In most ways, the North American 40's were prototypical IOR boats of their era. I think they are a Dick Carter design, and Carter's designs, while a little idiosyncratic were better sailing boats than some of the more extreme designs of that era.
The issue with a Pacific Crossing on one of these is the short comings of the basic design brief. IOR boats of that era were designed to be sailed with a large amount of crew weight on the rail, and while the NA40's were not as bad as later designs, that piece of their design brief (large crew requiements) makes them pretty marginal as distance cruisers. These are designs that do not have a large carrying capacity for consumables, although more than some might think since normal race crew weight would be somewhere around 1500-1800.
These boats require very large overlapping headsails and enormous spinnakers to get decent performance in light to moderate winds, but since they are a little tender, need frequent headsail changes as wind speed increase. The need for headsails on these boats that were so huge that you would not be able to get away with a more moderate headsail or with partially furling the sails on a roller furler.
These boats are positively scary dead downwind and at deep reaching angles (extremely large roll angles and excitation rolling which can lead to broaches and death rolls in the kind of conditions that you would expect on a Pacific crossing.
What I am really suggesting is that while it may be possible to cross the Pacific with a North American 40, the NA-40 would be a pretty poor choice. Think of it as taking an old race horse, that has been used for trail riding and trying to pull a carriage with it.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay and part-time purveyor of marine supplies
Last edited by Jeff_H; 04-20-2010 at 10:03 AM.