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Old 26-03-2016, 12:23   #16
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

The one we have is fine. US equivalent would be a Frances 26 or something similar - looking classic but not a heavy boat at all. I would buy again, if I were in the same situation again.

Boats that amazed me and I could consider buying:
- Catanas (eg. 43 Ocean),
- Bougainvillaea (Paine),
- Paradise 60.

Smaller craft:
- Morris,
- Valiant,
- PS, SC, HCh.

European builds:
- some HR, Najad, Contest, etc.
- any Zaal, Koopmans, etc.
- Rustler, Amel, Le Breton, etc.

I think once you have found your sailing/living and indoor/outdoor ratios the choices narrow down dramatically. Add some budget limitations and it all boils to two or three choices actually.

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Old 26-03-2016, 12:24   #17
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Moreorless' answer seems to the, uhm, gasp, gulp, Best answer. I simply hate the word best when it comes to anything boating, 'cuz boats themselves are compromises, right?

Choosing the right boat that fulfills the criteria for how and where YOU want to sail seems the most appropriate (rather than best) answer.

I love and loved my three boats for where I sailed. A Catalina 22 to trailer up to a large N. California lake for the summers and The Bay (and hoist/dry) sail during the winters, a Catalina 25 for 13 years in the water year round on The Bay and The Delta when we outgrew both trailering and the size, and our current boat for the past 18 years on The Bay, The Delta and the ocean.

If I was living in the PNW I'd get a pilothouse.

I see so many folks sailing around here with biminis it makes me gag! It's blinkin' cold here, even during the summer!!! That's why they made hats and sunscreen!!! If I lived in Florida, I'd have a bimini.

Horses for courses.
Stu Jackson
Catalina 34 #224 (1986) C34IA Secretary
Cowichan Bay, BC, (Maple Bay Marina) SR/FK, M25, Rocna 10 (22#) (NZ model)
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:32   #18
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

In the size range specified, my best boat ever was a 1994 Hunter Legend 35.5.

I bought it when I had a tiny little 2 year old daughter, my wife was expecting, and my dog was old. I needed a boat full of comforts for my family that I could single hand, with everyone aboard. I remember going out in half a gale, and more, with very little worry or discomfort. The single line reefing system kept me safely in the cockpit. My darling daughter would have a hot bath in the deep stainless galley sink. The wife could step ashore (or into the dinghy) off the sugar scoop stern with walk thru transom without having to climb about. I could have an actual hot shower below. And we could all sleep in air conditioned comfort. Below was nicer than my home. The yanmar ran perfectly. Everything worked perfectly on that boat. It was a pleasure to sail in any weather.

LOVE the "hunter seats" on the stern rail.

I may get another one day. I prefer the 35.5 over the 37.5 or 40.5 because of the shallower draft (4.5')...I've got thin water where I sail.
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Old 26-03-2016, 12:52   #19
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

We have been loving our current boat for 13 years - a 1997 Catalina 42 MkII. Previously we had a 1980 Tartan 33 which was a wonderful boat for what it was but we bought it with one toddler in the family and by the time the fourth child was coming, we knew it was time to move up and the Catalina 42 was the best boat for us. Even now, we look at boats and can't find anything that would be significantly better for us and so we continue on the C42 until such time as we decide to move on board a trawler. We can go away for weeks at a time with all 6 of us (hubby and myself and children ages 26, 23, 15 and 13) and not feel like screaming "Get me off!" when we get home. She's been a fantastic boat for us.
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Old 26-03-2016, 16:52   #20
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

My Vagabond 42. Good passage maker, great comfy liveaboard. For me, just sayin' 😎
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Old 26-03-2016, 16:59   #21
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Jeanneau Sun Liberty 34 and still own her
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Old 26-03-2016, 17:56   #22
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Hudson Force has an excellent answer, our first boat is the best, although we buy the bigger one for a reason.
My first boat was a 2 berth clinker built centreboarder by Oliver Lee, as an apprentice to Alan Buchanan. Having to enter the cabin feet first and lie on the bunks made her a tad cosy though great for creek crawling around the Essex / Suffolk coast. Not something I could do in the 37ft Nicholson!
So it really all comes down to your usage and needs.
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Old 26-03-2016, 18:04   #23
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Our Bristol 45.5 has been a wonderful find for long-distance cruising. Ainia has looked after us very well indeed.
Back to Great Lakes sailing on our Catalina 36 MkII after many years ocean sailing on a Bristol 45.5, which was just too big for the yacht clubs on Lake Ontario.
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Old 26-03-2016, 18:15   #24
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

A 19' Lightning. Very heavy cedar planking and centerboard so heavy you needed tackle to lift it. Sailed around the Sound and San Juans for years (no motor). That's the boat I had the most fun on.
In your range a Passport 42 (Christensen). Some people don't like heavy, full keeled, double-ender boats but I do when cruising.

Good luck
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Old 26-03-2016, 20:42   #25
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Cool Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Well, my wife & I own a 'stink boat' with twin thirsty girls, but we love her. I wanted to respond to your request because we have lived aboard for over two years (newbies).

We have learned a lot in the two years, which any liveaboard will tell you, the lessons come fast and furious....

I think the #1 thing I would say is understand how much regular time is needed to care for the girl, it is VERY easy to underestimate that.

Second, ALL boaters have 'two foot-Itis', wishing we had a few feet longer or beamerier.... Stay with a girl that is as big as you afford, BUT that you can afford and maintain!!!!

That's really the key...IMHO


J & S
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Old 26-03-2016, 22:34   #26
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Own 25% of it. Andlove it bavaria vision 46.
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Old 26-03-2016, 23:19   #27
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

It certainly wasn't the 'best' by any objective standard, but the memories made on my first boat a SouthCoast 21 have basically defined the rest of my life. Even today the lessons learned rebuilding that boat make me smile.

She was slow, and heavy, and everything about that boat had to be rebuilt. But she will always be the best boat I have every owned. Even if I would never, ever own one again.

- If animals weren't meant to be eaten then they wouldn't be made of food.
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Old 26-03-2016, 23:38   #28
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

To the OP:
Make a list of Features & Characteristics which are of key import to you, & always keep it at hand from now on. Along with a; camera, & or video recorder, audio recorder (for audible note taking), & something to use as a sketch pad - so that you can expound on any "can't live without" boat features which you stumble across & snap pics of, or dream up at 2am.
No joke; as such tools of expression being at hand, stimulate the mind to creativity.

My old list, drawn up when I was 22, & had a choice Ranger 33' (my 1st boat, ideal but for her galley - okay, that & a work bench & proper sail locker), is sadly MIA. But 95%+ of that ancient list, still applies, many years & hundreds of boats later (lots, of lots of deliveries, guest sails, surveys, races, etc.). And I would kill to find it/remember where it is.
It's on a series of 3x5" notecards, with a ring through them as it's organizer (so it's pocket sized). And it covers important things such as; SADR, Ventillation, Keel & Rudder, Bunk & Galley features, etc. And... the best way(s) for said features to be constructed (including access points & designed in access/"think aheads" for maintenance).

When you see a boat that intrigues you, stop & take a look. As well as inspecting things further if you can. Plus, leave a kind note, hand written (weighted, in a Ziploc); you'll get more responses than you'd ever figure you will. Seriously.
And take the owners up on their offers for the chance to see her in further detail, live, & to go out for a guest sail/test sail as well.

For during such visits, if you "pay attention" (to what they say & don't, plus how they say it), as well as ask the right questions, & are open minded, you'll learn many of the key steps which led the owner's to said boat. And why they so value gorgeous feature X, & Y... plus several that they had in other, previous boats, as well as will have in their future yachts.

And, of course, read as much as you can on boat construction & design, and go to More boat shows than you have time for. Including viewing many types of boats which you normally wouldn't. As they'll have both; features, & methods of design & construction (ergonomics, comfort, liveability, seaworthiness...) which your "normal" style/type of boat never would/will.
Which is HUGE, in terms of forming better ideas of the "ilttle things" which you'll want to have on/in your coming boat.
- For example, if you're a full keel, pilot cutter guy, then go & see as many custom, hand made multi's as you can.

Or as they say, when you go to a designer, to have your ideal, custom boat drawn up. Go with crates full of notes, sketches, & pics. PLUS, especially, an Open Mind. As his mind, insight, & design ideas, is where the best value per $ is where your money is going.

As... "Perfection is achieved, not when there's nothing more to add, but when there is nothing more to be taken away". - Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

The Uncommon Thing, The Hard Thing, The Important Thing (in Life): Making Promises to Yourself, And Keeping Them.
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Old 27-03-2016, 00:19   #29
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

We are quite content and always safe on our Cape George 36. For us having a pilothouse makes foul weather usually seem surreal. But I also have a fond spot for a Bill Lee design we owned, but didn't live aboard and cruise, and my first boat 42 years ago still has the most unique and precious memories for me. Delphi Tramp was a converted Navy whaleboat ketch. The hull was built in 1828 and the conversion was right after WWII. I was young and invulnerable when I learned to sail abord her. There are different best boats for different needs and phases of your life. When we are done long distance cruising we hope to keep a little tri or a sharpie maybe in the Sea of Cortez for a few more years until we swallow the anchor. That reminds me of a story of my own naivete. In 1968 I went to my first rock festival, Newport 68. I was 15, a young going to be cool hippie. I met a pretty little blond my age and spent parts of two moonstruck days with her holding hands, letting her sit on my shoulders to see better and eventually getting a few kisses. Her name was Swallow, and about 15 years later I all of a sudden thought what the hell, boy was I an idiot. I hope that memory does not offend anyone.
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Old 27-03-2016, 06:32   #30
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Re: What's the best boat you've ever owned?

Originally Posted by AiniA View Post
Our Bristol 45.5 has been a wonderful find for long-distance cruising. Ainia has looked after us very well indeed.

I second that (Bristol 45.5) .We fall in love with ours over and over again . Are you going to the Bristol 50th anniversary in Rhode Island in
June ?


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