I am hoping to buy one of these and I would like to know more about them, how they sail etc but i cannot find any information. If anyone also knows of an owners association that would be helpful.
I owned one of these boats for six years, initially as a first boat shared with a friend, and later I bought him out. Ours was a lift keel, outboard version with a long settee to port stretching under the cockpit. On later versions you could get a separate, if small aft cabin.
The boat basically sails like a giant dinghy and is very responsive. I was sailing with a nervous wife and two very young children, so it was in hindsight perhaps not a perfect starter boat. It was however very quick for its size and often embarrassed much larger craft.
In strong winds early reefing is mandatory, but to be honest she sailed quicker that way. Our most memorable sail was probably Langstone to Cowes in a F7 from the North; we screamed along on an almost flat sea with two reefs and very little genoa. Too much sail and she just rounds up into the wind and stops dead - the helm also becomes heavy beyond belief. The main sheet although easily reached from the helm is at the forward end of the cockpit, immediately in front of the companionway. On one occasion I was caught by an accidental gybe while emerging from the cabin; my head was trapped between the sheets and the side of the companionway, which had the effect of popping the lenses out of my sunglasses and rendering me unconscious for perhaps ten seconds! Just something to be very aware of in a small cockpit, particularly if sailing with children.
The lifting keel was generally a joy - light to pull up and easy to let down. You can easily dry out on the stub keel so long as there is a little mud to settle into. You can certainly get places most other craft would not attempt without the sailing disadvantages of a twin keel. It would very occasionally stick in its casing if mud or a stone were forced between the keel and case. Usually slamming into a wave was enough to free it but on one occasion a shallow dive below was needed to encourage it to drop. You could actually sail even to windward with it up, but not surprisingly she wouldn’t point at all well. The only other problem in rough seas was an occasional spurt of seawater out of the hole in which the pulley was mounted.
The 8hp outboard (housed in a well at the rear of the cockpit) was noisy, a bit smelly and necessitated taking cans of petrol aboard. The boat was such a good sailor however that you should not very often need to use it for long and the very big advantage was that it left the engine bay behind the companionway steps free for storage. This easily swallowed the dinghy and innumerable other pieces of kit for which it would have been difficult to find alternative storage. On the other hand, we never ventured across to France mainly due to the limitations of the fuel supply combined with the very young crew. One other big advantage, however, was quickly revealed when we suffered a fouled prop and dragging anchor off Cowes during the annual firework display, surrounded by scores of other anchored boats. Twenty seconds down the outboard well with a breadknife freed the propeller and saved what otherwise could have been a very embarrassing and expensive incident.
We never did race her, but I suspect she would have been very competitive with her easily adjustable back stay and very light weight.
The galley is small but adequate. She had a proper sea toilet and we used to spend two weeks away on her most summers. There is a small wet locker in the heads which are amidships. The chart table was a decent size and slid out from under the quarter berth.
Overall she was a lovely little boat and certainly never boring. Astern just didn't happen with the outboard, but she was so light you could just manhandle her around marinas.
Can't think of anything else, but if you have a specific question just let me know.
Thanks for all the info it was very useful and now I have just purchased my own 720. I am delighted with her sailing and motoring performance. Mine has a volvo 2001 saildrive which at 2.800 rpm gives her an easy 5.8 knots. Sailing is fast and compfortable. I agree about the galley although inside she is lovelly and woody!
I see that you have bought a Feeling 720. Welcome to the club!
We bought ours last year. We've had to do a fair bit of work on her (She had had very little maintenance for a few years, but was basically sound) but we are really pleased. It's our first boat so we are still learning how to set her up and how to get the best out of the sails...a fairly steep learning curve!
When we were looking for a boat we saw a Feeling early on, but the purchase didn't work out. We then spent more than two years looking at various boats, but we always ended up saying "Not as good as the Feeling". Finally "Carillon" came on the market and we went for her and she is now moored down on the Exe.
I've got a few bits and pieces which you may be interested in, copies of the original sales literature, test reports etc. If you want I can send photo copies to you.
Incidently, Richard Storey mentioned the problem of water sloshing up through the keel case. We've all but solved this problem with a plastic door mat! I'll explain all if you wish!
We should compare notes; it's useful to hear of other peoples experiences and for some reason there don't seem to be many 720's around.