We looked at both Com-Pac 23s and Precision 23s in addition to the
R22 when we decided to move up from our Com-Pac 16. We were looking
for a boat that we could use for overnight cruises on the Chesapeake,
that would sail well in the Chesapeake's light airs, that we could
continue to drysail (easily launched and retrieved) and that we
could trailer with a Chevy Blazer. We did not plan to buy a new boat.
We were not impressed with the interiors on the Precisions and were
troubled by some of the construction details.
We knew the Com-Pac 23 would be well built but we had concerns about
its light air performance and didn't see interiors we liked much on
the older ones.
We were convinced by a demo sail in light air on the R22 that we took
at last year's Annapolis Boat Show. We also liked the in-mast
mainsail furling after seeing it in action. It was not part of our
original criteria but it certainly was a factor in our decision. We
liked the interiors on the R22s but wanted an older one without the
marine head. The interior fit and finish was definitely a factor as
well. After looking at a number of used Com-Pacs and Precisions that
were sound but needed a fair amount of interior work, the fact that
General Boats (the manufacturer of R22s) buys back used boats and
refurbishes them also became a factor.
We ended up buying a "recycled" 1991 R22 and spending more than we
would have on a used Com-Pac or Precision. We got a boat with a new
looking interior, new sails, a lot of new hardware, a great paint job
and a trailer in very good condition. We liked the fact that we were
dealing with a family business, that we were buying a used boat from
the original manufacturer, that the boat had been in production since
the mid-seventies and that even buying a used one we were getting a
The boat has been everything we hoped she would be and more. She is
sturdy, lively and relatively fast, she reefs easily, and with a
steady breeze and balanced sails will keep herself on course for a
long time with the tiller locked. The pop-top is a great feature that
we hadn't even considered and the boat is very comfortable
1991 R22 Fretless
14 Oct 1998
The Precision 23 has a PHRF rating of about 230 sec/mile with the
standard mast & about 220 sec/mile with a tall mast.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
02 Dec 2000
PHRF ratings are regional, so there isn't a definitive answer.
Precision lists the rating as 231. Here on Lake Lanier it's been
rated at 215.
04 Dec 2000
The PHRF rating for the Precision 23 of about 230 sec/mile with
standard rig & about 220 sec/mile with tall rig comes from the
United States Yacht Racing Union PHRF Handicap Manual. You're right,
there is some variablity in PHRF ratings across the country. Most of
the time, this variability is due to the local PHRF committee's
inexperience with a given boat. However, I quoted ratings which have
an experience factor of 2-3 years of racing behind them. After 2-3
years, the PHRF rating on a production boat rarely changes very much.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
04 Dec 2000
The new issue of Sail has a review of 5 'Pocket Cruisers'. The Rhodes
wasn't one of the boats tested, but was listed at the end of the
article where they provided contact info for a longer list of boats.
The Precision 23 was reviewed, and I thought what they said was
reasonably accurate but limited. Their opinion that the boat is
overpowered in 15kts with a single reef in doesn't match my
experiences, though. I'd say as a rule of thumb I put a reef in
around 12 or so and start thinking about a second reef around 18-20.
The first reef is a pretty deep one, reducing the area of the main
from about 140 sq ft to 100, so it depowers the sail substantially.
Their statement that a shoal keel/cb boat is more tender and doesn't
point as well as a similar boat with a fin keel would seem to be a
given. I know from experience that my boat points substantially
higher than the Catalina 250 and Hunter 24 that they reviewed.
I'd guess it also points better than the catboat but I don't!!
know about the F-24. I don't think trimarans usually point very well,
but whatever advantage I might have in pointing ability would be
blown away by the F-24's raw speed.
08 Dec 2000
Shortly after we sold our Precision 23 we took a demo sail on an F-24
at the St. Pete boat show, in the early 90s. There was a pretty good
norther blowing, about 20 knots gusting to 25 or 30. We sailed the
boat on a reach from the St. Pete marina down to the Skyway bridge,
at the mouth of Tampa Bay, and back. On a good day, that same trip
was about an 8-hour sail in our P23, which we had kept at St. Pete.
On the reach down, in wicked chop, we occasionally hit 16 knots (the
boat had full instrumentation), with a blade jib and the main roller
reefed down substantially. That's with five adults aboard. Fun!
I was dreading the beat back, having the opinion that multihulls
won't point, especially in chop. We rolled the main down even more,
came about at the bridge, and went at it. The ride was rough and wet,
and we seemed to spend a good deal of time airborne. However, the
F-24 pointed as high as any boat I have ever sailed and averaged
about 6kt to windward (by the instuments). I estimated we would have
tacked the P23 10 to 12 times on the beat back up to the mark where
we could bear off for the marina; the F-24 made it made the mark on
the original tack. I'm not sure the Precision could have even gone to
windward that day without easing the sheets way off to a not-so-close
The F-24 ride was wet, cold, and bumpy, but it was brief. We made the
whole trip in under four hours. I steered the whole way (my only
heavy weather experience in a multihull), so it wan't great
helmsmanship that made the difference.
I suppose the conclusion is that at least some multihulls will point
just fine. The boat stayed upright and powering forward, instead of
rounding up in gusts if the helmsman was caught napping. It was
definitely good not be sailing on one's ear! And with the main down
to about hanky size, we never felt a capsize was imminent.
08 Dec 2000
I thought this might be of interest to anyone who read the 'Pocket
Cruiser' article in Sail. As you can imagine, there's been a lot of
discussion about the article on the Precision list. Many people had
their shorts in a wad over the boat being called 'tender'. One of
the list members contacted Josh Adams, the P-23 reviewer, asking
some more detailed questions about the review. He also contacted Jim
Taylor, the P-23's designer, and prompted Mr Taylor to write to the
editor also. Except for the adjustable backstay his suggestions for
reducing heel may apply to the Rhodes also. I don't think an
adjustable backstay is an option with a masthead rig. The comments
about adding ballast are the result of an owner mentioning on the
list that he dropped an extra 200 lb of lead in his keel cavity
because he sails in heavier weather frequently. Apparently Mr.
Taylor was asked his opinion on doing this....
11 Dec 2000
Following up on my earlier posting, I have Jim Taylor's OK to print
his comments on the Sail magazine test of the P23. He has done this
in the form of a letter to the editor of Sail magazine, which will
probably be published in a future issue. In our discussion he said
that he felt that P23 was not a 'tender' boat, but the P18 being
smaller and lighter was more likely to be overpowered in stronger
winds. The 21 presumably fits somewhere in the middle. Some of his
suggestions for controlling heeling have been made before, but others
are new and I'll be trying them.
Copied below is Jim's letter to Sail.
P21 #210 Flood Tide
||Jim Taylor, 73201,3105
||Josh Adams, INTERNET:JAdams@primediasi.com
||12/5/00 2:42 PM
To the Editor:
The Precision line of sailboats are intended for active sailors, who
appreciate a lively, responsive, fast, boat. They are all designed
to have enough sail area to move well in the light-to-moderate
conditions in which most recreational sailors sail most often. She is
by no means a race boat, but her PHRF handicap is typically 20 to 50
sec/mi faster than other similarly sized trailerable cruisers, which
is a reliable gauge of her overall sailing performance.
There was a LOT of wind the day Josh Adams sailed the Precision 23,
and he was the only one single-handing in their comparison test.
Given her 8.5 ft beam (not 8.0 ft, as the article stated), another
crew sitting to windward (as the other boats had) would have
increased her stability by almost 25%. There are nearly 500 Precision
23's sailing, and I am not aware of any other complaints about the
boat being tender. However, for those who sail shorthanded in breezy
areas or who simply like to sail at smaller angles of heel with a
little less speed, I would offer the following suggestions:
Regarding Mr. Shore's question about adding ballast to the keel
cavity of the Precision 23: this would add less than 8% to sailing
stability, or about a third of that added by an extra 185 lb crew
sitting to windward. Also, remember that the added ballast will
degrade light air performance and make trailering more difficult.
There is no free lunch, and optimum stability can vary with personal
preference and intended sailing venue.
- 1. Equip the boat with an adjustable backstay. Increasing
backstay tension will dramatically flatten both main and jib, and
minimize heel as the wind speed increases.
- 2. Make sure that the outhaul works easily, and increase its
tension in more breeze, to flatten the main.
- 3. Use stiffer battens (or just put two in one pocket) in the top
of mainsail to flatten the upper leech in heavy air.
- 4. Roll the jib all the way up (or take it down) before reefing
themain when overpowered. The boat sails quite well under main alone.
- 5. Retract the centerboard part way in a big breeze. The board
is intentionally modest in weight, and does not contribute
significantly to stability up or down. Raising the board part way
will reduce both heel and weather helm.
I looked very closely at the Rhodes 22 and the Precision 23 last year.
Both are very nice, very well built boats. I think you'll find that
your choice between the two will really boil down to specific
features you like and how you plan to use the boat. That said, I
chose the P-23 for 2 primary reasons. It's a more performance
oriented boat, and it has more living space below than the R-22.
We've got 2 adults and 2 kids in the family and the more open cabin
layout of the P-23 is better suited to our needs. As Stan said,
if you need Inner mast furling and foam flotation, the R-22 is
your only choice. If you've got specific questions about the P-23
I'd be glad to try and answer them. We've had the boat for almost
a year and have been very happy with it.
13 Feb 2001