Moody 36S (80s) First boat (and first baby on the way)... 36s, 346...

Ono Olmedo

Ono Olmedo
Registered Guest
Hi all
My wife and I are expecting our first baby in August. We have been dreaming with (and saving for) buying our first cruiser for a few years. We have been sailing for three years mainly along the SW coast, racing weekly at our local club and have done a few channel crossing.
We have decided that it is now time to get our own cruiser throughout this summer/autumn/winter with the aim to get it ready for next season.
At the moment we are looking at the Moody 36s (which seems within our reach now), the Moody 346 (a bit more expensive but we could get there by the winter) and a MG 346 (clearly different but there is one at our club that we know sails well). All three tick our boxes: fin keel and wheel steer.
The reason why we are reaching out here is because we have heard very polarised opinions from the members of our SC about the Moodys.
Some have highly recommended them, particularly for their cruising comfort, but others keep describing them as 'caravans'.
We are very clear that we are not after a racing boat, mainly with the imminent and eminent arrival of the baby. But I would very much like to race (clearly on the slow fleet) the boat at our local club to keep learning so looking for a bit of action on the sailing side of things.
Any experiences, comments, recommendations, would be most welcomed!
Ono and Jess

Peter Wright

Peter Wright
Boat name
Suffolk Yacht Harbour
Boat type
Moody 425
Cruising area
North Sea, English Channel, Biscay
Hi Ono & Jess,

Welcome to the MOA.

I have to say, I'm a bit mystified by your post - you say you are very clear that you are not after a racing boat, but then tell us you would very much like to race.

After a lifetime of racing, we bought our Moody as a cruising yacht, thinking of her as the equivalent of a comfortable bath chair for our dotage. On our delivery trip from Clydeside to Harwich, via Lands End, she impressed us with her turn of speed, even with the knackered sails she came with, and demonstrated that she had a long passage mile eating capability to match her reputation, but she was no witch to weather, making a better VMG cracked off a touch than when sailed as high as she will go. Yes, we've done a few fun races in her, but she's a cruising yacht, so I now get my racing kicks on other peoples' boats although age dictates that tends to be as navigator / mainsheet rather than leaping around on the foredeck.

I guess it all depends what sort of boats race in your local slow fleet but I would not expect either of the Moodys you're considering being much fun in a round the cans race of 2 to 4 hours, but may be more satisfying for passage racing. Whether, with a new member of the family, you will have the time to indulge in passage racing, I have some doubts, but you know your lifestyle better than me.

I suspect the answer for you may be to buy a Moody for family cruising, where the comfortable fit out, good sea keeping ability and fast passage times (for her length) make her ideal and carry on racing with other people as far as your schedule permits. I agree that racing provides a much more intense learning experience than cruising, but the two pastimes are different and both very satisfying in their own way.

So, in summary, imho neither of the Moodys will make a satisfying round the cans racer but either would make an excellent family cruiser - you really need to think harder about what sort of boat you want.

Lastly, I'm left vaguely wondering how well you understand the impact the arrival of your first child will have on your lifestyle, but then I don't know what other demands there are on your time.

Hope you find an answer that suits all three of you.


Ono Olmedo

Ono Olmedo
Registered Guest
Hi Peter
Thank you very much for all your ideas and sorry our message was not clear. What we meant to say is that we are looking for a family cruiser (mainly) but that we are also intending to participate in the weekly races down at the club. Our aim is not to be very competitive just simply use the opportunity to continue learning and building up a circle of people to sail with.
It is really good to hear that your boat surprised you on your delivery trip and had a few fun races. That is possibly what we are aspiring to at the moment. The main plan is to find a boat between now and the end of the winter. By then the baby would be a bit "older". We hope to do short trips around the South West coast. Spend a night or two out and come back when the weather allows. We hope to have friends and family with us on the trips. Further down the line, and everything goes well, we would like to adventure across the channel.
In terms of the impact of the baby on our lifestyle, it is really hard to tell and we might need to adjust several times depending on the circumstances. But, on the other hand, we would like to see if we can also find the right balance that allows us to live on the water as a family as much as possible (and that might translate at times into just simply spending a night on the boat while on the mooring, which would be exciting on its own way).
In that sense, the Moodys are at the top of our list and it might be a matter of finding the right boat at the right price (not an easy thing as we are experiencing, but hopefully at the end of the season there will be more boats available)).
Thank you very much again!
Ono and Jess