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Old 10-29-2017, 09:26 AM   #1
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Request to tour a Prairie 29

My wife and I are considering a Prairie 29 for a partial/full loop and Florida cruising. Problem is we have never actually been onboard one. We really need to experience one and see if berths are roomy enough, interior space works, and a dozen other questions that cannot be answered from pictures. We are going to be in Eustis Florida for a week or two starting around Nov 13 and were wondering if any Prairie 29 owners within three or four hours drive of Eustis/ Mt Dora/ Orlando would let us spend an hour or so on your boat. We are polite and house-trained and would bring a six of your favorite beer.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:19 PM   #2
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As long as your polite.LOL. Be delighted to show you the SUE Marie. I think you will find the design to be ideal for your needs. Live in Merritt Island, right next to Port Canaveral The boat is kept at Harbortown Marina. We are about 45 min from Orlando.Have no major plans that week.

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My wife and I are considering a Prairie 29 for a partial/full loop and Florida cruising. Problem is we have never actually been onboard one. We really need to experience one and see if berths are roomy enough, interior space works, and a dozen other questions that cannot be answered from pictures. We are going to be in Eustis Florida for a week or two starting around Nov 13 and were wondering if any Prairie 29 owners within three or four hours drive of Eustis/ Mt Dora/ Orlando would let us spend an hour or so on your boat. We are polite and house-trained and would bring a six of your favorite beer.
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Old 10-29-2017, 06:41 PM   #3
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Sortie gave us a tour of his Prairie 29 before we bought ours. He is very knowledgeable and his boat is in great shape. We were ready to buy his boat if it was for sale.
We found another one on the West coast and brought her here, in Vero Beach, one hour south from Sortie.
You are welcome to have a look at ours. She is not for sale but the layout is different from Sortie's boat and worth a look.
The hull paint could use some touch up after the hurricane but our interior layout is the nicest I have seen in a boat her size.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:14 PM   #4
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Sent you an email. Hope you got it.
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:21 PM   #5
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If you decide you need 7 more feet.


I do like cold beer!
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Old 10-31-2017, 01:28 PM   #6
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I did not receive your email.
Please check your private messages.
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:05 AM   #7
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My deep thanks to Sortie and jacquesm for their kind invites. I am looking forward to learning more about the Prairie 29.
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Old 11-24-2017, 05:29 PM   #8
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Thanks for the beer and feel free to email if you have any questions.
We discussed engines like the Perkins 4108 and 4236 but I forgot the 4154 which is very common in Prairies.
And don't forget Cadillac, he has a nice rebuilt Prairie 29.
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Old 11-27-2017, 05:33 PM   #9
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LightWeaver;
So please tell what you discovered. What did you like? What were you surprised by? Still interested in Prairie 29s?

Would be interested to know what you think after touring a few boats.

Thanks.
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Old 11-27-2017, 05:51 PM   #10
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Someone wanna tour the A/T 34 drop me a line. I am near Hallandale FL.
I am open to suggestions for improvements and criticism of the things I have added modified.
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Old 12-17-2017, 05:54 PM   #11
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And if you get to Massachusetts you are welcome to see Click image for larger version

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Old 01-18-2018, 09:30 AM   #12
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So, LightWeaver;
How goes the search? Any good ideas you are having about a Prairie?

Anything you are discovering that surprises you?

Tim
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Old 01-19-2018, 09:50 AM   #13
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Hi KokopelliTim.

My apologies to being slow in responding, I have been chasing a health issue which is now, hopefully, resolved

My deepest thanks once again, to Jaquesm and Sortie who were both generous to a fault in letting me tour and investigate their wonderful boats.

I am still quite pleased with the Prairie 29. My wife and I hope to become Loopers, and this is a fine couples boat, for couples who like each other enough to spend time in a relatively small space. We also would like to be able to cruise the keys, and maybe hop across to the Bahamas, and the Prairie seems to be more than enough boat for this.

Caveat: all of my comments below are those of a person of with moderate sailing experience, little power cruising experience, and who is a complete newbie to the Prairie. My knowledge of the boat comes from two, 2 hour onboard inspections and lots of internet research. I would welcome all Prairie 29 owners to comment on this thread – my responses here are of the first time buyer looking, but I lack the day to day experience that comes with ownership.

PRO’s:

Fuel efficiency has to rank as one of its biggest pluses – with a cruising speed of 6 - 6.5 knots I have gotten owner reports of burn rates of .75 - 1.25 gallons an hour. But the top speed is perhaps 8 knots (depends on which engine it has in it), so don’t count on going anywhere fast, this is a slow and steady, enjoy the journey boat.

The prairie is built like a tank, with a solid glass hull and plywood cored deck. The construction seemed robust throughout. There is very little exterior wood requiring maintenance.

The side decks are remarkably wide for a 29-foot boat, with high gunwales and good handholds – this is worth its weight in gold in any kind of sea, especially for those of us who are on the south side of 60.

The interior is laid out so cleverly that it provides exceptional livability in a small space. One of my main concerns is that in smaller boats, the designers keep trimming inches from the V-berth. Not so with the Prairie. I laid my 6’1” frame on the berth and found it remarkably wide with lots of extra space at the head and feet. There is also adequate headroom throughout.

Although the head does not have a separate shower, the space is large, and the two boats I saw had shower fixtures in the space with enough room for a big guy like me to turn around in while showering. I would also seriously consider adding an outdoor shower to the cockpit area.

The huge ports let in a very pleasant amount of light, making the salon a great place to be. There is plenty of space in the galley and the settees.

The engine space is large and on both boats, I saw was very well laid out. Access to everything was pretty-good-to-excellent. (Said from the standpoint of a sailor).

The flybridge is much easier to access than I had assumed for a boat this small a boat, and what the cockpit lacks for space is more than made up for topside where, there is room for a small table and seating for 4.

The view from the flybridge is awesome. The space is comfortable and well laid out. No doubt that weather permitting this is where I would be while underway.

FYI: Other boats we have considered are
Nimble Wanderer 32 (great fuel efficiency newer, hard to find, wasted space in the layout)
The Fairchild Scout 30 (great fuel efficiency, lovely, updated design from the 1930’s - I am a sucker for the classics – but probably a bit tender for open water)
Grand Banks 32 (lots of them available, very robust, moderate fuel efficiency, expensive and ohmygod all that teak to take care of!).




Cons:

My list of cons is small and these facts rate fairly low on my priority list:

Many of these boats have had their interiors customized extensively and bothboats I saw had a refrigerator located just aft of the interior pilot station. This left a rather cramped space for the captain to sit while steering the vessel from the lower helm, and I think this should be thought of, for us larger types, as a mostly standing steering station.

A couple could put a small table in the cockpit and sit there, but the space is rather small. The cockpit is also rather deep and stepping into it from dockside is a big step. You can do it more easily just forward of the cockpit, but I would seriously consider adding a transom door for improved access.

Like all trawlers, the Prairie will roll some in a beam sea, and the short waterline will lead to hobby-horsing in certain types of chop. Both owners said they had experienced both effects but not to any serious degree, owing to care in choosing weather windows for open water.

Lastly, I would say that these boats are over 30 years old. Both boats I saw were in great shape, in Sortie’s case, it was thru his own exhaustive efforts to bring back a boat that had not had adequate maintenance for several years. These boats “have great bones” and for the handyman, might make a good candidate for a project boat, but I would recommend that anyone looking at a Prairie have a professional survey done.

That’s it. Thanks again to Sortie and Jaquesm – hope to see you all out on the water!
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Old 01-19-2018, 12:36 PM   #14
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Request to tour a Prairie 29

@lightweaver:
All good assessments and observations.
Here are my discoveries about things Prairie:
Solid Hull, minimal Teak make me a happy owner!
The Hat longitudinal frames are hollow construction solid glass (no wood core)
These boats have only the bulkhead to Hull attachment to be a potential structural issue.

The decks in the ER that the tanks sit on are a concern. BUT they are not structural.

The fuel tanks sitting on these plywood decks are a concern. If you find a prairie with new (er) fuel tanks that’s a bonus. There is no way to do ‘under tank’ maintenance.
The P.O. had fabric sun covers to put over the windows to protect from UV deterioration. I feel lucky to have the original PVC/ Lexan windows with NO crazing. I use these covers whenever the boat is left for more than a day.

The original owner had installed a PT aft cockpit overhead. It’s on Its last legs. Another project for spring.

You mention the Fridge. Ours has a plywood/Formica box around it. With a footrest in front and a cushion it makes a great inside helm seat/ extra counter space for meals. The P.O. installed a seatbelt on the bulkhead. I became acquainted with this on Lake Erie. Nice when single handing in weather. Can’t get tossed off the seat!

I have been tempted to break out a skilsaw and put a transom door in. We have to use two step stools for the women to hop aboard from the swim platform.

I looked at 3 prairies. An Atlantic 30. And several GB 32 sedans. And bought the best one I found.
The head..... these originally had no holding tank. Retrofitting means giving up half the space under the V berth. I found one prairie on Long Island that had NO head. Factoring that into the cost of the boat made me pass on that one.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:06 PM   #15
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Thanks for all the great info, Cappy208! I have been on rides where a seat belt would have been a great idea. Hat Longitudinal Frames? _ are these the two or three I seem to remember that you see on the ceiling of the salon?

Can you pick up the fuel tanks even an inch or two to inspect the wood underneath? thinking a gentle prybar and set of blocks.
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:09 PM   #16
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You forgot the best part....it is one fine looking handsome boat!!!
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:28 PM   #17
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Baker, I have replaced my fuel tanks. You can NOT lift the tanks sufficiently to do anything with the plywood. We emptied the tanks, cut them up and replaced them with slightly smaller tanks. Went from 50 gallons to 46. First we replaced the plywood and covered it with west system. As you know,fuel consumption is so low that the loss of 8 gallons of fuel will have no problem with long range cruisers. It is a pleasant ride at 6 knots
John
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Old 01-19-2018, 02:29 PM   #18
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Request to tour a Prairie 29

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Hat Longitudinal Frames? _ are these the two or three I seem to remember that you see on the ceiling of the salon?
No. The engine beds rest on them. Most boats have either 2X 4,6,8,10 encased in glass. Over time the wood rots out. Not so on a prairie. They are _n_ hat shaped. Hollow fiberglass laminated beams. Hollow which helps running wires and hydraulic lines.
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Can you pick up the fuel tanks even an inch or two to inspect the wood underneath? thinking a gentle prybar and set of blocks.
There’s possibly 3” above them. And no easy way to move them. I cringe at the task.

I was debating cutting them out and replacing with 4 UHMW fuel tanks. I don’t run much, and hate all the fuel sitting there. Smaller (40gl) on each side with another set of 40 s in front in case I get happy feet and need to go a long way.

But..... the tanks aren’t a problem now. So I wait.

Look on the other ‘Proud Mary’ post for pics of his prairie all opened up. The longitudinal stringers are all visible.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:24 PM   #19
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Very True, Baker, it is a handsome boat!
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