Buying advice for 30' Performance boat? (Great Lakes Sailing)

Sspanky

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Milwaukee
So I'm a young guy with a fair bit of experience ranging from high performance catamarans to Farr 40s, and a variety in between. In the coming years, I'm looking to purchase a performance/sportboat to race on The Great Lakes (primarily Lake Michigan.) Currently, I have 2 friends the same age looking to get involved in boat ownership and racing.

30 footers appear to be the best value (both in $$ and in performance,) and considering a buoy/offshore combination, there seems to be quite a divide between options.

Rating and value are important in the buying decision, so naturally my young & dumb attitude has led me toward FT10s and Henderson 30s. Given their specs, they'd be great in light-med winds but can be a pain in high winds and quite a liability offshore (if you don't have the crew experience + weight to match.)

Olson 29s & 30s are always a viable option, but I'm looking for something with an Asymmetrical kite that a team and myself can really grow into performance wise. (I imagine saying O30s aren't performance boats will upset a few of you...)
Hobie 33s are a familiar friend, but they're a bit old and their rating isn't very attractive.

Melges 32s are off the table due to the OD prices...
Mumm 30s are viable too, but in spirit of avoiding the symmetrical spins and beefy crew requirements, I'd like to avoid them.

We're budgeting $25-$45k for an initial purchase, but expect to spend $10-15k within the first year of ownership on new sails, rigging, etc... It's never easy when a sailor wants to go fast on a budget..

Crew is always hard to find, but we expect to have 4-5 consistently. Offshore we'd hope to go no higher than 8 dependent on conditions. This obviously makes the buying decision harder, but that's why I'm here!

Great Lakes conditions are a real issue too, as the conditions vary drastically..
 
Maybe a J92? Slower than something like an FT or Henderson, but ratings seem favorable and decent accommodations. They seem to be priced around the upper end of your budget whenever they pop up for sale.
 

ryley

Super Anarchist
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Boston, MA
Mumm 30s are viable too, but in spirit of avoiding the symmetrical spins and beefy crew requirements, I'd like to avoid them.
Find a turbo'd Farr 30 that's been converted to a fixed sprit and asyms. great fast boats.

But honestly in that size range you're going to compromise somewhere, either it's great around the buoys or it's great offshore. I think of the sportier boats you mentioned, the FT probably has the heftiest crew weight requirements to sail it flat.
also biased but @MPongs has it right ;)
 

Schnappi

Member
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139
How "offshore"? I bet you could get a C&C 30 OD for close to the top of your budget. That seems like a lot of boat for the money, but I guess there must be a reason they're so cheap.
 

JoeO

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I'd re-think your thoughts on the FT10. I think they tick most of your boxes, and have done the Mac. Can put you in touch with a Chicgo owner with available boat(s).

There's also an Olson 34 that's been converted to A-sail :

 

JoeO

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A J92 is a good option as someone said (even better - a J92s), but FS ones are rare as hen's teeth in the US.
 

Foredeck Shuffle

More of a Stoic Cynic, Anarchy Sounds Exhausting
If you have the budget to truly compete a Mumm/Farr-30 so that it sails to its rating then you have more than enough budget to run a Melges32. The M32 is going to be one of the least expensive boats at its performance level that is just race boat, no frills, in the 30' range. It is also going to be a lot less difficult to sail and crew training is less intense. If you desire a racer/cruiser or lower expenses, stop looking at boats like this. They eat money but I'm not sure if any US inshore boat in history eats money as fast as a M/F-30 does per foot of boat. I loved the M30 but now with it far in the rear view mirror I'm not sure I would ever want anything to do with one now.
 
I've spent some time on all boats mentioned except the J92 and C&C OD so cannot comment on those.

Assuming you may be looking for a semi modern planing hull that gets on the step... this weeds out the J92/Olsons/Hobies. They will mostly surf or require quite a bit more breeze to start going. All good boats though.

Agree that the Farr 30 is cool but needs bodies to perform. The Sprit makes it SO much better but this upgrade would take you outside of your budget when all said and done. It also needs everyone at their stations to go well. Offshore would be tough but doable with the dinky space below. Buy Ovington. Run away from a Carroll boat.

The Hendo is an absolute weapon in the light, Probably my favorite light air boat but more of a technical boat that requires some hefty rail-meat and a bit of wits to squeeze the most out of it (tweaky rig). It's also a pretty wet ride (above and below decks) in big breeze and can be a handful if you find yourself shorthanded. They are built well but the rudder bearings are the weak point and need replacing often.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, you have the FT10 which is cheap and super easy to sail to it's rating. Most anyone could sail one well enough to earn a pickle dish however you still need ample rail-meat and then there are the build issues. You'd need to get a sorted boat that already has the repairs and upgrades or budget time/money for this accordingly. I still wouldn't take one offshore though. Probably your cheapest option. Good rigs, okay hulls, needs rudder upgrade.

The Lumbo is easier to sail then the Hendo overall but more tweaky then the FT. It is the heaviest of the bunch with inboard diesel and decent accommodations below yet it will still plane in about 15 knots of breeze and has a much drier ride with a more enclosed cockpit. This makes it better for sailing offshore or shorthanded. Better build overall. There are a few variations: 30-32 feet/inboard or outboard/Aluminum or Carbon rig. If you care about standing headroom and berth size, it is hard to beat. One of these will also be at the top of your budget or slightly outside of it.

Do your research and good luck!
 
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Tom O'Keefe

Super Anarchist
I been involved with a Henderson 30 and currently with a Melges 32. Our primary competition has always been either FT 30's or 40'+ race boats. The Tiger has a very nice rating. The Henderson is very fast. But, requires doing everything right to win. The Melges is also harder to sail to its rating. But, the most fun!
 

eastern motors

Anarchist
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If you have the budget to truly compete a Mumm/Farr-30 so that it sails to its rating then you have more than enough budget to run a Melges32. The M32 is going to be one of the least expensive boats at its performance level that is just race boat, no frills, in the 30' range. It is also going to be a lot less difficult to sail and crew training is less intense. If you desire a racer/cruiser or lower expenses, stop looking at boats like this. They eat money but I'm not sure if any US inshore boat in history eats money as fast as a M/F-30 does per foot of boat. I loved the M30 but now with it far in the rear view mirror I'm not sure I would ever want anything to do with one now.
I talked to an M32 seller on the great lakes a couple years ago. He said to be competitive in a one design regatta, a main lasts one regatta. Also you need 8-9 crew. I would consider something that requires less moveable ballast as getting rail meat is tougher than you might think.

That F28r is about the fastest you can go for $65k but is there multihull racing on Lake Michigan? There is on Lake Erie and some events on Lake Huron. I believe there was Lake St. Clair beer can series this season that had 3+ tris.
 

Varan

Super Anarchist
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+1 on the Farr 30. Sailed the FT10 a bit, but driving with my 6'2" frame was always awkward. Not especially comfortable. Much prefer the old Farr 30.
 

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