We are considering buying a Gulfstar 47 Sailmaster and are interested in your comments concerning the Sailmaster 50. I.E. that it was never intended for world cruising and its lack of performance. Friends that own these 47’s claim the boat sails great (at least the sloop rig) and it does quite well in heavy weather. Any comments regarding sloop versus ketch rigs? Please be specific about why you feel this way as I’m very interested in this boat – as you said, there is massive space and livability.
Hi Gordon: Tough question. Without seeing a stability curve for the Sailmasters I’d be hard pressed to comment on their suitability. And then there is the whole question of what is your definition of heavy weather? I would guess that as long as you had no structural or systems problem, i.e., the boat was under control and sound, that you could deal with moderate heavy weather. But I suspect that the range of positive stability might not be as great as might be ideal for severe conditions. There’s a lot of boat up high and not a huge amount of draft or ballast to offset it.
On the performance front, the boat will be slow to weather, and sluggish in light airs. But that definition fits a lot of cruising boats. So it’s a question of if you want to trade the space for the performance. For local sailing, maybe doing the East Coast, and working your way down island this is not going to be a huge problem.
One of my concerns would be the basic structure, keel, steering, and rig integrity. As you pointed out, these boats are typically not thought of in context of thousands of blue water miles. A good survey, and a check of the history of the boats will shed some light on this subject.
Of course you can motor in the light winds and to weather.
To get the same interior space and good heavy weather ability plus boat speed you would need to go longer. So there are some benefits to the configuration. It is just a question to how you weigh the pros and cons. Good Luck! – Steve