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post #51 of Old 10-28-2013
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Location: Alameda, San Francisco Bay
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Greg, was the “twenty footer” you mentioned the Cal 20, “Black Feather”, or was it the WWP named “Tubby”? I’ve seen the former at South Beach before the race and attended the talk on Tubby at BYC. Both were pretty amazing voyages, but twenty days of nothing but canned ravioli isn’t quite my style. I have been knocked down (Boom or masthead in the water) twice in a 22 footer and twice in 38 footers. If the recovery from this is an indication of safety, I’ll take a 38 footer any time. I have yet to get even close to getting knocked down in anything over 40 feet. The fellow in Oregon who is looking for a sailboat isn’t experienced enough to really know what he wants and is getting unduly influenced by the beauty pageant known as “what is the best boat for…”. As you know from your experience in sailing the Gulf of the Farallones, the ability to make speed needed to climb waves and safely navigate in high sea states is an important safety factor. Holding all other variables the same that means water line length. Smaller waterlines means shorter masts. Which means losing airflow over the sails when the boat is in a trough, just when you need the drive to climb over the next wave isn’t much fun.

A lot of these discussions degenerate in the proverbial “beauty pageant” rants that assume a lot of personal criteria, not exactly germane to safety. I see the move to ever larger cruising boats as one more to do with comfort than anything else. Bigger boats mean bigger tankage. Or water makers. Or both. Water makers and SSBs mean alternative sources of electrical generation. Mrs. B loves to sail, but the deprivations resulting from too many crew, too small of a boat isn’t going to work (she is also a Baja vet). Longer waterline gives you more space to store stuff. How do you guys manage all that stuff? Anyone have the courage to post an interior photo three days in on a five day passage? I certainly don’t.

George B
2000 Catalina 34 MkII
Alameda, Ca.
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