Andrew McGeorge ... NZ
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Christchurch, New Zealand
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Voyaging is not a form of sailing. I love the Laser; that is sailor's boat for sure. Offshore sailing is a form of extreme adventure travel, and it is hard work as well as expensive. Some people do enjoy the passages, often down hill maniacs in catamarans. So far my experience has shown that actual days of nice sailing like you are used to might number one in fifty. Most of the time you are just trying to get there before a weather system clobbers you, anchor where you can sleep and get ashore to do the traveling part.
You really ought to try to get aboard for an offshore passage with an experienced owner on a good boat. Those of us who go back for the mental and physical battering time and time again have selective or poor memories. I've been in very solid 34-36 foot boats in real storms over 70 knots. If you are not scarred for your life, you must have missed something at birth. The Pacific is bloody big and although you might be able to get across in a small boat, there is a lot of gear and supplies you will need to make it safe and comfortable. I just don't think there is room on a smaller boat to stow it safely in a violently moving yacht. Life rafts on deck are a liability when the big green water comes crashing aboard, as it does. Will you head off without a sea anchor, without extra fuel, extra water?
As a New Zealander, I'll be looking at PS 34s this US winter (anywhere in easy range of LAX anyway). I feel they are suitable to cross the Pacific, where there is some real serious crcuising, but the minimum size for the job. A number have made it to New Zealand and Australia, but always the skippers were glad to have avoided true storms. The tiller thing is a no brainer. You American's (My wife is one too, so I do love you!) seem to love a wheel on little boats. I'd take a tiller any day for a boat of this size, even 40 or 45ft. If the boat is well balanced, and it better be if you want to self steer easily, the tiller has only advantages except for reversing under power. It is a shame that so few PS34s have been sold with tillers. Good luck finding one. As I understand it, the cost of converting back to a tiller is too much for most folk.
Question for you all: One of the things I'm worried about with the PSC34 is access to the steering cables and quadrant while at sea. Possible? Emergency litters can be a pain. Anyone used one?
If you really want to take the circimnavigation plunge, why not buy a boat in NZ or Australia. They are cheaper and there are plenty of high quality yards and supplies to get you away. Lots of boats make it this far and people give up. Locally, the Cavalier 32 is a rugged little voyaging machine and cheap to boot. I have no interest in sailing from about Thailand to the Med. end of the Red Sea, so buying a boat in the Med. is also attractive. Puket is another place with great deals on yachts since people who get this far have even fewer options.
Banks Peninsula, NZ