A Camper Nicholson 32

At the moment, my wife and I love a 1975 Camper Nicholson 32 that’s for sale and we could afford if we wanted to. There’s all sorts of things we like about it (blue water capable, strongly made, long keel, etc.).

At the same time, I read Jeff H’s posts, which continually kind of question the wisdom of “long keel boats being safest and best for beginners and long range cruisers, and those who want to be…).”

The bottom line, it seems, is that the there are costs to having the long keel, heavy displacement, and 30+ year old boat. As you found with the Tayana, light wind performance could be less than adequate. Getting around in tight marinas could be harder. Resale could take longer.

So, for us, the plan is coastal cruising for the next 10 years or so, hopefully leading to some ocean crossing after that. Ergo, we don’t need the compromises of the Camper Nic 32 yet (like the small, deep cockpit). If our intermediate goals are just coastal (up to two months in the inside passage to Alaska), then a lighter, easier to maneuver, better in light winds, and easier to resell boat makes better sense.

Others may want or need the blue water boat right off the bat, but moving more slowly up the ladder might make more sense. If we went for the blue water boat right now, when we still have two kids, the small cockpit, lack of an aft cabin, narrower beam, etc., may all be more expensive than they’re worth if they aren’t needed.

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