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Thread: A dangerous thought...

  1. #1
    Contributing Member III
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    A dangerous thought...

    Ok, here goes... I have had an E23-MKII since July. We had a blast on Lake union and Lake Washington in Seattle this summer. We have her moored on lake union. Pure bliss...

    Because things went so well I figure it is time to change something! Here is a bit of background: Ruth (The commodore) had no sailing experience before this summer but is really enjoying herself so far. I had a mostly dingy based upbringing, but found the E-23 easy enough to handle on the lakes.

    I am itching to get into Puget sound for more extensive adventures (um... modest ones to be sure!) such as overnights, weekends, and maybe even the odd week of cruising the inland waters of puget sound. I can't see us ever leaving protected waters.

    We want to preserve the ability to "pop onto the lake after work" for a glass of wine on the water, but I would also like something big enough to take onto the sound in relative comfort and safety. I am a firm believer in owning the SMALLEST boat in which you can reasonably do what you want. 30ish feet seems about right to me.

    Things that seem to be important from our summer's experience: A roller furling would be helpful, as would a locking helm of some sort. Self tailing winches would be swell. A working head would extend our cruising time significantly. I am about to haul my 23 and do some maintenance. Maybe I should trade up instead?!

    I trust the collective wisdom of this group.

    Your thoughts?

  2. #2
    Principal Partner mherrcat's Avatar
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    Well, I have a 30ft boat and I wish I had a bigger one. The only thing stopping me is the cost; for the boat and the additional cost of maintenance, slip fees, insurance, taxes, etc. I think that's why most people get the biggest boat they can reasonably afford. And that would be my advice; get what you can comfortably afford. Hell, if I could afford a 40+ foot boat I would have one!
    Last edited by mherrcat; 10-07-2013 at 09:08 PM.
    Mark H.
    1985 Ericson 30+

  3. #3
    1984 Ericson 30+, Nanaimo, BC
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    Greg B,

    Hi, my thoughts are different from Mark's above, let me explain. My wife and I own an Ericson 30+ which we sail in the BC Gulf Islands, San Juan Islands and other coastal cruising. It's a great boat--fast, fun to sail, roomy for two and even four people for a couple of weeks. We have a diesel engine, autopilot, self tailing winches, roller furling headsail, lines led aft, propane stove, propane heater, two water tanks, head with holding tank and pumpout, inverter, and other enhancements. It's a great boat, but still my wife would prefer a larger boat for the couple of weeks a year where we have our adult children and grandchildren aboard when, admittedly, it can get a bit crowded. But I also singlehand alot and anchor out overnight, and the 30 foot is ideal for that--manageable sails, anchor not too heavy, etc.

    This is our third boat--our second one was a San Juan 23 sailed on a lake, boat and lake sound very similar to your current situation. I loved that boat, and it was so simple--outboard rather than inboard diesel, portapotty, portable pal heater,a single spigot water spout, portable alcohol stove; much fewer amenities than our current 30 foot boat, but alot easier to maintain and much less worry. It would have been fine for a week or two cruising on the coast in good weather though without some of the comforts of our larger boat.

    What I'm suggesting is that there are real trade-offs. Yes, larger gives you more room and creature comforts, but at the expense of more maintenance, more worry about the complexity of stuff you can't see, higher cost, greater challenge of boat manageability in tight docking spaces.

    Have you considered trailering your boat to the coast for a one week trial to see how she would do? Or perhaps chartering a few different size boats--a 27, 30 or even 35 foot boat to see how you like them?

    There are lots of people who love their larger boats, but there are also those who feel they went too large and have downsized again or wish they could do so without a significant loss.

    Let us know what you decide.

    Frank
    Last edited by Frank Langer; 10-07-2013 at 09:36 PM.

  4. #4
    Principal Partner Christian Williams's Avatar
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    Everybody trades up till they find what's right. It's a natural result of growing confidence and new horizons. Do it.

    I'd just suggest analyzing maintenance time vs. cruising time. Nearly everyone here is restoring his boat, or has already spent ten years finishing the job.

    So bigger is, uh, bigger--lots more work with any older boat.

    One thing for sure, the move from 23 feet to 29 or 30 would be a vast increase in comfort.

    [posted simultaneously, to pretty much the same effect....)

    [Oh, and welcome to the forum--if you want a look at my rumblings on maintenance reality, try "90 percent jib" under the Blogs banner above]
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 10-07-2013 at 10:02 PM.
    cw@christianwilliams.com
    "Thelonious" E32-3 Hull 604 (1985)
    Marina del Rey

  5. #5
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    If its just you and your wife who will be using the boat, and you're interested in the smallest boat that can handle the Sound with reasonable comfort and convenience, I think you could go smaller than 30. The Ericson 27 can certainly handle the open Sound waters. It has a lot of interior room and a thoughtfully laid out interior. It was Ericson's largest selling boat, so there are a lot of them available and they came in both inboard and outboard models.

  6. #6
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    Talking Just what I was looking for

    Perfect discussion! I am still thinking we would be just about right on a 27-30 footer as it will be virtually always just two of us except for the occasional cocktail cruise where I am basically single handling the boat with a bunch of wine drinkers aboard.

    I just want to make sure that the commodore has good experiences on the sound which makes me a little hesitant to get her out on the 23. a 3ft chop starts getting a little wet and bouncy in that boat. I am pretty handy, but a little intimidated by some of the systems on the boats as they get larger. I am sure I can learn but still...

    I may as well go for the home run here...Anyone have a "done" 27-30 they are looking to sell? Anyone want to start refurbishing of a sweet little 23?

  7. #7
    Contributing Member III Fparry's Avatar
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    I sail mostly by myself on Lake Ontario which is more tha 7 times larger than Puget Sound and I do it in a 32-200. My previous boat was a 27'. The 32-200 feels more secure, is easier to handle, is faster, a lot mor fun to sail, and is certainly more comfortable. The only one of these qualities I was certain of before the purchase was the comfort.
    "If you don't know where your going any road will take you there." Fred Parry s/v LUNA 1988 E32-200

  8. #8
    Contributing Partner markvone's Avatar
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    Greg,

    I had a '75 23-2 (fixed keel), '84 E26 and '82 E33 in the span of about 8 years up in eastern CT. I daysailed, raced and cruised the E23 as far as Block Island which is a +/- 20 mile trip out of Long Island Sound into open ocean but only 7 miles offshore from the Rhode Island coast. I never felt the boat was too small or lightly built for the conditions. It WAS pretty small for cruising with 3, but I did it for up to a week during summer.

    I moved up to the E26 to get standing headroom, enclosed head and the inboard diesel. I did not really consider the larger boat size for weather or sea conditions. I used the E26 for 5 years, cruising for up to a week at a time. I didn't have or feel I needed autopilot or furler. The boat was just big enough and simple to operate and maintain.

    I moved up to the E33 to get more speed to cover more distance and shorten sailing time and to get more stability and comfort when sailing in more wind and sea conditions. I never really felt I needed more interior space, but that was a small bonus with the E33.

    Twenty years later when I started looking for another Ericson to get back into sailing here in the Chesapeake, I started looking for another E26 as the ideal combination of size and simple. However, the number of E26s available was small and the prices were high. I eventually got an E36RH for the following reasons: prices were so compressed that the price wasn't that much higher than an E26, the extra cockpit space and wheel steering is better for non-sailor friends (although not a lot bigger than the smaller Ericsons), the extra size I can use as a summer condo on the water, the extra size is much better for my anxious, non-sailor wife and I always wanted one. My boat has furler, autopilot, over-size self tailing winches, chartplotter/radar at helm and other mods for singlehandling which I would say are mandatory once you get to this size. They could be considered optional in the 26-30 size range depending on your skill, physical fitness, crew help, etc.

    After, 3 years with the E36RH I would state the following: I would sail more by myself if I had bought the E26. The projects would be simplier and less expensive with the E26 and there are always projects with 30 year old boats. My total expenses for the boat would be lower - the initial price is minor compared to the yearly expenses, particularly in an expensive location. It is much easier to sail with non-involved crew on the E36RH becaue they don't get in the way. The E36RH gets up and goes in the light air of the Chesapeake, so I can sail most of the time.

    I would suggest you develop a specific list of things that you would like and then see which ones the E23 just can't provide. The items you listed could all be added to an E23 and have become much more common on smaller boats today. The list of items that the E23 can't provide will form the basis of what size and type of boat you should be considering as your next. I would also second the opinion of taking the E23 to the Puget Sound and giving it a try to see how it might work for you for, say, a week of cruising. Adding a trailer to get to the Sound to go cruising could add a lot of flexibility to where you can sail and maybe pay for itself in winter storage.

    Mark
    Mark & Ronnie Vinette
    E36RH #21 GLIDE
    Annapolis, MD

  9. #9
    Principal Partner Christian Williams's Avatar
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    I see lots of wisdom and experience in these replies, or at least I agree with the perspectives. Let me add something else:

    There was a time, years ago, when you could buy and sell a sailboat every year or two, as we did with cars. Manufacturers were churning them out, and people moved up (and down) without great financial punishment. The boats, like the buyers, were younger. A thirty-year-old boat then was made of wood and nobody much wanted them. The economy was robust on and off, yachting and racing was relatively more popular, wristwatches ran slower (no cell phones and your doctor took Wednesdays off) and because there was more time, more people worked on their own boats.

    My point is that today we keep boats longer. They're hard to sell. Our 20- or 30-year-old boats are sound, but need piece-by-piece renewal in addition to routine maintenance. It's expensive but the reward is you;re always approaching a "new" boat, without changing boats. And most of us know that if we were to trade up to a larger Ericson, we'd be looking at a new five-year list of things to do, made somewhat less fun by the memory and check stubs of having alrady done it. o

    So buy a boat for the next five or ten years. Youll worry less about pouring the money in, and you'll get it out by enjoyment of your labor and dough.
    Last edited by Christian Williams; 10-11-2013 at 01:03 PM.
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  10. #10
    Senior Moderator Loren Beach's Avatar
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    Electircal Shopping, shopping, Lusting.....

    One other way to look at this is to throw out the concept of boat length. While it's true that LOA is important when shopping for a slip, it's only a contributing factor amongst the other ownership data.
    Try looking at a number that can define livability and sailing potential equally... like Displacement and Designer, and of course, the Builder.

    When we were shopping for a move-up boat, we were looking for boats in the 9K to 11K size range. That took in lengths from about 29 to the Olson 34 that we finally bought. What we finally bought was Speed under sail and power, from the longer waterline length. Same amount of displacement would have also bought a sluggish Catalina 30, for instance. And that design is, by comparison, No Fun to sail, either.

    Pitfalls in buying bigger and lighter boats are usually in construction and engineering for the long haul (in Decades). So, we avoided cored hulls and went with a major higher-end builder, Ericson Yachts. As all boats age, base-line quality and the strength of the hull to deck joint, and the engineering of the keel attachment gains importance every year.

    In a shorter version of our design, I would have bought an E-built Olson 911s. Being 6'2", I got more (standing) headroom in the 34, and we both prefer the aft head style of interior. But that's just us.

    Traveling and Boat Shopping was fun, but sure got old after a year of looking, from SF to Vancouver BC.

    Your boat is out there... keep looking... kind of like love, "the heart wants what the heart wants."


    Cheers,
    Loren
    Last edited by Loren Beach; 10-11-2013 at 01:42 PM.
    1988 Olson 34 #8
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    Fresh Air
    Portland, OR USA

  11. #11
    Contributing Member III
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    Great input!

    Many thanks for the continuing thoughtful responses. I am loving this, you guys are saving me a lot of agonizing. (of course creating different agonizing at the same time...)

    I am pretty sold on Ericson after my summer with the 23. I (amateur) had a good time running circles around some of the other similar size boats on lake union. Speed under sail and power is definitely a big deal in our area as we typically have pretty light wind most of the year. And though it is a 1976 with no indication of being babied, it seems to be in pretty good shape. (Though I have not hauled it yet!)

    I (of course) am going to need to get out and sail a few of these, but I am still trying to get narrowed down to a few models to focus on. The 30' limit was (maybe incorrectly) dictated by a belief that moorage costs seem to go up and options seem to go down at 30'.

    For those of you who have mentioned trailerabilty...Lake Union, where we are moored is connected to the sound by a Ship Canal with locks. And this is Seattle - how would I pull a boat with my Prius?

  12. #12
    Contributing Member III Special K's Avatar
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    Food for thought...

    I also keep my Ericson on Lake Union. (Alot of Ericsons for such a small lake!) We have a 1986 E28. I do most of my sailing single-handed and I believe there is value in having a boat small enough to easily get away from the dock by yourself and back without fear of scratching the paint. I would be happy to have you over to check it out.

    Peter

  13. #13
    Contributing Member III
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    Micro raft up!

    Lets meet in the middle of the lake one afternoon this week!

    G


    Quote Originally Posted by Special K View Post
    I also keep my Ericson on Lake Union. (Alot of Ericsons for such a small lake!) We have a 1986 E28. I do most of my sailing single-handed and I believe there is value in having a boat small enough to easily get away from the dock by yourself and back without fear of scratching the paint. I would be happy to have you over to check it out.

    Peter

  14. #14
    Contributing Member III Special K's Avatar
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    Duck Dodge Rum Run

    Are you planning to sail in the Duck Dodge Rum Run?

    Peter

  15. #15
    Contributing Member III
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    Rum Run

    I am not... conflict that night.

    G

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