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jbosborn 23-03-2010 15:39

Seaworthy Pocket Cruiser - Advice ?
I am looking to buy a seaworthy, bluewater pocket cruiser (25-27 feet). No longer than 28. I might be doing lots of single-handling and I hope to sail around the world eventually on this boat. My comfort needs are low, but I want something safe.

As far as seaworthy goes, I recognize that no boat is perfectly safe and that almost any boat could cross the Pacific or Atlantic with enough luck. I just want to find a boat on the safer end of the spectrum.

Some boats on the market in my area (LA to Santa Barbara) are a '69 Ericson 26 (Crealock design), '79 Ericson 25, Coronado 25, '71 Columbia 26 MK II, Cape Dory 25, Islander Excalibur 26...

Your thoughts on these boats as well as other boats that I should keep my eyes open for?

- Jay

s/v Beth 23-03-2010 16:09

All boats are going to require a little work. Contessa is one that is a rock solid design- just plug the holes...

nautical62 23-03-2010 16:28

A few I'd add:

Noresea 27
Flicka and Dana by Pacific Seacraft (not cheap)
Westerly Centaur.
and Contessa as mentioned above.

I had a Centaur for 8 years and really enjoyed it. Built like a tank, 5-8 standing headroom, shallow draft and very economical at 26 feet. Took me to the Bahamas several times as well as Great Lakes. Several Centaurs have circumnavigated. Personally with the possible exception of the Allied boats, I'd want something a bit bigger to circumnavigate in.

boatman61 23-03-2010 16:32

Contessa 26, Hurley 27, Folkboat(grp), Bristol 26, GK 29, Sadler 25.... all but the Bristol are UK/europe so may be hard for you to find....:rolleyes:

s/v 'Faith' 23-03-2010 16:34

You will find a wide variety of 'opinions' on this question here. Keep in mind, some who will reply may sail large multi-hulls and would not consider anything less... and think you are crazy to.

Others will reply, with confidence and certainty... from salty places like Ohio, or South Dakota... having never even SEEN the ocean. (no slight intended to my fellows from those states).

Take ALL posts on this thread with a grain of salt... including my own.

I sail a Pearson Ariel. It is the 'Triton's little sister' and fits your size criterion at 25'8". It is a solid, full keel boat and probably as good as any for such a trip.

If you are interested in more info on my boat here is a link with some. Here is a link to the owners association.

I also have some experience with the Coronado 25, and would suggest you cross it off of your list. The high freeboard, weak rudder, and overall light construction do not (IMHO) lend themselves to a boat I would recommend taking off shore.

jbosborn 23-03-2010 17:16

I will keep an eye out for all these boats you are suggesting. Any opinions on these boats that are currently for sale in my area?

'69 Ericson 26 (Crealock design)
'79 Ericson 25
'66 Coronado 25 (thick hull)
'71 Columbia 26 MK II
Cape Dory 25
Islander Excalibur 26

jbosborn 23-03-2010 17:17

Okay. Scratch the Coronado 25. Thanks, Faith.

BubbleHeadMd 23-03-2010 18:05

I also own a Coronado 25 (fixed keel, not CB). I wouldn't call it's construction light. It's a pretty solid boat but I would still cross it off the list. It simply doesn't displace enough. Most of the other boats on your list have more keel and more ballast and are probably more stable.

As Faith said, my opinion is worth exactly what you paid for it. ;)

j3r3my 23-03-2010 18:15

Fisher 25
Fisher 25 - Ketch and Pilot house. Can use rudder or wheel. My dream boat.

CalebD 23-03-2010 18:36

Nor'sea 27'
Flicka or any Pacific Seacraft boats

Boats that are built as 'coastal cruisers' like the Tartan 27', the Cape Dories, Bristols etc can be modified to be blue water ready.
Heck, there is a guy who crossed the Atlantic and Med in his 19' day sailor.
Good luck. It is all about the compromises.

boatman61 23-03-2010 18:39


Originally Posted by j3r3my (Post 423543)
Fisher 25 - Ketch and Pilot house. Can use rudder or wheel. My dream boat.

From the looks of his list I'd think $30,000+ is a bit above budget Tartan 27 sailboat for sale in Maine

j3r3my 23-03-2010 18:42

Than I recommend a flicka. Reading a book currently from Charles Dewell who took his flicka to the south pacific, hawaii and back to Los Angelas. Also see :
South Pacific Adventure


Originally Posted by boatman61 (Post 423557)
From the looks of his list I'd think $30,000+ is a bit above budget Tartan 27 sailboat for sale in Maine

barnakiel 23-03-2010 19:36

A small boat is never safe. About comfort do not worry either - not much of it in this LOA range. We buy some safety with size - for a small boat the bad weather starts earlier than for her bigger sister. And F8 happens more often than F10.

There is plenty of choice and from the designs discussed above I would consider the small Contessa too - proven, well designed, repairable, sailable.

I also like the Vancouver 27 - not as swift as the Contessa 26 but with better interior, better storage space, the cutter rig and great build - IMHO - a great choice for a small boat to go on a long cruise.

I like the small Westsnail - tank, slow, but a great cruising boat and easy to sail. Even better interior space and volume than the Vancouver.

The PS boat I think is called an Orion. It is good too.

Avoid very-very classic boats - they may have bad LOA / LWL ratio - long overhands and too little space / volume in result.

Avoid ULDB and light boats - in this size they do not offer strength nor load carrying capability yet.

An ocean can be sailed in a tub too, but try to find something that fits your style and is easy for YOU to sail in.

You cannot build ocean crossing skills other than by crossing an ocean. But you can build sailing skills that will help you make safe crossings way before you cast off the lines. Do it.


roverhi 23-03-2010 19:41

I'd stay away from the Columbia 26. Lots of room for a 26' but that's the end of the pluses. Boat handling is extremely squirrely. In gusty winds with the main up, boat would stall out the rudder and go out of control. No directional stability which makes single handing a bit of a challenge. The construction isn't all that hot. I sailed mine to all the Islands in Hawaii, often into steep seas into the tradewinds. The boat pounded badly hard on the wind. I managed to break loose all the bulkheads except the stern bulkhead. With the pounding, the bulkhead tabbing wasn't able to handle the flexing.

clockwork orange 23-03-2010 22:54

Im going to suggest a boat that you likely have never seen recomended before,the Lindenberg 26, why? because it has a lot of good features and not many bad ones.
1/ it is huge,one of the biggest 26ft boats i have seen.
2/ 6ft headroom throughout the accomodation.
3/ awesome layout,similar to the Cape Dory 25D,no vee berth so the mast b/head moves foreward giving a main cabin that is longer from the companionway to the b/head than an Ericson 35 or J35.
4/ Huge quarter berths,36" wide at the top of the cushion and you can sit up under the deck even at the foot end.
5/ plenty of displacement, about the same as the Contessa or Albin Vega.
6/ Lots of freeboard,this is a good thing as when you are loaded down as a liveaboard it is not going to be awash like the Contessa and should be reasonably dry on deck.
7/ Good load carrying ability, lbs/inch immersion is 795lbs.
8/ High ballast/disp ratio of 50%.
9/Huge deck space,the sidedecks are 20" wide for the length of the trunk cabin and the foredeck is flush from the mast fwd,you could carry an 8ft dinghy on the foredeck.
10/ quite well built,foam cored hull above the waterline from the bow to about amidships where compound curvature takes over and it is solid glass from there back and below the waterline,this is engineering rather than the brute force and ignorance approach of many small offshore boats. Decks are foam cored also.
The chainplates bolt to a massive ,properly tabbed in fore and aft settee back 3/4" ply plus about 1/4" of glass,this is as strong as i have ever seen on anything under 40ft.All furniture is stout molded glass and well glassed in and the hull to deck joint is also glassed which is not common.
11/ This boat is fast, about,over a minute per mile faster than most other boats that always get recomended on these threads.
12/ Cheap and available,usually go for well under 10k,often under 5k.
Ok,thats a dozen good points so whats the bad, well,no bridge deck but then neither does the Contessa but folks always tend to ignore that for some reason, i think its dangerous and would need addressing. Fin keel and spade rudder but the keel is moderate and the rudder is huge and very well built,mine is a 1977 boat and the rudder is perfect and quite light,mind you,if i were to go long distance cruising i would change it out for a skeg rudder, i just like them better.Some people may not like the lack of any decent cockpit lockers but the area under the cockpit is easily accessed from inside.Lack of tankage.
All boats unless built specifically for long distance cruising will need a lot of mods to be suitable.

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