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post #5 of Old 07-28-2002
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Cape Fear 38

Jeff & the group:

My post was generated by reading the CF 38 website and finding the boat described as being suitable for racing or cruising. I think I was clear I had not seen the boat. Based on that, I''ll stick by my comments.

Cruising is not weekending, which is synonymous with how I would suggest Jeff describes ''cruising'' in his post above. I agree that many, many folks sail their boats locally and that, for them, that constitutes ''cruising''; that''s fine by me. Perhaps my gripe in part is how watered down the term gets, and therefore how unhelpful it is when ''cruising'' and ''cruising sailboats'' are discussed.

If a boat of this size/displacement is to be cruised, it means - to me, at least - that it must be capable of being handled *safely* in a self-sufficient manner in the range of condtions which at least coastal waters can present and while offering reasonable accommodation and services to the crew who are, after all, living aboard.

To me this includes for example:
1. Having a safe way to deploy & retrieve a suitable anchor and chain/rope rode when conditions turn sour in a now unprotected anchorage, perhaps also in the presence of some current. That requires a windlass for this size boat. That certainly can be bolted on but is the boat''s foredeck designed with this in mind? Designed with an eye to that combined weight being acceptable in the bow? Allowing safe deployment & retrieval without dinging the bow? (And a lot more...) It didn''t appear so, to me.
2. Being motored, off and on over a period of time, for more than a 100 hours before needing to be hauled with a travel lift so the hypoid gear can be changed. I''m unimpressed with the fact that other ''quality'' boats install sail drives, as they do so to maximize interior space, simplify installation, reduce build cost and are incented to do so by engine manufacturers who make a bigger sale (vs. the bits & pieces of a conventional system being purchased from other vendors by the builder). A huge amount could be written on this topic. E.g. notice Jeff''s builder examples - boats built and principally sold in seasonal climates to upscale buyers who typically haul each fall and may not cruise in more remote areas (which N Europe certainly isn''t). H-R is clueless about why this is an issue for cruising sailors and had to go to Volvo to answer some of my questions, while some smaller H-R boats who are out cruising struggle with zinc replacement and gear oil change issues. I could go on...
3. It''s easy to look at systems needed by a cruising boat individually and miss the combined impact they have on the space consumed, weight added, and therefore the importance of a boat being designed with these needs in mind, up front. I realize some boats are cruised long distances with few, simple systems but IME far more boats - and especially newer and more costly boats -have substantial 12V power requirements (and need the storage & generating capacity to provide it), have signficiant water tankage (and/or watermaking capability), hundreds of miles of fuel endurance, multiple anchor & rode combinations, significant food storage capacity, sun and wave protection integrated into the cockpit design, and so forth. Most boats being cruised, even smaller ones, have these items because their use potentially requires it of them, even if ''cruising'' means waterway travel inside U.S. coastal waters. It''s my impression the CF 38''s design does not reflect these needs seriously. To the extent the boat may be semi-customized to offer some of these features, great. But the basic envelope does not lend itself to this, performance & handling will be impacted moreso than in designs where this is taken into account, and inevitable compromises will result in access, absence of space for other needs, and most especially in cost (which always zooms as boat''s are ''modified'' by a builder).

Again, I think my gripe is more about builders unfairly (unethically?)claiming ''cruising'' capability than about this boat...and maybe my gripe is also about how we all use the term ''cruising'' on these BB''s. I also happen to agree with Jeff on several points where his post suggests we differ. For example, performance is a HUGE benefit to and should be a primary consideration of crews picking a cruising boat. (In my view, primarily because it increases crew safety in multiple ways). And yes, we agree inexperienced buyers sometimes buy "cruising" crab crushers because they go after volume and gadgets, and so these boat choices also fail as role models to the rest of us. And if we want to beat up on such folks further, then yes, many then fail to use their boats as intended and never even discover how inappropriate were their choices.

But let''s not overreact by suggesting that boats clearly designed for racing and weekending lend themselves nicely to realistic cruising demands. And let''s not let builders get away with it, either.


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