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  #1  
Old 08-18-2006
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Exclamation New to sailing- need help!!!

I have always had a lifelong passion for boats, and I'm from Port Lavaca, Tx. I am looking at a good deal on a 25' sailing yacht and I need to know (for safety reasons) what its limitations are. Basically, how far out in the Gulf is she able to handle? I'm talking about 30 foot waves here. And also, is it feasable to sail along the coast to South America, or California or the Cayman Islands?
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Old 08-18-2006
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It depends on the specifics of the 25 foot sailing yacht that you are considering. If you are new to sailing, it also may be hard for you to determine whether the boat in question is in fact a good deal. Consumables like sails, deck and interior hardware, upholstery, electronics and auxillaries, etc. are such a big proportion of the cost of a boat of this size (often several times the purchase price) that unless you can eveluate these items it can be near impossible to determine whether you have a good deal or not. This is especially true with as ambitious a sailing plan as you are proposing.

I am not trying to discourage you here, as much as supply you with food for thought. To really answer your question it would be helpful if you gave a year, make and model that you are considering.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-18-2006
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Ok, I have considered your advice. Truth be told, I don't know how to sail yet, but I have family that does, books with a wealth and variety of information. I haven't even seen the boat yet, and the guy I'm dealing with is a friend of the family that runs a charter in Port O'Conner (My mom worked there for years at Junek Marine). I am a carpenter, welder, draftsman, and a body man with experience patching jet skis and boats with tree stump holes in them. This 25 footer is in the water now, so I know it floats, and beyond that I am able to fabricate most anything it could possibly need from raw materials, with exception to the mast or something major like that. He said he would pay for a bottom job too as added incentive. I plan to look at it before making rash decisions, of course. I just wanted a clearer picture of how far I can push the limits of the craft. I plan to sail around the bays here first, and as education and skills build my confidence, take it out into progressively deeper waters. Thank you for your advice, and I hope to refer to you again for future help. By the way, my name is Jeff too.
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Old 08-18-2006
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By chance a Mopar fan?
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Old 08-18-2006
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Plumcrazy-
While there are many ways to try rating a boat as "safe" or suitable offshore...IIRC the major Bermuda races (800 miles offshore, so that's offshore enough to go anywhere) prohibit entries under 32? or 36? feet AOL on the assumption that they just can't handle the distance and conditions reliably.
That doesn't mean they "can't"...just that many years of extensive racing fleet experience have shown they can't handle it without extensive prep and able crew, or great luck.
I'd also suggest reading "Fastnet, Force 10" which goes into the disasterous Fastnet race and makes some comments about boats and boat sizes--even with capable crew--when the weather gets really ugly.
Then too, there's a limit to how much food and water you can stow on a 25' boat, and to go offshore, you absolutely must stow water, you can't rely on making it.
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Old 08-18-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor
Plumcrazy-
While there are many ways to try rating a boat as "safe" or suitable offshore...IIRC the major Bermuda races (800 miles offshore, so that's offshore enough to go anywhere) prohibit entries under 32? or 36? feet AOL on the assumption that they just can't handle the distance and conditions reliably.
I would disagree with this... I believe the reason that they prohibit entries under a certain length has little to do with the ability or seaworthiness of the boat, and much more to do with the fact that most boats under a certain size will not go fast enough to be competitive in the given race. Races generally need all the boats to finish within a certain time frame—small boats can't often finish within this timeframe.

Many small boats are extremely seaworthy and capable of carrying enough food and stores to make long offshore passages.

A properly prepared small boat can handle offshore passages. A Jordan Series Drogue can make horrific weather survival reasonable for small boats. You might want to research a bit more about the seaworthiness of small boats and the voyages made by them before declaring that they are not capable of or safe for bluewater passages.
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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
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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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Old 08-19-2006
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Gentlemen:

I still say, that Plumcrazy has not told us the age and type of boat in question and this question is far more a matter of type and not size. In other words he has not told us if this is a 1972 Venture or a 1985 Dana; or whether its a 1980 Kirby 25, or a 1958 folkboat. Obvious some of these boats are totally ill-suited for offshore work, while others are pretty well suited.

Even the storm tacktic being proposed depend on the specifics of the boat. To run off with a sea anchor takes really strong cleats and really strong rudder. Even a much smaller breaking wave than he has cited can pull cleats from the deck and destroy an improperly designed rudder.

SD: I don't know if and why there is a length limit in the Newport to Bermuda race today, but in the 1960's, when the limit was placed on length, there was concern that people would enter the race in progresively smaller boats and they considered that dangerous. That decision was made the year after Burgoo, a 38 foot Pearson Invicta won the race. Since the limit was for boats larger than 38 feet and she was a tick under, she became the smallest boat to ever win the Bermuda Race.

Plumcrazy: The fact that the boat is floating is irrelevant to whether this is a good deal. The hull and deck of a sailboat only costs something in the neighborhood of 20-25% of the overall costs of the boat. The materials to make a fully functional offshore cruiser roughly equal the labor. So if all you had was a fuctional hull, the cost to fit out a bare 25 foot hull for offshore use in a reasonably sound manner the costs could easily come to $15-30,000 and that assumes no labor and buying sound used equipment where that makes sense, and assumes buying sail kits and making your own. The reality is this boat may in fact be suitable and a good deal or it may not, and your costs to make her suitable, may make this a case where even if the boat were free its a bad deal. I've restored a couple of those in my life. If you are going to pour years of your life into restoring a boat, at least make sure it is a good design for your purposes.

Without a whole lot more info, none of us can really give you a meaningful answer.

Respectfully,

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff_H; 08-19-2006 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 08-19-2006
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size doen't matter - at least with boats

People have circumnavigated in 20 footers. How a boat responds to challenging sea depends on the the design and construction. I have an aging 26 foot trailer sailer that I have sailed in high seas and squals but I would not attemp to cross the Gulf in it. It's not built for 30 foot waves.

If you are new to sailing, you probably aren't ready for 30 footers either.

I would advise you to do a internet search of the specific boat you are looking to buy. Follow every lead to learn as much as you can about it. You might find an owners association where you can comunicate with owner to get their advice.
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Old 08-19-2006
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JeffH-

IIRC, the limit for the Newport-Bermuda is 30' LOA, as of this year's race. That's what I seem to remember reading in the Race Notice, when I received one at the Safety at Sea seminar in March, which was primarily for Newport-bermuda racers.

Also, a Jordan Series Drogue is NOT a Sea Anchor, and is not designed to be a sea anchor...but a drogue. Yes, it requires fairly strong attachment points, but it doesn't really require a strongly built rudder, as the boat ends up effectively moving almost at the same speed as the water...so the amount of force on the stern is minimal.
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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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Last edited by sailingdog; 08-19-2006 at 10:07 AM.
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Old 08-19-2006
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Might as well jump in here,

And get my "feet wet"on this forum, so to speak

Brand new to sailing, although I have read about it and learned a few tidbits I had never been on a sailboat in all my goin 'on 50yrs..until last month.

I became the unexpected owner of a freebie Sunfish clone. It was in very sad shape, however it was complete and functional. I spent an afternoon cleaning it up and then my brother and I took it down to the cove, rigged up and pushed off. The wind was about 2 knots, when it blew at all. We actually managed to catch a few good puffs of wind and when I saw the boat making a tiny wake with me at the controls I let out a whoop. It was really fun, and we sailed back and forth on the cove as best we could in the near calm for a couple hours.

Spent the next few weeks really cleaning and polishing and refitting what their is on a Sunfish, and waiting for the weather to either cool off or the wind to blow. Finally the day came that the weather was up and there was *plenty* of wind. We moved the boat to a larger cove and my brother left me there to do my thing. Lots of other boats around so I wasn't truly alone, but I felt like it. I rigged up and got the Sunfish in the water, climbed on and wiggled the sheet and rudder until suddenly...the 20-25 knt. wind caught that old ratty sail and



I was planing across that mile wide cove faster than I could imagine that surfboard with a sail could move!

Halfway across I realized I may have an "idea" of what to do to turn it around and head back but I was in WAYyy over my head. At that point I just held on and hoped I made it across without drowning. ( Yes, I had a brand new life vest on..but)

I made it across and spent the next 2 hours trying to calm down and paddle or catch the wind right and beat back across the cove. No way, I finally had to tie up and go for help. I don't know if I was more embarrased or in semi shock from the experience, but the boat stayed on the "blown to" side of the bay for that night. The next morning I went back and finally managed to paddle back across. The Sunfish has been sitting on it's trailer ever since, and it's gonna stay there until I am ready and the weather is not too much or too little or too damn hot again

After reading some of the other first time and learning experiences on this thread, I must say I feel much better about my little voyage of terror now. Perhaps it wasn't that bad after all!

MobyD, hopefully in a boat big enough to sit down in and not on..one of these days.
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