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PS Entry level cruisers – tip #3

Entry-level cruising boats

Excerpted from Practical Sailors ebook, Entry-Level Cruiser-Racers

The C&C 27 followed quickly on the heels of the successful C&C 35. The design is attributed to 1970, with the first boats coming off the line in 1971. The boat evolved through three subsequent editions-the Mark II, III and IV (the latter are hulls #915-#975, according to an owner)-with the latter finishing in 1982. But the hull was essentially the same and not to be confused with the MORC-influenced 27-footer that followed about 1984, with an outboard rudder. That boat lasted until 1987.

The C&C 27 is a good example of what made the company successful-contemporary good looks with sharp, crisp lines that still appeal today. The sheerline is handsome. Below the waterline, the swept back appendages are dated but thats of little consequence to most owners. In the Mark I version, the partially balanced spade rudder is angled aft, with a good portion of it protruding behind the transom. In one of his reviews for Sailing magazine, designer Robert described the C&C 27s rudder as a scimitar shape that was long in the chord and shallow. In 1974, the rudder was redesigned with a constant chord length and much greater depth and less sweep angle.

The keel, too, was redesigned in 1974 though both are swept aft like an inverted sharks fin. The new keel was given 2-1/2 more depth and the maximum thickness moved forward to delay stalling. Hydrodynamic considerations aside, the worst that can be said of the 27s keel is that it takes extra care in blocking when the boat is hauled and set down on jack stands (or poppets as they are called here in Rhode Island). Without a flat run on the bottom of the keel, the boat wants to rock forward.

The rig is a masthead sloop with a P or mainsail luff length of 28 6 and an E or foot length of 10 6; interestingly, this gives an aspect ratio of .36, nearly identical to the .35 ratio of the Tartan 4100 reviewed last month. In response to the September article on skinny masts with single lower shrouds, the owner of a 1974 model wrote, My 1974 C&C 27 has double lowers with a tree trunk of a mast, which I know will support any headsail in any condition, probably even if I drove the boat full steam into an immovable object. Not so the earliest models.

The owner of a 1977 model wrote to say that the Mark I and II models had shorter rigs and more ballast. The change occurred in 1974, along with several others, some of which weve already noted.

Length overall was first given as 27 4; for later marks it is listed as 27 11. Waterline length started at 22 2, increasing to 22 11. The bow overhang is attractive, but more than is found on most boats nowadays. Remember that waterline length directly affects speed.

Displacement, too, changed over the years, between 5,180 pounds,5,500 pounds and 5,800 pounds. (The owner of hull #54 says that boats before #250 were 1,000 pounds heavier.) Depending on which waterline dimension you use, the displacement/ length ratio (D/L) ranges from 211 to 237. The sail/area displacement ratio (SA/D) is between 17.3 and 19.4. With moderate displacement and a generous sail plan, the C&C 27 is fleet. PHRF ratings for the Mark I average around 200 seconds per mile, dropping to about 190 for the Mark II and 175 for the Mark III.

From the C & C 27 review. To read the complete review of this popular sailboat, in addition to ten other entry-level cruisers, purchase and download the ebook Entry-Level Cruiser-Racers, Volume One from Practical Sailor. For a list of the boats reviewed, and details on Volume One of this series, click here.

Galley Accessories and Cookbooks ebook tip #1

Pressure Cookers

No kitchen pot fights a bad reputation the way a pressure cooker does-one pot of lentils exploding in someones face can quickly wipe out 20 years of good memories. While todays triple safety valves and stainless-steel construction have taken the trial-and-error out of pressure cooking and nearly eliminated accidents, theres still something about boiling water under pressure that sets the butterflies free in a cooks belly.

Despite the belly-flies, most galley cooks argue that the pressure cooker is the most versatile, most valuable pot on a boat. Pressure cooking is faster than regular cooking; it better preserves flavors and nutrients and can tenderize lean meats. If the user follows the instructions, it can be a sailors best friend, saving cooking fuel, water, and time-and having a lid that is locked on is a bonus.


There are four basic types of pressure cookers: jiggle-top/weighted valve, fixed weight, spring valve, and electric. The jiggle-top is a decades-old pressure cooker design. A weight on the steam vent pipe begins gently rocking, spinning, or swinging when pressure is reached, indicating that it is time to turn down the heat under the pot. If the jiggler is bouncing rapidly, theres too much pressure in the cooker and the heat should be further reduced to keep from losing too much cooking liquid.

Fixed weight cookers use a weight valve that is either fixed on the vent pipe or locked into place by the user. When pressure is reached in the pot, the valve raises up slightly, emitting wisps of steam and a slight hissing to indicate it is time to the lower the heat.

Spring valve cookers are the most-advanced of the non-electric cookers. When pressure is achieved, a spring-loaded valve raises an indicator. These designs tend to vent the least amount of steam.

Electric pressure cookers reach and maintain pressure automatically.

To learn more about cooking aboard and see the pressure cookers Practical Sailor likes best, purchase the ebook Galley Accessories and Cookbooks from Practical Sailor.

Specialty Anchor Tips # 2


All anchors are a compromise. Since some anchor types work best in certain bottoms, it is a good idea to carry anchors of different designs. At minimum, a cruising sailboat should carry at least two anchors adequately sized to anchor the boat under most conditions. Four anchors is often the norm on offshore cruising boats-two working anchors (a primary and secondary), one stern anchor or kedge, and one over-sized storm anchor-but cruising boats that sail with six or more full-sized anchors are not uncommon.

So where does a lightweight alloy anchor fit in the hierarchy of cruising anchors? It depends. Aluminum alloy anchors, particularly multi-part anchors, have a number of strikes against them. Lighter anchors take longer to set and are more likely to drag; their shanks are more vulnerable in side-load situations (aluminum alloys can shear when steel will bend); and multi-part anchors like the Fortress and Spade introduce other handicaps.

Despite these drawbacks, if Wednesday evening buoy racing is your passion, theres nothing wrong with an alloy race-day anchor. Owners of heavy-displacement boats with formidable bow rollers should look at high-tensile steel anchors for their primary anchor.

While high-tensile steel is the king of primary anchors, lightweight alloy anchors have two chief advantages-even for cruising sailors. They are portable, and they are easier to deploy by hand from a small boat. This is useful for kedging a boat into deeper water or away from a pier or obstruction.

Because alloy anchors are so easily moved around the boat, they don't need to be stowed on a dedicated bow roller, making them an appealing choice for a third, backup anchor- especially on boats with only one bow roller. Sizing an alloy anchor varies according to its purpose. Generally, the alloy anchor you choose should have similar holding capacity as the boats primary anchor.

For more advice and information on anchoring, purchase the ebook Specialty Anchors/Real World Anchoring from Practical Sailor.

Practical Sailor 2015 Index

Practical Sailor 2015 Index

Annapolis, tip #5

The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, Fourth Edition

John Rousmaniere

Page 323

Excerpted from The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, Fourth Edition

HANDS ON: Anchoring Hints

Safe anchoring depends as much on cautious, alert seamanship as it does on strong ground tackle. You should have an anchor big enough for your boat (plus some), a nylon rode in good condition that is long and stretchy enough for the anticipated water depth and strains, and sufficient chain to keep the rode low to the bottom. Use all your senses to determine if the hook is holding: bearings on landmarks, the sound of waves splashing dead on the bow and on the sides, the bounce-bounce as her stern rises and falls when shes secure and when shes dragging.

If there are three irreducible rules of thumb for safe anchoring they are: avoid lee shores like the plague; don't anchor too close to other boats; and when in doubt, let out more rode. All too many sailors can tell hair-raising stories about boats dragging down on them and, eventually onto shore in the midst of a midnight thunder squall.

It is land, not the sea, that is a ships greatest enemy, and if you plan to avoid a run-in with land, choose and use your ground tackle wisely.

For additional advice on all aspects of sailing, purchase The Annapolis Book of Seamanship, Fourth Edition from Practical Sailor.

Specialty Anchors tip #1

Physical measurements of anchors cannot produce definitive conclusions about anchor performance, but they offer clues to likely performance in different conditions.

Our analysis found that the measurements (tip weight, total weight, blade area, etc.) of the tested anchors suggest that the Rocna and Manson Supreme should provide similar holding power when fully buried in a good bottom.

The Ray could have an edge in setting performance and in holding power in a common type of poor bottom (thin sand over rock/coral). One note of caution is that these measurements apply only to these particular size anchors, and scale effects may change the rank order in smaller anchors.

An anchors tip weight is the percent of the anchors total weight that the tip of the anchor puts on the sea bottom when the anchor is lying on its side. (The position the anchor normally assumes when it lands on the bottom.) This is viewed as an important factor in determining an anchors setting ability. The Ray has the heaviest tip weight of the three anchors tested.

Blade area is the surface area of the anchor blade when the anchor is completely dug in. This is considered an important factor in determining an anchors holding power. The Rocna has the largest total blade area of those anchors tested.

Tip blade area is the surface area of the first 9 inches of the blade tip. A common poor-holding bottom type has a couple inches of sand or mud over a harder rock or coral surface. According to Starzinger and Leonard, its been their experience that only the first 9 inches or so of the tip will bury in these bottoms-and often only two of the three flukes in a Bruce design-so this measurement is an indication of holding power in this sort of poor anchoring bottom. Of those tested, the Ray has the largest blade area.

For more advice and information on anchoring plus our evaluations of the anchors mentioned above, purchase the ebook Specialty Anchors/Real World Anchoring from Practical Sailor.

Anchor Rode Accessories, tip #1

Tis the Season for Planning

The arrival of hurricane season is always a good reminder for boat owners to put together a storm plan detailing where and how the boat will be secured should a storm roll through.

Chafe protection for docking and mooring lines is essential for securing a boat ahead of a storm, but boat owners should also be sure to inspect the cleats themselves. The cleats should be beefy enough to handle the task at hand, and they should be properly supported with sturdy, easy-to-inspect backing plates. In addition to ensuring your cleats are structurally sound, its also important to pay attention to line leads. If a line must make a sharp bend at a chock or cleat, the risk of chafe increases significantly, and attaching anti-chafe gear at the bend is imperative.

Also, if your boat will be riding the storm out on a mooring, be sure to inspect the chain, swivels, and pendant on that mooring for wear. At the heart of any storm prep plan that involves anchoring is the ground tackle and how its set. PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo has used the following anchor combination and anchoring system with success in various locations to moor his 41-foot Ericson sloop:

A 45-pound CQR, with 10-millimeter (3/8-inch) all-chain rode, 5/8-inch nylon snubber, and leather anti-chafe gear.

A Paul Luke 75-pound, three- piece fisherman storm anchor, 50-feet of 1⁄2-inch chain, 200-feet of 3⁄4-inch nylon, leather anti-chafe gear (no swivel).

Set the two anchors at about a 60- degree angle, placing the storm anchor toward the worst of the expected wind and sea. Leave enough swinging room to cope with the likely wind shift, which could be as much as 180 degrees.

For more advice on protecting your boat and anchoring gear, purchase the ebook Anchor Rode Accessories from Practical Sailor.

The Weekend Navigator, tip #1

Excerpted from The Weekend Navigator, Second Edition, Bob Sweet

Planning as You Go with GPS

Find Where You Are

Its always a good idea to keep a chart by the helm, preferably with your stored waypoints and routes marked on it for easy reference. On all but larger boats, which have space to lay out a chart, youll probably keep the active chart conveniently folded with the active area face up, so you can work with the chart on your lap. Unfortunately, when you do this, the latitude and longitude scales are often hidden from view. The following techniques will help you find your location without using these scales.

Location along an Active Leg

If you are following an active leg of a course or route, determining your position is greatly simplified. You can reasonably assume that you are somewhere along that course line. All you need do to confirm that is to look at your GPS Highway or Map Screen. Then, because stored GPS waypoints are also noted on the chart, even if the route leg itself is not plotted, draw a line from the waypoint you just left to the active waypoint youre headed toward. Now, where are you along that line? Here are some quick tricks to find out:

  • Bearing to a Landmark - Simply sight on a charted feature to the side of your current course, usually a landmark or a buoy. It is enough to estimate a relative bearing quickly by eye; then on the chart, align your plotting tool to that relative bearing and move it to intersect the charted feature. See where it intersects your course line? You are there!
  • Using a Grid Line - Scan along your active course line. Is there a plotted grid line (a line of latitude or longitude) on the course in front of you? If so, you can do your planning from where that grid line intersects your course line. Now all you need to do is proceed along the course line and watch your GPS display until you reach that precise latitude or longitude. You then know where you are.
  • Using a Waypoint - Obviously, if you wait until you reach your current active waypoint, you will know where you are. Alternatively, you can use another waypoint stored in the GPS or a charted object near your course line. This is a variation on the bearing approach, but here you are looking for a nearby object. The easiest and safest way to do this is with a beam bearing to that object. Plan from that spot, and use your skilled mariners eye to identify when you have reached that location. If you are planning to use a stored waypoint that does not represent a buoy or other visible, charted feature, use the Map Screen to eyeball when this waypoint is abeam of your course. The closer the object is to your course line, the more accurate your established position will be.

For more advice on navigating with your GPS and other electronics, purchase The Weekend Navigator from Practical Sailor.

The Weekend Navigator, tip #2

Excerpted from The Weekend Navigator, Second Edition, Bob Sweet

Double-Checking Your Navigation

Quick Comparisons with the GPS

A quick comparison of visual bearings with their corresponding GPS bearings isn't precise, but it will give you confidence in what your GPS is telling you. This very simple technique will encourage you to make regular checks.

Your GPS Map Screen displays nearby landmarks and buoys whose waypoints you have programmed into your unit. You may need to zoom out to bring them into the field of view, and you need to get yourself oriented. Generally you will be using a North-Up display on the GPS, and your direction of travel will be indicated by the orientation of the boat symbol (usually a sharp triangle). If you are sighting quick relative bearings, such as a beam bearing, simply look to see whether the chosen landmark appears to be abeam of the symbol on the screen. If the GPS has truly failed, it is unlikely that the two will agree; if the two agree, it is unlikely that the GPS has failed. If you are still uncertain, take some more precise bearings for comparison.

If youve sighted a bearing across the compass, you need a numeric GPS bearing to compare it with. Using the cursor key on a newer model GPS, scroll to that buoy or landmark on the Map Screen; when it is highlighted, the GPS will show its bearing in a data window. Simply compare the GPS reported bearing with your visual observation. Assuming you set up your GPS to magnetic direction, no conversion is required. If the GPS bearing and your observation match, at least within about three to five degrees, your GPS appears to be working properly.

If any of your quick observations do not match, its a time for a more detailed approach.

For more advice on navigating with your GPS and other electronics, purchase The Weekend Navigator from Practical Sailor.

Offshore Sailing tip #1

Jacklines and Cockpit Pad Eyes

Jacklines are ropes, wire, or webbing stretched between the bow and stern of a boat to which crew clip their safety harnesses when moving about on deck. Offshore, they should be left rigged (attached) in place, regardless of weather.

Jacklines made from flat nylon webbing are generally considered preferable to round wire, which will roll underfoot. The breaking strength requirement is a minimum of 5,000 pounds. The color should be very bright so that they are visible both day and night. The drawback of colored jacklines is that they may bleed their dye on deck. To avoid this mess, soak them in a bucket of water before using.

The design I recommend is a continuous length with a loop sewn in at the bow, which is then shackled to the stemhead. The two aft legs tie off to the stern cleats the same way one would belay a line. With one continuous line, the sewing of the loop at the bow is not terribly critical. If using two separate jacklines, one for each side of the deck, the loop stitching must be protected from chafe with tape.

To read more tips to keep your sailing safer and more enjoyable, purchase Offshore Sailing: 200 Essential Passagemaking Tips from Practical Sailor.

Fighting Off Marine Electrical System Corrosion

The boat's electrical system is often the most vexing for boat owners-but it doesn't have to be. With the right tools, quality materials, and a modest amount of preventative maintenance, you can ensure a flicker-free (or nearly so) existence on the water. If you've got a rewiring or electronics installation project ahead of you, or if just want to make sure nothing goes on the fritz once you're offshore, this information-packed blog post is for you.