Boat Show Report - San Diego January 24

Shu

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After a month of endlessly-extended work deadline purgatory, I'm starting to get some personal life back again. So, at the wife's suggestion (yay!) we went down to the San Diego Sunroad boat show this past Sunday. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold Friday night, as so often happens when burning the candle at both ends this time of year, so my recollection of things might be a bit foggy. Below are the observations of two very different people, Me a very opinionated life-long sailor and boatbuilder's son, and my wife, who has gone sailing many times with me, but would still consider herself a non-sailor.

This was an in-the water boat show. Only the stuff you normally see in booths was on land in a tent.

Nearly all the boats were moored stern-to, and with the proliferation of swim platforms this made entering the boats very easy. It also allowed one to walk from the dock, through the cockpit, down the companionway, check out the "kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms" and then back to the dock without ever stepping foot on deck or looking at the boat's hull. Many had continuous dodger/sunshade/biminis that precluded looking at the rig once you were in the cockpit as well.

I decided to make as few comments as possible, and just see what my wife was drawn toward. I will include some of my thoughts here though.

We started by looking at a Lagoon power cat. I forget the size, maybe 30 to 35 feet. Next to it was a Lagoon sailing cat of about the same length. My wife did not like the layout. I had a hard time envisioning sailing a boat exclusively from the starboard side enclosed helm station. Not my idea of the sailing experience.

The first monohull she wanted to look at was a 50' ish power boat (yikes!) she wasn't particularly impressed other than how much room it had.

There was a 40 something or was it 50? Hunter next to the powerboat, and that was next. My wife liked the layout of the interior. I was surprised at how narrow the side-decks were for such a large, beamy boat. Also, in spite of the no-backstay B&R rig, this boat had in-mast furling, as did most of the boats at the show. What a waste of concept. Like the worst of both worlds.

Next was the 45' Beneteau Oceanus. It was directly across the dock from a similar sized powerboat, and frankly, the transoms of the two were similar in size. Fortunately, it has two rudders, so the fate we suffered 10 years ago of rounding up in a chartered wide-transomed, might not be repeated. The boat was enormous, but had a better look than the Hunter. My wife liked the layout.

Next to the 45 was the Oceanus 41. A huge boat for 41 feet. My wife did not like the layout. I had to agree with her. There was so much poorly used space down below.

Then an Oceanus 38, again very big for its length. This one was recently delivered to its new owner, and had a traditional mainsail in a stackpack on the boom, as the owner wanted to race, according to the sales rep in the cockpit.

A Dehler 38 was the next boat I remember looking at. It looked like a real sailing boat to me, and was referred to as a "racer" It looked sleek and narrow and downright racy compared to the boats we had seen so far. I took home a massive catalog they provided and after reviewing the statistics, this is really what I would call a beamy performance cruising boat. The length to beam ratio is almost exactly 3, and the topsides have almost no flare. The Disp/L is

 

Shu

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Well that's frustrating. I timed out on editing the post. I've copied the new text into word, but I cannot use the paste function in this editor. I will attach it as a file in a bit

 

Ishmael

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Fuctifino
Well that's frustrating. I timed out on editing the post. I've copied the new text into word, but I cannot use the paste function in this editor. I will attach it as a file in a bit
You should be able to copy and paste from word. If necessary, save it as a .txt file and copy that.

 

Shu

Super Anarchist
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Thanks Ish,

No luck with pasting the word file. No luck attaching the word file. The .pdf worked. See attached.

boat show.pdf

 

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Ishmael

52,549
12,331
Fuctifino
After a month of endlessly-extended work deadline purgatory, I'm starting to get some personal life back again. So, at the wife's suggestion (yay!) we went down to the San Diego Sunroad boat show this past Sunday. Unfortunately, I came down with a nasty cold Friday night, as so often happens when burning the candle at both ends this time of year, so my recollection of things might be a bit foggy. Below are the observations of two very different people, Me a very opinionated life-long sailor and boatbuilder's son, and my wife, who has gone sailing many times with me, but would still consider herself a non-sailor.

This was an in-the water boat show. Only the stuff you normally see in booths was on land in a tent.

Nearly all the boats were moored stern-to, and with the proliferation of swim platforms this made entering the boats very easy. It also allowed one to walk from the dock, through the cockpit, down the companionway, check out the "kitchen, bedrooms and bathrooms" and then back to the dock without ever stepping foot on deck or looking at the boat's hull. Many had continuous dodger/sunshade/biminis that precluded looking at the rig once you were in the cockpit as well.

I decided to make as few comments as possible, and just see what my wife was drawn toward. I will include some of my thoughts here though.

We started by looking at a Lagoon power cat. I forget the size, maybe 30 to 35 feet. Next to it was a Lagoon sailing cat of about the same length. My wife did not like the layouts. I had a hard time envisioning sailing a boat exclusively from the starboard side enclosed helm station. Not my idea of the sailing experience.

The first monohull she wanted to look at was a 50' ish power boat (yikes!) she wasn't particularly impressed other than how much room it had.

There was a 40 something or was it 50? Hunter next to the powerboat, and that was next. My wife liked the layout of the interior. I was surprised at how narrow the side-decks were for such a large, beamy boat. Also, in spite of the no-backstay B&R rig, this boat had in-mast furling, as did most of the boats at the show. What a waste of concept. Like the worst of both worlds.

Next was the 45' Beneteau Oceanus. It was directly across the dock from a similar sized powerboat, and frankly, the transoms of the two were similar in size. Fortunately, it has two rudders, so the fate we suffered 10 years ago of rounding up in a chartered wide-transomed boat, might not be repeated. The boat was enormous, but had a better look than the Hunter. My wife liked the layout.

Next to the 45 was the Oceanus 41. A huge boat for 41 feet. My wife did not like the layout. I had to agree with her. There was so much poorly used space down below.

Then an Oceanus 38, again very big for its length. This one was recently delivered to its new owner, and had a traditional mainsail in a stackpack on the boom, as the owner wanted to race, according to the sales rep in the cockpit.

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A Dehler 38 was the next boat I remember boarding. It looked like a real sailing boat to me, and was referred to as a "racer" by the sales rep. It looked sleek and narrow and downright racy compared to the boats we had seen so far. I took home a massive catalog they provided and after reviewing the statistics, this is really what I would call a beamy performance cruising boat. The length to beam ratio is almost exactly 3, and the topsides have almost no flare. The Disp/L is 176 and the SA/Disp is 21, which are nice modest (by today's standards) numbers. The boat comes with either teak (or was it plastic teak) or old-fashioned grit-in-paint contrasting non-skid. By far the best non-skid at the show. In what little time I spent on the boat (my wife didn't like this one), I thought it was well built, with good attention to detail. The boat has three keel options. The shallow draft keel is more of a standard fin with a bit of a bulb at the bottom. The standard and deep versions have a T-bulb. Here in So Cal we have plenty of water, but lots of kelp. I'm surprised they needed the T-bulb configuration, given the boat is quite beamy aft and the profile view in the brochure shows the boat to be deepest well aft of midships. I liked this boat and would struggle with the keel decision.

We looked at a used J-145. Ahhhhh. A boat designed to be sailed! Even used it was still in the unimaginable price range for me. My wife instantly recognized it as a boat I would like. It didn't hold much interest for her though.

Next boat I remember was a Blue Jacket 40 by Island Packet Yachts. A very nice traditional layout. The interior joinery was beautiful. It was a handsome boat, and was beamy, but had nice proportions, including modest topsides, and traditional portlights on the coachroof. I commented to one of the sales reps that this is the way my father built boats. My wife was not impressed with the layout.

There was a 70's or 80's Taiwan ketch (I forget the exact make and model) at the end of the dock that was advertising its bed and breakfast business. Bed and breakfast at the slip. Going sailing with a paid captain is extra. This one had lots and lots of beautifully varnished teak. This boat had a center cockpit, but it didn't have that perched-on-top feel that most do. I suspect that's what oodles of displacement enables; a deep underbody that allows the cockpit to be set down in the boat.

Then a whole string of boats that passed by in a blur.

A 51' used center cockpit boat (a Tayana???). The think I remember about this is my wife complaining about all the climbing up and down to get around in this (to me) beautiful boat. In spite of my pointing out the nice interior afforded by the center cockpit style, she decided she didn't like the center cockpit design because of all the climbing around. This is fine with me, I prefer the feel of sailing a boat from an aft cockpit.

More un-remembered boats passed by in a stuffy-sinused blur...

We saw the Catalina 270 Sport. This is a handsome boat. My wife imagined having a fun time sailing with several friends in the very long cockpit. She thought this boat made more sense for us, as we could sail it, even to Catalina for an overnight, as long as we ate at a restaurant on shore. She thought it would be nice if it had standing headroom, but remarkably, it was not a deal breaker for her. All this was completely unsolicited by me. She wondered why the cockpit

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seats stopped about 3 feet short of the transom, and why my Dad's Laser 28 had so much more room below. The $92K sailaway price and lack of trailerability were show stoppers for her though. It got me to thinking about an Andrews 28..

We looked at a Hunter 33. My usual Hunter complaints but the interior was more traditionally laid out, practical, and it had a warm look with lots of real wood. I was surprised. Now if they could do something about the exterior...

We looked at a Catalina 310. Similar comments to the Hunter, but decent side decks, and somewhat better looking. However, they’ve lost that good-looking Catalina coachroof with the evenly spaced portlights.

Finally, a few more catamarans. Completely slippery cabin soles. I thought it was my stocking feet, but my barefoot wife was sliding around too. I wacked my head on the downturned edge of the hard fiberglass sunshade and have the scab to prove it. I’m only 5’-9”. One the catamarans had sharp corners everywhere in the interior. My wife did not like the layouts of any of the catamarans at the show.

We looked at a couple of Hanse, a 56? And a 41? My wife liked the 56. The 41 was unremarkable.

Some general observations:

The stern-to mooring facilitates a wider-is-better marketing approach to boats. From stepping on the wide swim platform to walking through the spacious cockpit and strolling down the stairs (my wife liked the staircase configuration of many of the companionways) to the spacious interior with high ceilings, a kitchen with a house-type fridge and granite countertops, and multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, you can ignore how the boat looks to others or how it might sail.

The used boats at the show showed far better workmanship than the newer boats. The new Beneteaus were the worst. As much as a dislike Hunters, their interior workmanship was superior to the Beneteaus. I’m really disappointed with the Beneteaus. I used to think they were decent boats; better than Catalinas and Hunters. Not anymore. I think they are stepping into McGregor territory, albeit with more style. My wife’s favorite of the show, however, was the Beneteau Oceanus 45 :-(

Everyone seems to be adopting the cockpit arch for the mainsheet. I don’t like the look, but I can see the practicality.

The amount of boat in the water in the really wide boats was truly amazing. I suspect the modest sail area on these boats will mean a lot of motoring is required in lighter winds.

The powerboats at the show catered to a completely different personality. My wife said they feel like Las Vegas. One powerboat had alligator skin on certain furnishings. At the same time, it had ultra cheap-looking fake wood veneered panels.

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Finally, I tried not to be embarrassed when my wife talked about bathrooms, bedrooms, stairs and kitchens, but I still cringed.
 

socalrider

Super Anarchist
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San Diego CA
Thanks for posting your observations. I took a look around as well, and generally came away very very happy with my 1987 Beneteau First 405. The only two boats which really grabbed me at all were the J145 (Christ they were asking a lot for it, though!) and the Tayana center cockpit ketch. All the new stuff had spindly in-mast furling rigs and massive beamy transoms - clearly designed for the dock.

 

Raz'r

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Why has in-mast furling won the war against boom furling? It's got to be more expensive, more weight up high and creates awful sail shapes...

 

Crash

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SoCal
Good question. Less turns to furl, so a less bulky roll of sail to contain? More idiot proof? As boom has to be a correct angle to get a good furl? Mostly cause folks that buy that are more than willing to give up sailing performance for convenience?

 

monsoon

Super Anarchist
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ELIS
Good question. Less turns to furl, so a less bulky roll of sail to contain? More idiot proof? As boom has to be a correct angle to get a good furl? Mostly cause folks that buy that are more than willing to give up sailing performance for convenience?
Biggest plus for boom furling - you can still drop the main.

 

Shu

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As I mentioned in the "report", the most egregious use of in mast furling was on the Hunters. With the B&R rig, they have no backstay, so very large-roach full-batten mains are possible. Instead they put a hollow leeched furling mainsail on it.

I have never been out on a boat with the in-mast furling, but every time I look at one I only think "what do you do when it jams?"

I've been on a boat with the stack-pack lazy-jack system, and it is extremely easy to drop the main. In fact that was all there was to it - drop the main, and it ended up in a stack on top of the boom. I suppose on a large boat raising the main can be a workout, but I would go for a power winch over in-mast furling.

 

Shu

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Crash,

When talking about the traditional main vs. in-mast furling with one of the sales reps, she said you have to be careful with the angle of the boom and tension on the outhaul when furling the in-mast type, so I'm not sure they are idiot proof. I've never done it, so I take her word on it. If there is a way to screw something up, I'm the idiot that will do it.

 

Shu

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No pics Clean, sorry. Maybe it didn't happen after all, and it was only a cold-medication induced hallucination!

Perhaps some others at the show took photos?

 

Shu

Super Anarchist
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I was re-reading my post (yeah, I know, narcissistic of me) and realized the mumbo jumbo about the need for the Dehler 38's T-bulb is unclear. The point being:

  • A T-bulb keeps the ballast weight aligned with the position of the keel.
  • An L-bulb will have the ballast weight considerably further aft than the equivalent T-bulb.
  • The breadth and depth aft of the Dehler 38 appeared to me to provide plenty of volume aft to support the L-bulb's further aft position. Obviously, this was not the case, or the boat would have been sitting bow down at the dock.
One more comment on the Dehler 38: The transom looks good with the swim platform down. The photos in the catalog with it in up position do not look good. I would be inclined to lose the swim platform: "Gee honey, I was working on the hinge pins, and when I took them out the platform fell off and sank."

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
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De Nile
ya know - you're a 14'er right? You can always just sail the 14 and get a stinkpotter for the runs out to the islands.... but not of the Vegas variety...

 

Shu

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I've always wanted to sail the 14 to the island and have my boat captain follow me with the support/cruising powerboat. Just need to win the lottery.

 

Raz'r

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De Nile
I've always wanted to sail the 14 to the island and have my boat captain follow me with the support/cruising powerboat. Just need to win the lottery.
Grand Banks 32.....

They'd eventually catch up...

 
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Shu

Super Anarchist
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Ha! I rather facetiously referred to kitchens, bedrooms, and bathrooms in my post above, but I read through the Dehler 38 catalog over the weekend, and they talk about kitchens, bedrooms, bathrooms, hallways, and even the living room. Whooda thought?

 

foamy1946

Member
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111
The OC.
I liked the 37 foot Hunter that was listed for just shy of $300K. You have to be kidding.

Most of the boats were cocktail, dock queen type of sail boats. Lots of room below, no place to store anything, and you would be lucky not to find one drawer in the entire boat. The sales reps just said you only have pile your gear in one of the bins or cabinets. Did I mention IKEA interiors.

Large, wide cockpits that you could not support yourself if seated and the boat had some degree of heel. I guess a boat doesn't heel much in the dock or under power.

Narrow side decks on boats that were 13 feet or more in beam on deck. And I could to on...

 




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