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Belhaven or CS 20 Mk 3

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Greetings from Australia.

I have had the Belhaven plans for some time without commencing my build.  Now I see the CS 20 Mk 3 and see many advantages with water ballast and the raised deck design. I have read all the comments about the Belhaven cabin (eg. Scott's descriptions) and it is what I want, and assume the CS 20  cabin is much smaller as it's not designed as a cruiser.

If comfort is more important than speed to me, should I just build the Belhaven as is, as I am sure the design works extremely well?  Or, with the more advanced features of the CS Mk3 design, should I build one of those and modify the cabin to be more cruiser-oriented?

Then of course, there's the P22, but that's in a different league I believe.

Thanks all - keep building.  Brent 


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Don't settle for the boat you can build; build the boat that you want.  You'll be glad you did.  I'm in over my head on a princess 26 and am loving it.


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Hi Brent, I agree with Ron, build the boat you want. All of Graham's designs seem well thought out and suit cruising in Aussie enclosed waters. I'm in Canberra and have built the CS 20 Mk3. I'm very happy with it, it is light to tow, sails well although not intended to be a club racer, and my wife and I find it is enjoyable to camp in. I extended the cabin further back into the cockpit and am glad I did. If I had my time over I would also raise the cabin top about 6 inches. Other than those small mods for my particular preferences I can highly recommend the Mk3. If you are ever in the National Capital you are welcome to drop by and look it over.

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   Hi Brent,

   I've been aboard a beautifully built P22 (Tony's) and I felt it was quite comfy at the time.  I think I've heard that the cabin of the Belhaven is slightly more roomy but the cockpit is smaller (I won't swear by that, though).  I think the CS20 Mk3 may be a bit less spacious than either the P22 or the Belhaven, but I have no experience with the Mk3 design.  Given the conditions in Perth I would personally build the Belhaven or the PS22 over the CS20 Mk3 if my desire was comfortable cruising (as it is these days).  If I wanted to shoot over to Rottnest Island on-plane or humiliate the masses I'd go for an EC22 and I'd leave the comforts of home... At home.

   Get in touch with B and B.  They're nice people and will help you decide which design will work best for your mission.  My guess is it will be the Belhaven or the PS22 but Graham or Alan will be more help than I am.  Keep us updated as things progress and please post lots of pictures.


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The one thing that Tony said about his P22 was that if he was to build it again, he would raise the cabin roof up a bit for when he was sitting on the bunks. . He would also insulate the top so that when he was using it in cooler weather and use some heat or have the natural heat with the cabin closed up, the roof top would drip condensation. Of course this is a natural act on most any cabin hulls.

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Seldom does a week go by I don't think about my Belhaven. It's simply a stable comfortable 19 foot boat. As for performance she is quite capable in the right hands. My biggest problem was I always loaded her down to much. I took anything and everything I wanted, my lockers were always packed. But that's what comfortable cruising was to me. I did ten thousand islands several times with the boat carrying close to 600lbs of stuff not counting people. That's just the way I went. I'm pretty lied back when it comes to sailing, Seldom ever adjusting a sail unless changing directions. As long as the boats moving forward, to me all is good, drives performance people nuts when their on board.


I have a Islander 28 sloop that's everything in want in a bigger boat. Bob Perry said this was his favorite cruising design and I understand why.


But the trailer boat is special in that I can travel around doing the inland lakes and rivers that I love.

Love this little boat and I will build another in the next few years for a trailer able boat. Don't think you can go wrong with the Belhaven unless you want to be on a plane all the time she wont do that.



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I've got Scott's Belhaven 19 now and like it almost as much as he does.  I think the major considerations between the two designs you're comparing are:

B19 advantages: The feel and comfort of a keelboat in a beachable 19 feet boat.  Cabin is crazy big for a 19 foot boat and holds six adults for happy hour.  Bimini is choice shade. Comfortable double berth with Pilot berth for a third crew.   

B19 compromises: The lead keel is obviously always present. You've got to tow it around and drag it thru the water where it adds wetted surface area and doesn't provide any meaningful lift.  I have a hard time keeping up with other sailboats in light air but catch up once I breakout the mizzen staysail.  I can plane in heavier wind but have not gotten much over 7 knots.  That's faster than displacement boats but can't touch the Mk3.  Have to have an outboard.  Must go forward along a narrow side deck to access the anchor and mainsail depending upon how you set that up.

CS20Mk3 advantages: Faster, points higher and probably just a better sailor. Easier tow,  safer forward access via the hatch. Could omit the outboard if you like to row.  I suspect CS plans are better developed and you don't have to cast a keel. 

CS20M3 compromises: Less cabin volume, perhaps no Bimini.  May not be the gathering spot for happy hour but I suspect it is adequate for a couple.  

Both good choices.


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