Will I get there? There's no guarantees in life but I have a clear plan and love for the ocean (2 yrs on a tall ship took care of that).
Plan is to prepare next 2-3 yrs and then cast off for good. So yes, I am looking for a proven "bluewater" (another word that I've noticed will lead to furious debate) cruiser as I WILL be crossing oceans rather than coastal only.

But the ONE thing missing is crowdsourced opinions on which is the best boat for that. I know there's no 100% perfect boat (and "experience is more important than the boat" etc.) but I want to at least get it 75 or 80% right. There's thousands (!) of yrs experience such boats on this forum. That all I seek - advice from people who know much more than I do.
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Old 13-01-2021, 19:01   #14
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougweibel View Post
You need to be honest with yourself about what you are really likely to do with this boat. How will you really use it? Are you actually likely to take off on a circumnavigation? Are you more likely to cruise the North American East Coast and Caribbean? If the latter then in reality you will spend a minority of your time aboard sailing and a much smaller percentage passage making. Meanwhile you will be eating, sleeping, recreating, working? and generally living aboard. Much of what feels important now won't feel so important later and things not on your horizon now will be important later. You may end up caring a lot more about what kind of anchor you have than what kind of keel you have. If you are only on passage 3% of the time then 97% of the squalls you encounter are at 2 AM (squalls love 2AM ) will be at anchor.

You will get pushback on your question and rational here for the simple reason that we (cruisers who frequent this forum) see a constant stream of people with variations of your question and position. Five years ago you could count me in that group, so I understand. We see many folks boxing themselves in to chasing a small set of boats that tick certain boxes because of the fixation on certain aspects of boat design generally attached to the word "bluewater", when in reality a much larger set of boats would meet those people's needs and have many advantages forgone in that smaller set of boats. Think through your realities. Perhaps you are someone who will actually spend a lot of time passage making. Most people do not end up in that camp for many reasons. You can go an awful lot of places without ever making a passage longer than two or three nights, and with reasonably conservative weather tolerances you don't need a 'bluewater' boat for that. Pretty much all of North and South America is reasonably available to a competent cruiser with what you could call 'a well found production boat.'
One useful thing about this forum is that most people tell you what they're sailing and where. So you can look at the boat and see what it has and what they're doing with it.

Even here in the Northeast US, where we get plenty of foul weather, I would've never considered a pilothouse, but when you ask about cruising in the Salish Sea, lots of the people who respond have a boat with a pilothouse.

After listening to them/watching their videos/watching them talk to each other/reading their weather reports, now you're adding pilothouse to your list of things to consider if you plan to buy a boat to cruise the Salish Sea. (Which would rule out IPs, e.g.)

That kind of thing.
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Old 13-01-2021, 19:17   #15
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Re: 1st time buyer: IP 350's - comparable boats?

Thank you again Full for your feedback. I did like the IP 350 and when I did my research (post sail) on her, she seemed to tick all the boxes. Esp. the fact that there's quite a few on the market in my area AND that IPs are, apparently, thought of more highly than Bavarias, Catalinas, Beneteaus, Hunter etc. on this forum. So that was my starting point but I don't want to be the guy who buys the first boats he sees. Maybe there are other boats out there that have the same strengths as IPs but fewer of the weaknesses. Currently I just don't know. What I do know for sure though is that the Hunter 28 I sail on now would not be fit for my purposes. Even I can tell that much already...

So I guess what I was hoping for is someone on this forum who knows (owned?) an IP 350 AND another comparable boat and who can tell me "both good but IP better..." OR "hated the IP bc too slow - bought an XX instead - much better..." Of course, that is just one person's opinion but it would be a starting point and would allow me to investigate further - maybe add that boat to my shortlist, maybe throw it out... I've noticed there's plenty of delivery guys here - hell, they must know, no? Does this make any sense?
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