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It tells us much about the intrinsic quality of a boat if her looks don’t seem to date writes W M Nixon. The debut of the Dufour 40 Performance in 2002, as the result of an interesting design linkup between Umberto Felci and Patrick Roseo, drew a telling level of interest from discerning sailors. They saw a carefully-planned boat which didn’t look outrageously modern, yet had a certain quality which suggested she still wouldn’t look dated twenty years hence.

Fifteen years ago, one of the most experienced and thoughtful sailors in Cork decided that here was the dreamship, and by 2003 his new boat was in Crosshaven. She demonstrated with a lively mixture of family sailing, white sail racing and cruising, that she was everything the pundits expected, and more.

Sadly, that first owner, one of Irish sailing’s great life-enhancers, was taken from us all too young. It was felt that selling his beloved boat away from Crosshaven would ease the pain. Yet such had been the friendly effect that this boat had made on everyone with her first owner that, as a mark of respect, the new buyer on the East Coast retained the track on the chart plotter of his final year in his beloved Cork Harbour.

Now, that second owner has realised that the years are passing, and he has a fascinating new line in boat ownership in mind, a completely new track to mark the passing of a landmark birthday. So this dreamship is for sale for only the second time, and at the very sensible price of €89,500.dufour 402The layout allows for the forward stateroom to be completely en suite.

I’ve had the pleasure of going to sea on her, and she’s as good-natured a boat as you’ll come across in many a day’s sailing, while having an unexpected yet very real oomph in her performance, which makes a spot of racing unexpectedly rewarding. But in the bigger picture, undoubtedly she’d give of her best with well-planned and maybe extensive cruising based on a judiciously-balanced programme between longer hops and detailed visits to intriguing ports.

She handles a treat under sail or power, and has enough assisted gizmos to make the prospect of a quick evening jaunt after a harassing day at the office just the ticket to revive the spirits. As I said, that much-missed first owner was a noted life-enhancer. I think this boat is too. She comes very highly recommended, full details on's Sailing Cruisers for Sale here.

Published in Boat Sales

The five–times National Championship winning clinker–built Mermaid Zuleika is for sale. Built in 1996 by Des Tyrrell the Derek Joyce owned and skippered dinghy was fitted with a new deck last season.

Priced at €16,500 the boat comes with many extras including a trailer.

See the full advert for Zuleika on Afloat boats for sale here. Contact: Derek Joyce. Ph: 087 2533085. E: [email protected]


Published in Boat Sales

The boat community has a significant proportion of formerly hundred-per-cent sailing enthusiasts who have reached the stage in life where they accept that their needs might be better met by an able motoryacht writes W M Nixon

But it mustn’t be a glossy and bulbous machine which critics – themselves included – would dismiss as a gin palace. On the contrary, their ideal is a boat with a discreetly workaday character, a boat clearly related to pilot boats and patrol vessels and the like.

At the upper end of the size scale, the pace was and still is set by the Keith Nelson type. But the Nelson boats seem to work best when they’re more than 30ft long. Below that size, however, it’s the Seaward range which increasingly dominates, and the Seaward 23 has carved out her own niche in this very positive segment of the market.

So much so, in fact, that it’s almost enough to say that a Seaward 23 is the pet boat of one of Ireland’s most distinguished senior sailors, a nonagenarian who in his peak sailing days was several times Helmsmans Champion in addition to winning many major titles inshore and offshore.

If the Seaward 23 is good enough for him, then she should be good enough for the rest of us. His particular model is twin-engined, but this 1986 version for sale via in Mullingar at €17,000 through Leinster Boats is single-screw with a 45hp BMW D-50 diesel, which is more than adequate power for most uses.

And having one engine makes the cockpit much more commodious. In a boat just 23ft long, the fact that there’s a substantial coachroof/wheelhouse already taking up much of the hull gives added importance to any extra space which can be provided by the cockpit. While the demo boat whose photo heads this article had not yet been fitted with a proper cockpit tent, the one in Mullingar comes with it in place, and it means the roomy cockpit is in effect a third cabin.

She’s a notably seaworthy boat, she provides full overnight accommodation for two with a proper separate toilet/washroom, in good summer weather you might even be able to set up an extra bunk or two in the cockpit, so she offers the best of both worlds between day cruiser and weekender - and all in a very manageable size package.

Published in Boat Sales

This is the time of year when boat-owners can no longer push to the back of their minds the thought that some bits of equipment aren’t working quite as well as they should, while others maybe aren’t working at all writes W M Nixon.

It’s amazing how much cruising or day sailing you can do with some item of gear not doing its fair share of the work. But against that, there’s nothing which quite compares with the quiet satisfaction of knowing that everything has been serviced as and when it should be, where renewal was required the job was done on time, and that this is how it has always been with the boat involved.

Clearly, the private vendor of this Bavaria 36 yacht for sale in Dun Laoghaire understands this mind-set very well indeed, for as he says himself, this boat is well-presented. In fact, you could take it all as the very model of how a boat should be offered for sale at this time of the year, as the first hint of a stretch to the evenings starts to get those sailing juices flowing again.

bavaria 361A handy size – the Bavaria 36 for sale in Dun Laoghaire is the three-cabin version.

The Bavaria 36, when it appeared in 1998, virtually defined an unmistakably German brand. Sensible, no nonsense boats which offered oodles of room, yet they can turn in a surprisingly nippy performance with genuine pleasure in the sailing.

She’s priced at €58,500, and there’s no doubt you could find seemingly comparable boats on offer for less. But this Bavaria 36 has had only two owners since she was built in 2004, and they’ve lavished regular attention on a boat which arrives into 2017 with everything working a treat, complete with new standing rigging fitted within the past year, together with recent stack pack, spray hood and a complete cockpit cover with all the goodies. Definitely worth a look. Read the advert on Afloat boats for sale here

Published in Boat Sales

There’s something about the Westerly Griffon 26’s determined dedication to simplicity which gives this little sloop designed by the late Ed Dubois a certain style writes W M Nixon. For starters, describing her as “little” seems immediately inappropriate, for if ever the phrase “big-hearted” was on target, it’s right here on a 26-footer which proves to be a genuine family cruiser, yet with a surprisingly zippy performance. An example of this sailing cruiser is currently for sale on here.

But then, that’s what you’d expect from a designer of wide-ranging talents who went on to include the overall winner of the 1987 Fastnet Race, the Dubois 40 Irish Independent, among his many successful creations. For the Dubois 40 was yet to come when he first sketched out the lines for the Westerly Griffon in 1979. Yet at a time when boats were tending to become larger, this gallant craft punched above her weight to such good effect that the Westerly Griffon 26 Mark I stayed in production for three years with 329 boats being built, following which the Mark II was introduced with an up-graded interior.

The real Griffon aficionados tend to reckon there’s something more genuine about the Mark I, so this boat will be to their taste - as a 1980 boat, she’s plumb in the middle of the initial production line. However, dedication to having everything original has its limits, and your Mark I devotee will be pleased to note that this dark blue version had a new more powerful 20hp Beta Diesel fitted in 2009, which makes sense in every way.

She’s realistically priced at €9,950 with Crosshaven Boatyard. And for those with pre-conceived notions about a 26-footer being a decidedly small boat, be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

Read More on Westerly Griffons here.

Published in Boat Sales

“I’m busier now than I was in June or July” is the cheerful response from John McDonald down in Kinsale at the south coast MGM Boats boats for sale office writes W M Nixon. Normally there’s a slowing down of sales as Autumn draws in, or brokers might find their time being taken up by the perennial tyre-kickers who will only move if an absolute bargain is in the offing. But September 2016 has been different.

The affable and informative McDonald reckons it’s the post-Brexit effect. Much and all as Brexit on June 23rd was only an electoral decision, and nothing concrete has as yet flowed from it – indeed, it could take years for any significant changes to kick in – the feeling is that when a major decision is coming down the line, every other decision is deferred. So the fact that a decision has been made, whatever about its longterm consequences, is better than a state of uncertainty.

For Irish boat buyers and sellers, the main interest lay in the effect on the euro-sterling rate of exchange, and we’ve reported on about the way Howth YC maximised on the initial plunge in sterling by sending off a very focused procurement team to the Solent area in search of four good J/80s for use in the club’s sailing development programme. They hit the ground running to find the exchange rate in such such a sweet place that they came back with five J/80s.

But now things have stabilised, rates of exchange seem to have settled down with sterling at a lower level, and boat buyers can move with a clear idea of the true comparable prices between boats in the Euro zone and across the water.

This Westerly Fulmar 32 is back on the market with MGM Boats through a change in the owner’s circumstances. The significance is that an already good example of the noted collaboration between leading designer Ed Dubois and volume boatbuilders Westerly Marine is available at a price of €33,950 which seems even more attractive when you factor in the impressive array of new equipment and sails she has acquired during the past year.

The Westerly Fulmar 32 is the very epitome of a “sensible” boat. She’s a big 32–footer, yet the designer didn’t try to shoehorn in more accommodation than there was comfortably room for, and the result is she actually seems even bigger than she really is.

But this doesn’t come with an impairment of performance. On the contrary, the Fulmar achieves the ideal of a more-than-respectable average speed when sailing on a cruising passage, and it’s all done in a sea-kindly boat in which the miles slip effortlessly by. In this case, the high standard of equipment is matched by a very good general level of maintenance, providing the ideal package in a very attractive size range, details here

Published in Boat Sales

In her day – which began in 1973 – the John A Bennett-designed Colvic 31 received deserved admiration as the kind of motor-sailer, complete with a proper deckhouse, which any sailing enthusiast thinking about moving into more comfortable boat territory could seriously contemplate writes W M Nixon. The boat is advertised here among the popular listings on Afloat Boats for Sale.

And at their lovely old world boatyard of Kilmacsimon, set among the trees on the west side of the estuary between Kinsale and Inishannnon, George Kingston and his team created a particularly good version, the Simon 31, based on the Colvic hull and deckhouse, but with lots of clever Kingston touches added.

The result was an able yet unostentatious boat which suited the average Irish summer very well. The fact that we’re in a summer which is even more average than usual will make this 1980 version of interest for people who wish to continue cruising, preferably with a bit of sailing thrown in, but are fed up with having to haul on and haul off the foul weather gear several times a day.

For sure if the weather’s fine, you can helm this ketch from the cockpit. But there’s an equally well-serviced helmsman’s station at the forward end of the roomy deckhouse, and if the weather turns foul you can trundle comfortably along under that most accommodating of rigs, the engine at gentle revs with headsail and mizzen pulling well and the main neatly stowed.

With her full draft of 4ft, she certainly has sailing capability. As for her general roominess, it’s astonishing – this is one very big 31 footer. And her looks are handsome, speaking eloquently of practicality.

The price of €19,950 is realistic, for as some of the photos show, she’s beginning to show her age in a few areas, and experienced advice would probably have it that an engine replacement might be in order. But a fairly heavy classic diesel like the Thorneycroft BMC can go on for a very long time, for if I remember rightly, this is the marinised version of the engine developed for London taxis, so not only is it bullet-proof, but replacement parts are very competitively priced.

As to sea-going capability, the Colvic 31 motor-sailer was the boat used by cruising author Wallace Clark for the ventures of his latter years, in one of which he was awarded the Irish Cruising Club’s Rockabill Trophy for Seamanship. This was in recognition of his skill in bringing his Colvic 31 through the appalling tide-rip which can develop off the Mull of Oa, the southwest corner of Islay in the Hebrides. As he cheerfully admitted, it was his own mis-timing of tides which resulted in his being somewhere he shouldn’t have been next nor near in the first place. But the way in which his little boat came through, battered and bedraggled but triumphant, was a credit to John Bennett’s very sensible design.

Published in Boat Sales

Every so often a boat comes up on the Boats for Sale listings which has the magic Ingredient X in abundance writes W M Nixon. And this Arcona 370 - on the site from MGM Boats’ Kinsale office - is spot on the target. Everything about her – including her stylish dark blue hull and flawless teak deck - talks of class. And broker John McDonald’s photos, taken on board just a week ago, clearly tell us that “immaculately maintained” is scarcely adequate to describe her enviable condition.

You wouldn’t think she’s eleven years old, but she dates from 2005 when the Arcona 370 joined the rather exclusive range of four performance cruisers for connoisseurs by Arcona Yachts in Sweden. Since then, the 430, 410 and 380 have increased the selection further. But if you wanted to select a mid-size design which exemplifies the dynamic interaction between Arcona and their designer Stefan Qviberg, the Arcona 370 does it in style.

Arconas are boats which seem to suit enthusiastic cruising couples particularly well, and former International Fireball Champions Adrian & Maeve Bell from Strangford Lough have been so taken with the marque that they’ve owned two of them and made award-winning cruises with both, their current one being a 430.

This Arcona 370 has been used for the same sort of competent cruising, with the owner and his wife (they have had the boat from new) regularly taking in the Breton and French coasts down as far as La Rochelle in their many annual ventures. Although Kinsale-based, being British owned she’s British priced, at £109,950 GBP, and as she’s one of the most fully-equipped yachts currently on the Irish market, her-ready-to-go condition makes her a very attractive proposition. 

Click for the Arcona advert here.

Published in Boat Sales

If ever you call by Baltimore in a cruising boat at the height of the summer, you’ll find you’re rubbing shoulders with sailing families from all over Ireland writes W M Nixon. This is despite the popular view that the thriving Baltimore Sailing Club is a sort of Royal Cork Yacht Club West. For sure, there are plenty of Crosshaven folk with a second base in West Cork. But the appeal of Baltimore is such that in the best of the sailing season, the thronged waterfront is filled with summer-resident amateur sailors at every level of dedication from all corners of Ireland.

Typical of them is the extended Kennedy family from Belfast. Originally, the Kennedy brothers Hugh, Joe and Frank learned their sailing at Whitehead at the northeast corner of Belfast Lough, as their mother had family connections to the peninsula of Islandmagee to the east of Larne Lough, and Whitehead is the gateway to Islandmagee.

My own family got to know the Kennedys when the three brothers bought the Belfast Lough 18ft Waverley Class Rowena from my father in 1948, when he in turn was moving into partnership with my uncle in one of the then-new Belfast Lough Glen Class 25-footers.

Although the Waverleys had originated in Whitehead where they were created by the amateur designer John Wylie in 1902, a strong branch of the class had soon developed across Belfast Lough in Ballyholme Bay, and it was from here that our family’s Rowena – Waverley No 1 - was sold to the three brothers who went on to enhance her already-established reputation as one of the fastest boats in the class.

In time the Kennedy sailing reputation spread into other boat types, with Hugh – who became a successful barrister – spreading his wings in a big way in dinghies, while Joe – who had become a surgeon - was more into keelboats. Our families were linked in sailing, as Joe crewed for one of my brothers on a cruise to the Faroes in a 37-footer, while another brother crewed for Hugh in dinghies right up to the top level in 505s.

It seems to have been the dinghy racing which began the Kennedy link to Baltimore. Successful Dinghy Weeks at the West Cork venue in 1960 and 1964 created friendships in a growing matrix which eventually blossomed into marriage into the Cork sailing community. So though the Kennedys were very much Belfast-based for ten months of the year, for at least six weeks of each summer they were paying a central role in the Baltimore sailing

That Baltimore scene had become very active by the late 1970s, and when the David Thomas-designed Impala 28 was unveiled in 1977 as the smallest of a trio of officially-sanctioned Offshore One Designs, the brains of Baltimore got to thinking that this would be an ideal boat for their summer sailing needs at the heart of one of Europe’s best sailing and cruising areas.

One of those to whom this appealed was Joe Kennedy, and when his new Impala 28 appeared in 1980, naturally she was called Rowena. In Baltimore she became part of a local phenomenon, as the summer Impala fleet there – though based on a solid nucleus of only four boats of which Rowena was one – could swell rapidly to fleets of 15 and more when they staged popular events which became known as the Impala 28 Europeans.

For some years now, Rowena has been in the ownership of Andrew Kennedy, a surgeon like his late father Joe. But after this rare example of a boat being with one family for more than a quarter century, family pressures mean he simply has to upsize, and Rowena had just been freshly-commissioned at Bangor Marina, and is for sale at the very reasonable price of €5,700.

Admittedly you are getting a very basic Impala 28 just as David Thomas envisaged her, albeit a boat in good order. David Thomas was obsessed with saving weight, thus though the Impala 28 is quite voluminous with plenty of room for an inboard auxiliary, he insisted that she be fitted only with an outboard, and in line with this, Rowena comes with a very modest Yamaha 6hp four-stroke.

However, many early owners became exasperated by the hassle of an outboard and loathed the unsightly way it hangs off the transom, so they soon started installing the new small inboard diesels which were coming onto the market at the time. The result was not only neat and reliable, but despite having to trail a feathering propeller, it was found that the extra weight low down in an optimal position within that roomy hull might actually have improved windward performance in a breeze.

It’s something to think about if you’re looking at Rowena. But happily it’s not a priority – she’s ready to go. She comes complete with a two-burner gimballed stove in the galley, she has been recently re-wired, and her equipment includes ICOM CHF, new NASA Depth and Speed, and a Mark 2 rudder for those who might be interested in the Impala’s still very viable racing possibilities.

As to the original Rowena, eventually she moved back into Ballyholme ownership, and this being in the days before Bangor Marina had been created, in one of those rare but vicious northeasterly gales which sweep the anchorage in Ballyholme Bay from time to time, the first and fairest of the Waverleys was sadly lost. However, it’s rumoured that her ballast keel is still around, in a hidden corner of Ballyholme YC boatpark. Now there’s a real opportunity for someone who likes re-creating classic yachts…….

Carrickfergus Harbour
Waverley Class No 1 Rowena (at right) in Carrickfergus Harbour during a Carrickfergus SC regatta around 1950, when she was owned by the Kennedy brothers of Whitehead. The Carrick club – which this year is celebrating its 150th anniversary – was housed in those days in the white boathouse at mid-photo.

The full advert giving a very complete inventory is on the Afloat boats for sale site here


Published in Boat Sales

Some boats are just boats, but the Contessa 32 is a statement writes W M Nixon. If you have a Contessa 32, you’re telling yourself - and everyone else too, if it comes to that - that some day you might just be minded to sail off towards the far horizon “and other places beyond the seas”.

That’s how the resonant phrasing of old maritime law used to have to it, and it certainly evokes images of boundless possibilities which today’s dry legalese doesn’t quite capture. “Other places beyond the seas…..” With the PC overheating in front of me and the grass outside needing mowing yet again, who wouldn’t think of sailing away to other places beyond the seas? And with a well-found Contessa 32, you can confidently contemplate doing so.

This example of a 1974 Contessa 32 is down Galway Bay way, and owner Pat MacSweeney is selling her privately. While the basic boat is 1974, the good news is that the engine was replaced in 2007 with an 18hp Yanmar 2GM20F with just 120 hours on it, while in recent years at least, the boat has been only lightly used.

At a boat show among contemporary 32-footers, you’d hardly notice the Contessa 32 – she’s only a slip of a thing. While the saloon/galley area is very comfortable, it’s not enormous, and the forecabin is decidedly limited in space. Thus the recommendation is that the Contessa 32 is at her cruising best with not more than three adults on board. But as the more crusty of us can just about get along with just one other adult, that’s no great problem.

So what, apart from her restrained good looks and lack of vulgar bulbousness, is the Contessa 32’s USP? Oddly enough, it is that very lack of a high-volume hull which is what attracts the serious ocean-going sailor. No boat type emerged better from the analysis of the 1979 Fastnet Race disaster than the Contessa 32. For although with their slim hills and relatively low freeboard they may have had the seas sweeping over them, unlike high volume craft they weren’t chucked about like balloons on the bouncing sea. They not only came through with credit, but one of them - Assent sailed by Alan Ker - was winner of Class IV.

That same Assent was subsequently cruised by her owner, Alan’s father the legendary Willy Ker, to some very other places beyond the seas. Thousands and thousands of miles he sailed. But two or three years back, the great Willy Ker finally swallowed the anchor, so the Rogers family of Lymington, who built the entire Contessa range, took the boat in for a complete restoration, and she’s now as good as new.

But a new Contessa 32 costs the earth, as this is quality stuff. Thus a 1974 Contessa 32 in reasonable order at €19,250 is well worth a look. I fact, I can think of someone who recently had a serious maritime setback down in the Galway Bay area who should be having a look at this boat, for it’s time to get back in the saddle. Check out the full advert on Afloat boats for sale

Published in Boat Sales
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