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Old 11-10-2000
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Ocean Passages...

I would like to hear from experienced passage makers... What types of boats do you consider the best?

what size?
35'' 40'' 50''?

What manufacturers make decent passage makers?

Hunters? Catalinas? Beneteau''s? Gulfstar?

I currently work but own a Mac 26x on the puget sound, the engine comes in handy when the wind dies as it often does here. I have my own dream similar to others. I plan to purchase a large passage capable boat in the next 6-9 years and spend 3 years +/- in the Med across the atlantic, I have made the trip before, but that was as a LT in the Navy, I am a capable Sailor in search of a capable boat. I hope this time it will be a bit different. BTW I drove the USS Arleigh Burke DDG-51 through much of the storm depicted in the movie ''The Perfect Storm'' only at the time it was hailed as the Storm of the Century, it actually bent a 505'' destroyer, sistership of the USS Cole. I learned to sail at USNA in Annapolis. I know what conditions I will be needing to weather through, I just lack the experience to know what/who makes a well built offshore, bluewater passage making cruiser.
Any experienced viewpoints are welcomed. I do plan to increase my offshore Sailboat experience, though that may start in Florida to the islands after I have acquired a vessel. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-10-2000
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Ocean Passages...

There are a lot people with the same dream out there. The current trend is toward larger boats than I would consider ideal. For the most part US distance cruising couples seem to prefer boats around 42 to 44 feet. I personally would prefer something smaller around 38 feet. While a lot of people have covered a lot of the world in 35 foot and smaller boats, I think 35 feet begins to press the envelope toward the small size.

The boats that you list (Hunters, Catalinas, Beneteau''s,and Gulfstar) build predominantly coastal cruisers. They are more optomised for the lighter winds and more protected conditions that are typically encountered in coastal cruising. They are really not designed with many of the critical features of a boat that I would consider "bluewater cruisers". That said each of these manufacturers have produced boats that make good passagemakers.

For example, both the Hunter 54 and Hunter 37 have made successful circumnavigations. I don''t know have any first hand knowledge of any heavy weather passages made in Catalinas of Beneteau, but Gulfstar 50''s have made very good passage makers.

When I think about passage makers for the kind of thing that you are contemplating I think of boats like the Valiant 40, Brewer 12.8, Whitby 42, Niagara 42, Ta Shing (Taswell, Norseman)43-44, the Peterson 44, J-44. This actually represents a pretty wide range of boat types and not everyone would agree that all of these should be here. If I was going to so what you want to do I would probably choose the J-44 but most people would not.

Good luck
Jeff
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Old 11-13-2000
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Ocean Passages...

None of the above! A "passagemaker" should be a comfortable sailing boat, as well as built reasonably strong. A comfortable sailing boat will have a V forefoot for ease of entry, a deep vice shoal keel, a longer keel than any of the boats you mentioned, and preferably a skeg hung rudder. The rudder is one of the weakest points on many spade rudder designs.

A passagemaker may take longer to get to the destination but one should not have to spend time recovering from the trip as if one took a sled.
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Old 11-13-2000
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Ocean Passages...

None of the above! A "passagemaker" should be a comfortable sailing boat, as well as built reasonably strong. A comfortable sailing boat will have a V forefoot for ease of entry, a deep vice shoal keel, a longer keel than any of the boats you mentioned, and preferably a skeg hung rudder. The rudder is one of the weakest points on many spade rudder designs.

A passagemaker may take longer to get to the destination but one should not have to spend time recovering from the trip as if one took a sled.

Weighing cost, performance, selection, I''d suggest the Union 36, Fairwether Mariner 39, Passport 40, Valient 40 if you can find one, Norseman 40 or 447, Hans Christian 37, 40, &43, for starters.
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Old 11-13-2000
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Ocean Passages...

We went transatlantic in an Ohlson 38. It was big enough without being too much to handle. Try reading Practical Sailor''s reviews. They suggest that J/Boats (the J/35, for example) is one of the FEW production boats that they would consider taking on such a trip. I would second most of the above opinons on the manufacturers you asked about. Of course, if you pick the right weather, you can cross in a kayak.
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Old 12-28-2000
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Ocean Passages...

Gene, I would agree with most of what Jeff says except about the size of boat. It has been my experience that when you get to more isolated ports you tend to see a lot more boats in the 30 to 40 foot range than in the 45+ foot range even though the latter would offer more comfort and the owners have spend a great deal more money on them.

I don''t think that there is a ''best'' boat or even a best type of boat. I think you get a good quality boat of the size that you are comfortable with (physically and financially) , equip it well and learn how to sail it really well.
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