Gem 550

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oldbeamer
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Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 20th, '12, 21:24

Hi all, there is currently a severe lack of trailer sailers under 20 feet and under 1.4 tones. I've been looking for a Farr 6000, Ultimate 18 or Careel 18 but right now there isn't anything available in Victoria. Boomerangs and Sonatas are either going to be too heavy or just under the 1.4 tones which means that extended or provisioned towing will be an issue. I'm limited to 20 feet by the mooring I've been allocated, and to 1.4 ton by the car we bought a couple of years ago and love.

As a result I've started considering a Gem 550. I like that they are fast and apparently relatively roomy in the cabin, I've not looked at or sailed in one though. I had a look at an Ultimate 18 and that was good size-wise but not, obviously, as roomy as a Farr 6000.

I'll be sailing out of Mordialloc creek but hope to take part in races around the state, would also love to do some sailing with the family (4 and 2 year old plus wife) and maybe the odd trip to the Gippsland lakes for overnighters on the boat.

What's the consensus on the Gem? is it going to be too tippy? too difficult for the family? self-righting tests I've seen online seem to show that it will easily pop back up if capsized but is it easily capsized?
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Re: Gem 550

Post by INMA » Apr 20th, '12, 21:36

Consider a Haines trailer tri and motel or camp when you cruise at the Lakes.
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Cookiesa » Apr 20th, '12, 21:58

Don't know the Gem but have you considered a Jarcat? Shallow draft, plenty of room and I think weight limit should be ok
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oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 20th, '12, 22:22

Thanks for the suggestions but I'd like something more traditional! Just the one hull for me please. Also, the moorings are fairly tight, not sure a multi hull would fit.
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BosunBob
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Re: Gem 550

Post by BosunBob » Apr 20th, '12, 23:37

Impressed with the Gem 550.
Raced against a few 10-15 years ago.
They came into their own on Lake Burley Griffin Canberra where they probably still excel.
Someone might confirm.
With the light and fluky breezes they were moving where heavier boats were less responsive.

On Botany Bay (which would be similar to PPB from Mordialloc) they performed less well.
The blunter bow and light hull suffered in a seaway (noticed this in a state championship on BB)

-Bob
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zebedee
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Re: Gem 550

Post by zebedee » Apr 21st, '12, 01:11

A trailer tri would be an interesting parking challenge in Mordi creek.


There was a white Ultimate for sale on ebay recently just north of Melbourne near Wandong which appears to have sold for under $7k. Things are noticeably slower this time of year, with less boats for sale, but probably less demand too; something will come along eventually.
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Que Sera
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Que Sera » Apr 21st, '12, 01:28

Hi Oldbeamer,
Work your way through this web site: http://gemyachts.com.au/

John Stockton is the manufacturer. I believe he had been unwell and things had slowed a bit but his web site has been updated so I think that may be a good sign. I knew him when he worked out of Port Adelaide and his brother is in my club. There are quite a few owners about who could help if you can find the association and I'm sure John wouldn't mind fielding a few questions. He said he regularly gets queries from the UK and Holland.

Pete

oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 21st, '12, 02:45

I've sent John an email asking about PPB suitability. Any idea how to get in touch with the association? Google is silent about it.
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Re: Gem 550

Post by INMA » Apr 21st, '12, 07:56

The Gem uses balsa core in the hull, I would not leave one permanently on the water.

This looks like a good one, it might be owned by a TSP member.

http://www.sundancemarine.com.au/used-yacht/?id=211
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 21st, '12, 08:31

Do you know where the balsa is? I know the top uses it, is there more?
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Re: Gem 550

Post by HELLICONIA54 » Apr 21st, '12, 20:22

There is gem 550 sailing with the Cairncurran sailing club, http://www.ccsc.org.au/page1.php It and a boomerang 20 were arch rivals in their class for a long time. It ws always a close race between the two.
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oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 21st, '12, 22:53

Hi INMA, yes, the one you linked to is very nice but it doesn't have an electrical system at all. No radio, no nav lights. I think the price can be bought down a fair bit too and it's a recent build. The bananas-in-pyjamas cushions don't help.

The one I was thinking of going to look at is this one: http://www.boatpoint.com.au/boats-for-s ... R=11683054 older boat but better fitted.

It's difficult to not think about how much newer these boats are than others I've looked at. I've even gone interstate to look at 'premium' boats that ended up looking tired and dodgy.

The biggest concern raised so far for me is the balsa core. I've done some research and it's not just the topsides that are cored but apparently the whole hull. I think the risk inherent with the construction method combined with the fact that the boat will live in the water may put a stop to the whole idea. If any through-hull mechanical components were below the waterline (as in the Farr 6000 or Careel) then it would definitely be a no-go, being a drop-keel I'm tempted to at least have a look at one. The thing will have to be sealed and anti-fouled anyway so it could be that the risk can be managed. Perhaps with twice-yearly inspections of critical areas, the club at Mordialloc has two slipways so it wouldn't be a big deal to do.

Obviously I'm trying to make a non-ideal situation work but the thought of owning a racier boat has been eating at me! The one listed above in this post (Bite Me) has done the Marlay Point a few times (apparently) and that's something I aspire to do too.

Thank you for all the alternate boat suggestions, I appreciate them. Keep in mind though that I'm limited to 20 feet in length and under 1.4 tone towing weight. That's why I had originally settled on the Farr 6000, Ultimate 18 or Careel 18.
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Castle 610 » Apr 21st, '12, 23:19

Castle 550 is also under 20 feet and similar to a Gem from a performance and weight perspective

My advice (FWIW):

If your tow limit is 1400 kg you need to think twice about towing close to the limit. That's a pretty low tow limit.

20 feet is an awkward size in that plenty of the boats that size would be over 1400 kg (incl B20 and Farr IMO)

Buy something that is well represented locally (ultimate 18 is probably the best example). Especially if racing.

Suitability for PBB is very subjective - depends so much on what you want to do and the weather. You are pretty much limted to the lighter boats in the under 20 foot range.

You mention racing at venues around the state...so lots of towing.

So its going to have to be a Castle 550 or Gem 550 as this would be the best racer and lightest to tow. But if racing try and get a boat that is well represented. Much more fun racing against other boats the same.

Another question does the 20 feet include the rudder and motor?

Good luck.

Stephen
(down to his last Castle 650)
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oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 21st, '12, 23:33

Hi Stephen! Castle 550 would be ideal, but they're really, really hard to come by.

I agree with getting to close to the tow limit. There is a Farr 6000 in Canberra that the owner tells me has a weigh bridge certificate for 1250kg and I think that would be a very light example for the class. I've seriously considered going up for a look but once you add the cost of my time, fuel, re-registration and the fact that the boat needs some bits and pieces I'd be up to close to 20k purchase cost.

I've chased a B20 and a Sunmaid too but they are over the weight limit although the original manufacturer numbers show they shouldn't be. I think it's a function of manufacturer 'optimism', variations in manufacturing and lots of coats of paint and other bits and pieces owners have added in the meantime.

The 20 feet doesn't include rudder and motor (thank goodness!)
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gazwald
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Gem 550

Post by gazwald » Apr 21st, '12, 23:56

Just a comment on the balsa core. I sail on a keel boat that is balsa core hull which is obviously kept in the water and no issues to report. So the two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

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Re: Gem 550

Post by BosunBob » Apr 22nd, '12, 16:12

Great site info, SG and applaudable work from Mr Gem.
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Love it !! :lol:

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oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » Apr 22nd, '12, 22:50

Thank you all! I am very grateful for all the responses.

It seems that my principal concern, that of stability and suitability for the family, isn't shared by others. Naturally it will be up to me as the skipper to assess the risk of each situation but it's good to know that on a Gem the baseline won't be too low to start off with.

I'm probably going to look at the two boats in the next week and I'll have a good look at the condition of the hull, specially around the centerboard area to see if it makes sense to leave the boat in the water full-time.

Thanks to the efforts of the TSP community I've also got a couple of leads for other boats that I didn't think were available at the moment. Thank you.
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Re: Gem 550

Post by BosunBob » Apr 22nd, '12, 23:34

Good luck with the hunt.
Why not check with Mr Gem about mooring a Gem.
Reckon he would give you a straight answer.

Kumbayah ??

-Bob
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Ralph
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Ralph » Apr 22nd, '12, 23:48

Hi Oldbeamer,

Thanks to your topic I have googled a fair bit about balsa cored boats.

This pic shows the balsa deck & superstructure of "Wild Thing" before it got matted, resined and vacumn bagged.
Image

No affiliation, just very interesting and there are loads more similar sites.
http://www.balsacore.com/

Better than watching telly, thanks mate :thumbup:

Ralph

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Re: Gem 550

Post by jaxsen_lee » Apr 23rd, '12, 20:58

Just sold my Cherry 16 and similarly looking for a new/better boat fruitlessly in Melbourne.

I almost bought a GEM550 the other day. It all looked great but when I jumped on the cockpit floor sank like a trampoline!

Many of the other panels had a fair bit of flex due to what I assume is a soggy balsa core.

Often I have seen in ads for cored boats: "a firm boat". Now I understand what they are worried about.

I am getting sick of inspecting overpriced neglected boats. Might just have to change direction and get a brand new RS Vision or similar.

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Re: Gem 550

Post by Russell George » May 23rd, '12, 12:00

Have you considered a Farr 5000, somewhat smaller than a Gem 550 but with similar room without a big centreboard case in the cabin ?.

I have one and it weighs in at a estimated 900KG on trailer with motor, grog, water etc on board, I find mine able to be rigged single handed in about 20 minutes at the ramp.

Anyway, just another thought for you.

Russell

oldbeamer
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Re: Gem 550

Post by oldbeamer » May 23rd, '12, 16:42

Hi Russell, yes, I definitely considered a Farr 5000, and a Farr 6000 too but neither have been available for sale in Victoria for many months. Since last year actually.

On the plus side I've just put down a deposit on an Ultimate 18. The strength of the association in Victoria helped make the decision.

It's going to be marginal weight-wise but I'll have to work to manage that.
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Furstin » May 23rd, '12, 16:48

U18 is a nice boat. Princess 18 would also fit the weight bill easily.

Strip her down and take her over the weighbridge, should make for some interesting viewing. (Then do the same with the boat... boom boom :roll: :P ).

Fill water at destination, engine and fuel in car boot, etc you should scrape in.

Just in time to freeze your buns off !!! :P
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Re: Gem 550

Post by IanB » May 23rd, '12, 16:55

IMHO the Ultimate 18 and Investigator 563 are in your weight range, and will provide the safety you are looking for. Balsa core is for the racing fans and those with lots of money. Most modern designs still use some solid glass below the water line. However, only today I read about a modern 37 footer hitting a whale and cracking up. A classic long keel older boat like the Clansman, Folkboat, etc, would have ridden up and over it, and survived. (The whale too!)
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Furstin
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Re: Gem 550

Post by Furstin » May 23rd, '12, 17:06

IanB wrote: However, only today I read about a modern 37 footer hitting a whale and cracking up. A classic long keel older boat like the Clansman, Folkboat, etc, would have ridden up and over it, and survived. (The whale too!)
To be fair; the whale would have had a long time to get out of the way!!!! :P :lol: :P


Mate of mine grew up with a Clanny as the family boat; he calls them The Rocket Ship (affectionately.. sort of). Ridden up and over it... um maybe not, but I get where ur coming from.

Whats the I563 clock up on a weigh bridge?
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