SailNet Community - View Single Post - Why a racer for cruising discussion...
View Single Post
post #201 of Old 05-03-2013
Jeff_H's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
Posts: 7,496
Thanks: 12
Thanked 247 Times in 197 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Re: Why a racer for cruising discussion...


I think you make a very strong case that the boat you have chosen suits your needs as you define them. To understand your needs and to find ways to meet them is a wonderful thing in life. We all should be so lucky!

But where I somewhat disagree with the way this thread has been running, is the implicit assumption that there should somehow be an agreement on the same set of needs and wants. Mostly there is nothing inherently wrong with any individual's needs and wants but I think that for this thread to be universally applicable any individual's needs to be understood in broader context.

There are a whole lot of ways to skin the cat you have chosen to get skinned. For example, while I would not advocate this for you and your family given your defined needs and wants, when I was a teenager I was friends with two-boys who lived in our marina with their family. That family had completed a circumnavigation and were back in the States so that the older boy could start Jr. High as we called back then.

This family of four had sailed around the world in a conventional ketch rigged version of the Alden designed Svaap,William Albert Robinson's 32 foot circumnavigator. This was a boat which had about the interior space of a Catalina 27, and perhaps twice its displacement. In the early 1960's this boat did not have much of an electrical system and almost no electronics. The engine was what was called a 'semi-diesel' and could run on multiple fuels, being started with gasoline or alcohol and diesel, and then ran on any fuel that burned. The stove, interior and running lights were operated on what they called parafin but which I later decided was kerosene, another fluid that the engine would run on. They had an early rudder hung servo-trim tab type vane driven self steerer. If I remember right from the time that the kids were 5 or so they stood watches. (much shorter than the adult watches as I recall).

The parents gave the kids a decent elementary school education. Certainly the older boy who was close to my age was better at reading and math than I was, plus he was a far better sailor than I, teaching me a lot about all three.

Now, obviously those were simplier times, and I am not sure that I would recommend that approach to anyone. But for that family, they defined their needs and their wants in a way that made sense to them. And they were wildly happy within the results of fulfilling thier definition of their needs.

And at the heart of it, it is about defining what it takes to provide enjoyment from the water. So, at virtually the same time, on the same dock, there were two guys from the Bronx (frankly the most unlikely candidates to take up sailing) bought a Pearson Packet for their first boat. All I remember about these guys is that one was huge and the other quite small. One was called Moe and they had blue collar jobs and really strong NY accents. The bigger guy was the leader of the two. The boat was in a slip near ours and the bigger guy had a great sense of humor and would come by and talk to us about how things were progressing.

Every story began with, "So I sez to Moe..." At first they just would go down to the boat and sit on her at the dock. We wondered how they decided to buy a boat. As the big guy said, "We wuz droiv'n down da road neeehr da Tribora bridge an I saw a boat. So I sez to Moe, "We gotta try dis boadt'n ting. Layda, we wuz near Cidy Eye-l'n so we found a boadt we could both fit
in and bought it."

Finally, after months of just coming down and sitting on board at the dock, one day they went out. "So I sez to Moe, Moe t'day we're goin out ta da wader." And they did and motored out to the shipping channel and back.

For the rest of the season, they "went out ta da wader". Next spring, our boat is back in the water and so are theirs. For much of that season they would come down and just motor out. Then one day they decided that they would go out and raise the mainsail. "So I sez to Moe, we're gonna put up da sail and we did."

For the rest of the season, they sailed happily around the Channel between City Island and Harts Island Prison. The next year, we moved our boat to Manhasset Bay so the last time we saw them they had both sails up and were reaching along near Execution Rocks; Looking happy as clams.

So what is the point of this story- besides my appreciating the opportunity for the fond memory it invoked. Here was two guys who defined their needs very small, and bought a boat that was a good boat to learn to sail on for a couple guys, who without reading or any formal training just decided to learn to sail. They enjoyed the boat and stayed out of trouble. They built skills and enjoyed themselves in their own ways as much as the guys with goldplaters in the same yard. In the end theycame to enjoy sailing as much as each of us that venture "out ta da wader".

And so as I read this thread, you are not wrong. You need these things to do what you do.

But many of us have different needs. To cruise the Bahamas, I personnally have no need to drag about anywhere near as much stuff as you list as necessities. It does not make me more right than you, just different.

A boat like yours, while perfect for your needs, would drive me crazy, just as my boat would drive you crazy. I could not live with your boat's limited performance, deck layout compromises, and would not want its interior layout. To me the greatest luxury is being able to sail. All else is of secondary importance.

Of course I don't need or want as much on board as you do. And as I eschew weight and gadgets, I can 'make due' with a boat that is more spartan and better performing. As a vegetarian, I don't need refrigeration, and without refrigeration I need less fuel and batteries and recharging systems. My enjoyment on the water comes from the people I am with, the world I sail in, and reading, which I now mostly do from a device that needs charging roughly once a week underway.

And as a boat gets lighter, its spares and anchors get lighter, and as its performance gets better it needs less fuel to operate. I have mentioned this before, when I was researching my boat, I spoke to a fellow who had sailed a sistership of my boat from South Africa to the Carribbean. He made the entire trip on less than 12 gallons of fuel and covered the distance much weeks faster than a larger boat which left with him and was forced to motor much of the way. I'd rather get by with less.

I don't advocate my tastes, and choice boat for you, or anyone else besides me. But by the same token, it comes down to what I said in my earlier post, the problem is not with your definitions at the outset, but with the assumption that they apply more broadly than to you. Solely from my point of view, there are racers, and there are performance cruisers (both of which you would call racers) and there are vessels which are historically interesting, and then there are boats which for my own purposes, have no reason to exist. But those same boats which have no use for me may be just right for those who own, love and enjoy them.

And if that is the case, this thread is a battle to find universally definitive truth where none really exists. And that is why this thread makes very little sense.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay

Last edited by Jeff_H; 05-03-2013 at 03:05 PM.
Jeff_H is online now  
Quote Share with Facebook
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome