I’ve been searching for boats over the past couple of months and I’ve narrowed it down to a couple. It’s taken a bit of convincing to get down in size (thanks to some wise words from Ken in Texas) but I think a small boat will do everything I want. Considering I’ll probably only use it half a dozen times a year it doesn’t make sense to have a big boat sitting on a mooring. If I can drop the boat in the water, have it rigged in 10 minutes, put a few days supplies onboard and head across the bay for a long weekend, I’d be happy. I’ve narrowed it down to something like this.
It’s a tiny boat in comparison to the old Westsail, in fact it’s precisely half the size at 16ft and almost half the beam at 6ft. Prior to seeing this, I was convinced that 20-26ft was the minimum size for a weekender.
There are a lot of advantages to sailing a small boat. Notwithstanding the reduced maintenance costs, a smaller boat takes less effort and planning to go sailing. I often used to feel like the Westsail was a major logistical undertaking to go for a day sail.
This is a Com-Pac 16 and just like the Westsail, it’s built in the US. They make a 19ft version, which looks almost identical to the 16 footer, but Com-Pac yachts are extremely rare in Australia anyway and I’ve never seen a 19 footer here. In fact, this is the only one of its kind that I’ve seen in Australia and it was a personal import. Further, they command a hefty price due to their high quality build and the additional shipping and importation costs. The 19ft version would probably be a better boat for me but I think the 16 will do the job.
Moreton Bay is full of sand banks and even though a small boat is going to be slower than a larger boat, it has the advantage of a shoal draft keel and can sail across shallow banks, which could potentially mean a faster trip across the bay and to my destination.
Com-Pac yachts have a great reputation for quality, longevity and a strong following of owners overseas. Kind of like a Westsail.
It’s not a serious ocean going yacht like the Westsail but it will handle a bit of rough weather on the bay.
It has a shoal draft keel with no centreboard, which doesn’t bode particularly well for sailing to windward, but doesn’t really bother me as I think I prefer my boats without a gaping big hole in the hull, 2 bunks in the cabin and can live on a trailer under cover and out of the elements. There’s just enough room in the cabin for some stowage, perhaps a small portable stove and to keep out of the bad weather. Cooking would mostly be done in the cockpit under a boom tent anyway and in summer I’d probably just sleep out in the cockpit. I think this could be a great little bay boat.
It’s not a done deal but I’m very seriously considering it. The problem is that it’s located about 2000kms away and I’ll have to have it transported by road.