Re: Production Boats and the Limits
Staying in line with the subject of the op. IMHO, I have seen and read about many long passages and even a few circumnavigations in stock, well maintained production boats. Most production boats can take more punishment than the crew.
My intention is not to get into a pissing match on boats, or over defend Catalinas or other affordable production boats. I will share with my reasoning on choosing the Cat 36, I am open and thankful for those who disagree and have differing opinions. I am nearly ready to pull the trigger on a Cat 36, so please, feel free to sway my decision before I take the plunge, pardon the pun.
The Cat 36 seems to retains resale value better than the general market. It is still in production and parts and support network is easily found. Any mod you may choose, has already been done and documented so easy to copy. I like afternoon and sunset sails, I like morning coffee putts around the harbor with classical music. I don't like being dependant on crew so simple and easily single handed is important. The hardware on any boat is sized to it's expected max load. Any boat of mid 80's vintage must be carefully surveyed and inspected. Any boat with 10-15 year old rigging should be re-rigged, both standing and running, before any extended cruise or passage. Over building certain hardware, can cause a breakdown elsewhere. A chain is only as strong as it's weakest link.
Even the most hardy and purist of cruisers spend over 95% of time at anchor, on mooring or marina, depending on budget, so a boat that is comfortable in condo mode is important. Most cruisers endure the passages to be there, so being comfortable when there is an impartant factor. The most skilled, experienced, and prudent sailors seldom, if ever, have to endure storm conditions beyond what a production boat can handle because they use their superior skills and experience to avoid those situations.
Tankage?? Very good qualifier. There are many ways to increase both fresh water and fuel capacity either temporarily, ie jerry cans and soft tanks, or convert storage area to tankage area.
I may only think I am as close as I am to buying another boat, but I can't help but want to save as much for the cruising kitty as I can. Being broke on a big nice boat is probably worse than having the finanaces to cruise on a smaller more modest boat. There is a Cat. 36, bought for 25k in this years PPJ. Patriot circumnavigated, seems to be more of these type production boats in the Ha Ha and actually out there than the high end yachts. Why?? Affordability, plain and simple.
I am sure I have more, don't worry about that, but out of time right now. Gotta call a broker on a Cat 36. Affordable, with money left over to do the upcoming Ha Ha.