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post #7 of Old 07-28-2002
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Cape Fear 38

Jack and the ''Group'', first off I want to commend and thank Jack for a well written and thoughtful response. I think this is a very interesting dialogue on a very interesting topic.

At the risk of sounding ''Clinton-esque'', some of this discussion centers on how we each define the term ''cruising'' and some does not. To me cruising would include weekend overnights as well as longer passages. I see this as distinct from voyaging or living aboard. (It would appear that you and I agree on the point that living aboard is not the same as cruising or voyaging, although certainly an equally valid use of a boat.)For me,voyaging in my mind is a state of prolonged cruising with folks like the Pardeys or Anne Hill being good examples of voyagers. I think that generally voyaging perhaps requires a different boat than might work for cruising.

When I look at the cruising rather than racing version of Cape Fear 38, I see a boat that could work well as an extended cruiser but which is clearly not intended to be a voyager. I think that we both agree that implies that to be called a cruiser "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." I personally think in that the cruising version of this boat with its larger tankage and increased storage would work well well within that definition. I personally would feel that a couple (like my wife and I) could be very comfortable leaving the Chesapeake Bay, sailing out to Bermuda and hanging a right and sailing down to and through the Bahamas for a couple months or heading north to Maine for the summer in a boat like this. To address the key points of Jack''s post,

1. Anchoring:
These boats come standard with a welded bowsprit that serves as a anchor platform and tack point for their assymetrical spinackers. They have both and anchor locker and a chain loocker below. While I would not expect that they can carry 300 to 400 feet of chain (which is what I would expect to carry on a boat intended for voyaging) I would expect that they could easily carry the 80 or so feet of 5/16 chain that a boat this size would carry for prolonged cruising. If I remember the anchor locker correctly (and I must admit that I was on a lot of boats at the Annapolis Show and my recollections may be mistaken here) here is room to install a windlass in the anchor locker if one was desired. I am not completely convinced that one is necessary. If you think of the size of this boat by its displacement of 11,500 lbs or so rather than by length, by weight this is roughly the same displacement as many dedicated 30 to 32 foot cruisers. I would not expect to have a windlass on a 30 to 32 footer any more than I expect to have a windlass on my current 38 footer.

2. Saildrive:
I basically agree with you on the saildrive. I think it is clearly aimed at boats that will be hauled out every year or two. I had one on my last boat. Changing zincs was no harder than changing the strut zincs on a conventional propshaft. On the smaller saildrive gearbox on my last boat, you had to haul out to change the tranmission fluid. This was required every two years or 250 hours. On some of the bigger Yanmar saildrives that I looked at it would appear that you can do the fluid change through the dipstick port and that they had a similar lifespan between changes. 250 hours is pretty consistent with the lifespan of the transmission fluid in the conventional Yanmar transmission in my current boat. Still, I agree that a sail drive makes less sense for serious offshore cruising than a conventional shaft drive.

3. When I look at this systems and tankage capacity on the cruising version of this boat, they seem more than adequate, especially when compared with my current boat. While I do not hold my boat out to be everyone''s idea of the perfect cruiser, the similarities in size and displacement between the two makes this a useful point of comparison. (I emphasize that I do not see my boat as an ideal voyager but I do believe that they are reasonable distance cruisers. My boat was single-handed in from South Africa where she was constructed and sisterships of my boat are off voyaging with a fair degree of frequency. They are routinely cruised out of Capetown, S.A where there is a big fleet and where the prevailing conditions are brutal. A sistership of my boat came through Annapolis last fall. That boat was singlehanded from Capetown to the Carribean, spending the first 10 days in 30 to 50 knot winds and averaged over 150 miles a day even including passing through the duldrums. He cruised the Carribean with his family before sailing up to Annapolis. I know of at least four sisterships that are serving as distance voyagers with one planning a Cape Horn rounding later this year. So while not necessarily ideal, I think they are reasonably adaptable as distance cruisers and certainly useful for the sake of comparason for this discussion.)

As I understood it, the cruising version of the Cape Fear was designed to carry more water than my boat''s 60 gallon capacity and more fuel than my boat''s 20 gals of diesel. With my Yanmar 3GM 30''s 1/2 gallon an hour at cruising speed consumption that is about 40 hours of engine time. The fellow who single-handed from Capetown to the Carribean reported roughly 15 hours of engine time for the whole trip. He like many distance cruisers carried a few gerry cans of extra fuel and on my boat I would add a 20 gal fuel bladder where the original design showed the ''optional extra fuel tank''. I think that compared to most 11000 lb boats, 80 to 100 gallons of water and 40 or so gallons of fuel is a lot of each.

There is a mechanical ''room'' below the cockpit that could easily house additional battery banks, a water maker and those types of niceties. If I remember correctly the boat I looked at was tiller steered but had a below decks heavy duty autopilot. A very nice set up when compared to the ''wheel pilots'' on a lot of so called offshore boats.

With this boat''s higher performance I would expect less motoring time. I somewhat disagree that the Cape Fear was not designed for this kind of useage. In talking with the designer at the show, it sounded about this sounded well thought through for the Cape Fear 38. Perhaps more so than in my boat. I do think that the website seems to reflect the more stripped out racier version possibly because that was the version built for the prototype. I don''t agree that performance will drop with the cruising version (except that the cruising version does not have a carbon mast and has a little less sail area to compensate.) Remember that racing versions are typically set up to carry huge crews (probably 8 to 10 or so folks on a boat this size and all of their gear and necessary supplies) which actually weighs more than most couples need to carry when going cruising so I don''t think that carrying capacity is a problem.

Cost is another matter. It was my understanding that the cruiser version was less expensive than the racer version but still I am overwhelmed by the price of new boats today. When basic 31 or 32 foot value oriented cruisers cost over $100,000 I just have to wonder. I make a pretty good living but I couldn''t imagine ever being able to afford the cost of a new cruiser in the size range of the boat we are discussing.

In any event, the term cruiser/racer is an old term that goes back as long as I have been sailing. It has almost always implied a boat that was neither a dedicated cruiser nor a dedicated racer; a boat that does both reasonably but certainly not as well as a boat intended to be exclusively either. In that regard I think that the boat in question fairly falls in that category and perhaps is more of each than historically that term might have implied.


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