Production Boats and the Limits - Page 26 - SailNet Community
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post #251 of 5176 Old 11-25-2009
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IIRC, that pic was taken near the start of the rally, which would be near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. They supposedly had very good conditions this year almost a record low (if not record) number of engine hours in the cruising class, wind speeds mostly 20-30 kts. Most if not all boats did the run completely on port tack.

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post #252 of 5176 Old 01-28-2010 Thread Starter
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Wow - this debate has been going on a LONG time. Here's a post from 9 years ago that has some interesting points that still might apply today:

Originally Posted by Gene66 View Post

I just do not understand why you and a few others on this message board continue to bash/bad mouth hunters and other production boats as not viable bluewater cruisers.

To answer one of your questions; Hunter marine, according to Greg Emerson at Hunter, has stated "My background before customer service was actually building the boats as I was the lamination manager for over 10 years after having started working for Hunter Marine in 1978. I am very familiar with lamination schedules and the extensive research that we put into deciding how a boat will be built. I am very familiar with the effort that is put in to have proper overlaps in place as well as extra reinforcing for specific areas of the hull and deck.
Over the years we have continued to build boats using the same building techniques with the only changes being in materials that technology and testing prove to be the best. When recently required to have our boats meet CE Certification to sell in the European market, which by the way is the only rating system to date that screens ocean sailing capabilities, we were pleased to find that our boats rated very well. The certification encompasses the boats stability and construction. Although the boats we built in previous years did not have to be CE certified we found that we had to make no changes to our laminates to meet their requirements therefore showing that previous boats would have been certified as well since we made no changes. The only changes we had to make was in equipment. All our boats from 34 foot and above received the highest rating which was "class A" which indicates ocean sailing ability."

Have you seen Hunter boats upside down because of a wave? I imagine any wave large enough to do that (and I have seen waves in the north Atlantic big enough to roll ANY 50 foot or less sailboat easily)

Have you roll a sailboat while crossing the ocean? and continued on? I''d be happy to survive but would expect possibly a broken mast.

I expect any 20,000 Lb boat to right itself if 50% of the mass is buried 6 feet or more below the waterline, cause any seas mean and rough enough to capsize it would not be calm enough to allow it to stay balanced in such an unstable position, EVEN if the beam were 20 or even 25 feet wide she would self-right herself. The problem with what you imply, to get caught in the kind of sea state needed to roll a 10 ton displacement boat, is one would NOT roll just once, BUT again and again, unless it was a rare tsunami wave or some other rare sea condition. The situation altogether must be avoided. I have been on 1000 foot carriers in the north Atlantic in the winter, and people died. The carrier lost aircraft off its flight deck to the sea, planes crashed on landings, some spilling fuel but not igniting simply because the air temp was cold enough not to support enough JP-5 vapors to catch.

Now Paul, I would give you some credibility in my eyes if you could provide some factual data, historical data on why the hunter''s or other modern production boats are not contenders for ocean crossings?

According to Hunter there have been many ocean crossings and I''m told I will hear from some of their customers who have made ocean crossings.

I am not bashing you if you have some useful data on modern production boats but I have not read anything from you or Jeff on these message boards other than well known boat design considerations used as speculation to try to discredit modern production sailboats.

Try using facts and not speculation mixed with well known design priniples. you begin to sound like someone who thinks they know what they are saying, but really has not a clue.

I am aware that companies like Hunter have professional sailors in their employ as well as many engineers, who are also avid sailors, so either put up or ---- --.

I am still not convinced one way or another about hunters or other production boats, but I plan to continue to research the facts, historical facts, proven facts to find out.

And Jeff_H's response...(see bolded text)

Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
With regard to the certification process, as the European Union has been coming together they have tried to develop uniform standards that would apply to inter-country commerce. These standards have been applied to everything from butter to boats. The process of developing acceptable standards for boats has been ongoing for the better part of a decade that I know of.

The original standard dealt solely with stability and downflooding at sea. The process was very interesting in that yacht designers from all over the world were consulted as well as research teams. Data was collected from a wide variety of events (knockdowns and roll overs) as well as from actual disasters. The events were plotted against the known information on the vessels that had been through dramatic occurances. Certain patterns were noted and a set of formulas were written that attempted to create an empirical rating regarding a boats safety at sea only as pertained to knockdowns and roll overs. The grade that resulted would have placed vessels in one of four categories, with the most stringent being ''Open Ocean''.

These formulas were submitted to member nations for review, comment and approval. As a result of this multi-European nation over view the formulas were changed so that they required simplier information to obtain essentually developing surogate approximations (For example instead of requiring manufacturers to calculate the vertical center of gravity of the boat, a computation of draft, ballast, mast length and displacement was used roughly estimate the vertical center of gravity- a poor substitute but easier to obtain.) The requirements were also reduced in severity as well.

Shortly after the stability standards came a set of equipmentand systems standards. These do have some minor scantling requirements.

Hunters larger boats were some of the first to be certified for an "Open Ocean" rating. You can argue with the stringency of the rating (which I do) but you can''t argue with that they did not obtain it. Hunter''s current crop of larger boats have CE Open Ocean certifications.

Now to correct one point above, these certified designs have been altered to obtain the necessary certifications. One reason that Hunter went to cored topsides was to reduce weight to allow them to have additional ballast and thereby do better. They also raised to cabins to reduce inverted stability (a major category in the standards) albeit hurting real usable stability by raising the center of gravity and adding windage.

In any event, the standards do not really cover the characteristics that determine whether a boat''s capability really is as a blue water boat. It does not look at seaberths, handholds, size of portlights and thickness of large plexiglass elements. It does look at hold downs and system installations. It does not consider comfort of motion.

In conversations with Hunter owners who have weather storms at sea you get all kinds of mixed messages. The boats, by and large have survived but they have flexed terribly. I have read accounts of dislodged bulkheads and casework. I have experienced failed fitting attachments. I have experienced blown up or damaged undersized hardware. (We have had two Hunters in my family.) Hunters are a mixed bag but in my mind most of the newer boats are not a boat that I would choose to cross an ocean on.
And a good reply with some additional info...

Originally Posted by Gene66 View Post
Thank you both Paul and Jeff for updating your opinions about hunters and other modern production boats. I apologize for the vigorousness of my assault upon your opinions, I do dislike when people use concepts combined with speulation, to me that is more a recipe for hypothesis and not a valid convincing arguement, yet many novices can influenced all the same with this technique all the same.

I recieved the letters from Hunter from other Hunter owners from various sources. And several accounts of ocean crossings and one complete circumnavigation in a Hunter 43.

Some common threads I noticed, all were very pleased with Hunters light air performance, no surprise here. It appears none were stock boats, meaning nearly all were modified somehow, be it additionl fuel reserves, to mfg installed smaller stays enabling it to be rigged with two head sails, but primarily to use a storm jib on the aft smaller stay to move the CE (Center of Effort) aft to bring balance to a fully reefed main close hauled in 20 foot seas and 25+ 35+ knots of wind and one account of greater than 20 foot seas with gusts exceeding 65 knots ! wow, I''m even a bit skeptical about this account, but I take it with a grain of salt. One had a pair of adjustable backstays added "For insurance" they wrote. Most had some minor gripe usually to do with something like the halyard line holder drained onto the cockpit seats, or the anchor had to be replaced because they thought it too small. No major damages reported, yet they all acknowledged that the light air performance comes at a cost, I use my own words to summarize the observation, tall mast, large area maximum sail plan, requires proper sail plan set for any given conditions.

I also realize this is Hunter filtering what Hunter wants me to read. And still remain a bit of a skeptic. However, I am attracted to Hunter boats for several reasons, not all sounds ones either: Strong light air performance, by far and large my own sailing experience has consisted of more light air sailing than gale force winds, so I assume, maybe incorrectly that more sailing is done in light wind than strong, even though inshore this is largely determined by the choice of when to slip the dock lines, during an ocean crossing, one only choose their first few days, maybe. Also I like the roomy interiors of the hunter boats, if lee cloths are used, then their are readily available sea berths on every hunter(another common modification). I like the looks, hunters are just plain sexy to me. I''m a skeptic, I like things to be proven, and I think more often than not, as Jeff acknowledges, there have been many ocean crossings. This tends to be proof for me. There are many other very capable passage makers out there, some better in some ways, worse in others, but it is my opinion to date(not written in stone) that some hunters make great Bluewater boats. Thus I give Jeff credit again in stating hunters being a "Mixed Bag" I think the real challenge with Hunter is determining which boat you wish to bet your life on.

That said I think I will look into their new HC50 as this boat appears to make the most of hunters lessons learned. Many ppl thumb down a Mac 26x as a small weekend inshore cruiser, myself included until I used one. Now for what I use it for, I think it is perfect. I was even taught that sailboats do not plane under motor power, I guess I am simply saying things change. There will always be trade offs, and the more versatile a boat is, the more her configuration will need to change with the continuously changing current conditions and the desired effect from her master....hmmm, I wonder what a 2001-2003 model HC50 would sell for in 2006-2009 timeframe? (I think this will require speculation and patience!

Good Luck All!

Cheers to old threads! Keep diggin' them up!

Last edited by smackdaddy; 01-28-2010 at 01:09 PM.
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post #253 of 5176 Old 01-28-2010
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Nice thread. One quick post about Nauticats. One was lost two years ago off the OR coast when a rogue wave caved in and shattered the cabin side ports, tearing the fiberglass dividers up when it did so. This caused down flooding shortly thereafter. The couple was rescued but the boat lost. Boats with BIG ports make me nervous and would instantly be disqualified from MY list. I like the heavy bronze ports on my boat. The cabin sides would fail before a port would. I also like a real bridgedeck between the cockpit and cabin. It keeps a pooping wave out as well as provides somewhere for passengers to sit under the dodger. After being tossed around in a sea way, I'll keep my boat with handholds to Port and Starboard close enough that I can switch sides without losing contact. You'd be amazed how fast and hard you can get thrown in the crap.

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post #254 of 5176 Old 01-28-2010
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Is the Nauticat you are refering to, was this in an article in 48North? As I recall that was more of the coast of Ca in the SF area IIRC. As I know one of the two onboard and whom wrote the article. Then again, there could be two NC's that have gone down off the west coast here too!

With that in mind, I would agree that bigger "windows" for a general term, would not be my first choice for off shore, as they will let a lot more water in if they break somehow vs smaller one.


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post #255 of 5176 Old 01-28-2010
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It may have been off CA. It was in 48 North I believe...

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post #256 of 5176 Old 01-28-2010
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I think one of the problems with production boats being "offshore ready" has a lot to do with the market and pricing. If 99% of the market will not go offshore, and the boat is not sold as an "offshore ready ocean crossing boat" why would the builder, whether Hunter, Catalina, or any other company spend the money to make it so. It would price the boat out of its intended market. Most boats can go offshore with relatively minor changes and additions. Things like handholds added, minor rig changes, extra tankage and other changes/additions as required for the individual boat. On the other hand if the bulkheads are not tabbed, furniture is only held in with a few screws, and the companionway opens to the cockpit floor and is a lot wider at the top than the bottom I'd suggest another boat be chosen. A boat like this would require way too much in both dollars and time to make it "offshore ready". Maybe I'm wrong but at the moment I can't think of any mainstream boat in the mid price range that is specifically advertised as an ocean crosser. The basic design has to be compatible with the idea of offshore use, the small non structural things can be modified.

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post #257 of 5176 Old 01-30-2010
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Originally Posted by micksbuddy View Post
IIRC, that pic was taken near the start of the rally, which would be near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. They supposedly had very good conditions this year almost a record low (if not record) number of engine hours in the cruising class, wind speeds mostly 20-30 kts. Most if not all boats did the run completely on port tack.
Yup, this thread simply won't die, and I'll now add to keeping it from doing so.

That the boats had to endure 7 to 10 days of mostly 20+ knots of winds made for a good test of the boats. Great sailing conditions, but also put some stresses on the boats.

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post #258 of 5176 Old 02-01-2010
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Old but good thread. Many boats will withstand more than the crew. Any boat with an offshore rating should be seaworthy, which doesn't have to mean it's sea-kindly. And "offshore" doesn't mean a coastal run 50 miles out. It means a transit longer than a known weather forecast, with fetch of +200 miles, and no option of safe-harbour. The storm/calm percentage in the Pilot Charts doesn't mean chance of an occurance, it means percentage of the transit that will be in a storm or calm. Prepare for part of every offshore transit as being in a storm.

A narrow-blade type keeled boat has a flatter bottom and lands hard after jumping off a wave. A full keel usually dives in deeper, decelerating as it lands. Full keels will usually be more stable when hove-to.

It may take over a day and a half for a large Low to pass, then another day for the sea to lay down. That's two to three days in very stormy seas, with another +4 metre wave every 15 seconds. For three-days my calc says 17,000 waves... Yup, seaworthy is important but sea-kindly counts. If the boat is not sea-kindly the crew will be reaching for the EPIRB after only 5,000 big waves.

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post #259 of 5176 Old 02-01-2010
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Charlie Cobra comes up with a point that is a favorite of never want to be further away than you can reach from a handhold.

otoh when it comes to PH windows I'm of the opinion that modern materials could in fact make the windows in a PH stronger than the timber/glass whatever surrounding them.

I'm not suggesting that windows as fitted are of adequate strength, more that they can be adequately beefed up. Mind you if I was taking a PH offshore I'd want to have storm boards.

Now further to the question of overall strength I'd point you to doing a Google of "Queen's Birthday Storm" or

Storm Tactics Handbooks: Modern ... - Google Books

In that event , and it was a particularly nasty one, on par with the '79 Fastnet and the '98 Sydney-Hobart a Bob Perry designed Norseman 447 (surely something of a brick outhouse) went down without a trace.

There are some events you simply cannot hide from but its interesting to note that while the Norseman was beaten other lighter boats (including a number of multihulls) survived.

I reckon we keep coming back to the crew and how they prepared for the worst.

Jeff_H's remarks re flexing (quoted by Smack) are worth re reading, as are most things the old curmudgeon writes.

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post #260 of 5176 Old 02-01-2010
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I'd point out that the scantlings for multihull construction are different than that for monohull construction. One reason is that multihulls do not have to support the loads generated by the large mass of a keel or ballast system that monohulls have to deal with.

Also, the forces a storm can apply to a monohull are often higher than they could with a multihull, since a multihull can rise with the waves and follows the surface, rather than being in held in place by the keel and getting pounded as a result.


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