Cruising Boat Choices

Dear Steve:

Thanks so much for your various books. I just finished devouring Practical Seamanship. I have gained greatly from reading and practicing the insights shared, particularly sail balancing and heavy weather techniques. When read in conjunction with the video’s, the books are even more informative.

I presently have a 461 Beneteau. I like it very much. My wife thinks it is a bit too sporty & light. We use it for coastal crusing (West coast). We are in the beginning process of evaluating boats which are better designed/ suited for passage making. Like most everyone, we would like to sail BEOWULF, or its equivilent, but it is not likely to ever be in reach of our budget. I personally would like a Sundeer 64, but it is uncertain whether one would become available, or be affordable. As with so many others who have written before me, I am seeking advice to help with my quest.

We are looking to spend $400-500,000. I had been thinking of the Amel Super Maramu 53, but after comparing its hull design to that of the Sundeers/Deerfoots, it appears more suited to light conditions. Others we have considered seemed a bit too beamy and/or had keel/rudder designs which were not conducive to surfing. Any thoughts on production/semi-custom boats that we should focus on? My inclination would be toward a ketch, but I’d be happy with a cutter rig.

Thanks again for sharing so much and considering my questions. Linda has been quite an inspiration for my wife, who really only likes warm days with the wind behind the beam.–Mark

Hi Mark: Thanks for the nice comments–you must be a fast reader!

The used Sundeer 64s seem to go for around +/- $700,000. The 56/60 Sundeers for a little less. Some of the smaller Deerfoot designs are available in your budget range. However, as you have indicated, there are not a great lot of these on the brokerage market.

The Amels have a good reputation–but I suspect as you’ve indicated, they are probably not good surfing boats. As to what else to suggest…there are so many choices and trade-offs it is hard to know what to advise.

I think the best approach is to have an open mind. My preference is to get a boat which has a good structure first, then go for waterline, and of course moderate proportions. If the decor is not right, or the systems hard to get at or not well done, keep in mind that these types of things can be changed and/or upgraded and often the overall cost of the project will be less if you buy a boat which needs work–and then change things to suit yourself.

As to single stick or split rig, it is usually better to go with a single sticker as long as you can handle it. Size is not so much an issue as overall boat design. Generally, in anything under 60 feet or so, I generally favor the sloop or cutter configuartion–but of course this depends on the power and of the design and size of the rig.

Sorry I can’t be more specific–but there are so many choices–which of course is what makes this fun! Good Luck–Steve Dashew

Posted by Steve Dashew  (June 10, 2003)

Comments are closed.