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Old 15-10-2014, 09:47   #1
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Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

I've been looking around at reviews and opinions on many sailboats. Of course I do take everything with a grain of salt and weigh all of the opinions together. Using these I've come down to a split between the Nor'Sea and the Bristol Channel Cutter (I seem to have taken a liking to Lyle Hess's designs). However when I looked for a comparison between the two I cannot find a direct one. I know that my opinion will develop more once I climb aboard one, however I want to see what people think between the two.

  • Seaworthiness
  • Sailing speed
  • Storage
  • Overall comfort
  • Level of care required
  • Aft Cabin (Nor'Sea) vs Aft Cockpit (BCC)
  • Interior size
  • Live-aboard capabilities

Also a quick side question: Would it be worth getting a Nor'Sea with no intentions of using the trailer?

Thank you for time, any and all opinions are appreciated.

PS. This will be my first boat and I do want to make a well informed decision, since I plan to move aboard.
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Old 15-10-2014, 10:03   #2
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

The BCC is a big boat... much better sailor... actually quite fast. Aft cabin on a boat that small is accessed via the cockpit... kind of a PITA. I would go aft cockpit.
I've not sailed either, but going by reputation only. Did have friends years ago with a BCC... heck of a boat.... and priced because they are!
The only good thing going for the Norsea really is that it can go on a trailer... But really it's apples and oranges.
The Norsea is 2 ft narrower and carries a lot less sail area.
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Old 15-10-2014, 10:32   #3
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

I've seen a norsea and been on a bcc..... The bcc is huge compared to the norsea.

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Old 15-10-2014, 10:38   #4
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

I have a Nor'sea 27 with aft cockpit. It's my first boat.

Since you don't intend to use a trailer with an NS27, you could end up with either one. Not all boats come with a trailer. If you find one with a trailer, I believe it wouldn't be too hard to sell it to someone who wants it.

I've only been able to sail my boat a few times on a local lake in KY. Mostly been doing refit work on it (see blog link in signature). I love my boat and wouldn't want anything else. A BCC is a nice looking boat. I tend to enjoy Lyle Hess designs as well.

My NS27 has a lot of storage. More than I would have expected for a boat this size. Might have to dig around my blog but I have pictures of the interior that might help you determine storage and live aboard space. I'm 6'5" and I have no problem fitting into either the quarterberth or the forward salon when converted to v-berth. I also have videos on YouTube that you can find on my blog.

For a good opinion between the two boats, Go to Sailing Simplicity (Teresa Carey's Sailing Simplicity & the Pursuit of Happiness) and while the site has Teresa Carey, her husband, Ben, has owned an NS27, then a BCC. Teresa Carey also had her own NS27 when Ben had the BCC. May get good info out of both of them. Now they're married, they now have a different boat together.

For more info about the NS27, go to Yahoo and join the owners group if you haven't already ( There is plenty of information in the archives and several who are quite active there.

I do have a lot of work to do on my boat but mainly because a previous owner didn't do certain things but otherwise, I don't think it's too bad. Luckily I enjoy working on the boat as much as sailing and being on the water.

I hope this helps you get started. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Daniel - Rhapsody Blog,
ďA sailorís joys are as simple as a childís.Ē ó Bernard Moitessier
"I don't need therapy, I just need my boat"
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Old 15-10-2014, 10:48   #5
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

Thank you for your responses. They are most appreciated.
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Old 16-10-2014, 08:26   #6
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

Sometimes displacement is a better measure of size than length. The BC Cutter displaces 14,000 lbs while the Nor'Sea is about 8,000. I'd look for a Sam L Morse version of the BCC if it was me. That being said there are a couple of BC Cutters for sale on Yachtworld under 50 k which is surprising although often the cheapest boat ends up being the most expensive.
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Old 16-10-2014, 11:08   #7
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28

It's an apples & oranges thing yeah, albeit I'm not a huge fan of either. As if you have to go forward, or I should say, when you have to go forward, where exactly do your feet go? Particularly when it's windy, & there's a large & confused sea running. Meaning that the decks, such as they are, are REAL cluttered.
To me, that's a HUGE part of seaworthiness. Ditto on having a bit of deck space to store gear, let alone a dinghy.
Also, every protrusion which you have from the deck, especially forward of the mast, is a probable line catcher (for jibs & downwind sails). Just something to think about.

On the N'sea, I haven't pulled out a tape measure, but still, unless those boats are like the Tardis, I'm at a loss as to where you'd put 2 cabins for adults. When it can be a challenge to design one on a boat that size, which is beam restricted.

I ain't trying to be mean, just pointing out one or two key things. Which to me play a big role in the comfort & handling of a vessel.

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Old 16-10-2014, 12:24   #8
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Re: Nor'Sea 27 vs. BCC 28


Advantages to owning a Nor'Sea 27 vary - as with any boat - in how you plan to use the boat.

Will you be a tinkerer like many owners who may not sail much, but who enjoy making a great looking boat look it's very best?
Will you sail primarily in your local area mainly on weekends or less frequently even than that?
Do you own property where a boat and trailer can be stored?
Will you be hauling the boat to destinations and sailing for a considerable time, requiring you to pay for trailer storage until your return?
Do you appreciate the possibility of avoiding marina and yard costs when the boat can be stored, bottom paint renewed, through hulls installed or removed and cutlass bearings replaced for free on a trailer?

If you answer yes to any of the questions above owning a Nor'Sea 27 may fit the bill., even if there may be occasions when paying for the trailer's storage is required.

BUT, otherwise, it will be necessary to consider other equally or more important variables when deciding on any boat.

Will you require space for two or more souls aboard on anything other than boat use over relatively short periods of time?
Will you be sailing offshore on passages lasting more than a day or two at a time?

How you answer the last two questions determines how seriously you need to consider:


Since both the Nor'Sea27 and Bristol Channel Cutter can be considered seaworthy, I'd feel comfortable taking either of them offshore over long distances .

Sailing speed?

Due to the Bristol's longer water length, you should theoretically attain better speed than the NorSea 27's 23.5' WLL. However, weight distribution and sailplan can influence this variable considerably. My experience sailing with a pretty consevative sail plan (one reef in/working jib) is my Nor'Sea averages about 3.5 - 4 knots on most passages and includes time hove-to. In 20+ knots of wind she'll sometimes attain +-6 knots. But, even then this is typically under ideal conditions, off the wind with moderate seas. But then she's heavily laden for offshore passagemaking too.


Considering the Nor'Sea's relatively small size, her carrying and stowage capacity is excellent. My biggest complaint is an absence of drawers and convenient storage for clothes.

Overall comfort:

This is a hard one. Comfort on any boat underway depends on the boat design and conditions. Since my experience is limited to the Nor'Sea 27, I can only say after sailing her nearly twice around the world that discomfort would not be a primary consideration among possible complaints. Fatigue, immigration hassles, increasing fees, the changing rules affecting boat use and anchoring are more significant. The Nor'Sea's narrow beam contributes to safety in rough conditions, since, how far are you going to travel when launched by an unexpected large wave? Not far.

Level of care required?

The Bristol has more wood, but needn't be a concern if you can neglect the wood like I do with a clear conscience. Otherwise, their both BOATS. And the level of care required between boats is pretty much the same - except in the case of boats with more wood.

Aft Cabin (Nor'Sea) vs Aft Cockpit (BCC)?

Hands down. Center cockpit. But then, that's what I own and since the aft-cabin in my usage is a 'garage', unlike some owners who take great pains in maintaining the space for 'habitation'. Quite frankly, I don't see how some couples I've met on the cruising circuit manage this and still have space for the other 'stuff'...

Interior size?

There's nothing about my Nor'Sea's interior size that 'invites' me to just hang out there. Much prefer the roomy cockpit when weather permits. Otherwise, I'll hang out in my Starbucks office...

Live-aboard capabilities?

No matter the boat this depends on YOU. I've lived continuously on my Nor'Sea 27 about 23 years now, spanning two 4.5 year voyages approximating the circumference of our earth. Northwest U.S. to San Diego, Mexico and beyond. Wouldn't change a thing.
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