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  #11  
Old 07-15-2006
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sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice sailingdog is just really nice
PBzeer has an excellent point...for example...there was a catamaran that was abandoned down near mexico...several months later it was still upright and floating, as if the crew never had any reason to fear. Most of the time, the boats will survive far more abuse than her crew is willing to experience.

Many of the solid coastal cruisers would be quite capable of what you are planning on doing. I think a lot of it has more to do with getting to know whatever boat you are on, and learning what works for her and what doesn't...and learning to trust her to take care of you...and taking care of her, so she is able to do what you ask of her.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.
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  #12  
Old 07-16-2006
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I really understand what PBzeer is talking about… and yet there are our experiences aboard our T-bird. We still are very green sailors. There was the time that our outboard packed it in when leaving a tight and crowded anchorage in the face of a blow – we were blown back among the boats, totally out of control before we were able to drop an anchor. Scared the wife pretty good. And then when we had to sail home in 5 feet of steep chop in 30 knots of wind, she was terrified. We had taken a beginner’s sailing course (how to set sail, reef, drop anchor etc), but knew nothing about seaworthiness, what a boat could take and couldn’t take, why boats sink and don’t sink and so forth. We only knew that the waves were so much bigger than anything we had seen before, and though our tiny boat bounced around like a cat on a hot frying pan, we had no idea that we were in fact quite safe.

And then the fact that a T-bird has no helm control for the first 50 feet or so of initial travel and the resulting “problems” we have had leaving the dock. There was the time we dragged anchor in a blow and almost ran aground on a reef because of the same problem (try pushing the helm hard to windward with no response while you are being blown onto rocks and imagine how that feels), the time we did got stuck on a reef (okay, that one was my fault), the time I miscalculated the tide and we woke up at a 30 degree list (and that was also my fault) – so we have had our share of learning pains coupled with some bad luck and a very challenging boat to learn on. A boat that hits 45 degrees of heel at less than 20 knots of wind might not be the best learner for timid neophytes ☺.
There was the time the engine packed it in while entering a very narrow current-filled passage surrounded by rocks and shoals. That was a lot of fun. Two friends found alternate passage quite soon after. All this happened within our first two seasons as beginning sailors, so although we have had some wonderful times at sea, my wife has been scared a lot as well and I have to take that into account. In some ways I’m very proud that she is still willing to go out with me.
And this is why I have to be able to tell her that no matter how bad it might look to her neophyte eyes, she actually is safe. I don’t want to have to tell her that she is safe unless the wind picks up another ten knots. Which I guess is why I want a hummer to go to the supermarket.
The numbers are probably simplistic, but with my lack of experience it’s all I have and I don’t want to go offshore in anything like our old T-bird. I’ll be filing for divorce if I do ☺
In response to the question about importing, Canada has some ridiculous tax laws that make importing vessels not originally manufactured in Canada or the US very expensive – to protect a non-existent boat-building industry. It would cost up to 35% on top of the original asking price when taxes, duty, and exchange are factored in.
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  #13  
Old 07-16-2006
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I met a nice guy not long ago who loved sailing, but struggled to figure out why his wife hated it. My wife was there, and asked some questions, and heard the following: "Well, we started with a Hobie Cat that I absolutely loved to sail, but it seemed like she got hurt everything we went out. You know, we'd flip the boat, and she'd fly and land in the rigging, and for some reason always got injured. Now it seems like she hates sailing. Weird, huh?"

Yeah.

I've never sailed a T-bird, but my impression is that they are rather challening boats to sail (as you describe) because they were built for performance. Don Casey would argue that jumping to a Westsail would be making a similar mistake in the opposite direction: serious blue water boats like the Westsail with very heavy rigging, heavy displacement, long keels, long bowsprits and sometimes undersized engines can be a real challenge to sail and maneuver in tight spaces. You could end up with another set of frustrating experiences, instead of happy and rewarding ones.

I think nearly all "guys" (myself included) get very "boat centered." It's like the boat comes first, and the fun second. In the long run, boats normally cost either beaucoup time or beaucoup money, if not both. Instead of jumping to another boat, why not focus on sailing more boats first?

Charter something simple, like a less-than-decade-old Catalina, Hunter or Beneteau for a fun part or full week charter this fall, when the rates drop and deals are made. Sure, nearly everyone on these boards likes to bash these boats, but the bottom line is that they are designed to be easy to handle and fun to sail. In my experience (brief charters), they are. And what's wrong with that?

Anyway, jumping from a T-bird to a Westsail could be a hard road to go, spouse-wise. Another idea-- locally the women sailors (and gents) normally help with deliveries to get their first offshore experiences. It's cost effective, and they get to experience a range of boats. Alternatively, Nancy Erley runs a great program for women seeking offshore experience (http://www.tethysoffshore.com/). For gents or couples, Mahina Expeditions gets good reviews (http://www.mahina.com/).

Sorry if this got off the topic of Westsails-- it's just that a different boat doesn't always solve the problems we have. Good luck!

Jim H

Last edited by Jim H; 07-16-2006 at 11:03 AM.
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  #14  
Old 07-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfesq
Sometimes I think that Adminstrator just types these questions under a fake name to occupy the old guys....lol.
I'm a young guy. I've read a lot of your posts and I share a lot of your sensibilities. But I think that you are extraordinarily disrespectful to a fellow who has earnestly set out a real question that he has. It is quite possible to share your passion and even to challenge people without being a disrespectful, insulting jerk.

Fair winds.
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  #15  
Old 07-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Basilboy
So here’s the dream. Sailing around the Pacific Northwest for a year or so to get our sea legs and then sail down the coast to Mexico and perhaps lands beyond. Who knows where the lust for distant places will take us? But we have to get the boat first. And become a lot more comfortable with our skills. We have sailed a few years learning on our wonderful old Thunderbird, but are looking for something a lot more comfortable and substantial (and less tender).

I don’t know if either my wife or I could stomach the offshore stuff, but I would like to try at some point. But the clincher is that my wife is very nervous about the idea of being more than a stone’s throw from shore, and to help her with her anxiety I want to be able to reassure her that the boat we are in is as safe as possible! Not that some folks have taken it offshore, not that the odds are in our favour, but that this boat is up to anything we would likely run into as we sail down the coast.

Given that, I have been looking at Westsail 32s, not only because they seem bulletproof as far as seaworthy goes (the Satori was abandoned in the same storm highlighted in the novel the Perfect Storm and yet weathered the storm fine all by herself – I like that – I can have the heart attack or fall off the boat or pulled off by a giant squid and my dear wife will still be taken care of) but they also fit in with my own personal philosophy that smaller is better. However, I am concerned by several comments and reviews that I have read that describe the boat as an anachronistic slug. A tank with a big flag fluttering above it. The owners don’t seem to think so but everyone else does.

There are legions of production boats available that everyone also argues about, but I couldn’t look my wife in the eye and tell her we are as safe as we would be in anything in our newly-acquired Catalina or Hunter. So what about something in between - a very seaworthy boat that can take a lot more than I can, and yet sails better than the Westsail, has a reasonable amount of space inside for cruising, is under 36 feet, costs well under $100,000, is very well built, comfortable at sea and anchor and there were more than ten made and so the odds are that one would be available. It should have a high angle of vanishing stability, point well, track easily, and be comfortably handled by two.

A fast Westsail 32 would be about right Any advice on this would be much appreciated. It seems that boats are most often made for performance or seaworthiness but if you want both you are looking at big $$$$.
Why not look at a Tartan 37 from the seventies or eighties? This is a proven world cruiser that you could get in that price range. Maybe a little bigger than you were looking for but there are a fair amount of them around and maybe you could get a seatrial somewhere. There will be no comparison in terms of performance.

Also, I would suggest that you not lay out 50k plus before you figure out whether your wife can stomach it. Try chartering something first.
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  #16  
Old 07-17-2006
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I think this is a difficult topic to answer. if someone believes that a Westsail 32 is a bullet proof safe offshore boat then what discussion is left? Only someone with that boat will tell them that he is correct. To me a boat is only as safe as the crew and maintenance. To me boat selection depends on where I intend to use the boat and how I intend to use it. If you really want to cross oceans you would want a small cockpit, if coastal and using the boat for entertaining friends you want a large cockpit. Fin keelers are much easier to handle in close quarters and sail much better. If you are going to end up with the boat laying on a beach somewhere a full keel boat might survive better. in the Pacific Northwest I would even consider a trawler, due to the odd wind conditions and great cruising grounds. Some of the people I am aware of that are on their 2nd and 3rd circumnavigations have had boats built for them with fin keels and spade rudders. If you think you can convince your wife that a boat is safe I think you will fail. She will need to come to that comfortable feeling herself, I would involve her in the process and education.
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  #17  
Old 07-17-2006
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CBinRi: Don't be such a puss. The same question has been asked a thousand times on this Board. And, it got answered by same old guys who answer all the questions on this board. Thats what is so funny about it and why I asked the question. By the way, do you know for certain that he is not the adminstrator? Do you? I think we should ask him just to confirm.
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  #18  
Old 07-17-2006
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I want to thank everyone for their obviously thoughtful responses to a complex issue, and yes, I’m aware that there is more to it than “what’s the best boat”.
The comment was made that a boat is only as safe as the crew and maintenance. I completely agree with this. But as our experience with the T-bird will attest, the design of a boat can have a significant impact on your experience. I’m doing my best to become a better sailor, but I know the characteristics of a boat will profoundly affect my wife’s experience. For instance, I enjoy a buried rail but she finds it unsettling. It probably doesn’t help that we have only sailed on our Hobie cat and the T-bird, which is a very tender racer. You always seem to be on the edge of catastrophe on those things. ☺
I’ve read a few online logs of folks that have taken their Westsails down the coast from the Pacific Northwest to Mexico and while summertime winds up here can be fickle, most folks head to Mexico in the fall and both of these boats talked of almost constant winds of 30-40 knots, heavy seas, few anchorages and otherwise challenging conditions. It’s coastal cruising and I suppose most boats would shake it off without a problem, but what it is like going through all that I imagine will be determined in part by what you are sailing in.
The comment was made that “If you think you can convince your wife that a boat is safe I think you will fail. She will need to come to that comfortable feeling herself, I would involve her in the process and education.” I agree with this and while I know those kind of sailing conditions will be a challenge for her, experience will be a big thing – putting lots of miles under the keel without a major disaster will go a long way in allowing her a sense of confidence in us and whatever boat we are sailing.
To leave the safe anchorage is always a risk, and we know that. I suppose this is about managing the experience of risk as much as the actual risk itself. And I’m starting to think that it was a mistake to introduce her to sailing in the above two boats.
I had thought the Tartans were a Taiwan import?
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  #19  
Old 07-17-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfesq
CBinRi: Don't be such a puss. The same question has been asked a thousand times on this Board. And, it got answered by same old guys who answer all the questions on this board. Thats what is so funny about it and why I asked the question. By the way, do you know for certain that he is not the adminstrator? Do you? I think we should ask him just to confirm.
Dude, you may be correct about everything you say. Your manners still suck.
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Old 07-17-2006
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I don't necessarily agree with that. The comment was made for fun and it didn't discourage the contingency from answering his questions. There was really no need to slam me. Frankly, that was more rude if you think about it. A little levity doesn't hurt anyone after all.
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