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Old 09-27-2017, 03:54 PM   #1
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Cruise-a-home boat for PacNW - pro/cons?

Hey Everyone,

I'm a Washington state native and have owned a couple of ski boats and had access to my boss's 38' Maxum for about 5 years and now that he's sold it, I'm really interested in getting a boat to maximize the pacific northwest living. My general purpose for the boat will be doing some light cruising/camping with some friends. Maybe some fishing and dropping the occasional crab pot here and there but mostly take advantage of the nice weather here in the summertime. I'd likely port out of Edmonds, WA and then cruise around the general area. And maybe with more time under my belt, think about going up the Alaskan passage a little bit. Perhaps, go through the locks and play in Lake Washington.

With all that said, I've been looking at different boats and for what I'm looking for it seems like the cruise-a-home platform is a decent vessel for all around general use. I'm a family man, with a wife and young kid. My budget is 50K. I see a lot of people who use them as liveaboards, but haven't heard anyone say they're amazing nor have I heard anyone say run away from them. And browsing the classifieds it looks like 50K will get me a pretty solid boat. Any of you folks have any strong opinions on Cruise-a-Homes one way or another?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

-J
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Old 09-27-2017, 04:23 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forum! That looks like a nice option for confined waters, probably not appropriate for coastal cruising to Alaska.

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Old 09-27-2017, 05:04 PM   #3
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We had a friend who lived and cruised on one in Tacoma. It worked for he and his wife. In the winter time, we spent more time on his boat than any others in the marina just for the room. He never ventured north of Anacortes but they used the heck out of the boat.
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Old 09-27-2017, 10:37 PM   #4
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Uniflite built a model called the Yacht Home and there are still quite a few here in the Northwest. One is in the slip right next to me, in fact. The owners use the boat a lot and seem happy with it. This one is 40 -something feet and powered by 8.2 Detroits. I think this model was built in the 1970's and possibly into the '80's. Not sure if these designs are suitable for Alaska, but certainly anything below Cape Caution would be fair game.
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Old 09-28-2017, 02:20 AM   #5
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Cruise a homes have great hulls. The hull design was originally used by delta marine in offshore fishing boats. The biggest knock on them is appearance not quality. If they have a weakness it would be rain leaks, look for rot around the windows. Crusader 454 or 350 were the most common engines but there were diesel ones as well.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:11 AM   #6
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House-boats or cottage on the water boats often meet the needs of many. Just remember these craft shine at the dock and in very protected waters they are rarely meant to wonder where large waves and adverse conditions would call for more boat and less cottage. If you can refrain from overtaxing the craft go for it.
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Old 09-28-2017, 11:59 AM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your input - I really value your thoughts.

@Ken E. The Uniflite yacht home looks interesting. Although I can't seem to find a ton of information on them. Could it be a Chris Craft Yacht Home? I've seen a couple of them listed for sale but both with conflicting brand names. I remember reading something about Chris Craft buying Uniflite or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, they look like a nice boat! Thanks for recommending them! I'll keep an eye out for them.

The Cruise-a-Home platform seems to check all the boxes. While maybe not the prettiest girl on the block, she seems functional. And after looking at them long enough, they're appearance is starting to grow on me.

And as far as the Alaska Passage (Inside Passage?) All great points. My comfort level in boating is likely protected waters. I was thinking that there was a way to get to SE Alaska without much trouble. But who am I kidding, I'll likely just play around in the local waters anyway.
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:00 PM   #8
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You may have seen this website already, but it shows the type of cruising that one of the Cruise a Home owners did. I use the site for the distance charts he has done, but it certainly gives a sense of the capabilities of the boat.

Carl & Gloria's Cruising Page, Small Boat Cruising in the Pacific Northwest
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:19 PM   #9
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You are getting great feedback and advice on this thread. Wife and I where talking about a houseboat as our next larger boat. Cruise a home is atop our short list. We would be completely comfortable doing the great loop on one. Good luck in your quest.
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Old 09-28-2017, 12:49 PM   #10
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There is a Cruise a Home berthed in our marina in Sidney BC. I just walked down and looked it over. Looks fine and more rugged than many house boats I spent time on in the Midwest rivers.

This one has done extensive cruising in the Gulf and San Juan Is. As always, condition and prior maintenance tell the tale.
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Old 09-28-2017, 03:50 PM   #11
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I have also known a couple of very happy Cruise-a-Home owners over the years. One fellow lived aboard his (with wife and child) in Friday Harbor for many years. If the boat makes you happy, go for it!

But I must say how impressed I am with the forum's pragmatic answers to the OP's questions. Reading down the thread, I fully expected to see the usual "curmudgeonly" responses (typically denigrating the vessel's appearance or subjective sea keeping abilities). Overall sensible responses. It's kinda nice!
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Old 09-28-2017, 04:28 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CAH6211 View Post
Thanks everyone for your input - I really value your thoughts.

@Ken E. The Uniflite yacht home looks interesting. Although I can't seem to find a ton of information on them. Could it be a Chris Craft Yacht Home? I've seen a couple of them listed for sale but both with conflicting brand names. I remember reading something about Chris Craft buying Uniflite or maybe it's the other way around. Either way, they look like a nice boat! Thanks for recommending them! I'll keep an eye out for them.
A little history........Uniflite built boats here in Bellingham starting in the 1960's, maybe earlier. During Viet Nam, Uniflite built many of the river boats used by the military, which really got them on the map as a significant boat builder. Anyway, Uniflite was sold to Chris Craft in the '80's and many of the boats then in production were simply rebranded as Chris Craft, Yacht Home included. The Uniflite brand is known locally to be rugged and functional, in a non -fancy way. Many are still in use, between here and Alaska.
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Old 09-28-2017, 06:12 PM   #13
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The Uniflite's mentioned above are the 36' and 45'. The 36' is a light fast boat, usually came with a pair of gas 305's and I/O. The boat could easily go 36 mph. It was not very fuel efficient and had a range of 100 miles or so. The 45 was a much bigger, heavier boat and was usually powered with Detroit 8.2's. Uniflite had a great reputation for building very stout boats. They were the first to use fire retardant gelcoat, in this case being first was a down fall. The gelcoat blistered badly. unfortunately the blisters didn't pop up until the boats were 4 years old creating a PR night mare. Check Unifliteworld.com for a more exact history on Uniflite. Chris Craft bought the molds and made similar boats but they were much lighter thinner hulls.

The Uni 36 and 45 were never as popular as the Cruise a Home 40. There are many Cruise a Home 40's out there today. They are not House boat/Cottage boats. They are real boats designed to go from Seattle to Alaska with ease. They just aren't very pretty to look at.
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Old 09-28-2017, 07:58 PM   #14
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The 31' model is the little sister of the 40'er and is the one that caught our eye for its utility. Aside from the always subjective looks category it actually checks all of our boxes for non negotiable must haves.

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Old 09-28-2017, 10:35 PM   #15
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It would be fine for cruising Puget Sound, the San Juans, Canadian Gulf Islands, and up the inside on the east side of Vancouver. You would have to be conscious of weather and tide when crossing any of the Straits, but then so do I.

I would not take it further North than that however.
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Old 09-28-2017, 10:38 PM   #16
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A good friend had to sell his sailboat when his dovorce occurred. A few years later he had a new wife and bought a Uniflyte 36 Cruise A Home. twin gas, cheap. I was aboard several times. Nothing fancy, got him onto the water again, but not a friendly boat to cross Georgia Str in. When times were better for him, he traded up to an old Bayliner 38. A much better sea boat.
The only thing the Uni had over all others was the "bullet and fire proof hull" Made for running the gauntlet in the Mekong.
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Old 10-03-2017, 05:08 PM   #17
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I saw one of these boats in Pruth Bay in August 2016. I believe it was a Puget Sound origin boat. I assume they found a weather window to take it north of Cape Caution.


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Old 10-04-2017, 11:15 AM   #18
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Cruise-a-Home

During the 12 years we were cruising Mexico and leaving Freedom in there during the summer we purchased an "Aesthetically Challenged" but mechanically sound 31' Cruise-a-Home for use in the California Delta. We were pleasantly pleased with it's seakeeping ability and reasonable comfort for 2 people and an occasional grandchild or two. Unlike many "houseboats" the Cruise-a-Home has a planing hull and handles well in moderate chop.

Our particular vessel had twin 165 Mercruisers that had no trouble getting it on plane. When we first purchased it I did some internet searches about the vessel and find that it was manufactured in Everett, Washington and was designed for Puget Sound. There was some dry rot that we repaired and we also needed to replace the swim platform. The only frustration I had with the vessel was the fact that there was no room to really set up a anchor windless without taking up much of the foredeck.

Although they haven't made them in years there is an owners site on the internet which is cruiseahome.nwcruising.net. This site has a wealth of information about the boat and also directs you to suppliers of parts for the vessel. We sold it 2 years ago two weeks after we listed it with a broker.
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Old 10-04-2017, 12:25 PM   #19
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Seaworthyness is more about a boat than a type.
People have been going to Alaska in small OB boats for at least 65 years. And what's below the sheer is far more important than what's above. If someone would stake me for the fuel I'd take a Cruise-a-Home to AK w/o hesitation. I'd watch the weather a bit more than w the Willard but that's easy. Waiting for good weather on the hook would be far more challenging than scary seas. I've always heard good things about these boats.
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Old 10-04-2017, 10:00 PM   #20
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We owned a 31' CAH for six years and throughly enjoyed it, both as a Lake Union weekend condo and as a summer cruising boat. She was powered by a single 6 cylinder Izusu diesel that was smooth and quiet. With only a single engine I could never get her on plane so top end was maybe 10-11 knots. We cruised her up to Desolation Sound and never encountered seas it couldn't handle -- as others have said "just watch the weather". When we sold the CAH we bought a Willard 40 that we cruised for a decade. Now we have a Selene 47. So buy that Cruise-A-Home and go have fun!
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