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JakeLevi 10-26-2006 04:27 PM

Production blue water boats
Theres a thread on Hunter Boats, with some contributors saying they'd never own one with others saying they'd make okay coastal boats but they wouldnt circumnavigate in one.

This last was a puzzlement as there was a series of articles in one of the sailing mags several years ago on a circumnavigation on one.

Anyhow, I am now curious as to what production boats people WOULD suggest for blue water cruising?

I note on YachtWorld there are a number of Morgans, Hunters, Columbias, C&Cs, etc etc,

I am really interested as I am searching YW almost daily for a good cruising boat.

FrankLanger 10-26-2006 04:46 PM

I can't check now, but I recall a book written a number of years ago with a title something like "Design characteristics of the Offshore Cruiser", which was well-written and covered lots of desireable/undesirable aspects of boats, explaining what and why certain characteristics were important for offshore cruising. It rarely mentioned individual boat makes, but might be good background to help you better evaluate various boats to suit your intended purpose.
Also, if you do a search on this site, there have been lots of posts comparing boats for offshore capability.
Good luck!

Gene T 10-26-2006 05:05 PM

You could circumnavigate in almost anything. The odds of completing the trip go up with the quality of the boat. A true offshore cruising boat would means different things to different people. If you look at the different custom boats built specifically for certain cruisers you will find them built out of steel, aluminum or even cold-moulded. They generally have small cockpits, a rugged sail plan and heavy duty rudders among other attributes. There just isn't much of a market for cruisers as experienced wealthy cruisers are fussy and particular. Some will want fin keels and some long keels. Some Ketches, some Cutters ans some want Fractional rigs. Note that for day sailing and close to shore you would want large cockpits for entertaining or racing, large interiors for dockside pleasure and fiberglass for light weight, ease of maintenance and manufacture.

There are a few builders that come the closest to a true world cruiser. I don't know them all but a few are Amel, Valiant, Westsail. Others will chime in on some they know about.

PBzeer 10-26-2006 05:10 PM

The thing with most of the large volume production boats is they are designed with the weekend sailor in mind. Long on amenities, short on storage, tankage, and other things that are found on bluewater boats. It isn't so much that they aren't built well enough, it's that they aren't built for that purpose. Nigel Calders The Cruising Handbook does a good job of describing what to look for in a passage maker. An online source would be here .


Cruisingdad 10-26-2006 05:18 PM


Frank is right. There are a number of old threads comparing different boats and their capabilities, etc. Now, most of these are opinions - so take them as such. I have owned a Catalina (actually many of them) and have put them in some really bad seas offshore... so it is basic generalities. I would also like to make a statment that most offshore boats are built stronger than most "island hopping" boats... but that does not make them a better boat - IT ALL DEPENDS ON WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO USE IT FOR. I try and scream this to people all the time. Let me tell you why:

One of the more recognized "bluewater" boats is a Valiant. They are very heavy boats and built extremely well. In general, they have smaller and fewer hatches, lots of water, lots of fuel, a small cokpit, and wide cat-walks on the deck. They have a very nice lazarette and a well planned out spot for generators, watermakers, and a lot of the other gear that is required far from shore. Now, that is all great and neccessary if you are punching across seas and to distant shores... but those small hatches dont ventilate as well as a "hatch-filled" boat, those wide cat walks make for a more closed in cabin down below, all that water and fuel eats up space in other parts of the boat, the small cockpits are not great for laying out and spreading out watching the sunsets or entertaining, those nice lazarettes take out living space below... get the picture? The Valiant is a stronger boat and will take a much harder beating than any Catalina or Bene or Hunter... but it would not (is not ) my choice for a island hopper.

Buy a boat for what you are going to use it for primarily. Most passagemakers never leave the first marker... but if I was going to circumnavigate or cross oceans, a Catalina or Hunter or Bene would not be my first choice for the very reasons listed above. Does it mean you cannot do it? No. Does it mean you cannot take a Valiant and Island hop? Of course not. But if you buy the boat for how you will primarily use it, you will be happier, safer, more comfortable, and probably even save a lot of money!

sailingdog 10-26-2006 06:33 PM

Another valid point is that bluewater boats often aren't as good for shorter passages in lighter winds, as they're often too heavy to sail well in those conditions, where a coastal cruising boat would be more than happy to move along nicely. Getting a boat that matches what you're planning on doing really makes the most sense. Don't get a tank if you're not going into battle, and don't buy a sports car if you want to haul along everything and the kitchen sink.

paulk 10-26-2006 07:50 PM

Lots of reading
The book Frank refers to above is "Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts" written by the Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of America and edited by John Rousmaniere. My copy is from 1987. The different chapters are written by renowned experts including Olin Stephens, Richard McCurdy, and William Lapworth, among others. It gives you a LOT to think about. Steve & Linda Dashew's "The Circumnavigator's Handbook" also provides interesting ideas and advice that might be helpful. Books by people who've sailed extensively like Knox-Johnston, Hiscock, Roth, Moitessier and the Pardeys can also provide insight. They each have different approaches that might suit what you want to do and the way you want to do it. The more it snows this winter, the more time you'll have to read.

JakeLevi 10-27-2006 06:26 AM

Excellent input, thanks all, much to think on, and read about, I am adding those books to my books to get list, right now its got 15 entries.

My own plan is a liveaboard for coastal cruising but an Atlantic crossing in a year or two. Otherwise much time in the Carribbean.

Keels were brought up, which is the better for a coastal that can do blue water ? I agree on the tankage, see very few on Yacht World that have what I consider reasonable tankage.

Cocktail partys are out, just not my thing. The time is better spent fishing.

That said, the few floor plans I have seen dont show a whole lot of good options for stowing fishing equipment/snorkling/diving gear.

Actually the two best possibilities I have seen recently are older wooden boats. One 38' and one 40'. I have seen a Morgan 38' and a 35' that look good but wonder about the blue water capabilities.

sailingdog 10-27-2006 07:31 AM


I'd avoid wooden boats. From what I've seen of most wooden boats, the maintenance is far higher, and you'll be spend far more time maintaining the boat than you would on a fiberglass boat. Most people who have never owned a wooden boat have no real idea of the massive amount of maintenance they require, especially compared to a boat made of "frozen snot" as one old timer referred to fiberglass.

One boat that may fit your requirements, as a liveaboard, coastal cruiser, but is fairly capable as a bluewater boat is an Alberg 30 or Pearson Triton. Both of these are Alberg-designed boats, and quite capable boats, with fairly good light air performance as well. They are both reasonably priced and simple to single hand as well.

Of course neither of these boats was built as a "blue water passagemaker" as both were designed before people had such silly classifications for boats. :D If you're curious about the capabilities of the Triton, try looking at this website. The Alberg 30 is basically a larger, refined version of the Triton IIRC.

JakeLevi 10-27-2006 09:38 AM

I've seen several Alberg and Pearsons advertised, fine looking boats, the Atom sounds intriguing, I'll be looking into them,

ref keels for cruising and 'blue water' boats, of the several I've seen on the hard they had full 'fin' keels, only one with a 'spade'.

Comments/opinions on the better ?

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