In the June 2001 issue, Practical Sailor looked at financing boats and recommended that prospective boat buyers “stick with the pros.” We recently set out to see what had changed in boat financing since the 2008 U.S. financial crisis. After interviewing industry experts and related organizations on the state of the marine lending and boating industries, we assumed a boat-buyer’s role and sought financing help from marine loan specialists, large banks, and small lenders. We looked at cash versus financing, borrowing against your home, finance products, rates on boat loans, collateral on the loans, insurance issues, pre-approvals, repossession, and borrower qualifications.
A sailboat cockpits design and layout can determine the process of boat-handling tasks, including everything from steering and sail trimming to what goes on when its time to reef. Weve found that many cockpits are optimized for at-anchor enjoyment instead of underway usability, so boat shopping should include close scrutiny of how essential sailing and boat-handling tasks will be accomplished. Make sure that the cockpit of the boat you are about to buy is in keeping with the mission of the rest of the boat-whether youre a marina hopper, a club racer, or an offshore cruiser. Our recent survey of cockpits covers the highs and lows of cockpit design for various types of sailboats, and also includes a DIY guide to rating cockpit ergonomics to help your boat-shopping process.
Beneteau’s new Oceanis 41 features a unique hull shape and a new cruising perspective, with a design that focuses on style, comfort, and ease of operation. After sailing the boat, Practical Sailor editors walked away impressed with the wide-body sloop. French naval architects Finot-Conq skillfully distributed the boat’s volume, placed the rig and foils exactly where they belong and revised the deck layout. A chine-like edge— affectionately known as the “kink”—interrupts the smooth curve of the topsides. Other new features on the Oceanis 41 include a transformable transom-swim platform and convertible cabin furniture.
The building process that gives rise to the Beneteau Oceanis 41 begins in France, where digital design files stir a five-axis cutter to life, and 3D foam patterns begin to take shape. These robotically cut male plugs are used to fabricate female molds, often referred to as “tools.” The hull and deck are the major molds, but there are often 20 or more smaller tools created that are used to mold other interior and exterior components—ranging from locker lids to a plinth for the marine head. All of the tooling for each Beneteau is made in the prototype shop in France and is shipped to factories around the world.
The stout Marshall 22, in production since 1965, rekindles the romance of shoal-water sailing. As a weekender or coastal cruiser, the Marshall has much to recommend it, especially to those who can fully exploit its shallow draft. Drawing less than 6 feet, the Marshall opens up new cruising grounds for those willing to put in a little extra effort. New boat prices range from the base $76,900 to around $90,000. Used boats range from around $18,000 to $70,000. Practical Sailor recommends a survey for the purchase of all used boats.
With summer upon us, light, quick sailing dinghies that are easy to sail and easy to transport make summertime on the water a blast. Practical Sailor reviews some of the perennial favorites-the Optimist, Sunfish, Hobie, and Laser-and looks at how newcomers like Bic Sports Open Bic match up. Testers also review a do-it-yourself sailing dinghy kit, the Eastport Pram from Chesapeake Light Craft, and Hobies newest catamaran, the Bravo, a quick-to-launch beach cat with plenty of get-up-and-go. We also take a look at Laser Performances newest club trainer/racer for the wee sailors, the Bug.
There's no perfect solution to boom furling. It's not an easy bit of engineering. Still, all the systems on the market continue to mature. Schaefer's new offering looks like a good bet for medium-sized boats.
About a year ago, I read an article that warned of “the coming crash in sailboat prices.” I didn’t believe it then, and nothing has happened in the last year to make me change my mind. In fact, while no one is ready to declare that the “soft” market for new sailboats is over, there are numerous indications that sales are up, and that used boat prices are beginning an upward spiral.
Probably nothing can make or break the appearance of a fiberglass boat more quickly than the appearance of the exterior teak trim. Contrary to popular belief, teak is not a maintenance-free wood that can be safely ignored and neglected for years at a time. Though teak may not rot, it can check, warp, and look depressingly drab if not properly cared for.
The Catalina 375 replaces the very popular Catalina 36, which was launched in 1982. According to Catalina Yachts, better performance was at the top of the improvements list, and giving the 375 a longer waterline and greater sail area-displacement ratio than the C36 ensured success on that front. Clearly, the 375 has a greater potential for faster passages than its predecessor, but it is, for all intents and purposes, a family cruiser, with safety, and comfort taking precedence. A spacious interior, ample on-deck storage, and in-mast mainsail furling are a few of the features Catalina included in the C375 to meet owners lifestyle needs. On the water, the boat moved well in light to moderate breeze, but beating in gustier conditions revealed symptoms of the disease that plagues similar wide-bodied cruisers.