Join Date: Feb 2006
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My Great Struggle
I would like all of your opinions on my problem
I have been sailing for sometime and have sailed fin keeled, full keeled, and modified keeled sailboats.
But...I have done all coastal cruising with the exception of a trip to Bermuda.
So for those of you that do long, extended cruises in remote areas of the world....here goes:
I have been planning for years to circumnavigate when my financial situation warrants it, and I'm now only a few years away, so it's time to start really looking hard at boats to purchase.
I'll buy the boat in the next year, make my transition to living aboard with my wife, then cast off the lines and head out. My route will be following the trades from the East coast of the U.S. through the Canal, island hop to New Zealand, across the Indian Ocean to Africa and then head home.
As I browse Yachtworld and Boatsearch I see many different boats with full keels. Tayana 37, Allied Mistress and Princess, and Union 36 for example, and see great advantages of a classic full-keeled sail boats. I'm in no hurry, I love being out in the middle of the ocean on beautiful days and even squalls, so an extra day here or there will not bother me as long as my boat is up to it. It could handle more weight in gear becuase of the heavy construction. I would have the advantage of tracking well, being sturdy and comfortable, if I hit a shallow bank or reef I am less likely to damage something, and something that I believe is a huge advantage of a full keeled boat - ease of careening. I won't have the money, nor do I trust some of the rusty contraptions, to haul out to simply paint my keel or change a through hull or prop.
Next are modified full-keeled boats, such as an Endeavour 38, Pearson 39, Cheoy Lee 38, Sabre 34, CS 34 and 36, Morgan 382, or CAL 39. These offers much of the advantage of their full keeled sisters, plus a little more speed and perhaps up-wind performance. They offer less wetted surface. Generally heavy and could handle a good amount of gear and supplies. In a grounding they would be fairly well protected, not as good as a full keel, but good. I would, however, be quite nervous to careen this boat on a remote beach, the skeg is there to protect, but it doesn't seem like the wisest of ideas.
Then of course there are those performance cruisers out there. C&C 40, J-boats, and others. With these type of boat I would arguably be able to out run storms as long as I have the necessary equipment to forecast them accurately. They have good performance and better speed meaning shorter passages. But they offer no rudder protection, and both the keel and rudder may be seriously damaged if a grounding occurs. I would also say that careening would be near to impossible. They generally also have deeper draft.
Centerboarders such as a Tartan 37 can offer good performance downwind, make shallow waters look more attractive, and can easily be balanced. However there is a moving piece of equipment below the water-line. Also (I'm not sure, this is only a guess) they may not be able to be carreened because of the pressure of sand/mud/whatever pushing up into the reccess and therefore damaging something. But they may offer many different advantages.
So that is my huge quandry, what would be the best for my endeavor. I see advantages of each.
So after all that my question to you all is this:
Which would you pick for a circumnav, and why?
Is careening something you even do often, if not why?
Would you prefer speed over a little safety? Is speed in itself safety?