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please recommend a seaworthy sailboat

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I'm looking for something in the 25-35' range that would be suitable for Lake Erie, but also for ocean cruising. I'd like to pick something up at the end of the season and I'll keep her on Lake Erie for the next 3-5 years, while I'm slowly going over EVERYTHING from bow to stern. By that time, I'll have the funds to take a couple of years off and head down to the Caribbean for starters. What would you suggest I keep a look-out for? She ought to be practical and seaworthy. Thanks for your thoughts, Jeff

Jim Maroldo

Suitable ship

Jeff, might I suggest you look through the "Boat Specs" and the "Boat Reviews" sections of this website? You might want to pay particular attention to the "capsize screen" ratings as those will give you a better idea of the overall stability of the boat. There is also a "CE" rating (you can see it on the Hunter Marine web site) offered today, which gives you a better idea about the boat's ability to stand up to heavy weather. I don't know if this is an industry standard, or how long this rating system has been in use. Anyway, I'm certain there are allot of boats that'll do the job for you. The difficulty will be in making a decision as to which one is right for you AND fits your budget (see reply #1)!


Blue Water Sailboat

Jeff, Selecting a seaworthy sailboat is based on a lot of personnel criteria such as: how much sailing experience you and your crew have, what kind of seas you will be sailing in, how much money you can spend, how much amenities you are willing to live without and how much amenities you definitely need, how far you will be sailing in the open ocean, etc. You are the only one who can answer these questions. A blue water or open ocean sailor must sail in all kinds of weather since he is usually too far from a safe harbor on the open ocean when bad weather arrives. An open ocean sailboat is therefore designed to withstand a lot more weather that an offshore sailboat or an inshore sailboat. Most open ocean sailboats in the 25- 35' range are either full keel (stable in the open ocean but slow in light winds and hard to maneuver in the close quarters of a marina) or deep fin keel sailboat(a deep fin will limit your cruising range in shoal waters). A shoal water keel or wing keel sailboat allows you greater sailing areas, but are a handful in ocean crossing during a storm. Most of the sailboats sold in the US are shoal keel or wing keel because most of the US sailing waters are either in offshore waters not far off the continental shelf or inshore areas or sheltered waters. Most recreational sailors buy sailboats base on the level of their sailing experience and what kind of waters they will be sailing in. As sailors gain confidence and sailing experience, they trade up their sailboats. If you can't wait and want an open ocean sailboat, than you should look for full keel sailboat or deep fin keel sailboat with CE "A" rating (which will be at least 30' and greater for a deep fin). The CE rating is a European rating system that classified the different sea conditions a manufactured boat is built to withstand, they go from "A" to "D". Good Luck and Fair winds. Clyde

scott kroll

boat review

If you are looking for something 20 to 32 feet try Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere by John Vigor. Availible at amazon.com reviews and rates seaworthiness. Is used by good old boat magazine as a basis for review articles.

Fred G

Take a look at the old Westerly's

I don't know much about Blue water sailing, but before I had my 81' Hunter 30, I had a 67' Westerly Centaur. The Centaur (26 feet)is a British boat, that was built for the North Sea as far as I could tell. Easy engine access, flared Bow, twin keel, good use of space. It seemed to need 15kts of wind to move at all. 20 knt winds that have my tall rig 30' in reef mode, wouldn't even be cause to swap the Genoa for the regular Jib in the Westerly. Not the prettiest boat, but cute in a bulldog kind of way. I would trust that Westerly in the ocean more than I would trust my Hunter.


A second vote for Westerly

I owned a Westerly Pageant (23 ft. LOA) for 15 years, before my current Catalina 30. A very stable boat with a large amount of storage space (Pageant had as much space as my C30 does). Ingenious design for storage areas too that you don't see much on domestic sailboats. Affordable, strong, blue water-capable boats. Many sailors have sailed them from the UK to the Caribbean. You will find several models within the size range you are looking for, that are equipped with either twin keels (shoal draft) or fin keels. The Centaur (26 ft) was the most popular Westerly, but check out those in the 31 ft. range (Berwick, Longbow, etc.) at www.yachtworld.com. They are essentially stretched Centaurs with more storage space than most 31 footers.

Jack Tyler

You're asking the wrong question too soon

Jeff, I don't mean to sound critical but I think you're best served by candid replies... Asking which 25' to 35' sailboats are good Lake boats also capable of offshore sailing is like asking us what foods you should be buying. Which meal? For how long? For how many? What do you like to eat?! I'd respectfully suggest that a better question for you to ask right now might be: "For the X area of Lake Erie, how & where can I hope to get more exposure to sailing and to sailors who own boats...all so I can take a step or two closer to one day owning my own boat, by which time I may know how I'll want to use?" There are usually all kinds of ways for motivated sailors to get sailing on others' boats...and perhaps equally important, to work on them and learn about boat systems, as well. It sounds like this is the kind of advice you need for your sailing area, at least for now. BTW keep in mind that some folks do a Caribbean cruise without ever spending more than a day or three offshore, while benefiting from good weather info and therefore using fairly reliable windows for each leg. To begin to understand how you take the relatively less risky (and perhaps easier; some people disagree) route down to the Caribbean, pick up a copy of Bruce VanSant's PASSAGE's SOUTH. Personally, I think some of Bruce's advice needs to be read by every cruising sailor, regardless of their intended destination(s). Also keep in mind that folks circumnavigate (let alone make many smaller passages) in all kinds of boats. A Cal 27 recently completed a circumnavigation with no structural problems...but that means nothing about Cal 27's while it says a whole lot about the sailor who sailed it. OP's opinions (including mine) about what kind of boat *you* should use, for a cruise *you* want to make, can only help you a little bit. Better you form your own impressions, based on your budget, your goals, and what you want from a boat. Hope this proves helpful for you, even if it isn't terribly comforting to hear. Jack
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