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Anyone actually cruised a Martin 242?


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Hello everyone ...

I looked for a forum called "Stupid Questions" but I couldn't find one, so I'm posting here.

I'm a Canadian shopping for an inexpensive first race boat (from isolation) and the Martin 242 seems to check all the boxes. In another life, I taught sailing on them and I liked the boat. Its strengths were that it was simple, inexpensive, fun-to-sail, race-able with a shorthanded crew and easy to fix. There also appear to be a lot of them on the market. It might not be the best performer in this size range, but it's a known quantity.

Two questions related to potentially cruising the M242. For sake of argument, how would it hold up as a tiny cruiser? For example, how would it fare sailing it from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands for a few days with a couple of lumpy Strait crossings thrown in for fun? For context, me and my partner don't mind some hardship -- this would be an upgrade from a sea kayak and a tent.

Anybody with experience who can speak to this? Feel welcome to wade in with alternatives, but I'd prefer to hear from those who have actually cruised a race boat in the 23' to 27' foot range.

Dave 

 

 

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41 minutes ago, dave_r said:

Hello everyone ...

I looked for a forum called "Stupid Questions" but I couldn't find one, so I'm posting here.

I'm a Canadian shopping for an inexpensive first race boat (from isolation) and the Martin 242 seems to check all the boxes. In another life, I taught sailing on them and I liked the boat. Its strengths were that it was simple, inexpensive, fun-to-sail, race-able with a shorthanded crew and easy to fix. There also appear to be a lot of them on the market. It might not be the best performer in this size range, but it's a known quantity.

Two questions related to potentially cruising the M242. For sake of argument, how would it hold up as a tiny cruiser? For example, how would it fare sailing it from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands for a few days with a couple of lumpy Strait crossings thrown in for fun? For context, me and my partner don't mind some hardship -- this would be an upgrade from a sea kayak and a tent.

Anybody with experience who can speak to this? Feel welcome to wade in with alternatives, but I'd prefer to hear from those who have actually cruised a race boat in the 23' to 27' foot range.

Dave 

 

 

Actually the M242 is a great performer for it's size - especially in the light air of PNW.  Not too many 24 footers I can think of rate faster than 156 PHRF - at least none that have something resembling an interior.  Please don't use the Melges 24 as a comparison - completely different animal and intended use.  J/24 is like a shoe box inside compared to the M242 and M242 is quite a bit faster.

I've been below on one and you could quite comfortably weekend cruise. on it.  Very easy boat to sail well.  Simple rig with furling headsail.  Fractional sweptback rig so no runners.

A few other boats to consider: 

Hotfoot 27.  I've owned a couple of them over the years Another lightweight frac  Roomier interior.  Sweptback rig as well but has runners - but only required for headstay tension - not too keep the rig up. PHRF of 153. Good all around performer but excels upwind in a breeze.  Similar layout but slightly larger interior than a Thunderbird - mainly due to much larger beam.  It was designed to be an 80's update of the Thunderbird.  

 Which brings up the Thunderbird.  Old plywood design from the late 50's,  but still a tough boat to beat on the race course.  A bit of a pain box to sail on one.  Can't really go wrong with the venerable T-Bird other than the narrow beam cramps the interior compared to the other boats I've listed.

Another popular boat in this area is the CF 27.  Better interior than the 242 or HF 27.  Huge fractional rig but boat is on the heavy side and has a more IOR type stern.  Excellent light air boat.  Local PHRF around 162

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Thanks, 12 - this exactly the advice I'm looking for. Going to look online at the Hotfoot and the CF now ...

From a budget standpoint for the M242, I'm seeing numbers ranging in Vancouver from CAN$7500 all the way to $14000 for active racers that sound well cared for and equipped. Boats local to me here in Alberta are CAN$12K-$14K, but seem far less active. I worry that an inactive boat will have a lot of hidden issues.

The boat will be based in BC for occasional racing and cruising use - wondering if cheap and cheerful is a good or a bad strategy.

Dave

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Haven't decided whether to trailer or not, but we're going to back and forth to the coast, so the ability to haul and dry store is very appealing.

Agreed on the systems - we owned a Niagara 35 (which by modern standards is a simple boat) and I didn't enjoy the time I had to spend on maintenance. This is a very different approach - light, quick, flexible (and less comfortable) ...

Dave

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19 minutes ago, dave_r said:

Thanks, 12 - this exactly the advice I'm looking for. Going to look online at the Hotfoot and the CF now ...

From a budget standpoint for the M242, I'm seeing numbers ranging in Vancouver from CAN$7500 all the way to $14000 for active racers that sound well cared for and equipped. Boats local to me here in Alberta are CAN$12K-$14K, but seem far less active. I worry that an inactive boat will have a lot of hidden issues.

The boat will be based in BC for occasional racing and cruising use - wondering if cheap and cheerful is a good or a bad strategy.

Dave

242s have held their value well because there is still a strong OD class especially in BC.  Still an active fleet in SoCal I think.  They were building them down there for a while.

HF 27 can be had for $4k to $8k depending on condition and sail inventory.  Same with the CF 27.  T-Bird a bit less

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Sounds like a blast!  What's the boat the Left Coast Dart was based on?  B-32 or something?  That might fit the bill as well.  

Even a Capri 22 could work if you're used to a tent.  

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Back to the 242;

As far as crossing the Strait goes, you'll be fine, as long as you pick your window.

One thing to look for would be the size of outboard on the boat. Although the 242 is an exceptional light air performer, there are many days in the summer when the wind in the islands is less than "light".  Most of the 242's in BC have the lightest possible outboard as they are just motoring out to the start line (if that).  For cruising purposes, you will want something with a little more power.

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I know a bunch of current and ex-242 owners that cruised their boats.  My SO and I even bumped into a cruising couple on a 242 stranded on a reef up in Octopus Islands.  It was flat calm, the tide was coming up and they didn't want any help.  

It is basically camping on water, but the 242 is a simple, fast boat.  I would stay at the dock or at anchor if the breeze was over 20 knots, however, most are not reefable and require some fairly good technique to be able to sail safely in lots of breeze. 

One problem you may encounter is that loading a 242 up with cruising gear may make it a bit sluggish under sail.  You'll want to keep things as light as possible.

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Thanks all - great distraction from the day's news. So, at some dude's prompting, I'm moving on to my next question. 

Just to amp up the weird, what about, erm, rowing it or using a paddle drive for cruising? 

Yes, my wife is a vegan ultra runner ...

Dave

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Oh for the good old days of cruising in company through the gulf islands in company with the rest of the fleet.  Started out with a race to Silva Bay.  Unfortunately program has gone away.  Worked for some years in the beginning with the great help of Annabelle Martin.  The original design brief for the boat from Kits Marine had a "weekend" cruising requirement.  Cruising to Desolation Sound was a "usual" thing for some early owners.

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36 minutes ago, Laker said:

Oh for the good old days of cruising in company through the gulf islands in company with the rest of the fleet.  Started out with a race to Silva Bay.  Unfortunately program has gone away.  Worked for some years in the beginning with the great help of Annabelle Martin.  The original design brief for the boat from Kits Marine had a "weekend" cruising requirement.  Cruising to Desolation Sound was a "usual" thing for some early owners.

Wasn't there some kind of sliding mini-galley option on some of the boats?

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14 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Wasn't there some kind of sliding mini-galley option on some of the boats?

Yes, but only one or two were made.  A big thing was the position of the step into the cabin being made so that a standard sized igloo cooler could fit beneath.  Turned out that a small platform for a propane cooker just inside the companionway and a bucket worked better and were more flexible.

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9 minutes ago, Laker said:

Yes, but only one or two were made.  A big thing was the position of the step into the cabin being made so that a standard sized igloo cooler could fit beneath.  Turned out that a small platform for a propane cooker just inside the companionway and a bucket worked better and were more flexible.

The HF 27 had the pull out galley and chart table/bin as standard.  Lifted that idea from the T-Birds.  The Kenyon alcohol stoves they came with sucked so I replaced it on my last one with an Origo.

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My family owned 242 hull number 3 for 20 years, cruised up to 2 weeks in desolation with a family of 3, then 4, then later a group of 4 teenagers.  Very do-able.  We had a 5hp outboard and motored just over 6 knots, with a 9.9 the thing damn near planed.  Bring a tarp for the rain!

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6 hours ago, Laker said:

Yes, but only one or two were made.  A big thing was the position of the step into the cabin being made so that a standard sized igloo cooler could fit beneath.  Turned out that a small platform for a propane cooker just inside the companionway and a bucket worked better and were more flexible.

Probably be worth 3 seconds in PHRF - jk.

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3 minutes ago, Rain Man said:

Probably be worth 3 seconds in PHRF - jk.

love it in the old regulations for overnight racing:  A permanent stove must be installed.  Yes, it is a stove and it is permanently a stove.  Will always be a stove. It is installed by being placed at the right hand bottom of the companionway.  Thankfully the inspector had no comeback.  This was down in San Diego, however the fellow was dealing with things like Santa Cruz 27s, so same, same.

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There was an overnight race in the Vancouver area called the "Round Texada" for instance.  A lot of 242s were involved.  The good thing about the boat was being able to go two up, one down during the night because it is a relatively easy boat to sail and can make time at night.  Again, one of the design brief criteria.  Just happened that the boat was fast as well. Perhaps because of it.

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Among others, Donny sailed 242's in several Southern Straits races IIRC including some very windy ones.  I believe there is a story out there about taking shelter in Schooner Cove when things got nasty, then rejoining the race when it got better and still winning his division. 

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29 minutes ago, JojoFruji said:

What is the stability index of a Martin? 

Capsize ratio is 2.33, so not a good choice for a circumnavigation.

I spent a lot of time sailing a Shark 24 up to Desolation and back in the years we owned one. Don Martin said that was one of the influences on his Martin 24 design. The Shark is a lot smaller than the 242 and we managed just fine.

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The capsize ratio is not a great indication of stability as it is only a measure of beam/displacement.  It doesn't take into account how deep the centre of mass is. Dellenbaugh angles can also lead you astray as it is not a measure of terminal stability.

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1 hour ago, JojoFruji said:

What is the stability index of a Martin? 

I doubt any 242 was measured for ORC

1 hour ago, Ishmael said:

Capsize ratio is 2.33, so not a good choice for a circumnavigation.

I spent a lot of time sailing a Shark 24 up to Desolation and back in the years we owned one. Don Martin said that was one of the influences on his Martin 24 design. The Shark is a lot smaller than the 242 and we managed just fine.

Shark may have been an influence, but the 241 (as the 24 later became known) was designed as a 1/4 Ton back in 1977/78 and looked to me to have been heavily influenced by Magic Bus the Whiting design that won the '76 QT Worlds.  Photo below of a 241 with what looks like the original type of rig.  The hot set up for the 241 these days is to use a 242 rig, or at least a 242 sail plan with furling non-overlapping jib and no runners or checks like on the one below.

IIRC the IOR changes in '78 greatly affected the 241 rating a lot, so I assume any stern distortions were cleaned up by the time it went into production because they had a very clean aft run.  AFAIK, none ever raced as a QT.

However, they did very well in PHRF.  Probably the best known was Fire Truck which had a very big rig.

Still quite an active fleet of 241s down in Oregon.

picmartin241101a.jpg

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As the Birds sang, we were so much older than, we're younger than that now.  Donny was MUCH younger when he ventured out in the Straits in his 242.  Overnight coastal race, don't need no stinking bunks or cushions because on the Martin you will be on the rail.

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There was one 24 that rated 1/4 ton for about a month.  Because of the flat bottom and the IOR measured stability factor, it had a 300# window put in the bottom of the keel.  It was noted that the measured stability factor did not change.  Then came the change regarding the skeg and 1/4 ton was no longer.  There were 25 Martin 24s built, each different in enough ways the the best came out as the 242.  Different keels, different rigs, skeg/no skeg, rudder hung aft,........ With Gary Storch's boat, it seemed to change day to day. Fun times.

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On 4/24/2020 at 10:55 AM, dave_r said:

Thanks all - great distraction from the day's news. So, at some dude's prompting, I'm moving on to my next question. 

Just to amp up the weird, what about, erm, rowing it or using a paddle drive for cruising? 

Yes, my wife is a vegan ultra runner ...

Dave

Try a scull ala Taberlay.  It works quite well.

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On 4/24/2020 at 8:09 AM, dave_r said:

For example, how would it fare sailing it from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands for a few days with a couple of lumpy Strait crossings thrown in for fun? For context, me and my partner don't mind some hardship -- this would be an upgrade from a sea kayak and a tent.

I've done a few regattas in M242s and wouldn't hesitate to sail one anywhere in your proposed cruising area (i.e. PNW) in mild or moderate weather.

Wouldn't hesitate to do the same in a Hotfoot 27 either. 

Both are generally solid boats and both would certainly also be "boat camping" which you seem to be okay with.

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Depending on what you are trying to accomplish I guess. All of them are quite capable of a little cruising. The 242 has a strong one-design fleet: for many years too. The Hotfoot 27 probably better for PHRF and cruising. We won VARC boat of the year in a CF 27 one year and probably has more volume for cruising. For the resale value, I'd think the M242 as they're a known entity. But weren't talking about 100's of thousands of dollars that you have to give away at the end of the day. Again, it depends on what you are trying to accomplish.  

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Well, Id say you might consider the S2 7.9 - I own one. 

The upside is that they are killer race boats - both PHRF and JAM (we do mostly JAM) 

The other upside is that they are quite spacious for a boat of that size - Colgates, Martins, J-s4 - none of them match up for space down below. 

The downside is that they are heavier than the Martin - about 4,500 pounds all up 

So you need a good-sized vehicle to tow it. 

Best of luck whatever you decide !! 

Here is mine  . .  (And yes, I am a left wing loooooonatik!) 

S2 7.9 Questions - Sailing Anarchy - Sailing Anarchy Forums

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On 4/24/2020 at 6:38 PM, Expat Canuck said:

One thing to look for would be the size of outboard on the boat. Although the 242 is an exceptional light air performer, there are many days in the summer when the wind in the islands is less than "light".  Most of the 242's in BC have the lightest possible outboard as they are just motoring out to the start line (if that).  For cruising purposes, you will want something with a little more power.

As a former J24 cruiser, I have some news for Expert Canuck.

When the wind is less than light, you can use these clever things called sails.  They are a cunning device which uses those strong winds to propel the boat.

The main issue I found is that if you want to sail upwind in heavy weather without a lot of rail meat, you need a deep third reef, pre-rigged.  Most light racing boats of that size aren't usually equipped with deep reefing, but it's an easy modification.

I also found that extra ballast helped, and that it could be achieved by a generous supply of homebrew beer did wonders for the boat's stability ... as well for the stability of the crew's temperament.

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1 hour ago, Somebody Else said:

The 242 does not require lifelines for class racing. Most coastal and/or overnight races require lifelines.

Martins can be equipped with lifelines.  Just borrow a set from somebody who has them.  

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13 hours ago, TwoLegged said:

As a former J24 cruiser, I have some news for Expert Canuck.

When the wind is less than light, you can use these clever things called sails.  They are a cunning device which uses those strong winds to propel the boat.

The main issue I found is that if you want to sail upwind in heavy weather without a lot of rail meat, you need a deep third reef, pre-rigged.  Most light racing boats of that size aren't usually equipped with deep reefing, but it's an easy modification.

I also found that extra ballast helped, and that it could be achieved by a generous supply of homebrew beer did wonders for the boat's stability ... as well for the stability of the crew's temperament.

You're right.  Hoisting sails in zero wind (aka "less than light") is an excellent way to get places.

Note - the above should be in purple / sarcasm font

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I think it's definitely doable but unless you plan on seriously racing the boat in the local one-design fleets you're probably going to overpay a bit compared to similar sized boats.

As for strait crossings: if there's perfect conditions you'll be fine. I think your biggest issue will be if there's little wind and it's too roll-y to motor with the outboard. If it's not perfect conditions you're going to get soaked and there's nowhere to dry your stuff but if you're used to kayaking you'd be fine. You're also going to struggle to find one with reef points in the main which you'll have to add if you're sailing across the strait. Going upwind from Porlier to English Bay in breeze with no rail meat would be a very miserable experience.

You can probably pick up a Catalina 27 with an inboard that'll be a better cruiser if you don't plan on racing.

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We cruised, 2 up, our Ultimate 20.  Even in 50k, it seemed fine.  :blink:  That was in between Seattle and Pt Ludlow one Thanksgiving.  The ability to plane makes things like distance a lot easier, and it was good upwind, even in 20-25 TW and a 3’ chop. Really crisp in light airs.  So I’d say small is fine, as long as it planes, is controllable and tough when things get hairy.  Never did reef.  My $.02.  We did move up to a 40’er, but that was mainly because dry sailing the U20 off a trailer was a total pain in the ass.

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We cruised a Kirby 25 for years in the west end of Lake Erie with no real issues.  We spent so little time actually below decks made it easy business.

They are quite plentiful and getting cheap.  Foam cored deck and solid laminate hull so fairly inexpensive to own.  Sails like a demon too. I really miss that boat.

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  • 3 weeks later...
On 4/30/2020 at 6:27 PM, Expat Canuck said:

You're right.  Hoisting sails in zero wind (aka "less than light") is an excellent way to get places.

Note - the above should be in purple / sarcasm font

I read "less than light" meaning "not light", i.e. stronger winds.

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