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Old 01-16-2013
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Re: Blue Jacket 40 (new racer/cruiser)

Onto the performance cruising debate:

If we are going to do apples:apples, lets make sure we all have the same definitions...

Let's take racing out of the discussion between the boats (and yes, I understand very well pointing... I do and have raced). This whole thing started with what is a good performance cruiser? I guess it all comes down to what your definition of a performance cruiser is. My definition is a boat that in normal conditions will meet or exceed hull speed while FULLY LOADED with cruising gear. It does not mean it has to have a negative PHRF or outrun a TP 52. WHat is your definition of a performance cruiser? Because if it is simply the fastest boat that you could cruise on, a First or J122 wouldn't even make the list. Lets start talking about trimarans, racing cats, or others. And before you say I am going overboard, just so you know, I have regularly seen people "camping out" in these (saw some this last trip to FMB). Are they cruising? I certainly don't think so, but they spent some days there in the mooring field.

So, what is cruising for you? TO me, cruising is Fulltime living aboard and travelling on a boat for year(s) at a time... and certainly not less than six months at a time. It is going to different places, anchoring out and adventuring. It is a combination of marinas, mooring fields, and sitting on the hook (with a fair amount of being on the hook). I do not feel that cruising is taking a weekend and sailing down to the next marina. THat is weekending. I do not feel cruising is taken several weeks or a couple of months to sail to a few different places and then returning to your house. That is vacationing. So that is my definition. Again, what is yours?

So here is my issue with the J122 and the First and similar boats: they have major tankage issues. Hey if you are a single person, you might can make it work or deal with it. But many of us actually travel with a companion, many of them I think would quickly nix any thought of cruising on the sparse conditions of a First. Now Paulo mentioned this couple that is in the Antarctica on their First. Was that their boat of choice, or was it what they had and fit their price and them made do? I can certainlty think of a lot of better boats to go to ANtarctica with... I bet they can too. ALso, is it a stock boat? Doubtful. I suspect, like ALL cruising boats, they are loaded to the brim with clothes, pots and pans, gas tanks, diesel tanks, extra water jugs, solar panels, a generator, many weeks (we do over a month) of food stocks, etc. Now, when they are done with that boat, does it still look like and perform like a stock J or First? Heck no. We wouldn't expect it to. But now my question is: How fast is that boat really now? WHat is its true RM now with all that crap all over the deck and above the waterline? How long can they go without having to pump out... or do they dump in the bay? How far can they motor continuously without wind (not even counting charging their batteries)? My guess is that this boat may end up being a much more tender boat and lose a whole lot of its RM, because of all the stuff that more traditional cruisers can stick below the waterline or store in cabinets (as they are made for), cannot all fit in this boat. TO load this boat up with cabinetry, make it beamier to accomodate more space, add tankage and drawers, etc... you then lose much of the benefits these boats offer. I could almost argue that these boats may become less safe if these items are being forced to store above the waterline where other boats can get them below. As everyone who cruises knows, getting weight below the waterline and balancing the boat is critical. When we go to Costco or Sams, we can spend half a day properly stowing goods.

These are the REAL issues we deal with, everyday. And I will give you one of the truest of all statistics when cruising or being a mobile live-aboard. It is too often forgotten that we spend 1% of our time moving, and 99% of our time anchored/moored/docked. So what are you willing to give up to go cruising on a boat like a First, so that you can be the first to the anchorage, then spend the next week(s) in a boat that is cramped below at best? You will have stuff on that boat jammed into every crevice because it simply lacks the storage of a larger, beamier, boat that is filled with cabinetry and drawers and deep bilges for stores, etc. I also question how well that boat performs when loaded down with cruising gear, davits, solar arch, tender, extra batteries, etc... pound for pound, suddenly outrunning a Catalina 400, or a beneteau 40, or a Beneteau 473, might be more of a challenge. I am not saying they wouldn't, but they have made a huge sacrifice to get there.

I understand that for some, this compromise is worth it. For those that it is, do you and have you cruised on this boat? How long? How many people? Where did you go? How much time did you spend on the hook? I suspect they will end up like the Millionaires that buy the V42, outfit it to go around the world, spend a few weeks at the dock, then suddenly realize they are cramped and uncomfortable and the boat sits empty more than used. THey end up paying captains to deliver their boats because they don't want to go to the trouble and conditions. Before long, it is the nicest boat in the brokerage, marketed as a true blue water boat to take you anywhere. Problem is that few of them ever do. THat being said, if I was going to go around the world, I would definitely choose the V42 over my boat... in a heartbeat. For doing my type of cruising and the cruising typical of the vast majority of people, no way.

Anyways, this is a fun discission and I hope no one gets frustrated by it. I certainly am not. I am enjoying it. It is conversations like these that make Sailnet fun.
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