Why I Bought the Ericson 25, Part II


In this second part of the posting, "Why I Bought the Ericson 25," I explain the research process that led me to this outstanding sailboat. Much of what follows comes directly from notes that I made in a Word document in 2009. I created this document because, as you will see, there was no book or internet source out there that satifactorily presented, in comprehensive form, a survey of the types of trailerable cruisers for which I was looking. Since I never intended that research in 2009 to be made public, I freely borrowed images of various boats (mostly from online advertisements or sales notices of one form or another) to aid me in keeping track of the differences between these different boats. This blog exists not for commerical, but for informational purposes. If, for some reason, you disapprove of my use of an image of your boat or an image that you originated, I will gladly remove it.

Introduction - Definitions

To make things more understandable in the body of the text that follows, I must begin by laying down a few important definitions. Specifically, I must make a distinction between trailerable boats and boats that are transportable by trailer. This was a distinction of which I was not aware when I began this research, and the only way that I became aware of it, was by reading various random postings and chatter on the subject on one online sailboat forum or another. I must also define more clearly than I did in the first part of this posting what I mean by cruiser. Likewise, I must draw a distinction between what I will call a coastal cruiser and an ocean cruiser.

Definition of Trailerable

Definitions vary, but mine are as follows: trailerable means that you can legally haul the boat to a destination without an oversized-load permit, and once you have reached that destination you can launch the boat, and at some point later retrieve the boat, at a ramp, with the same swiftness that any other boater would launch his boat, lest you irritate the hell out of every other boater at that ramp for spending an hour at this task rather than five to ten minutes.

Definition of Transportable

When I say transportable, on the other hand, I mean this: that, just like the trailerable boat, you can haul the boat legally to the destination, but once you arrive, you must do one of two things, either spend an hour or more preparing your boat for an extra-deep-water launching at a ramp (a technique I will later describe), or you must pay a boatyard to launch your boat by means of a travel-lift.

Definition of Legal

In both of the entries for trailerable and transportable above, I speak of legally hauling the boat to a destination without an oversized-load permit. By this, I mean that the boat possesses a beam (width) of no more than 8 feet, 6 inches. This is the legal limit on interstate highways and on federal four-lane divided highways. Many state and local roads, however, have limits of 8 feet. Given that most people must travel a combination of local, state, and federal roads to reach their destination, the beam of the boat should really be no greater than 8 feet.

Definition of Cruiser

I define a cruiser as any sailboat on which at least two people can live comfortably for at least one to two weeks with minimal contact with others and with the land, and with the benefits of a self-sustaining electrical system, (and accompanying electronics), a plumbing system, a functional galley, and sufficient storage for food, clothing, and tools for the maintenance of the boat while underway. I set the minimum at one to two weeks only because that is the length of time that most people have available to them for a vacation. If you can live comfortably for two weeks, then you should be able to live comfortably for more. So, if you have the time available, then you could spend as much time as you wish on this boat.

Definition of a Coastal Cruiser

To me, a coastal cruiser is any cruiser that a performs well under sail and under power in near-shore waters, or in bodies of water with relatively short passages between bodies of land, such as between the California mainland and the Channel Islands, or between the various islands in the Great Lakes, the New England states, or the Florida Keys, or the islands of the Bahamas.

Definition of an Ocean Cruiser

An ocean cruiser is any cruiser capable of being sailed safely between one continent and another in a variety of ocean states and weather conditions. I do not apply the common term blue water cruiser to this class of sailboat, only because in certain circumstances, and in certain locations, coastal cruisers are also capable of experiencing the blue water that lies not far offshore

Presentation of Research

Having come to the conclusion that I wanted a boat that I could trailer to far-off destinations, yet also use for sailing along the coast and the ICW for extended periods of time, I began to search, in the spring of 2009, for boats that would fit my definition of a trailerable coastal cruiser.

As a primer, I ordered two books. I'll say from the start that neither of these books was particularly helpful, in terms of detailed information that would assist me in choosing one boat or another. Both suffered from trying to cover too many subjects with too few words. It's impossible, in the span of 200-300 pages of a small paperback book, to cover adequately such subjects as boat choice, trailering, cooking, plumbing, electrical work, electronics, weather patterns, knots, etc. To put it succicintly, both these books were a mile wide and and inch deep.

The first of these paperbacks was by Jerry Cardwell, Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat, 3rd Edition (Sheridan House, 2007). I liked Cardwell's idea that you can do far more with a smaller boat and with less money than most people ever do with a big, expensive boat that sits at a dock most of its life.
Cardwell's survey of trailerable boats, as I said, though, was rather limited, and he focused on new boats, rather than on older, used ones. He was particularly interested in boats in the 22 foot range, such as the Catalina 22. The 22s might be very popular boats, especially with lake racers, but they didn't fit my definition of what a trailerable coastal cruiser should be.
Cardwell devoted some time to the Rhodes 22, and I spent a little time independently researching this boat, a product of the town of Edenton, in the Pamlico Sound region of North Carolina. I thought it was pretty cool that the cockpit could be converted into a large berth, and I also liked that it had a fully enclosed head. It seemed, though, from the pictures I saw, that this head and the main salon in general were cramped. I also didn't like the fact that it had a pop-top like a camper. Nor did I like the $45,000 price (excluding motor). This one wouldn't do for me, nor would the Santana 22 that he also discussed.
Cardwell also covered the Com-Pac 23/IV. I thought this was a shippy and attractive boat, but the galley seemed too small for my interests and the $32,500 price tag was too high for me.
Cardwell did not discuss the larger, trailerable Com-Pac 25, or any other boat that exceeded about 4,000 lbs, due to his concerns about carbon emissions. It all had to do with the tow vehicle size. He said that it was better to use small trucks, vans, or family sedans. I'm no slouch when it comes to environmental concerns - and the Admiral? . . . you don't want to get her started. I thought, though, that Cardwell's line of reasoning was not overly convincing. All trailerable sailboats, regardless of their size, require a tow vehicle. If someone really wanted to reduce his carbon footprint, then he would, when buying a small sailboat, look for one in the 27-28 foot range, one that he could keep, full time, at the dock, off the tow-vehicle-grid, and entirely local, so to speak.

Leaving aside the Com-Pac 25, Cardwell did discuss at least two other boats in the 25 foot range due to their lighter weight. The first was the Hunter 25, with 1,309 lbs of ballast and a total displacement of 3,700 lbs. I did a little research on this boat. I thought the interior was not really set up for cruising, and I thought the $27,000 price (not including the motor) was too steep.
Cardwell also spent some time on the MacGregor 26. I wasn't interested in a light-weight water-ballasted sailboat that could also get up on a plane like a motorboat. I also wasn't fond of the $21,000 sticker price (excluding the motor). Besides, the interior looked more like a lounge for eating lunch and taking naps while daysailing.
The other book I purchased for my initial research was Gregg Nestor, The Trailer Sailer Owner's Manual (Paradise Cay, 2008.
Nestor described his own small sailboat search, and in the process he mentioned various older boats, such as the O'Day 22, the Chrysler 22, and the Columbia 23. By this point, most of the boats in the 22 foot range that I had seen (some of which, such as the Precision 23, I have not mentioned) were similar in appearance and design to the Catalina 22 described above, so these did not attract my attention or strike me as coastal cruisers.

Nestor's appendix, however, did catch my eye, for here I found some boats that were different from the one's that Cardwell had discussed in Sailing Big on a Small Boat. Moreover, some of these were bigger boats, and bigger boats, as I was seeing, were much more in line with my coastal cruiser criteria.

Of the three boats that attracted my attention from Nestor's list, the first was the Seaward 26RK, a boat that seemed to fit my definition of a coastal cruiser, since the boat is in fact marketed basically along these lines. The RK in the name stands for "retractable keel," and the point is, that with this boat, you can explore areas such as the Florida Keys, or head over to the Bahamas for some island hopping. You might have seen this boat advertised in SAIL magazine. It appears in almost every issue.
The Seaward 26RK is also marketed at a trailerable sailboat, with a beam of 8 feet, 4 inches. Note well how low this boat sits on the trailer due to the relative flatness of its bottom. If you've seen the ads in SAIL magazine, you'll recall that the promotional pictures often show the boat anchored in the still waters of a tropical beach with a family enjoying the sand and sun.
As I researched this boat, I found that its interior was more spacious than boats in the 22 foot range, and there was a functional galley.
I also liked the fact that it had a fully enclosed head.
The Seaward 26RK made my list of trailerable coastal cruisers (as did the older, yet similar Seaward 25), but ultimately it was struck from my list as I narrowed my search, especially as I began to be attracted to older boats from the 1960s and 70s. The ballast on Seaward 26RK is 1,200 lbs. The displacement is 3,800 lbs. For the sake of comparison, the ballast and displacement on the Ericson 25 are 2,500 and 5,400 lbs respectively. As the search progressed, I also came to be attracted to the appearance of the older boats, especially on the interior. Moreover, I liked their prices. The price of a Seaward 26RK, even in a used condition, was somewhere in the neighborhood of $50,000. Older boats, on the other hand, were usually between $5,000 and $10,000. Therefore, despite her qualities as a trailerable coastal cruiser, I said goodbye to the Seaward.
Another book listed in the Appendix of Cardwell's The Trailer Sailer, that I spent some time researching, was the Nimble 24. It was definitely an attractive boat.
 The canoe stern and the transom-hung rudder were classy touches.
I found two pictures of the cockpit, and both showed motor wells for outboards. In this picture, we see what appears to be a cover for the motor, one that does double duty as a cockpit table when at anchor.
The interior of the Nimble 24 was just as shippy in appearance as the exterior, and it had a nice functional galley. Moreoever, this was the type of boat that could be used for coastal cruising. I found an ad where a guy described how he had sailed his Nimble 24 to many places on the East Coast, to places such as Block Island, off the coast of Rhode Island, and the Dry Tortugas, the southernmost island in the Florida Keys. He in fact defined his boat as a trailerable coastal cruiser.
One thing, I kept having problems with, however, was the appearance of the Nimble 24 on its trailer. It's bottom appeared to be almost as flat as the Seaward 26RK, which, like this boat, is a product of Florida. The ballast and displacement were similar as well, 1,100 lbs and 3,000 lbs. Again, for the sake of comparison, the Ericson 25 that I eventually purchased has 2,500 lbs of ballast, and it displaces 5,400 lbs. The Nimble 24 was no longer in production when I conducted the research in 2009. I found that used Nimble 24s were considerably cheaper than used Seaward 26RKs, $15,000 vs $50,000. Therefore, they seemed to be a much better bargain. The only problem was that there weren't that many on the market, and, as I said above, I eventually discovered and became attracted to older boats from the 1960s and 1970s, which were also much more affordable. Therefore, I eventually struck the Nimble 24 from my list.
The third and final boat from Nestor's The Trailer Sailer Appendix that I researched was the Com-Pac 25. This boat, like the Seaward 26RK and the Nimble 24, is manufactured in Florida. Without a doubt, the Com-Pac 25 is a real head-turner.
In the reviews and promotional literature that I read, it was defined as a coastal cruiser. The dodger that the owner added to this boat only helps to further this definition. 
I liked the traditional, well-fitted look of the interior, the functional galley and the enclosed head.
Unlike the Seaward 26RK and the Nimble 24 (with the flat bottoms and centerboards for keels), the Com-Pac 25, as I discovered, has a shoal draft keel, and a total draft of 2 ft, 6 inches. For the sake of comparison, the Ericson 25, in its common, centerboard version, has a total draft of 2 ft (or 5 ft with the centerboard deployed). This underscores the fact that the Com-Pac 25 is relatively flat on the bottom, save for the keel. The Ericson 25, on the other hand, is curvaceous, with a rounded bottom, relatively speaking.

I also discovered that the Com-Pac 25 was considerably heavier than the Seaward 26RK and the Nimble 24, with 1,900 lbs of ballast and a displacement of 4,800 lbs. It's worth mentioning in this regard, that the Ericson 25 has 2,500 lbs of ballast and displaces 5,400 lbs.

The Com-Pac 25 was definitely the most attractive of the three boats that I researched from Gregg Nestor's book, and I certainly liked the fact that it was defined not only as a coastal cruiser, but as a trailerable sailboat. Nevertheless, with used versions of this boat ranging from $20,000 to $35,000, I was more drawn to the older boats from the 1960s and 70s that I later discovered, and eventually I removed the Com-Pac 25 from my list.
One final note on the Appendix in Nestor's The Trailer Sailer Owner's Manual. I must say that I was surprised to find that some of the bigger boats that Cardwell included in his list were too large (in terms of their beam) to be legally trailerable, for example the Precision 28, which has a 10 ft beam. It was, therefore, sort of annoying having to pick through his list while searching around online, trying to determine which ones were large, but still trailerable. It also took a lot of hunting trying to get a good idea of the average prices of these boats. That information would have been a big time saver as well.

At any rate, since neither Cardwell's Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat, nor Nestor's book provided enough detailed information about specific boats, I decided that I would use the internet as my primary research tool, and I would create my own list of sailboats that fit my definition of what a trailerable cruiser should be. I began by focusing on any boat from the 22 foot range upward that was legally trailerable.

My initial lower-end limit of 22 feet was a testimony to the influence that Sailing Big on a Small Sailboat and The Trailer Sailer's Owner's Manual continued to have on me at the beginning of the search process, not so much because of their words, but because of the fact that in hunting around for more information about some of the boats the authors were talking about, I continued to stumble upon some real beauties from the 1960s and 70s.

Some great examples of a classic fiberglass boats in the 22-23 foot range that I discovered, from that era, were designed by the noted naval architect, Carl Alberg. I'm talking about boats such as the Sea Sprite 23, the Alberg 22, the South Coast 23, and the Kittiwake 23. A number of these that were for sale online were around $7,000.

The Sea Sprite 23, as one of the oldest fiberglass saiboats, was actually first made in the 1950s. Apparently over 500 of them were manufactured over a thirty year period in Bristol, Rhode Island. With 1,400 lbs. of ballast, and a displacement of 3,350 lbs, this seemed to be a stout, full-keeled boat that could handle the weather.
With a beam, however, of only 7 feet, and with little more than sitting head room in the cabin, this boat, despite her beauty, was not especially suited for cruising, as least as I wished to do it. 
The Alberg 22, as I discovered, was similar in appearance and size to the Sea Sprite 23, with 1,540 lbs ballast, a displacement of 3,200 lbs, and a beam of 7 feet. A Canadian company started manufacturing these boats in the late 1960s after making a mold based one of Alberg's wooden sailboats from the early 1960s. There were only about 180 of these boats manufactured, so I didn't find a lot of them available on line. The boat below that I found was exceptionally attractive, having been fully refitted.
I also found some pictures of the Alberg 22 on a trailer, so that seemed promising, in terms of it being a candidate for a trailerable cruiser. I wondered, though, how difficult it would be to launch this full-keeled boat with a draft of 3 feet.
I also had some concerns about the size of interior. It just seemed a little to small to be suitable for cruising. Sure the cabin of this boat didn't look very different from the boat that the retired gentleman and his wife sailed from Oriental, North Carolina to the Florida Keys and back - you know the gentleman I talked about at the end of Part I of this posting, "Why I Bought the Ericson 25." Call it a desire for greater comfort and storage space, but I thought that we needed a few more feet to make cruising, from our standpoint, a real possibility.
I had similar issues with the other Carl Alberg boats of this size that I spent some time researching, for example the South Coast 23 and the Kittiwake 23, both of which were manufactured by South Coast, a Louisiana-based company, beginning in the 1960s and 1970s respectively. These boats had specs that were similar to the Sea Sprite 23 and the Alberg 22. There were several thousand manufactured, and I found some for sale out there for only several thousand dollars. Below we see a drawing of the South Coast 23.
I found this picture of a South Coast 23 sitting on a trailer.
 Likewise, I found some good pictures of a Kittiwake 23 sitting on a trailer.
It appeared, though, that this person simply used the trailer for storing the boat in the off-season after having it hauled at the boatyard.
The cockpit, with its large bridge deck protecting the companionway was an attractive feature.
The well for keeping the outboard out of sight and low in the water was also another clever feature.
The interior was cozy, but too small for me, even though there was a V-berth and a small galley. This was a sitting-room only boat, like the other boats in the 22-23 foot range by Carl Alberg.
I loved this boat, but it just wasn't spacious enough on the inside, and there was also the question of trailerability.
Despite my reservations, I did take a little time to look into another Carl Alberg designed boat, this one from the Cape Dory line - the Cape Dory 22. A couple in our neighborhood told us about how much they had enjoyed sailing theirs in the early years of their marriage.
As was the case with the other Carl Alberg boats that I looked at online, I found some examples of the Cape Dory 22 being trailered. I did not, however, see any pictures of one being trailer-launched.
 The cockpits of these boats were just as shapely as the hulls.
Nevertheless, I still had trouble getting past the fact that the space on a boat this size is too limited for my tastes, and for the Admiral's tastes. Our couple friends also told us an unsettling tale about an event that occurred while they were sailing in some rough weather on the Pamlico Sound in North Carolina. Their porta-potti dislodged from its storage spot, and . . . well, I'll just leave the rest of it to your imagination.
As I researched these Carl Alberg designed boats in the 22-23 foot range, I came across an especially striking boat, the Dolphin 24. This boat was designed by the naval architect, Olin Stevens in 1959 at the behest of George O'Day, who would go on to establish the long-lived, O'Day Company, a manufacturer that produced some 40,000 sailboats through the 1960s, 70s, and 80s. The Dolphin 24 bore a resemblance to the Sea Sprite 23, the Alberg 22, the South Coast 23, the Kittiwake 23, and the Cape Dory 22 insofar as it had the classic hull shape of early fiberglass boats, back in the day when they closely resembled traditional wooden boats upon which their molds were often constructed. Unlike these other boats, however, the Dolphin 24 not only had a keel, but also a centerboard which swung down from that keel.
Some of the interiors of the Dolphin 24 that I looked at were sparse in their wood trim. Some, however, like the one below, were well appointed.
I also found some pictures of the Dolphin 24 sitting on trailers. The trailer in the picture below appeared as if it could have been used for trailer-launching the boat.
And I also found this promising picture of a group of people actually launching a Dolphin 24 at a ramp. The Dolphin 24, as I discovered, has 1650 lbs of ballast, it displaces 4,250 lbs, and has a beam of 7.67 ft. Since this boat was larger than the Alberg yachts I investigated, and especially since there was evidence that it was capable of being launched by a trailer, the Dolphin 24 made my list.
My reading on the partnership between Olin Stevens and George O'Day led me to an article that discussed George O'Day himself and the O'Day 25, a boat designed as a trailerable cruiser.
This boat was similar in size to the Dolphin 24, but a little bit bigger. I found that it had 1,825 lbs of ballast, that it displaced 4,807 lbs, and that it had an 8 foot beam. 
The interior was not as attractive as some of the Dolphin 24s that I had found online. 
Like the Dolphin 24, the O'Day 25, as I discovered, had not only a keel, but also a centerboard that dropped down from it. The keel, however, on the O'Day 25 was shorter, giving the boat a draft of only 2.3 feet with the centerboard retracted.
This was a beefy boat that was definitely designed to be trailer-launched, so it made my list, just as the Dolphin 24 had made it.
At some point around this time, my research, as you can tell, was beginning to shift to bigger trailerable sailboats. As I had already discovered, there wasn't really a book out there on this subject. Trailer-Sailer types of books tended to focus on light-weight boats that were in the 22 foot range. There were other books out there about small sailboats, but their focus was not on trailering, but on cruising. A great example is John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboats to Take you Anywhere (Paradise Cay, 1999). An acquaintance lent me his copy, and I benefited greatly from it.
Of the twenty boats that John Vigor reviewed, there were eight that seemed to be trailerable, at least trailerable as I conceived of it at that time, when having a beam of no more than 8 feet, 6 inches was my primary criterion.

The first that I considered as the Flicka 20. Now you would think that after I had eliminated the Carl Alberg designed boats in the 22-23 foot range, that I wouldn't give a 20 foot boat a second glance. The Flicka 20, however, was different. With 1,720 lbs of ballast, a displacement of 5,500 lbs, and a beam of 8 feet, this boat, designed by Bruce Bingham and built by Pacific Seacraft, was worth a look.
Seen from a dock, as in this picture, the Flicka 20 appeared much larger than any of supposedly larger 22-23 foot boats I'd looked at.
With around 6 feet of head room inside the cabin, the Flicka was certainly larger and more accommodating than those other boats. From what I read in Small Craft Advisor, I learned that Bruce Bingham had designed this boat in the manner of old work boats from Rhode Island. I also learned that Flicka had been sailed across oceans. There were 400 of these boats produced by Pacific Seacraft between 1974 and 1999, so there was a market out there for used boats. The only problem, from my standpoint, was the price. At 50,000 and up on the used marked, the Flicka 20 was just too expensive, and as I would later realize, with a full keel and over three-foot draft, not especially what I'd call trailerable.
Then there was the Falmouth Cutter 22. Like the Flicka 20, it was small in length, but hearty. With 2,500 lbs of ballast, a displacement of 7,400 lbs, and a beam of 8 feet, this boat was considerably heavier. It was designed by the Brit, Lyle Hess (who also designed the Bristol Channel Cutter), and built by the Sam L. Morse Company of Costa Mesa, California.
Like the Flicka 20, the Falmouth Cutter 22, as I discovered, had a cabin that was not only spacious and functional, but also beautiful.
I also found some good pictures of two tow-vehicles and trailers for the Falmouth Cutter 22. Below we see what appears to be one-ton truck (perhaps a Ford 350) with a goose-neck trailer. With a displacement of 7,400 lbs, this boat is 2,000 heavier than the Ericson 25. Based on the research I would later conduct, you really must have a truck of this size to tow any boat heavier than the Ericson for long distances. I should point out, as well, that this trailer is set up for storing and transporting this boat, not trailer-launching it.
In this other good picture I found, we again see a one-ton truck (what appears to be a Chevy 3500) towing a Falmouth Cutter 22. This trailer is, of course, different from the first.
It's possible, given the configuration of the bunks, that this trailer is used for trailer-launching this boat. With a three-and-a-half foot draft, however, this boat might require some special handling at the ramp and also proper tide conditions. I considered the Falmouth Cutter 22, but, like the Flicka 20, the used market had numbers in the $50,000 range. This was beyond my budget, and it was really too heavy a boat for me. It was more of a transportable ocean cruiser than the trailerable coastal cruiser I was looking for.
Another boat from John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboat to Take You Anywhere that I spent a little time researching was the Dana 24. With 3,200 lbs of ballast, 8,000 lbs displacement, and a beam of 8.5 feet, this boat was more robust than the the Flicka 20 and the Falmouth Cutter 22.
The Dana 24 was designed by Bill Crealock and built by Pacific Seacraft from the mid-1980s to the late 1990s. From what I read, this was definitely an ocean cruiser, with a track-record to prove it.
The interior of the boats of all the boats I saw online were cozy, spacious, and well-trimed.
I also read about and found example of the Dana 24 being towed on a trailer. You can tell by the arrangements of the screws pads that this trailer is not set up for trailer-launching. With a full keel and 3 foot, 10 inch draft, it would be difficult. This was a beautiful ocean cruiser that was transportable by trailer, but it was not the trailerable coastal cruiser for which I was looking. With used boats selling for over $50,000, the Dana 24 was also just not suitable for my budget.
Moving up to the 25 foot range, I also looked into the Cape Dory 25D, another boat in John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. This boat (yet another designed by Carl Alberg), was built in the early 1980s by Cape Dory Yachts in East Taunton, Massachusetts. With 2,050 lbs of ballast, a displacement of 5,120 lbs, and a beam of 8 feet, this was very similar in size to the Ericson 25 that I would eventually purchase, with 2,500 lbs of ballast, a displacement of 5,400 lbs, and an 8 foot beam. Moreover, the price of the Cape Dory 25D was much more affordable than the Flicka 20, the Falmouth Cutter 22, or the Dana 24. I liked it so much, that it made my list. I ultimately scratched it, though, for two reasons. The first was that the V-berth was a devoted head, with a shower. This seemed to take up too much space.
The other reason, was that with a draft of 3.5 feet and a full keel, the Cape Dory 25D was more of a transportable boat than a trailerable one, insofar as it would be difficult to launch an retrieve from a boat ramp in a timely fashion.
I also took some time to check out the Pacific Seacraft 25. Like the Cape Dory 25D, this boat was similar in size to the Ericson 25. It had 1,750 lbs. of ballast, displaced 5,500 lbs. and had a beam of 8 feet. It was built in the late 1970s and early 1980s in the state of Rhode Island. 

 It was a salty looking boat, with a bowsprit, exterior chainplates, and nice portlights.
The interior was equally striking, finished off as it was with lots of wood and touches of bronze.
Like the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25 was much more affordable than the Flicka 20, the Falmouth Cutter 22, and the Dana 24. I saw some for sale online for $12,000 to $15,000. I also saw some examples of the Pacific Seacraft 25 on trailers, like the one below. It was clear that this was a transportable boat, and not a trailerable one (as I've defined it), and despite the fact that it made my list, I eventually removed it.
Moving up the 26 foot range, I also took a look at the Contessa 26, another one of the boats that John Vigor discusses in Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. Like the Cape Dory 25D and the Pacific Seacraft 26, the Contessa 26 was similar in size to the Ericson 25 that I eventually purchased. The Contessa 26 has 2,300 lbs ballast (compared to 2,500 on the E25), and a displacement of 5,400 lbs (same as the E25). The beam, however, is a little bit more narrow at 7.5 feet (compared to 8 feet on the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25, and the Ericson 25). There were several hundred of the Contessa 26 built in Britain and Canada from the mid-1960s to 1990, and this boat is a known ocean cruiser.
As was the case with the Cape Dory 25D and the Pacific Seacraft 25, I found some pictures of the Contessa 26 on a trailer. With a full keel and a draft of 4 feet, the Contessa 26 was more a transportable boat than a trailerable one as I have defined it.
The Contessa 26, because of its affordability, and its rugged, cruiser construction made my list, but ultimately I had to strike it, because it wasn't the trailerable cruiser I was looking for.
Another 26 foot boat that I stumbled upon during the search process was the Pearson Ariel 26. This boat, like so many others I had been drawn to, was designed by Carl Alberg. Pearson Yachts, in Rhode Island, produced some 400 of these boats between 1962 and 1967. The ballast on the Pearson Ariel 26 is 2,500 lbs, the displacement is 5,700, and the beam is 8 feet. These numbers were almost identical to the Ericson 25 that I ultimately purchased. 
The Pearson Ariel 26 had the classic styling of all those other Carl Alberg boats that I had researched, and it was an ocean cruiser. Moreover, it was affordable.
I also found this picture of someone towing the Pearson Ariel 26 with an SUV. With a full keel and a displacement of 3.7 feet, however, this boat was more transportable than trailerable. For this reason, I eventually had to remove it from my list.
The Bristol 24 was not a boat that John Vigor discussed in Twenty Small Sailboats, but I ran across it while researching the Bristol 27 that he did discuss. Since we're on the subject, let's take a look at the Bristol 24. This boat, like the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25, the Contessa 26, and the Pearson Ariel 26, was similar in size to the Ericson 25 that I ultimately purchased. The Bristol 24 has 2,500 lbs ballast, it displaces 5,920 lbs, and it has an 8 foot beam. There were some 700 of these boats manufactured by Bristol Yachts in Bristol, Rhode Island from the late 1960s to the early 1980s, so they are not difficult to find. They're also affordable like the other boats above, unlike the Flicka, the Falmouth Cutter, and the Dana.

The pictures I found of them revealed them to be classy, with traditional lines.
As on the Kittiwake 23 by Carl Alberg, the Bristol 24 that I looked at online had a well for the mounting of an outboard.
The interior was well-finished with a mahogany door separating the V-berth from the Main Salon.
Like the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25, the Contessa 26, and the Pearson Ariel 26, the Bristol 24 made my list, but was also eventually struck due to it transportable qualities, as opposed to its trailerable ones. Its full keel and almost 3.5 ft draft was the deciding factor.
The Bristol 27, which John Vigor did discuss in Twenty Small Sailboats, also made my list on account of its 8 foot beam and its affordability. This boat was yet another design by Carl Alberg. Bristol Yachts produced over 300 of these boats from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s. Like the Ericson 25 that I eventually purchased (with 2,500 lbs ballast), the ballast on the Bristol 27 is 2,575 lbs. The displacement, however, was a good bit higher, at 6,600 lbs, as opposed to the 5,400 lbs of the Ericson 25.
From the pictures I found online, I determined this was yet another rugged cruiser with graceful lines about her hull. This boat, like the Bristol 24, had a well for an outboard motor.
The interior of the boat, like the Ericson 25, was finished in ribbon stripe mahogany.
The bulkheads, like the Ericson 25 bulkheads, consisted of ribbon strip mahogany plywood.
The wood ceiling in the V-berth was also attractive. This might have been a later addition.
I didn't find any pictures of the Bristol 27 on a trailer, but by now it's easy to see that these classic, full-keel boats, especially this one with its 4 foot draft, were more conducive to transporting by trailer rather than launching by trailer.
The eighth and final boat that I investigated from the list in John Vigor's Twenty Small Sailboat to Take You Anywhere was the Albin Vega 27. Like the Cape Dory 25D, the Pacific Seacraft 25, the Contessa 26, the Pearson Ariel 26, and the Bristol 24 and Bristol 27, the Albin Vega, as I discovered, was similar in size to the Ericson 25 that I eventually purchased. It had 2,017 lbs of ballast (the E25 has 2,500). It had a displacement of 5,070 lbs. (the E25 has 5,400). And it had a beam of 8 feet, just like the Ericson 25.
Per Brohall designed this boat to handle the North Sea. Albin Marine, in Sweden, cranked out almost 3,500 of them from 1967-79. I liked the fact that there were a lot of them and that there was an active online group known as the American Vega Association.
The Albin Vega had classy lines, and just like the above mentioned boats, it was affordable. Most of them that I looked at online were $10,000 to $15,000, and, like the above mentioned affordable boats, it had a proven ocean cruising record.
The interior wasn't as warm and inviting as the North American made boats. It had that decided Scandinavian, modern feel to it.
If I remember correctly, these were some sort of promotional pictures from the company. Obviously, they used a special lens to distort the shape. This picture almost looks like the inside of a school bus.
The V-berth had the same simple, modern styling as the main salon.
Despite her modern interior styling, I definitely liked the reputation of the Albin Vega 27. I kept running into the same problem with this boat, though, that I did with the others that made my list. It just didn't seem to be a trailerable boat, despite the fact that I found various pictures of the Albin Vega sitting on trailers.
The Albin Vega, I determined, was a transportable boat, but not a trailerable one. Therefore, I also eventually struck it from my list.
While we're on the subject of 27 foot boats, I might as well mention the Nor'Sea 27, the largest and heaviest of all the boats I looked at. John Vigor, for some reason, did not discuss this boat in his Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere. I did, though, run across references to it online in the course of looking at the boats he did discuss. This boat was designed by Lyle Hess, who also designed the Falmouth Cutter 22. It continues to be produced by Nor'Sea in Dana Point, California. It has 3,100 lbs of ballast and displaces 8,100 lbs.
This is definitely an ocean cruising sailboat with incredibly attractive style. The company sells the boat in kit form, but apparently most people opt for buying it in a nearly complete state of constrution, which is somewhere in the neighborhood of $140,000. Prices on the used market are $60,000 and higher.
The Nor'Sea 27 has an 8 foot beam, and the company does indeed promote the boat as one that can be legally trailered. With a full keel and a 3 foot 10 inch draft, however, its not the sort of boat that could be trailer-launched with any ease. For this reason, and especially because of the price, the Nor'Sea 27 never made it onto my list of trailerable coastal cruisers.
So at this point, having been treated to a lengthy tour through a long line of boats from the Catalina 22 to the Nor'Sea 27, you're probably wondering what boat I possibly could have looked at that I didn't strike from my list. Well, if you guessed the Ericson 25, then you are wrong. How I discovered the Ericson 25 is in fact the subject of my next posting.


  1. Not considering the Bayfield 25? That's what I bought. Trailerable, launchable and tough. I like it. Not for the open ocean though. perfect for the coast.

  2. How abot the Coronado 23 and the Coronado 25 and the Columbia's

  3. you mentioned the chrysler 22 but there is ALSO a chrysler 26 and its trailerable, weighs 5000lb and has 1900lb ballast. i think you would find it meets your criteria for a trailerable coastal cruiser.

  4. Damned good research here, Roscoe. Thank you.
    You've filled a real gap in the available information on trailerable boats.
    From a Bristol 24 owner who wishes it were trailerable.

  5. Thanks Deck Monkey. Glad to have helped. Bristols appear to be really hearty boats from what I've read about them.

  6. I am surprised that you left out all of the catboats.I amlooking at three, and will report back when I buy. But, that said, this info was very helpful, and helped me narrow my focus. When you are looking, it is easy to let the dream ster you toward those very attractive boats, many that you mention, that just won't really work out. Another criteria that you left out, was the absolute that displacement dictates your tow vehicle. Good sailing.

  7. This is a fantastic research and great article for people looking for a smaller trailable sailboat. I have a Alberg Southcoast 23- and love it for day sailing. I agree with TED, I am loyal to the Carl Alberg design for classic boats. I lived the absolute of the displacement dictating a trailable sailboat. Our alberg is very easy to launch as long as you have 4 foot of water at the dock. Lived in a on a 33 foot Cape Dory for 31/2 years. Great article and good sailing.

  8. Thanks, man, for reading, and commenting on your own experience. 3.5 years aboard. That's cool!


  9. looking 4 a boat so thanks 4 the info.great job.