Columbia 8.7

For better or worse, the Columbia 8.7 is modern in appearance, with a very straight sheer, pronounced forward overhang, and no overhang aft. The stern is decidedly unusual, with an exaggerated wineglass-section transom. This reduces the apparent size of the back end of the boat, which would otherwise look very ungainly since beam is carried well aft. From an aesthetic point of view, you either like the stern or you don't.

Ericson 32

A look at both the 1969 and 1985 designs by Bruce King finds more to like about the later model boat.

Hobie Mirage i12s Inflatable Kayak

Alright, we know what youre thinking: A pedal boat in Practical Sailor? Thats what we thought, too, when Hobie sent us the Mirage i12s in response to our search for an inflatable kayak that could serve as a secondary tender for a cruising sailboat. The 12-foot PVC hull has overlapping glued and welded seams and a slick, abrasion-resistant bottom. The chambers are inflated to a modest 3 to 5 psi (compared to the 6.5 psi for the Walker Bay Airex reviewed in July 2008), which limits stiffness. For the tropics, PS prefers Hypalon to PVC, but that would add weight and push the price up. The hull carries a two-year warranty, not enough for an $1,800 boat (MSRP), in our opinion. Five years would be our minimum. The stern of the boat has bungee cords and an area for lashing down a dry bag, tackle box, or snorkel gear, but potential for provisioning runs is limited. A compartment in the bow will hold small items. To our chagrin, the space was too small to easily stow the hand pump. What sets this boat apart is the drive system. This is not your Camp Hiawatha paddle boat.

C&C 33

C&Cs have been known for good-looking moderate designs, a tradition started by the original partners and the company's chief designer Rob Ball. Some models--like the early Corvettes and C&C 35s--have become classics of production sailboats, and (except for the Mega, a one-design 30-footer of the late 70s) it's hard to think of any C&C which has been extreme or unattractive to the eye.

Hunter 27

The Hunter 27 is the smallest boat in the Hunter line, which runs up to 43' in length. The Hunter 27 is a popular boat with first-time sailboat buyers, and with small-boat sailors purchasing their first auxiliary cruising boat. Since the boat was introduced in 1975, thousands have been built. Judging from the response of Hunter owners we've talked to, all Hunters, including the 27, are purchased for one reason: price. The Hunter 27 is just about the cheapest diesel-powered 27' cruising boat money can buy.

The Modern Classic Racer-Cruiser

The Islander 36 was built from 1971 to 1985, making it one of the longest-lived 36-footers ever on the U.S. market. More than 750 of the Alan Gurney-designed racer-cruiser sloops were built, with production spanning almost the entire history of Islander Yachts.

Express 37

The concept for the Express 37 was developed in 1984 by Schumacher and boatbuilder Terry Alsberg of Alsberg Brothers Boatworks in Santa Cruz. Schumacher's objective was to design a boat that would excel on long ocean races that emphasize performance on reaching and running legs, that would meet the TransPac Race minimum size entry requirements, and also would have at least 6' of standing headroom.

Headings: Designers’ Conference—Part II

Glenn Henderson (Hunter Marine), Tim Jackett (Fairport Marine; C&C and Tartan Yachts), Tony Smith (Performance Cruising), Jim Taylor (Sabre Yachts), and Robert Perry, share insights regarding the deck layouts, accommodations, and construction methods they favor.

Centurion 40S

Known for strong construction and fast sailboats, Wauquiez presents a well-conceived cruiser-racer with comfort enough to match its performance.

The Sailing Skiff that Fits in a Locker

Sailing a cruising boat is many things-rewarding, sometimes adventurous, and often relaxing-but seldom viscerally fun, not in the way that a beach cat or performance dinghy saturates the senses and puts you in touch with the wind and waves. It doesnt communicate every ripple and puff, it doesnt thrill, and it doesnt allow you to push the edge. Its the difference between driving a Winnebago and riding a bicycle. For many of us, our love of sailing began with something fast and volatile, and by-and-by, we miss it dearly. And yet as much as wed like to strap a Laser or Hobie to the foredeck, thats not happening.

Boat Bottom Blues

While spring usually heralds the start of boating season for most of us, for others it means facing up to long-postponed projects. If you own an older boat, that project probably might be removing the years of antifouling paint that have built up on the bottom. In this blog post you'll find links to a number of useful articles to help guide you through this process.