Two designs: Which would you choose and why?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by SmokeyBear, May 12, 2020.

  1. SmokeyBear
    Joined: May 2020
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Georgia

    SmokeyBear Junior Member

    So let me start with a little back story. I have wanted to build my own sailboat for most of my life, and as we all do I started out at 10 years old wanting something ridiculous. (Think 45' custom cat with bow thrusters and an onboard SCUBA compressor) As I sailed more and got more experience (18 yrs of it) I realized the impracticality of solo sailing it like a hobo, much less building it in my parents backyard with lumber from Home Depot :D Since then I have found that I really like single-handing boats in the 34' to 38' range and as such have looked at plans for every type of sailing craft that can be owner built including Horstman, Brown, Piver, Schionning, Grainger, Dix, Bruce Roberts, everyone. All the designs I looked at were either too much of a compromise, just didn't speak to me or were no longer available. Then I recently discovered that Van De Stadt makes plans in this size range and came highly recommended.
    And that brings us to my current predicament that I would like input on. After looking at two different designs by them (VDS34, Forna 37) and asking them a lot of questions I am coming to a deadlock and would like some input as I don't have as much bluewater experience as a lot of y'all.
    Van de Stadt Design - Van de Stadt 34
    Van de Stadt Design - Forna 37

    Both designs have a choice of
    3-4 different keel options with a twin rudder setup for the centerboard choice
    a choice of masthead or 7/8 fractional rig
    scoop transom
    wheel steering or tiller (Tiller on 34 only)
    hard dodger with or without the mainsheet on top
    and of course you do your interior but the standard layout is a really good setup

    I am trying to decide between these two designs and their options and I am leaning more towards the 34 with
    shoal draft and centerboard with twin rudders
    masthead rig
    scoop transom with propane locker as a step
    wheel steering
    hard dodger with mainsheet on the top
    and just a couple cosmetic things on the interior

    I'm leaning more towards the 34 than the 37 due to the unknown factors of cost, time, space available and the more I look at it the more I like it. My main question is what do those with a lot of bluewater experience think about the choices I'm considering. I know that all boats are a compromise and that each person has their own opinion, but I was wondering what peoples experiences have been with the different options on various boats and what is a good idea in reality vs good on paper. I know this is long but I really do want to hear from y'all and see what you think.
  2. Alik
    Joined: Jul 2003
    Posts: 3,047
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    Location: Thailand

    Alik Senior Member

    For the (5...10)* price of these plans You can buy second-hand boat of this type... Especially now.
    Does it make sense to build mainstream boat?
    SmokeyBear and bajansailor like this.
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
    Posts: 3,286
    Likes: 1,314, Points: 113, Legacy Rep: 37
    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Following on from AliK's comment above, here are a few examples of second hand Van de Stadt boats for sale that appear to be similar to what Smokey has in mind.
    Here is a wood epoxy Helena 38' for US$ 93,000 in Australia :
    2001 Van De Stadt 38 Cruiser for sale - YachtWorld

    And a 75% complete wood epoxy Forna 37 for US$ 53,000 in Greece :
    2018 Van De Stadt Forna 37 Cruiser for sale - YachtWorld

    A steel Forna 37 (round bilge) for sale in Curacao for US$ 49,000 :
    1997 Van De Stadt 37 Forna Cruiser for sale - YachtWorld

    An aluminium Van de Stadt 34 for sale in Florida for US$ 43,000
    1998 Van De Stadt 34 Cruiser for sale - YachtWorld

    Smokey, even if you build a boat yourself, and do not value the cost of your labour (thousands of hours), just the cost of the materials will probably far exceed the asking prices of the boats mentioned above.
  4. SmokeyBear
    Joined: May 2020
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Georgia

    SmokeyBear Junior Member

    The plans aren't but about $1,500 for the 34. I did consider just buying a used boat and refitting it but to get a decent hull and get it brought to me would be close to 30k. and then spend at least that much on a refit of a boat that I'm settling for. I might as well spend that money building what I want how I want it.
  5. SmokeyBear
    Joined: May 2020
    Posts: 14
    Likes: 1, Points: 3
    Location: Georgia

    SmokeyBear Junior Member

    bajansailor, I appreciate the links. They are nice looking boats but there's just something about each of them that I just don't care for.
    I've been pricing out the materials and it really doesn't look like the cost will outpace the cost of those boats and getting them to me. As for putting a value on my time, I have 20+ years to build it and to me there is value in building something with your hands and seeing the fruits of your labor.
    bajansailor likes this.

  6. JotM
    Joined: Jan 2009
    Posts: 98
    Likes: 9, Points: 8, Legacy Rep: 34
    Location: Leiden, the Netherlands

    JotM Junior Member

    Van de Stadt being a Dutch design firm, there is something to be said to look for boats like these in the Netherlands. ;)
    And then try to beat offerings like these: (woodcore)
    Van De Stadt 34 uit 1995 te koop op (steel)

    If it's the building experience you're after, ever considered continuing where someone else left off?
    bajansailor likes this.
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