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Re: Production Boats and the Limits
I was reading back through this thread. It's really pretty awesome, with some great posts by some great sailors.
So to recap...first, the "rules"...
Okay - so a quick summary of the wildly varying sentiment of the past pages, which is now close to becoming the definitive gospel on BAPDs for all time...
1. "Blue water" and/or "offshore" can be defined for our purposes as a 5 day passage from anchorage to anchorage (due to the modern weather window). It's beyond what most think of as "coastal" cruising, but it's not a pull across the Pacific either. (That said - these boats CAN also do a longer hop without major issues. See Givens below).
2. The unforeseen weather limit we seem to have set is a strong gale/"weak" storm (e.g. Force 9-10). This means that if you were unlucky enough to get caught in one, you'd still feel relatively safe in your production boat with appropriate heavy weather precautions (e.g. - storm sails, drogues, etc.). In other words, it's not going to fall apart around you.
1. It is understood that the vast majority of modern production boats can and have indeed circumnavigated - some with major modifications and strengthening, others without. Virtually any boat can indeed be sailed virtually anywhere in the right conditions. But this particular conversation is centered around the rules above as this is where most sailors will play.
2. It is understood that the boat typically outlasts the sailor's will/ability even in the worst of conditions.
3. It is understood that there are a million variables in all these estimations from tankage, to crew size, to boat size, to gear, etc. But this discussion is a wildly irresponsible rule of thumb exercise - so there you go.
4. When it comes to separating the first and second tiers - it probably comes down more to comfort than toughness. But, few will argue that comfort ain't a good thing in the long run. So there you go.
The True Contenders:
1. Beneteau: seems to get high marks all-round as a boat that is well-built, fast, serviceable, comfortable, and sturdy. All-round winner.
2. Catalina: seems to be the next in line in the above areas - though CD will protest wildly that "Bene's got nothin'. Jeff likes my boat best."
3. Jenneau: Right in the hunt - but arguable as to where it finally falls. Serviceability? Better than newer Hunters?
4. Hunter: seems to still be suffering from "poor design" during previous runs - yet has seemingly improved in the last few years. It seems the jury is still out on this one.
The Second Tier:
1. Tartan: older ones at least (say pre '90?). problems with hatch design, etc. discussed, but still liked.
2. Sabre: tough boats - but some problems listed.
3. Hallberg Rassy: starts to move out of typical "production boat" world and into high-priced "elite" boats (same with OVNI, etc.) that are more "blue" than "production".
4. From here we probably pass into the realm of "lesser" blue water boats. So I'll stop here.
1. Irwin: still personally not convinced of that this one fails the test. built lighter and for a lower cost point - but does that completely move it out of the contender category?
2. O'Day: a lot of them around, but no one willing to go to bat for it.
3. McGregor: the big ones rock - but anything less than 45'+ gets a nose thumb and a good heckling.
4. Any multi-hull. Those things are just abominations to sailing. Heh-heh.
What have we left out?