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Mirage 27 Sailboat Review/Advice


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Good day lads,

My Uncle has a 1985 Mirage 27 that he keeps on a dock in Virginia. He is potentially looking at selling the boat and I am curious in regards to its bluewater/off-shore capabilities.

I would be interested in sailing the boat from Virginia down to the British Virgin Islands. Anyone have any guidance as to if the Mirage 27 (assuming good condition) can make this journey and what the best/safest route for this boat would be?

Any and all tips/experience/advice would be greatly appreciated!

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I think the Mirage is a good boat...SJB was probably referring to it being designed and build as a coastal boat rather than an ocean boat.  there are several at the lake, nice boats  but as a result of it's design intent won't have a lot of water and fuel tankage.  Having said that, a member here at SA cruised a CS 27, a boat of comparable design, size and build, from montreal to the caribean and back quite happily.

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1 hour ago, chester said:

I think the Mirage is a good boat...SJB was probably referring to it being designed and build as a coastal boat rather than an ocean boat.   a member here at SA cruised a CS 27, a boat of comparable design, size and build, from montreal to the caribean and back quite happily.

Exactly.

I'd prefer the CS - they are probably the best choice in Canadian boats in that size from that era. Many people regard them as better built than C&C.

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Webb Chiles has sailed a Moore 24 around the world.  Moore’s are nice boats too, but I think, given a decent boat, it’s more about the sailor than the boat...

 

So how good a seaman are you?  How many ocean miles do you have under your belt?

 

That said, you can always go down the Intercoastal most of the way to FL, then jump across to Bermuda, and “Island hop” your way down to the BVI...

 

How much time do you have?

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at our prairie marina i would say that there are more 26/27's than any other design...if you exempt macs :D.  the boat data page suggests they came with a diesel but from my local experience most seem to have the OMC sail drives.  a few years ago one changed hands and the next year the old omc packed it in.  the original seller found a boat in ontario that was being scrapped.  the scrapper cut the OMC and sail drive out with a chainsaw, strapped it on a pallet and sent the whole shooting match out west...

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20 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Exactly.

I'd prefer the CS - they are probably the best choice in Canadian boats in that size from that era. Many people regard them as better built than C&C.

The Mirage 27 is a better looking boat - Dick Steffan built nice boats - but I won't argue the build quality of one over the other. My brother-in-law had a CS 27 and it was built like a brick shit house. Looked like one too...

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On 2/28/2019 at 11:25 AM, chester said:

I think the Mirage is a good boat...SJB was probably referring to it being designed and build as a coastal boat rather than an ocean boat.  there are several at the lake, nice boats  but as a result of it's design intent won't have a lot of water and fuel tankage.  Having said that, a member here at SA cruised a CS 27, a boat of comparable design, size and build, from montreal to the caribean and back quite happily.

So you’re saying there’s a chance...

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On 2/28/2019 at 1:13 PM, SloopJonB said:

Exactly.

I'd prefer the CS - they are probably the best choice in Canadian boats in that size from that era. Many people regard them as better built than C&C.

All right I understand you now. How would you feel about taking a Mirage to the BVI though? 

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On 2/28/2019 at 4:31 PM, Crash said:

Webb Chiles has sailed a Moore 24 around the world.  Moore’s are nice boats too, but I think, given a decent boat, it’s more about the sailor than the boat...

 

So how good a seaman are you?  How many ocean miles do you have under your belt?

 

That said, you can always go down the Intercoastal most of the way to FL, then jump across to Bermuda, and “Island hop” your way down to the BVI...

 

How much time do you have?

Lol I like to think I’m capable. And I’d be bringing guys with me on the sail who have significant ocean experience. My good friend is Jerome Rand who just completed a solo non-stop circumnavigation on a Westsail and I’d do my best to recruit him for the sail.

The plan would be to get down to Florida first and then launch to the BVI from there. 

So two questions:

1.) What would be the best route to get a Mirage 27 from Virginia to Florida? Is it the intercoastal?

2.) What’s the best way to get a Mirage 27 from Florida to Virgin Gorda? Island hopping through the Bahamas seems a bit brutal facing the trades. Is it better to go out and down?

Time frame is a bit up in the air. I’m planning on working in the BVI come October. So we’ll see. If I take her down this year I’d have to take her down in May before Hurricane season. 

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11 minutes ago, SimplyDabbling said:

Lol I like to think I’m capable. And I’d be bringing guys with me on the sail who have significant ocean experience. My good friend is Jerome Rand who just completed a solo non-stop circumnavigation on a Westsail and I’d do my best to recruit him for the sail.

The plan would be to get down to Florida first and then launch to the BVI from there. 

So two questions:

1.) What would be the best route to get a Mirage 27 from Virginia to Florida? Is it the intercoastal?

2.) What’s the best way to get a Mirage 27 from Florida to Virgin Gorda? Island hopping through the Bahamas seems a bit brutal facing the trades. Is it better to go out and down?

Time frame is a bit up in the air. I’m planning on working in the BVI come October. So we’ll see. If I take her down this year I’d have to take her down in May before Hurricane season. 

Truck. ;)

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1 hour ago, SimplyDabbling said:

1.) What would be the best route to get a Mirage 27 from Virginia to Florida? Is it the intercoastal?

2.) What’s the best way to get a Mirage 27 from Florida to Virgin Gorda? Island hopping through the Bahamas seems a bit brutal facing the trades. Is it better to go out and down?

Don Street who used to be a guru of sailing that trip said the best way was to leave from Moorehead city and sail direct to the islands.

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1 hour ago, SloopJonB said:

Don Street who used to be a guru of sailing that trip said the best way was to leave from Moorehead city and sail direct to the islands.

A guy I knew well enough to loan my boat to sailed as crew for Don Street and was terrified at his attitude and boatkeeping.

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6 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Don Street who used to be a guru of sailing that trip said the best way was to leave from Moorehead city and sail direct to the islands.

I had the opportunity to meet Don Street one time at the Bitter End Yacht Club. What an incredible sailor. I remember reading a bunch of Don Street maps!

Moorehead City, North Carolina? Looks pretty well East. So would the idea be to head East/Southeast across the Gulf Stream and then once you got far enough East, go South to Virgin Gorda?

 

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7 hours ago, Ishmael said:

Truck. ;)

Lol that’s actually pretty great advice. I wasn’t even considering hauling it down as an option. 

Anyone have any insight as to how easy it is to trailer a Mirage 27 from Chesapeake Bay Virginia to Florida? 

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4 hours ago, Ishmael said:

A guy I knew well enough to loan my boat to sailed as crew for Don Street and was terrified at his attitude and boatkeeping.

I mean. I only met the man once. But I won’t argue he was the most conservative sailor of all time. 

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7 hours ago, SimplyDabbling said:

I had the opportunity to meet Don Street one time at the Bitter End Yacht Club. What an incredible sailor. I remember reading a bunch of Don Street maps!

Moorehead City, North Carolina? Looks pretty well East. So would the idea be to head East/Southeast across the Gulf Stream and then once you got far enough East, go South to Virgin Gorda?

 

IIRC it was a direct shot.

It's covered in his books which are full of useful, if somewhat eccentric info.

No-one can argue he had the experience.

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11 hours ago, Ishmael said:

A guy I knew well enough to loan my boat to sailed as crew for Don Street and was terrified at his attitude and boatkeeping.

Details?

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18 minutes ago, SloopJonB said:

Details?

He told me that Don had a rather cavalier attitude towards boat maintenance, to the point that safety was a concern. It was a long time ago, I don't remember the rest of the details.

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Maybe sailing a 100 year old boat gives on a different attitude.

I remember someone describing the teak deck on Iolaire as looking more like parquet than a normal sprung deck due to all the little pieces that had been graved in for repairs over the decades.

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13 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

IIRC it was a direct shot.

It's covered in his books which are full of useful, if somewhat eccentric info.

No-one can argue he had the experience.

Got it. Thank you Sloop! All your advice has been very helpful. 

One last question for you: if you were in this situation, would you make this sail on this boat?

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10 hours ago, SloopJonB said:

Maybe sailing a 100 year old boat gives on a different attitude.

I remember someone describing the teak deck on Iolaire as looking more like parquet than a normal sprung deck due to all the little pieces that had been graved in for repairs over the decades.

What kind of boat was Lolaire?

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On 3/2/2019 at 3:10 AM, SimplyDabbling said:

So you’re saying there’s a chance...

I don't know about the Mirage but assuming that it is water tight, it has good stability, it is robust, it steers well a small boat can go offshore safely.

You have to have the right mindset though. That means carrying a minimum of stuff to keep the boat light, keeping heavy stuff centred and low, in heavy conditions accept to sail the boat "like a cork on the ocean" (that means bobbing up and down with waves waiting for the bad weather to pass), keeping windage as minimal as possible, using efficient sails (think hard if you really need this furler) etc...

There is a guy who is currently finishing a round the capes trip with a Contessa 32. He removed the engine has he decided that otherwise his payload (mainly food) would be too high for the boat. You won't have to be as extreme for a relatively short trip but that's the spirit of the exercise.

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10 hours ago, SimplyDabbling said:

Got it. Thank you Sloop! All your advice has been very helpful. 

One last question for you: if you were in this situation, would you make this sail on this boat?

Nope.

Don't take my word for it though - I've never had much desire to make long offshore trips - I prefer puttering around all the islands here.

As someone said earlier, it's more about the skipper than the boat.

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On 3/3/2019 at 10:25 AM, Sail4beer said:

If Jerome can snail around the whole world, having him as crew should alleviate any fears.

 

Lol if I can get him to go with me... He's finishing up the Rough Draft for his book about the journey right now. He may be busy for the near future...

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On 3/3/2019 at 11:46 AM, Bob Perry said:

Dick Steffan built a lot of Mirages to my designs. I can't recall anyone ever contacting me with a build or handling problem. Dick was a conservative builder.

 

How would you feel about taking a Mirage 27 in good shape from Virginia to the BVI Bob?

Would you go straight shot from say, North Carolina?

Or hop down to Florida and work your way through the islands?

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On 3/3/2019 at 12:02 PM, SloopJonB said:

Nope.

Don't take my word for it though - I've never had much desire to make long offshore trips - I prefer puttering around all the islands here.

As someone said earlier, it's more about the skipper than the boat.

Copy that. Thanks for all your responses! I appreciate it a lot. 

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On 3/6/2019 at 10:50 AM, dacapo said:

heh heh heh

 

however...fla. -Bahamas- Turks/Caicos- Puerto Rico- DR- Tortola

Obviously, conditions, crew, breakdowns, etc... but how long would you estimate this sail to take? Let's say stopping 1 to 2 nights in each of the places you've listed. 

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1 hour ago, SimplyDabbling said:

Obviously, conditions, crew, breakdowns, etc... but how long would you estimate this sail to take? Let's say stopping 1 to 2 nights in each of the places you've listed. 

Typically a smallish boat covers 100 - 120 Nm per day or sometimes less if the weather gods are against you. So your best bet is to go there : https://webapp.navionics.com/#boating@2&key={|}hE`jdtL and look at the distances. Remember to think about currents and the gulf stream. Do your homework...

You won't get accurate passage duration estimates more than a few days before. Bear in mind that you won't be able to carry enough diesel to motor through light wind for more  than a day or so, so you might spend a few days not moving much. You can't be on a tight schedule.

I am not negative, just telling you that it is all about planning.

 

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2 minutes ago, Panoramix said:

Typically a smallish boat covers 100 - 120 Nm per day or sometimes less if the weather gods are against you. So your best bet is to go there : https://webapp.navionics.com/#boating@2&key={|}hE`jdtL and look at the distances. Remember to think about currents and the gulf stream. Do your homework...

You won't get accurate passage duration estimates more than a few days before. Bear in mind that you won't be able to carry enough diesel to motor through light wind for more  than a day or so, so you might spend a few days not moving much. You can't be on a tight schedule.

I am not negative, just telling you that it is all about planning.

 

Yeah, I realize you're not being negative. I appreciate the advice. And that's what posting on this forum is all about! The start of my homework.

The limited amount of diesel I'm able to carry on a small boat is a factor to consider which I hadn't thought about directly. 

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It's all in French but this video show you the mindset of people who sail small boat on long distances :

 

The guy went in the southern ocean on this boat. In this video he is about to go and everything is well prepared. Small details matter. You need to spend time on the water ironing all the small issues. It is positive that you buy the boat from somebody you know, so you might get useful info about the boat.

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Good news lads. My Uncle is pulling his Mirage 27 'Osprey' out of the water March 21st and I'm headed down to Virginia to look at the boat!

I have some knowledge for sure, but have never done a full survey before. I'm aware of the obvious things, but what are smaller, less known issues that I should be looking into?

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15 minutes ago, SimplyDabbling said:

Skookum

You learn something every day around here.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 1 year later...

If that appendage sticking out of the bottom is the leg of the OMC outboard motor they put in some of these boats, runaway now.  If that engine has been replaced with a diesel saildrive it may be OK.

I have done the trip both ways, Florida through the islands, and offshore out to 66 then turn right. The offshore route is the easiest, but you may not have fuel, provisions and etc. to do that. The Island route, is not easy as it is something like 1400 miles mostly dead to wind and close to a lot of pretty scary shorelines, reefs, and worse than senseless things, and quite a bit of it must be done at night.

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