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Ocean sailor Feature

Turning back the clock

…To find a Pre-Owned yacht capable of Taking you Round the World

By Dick Beaumont and Dick Durham

Ocean Sailor reader Mary Bonney told us she cannot afford a Kraken 50, other than in her dreams, and she asked us if there might be yachts suitable to sail across oceans on the used yacht market?

The answer is yes, there are lots of beautiful yachts that fit the critical criteria of integral hull and keel, fully protected skeg or keel hung rudder, and heavily laid up hull. These well founded yachts are now called modern classics and you may have to go back 30 – 40 years to an era when safety at sea was considered a greater virtue than how many orders a yacht can attract at a boat show. 

Well laid up GRP is perhaps the premier material of choice because its strength is immense if enough layers and resin is used, 12 layers minimum really (a Kraken 50 has 17 layers minimum and is 18mm plus in hull thickness). It’s also the lowest maintenance, affordable material available. 

My first yacht, an Endurance 35 called Courser, was steel and she was bomb proof but…there’s a hell of a lot of maintenance to do on a steel yacht and since the weight of the steel fabrication of the hull, deck and coachroof is heavy the centre of gravity will inevitably be higher than with a GRP hull and deck, so they tend to heel more and be more tender. 

I’m not a massive fan of aluminium because you have to be so careful about corrosion and my advice to anyone thinking of painting aluminium, is don’t. Bare aluminium is not pretty, I know, but I’ve met so many owners that have had real problems with the paint coming off, sometimes in great sheets, that I think if it has to be ali, it has to be bare grey aluminium.

Kraken’s design and construction philosophy is based on incorporating the best tried and tested features that have been seen in cruising yachts over the decades and combining those features with modern high-quality materials and equipment, to make our yachts to the pinnacle of blue water cruisers. Whilst we do believe our yachts to be the best blue water yachts ever built, if you go back 30 years or so, before the advent of production boats, pretty much all yachts over 30ft were fully capable of taking their owners around the world without having to rely on luck to keep the crews safe.

Most of the big named yacht building companies around the world did not survive the price and cost-cutting onslaught of the European production yacht companies and many iconic designs like Nicholson, Endurance, Rival and Contessa disappeared 30 or so years ago. A few changed their design characteristics and survive still, names such as Hallberg Rassey, Amel and Oyster, but their yachts have lost their true blue water credentials in the eyes of most experienced ocean voyagers, as well as many of their long time owners, as they introduced bolt on keels and blade hung rudders to lower cost.

Their names will still appear in Ocean Sailor list, but all are from a time before twin-blade rudders were ever conceived for racing yachts that needed the wide stern form stability. This delta hull shape has now been parodied in, purportedly, cruising designs, so that yacht builders can attract the eye of those more concerned with accommodation and a dingy garage, than safety and good seakeeping qualities in heavy weather.

The US market seems to have resisted the cheap and cheerful attractions of the European production yacht builders right through to the early 2000s, meaning American and Canadian aspiring world cruisers can choose from a more recent vintage than those relying on the Southampton and Hamble yards of yesteryear.

The iconic blue water long keel and protected rudder designs of Bob Perry could fill the pages below alone, by and large, you can say ‘if it was designed by Bob you’re good to go’.  

In our minds, a blue water yacht must have the three main features mentioned above, and therefore the list below is comprised only of yachts that have these features. However, despite our considerable research, it has been difficult to fully ascertain, in some designs, whether some of the designs do incorporate an integral hull and keel or not, so please double-check with the brokers before wasting your time visiting a yacht that has the dreaded bolt-on keel.

The list below is by no means exhaustive and is meant as a guide to the type of yacht to be looking for.

We have really struggled to come up with many Anzac yachts that have these critical design features. I’m sure there must be more than the one or two we have found and we would be very pleased to hear of any others?

We have formulated the list by region since potential owners will look in their home waters first. Fortunately, since the type of yachts listed are all capable of crossing oceans, and probably most of them already have, wherever a yacht was built, they are nonetheless likely to be found on the other side of the globe too.

We have not listed the selling price of any of the yachts below but be assured you can pick up a yacht capable of sailing across the great oceans for less than $50,000 USD; €40,000 or £35,000 dependent on size, age and condition.

We welcome suggestions of other used classic offshore yachts from our readers.


A classic Nic 32 running ‘goose winged’ before strong trade winds

UK / EUROPE

Nicholson
32 – 55

Rival
32 – 41

Freya
44

Contessa
32

Endurance
35 & 44

Rustler
36+

Although more recent production yachts only have encapsulated keels.

Hallberg Rassy
Monsum 31, HR 41,
HR 38, HR 352
*


*Dependent on age, check if integral keel and skeg protected rudder, pre-1980 approximately. 

Nordia Van Dam
55

Oyster 435

Endurance
35 & 44

Amel
45 (Maramu) – 54*

*Same story as Hallberg Rassy,  any Amel built before 2006. Henri Amel died in 2005 and it all changed at Amel after his death.

Olsen
38

Tradewind
33 – 44


USA / CANADA

Valiant
40 – 53

Formosa
43 – 51

Pearson Alberg
35

Tayana
37 – 58

Formosa
43 – 51

Vancouver
32 – 42

Kaufman
47-51

Corbin
39

Vancouver
32 – 42

Hans Christian
33, 34, 38,41 & 43

Hinckley Bermuda

Allied Princess
36

Victoria 34


New Zealand / Australia

COLUMBIA
35 – 39

CAVALIER
39

Summary

Just remember, upholstery can be recovered, teak can be re-varnished, the mast can be re-rigged and the sails renewed, even the gel coat can be resprayed, the engine and stern gear replaced… but the hull, deck, keel and rudder configuration and construction cannot so that HAS to be the first consideration above all else.

“Where it all began, my Endurance 35 on launch day in 1980” – Dick Beaumont

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