Trailerable sailboats first started selling in large numbers in the late 1960's. The ability to keep a boat in the driveway, launch it on Friday night and sail away for the weekend, totally self-contained, was an attractive thing and introduced people to sailing by the thousands. Within five years, dozens of new companies were offering trailerable cruising boats, and the trailerable boat became larger and larger until, suddenly, the energy problem appeared and the trend reversed itself. Cars started getting smaller and smaller, and the "pocket cruiser" came into prominence. The pocket cruiser is a boat, usually under 20' in length, that has at least some cruising accommodations and can be towed with a compact or sub-compact car. They range in quality from "grown-up daysailors" that have marginal performance and are adequate only for overnighting in sheltered waters, to the Montgomery 17, which is a true moderate displacement cruising boat.
The Montgomery 17 brings "big boat" design and construction into this new and growing market. She is tough, seaworthy, seakindly, and is capable of braving severe weather conditions with safety and confidence. She is heavy enough and stiff enough to drive off a lee shore in a storm, and to heave to in heavy winds. On a race course, she will sail past most of the 20's and 21's, and when a good blow comes along will still be out sailing when they are struggling back to the dock.
Unfortunately, too many new sailors make the mistake of assuming that all sailboats are adequate in performance, construction, and capability. They equate size with seaworthiness, and resign themselves to a larger boat than they need for the false security of the added size. Size has little to do with seaworthiness. Seaworthiness is determined by design, engineering, and construction, but not by size. A boat of 6' crossed the Atlantic, and many boats of 10 to 14 feet have crossed, and none that we know have been lost at sea. These boats are designed and built for the job.
In contrast, many cheaply built boats of 21 and 22 feet have come apart in small lakes. THERE ARE MORE DIFFERENCES IN THE QUALITY OF BOATS THAN IN MOST ANYTHING ELSE WE CAN BUY! More than in cars, televisions, bicycles, or airplanes. We all pay about the same for materials, we all try to be as efficient as possible, and we all need about the same profit margin to survive. In boats, more than in most things we can spend our money on, we get what we pay for. If two boats that appear similar have a wide difference in price, take another, closer look, and you will probably find the reasons.
The most obvious basis for cost comparison concerns the weight of the boat. If another builder's 17' boat costs 30% less than ours, odds are that it weighs about 30% less. If the Brand X 21 costs 10% more than a Montgomery 17, it probably weighs 10% more. Other features, naturally, effect the cost. A masthead rig takes twice the number of turnbuckles and well over twice the amount of stainless wire as a fractional rig. (Hinged deck and cockpit hatches cost about 80 dollars each on the retail level.) Extruded aluminum toe rails take two good men a half day to install, but the common stamped trim with the rubber insert takes one man about two hours. A retractable keel costs the buyer more than a shallow-draft keel, and a good keel/centerboard combination costs more yet. Some builders take the shortcut of not bonding underneath the liner, which saves money but sacrifices strength. On 1/8" shrouds and stays, swedged terminals cost the buyer about $5.00 each, and on a typical single lower-single spreader rig there are 16 of them! Carpet or vinyl lining on the insides of the hull are cheap and easy to install, but after a few years of getting saturated from condensation they start coming off and expose the usually poor workmanship underneath. A boat lives in a different environment than a mobile home and cannot be built like one.
one-piece solid mahogany beaching rudder with lifting tackle