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Reviews, Reflections & Recommendations
Owner Observations about their Luger Sailboats

Voyager 30

Harry Cooper, original owner
1979 Voyager, "
Retired Racer II"

I will say this - Luger built some really good boats and made them affordable to people who otherwise might not have had the fun and enjoyment of owning their own boat.
In my exuberance and inexperience back then, I have run aground several times - had the boat over on her side at extreme low tide once; have hit docks and had other boats bang into mine. I have sailed in calm weather with a bottle of white wine and cheese, and in weather so strong that the boat was making a good five knots on double reefed main alone. These are tough boats and I have never once regretted buying my Voyager 30!

Ken Kelly, original owner
Voyager, "

There is no doubt in my mind, the Lugers built fine boats. 
After Hurricane Ivan (2004), Puff was in an insurance salvage yard. There were 100s of boats in various kinds of condition. It was very enlightening to look at the different boats. Many were very expensive boats - beautiful teak decks, expensive fittings, but with hulls like EGG SHELLS.

Joe Chronic, original owner
1979 Ketch-Rigged Voyager

...if I had it to do over again, I'd probably have opted for the sloop rig. But, it's fun to play with the three sails and it isn't really complicated. 
(Joe's response to a question about sailing a ketch-rigged Voyager.)

I  have a '79 Voyager ketch I've owned since new. All my sailing on that boat has been on the Mississippi River or on midwest reservoirs, so I don't claim to be an 'old salt' as far as sailing a ketch goes. But, a few comments based on that experience: First, don't be intimidated by the different rig. You can comfortably approach it as just like sailing a sloop or cutter with - oh yeah - that other sail I have to do something with.

Getting underway: I singlehanded a lot and the routine I developed was to motor into the wind, hoist the jib and let it luff, then hoist the mizzen, and also let it luff. Once those sails are up, let the boat fall off and sheet home the jib and then the mizzen and get established on a tack. If the wind is up, you can sail the boat quite well with only jib and mizzen.

If the wind is moderate and you want a full spread, once established on a tack with everything stabilized, it's simple to then get the main hoisted and trimmed.

With all sail up, a primary thing to watch and fiddle with is the 'slot' between the main and mizzen. If the main is sheeted in too much, it will burble the airflow over the mizzen. If the slot is too big, you lose the benefit of the venturi effect of the airflow - the 'sweet spot' of a split rig (ketch or yawl - or schooner). All of this is really analagous to the relationship between the jib and the mainsail on a sloop or cutter, so it isn't all that different from what you've likely done before.

This all sounds somewhat esoteric, but it really isn't that critical; the boat will sail just fine without everything being tuned to a 'T.' Just leave adequate sea room getting underway until you're comfortable, and then experiment around with the rig in light to moderate winds; you shouldn't have any trouble.

Returning to the harbor, my practice is to close haul the mizzen heading into the wind, luff the jib and main and strike them, and then haul down the mizzen, again with adequate sea room.

Candidly, the boat is a bit small to have a split rig and, as I observed in the past on this board, if I had it to do over again, I'd probably have opted for the sloop rig. But, it's fun to play with the three sails and it isn't really complicated.

Joe Chronic, original owner
1979 Ketch-Rigged Voyager

Here are some [observations] based on my experience with my 1979 Voyager. For background, I bought the bare hull and kit parts in late '79, spent three and a half years building, and launched in 1984.

1) Hull thickness: Very substantial, especially below the waterline where it counts. I had to saw out the slot in the bottom of the keel for the swing-keel installation. The hull is about 5/8" thick down there - and I broke a LOT of saber saw blades getting the hole cut!

2) Hull-deck joint: The best possible method, if it was done correctly by whoever built it. The deck molding overlaps the hull and is thru-bolted through the rub-rail, deck molding, and hull every 6" with flathead stainless steel bolts and then the joint is glassed over inside. Very strong and completely watertight.

3) Blisters: Yes. I had a severe blistering problem when the boat was hauled after 4 years in the water. It wasn't fun repairing them. I did the standard thing back then of grinding them out individually, filling with epoxy putty, and then coating the bottom with an epoxy compound. But you have to remember that this wasn't uncommon even on a lot of production boats back then. It was part of the learning curve in glass boat technology.

4) Chainplates: Yes and no: The chainplates themselves are good, thick stainless steel, but part of the assembly process involved beefing up the area of the deck molding where they're installed with extra layers of fiberglass woven roving - it depends on whether the builder did this properly. The other thing is that the chainplates aren't very long and only bolt to the deck molding. I'd prefer them to overlap and bolt into both the deck and hull moldings. Having said all that, I've driven the boat pretty hard (rail in the water) and never had any problems.

5) Deck Core: Not surprisingly, had problems only where I've drilled holes in it. The biggest problem was around the mainmast tabernacle; probably the flexing on the fitting and deck broke the caulking seal. On the other hand, I installed two substantial foredeck cleats for mooring, anchoring and towing and water has never gotten into the core around them. But, of course, they haven't been worked as hard as the mast fitting has.

One more important point in my opinion: The bow area where the stemhead fitting bolts through needed to be substantially reinforced with extra layers of fiberglass. Because of it's location and the awkwardness of the job, a number of builders apparently didn't do this adequately. It's critical to the integrity of the whole rig, and I remember there was a factory bulletin from Luger on the subject.

All in all, I think they're pretty good boats but you have to remember they were homebuilt - or assembled, anyway - and a lot depends on the workmanship of the assembler. I'm getting ready to completely rehab mine (and correct some of the luckily smaller mistakes I originally made) and take it cruising on the Great Lakes.