Its been a bit of time since my last post. This follows the two other posts about outfitting and choosing a boat, and tries to summarize some of the things we have done. Much more information about all of this crap is on other parts of the site. Beware - this is a long and complicated list....
When you buy a new sailboat you have got it made - right? Yes - you avoided all of those problems that you would have had with a 20 year old cruising boat - wiring, rigging, and engine upgrades. But you still have all of the problems associated with turning a boat into a long range cruiser.....
Yes - a new boat - what an extravagance!! Notice, however, that it seems to be missing a few crucial items......
Many of the pundits say that a new boat will cost about 15 percent of the purchase price to outfit for cruising, while a used boat may cost up to an additional 50 percent. We have spent about $25-30,000 outfitting the boat, upgrading systems, and stocking the interior. This is about 10 percent of our total cost, depending upon how you look at it.
We bought all of the sails that Malo offered, plus all of the sail handling options. This was a very good decision. The sails were of the highest quality, as was the gear. Our sail inventory includes the main, a working jib, a 130 genoa, a geneiker, and a staysail. The staysail was converted to reef to 60 percent. Here is what we had to do:
reinforce genoa at head, tack and clew - install full cover (it had one of those glue on covers that don't provide adequate UV protection.)
design and build preventer system
reinforce the staysail with new hanks, install reefing system
Energy system designed and installed
540 hours gel batteries
design and build battery box
relocate main circuits to new battery box
125 ample power high output alternator
V3 multistage regulator
"eliminator" to connect house and start batteries for charging
KISS wind generator
170 amp hours solar panels
design solar panel mount system for rails of boat
design stowage of panels in aft lazerrette
Trace C40 charge controller
run new 0000 gauge wire for alternator output
Skymate 100 e-mail system
HI FI radio linked to computer via modem for decoding weatherfax
ditchbag - pus assorted flares, beacons, survival equipment, and extra gin for the bag
Boat washdown system - include three way valves for using fresh water, and outlet for and aft (this is one big, bad, stream of water I can pump)
Watermaker - Little Wonder modular 200
wiring associated with above - this includes installing power centers, circuits, and direct battery wiring using 6 gauge - no voltage drop here, plus glassing in a shelf for the pump, and redesigning the head cabinet storage to accommodate all of this
5 Goldenrod heaters installed in each forward and aft locker - this keeps the mildew down, but involved a hundred feet of cabling
mahogany computer box (yes it actually slides out)
shelf for DVD player, and mount for LCD TV
custom mahogany boarding platform
Caribe 32 - 11" dingy
Tohatsu 9.9 hp outboard (this is a two stroke - why pay for a 4 stroke when nobody can repair them in Columbia?)
2 person inflatable kayak
All of the stuff to load, pull, repair, and store above items
Tufted toppers for both bunks (these are great)
two sets of fitted sheets for each bunk
2 silk comforters (yes - I know it is hard to believe - silk is expensive, but it works great in the wet Northwest
This is an ongoing project - so far all the usual pots and pans plus:
2 burner force 10 stove
new Correll china - this is indestructible glass from Corning
Assorted stainless steel barware
New AC circuit box
five new circuits
redesigned wiring for boat AC New outlets in the forward birth, aft berth, heads
3600 gal per hour Rule bilge pump, on automatic circuit
AquaAlarm monitoring system for water intake, bilge, engine overheat, and fire
Racor 500 fuel filter
inline 12 volt fuel pump
engine hour meter
Man - am I tired, and I am not even done!!!! Is it time to go cruising yet??
When buying a boat, the numbers really do tell the story.Here are the optimum numbers, courtesy of Nigel Calder, and the numbers of the Malo 39:
Ballast Ratio greater than 33% - Malo 39 - 32.2%
Displacement length ratio around 200-250, maximum 300 – Malo 296
Sail area-displacement ratio 15 to 18-Malo 17
Waterline length to waterline beam ratio greater than 3:1 – Malo 3.14
Stability curve above 120 – Malo 135
This is for a fully loaded boat – we are talking displacement of 20,300 pounds, plus a load of 3634 pounds for fuel, water and cargo.These numbers suggest that the boat would be exactly what we wanted, - fun to sail, somewhat fast, and stable.We heel to windward initially in a bit of a breeze – say 15 - 18 knots, and then stay there like a rock with a 130 genoa – the boat is perfectly balanced with no weather helm when trimmed out - not tender, but not stiff either.
So at the risk of offending someone – here is my take on the boats we did not buy:
Valiant 40 – truly a fine boat – but it was expensive – at the time of our decision, it was $100K more than the Malo.Also, it is a bit spartan – we did not like its layout below as a long term home.
Caliber 40 LRC – this boat has truly impressive tankage, but the underbody did not promise good windward performance.Also, the fit and finish, and the quality of the fittings, though quite nice, did not reach Malo standards nor were as robust.The sales person I talked to, whom I had know for a few years, told me to order it without sails, since they were junk – this made me wonder what else was junk that I could not see…
Island Packet 39 – a fine and respected cruiser, though the underbody seems antiquated, and that club foot staysail?Any way, another American boat that is very expensive – we have smoked several IPs going to windward…..these boats are slow.
Saga 43 – I was revved up to get the Saga – Bob Perry designed, purpose built cruiser, and 200 mile days, 10 knots motoring under power, great tankage. But again, the fit and finish was not as nice as the Malo - but I sure loved that working area forward.We talked to some folks that had sailed the Baha HA HA on one and they said this boat heeled – I mean – as if it was some tender race boat(which it was). We sat in it at the dock in 10 knots of wind - boy it really did heal, even with no sails up - a very tender craft. I talked to a rigger who put a few of them together and he said that often from the factory they had to beat them together with a hammer.Also, Discovery had lots of problems with the factory – not good recommendations for a $300,000 purchase.
Pacific Seacraft 37 - 44 – there were a few of these floating around, but the 37 footer was too small for our needs and the larger version was way to expensive.The boat seemed based on an old design and again, had that cut away forefoot that promised good downwind performance, but not much windward performance.
These were all fine boats, but did not offer as much to us as the Malo.Also, the Malo is built by some of the nicest people on earth.They have sent me boxes and boxes of stuff for upgrades – much of it free or at cost.I am 4 years into ownership, and can send them an e-mail and get a response.It you are reading this, you may have linked from their site.No I am not a Malo shill – it’s that in this day and age, it is so rare to get what you pay for.
Our sailing career up to that point had been on a Hunter 34 – the 1984 Cherubi version.This was one of Hunter’s better crafts from the 1980’s.She was fast, easy to sail, and had good accommodations.In our three years of ownership I rebuilt most of the DC systems, learned about diesel maintenance by flooding the engine with saltwater, and replaced most of the running rigging.A good education.We learned sail trim, and to work together as a sailing team.I will always remember working the boat to windward in 20 knots under one of the many tall bridges around here.
We decided that we would get a boat, retire early, and go cruising. I had suggested other ideas for retiring early - getting a goose farm to raise pate'. a backcountry sk resort, etc - but MS decided it would be better to sail off into the sunset. So, we started looking for a boat…..
We (or I) read lots of books – Pardee, Hiscock, Roussemire(“Characteristics of Offshore Yachts” is a must have book for a boat buyer.)I studied Practical Sailor's guide to boat buying.
Meanwhile – we were taking classes.Probably the most influential were Brian Toss’ rigging classes –http://www.briontoss.com/ - not because of the classes – we took two out of the three – those they were very good.But, we met several guys rebuilding older, 1980’s cruising boats.
These seemed like huge boats to us – Norsemen, Valants, Olsens – all kinds of boats 40 to 50 feet long – and boy, were they having problems.Most were there to try and learn about installing new rigs.Also, they were installing new engines, DC systems, AC systems, running rigging, Sails – by gosh – they were rebuilding whole boats.
They spent a ton of money – usually somewhere in the six figures for the boat, then
another $50,000 to 100,000 in replacement of systems – and – they still had a 1980’s boat, with a 1980's price.
Finally, one guy who I respected a lot confessed that he wished he bought a new boat. This made a lot sense to us – so – we decided to buy a new boat.We started by deciding what we had to have – and boy - this eliminated alot of boats.These items were somewhat based on our experience with the Hunter:
No prop strut- I had replaced the shaft and strut on the Hunter – never again.Too vulnerable for cruising.
No bolt-on Keel – again lots of problems with the hull-keel joint on the Hunter
A 500 mile motoring range – based on advice from others
A modified fin keel, long chord, and balanced or semi-balanced rudder on a skeg – we wanted a maneuverable boat that was fun and easy to sail– our goal was to sail to Europe and live in the Mediterranean – we need some maneuverability for those tight euro marinas.
A cutter or Solent rig
An aft cockpit
Well – that’s not much of a list – but it eliminated about 90 percent of the boats out there.None of the more common production boats met our needs – We boiled the list down to a few of the more "blue water" (ie. pricey) types:
We really like the Saga.There were a few of them floating around.But, after talking to folks who had crewed on them, and folks that worked on them, we decided that it was not right for us.
The key was having a good broker who we trusted and worked with us.Judy Naismith at Discovery Yachts - http://www2.yachtworld.com/discovery/.And later – Mike Locatell.We talked to both of them about yachts - a lot - looked at the Saga 43 they had at the docks - and went to boat shows.
Mike said come down and look at the Malo 36.This was the only Malo in the States.It was going to be at the show.He gave us free tickets.The owner was there – Bob – and he told us all about the boat – the yard, the people who built it, how he sailed it in Sweden, its sea keeping abilities.The quality of the boat spoke for itself. It seemed a work or art, the build quality was so high. Everything on the boat met our list. Malo only built about 30 boats a year, and it was a family owned business.
Marianne looked at the boat, and said this is the one - we wanted the 39 though.I was still not convinced, but I have always followed my wife’s lead on big purchases, since it saves me so much grief later. She picked out the house also ( which we sold to buy the boat).
So – a month later – early 2001 – we ordered the boat. This was largely based on our trust in Mike and Judy, since we had never seen the 39, nor sailed on one. (Sometimes you have to trust somebody.) This was the third Malo into the states, but the first ordered and built from scratch by the factory.What we ordered with it, why, and what we have added since – will be on another post.