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post #17 of Old 07-05-2006
Jeff_H's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Newport 41,

I have raced and sailed these boats since before you were born, racing them back when they were new and many times since. I still have the scar on my leg gotten when the spinnaker turning block pulled out of the deck on one taking a chunk of deck with it. I have jammed sailbags into the forepeak to reduce the amount that the bow sections were panting. I have personally repaired these puppies when they came apart.

The hulls Iíve cut into were crudely laid up, resin rich in places, resin lean in others, with, by any reasonable standard, proportionately large amounts of non-directional fabric. The epitome of how to build a fatigue prone boat, and we are now discussion a fatigue prone hull, that is now 30 plus years old.

These are good boats upwind, but get into big quartering sea and they become an absolute bear to sail, especially shorthanded, wandering in ways that their small rudders (even the MK11, which was only slightly better) can't begin to deal with. These are extremely high rigging load designs that place extremely high point loads into very concentrated areas of the hull and require the kind of strength to sail that really grinds down a crew in changeable conditions.

I don't who your so called "best naval architects" are or whether they have actually spent a moment's time sailing these old girls, trying to keep them together, or putting them back together, or fought their way through a storm in one, or personally ground into the voids and resin pools in their lay-up with their own hands, but I will stand by my own personal experiences with these boats and what I have seen with my own eyes.

And yes, I know that some of these boats have done some very long distance cruising, and, yes, I know there are some very large variations in build quality over the production run of these boats with some of the later boats being better built than the early and last boats, and yes, you may have actually gotten the only one that actually was built like a tank, but the last time we had this discussion one of the folks that had actually done the Pacific on one came into the discussion and described completely reinforcing the hull to deck joint, adding bulkheads and reglassing the existing bulkheads back in, and building a new rudder in paradise trying to keep his boat together.

Look Kid, I have owned, cruised, raced, and designed, built and repaired wood, steel, ferro cement and fiberglass boats for nearly twice your lifespan. I know what makes a good fiberglass boat and if you listen you might actually learn something here. Tons of poorly laid up fiberglass does not a good fiberglass boat make. Proper engineering, good resin and fabric handling, proper internal framing, and proper resin ratio's make a good fiberglass boat. The Newport 41's that I have spent time with were just plain crudely built. They were fine for what they were built for, but you are mistaken if you think they are rugged or even heavily built. The Newport 41 is not especially heavy for a 41 foot boat (1500 lbs lighter with a 1000 lbs less ballast than the 5 inches longer better framed Beneteau 42) and certainly not robust, and certainly not tank like.

While C&C was at the top of their form when they designed the Newport 41, and the 41's were great bargain basement race boats for their day, they in no way belong on the pinnacle that you have placed them. I will pass back to you your own advice, do your own research with someone who actually knows these boats inside and out before spouting off. Mouthing off, you only show your ignorance.

BUT In any event, my point in my original post was to answer your question as best I could, and not to suggest whether you should go off cruising or not, or for that matter whether suggest that your boat is the right boat for you or not. My comments were simply to note that you, like many people your age seem to chose larger boats than were chosen by people your age a few generations back, and that this generation often chooses from bigger, obsolete old race boats with all of their liabilities. My comments were not meant as a value judgment; they were meant as simple observation.

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