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Old 22-10-2003, 07:08   #1
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Selecting the Ideal Liveaboard Monohull Sailboat

Hi Gord,

Reading your comments about the live aboard lifestyle makes me want it even more. I love sailing, and I love being near the water so I think the live aboard lifestyle would suit me well. Looking for the ideal boat, I still struggle with many questions. I'm trying to get answers to them before I make the "leap of faith." You are probably the most experienced live aboard that I've crossed paths with that is willing to share his experiences. To me, you having lived aboard for 9 years is an impressive achievment. I'm sure during that time you dealt with a lot of issues living aboard that helped you develop some opinions on what would be the best size of boat to have, how she should be set up,etc. Every time I think I have my search narrowed down to a particular style of boat, I run into some more information that makes me re-evaluate my choice. In an effort to limit my rambling here, I'll ask some specific questions that I hope you will try to answer for me.

1) For two people, what do you feel is the ideal size of boat to live aboard, and to do some coastal and possible bluewater cruising on?
2) What sail configuration would you go with if you were to do it again. Sloop, Cutter, Ketch,etc? I've considered one particular Cutter that is very roomy below, but I understand there are some negatives in regard to pointing ability,tacking,etc.
3) I've kind of leaned towards having two separate staterooms, one aft,and one forward in a boat.My thinking is that it would allow me to have company aboard the boat occasionally, and supply them some privacy.On the other hand, I would imagine that I would be losing valuable storage space. What would you recommend? Also, how valuable do you feel having good sea berths is?
4)I've developed the opinion that faster is better. Do you agree with that for a live aboard cruiser?
5) What about draft? What is the maximum amount you would go with if you were choosing?
6)I know storage will be a major issue on any live aboard. Having a place to store cloths,etc. is an issue of concern. What type of storage would you be looking for,or are there modifications you would recommend to the standard layouts of sloops?
7)This may sound silly, but I believe the galley should have a double bowl sink. Would you agree with that? Are there any watch outs in the galley area that you would be looking for, or any desirable characteristics?
8) What about the head. One boat I was looking at had a separate small shower stall. It seemed like a nice feature to me, but what do you think? Any watch outs in this area?

*** I could ask many,many more questions, but I don't want to overload you in this first installment. I hope other cruisers will contribute here also, because I'm sure there are others out there like me, that want to get it right the first time when we upgrade to boats to live on. Your insight would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 22-10-2003, 10:50   #2
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You may want to add what climate and which coastline or worldwide. These too make a difference in selection. Places like Florida require lots of ventilation. Here in the Pacific NW we need to keep out the rain, have dodgers and heaters. The weather, tides and ocean bottoms are different on the opposing coasts as well. You can go most anywhere in the Pacific with a deep draft vessel. Not so in the Atlantic.
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Old 22-10-2003, 11:51   #3
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Hi Del,

You make a very good point. Let's just assume that I'm going to take her all the way around the blue marble, but to begin with, a lot of time will be spent in the tropics.

*** Oh, and one little limiting factor, the boat can cost no more than $65K
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Old 22-10-2003, 16:26   #4
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Ideal Liveaboard-Cruiser


Let me start with all the “weasel clauses”, so I can speak in simple declaratives.
Liveaboard and cruising, while not mutually exclusive, tend to denote differing criteria, so any combination of the two will require specific compromises.
I’m no naval architect, so I’ll mostly leave hull form & performance / safety issues to those more qualified (help us out here JEFF).
My current opinions are evolving, just as you’ve indicated yours are (form an opinion, get more info’, leading to revised opinion, etc - it’s the dialectic I’ve previously mentioned)
Please assume that each declarative statement is prefixed with appropriate modifiers such as ‘often, mostly, sometimes, in my opinion, & etc’.

Ideal couples liveaboard/cruise boat, costing up to $65K, for tropical locals:

1. I generally recommend boats closer to the smallest that will do the intended job, and a $65K budget limit would certainly reinforce that opinion.

2. Determining what the “smallest” suitable size is, might be quite difficult.
Material possessions are the bane of the cruiser! “Things & stuff” cost money (= TIME) to buy, space to store, and are antithetical to the cruising philosophy. You really have to be ruthless in weeding out the unnecessary!
Like me, you are a tradesman - so there goes the foregoing theory. I wanted every tool, known to man, aboard at all times.
Maggie claims that I own (not less than) three of every tool I actually use, two of those I know how to use, and limit myself to only one of those I have no idea how to use.
Try to limit yourself to the tools you are likely to use. ie: What use a micrometer without the other equipment (lathe, etc) to fashion to those close tolerances? (I carried 2). Likewise parts (I carried around a bunch of Teak lumber, without any inclination to do woodwork afloat).
Almost everyone carries more clothing than they actually wear regularly.

Maggie & I lived/cruised a 28' 6"LOA x 9' 4"Beam, x 5' 3"Draft, x 6800#Displ. boat. We did so happily, but way overloaded with stuff. We’d recommend larger than this.

I’d go sloop (or cutter). Keep it simple. No self-tacking (deck-sweeper) headsails!

I’d forego the aft stateroom.
Aft staterooms are not very efficacious on boats under 40' or so.
We don’t have overnite guests aboard, unless they’re close enough that we don’t display much modesty (friends know when not to look, etc.).
A truly good sea berth is only essential for passagemaking.

While faster is better - get an airplane to go really fast.

I tend towards moderate, but your cruising charts should set your maximum limit.

A good boat is a good boat - but adequate storage can make a good boat a cruiser.
Most stowage compartments are not well enough ventilated.
Maggie prefers our stuff to be out of sight (the woman’s viewpoint?), whereas it makes no difference to me (male slob?).
We both prefer unobstructed access to those things we use regularly (clothing) - hate to first pull out this & that to get at the other. If you’re not using it regularly, why have it?
More later ...

Double compartment sinks are nice, but might subtract from refrigeration space (on typical layouts).
More later ...

An inside shower is a luxury on a smaller boat. Choose your luxuries carefully - you’ll only get a few.
More later ...

Ends part 1.

I’ll be interested to hear what others have to contribute.

Gord May
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Old 22-10-2003, 17:31   #5
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Hey Gord,

Thanks for the input. Man,this is good stuff!! I have more questions in response to some of your items, (big surprise..huh?) but they'll have to wait until tomorrow.I've got a meeting to attend tonight. What I hope for in this thread,is to get first hand knowledge from cruisers like yourself, and to also examine some boats that I've been looking at from that perspective, if you guys are game. I know talking about boats can get pretty touchy at times (run off with a sailors wife,kick his dog, but don't talk bad about his boat! ), I would like to avoid that at all costs.We can drop the thread should things start to veer in that direction. To me, all boats have some good and bad characteristics. I would like to examine some boats from a cruisers standpoint and see how they measure up without getting into the Catalina is better than Beneteau,etc.It would be great to be able to throw out the name and model of a boat, and have those that wish to participate,see what information they can find on it, and then we examine it's potential.I'm not going to pretend to understand all the dynamics of boat designs, and I'm sure I'll ask some stupid questions. Maybe Jeff will be willing to answer them? I would like to learn more, and I know there is a great bunch of sailors here that can help, if they choose to. Hopefully, if we all examine these boats from the cruisers perspective, we will all learn something, and maybe generate some ideas for people that already have their cruisers. More later.....
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Old 23-10-2003, 02:55   #6
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Live-aboard boats are different from cruisers.

Maggie & I were unusual , in some respects, so some of our live-aboard solutions may not be universally applicable.

Here’s some of the things we did (to “Southbound”) to shift gears from winter cruising to summer live-aboard (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida @ Lat. 25 degrees North). Our summer “Marina” was actually legal live-aboard dockage, behind low-rise vacation Apartments (Isle of Venice) .

Quite Spartan in cruising mode, we did everything possible to convert “Southbound” (C&C29) into a comfortable & functional summer home. Many of the following “conversions” precluded convenient “day-sailing” , a MAJOR trade-off (compromise) .

Because I operated a business (Marine Repair) through the summers, I needed full-time storage for tools & inventory.
We rented an air-conditioned self-storage unit (5'D x 10'W x 10'H).
We also rented a small (about 150 Cubic Foot) storage space at our marina (we returned to the same place every year).
Thirdly, our marina allowed us to install three dock boxes (matching theirs), which we left (loaded) whilst out cruising.
Our last two years, we also had a converted ambulance (cube-van), which was full to the roof. This was the most difficult to deal with, as no-one wanted it on their property all winter. Previously, we’d operated out of a big old Lincoln (car), which we were able to “loan out” to another boater, who took care of it all winter (in return for use).

For a guy who claims that “stuff is the bane of the cruiser”, I sure had a lot of stuff!

These temporary storage measures will not work for those on an extended continuous cruise.

I acquired a free refrigerator, which our marina allowed us to install (outside) near the laundry room. The fridge was utilized by all boaters in common (a condition of permission). Eventually, the marina provided us a second fridge (surplus from an apartment renovation).
I also had a small 110VAC bar fridge in the cockpit. I was the butt of many jokes on the dock!

We installed a 110VAC window-type air conditioner in the foredeck hatch (under a custom shroud). We also installed home-made awnings, shading about 75% of the topsides. I’d buy (professional) custom awnings, next time.

For liveaboard, I disconnected my cruising batteries (4 x ‘T105' Trojans House + Group 27 Starting), and utilized a “throw-away” group 27 battery on a BIG charger. This battery required weekly inspection (top-up water), and I’d give it away upon our fall departure.

We had a single 110VAC fluorescent light over the galley, in addition to every 12V light known to man (throughout the boat). Some of the 12V lights were designed for domestic AC use, but operate just as well on DC (not fluorescent). BTW, I don’t like (even expensive) 12VDC fluorescent lights.
I lit everything (2 or more ways), including the quarter berth, cockpit & other lockers, inside cabinetry, etc. “Southbound” was (in some respects) my display show boat.

We installed a Microwave Oven, Broiler Oven (today I’d combine them into a small combination Microwave/Convection oven), Automatic Coffee-Maker, Cordless Telephone c/w answering machine, and (2) 9" televisions. The TV’s were side by side, at our feet (removable shelf), and I utilized headphones to watch a different channel than Maggie. The marina provided cable TV & telephone services. I also re-wired the dock telephone cable to include a weather-proof phone jack [the cordless only worked about 50' from the boat, and the swimming pool was about 100' away ].

I hung (white) Christmas Light strings from the lifelines, providing attractive courtesy deck lighting. I installed a wireless doorbell button (bell inside) on the dolphin (dock post) nearest our bow access.

I wired (2) weather-proof GFCI receptacles in the cockpit (outdoor lighting & fridge, and other convenience). The shore-power inlet was protected by a Lightning Arrester, a Galvanic Isolator, and I added (2) dedicated ground rods to the Dock power pedestal wiring. I added about a dozen 110VAC GFCI receptacles inside the boat. I converted the OEM “allways-on, low resistance” reverse-polarity indicator to a “push-to-test, high resistance” indicator. I always checked electrical polarity at the dock outlet, prior to plugging in!

Our dock only had a single source of water (per boat), and each boat was permanently connected to the sewage pump-out system (local by-law). I made up a holding tank flushing hose, which I “teed” off the potable (drinking) water hose. The flushing hose, was a dark color(potable was white), and had a back-flow preventer at the “tee”. It was convenient to FREQUENTLY pump out and flush he holding tank. We used the existing hand-held shower fitting to flush W.C. (toilet), never using salt water. A better, tho’ more complex, solution might have been to plumb potable water to the toilet (through another back-flow preventer & a “Y” diverter valve).

I had solar/battery vents in the head & v-berth. The vee-berth provided supply air, while the head exhausted. I found the batteries to be problematic (not fully charged due to awning overhead), and might (probably) provide a permanent ship’s source (DC) to them. Because the air-conditioner was in the fore peak, the salon did not get enough cooling air. I installed (2) 12VDC computer fans (with grilles), one in each head bulkhead separating salon from vee-berth. This provided good air transfer, and was also often utilized when cruising.

At each “turn-around” (returning to dock - departing for cruise) there was a major transfer (on & off) of gear.

The foregoing are just some of the live-aboard modifications that spring to mind. A boat is not a house - but we sure tried.

I must admit, that many of these amenities crept up upon us over time. We started out quite “Spartan”, and just kept adding “stuff” every summer. I cannot really recommend that anyone go to the extremes that we (ended up) did. I offer the above, by way of pointing out what we found to be the deficiencies of a good cruising boat, when utilized for long(er)-term live-aboard. They’re not the same.

Maybe I’ll come back to this subject later; but I think thre’s probably much more interest in the characteristics, features, and functions of a CRUISING boat.

Regards, and apologies for my long-winded (& perhaps off-topic) discourse.

You can see why I was the butt of so many dock-jokes!

Gord May
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Old 23-10-2003, 07:46   #7
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Hi Gord and all,

"Necessity is the mother of invention", and it sounds Gord like you worked a lot for "mother." I can really appreciate that.One of the things I really like about boats is the challenges they present.They challenge us to think "outside the box" to come up with creative solutions to unique problems.I'm not an engineer, but I love a good challenge as much as I love a good game of chess. As you mentioned, I'm a tradesman with a pretty good arsenal of skills developed from building houses,modifying boat systems, and helping to provide solutions to some what complex industrial manufacturing problems.I've made a copy of your transition items from cruising mode,to shore side living for reference.I wonder how many cruisers think to check the polarity of shore side power before plugging up and then realizing they have a problem? I think that kind of first hand knowledge is good stuff for all cruisers to be aware of. O.k...on to some follow up questions:

***First let me say that I have some preconcieved biases in terms of what I believe is the minimum size boat I need, to do the eventual long distance blue water cruising I want to do. That size is a minimum 35 ft.boat. I've come up with this size from my belief that for the amount of storage area needed for longer distance runs, a 35 footer is the min.size boat I feel will fit the bill.So, for my input, I would like to concentrate on 35 to 38 foot boats.


Under your size comments, I have the following question for all crusiers. Do you carry any spare stays? I believe all the stays and shrouds on my boat are the same diameter. I've thought about carrying a spare piece of cable along with some sta-lock splice,and terminals to enable me to splice a stay or cable if needed. Is that what you guys do, or do you carry any spares?


How many cruisers use the quarterberth (if you have one) for it's intended purpose, or have you modified it for another purpose?


For any potential long distance cruiser I'll consider, I 've set a max. PHRF rating of 150, with preferrably a much lower rating. I know that this is a complex item, but how important do you feel speed is for a long distance cruiser?

Head and Shower

On larger boats like what I'm referring to (35-38 ft.) it seems like most have a small (5 gallon) water heater that is typically heated by the engine.To me, this set up is unsatisfactory. Diesels love to be loaded, and it seems like running the engine to heat water, or to generate refrigeration would contribute for less hours on a diesel prior to a rebuild. On my boat, I bought a device called a "hot tap." Basically,it's a instantaneous hot water heater.It can't be installed in a close space, so it really has to stay up on deck,hung from a lifeline,etc. I ran a water line from my tanks to a spigot I installed in a cockpit locker.I connect the inlet side of the hot tap to the spigot, and have all the hot water I want (depending on how much water I'm willing to part with) while using a small amount of propane. Since most cruising boats have a propane stove unit, I thought what ever boat I get, I would tap off of a gas line (I know this connection will be have to be carefully done by certain standards) to supply fuel to the hot tap. Then I would install two fittings in the doghouse wall adjacent to the head.One will be used to supply the boats water to the hot tap that will hang on a lifeline outside the head, and the other will supply heated water back to the shower and other spigots where I desire hot water. Are there any better ideas out there?


It's my thought that I would install two large ampacity gel cell batteries some where within the boat that would be dedicated for the frig.only. Those two batteries will be recharged by a combination solar panels and wind generator. My thinking is that by having two large ampacity batteries, I'll have enough juice to keep (cold plates) going in my fridge for a day or so,even if there is no wind or very little sun. The fridge batteries could also be used for motor start emergencies,etc.if needed.I'm a licensed electrician, so I know that loads will have to be calculated, etc. but does this concept make sense to you cruisers out there, or do you have a better system" Also, speaking of the ice box, I know bigger is better, but what is the min.cubic ft. needed for a long disance cruiser?

*** To all you cruisers. I would appreciate your help hashing out these issues, and then I'll ask for some input on specific boats I'm looking at if you would like to help examine their potential from a long distance cruising perspective.Thanks!
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Old 23-10-2003, 09:45   #8
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Yep, I not only worked for ‘mother’, but I’ve even been called one.

To Stede's specifics:

A spare stay (& terminals) is probably essential for passagemaking, but might be considered a luxury for coastal & Carribean cruising.

Our quarter berth was pretty much a storage space, except when our daughter & family visited, when it got emptied for use as a berth. We stored stuff in large plastic (Tupperware) containers, so it was easier to hunt out what we needed. (I said easier, not easy). I’d prefer a second cockpit locker.

I’m not certain how I’d relate a PHRF rating to a suitably fast cruiser (I've never done handicapping). Would your (150) rating include the various credits (roller furling, propeller, etc)? Quick is good, but I wouldn’t let speed be an over-riding factor (having eliminated the ‘pigs’).

I like “instant’ hot water heaters. The easier (& nicer) it is to take showers, the more water you will use. Look at a R/O watermaker as moving from the luxury category towards recommended equipment.

I would NOT recommend dedicated batteries for refrigeration. Keep it simple, with a starting battery, and a house bank (as big as you can manage).

I wouldn’t be too concerned over fridge box size, so much as it’s insulation, and refer’ type. If it’s well insulated, with a good mechanical system, it’s probably OK. Unless you go “custom”, you’ll never get enough refrigeration space for ocean crossing.

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Old 23-10-2003, 10:13   #9
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Hi all,

*** Thanks for the additional info.Gord.It all sounds like good solid advice. On the fridge insulation, I've been doing a lot of research on that one in preparation of installing a box on my 26 footer. From what I've read, I couldn't agree with you more on the value of the thickness/quality of the insulation.
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Old 24-10-2003, 03:24   #10
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A CAPABLE CRUISER - Some characteristics, features, & functions.

Some things are essential, some recommended, some desired, and some are luxury. Choose your luxuries carefully, as you’ll only get a few.

In no particular order of significance nor importance:


Abundant and substantial handholds; both horizontal overhead, and vertical where possible. Cut-out handholes in bulkheads, and fiddles etc. Small open floor areas, so that ‘falling distance’ is limited (no ‘dancefloors’). If it looks like a hand-hold - it IS a hand-hold (everything ‘grabable’ must be substantial & well fastened).

Deep sink(s) - at least 10" deep, but deeper yet is better.

Foot pumps for fresh & sea water. Hand p[umps are awkward to use. Electric water pumps are a luxury.

Top-loading refrigerator/freezer. Premium Holding Plate type refer’s are more energy-efficient that conventional evaporator types. Do not go “middle of the road’ (don’t spend between $800 & $1800 USD) - either buy the cheapest or much more expensive ($2K - $3K). Some consider refrigeration a luxury (we’ve cruised both with & without, and MUCH prefer with - others don’t miss it much). Oh, and Freon (R22) is no longer available, so look for the “new” gasses (R-34A,...)

Good Cook-Top (stove). Having used non-pressurized alcohol and propane, we prefer propane (LPG). Many others prefer alcohol. I don’t recommend Butane or Diesel. The stove should be mounted fore & aft & be gimbaled (athwartship), and have fiddles, or (better yet) pot hold down devices. Two burners are adequate, with three a luxury.
An oven is a luxury. Propane systems should have a (locker mtd.) Shut-off solenoid, /w control switch in galley (located so you don’t have to reach over stove).

Pots & pans should be carefully selected to fit the burners, and to perform multiple functions within your style of cooking. Two side “U” handles are better than a conventional single “stick” handle (hard to find in smaller pots).
A good pressure cooker is a ‘must’!

Use high quality (S/S) cutlery. ‘Sharp’ knives can be more safely stored in ‘sleeves’ or auto-sharpening devices.

We prefer Dow Corning ‘Corelle’ plates, over plastic. We’ve never broken one. Likewise, we also prefer glass drinking glasses (& China Mugs), and glass storage bottles (liquor, bleach, vinegar, etc) over plastic. This may sound counter-intuitive, but we’ve never broken a glass jar/bottle. We have had a plastic bleach bottle abrade, and leak. We do use plastic for dry storage (flour, cereal, sugar, etc.).
Start saving those little plastic mesh sleeves that liquor store slip on to bottles.
Oops, these are more lifestyle hints, than boat-related.

You want a deep(er) “sump” bilge, with a minimum of (2) pumps (1 being cockpit mtd. manual). More pumps are better (more on this later).
The sump results from a keel-stub, itself a good structural feature. This precludes many “flat bottomed” boats, which mostly have very shallow bilges.
Do not drain “grey” water into the bilge - the shower should have it’s own sump pan, and pump.
Osmotic Blisters are often the result of standing water inside the boat! A gellcoat or epoxy finish on the bilge-sump can ameliorate this problem. Obviously, keep your bilges clean & dry. Check the limber holes for stains and debris. Often, an owner will super-clean & dry the bilge (prior to showing the boat), but will have difficulty erasing the tell-tale artifacts in these locations.

The condition of the head and W.C. etc could tell you a lot about the rest of the boat. Poor maintenance etc, here, indicates a P.O.’s state of mind!
An electric toilet is a curse (not a luxury)! The holding tank should have an accessible inspection port. Check the sanitary hoses for “sags” (drip loops) that could catch and hold the nasty stuff (routing). It’s sometimes difficult to run the hose in the appropriate manner, and even more difficult to correct an improper installation.
Another lifestyle tip: “When at sea, sailors sit to pee.”

I recommend a professional survey, prior to purchase. You will, of course, vet the boat yourself, prior to swallowing that expense. There are a number of “small things” that can indicate much about the boat’s design, construction, and maintenance. Some of these will relate to MY particular design & construction biases, and apply to boats advertised in good or better shape (‘project’ boats will differ).
In no particular order:


There should be no inexplicable impairment. You should satisfy yourself that you understand the cause of any observed deficiencies, and can evaluate the necessity, difficulty & cost of remediation. ie: Stress cracks in gellcoat? Maybe a big problem, maybe not. Do not accept any “mysteries” - they’ll always come back to bite you!

Double the estimated cost of repairs, when valuing the boat, or negotiating it’s purchase price. Everything is (at least) twice as difficult or expensive as it first appears.

The general condition of a boat speaks volumes about it’s past treatment. The fit & finish of owner improvements (very often they are not) is another good indicator. An abundance of poorly conceived and/or executed details,. Each of which may be insignificant, could be a “deal breaker”. If I don’t like what I can see, what does it tell me about what I cannot see? Lots of small clues (circumstantial?) make for convincing evidence.

Take written notes about everything you observe. Give your surveyor a copy of your complete notes, indicating any particular concerns (especially those that require further investigation and/or explanation).

Hull-Deck joints:

An outward bent flange connection is subject to all sorts of damage, and indicates a builder focused on cheap construction - look for other “shortcuts”. The same holds true for a screwed & bonded connection.

Look for an inside shoebox connection, with accessible fastenings - bolted & backed (@about 4" centres). Check inside at the upper section of hull & nuts etc., seeking signs of water intrusion. If so - go it’s (almost always) impracticable to repair or upgrade the hull-deck joint.


Check the chainplates for signs of leakage, corrosion, movement or other deficiency.

Inside chainplates that penetrate the deck are best located on a raised pad, or penetrate the deck at a sloped (canted) location - so that there is NEVER standing water at this location. Standing water will always penetrate a chainplate at some point.
Check for a VERY robust connection - the chainplates must be solidly connected to the structure.

I don’t like outside, hull mounted chainplates. Notwithstanding, the hull must be reinforced at this location, and there should be a clear loading path (someone help me here, I’ve forgotten the terminology) from rig to structure. If you are uncertain (or unhappy with) of how the rig loads are transferred and accepted, there may be a big problem.

Any distress at a deck penetration (ie: keel-stepped mast) could indicate serious problems.

Check all fastenings for corrosion and gesticulation. Dissimilar metals, such as stainless bolts in aluminum masts/booms etc are best isolated, and migh show aluminum oxide. Any “ovalling” of bolt-holes, or surface abrasion (base material) will evidence movement. Why was it moving? These type of deficiencies are often easy to fix, but may indicate the P.O.’s competence or thoroughness, and even the original build-quality.

This is getting much longer than I anticipated [remember, double your estimate ], so I’ll just close for now, with a few quick little tell-tales:

Are rigging pins locked, shackles wired, batteries secured, bilges clean, etc. If the owner doesn’t take care of the little things ...?

Gord May
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Old 24-10-2003, 03:46   #11
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I'm following this one with interest, carry on gentlemen.

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Old 24-10-2003, 04:39   #12
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Dehler 372


“Windshaper” is a pretty boat, which would be important to me. I don’t ‘know’ the Dehler 372, so my observations are limited to what I could garner from the linked website:

I’ll defer to Jeff_H here, but wonder:

5650# Lead Ballast seems (at first glance) a little light (38% B/D ratio), tho’ being “5.5' deep winged” should lower the C of G.

3 HMF Engine is adequate, but suspect the 6 Kt cruise speed is optomistic (not in cruising trim).

30 Gal. Fuel tankage is inadequate for passagemaking, and barely adequate for coastal
and Carribean.
2 x 25 Gal. water is good for coastal, but barely adequate for offshore (100 Gal water is oft’ cited).
20 Gal holding (sewage) is good.

The Electronics are basically outdated.
Micrologic Loran isn’t even a good dinghy anchor.
Autohelm 3000 is an adequate to good pilot.
VDO instruments are (usually) low-end, but decent value.
KVH sailcomp was an excellent conbination device, tho’ probably now outdated.
ICOM makes generally excellent VHF radios - don’t know the 55 series.

Other Gear:
Anchors are totally inadequate! (Keep the Fortress FX-16 as a Third, sell the Bruce)
Most cruisers wouldn’t want to store 7 head sales. They could be valuable.
Pro-Furl makes excellent furlers.
Dodger has no external handholds, which I highly recommend. Is the frame S/S pipe or Alum. tube?
Wow - a Gori prop!
Winches seem adequate - check out Harken’s website, for some good sizing info’.
Stove-Oven looks nice.

From the Photos:

I like the hand-holes at the half-bulkhead twixt galley & dinette.
I don’t generally like dinette seating, personally preferring double settee (merely my personal choice).
Lots of wood - looks nice!

Nav’ Station:
Electronics are ‘dated’.
Ttable surface is adequate.

Overall, looks like a good layout.
Nice deep double Lav’
Nice stove/oven c/w strap. Notice that you could lean on the sink counter to right, but are open to falling to left.
Refer??? Need details on this important gear.

Grey (dark, anyway) non-skid can get HOT!
Wide angle shrouds, don’t lend themselves to (easy) tight sheating angles. Chainplates may penetrate at a lower point on deck, allowing standing water?
Mid-ship cleat - good.
Jib traveller presumes a “boomed” headsail - these can be dangerous deck sweepers, and I don’t like them. On the other hand, some folks LOVE a self tending headsail. Think about it.

Are the seats sloped outboard? If so, might be ergonomic, but may also collect water?
Nice portlight to quarter-berth (where?).
Is that a single piece Lexan companionway board?
Not much bridgedeck - this is not a typical offshore cockpit!

Built-in life raft - neat! Nice boarding/swim ladder.
Backstay chainplates seem awfully low to the water? Check carefully for moisture etc.
Cleats way too small.
BIG wheel - great for racing or wrestling /w big seas, but what a pain 90% of the time. Think about it.
Stern light not very effective at that height (not a huge deal).

As you indicated, this is a racer/cruiser, and might make a fine coastal/Carribean cruiser - I don’t think she has the potential for upgrading to an offshore passagemaker.

Having said that, I’ll also chance the following observation. Very few folks actually end up crossing oceans, on boats they bought to begin with coastal & sem-protected cruising/liveaboard. Additionally, the many features and requirements of a capable offshore vessel might cost much more than would be warranted for coastal cruising. I think that this applies to your two criteria of cost ($65K) and LOA (to 39'). If I am getting close to your truth, then my comments should not preclude this boat from further consideration.
Gord May
"If you didn't have the time or money to do it right in the first place, when will you get the time/$ to fix it?"

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Old 24-10-2003, 04:53   #13
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Hi Gord and everyone?, there anyone else out there? The bean counter shows that there has been 87 views on this topic. I assume they're all boaters, but yet no one else has any input on what things are good and bad in a cruising boat?? Very strange???

Thanks for some more good information Gord. For your reward, here are some follow up questions


Do cruisers have a preference in cabin dinette tables. i.e., A bulkhead drop down fold up table, or a centerline boat sole mounted one?

Cook top

I've read where propane is more plentiful in the Caribbean, and alcohol (cooking fuel) is harder to find.I've thought propane is the way to go, at least until yesterday when I paid $1.75/gal.for home heating propane...ouch!! The cost of cruising life just went up!


I believe cold-plates are the way to go.More on this later.

Hull/deck joint

Very interesting comments. My 26 footer has the "shoe box" type of joint. The boat has really been through some tough weather, and taken it very well.Access to the attachment bolts are hard to get to at some places on the boat. On any future boat, I'll be looking at this closely.


My boat has outside mounted chain plates.I agree, this isn't the best set up, but on a 26 footer, to me is acceptable. When upgrading to a larger boat, I will definately be looking at this area closely.


I ran across a fairly inexpensive program on sailboat design, offered on the net yesterday that is pretty cool. It does the math for you on calcultaing sail area displacement,sreen numbers, etc. If you purchase the program, it includes the specs.on over 1000 boats.You might want to take a look at it.

****Got to run for now....
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Old 24-10-2003, 19:10   #14
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Choice of boat...?

Okay Mr. Stede, here is my 0.05 cent worth:

Mr. Gord is talking loud and clear and from experience.
I agree with most of the stuff he says. ( And after a few beers, probaby the rest of it too)

Was that # 21 Isle of Venice mr. Gord..? If so, it is still there and with the good parties and barbeques etc.

As for boat Mr. Stede:

My background:
Bought a 44' wooden yawl and lived abord her for 3 years on the VI's back in the 80s.
Did not know any better as it was the first boat and first sailing experience.
She sailed just fine and good too live on too.
Cost and maintencane was a night-mare however as the ship was 30 years old when we bought her.

Moved ashore for 15 years and bought another ship in 1999, a 33' cutter rigged sloop. (CSY 33)
This one was also old and well used...(20 years old)

I would say, as other folks have said above: Get the smaller one...
At least up to a point.
The CSY 33 I sail these days seems to be right at the limit for my taste and for my budget.

Big enough that I would live on her for ever. Small enough so that
I could afford to do so.
Mucho, mucho storage space...None better in the business.

It is also the "biggest" 33 ever built....
Been aboard a few other mono-hulls in the same size range and not impressed.

My neigbor is selling his 1980 Cabo Rico 38.
A nice desing and perhaps in yer ballpark.?

Been aboard that ship a few times and was shocked that she had so much LESS space inside than the CSY 33.
The name brand however is well known and demands a good price.
So: My neigbor will probably get $75 K for his C.R. 38.
If it was in pristine shape he would get about $120 K.
(It is not. Needs lot of work and $30 K from yer savings account to get it sea-worthy)

A prisitine CSY 33 however could be had for $60 K, with more room and less maintenance. A tired one could be purchased for $30 K...In other words $45 K less than the tired Cabo Rico next door.

(No, not selling my pristine CSY 33, or trying to pump up the price, just letting ya know that there is good deals out there, and some of them may be best kept secrets...Spend yer money on a slightly smaller boat and uh, get more room, better quality and much more money in the bank......he-eh, sounds too good to be true..? It may be, but stay open-minded..
Don;t put yer cash down for a name, go for a careful survey instead.)

The above advice is pretty important and will probably be backed up by other folks here on the forum that have owned and sailed boats around the oceans.

It pretty much boils down to yer bank-account:

If it is big and fat, buy a brand new Oyster 55 and hire a couple of bikini-girls to help ya sail it.

If not, look around VERY carefully before ya plunk down big bucks to buy the dream.

Been there, done that.
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Old 24-10-2003, 21:40   #15
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Hey CSYman,

Well I can see that someone kept raking a stick across your cage bars until they woke you up and you became coherent again (Just kidding my friend,so please don't take any of this personal )

Believe me, I don't take upgrading to another boat lightly.Why, I've got formulas to calculate sail area displacement (Stede putting comb and mechanical pencil back in pocket protector while producing an excited, snorted laugh) and all kinds of other stuff.I've got boat spec.sheets and reviews crammed in my office desk drawers at work,and here at the crib.My office here at the crib is a wreck, with calculators,sailing books (a few beer bottles) excuse me a minute.........o.k. I had to get something cold to drink.I'm celebrating tonight. Where was I?.....Oh yeah, on this boat thing.I've chartered boats up to 45 feet, but I've only owned two boats thus far during my life. A 19 footer, and the 26 footer I have now.To be honest, the first boat (19 footer) I bought I didn't have a clue as to what I was doing. I bought her because I liked the way she looked.As it turned out, the boat was a very good choice-Compac 19. The second boat I bought, I had a little more knowledge under my belt. I was looking at her more from a strength standpoint more than speed (kind of like a mother-in-law ) because I intended to do some offshore trips with her. As it turned out, I "guessed" even better than I did the first time.I've had her out in some hell raisers and she's brought me back safely each time.She's also a very sweet ride. The next boat, well now....she'll have to be able to do a lot of different things, and do them well (kind of like a dream girl ) I want it all!!! Speed, storage, toughness, low screen,good motion comfort numbers, moderate draft,easy to sail, and a whole list of other items. Kind of a combination between a brute mother-in-law and Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm. She's got to be a lady, but tough when it counts.The good part is, I don't have to buy the boat tomorrow. In fact, I believe the boat will find ain't that a kicker!! The best thing I can do for now is continue to do my homework so that this time, I'll know exactly what the heck I'm looking at when she does. I've been studying boats for a little over a year now. It's amazing to me all the different aspects of boats. I'll see something that has good speed numbers, but then when I start checking her out, I find she has a terrible capsize screen. Then I'll find a boat that has a good displacement/length ratio, and good motion comfort numbers, only to find her PHRF rated speed is similar to a cow carrying grannys bloomers off after getting hung up under the clothes line. To me, there is so much to consider for what I want to do with the boat. Live aboard/coastal cruise/and eventually do a trans-atlantic, or circumnavigation.To complicate matters, I don't have a lot of money to do it with.As a friend of mine used to like to say though,"Poor folks have poor ways." As some other smart person said,"Patience is a virtue." So basically I'm a poor sailor that has to be patient to find a boat that meets all of my needs, on a shoe string budget. I was hoping that because this is a cruising board that there would be a lot of interest around this topic, but it seems there's only a few that care anything about it. Maybe they're all out cruising, or whatever...I don't know. Anyway, I've rambled on enough. I do appreciate your input though Mr.CSYMan.
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