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Old 28-09-2020, 05:38   #1
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Have I got the right boat

Hi all,

I'm considering cruising to the caribbean and further. Not neccesarily a circumnavigation but thats not out of the question. I live aboard full time.

I currently own a Sigma 362 which I've really enjoyed sailing for the past few years and I've done a number of mods to prepare it for longer term cruising and I've just had the standing rigging replaced and a new main and genoa. Of course the underwater profile of this boat is a bolt on fin keel (not super high aspect ratio) and a spade rudder.

An indecent conversation with a rock off the coast of Brittany this summer resulted in being out of the water for two months to get the rudder straightened. This event has me thinking about the suitability of this design for what I'm planning to do. Whilst I know that people have crossed major oceans with this configuration the potential for substantial inconvenience (or worse) must be considered.

The thing is, in every other aspect she is exactly what I want: a decent sized saloon, a "proper" heads compartment (my partner loves that), a good sized owners cabin that can be permanently given to sleeping and a galley that can be used in a seaway (a bit challenging on a hard starboard tack tbh).

So...

I've been looking at alternatives and, if I were to change it would have to be a full keel or a substantial skeg. I've considered a Nicholson 32 (the mk10 looks pretty good). They have a fantastic reputation but not sure I could live with the restricted space after the Sigma.

I really don't know enough about this style of boat to begin making sensible comparisons so I'm hoping to get some insiration from the CF hive mind!

If I could find something that incorporates the features I listed above but with a full keel that would be great. Size-wize, ideally something in the mid-30s LOA. Budget would be up to about 25K (or equivalent local currency) for something "ready to go" (i.e. recent rig and sails, solar installed, windvane, etc).

Thanks in advance
Paul
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Old 28-09-2020, 05:46   #2
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Re: Have I got the right boat

For me I would choose skeg hung- but this is pure personal opinion. Most boats built today are fin keel/rudder and for a reason.

For cruising the Caribbean and beyond- the best boat for the job is the one you know and trust. Enjoy the boat you have and go sailing! After you run the Caribbean a couple seasons you may decide differently- but dont make that choice right now- get out cruising full time for a couple seasons first.

Childress circumnavigated S.H. in a Catalina 27- others have gone in 12' boats, others in open boats, balsa rafts... Its not so much the boat as the person in command.

Your boat sounds prepped for the adventure. Enjoy it while its ready instead of taking on some new can of worms. After a couple seasons, you will know what boat to get next.
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Old 28-09-2020, 06:06   #3
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Re: Have I got the right boat

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Originally Posted by BenBowSirocco View Post
For cruising the Caribbean and beyond- the best boat for the job is the one you know and trust. Enjoy the boat you have and go sailing!
Hi Ben,

Yes, I've heard that argument too and, to be honest, I do kind of sway in that direction. I'd just like to weigh up the alternatives...

Cheers
Paul
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Old 28-09-2020, 06:33   #4
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Re: Have I got the right boat

In my opinion with your budget (I live in the USA though) I would say stick with the boat that you know is solid. Has fresh rig/sails. Around here with that budget, your not going to get much more than a project boat and it will almost certainly need Rig/Sails.

My budget was similar to yours a couple years ago and there are a few lucky finds, but mostly, its just boats that need a lot of time/effort.
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Old 28-09-2020, 08:36   #5
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Why so concerned?

If your present boat suits you in all respects, and a survey of the keel and its bolts subsequent to the "indecent conversation with a rock" indicated that they are sound, you should have no worries.

The trick is, of course, not to engage rocks, or any other hard unyielding object, in conversation. But it's not the boat that initiates such conversations - it's the skipper. Or the pilot if you have a crew member so tasked :-).

Sounds as if the boat is fine and that you are worrying about the wrong thing. Surely, off the coast of Brittany, the rock must have been charted eons ago? Worry about navigation in the strictly technical sense, perhaps going back to the methods of yore, using up-to-date paper charts and unpolluted by electronic devices.

It's nice to have a position harvested off a GPS, but even having that, there is wisdom in plotting it on a paper chart.

All the best,

TrentePieds
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Old 28-09-2020, 08:47   #6
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Changing the boat is not going to avoid a rock.
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Old 28-09-2020, 08:49   #7
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Re: Have I got the right boat

You'll be fine in the Caribe if you take care. Many do it.
Spade rudders are not my preference, just because I'm more of a "if it can go wrong it will go wrong" type.

Do your Caribe trip and then decide.
-I know one couple who had to replace their bent spade rudder TWICE. (Pearson 38)
-I have banged the bottom hard to a dead stop a few times with a molded keel and protected rudder with nothing but bottom paint scraped.
-I have seen spade rudder/ bolt-on keel boats heavily damaged from the same thing. (42 ft charter boat I managed)
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Old 28-09-2020, 09:10   #8
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Re: Have I got the right boat

If you had 40k - 50k to play with it might be worth looking around and I'd suggest a Rival 36 or 38 (though no separate rear cabin) or a Westerly Typhoon 37.

But you're not going to get anything better than what you have for 25k unless the market has totally crashed and from what I see here in Poole, it hasn't. Besides some of the other options won't have the Sigma's performance that you doubtless currently enjoy.

In addition all boats need upgrades and you'd need to factor that in to any replacement too.
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Old 28-09-2020, 09:24   #9
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Re: Have I got the right boat

I'm more like Cheechako on this one. And for me, once I have experienced the weakness of any design or device, and then I know it CAN happen, there is always a bit of concern lurking in the back of my mind which kind of spoils the fun for me. Since I crewed on a boat that lost its spade rudder quite a ways from a friendly shore, I eye them suspiciously now. If it were me and I really loved my boat as it is, I would just be sure to pack a real spare rudder that could be installed easily in inclement weather. But that is just me. I don't know how your keel is attached, but I have seen some very stout ones that I'd have no trouble trusting.
There are many fine boats with encapsulated ballast in keels and skeg-hung rudders but whether they are available in your price range ready to go, that I don't know. (I always thought the Peterson 44 was a good cruising design for example) I happen to think my long keel and attached rudder are great for where I am and for what I am doing. She sails great, upwind performance is acceptable, and that's two more things (rudder and keel) that I really don't worry about at all. And as a bonus I can sail right over kelp and crab pot buoys without a second thought.
To me its about comfort I guess. If you are comfortable and worry-free with your boat, and your own skills and ability to handle whatever comes along, you'll enjoy the trip much more.
Or maybe I'm more neurotic than most.
Since you really like the boat you have, I guess I'd just work on making her more bombproof and ready for any situation to the point where you have complete confidence in her and then you'll be good to go.
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Old 28-09-2020, 09:26   #10
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Re: Have I got the right boat

I agree with Paul having sailed a Sigma 362, fab boat go with what you have got and don't look back. They are responsive, fast and a real pleasure to sail. You could swop and really regret it.

Is a fin and spade rudder suitable? well have a look at the Atlantic Rally for Cruisers entry lists each year to see what everyone else is sailing. The answer is lots of European fin and spade rigged yachts from the likes of Beneteau, Jeanneau and Bavaria.

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Old 28-09-2020, 11:46   #11
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Like Pete7 says...
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Old 28-09-2020, 12:09   #12
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Worth also pointing out your Sigma was made by Marine Projects in Plymouth, who also made Moodys etc. Yours and mine are a generation in design older than many of the current yachts European yachts, so very much a belt and braces approach to building a strong boat. For example are your bulkheads fully tabbed in and then through bolted, just in case?

David Thomas designed some great yachts and the 362 stood up to sailing school use very well. Can't really ask for much more.

A quote from Sailing Today "The Sigma 362 achieves an admirable balance between creature comforts, sailing performance and good looks, which is about all that I’d ask for in my ideal cruiser."

Go, enjoy, take the camera and tell us what its like.

Want to swop boats?
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Old 28-09-2020, 13:43   #13
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailMoonShadow View Post
Hi all,

I'm considering cruising to the caribbean and further. Not neccesarily a circumnavigation but thats not out of the question. I live aboard full time.

I currently own a Sigma 362 which I've really enjoyed sailing for the past few years and I've done a number of mods to prepare it for longer term cruising and I've just had the standing rigging replaced and a new main and genoa. Of course the underwater profile of this boat is a bolt on fin keel (not super high aspect ratio) and a spade rudder.

An indecent conversation with a rock off the coast of Brittany this summer resulted in being out of the water for two months to get the rudder straightened. This event has me thinking about the suitability of this design for what I'm planning to do. Whilst I know that people have crossed major oceans with this configuration the potential for substantial inconvenience (or worse) must be considered.

The thing is, in every other aspect she is exactly what I want: a decent sized saloon, a "proper" heads compartment (my partner loves that), a good sized owners cabin that can be permanently given to sleeping and a galley that can be used in a seaway (a bit challenging on a hard starboard tack tbh).

So...

I've been looking at alternatives and, if I were to change it would have to be a full keel or a substantial skeg. I've considered a Nicholson 32 (the mk10 looks pretty good). They have a fantastic reputation but not sure I could live with the restricted space after the Sigma.

I really don't know enough about this style of boat to begin making sensible comparisons so I'm hoping to get some insiration from the CF hive mind!

If I could find something that incorporates the features I listed above but with a full keel that would be great. Size-wize, ideally something in the mid-30s LOA. Budget would be up to about 25K (or equivalent local currency) for something "ready to go" (i.e. recent rig and sails, solar installed, windvane, etc).

Thanks in advance
Paul
While I'm not familiar with the Sigma boats, there's nothing wrong with a 36'er which you already have fitted and know how to sail (and fix) That boat should take you anywhere you're good enough to go. If the spade rudder bothers you add a Hydrovane - for the backup rudder if not for the autopilot function, good redundancy there for the money. I doubt you've got the budget to surpass what you already own.
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Old 28-09-2020, 15:36   #14
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Re: Have I got the right boat

SMS you could have had similar damage even if you had a skeg or full length keel. I have surveyed a number of yacht's with substantial skeg damage. Even with rudders on the back of keels I have once seen the bottom pintle completely missing from a hard grounding.
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Old 28-09-2020, 16:06   #15
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Re: Have I got the right boat

Another thing to consider is should you find yourself suddenly in danger of conversing with a rock the spade rudder/fin keel vessel is more able to alter course quickly, thus avoiding the dialog. Maneuverability had its advantages at times!

And as mentioned above, long keels and attached rudders are not invulnerable...

Jim
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