Hello, I am new a new member to SeaKnots. I saw the site in "Sail" magazine, and joined because it seemed like a great resource to gaither information about cruising. Currently I enjoy sailing my 17' Hunter, but my long range goals include purchasing a vessel suited for cruising.

My first question, which is probably common, what manufacturers should I consider that would fit the following criteria?

1) Seaworthy for coastal and offshore sailing.
2) Ability to be sailed singlehanded or shorthanded, though I'd like the ability to sleep a family of four. I'm guessing that may be in the 30-33' range?
3) Likely destinations: East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean.
4) Duration of cruises may vary from a week to maybe a month at a time.
5) Level of comfort: moderate

I read John Vigor's book "The Seaworthy Offshore Sailboat" which provided many criteria to consider, but left me wondering which of todays manufacturers best meet the needs of an offshore sailboat. I'm sure all manufacturers/dealers will tell that their boats will best meet my needs (perhaps they do), but this is why I'm asking the cruising community for unbias opinions and information.

Finally, of course there are budgetary constraints and I'll probably look focus on something pre-owned. But I'm more interesed in first meeting my criteria, then work I'll back from there.

It's a big question to start off with, but thanks in advance for your help.

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I wouldn't recommend any of the common production boats (Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau) for offshore passages at the size you are looking for (30-33). That's why the first thing that comes to mind is an Island Packet. A bit more expensive but better fit to take the pounding out there...

You should spend some time searching on Yachtworld. Just enter your size, price, region and age requirements and research what comes up:

Good luck!
A family of four in a 30 to 33 foot boat will get pretty tight by the time a month goes by. I'd consider something a little bigger, maybe 36 feet or so. You said you're an experienced sailor, an auto pilot would make single handing a lot easier. I've also found bigger boats to be more forgiving.

As far as the whole seaworthiness thing's my 2 cents. John Vigors book is great but probably doesn't fit you. For the type of sailing you're planning I wouldn't hesitate to consider a Catalina or Beneteau. The type of island hopping that you are envisioning are fairly short hops. Predicting a weather window to make those short hops is fairly accurate. Spend your money on outstanding ground tackle, weather routing, charts, a solar array, dinghy davits etc.

I've traveled with several buddy boats that are commonly on the list of boats that everybody regularly poo poo's. Everybody has always gotten to their destination. I traveled with a 42 foot Hunter and on light air days they could just walk away from our heavy displacement boat. But on another occasion we had one of our favorite days of spirited sailing and they felt the need to tie themselves into the cockpit. Its all about perception, were they wimpy, was their ride really that scary, I dunno. By the next day all that was history and they were hanging to a well set hook living in a very comfortable boat. Sometimes theres an ass kicking involved but once the hook is down those times are quickly forgotten. Older narrow beamed traditionally seaworthy boats are great but for the use you're intending theres a lot to be said for comfort on the hook that the newer designs excel at. Buying preowned is also a great idea.

The more enjoyable the boat is for everyone the less times you'll find yourself single handing.

s/v Veranda
Thank you very much for the replies. I greatly appreciate the insight and advice.
A consulting group, Mahina Expeditions, , produces a list of offshore boats. I'm not sure if this is his latest list, but here's one that's probably a bit outdated:
Able 32, 42, 48 * USA Superb quality, expensive. Chuck Paine designs.
Alajuela 33 * USA Good value, well built
Alberg 35 * USA Early f /g boats. Well proven, not expensive.Narrow, short waterlines, graceful overhangs.
Alden 38, 43, 44, 46, 48, 54, 58 USA Classy, well built, beautiful & expensive.
Allied 30, 32, 33, 35, 36, 39, 42 * USA Good value. Functional, practical.
Amel 36 53 FRA Strong, well designed. Excellent passagemaker, great value. Low maintenance.
Amazon 29, 37, 44 * CAN Steel boats, attractive modern designs.
Amphitrite 43 * FRA Waquiez built, strong & roomy with good storage.Odd deck design, but great boat and good
Annie 28 * USA Every boat built by Morris is a work of art!
Bayfield 29, 30 32, 40 * CAN Good value. A bit “plasticy” interiors but ok.
Bluewater 60 * USA Modern, top quality Chuck Paine design.
Bowman 36 58 * ENG Strong boats. Excellent passagemakers.
Brewer 42 * CAN Improved version of Whitby 42.
Bristol 27 45 * USA Good boats. Later models were better quality.
Bristol Channel Cutter 28 USA Well built, not my personal choice. Good company.
Cabot 36 * CAN Ted Brewer design
Cal 2 30, 34, 36, 39, 40, 2 46, 3 46, 48 * USA Bill Lapworth designs. Many 2-46’s have circumnavigated.
Comfortable, reasonably priced but look very carefully at bulkhead attachment.
Caliber 28, 33, 35, 38, 40 USA Fairly well built. Michael McCreary designs.
The 47 is not an attractive boat.
Cambria 40, 44, 46 * USA Fast, well built, gorgeous and expensive.
Camper Nicholson 31, 32, 35, 38, 39, 40, 43, 47, 56, 58, 70 * ENG Out of business except for shipbuilding.
Watch for serious blister problems on all models.
Cabo Rico 34, 36, 38, 40, 42, 45, 47, CRI Crelock and Paine designs. Expensive, semi custom.
Cape Dory all models * USA All models are well designed & built.
Cape George Cutters 31, 36, 38 USA Some owner completed. Strong & fast. Sometimes great value.
Cascade 36, 42 USA 1965-67 design still being built. Narrow. Many owner-finished.
Centurion by Wauquiez (not Beneteau) 36-59 FRA Centurion’s built before Wauquiez sold to Beneteau are solid,
but w/limited tankage. Later Beneteau-built models are not appropriate or impressive
except for dockside living.
Cherubini 44, 48, 62 * USA Semi custom boats. Beautiful, great sailing& expensive
Contessa 26 & 32 * CAN, ENG Tania Aebi & B.J. Caldwell both circumnavigated in 26's.
Contest 31, 35, 36, 38, 40, 41, 42, 44, 46, 48, 55, 60 HOL More common in Europe.
Well built, new boats are very attractive.
Countess 44 by Pearson * USA Ancient John Alden design.
Corbin 39 * CAN Roomy and strong, but watch for hull blisters.
Crealock 31, PH 32, 34, 37, 40, 44 by Pacific Seacraft * USA Good value and well built. Graceful overhangs,
canoe sterns, short waterlines means these boats may hobbyhorse upwind.
CSY 37, 44 * USA Sturdy, roomy & reasonably priced but old.
Dana 24 by Pacific Seacraft USA An solid and expensive (for the size) slow pocket ocean cruiser.
Deerfoot Yachts * Var Fast & innovative, aluminum & fiberglass hulls.
Dickerson 36, 37, 40, 41, 50 * USA Nicely proportioned & well built boats. Earlier 36’s are very reasonably priced.
Durbeck 46 * USA Big and roomy, long overhangs, short waterline.
Endurance 35, 38, 40 * Var Peter Ibold design, some owner completed. Built by various yards in ENG,
USA & Canada.
Esprit 37 by Nordic * USA Perry design. Comfortable, well proven, good value.
F & C 44 * ARG Modem Frers designed cruising ketch.
Farr Pilot House 50, 56, 60, 63 SWE Sexy, powerful, fast and glamorous.
Excellent quality.First boats were built by Najad.
Fast Passage 39 USA Some built in Canada, some by Tollycraft. WA. Excellent boat.
Fisher 30 46 ENG Sturdy and slow motorsailers. Great for high latitude cruising.
Flicka 20 USA Solidly built Mini ocean cruiser, but slow, slow, slow.
Francis 26 * USA Beautiful design from Morris, an excellent yard.
Fraser 41, 46, 50 * CAN Good modem cruisers.
Freya 39 * USA Good value. Many owner-completed, so quality varies. FAST, full-keel design capable of 200 mpd!
Garcia 46-50+ FRA Gorgeous, fast, semi custom, high quality aluminum.
Gladiateur 33 * FRA Very sturdy, short on tankage, Waquiez built.
Goderich 35, 37,41 * CAN Attractive Brewer steel boats. Short production run.
Gozzard 31, 36, 44 CAN Good design & construction. Totally committed quality company.
Hallberg-Rassy, 31,312,33,35,352,36,38,382,39,41,42,42F,43,45,46,4 9,53, SWE
Well built, comfortable, with good tankage & storage. Newer Frers designs have better
sailing performance than earlier Enderlien boats. Excellent resale value. Excellent
systems integration and detail.
Halmatic 30 * ENG Similar to Nicholson 31. Watch for blisters.
Hinkley 30-64 USA Attractive, highest quality, and expensive. Hold theirvalue well. Modest tankage & storage.
Hood 38 * FRA Waquiez built, Hood design. Strong, fast, & attractive. Short on tankage.
Centerboard rattles downwind. Solid choice.
Hylas 46,49, 54, 54 Raised Saloon TAI Frers & S & S designs. Good sailing qualities, tankage & storage. High
quality on later Jachney-era models.
Island Packet 32, 35, 350, 37,38, 40, 420, 44, 45 USA Roomy & comfortable with good tankage
& storage but some odd features. Continually improving. Good value, exc. company.
J-Boats/32, J/42; J/44, J/46, J/160 USA Fast, light. Excellent sailing performance. Minimal
tankage and storage. Fast downwind, pound heavily upwind. Ck keels!
Jason 35 from Miller Marine * USA Some owner completed. Several have cruised extensively.
Jongert 50, 55, 60, 67, 73 HOL Heavy, expensive, extremely well built steel and aluminum yachts. Not going
to win any races, though!
Justine 36 * USA Gorgeous Paine design, Morris built cruiser.
Kaiulani 34, 38 * USA Lovely steel Brewer & Yohe designs. Very limited production.
Kanter 42, 45, 60, 65 CAN Steel & aluminum boats, semi custom. Highest Quality.
Chuck Paine & Ted Brewer designs.
LM 27, 28, 290, 30, 315, 32, 380 DEN Some have inside steering. Well built and impressive.
Linda 28 * USA Gorgeous design, Morris quality.
Leigh 30 * USA Very well built, attractive Morris.
Little Harbor 42-90 TAI & USA Ted Hood designed, heavy displacement. Semi custom. Expensive and solid as
a rock.
Luders 33, DOVE * USA Older, well built by Allied.
Malo 36, 38, 39, 45 SWE Quality offshore boats with good sailing performance.
Attractive, reasonably priced. Strong company, good service.
Mariah 31 * USA At least one circumnavigation. Pacific Seacraft built.
Mason 33, 43, 44, 53, 54, 63 * TAI Some of the very best Taiwan built boats.
Mercator 30 * USA Inexpensive, obscure. One has circumnavigated
Moody 38, 42 , 47, 54, 64 * ENG Good designs but some quality-control issues.
Morgan 382, 383 * USA Excellent Ted Brewer design for around $60K.
Morris 26, 28, 30, 32, 34,36, 42, 44, 45, 454, 46, 48.6, 52 USA Chuck Paine design.
Superb quality, highest quality US yard building cruising boats. Expensive. Semi-custom.
Mystic 57, 60 * ENG Dubois design, Bowman built, beautiful.
Najad 330, 361, 370, 390, 420, 490, 520 SWE Quality, attractive boats. Excellent sailing
performance. Good tankage, storage and high level of craftsmanship.
Nauti Cat Motorsailers 35,40,43, 53, FIN Later S & S designed models are much better
performers than earlier tubby models.
Niagara 31, 35, 42 * CAN Well built & roomy. Superb value.
Nordic 34,40,44,45 * USA Attractive boats, some solvable problems with mast step deflection on the 40 & 45.
Norseman 400,447 * TAI Strong, fast, and attractive. Have held their value well.
North Wind 43,50, 58 SPA S&S designs, quality construction, good company.
Ocean 60, 71 * ENG Powerful boats, many have had blister problems
Ocean Cruising 42 * USA Only a few built by Hank Hinkley. Classy.
Orion 27 * USA Offshore capable. Pacific Seacraft built.
Oyster 42, 45, 485,49,53, 55, 56 61, 62, 63, 66, 70, 82, 100 ENG NZL Some have
inside steering. Attractive, expensive and first class! Weak resale value and larger
models make this an excellent, though expensive choice.
Pacific Seacraft 34, 37, 40, 44 * USA Well built boats, good resale. Graceful overhangs.
Pearson 35, 365, 422, 424, 520 * USA Fairly well built, not flashy but reasonably priced.
Passport 41, 415, 435, 44, 456, 470, 50 TAI Modem Perry cruising design. Good
Pretorien 35 * FRA Strong, fast & attractive. Built by Waquiez. Best value for a boat under $85,000.
Modest tankage.
Rhodes Bounty II * USA Ancient Pearson fiberglass design, classic but very old, so will need tons of upgrading.
Is it worth it?
Regina of Vindo, 38, 43, 49 SWE Attractive, well built, quality deck saloon. In a class of
their own for quality and design.
Rival 36 41 * ENG Strong, good-looking and sailing boats.
Rustler 36, 42 ENG Totally impressive, quality boat and company.
Sabre 34, 362,38, 402, 42, 402, 425, 452, USA Built in Maine, great quality, but limited
tankage and storage.
Sadler 34 * ENG Unsinkable, fast, great performance. Good choice.
Saga 35, 43, 48 * CAN Modern Perry design. Fast innovate and narrow. The 43 is a
very tried and proven design.
Santa Cruz 52 USA Strong, fast and fun!
Saturna 33 * CAN Attractive, Bill Garden designed pilothouse cutter.
Scanmar 35 * SWE Limited production but good design.
Sceptre 41, 43 CAN Modem pilothouse with good performance.
Seawind 30, Seawind II 32’ * USA Excellent boats. Good value. First. Built by Allied Yachts
Seguin 44, 51 USA S & S design. Excellent boats. Semi Custom.
Shannon 32, 36, 39, 43,43 II, 47, 53. USA Good reliable boats. Hold their value well.
Skye 51 * TAI Similar in appearance to Swans. Deck problems.
Southern Cross 28, 31, 35, 39 * USA Good boats. Attractive designs. Fairly well built.
Spencer 35, 42, 44, 54 * CAN Older, solid boats, built in Vancouver, B.C.
Stellar 52 TAI Total quality S&S design, well built, great detail work.
Sundeer 56, 64 * USA Excellent & expensive. Innovative design & incredible performance. Good systems layout.
Built by TPI.
Swan FIN Newest designs aren’t well suited for ocean cruising.
Shearwater 39, 45 RSA Strong, traditional and attractive.
Sweden Yachts SWE Expensive & well built. Racer cruiser designs, short on tankage
and storage.
Tartan 3500, 37, 3700, 41, 4100, 4600, * USA Well proven several 37’s have
circumnavigated. Some designs have centerboards.
Taswell 43, 49, 56, 58, 60, 72 TAI Quality, attractive, good sailing performance.
Excellent tankage, storage and design.
Tashiba 31, 36, 40 * TAI Perry designs. From the best yard in Taiwan.
Topper Hermanson 40+ * USA Semi custom steel or aluminum Van de Stadt designs.
Trintella HOL Roomy and well built. Newer designs are aluminum and exp.
Triton 29 by Pearson * USA Good value, sturdy. Earliest F/g production boat.
Valiant 32, 37, 39, 40, 42, 47, 50 USA Major blister problems on Valiant 40 hull numbers
116 250. No problems with any of the excellent Texas built boats. Proven designs, strong
Vancouver 27 * CAN Also built in Taiwan & England.
Vangard 32 * USA Good value. Phil Rhodes design, built by Pearson
Vega 27, by Albin Marine * SWE At least six have circumnavigated. Inexpensive, fast.
Victoria 30, 34 ENG Chuck Paine design, Morris built.
Vindo 29, 34, 38, 39 SWE Attractive, well built, but high maintenance.
Vineyard Vixen 30, 34 * USA Attractive design.
Westerly 26 36 ENG Not flashy, but fairly well built boats.
Westsail 28, 32, 39, 42, 43 * USA Sturdy boats. 39’s are rare & attractive. Perry design.
Whitby 42, 44 CAN Brewer designs that sell for $85 120k. Good value. Roomy and fairly well built.
Windship USA Expensive custom boats.
Yankee 26, 30 * USA S & S designed. Inexpensive and capable. Great value.

You already got great insights. You should consider the production boats market (Catalina, Hunter, Beneteau, Jeanneau, etc...) All these vessels are seaworthy and will do the job. But ultimately nobody can choose the boat for you.
So my contribution to you is this:
- allow your self to fall in love with a boat.
- disregard all other considerations but seaworthiness and sailing performance.
- slow boats are boring. you want to move in light air. European boats perform better.
- charter boats as often as u can and find out what u don't like about the boat your chartered or sea trial.
- don't buy project. buy a boat.
- go out with your family. choose the boat together.
- rule # 1 for confort at sea: less is more. do not invest in toys. better to have a great set of sails than expensive electronic. think energy conservation. do not rely on diesel to recharge your battery.
- rule # 2: simple solutions for any upgrade you want to made to your vessel.
- rule # 3: bigger is better. extend your self. there are 40 to 45ft vessel on the market you can get at a great price.
Hope this will help u out. Good luck. JM
I also am in the market for a cruising boat. I don't hear much chatter about cat's. Are they not worth the extra money? I have chartered one 4500 Cat in the BVI, loved the space but don't see many cruisers on cats, mostly charters, can the cruisers out there explain? dwm
CatS are nice boats for island hopping and lots of people have ventured far afield in them. Many mono hull sailors who have gotten into some really bad weather and been knocked down (Paloma has been through two Force 10 gales and has knocked down to fully buried portlights - all the way up to the handrails on the cabin trunk, sails filled with water), fear that a cat could turn turtle and cannot/will not recover.
I had an experience with a 45ft Shuttleworth from AL to Martinique in Nov. 2005. Delivery. I got 57kn of wind in the Gulf of MX. I was surprise how safe i felt despite the fact that i had no prior experience with cat.
They can handle heavy weather easily as long as you learn the specificity of how to handle storm and heavy seas on a cat. It is extremely rare that they captsize and when they do they do not sink. You wait for the rescue on the hull. no need for life raft.
I was surprise how uncomfortable she was at sea. She didn't go up wind well. we motor sail all the way to PR and strictly sail only from PR to Martinique.
Since this experience i did my home work. She was not a well design cat. More for charter than a cruiser. When you compare cat vs. monohull they offer more space, more sleeping area, more comfort at anchor, easy access for diving and swimming, great entertaining area. The only monohull advantage is sailing to weather. Things have change. World cruiser go for catamarans more and more often. The reason are listed above. Outremer, Catana, Seawind, are World cruising Cats. Lagoon, Fontaine Pajot, Nautitech, etc... were conceived for the charter market. They are heavy. Weigh is a killer for cats. The lighter, the safer. You can get the challenge when you want a cruiser. Dagger board are a must. They help you with upwind performance. Length is important. Length and weight
I've been sailing cats since 2000 when my wife and I picked up a Voyage 43' cat in Cape Town and sailed her back to the states via almost every place in between.

Choosing a boat is much like choosing a spouse - no one else can do it for you. But, before you make your choice, you might think of dating a few - eventually the boat will tell you it is the right one.

While you are trying them, you might count the boats in the anchorages. My present boat, a Gemini, seems to be among the more popular in the Bahamas anchorages - lots of space for 4 people in a 34' boat, easy to handle, capable and civil. We eat on real dishes, sit in comfortable places underway, and have sufficient visibility and ventilation for most cruising conditions.

Since Geminis have been in production for years, there are inexpensive boats available that are well taken care of and capable of anything the crew wishes to demand.

It is seldom the boat that determines the journey - the crew can generally get the boat to anyplace desired and when the crew gives up, the boat often keeps on going on her own.

Try a few cats - if you are in South Florida, I'd be happy to take you out on mine - and let yourself think about where you spend most of your time when underway.
dear david ;the first thing too consider is your purse if you have unlimited funds get a big one and the crew too go with it . other wise start off small and work ure way up mattey .the next thing is storage .herein the boating captial of the world [da bronx ] its /quite expensive in the commercial yards . the alt to this is may be a yacht club for do it ur selfers like myself the up side to this is most clubs will honor another club member ship and help out whrn they can this is cool 4 us cruzers the next thing is used or new me i went with used cause im handy right now i own a33 ft allied luders for singlehanded ness its right 4 me and my 12yr daughter thank fully iboat better than comput any way callif u want my nameswilly heres da # 646 3919654
forgot ct and formosa and the goood old taiwanese made boats....


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