The Good, The Bad and The Major Project Boats


formosa_peterson_46{Nice aft deck!}

Well, I’d say our first weekend of boat shopping was a success. In 3 days we saw 10 different boats. Some from our target list and some not. It was rainy out which, although annoying, allowed us to easily spot any leaks in the boats. The main point of the weekend was to get on the boats and see if we loved the boats as much in person as we did through pictures. The goal wasn’t to fall in love with with a boat we weren’t yet ready to buy. I guess I should have been a little more aggressive in telling myself that. I digress.

 formosa_peterson_46_cleat{Check out the size of those cleats!}

The first boat we saw was the Formosa Peterson 46. In fact, we ended up seeing two different versions of this boat. Overall we really like this boat. It has a very roomy aft cabin and vberth, tons of storage inside, beautiful woodwork in the interior, great u-shaped galley design, solid fiberglass hull, nice engine room, a dining setup that converts to a double bunk, comfortable cock pit, nice aft deck (my favorite part) and a relatively roomy deck as a whole. The things we didn’t like are the deep draft at 6.5 feet, low cockpit combings, the short height of the walkthrough and the lack of a separate shower.

Cheoy_Lee_Pedrick_41The next boat we saw was a Cheoy Lee Pedrick 41. This particular boat would fall into the “major project boat” category that we are very much trying to avoid. There were leaks everywhere, the teak decks needed to be pulled, all the cushions replaced, etc. etc, etc. However, the model as a whole has some very redeeming qualities. There is a lot of deck space forward of the doghouse (one of my and the dogs’ favorite spots on our current boat), pretty decent storage, double aft berth, usable galley, separate shower, shallow draft (4’4″) due to the centerboard. The things I didn’t like about this boat is that there isn’t an aft cabin, the lack of an aft deck, the big table in the center of the boat to cover the centerboard.

We also managed to see two different versions of the Tayana 42 – a center cockpit and an aft cockpit. I really didn’t like the aft cockpit version. The decks were noticeably rounded (so you have a flat surface when you are healing) and the aft berth was floor level and really weird. I was told it would fit 2 people, but there just is no way. The center cockpit version had a much flatter deck, but not completely flat. Given we will likely be at anchor way more often than actually sailing, not sure if that is a feature I want to live with. Visions of Riley sliding of the deck come to mind. It is a canoe stern so davits, while not impossible, would be significantly more difficult to install. The cockpit is also elevated and would be pretty difficult for the dogs to get in and out of.


I really wanted to like the Pearson 424. Jason loves them. However, something was just off about both the aft cockpit and the aft cabin versions. The space just didn’t flow. I couldn’t put my finger on what it was exactly, but these boats just weren’t right. Next!

whitby_42_for_saleOverall we really liked the Whitby 42 as well. We’d want to replace a lot of the white paneling with wood eventually, but the layout was very functional. We liked that the table folded down when needed and was stored up and out of the way when not. The galley was very usable with a lot of nooks and crannies to store all our stuff. The V-berth and aft cabins were both generously sized, and the main settee in the salon converted to a double berth for extra guests. The draft is only 5 foot and would let us anchor in much shallower waters than a few other boats we’re looking at. This boat also has a very nice aft deck. The negatives are that this boat isn’t as beautiful on the interior as some of our other top contenders, you have to duck to get through the walkthrough back to the aft cabin, no separate shower, very low cockpit combings, the molded fiberglass headliner and Jason can’t stand straight up in the aft cabin (although the rest of the boat is fine).

Now, the Morgan 45 wasn’t on our list and we really weren’t interested in seeing her, but the broker insisted. You may shun me for even saying this, but this boat was a little too big inside. This boat is a bathtub and sails just as slow as one. Because it has a super wide beam I could only imagine getting thrown around as I tried to make my way down below during some nasty weather. The hand holds weren’t easily reachable for my tiny self and I just really wasn’t loving this boat.

A few other boats that we still want to see are the Lafitte 44, the Endeavor 42 and the CSY 44 Walkthrough. We’re hoping to get on a few of these boats in the coming weeks. Anyone up in the North East have one and want to show us around?

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  1. That’s some good research! A note on the separate shower…we also thought we wanted a separate shower, and got a boat with one …that we never use (although, it’s not a true “stand up” so perhaps that’s why it is never used?). Not sure where you are planning on cruising in the long term, but in the Caribbean, showering off the back of the boat is awesome (we have a great hose and hot/cold water back there) and does the trick AND you get all the grime off you before you get into the boat – plus for keeping the interior sand/salt free!

    • Once we leave that is what we also plan on doing as well. Forgot to mention that we are still very much considering a Brewer 🙂 Hoping to get on one next weekend that is in Maryland!

  2. The separate shower seems to be high on your list. You my want to reconsider this. While it is a nice option, the interior boat real estate should be divided as to how you spend your time. Only abut 5 minutes a day is spent in the shower. We would much rather have a larger bed or comfortable sofa than a separate shower.

    Also, don’t get too hung up on the draft. If you consider a bay that is 6′ deep, are you really comfortable entering with a 5′ draft and trusting the charts that much. Chances are you will avoid the bay and opt for deep waters. And, how many places are there in the world that are totally off limits because of a 7′ draft? Very few. For true shallow water sailing such as areas in the Bahama islands, a cat with a 2 foot draft is the best option. An extra foot or two of draft on a monohull will offer better windward sailing capabilities and blue-water sailing stability. One foot of draft deeper should not sway your decision should you fall in love with a boat.

    Avoid teak decks. Especially old teak decks!

    Just our 2 cents. Good luck with the continued search.

    Mark and Cindy
    s/v Cream Puff

    • The shower isn’t an absolute necessity by any means. It is just something that would be nice to have. The main reason being that we plan on living on our next boat while we are working in the city and showering in the cockpit may not be as acceptable as it is at anchor. We have our list of things we’d like in a boat but we know there is no 100% perfect boat 🙂 Also, the draft is becoming less and less a MAJOR concern for me, just something that is differentiating the boats we like.

  3. I’d have to second other’s comments on the shower – we’d go with an on deck setup at the stern long before one inside as the best use of space. We also second your impression of the Morgan – we looked at a 33 O/I, and could only imagine the injury possibilities in trying to move across that dance floor of a saloon in a seaway!
    Best luck in your search!

  4. I’ve never seen the curved decks, that would be a little strange. I second avoiding the teak decks, I have heard too many leak stories on older boats. I would only buy teak if I could live with them until I could make it to a foreign port where they could be removed for cheap. I really like Windtaveler’s Brewer 44 layout and draft. Hoping I can buy it when they are ready to upgrade. Brittany, put us on the list! – Steve