But if you are the one to get caught out boat quality suddenly becomes very important.
I think there are more poorly made boats available today then ever before. At one time there was a clear distinction between day sailors and offshore cruisers but today lightly built unsuitable boats are being marketed as serious offshore capable boats. A lot of newcomers are joining the ranks of sailors and donít have enough experience or skill to see the difference so they are setting out offshore and having trouble in record numbers.
I agree. That's why we got the boat we did. It's a "get you there" boat, not a "get you there in time for the barbeque and Jimmy Buffett impersonators" boat.
My comment should have perhaps read "the good boats of today are better than ever". My following comment was meant to convey that I don't consider the vast majority of production boats sold today to be anything more than well-appointed daysailers or coastal cruisers in 25 knots or less. I do believe that the advances in design and materials have made the top-end boats (Swans, etc.) very safe and comfortable, but how many can afford those?
I also agree that the wrong sailors are helming the wrong boats. Experience is limited in many cases; this is exactly why I want to crew a fair bit before we go, and my wife does as well. I feel confident in a gale on Lake Ontario, but they don't last long, so I need oceanic conditions of an adverse nature to see if I can do well on a well-found boat.
Today's production boats will fail sooner in heavy weather than the true bluewater boats of 30 years past due to the design compromises required to make a light, bright, wide and fast light-air cruiser fit for club racing. But the crews will fail before the boat in many cases, because the sort of person caught out by a squall in a Hunter 365 is not in my experience the sort of person liable to have the skill set to avoid calling a Mayday when the boat gets knocked down and all that unsecured nautical dishware goes flying.