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Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:36 am
by GTom12
I am after a bilge-keel boat and was 99% decided on a Fulmar but don't want to completely abandon the idea to go a little bigger. To decide, I'll need some input. Quickly about ourselves: right now family of 3 (might grow to 4 later) with a 5 year old kid. In the first couple of years we'd cruise the British isles and Scandinavia but later proceed to the Med.
We are budget-conscious, as far as I understood the costs of running a Fulmar (marina, sails, etc) I'd say a 20% extra would fit in.

The Lady likes the private aft cabin - which is a very strong argument for the Discus.
I'd have preferred the tiller steering of the Fulmar and a bit worried about costs.

My questions:
Is the Discus sailing significantly better? E.g. more stable in heavy seas, faster in fair weather? According to the old sailboat calculator, the Discus has much better characteriscics (capsize ratio, motion comfort, SA/D)

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:31 pm
by Jolly Roger
There is no right answer for your needs. The Fulmar is reckoned to be the nicest Westerly to sail and I can vouch for that. The Discus is a greater volume hull with better accommodation.

The main differences are:
1. The Fulmar is a newer hull design by a generation and is extremely well balanced.
2. The Fulmar rig being 3/4 is smaller and more manageable due to the large mainsail.
3. The Discus has 2 sleeping cabins outside the saloon.
4. The Discus through its greater size and weight will be a slightly more stable sailing platform.
5. The Discus being slightly larger will be more expensive to berth and maintain.
6. In lighter airs the Fulmar will sail faster than a Discus and probably also in moderate winds as well.

Whichever you choose, your running costs will be greater than you expect. My renovations were budgeted at £12,000, but will finish at about £22,000. So my advice is to buy the best boat with the newest sails, engine, canvas work,standing and running rigging, electronics, upholstery, head lining, etc. It sound impossible, but bide your time and the right boat will find you. Paying slightly more for the best example will save you thousands in renovation costs.

Final though. Have you considered the Storm? This will also give the aft cabin your wife would like.

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:57 pm
by GTom12
I had a brief look at the Storm but it apparently has less fuel tankage. Sailboatdata also lists a lesser SA/D for the storm. No idea where the latter is coming from, AFAIK the Storm has a taller rig...

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 4:31 pm
by steve parry
Hi,

Agree with Jolly Roger on most points but not all.

Don't get me wrong the Fulmar is a terrific boat, fast(used for match racing in its early days),very easy to manoeuvre, excellent sail plan but the accommodation for long term living/cruising isn't that good for a family of 5. Where as the Discus has three separate cabins and a lot more storage space than the Fulmar which you will need when cruising long term with a family. Most of the Discus do however come with the old Mercedes engine which is now getting on and spares are becoming hard to get I believe. You have a lot more weight in the Discus when it comes to a blow and it is kinder to the family, especially young ones. If you go for a Discus I would go for a FIN if you intend to long distance, however, I know of a guy two years ago took his bilge keeled 33 across the pond with no problems.

Totally agree with Jolly Roger: Go for one with a newer engine, good sails and all the bells and whistles i.e. solar panels and wind generator as these will cost you more to fit once you have paid for the boat (trust me you will need them long term cruising).
So the bottom line is: go for the best boat that your budget can buy. As a footnote I have been trying to find a good Discus for the past 18 months at the right price and have failed so far!

I also know of a Fulmar going long term cruising in the Med but it only had a couple on and that was fine. A least you are looking at Westerlies to do your dream...Can't go wrong..Built to last, mind you I am biased as I am on my third one.

Happy Hunting

Regards

Steve Parry - WALKABOUT

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:39 pm
by GTom12
That's what I thought too, Steve, family needs space. On a Discus/w33 we could even receive guests for daysailing. As for the real sailing part: I considered buying a Fulmar in Spain. First trip then: Biscay - ookay... :| .

Lots of bilge keel Centaurs crossed the pond, I don't think a Discus or w33 would have a problem long-distance. BTW does anybody know, that Dodo's Delight - the Discus made it to TV - was fin or bilge keel?

One concern though, I saw a single post regarding the keel becoming loose on the Discus - is there anything with the hull to pay more attention?

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 4:34 pm
by steve parry
Hi,
I believe Dodo's delight was a fin keeler and he has done many miles in this one, he has had two Discus todate both named Dodo's delight the first one caught fire in the ice on a trip he did and sank. Once the insurance was settled he went straight out and bought another Discus. There are two types of Discus they made one with the bridge deck and one that is a centre cockpit with a walk through to the aft cabin (however, you do loose one of your cockpit lockers),one currently up for sale on the web. The W33 centre cockpit is well worth a look at, again same hull different layout.

I don't know what your budget is but also look at Conways, Solways or even the Corsair Mk1 and 2 (they were aimed at the blue water market when they first came out) a terrific boat and a lot of space ( with 3 cabins as well)

Hope this helps and happy hunting.

Regards

Steve Parry - WALKABOUT

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 12:35 pm
by GTom12
I would like to stay near 10m, otherwise it'd be difficult to keep a lid on marina fees. (I don't intend to use the drying ability all the time). I prefer the aft cockpit version, as I undertand the layout it gives more locker space.

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 4:10 pm
by steve parry
Hi,

You are like me staying around the 10m mark makes sense, fees in France aren't too bad and tend not to shoot away after the 10m mark unlike the marina's in UK. I think a 10 to 11m yacht is an ideal size for a couple, we spend 3 to 4 months cruising the Biscay coastline and the number of times whilst we are standing on the pontoon we have been shouted at by couples in bigger boats..... "Can you help us alongside please" They have bought a boat which is too big for them to handle on their own, especially when you start getting older in years it becomes a major factor when sailing. Most 36 to 40 foot boats normally sail with a crew, friends etc.However, there are exceptions to the rule where you find a couple who have been with their yacht for years and know how she handles etc and come alongside without any fuss.
The ones that come alongside shouting and bawling the odds are the ones out of their depth.

Anyway 10m is a good size yacht with plenty of space on for a family to enjoy themselves.

Again, happy hunting.

Regards

Steve Parry - WALKABOUT

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sat Jan 20, 2018 7:16 pm
by GTom12
Thanks Steve, the hunt is on:)! Indeed, it was a tough task to find the right size. We would eventually show up in the Med, where a 10m boat sometimes pays 2'000€ less a year than an 11m one. On the other hand, a family needs more space than a couple, majority of the 10m boats don't have an aft cabin.

I also have the suspicion (never tried though) that in this size range every feet, every 1/2tons of displacement counts when it comes to motion comfort and safety in rough sea.

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 2:24 pm
by steve parry
Hi,

Did you manage to have a look at the Discus that has been put onto Apollo Duck recently, seems to have a lot of gear on but not many pictures of the boat in general, you many have to ask for more pictures.

Weight is important when choosing a long distance boat but it is not the be end and end all, you have to choose the right one for you...too heavy very slow passage speed, too light ...hell in a blow.

You will know when you find the right boat, it will have this ore about it and you feel at one with it. It may seems stupid but I have found this to be the case in all of my four boats that I have owned and out-grown them!!

Regards

Steve - WALKABOUT

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 4:49 pm
by GTom12
Contacted all Discus sellers I could find on the market (apolloduck+some smaller brokerages), most are waiting for early spring to launch the boats from the dry. Hopefully I can close a reasonable deal before summer. Not that easy, some are hit by the "green plague" (Volvo engine), but I am not too much fan of Yanmars either - they might be very well reliable but I hear their parts and service costs are quite significant compared to beta or the original Mercedes engine:(

Regarding weight, I haven't seen any complaint that the heavy (empty: 6.8tons) Discus was a laggard...

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 6:12 pm
by TyroSailor
If it's well designed (and, being a Westerly, that can be assumed) the power available from the sails should match the weight to give reasonable performance. But boat design is always a compromise between performance and comfort (as someone's probably said already).

Re: Discus vs Fulmar?

Posted: Sun Jan 21, 2018 7:45 pm
by GTom12
Unless the one single clear goal is not racing/speed, it's always a compromise.

So far I have the Moody 33, Malo 40h, Westerly 33/Discus on the list, the Discus being the favorite. In my case the characteristics I want to see in the boat:
- Enough space for 4-5 people -> aft cabin.
- Bluewater capable
- Shallow draft
- Not too slow
- costs <<30k£ even after comprehensive refit
- approx 10m long (can be slightly more if the reg. documents say <10m) for reasonable marina pricing - the 10.3m Falcon might be problematic.