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  #281  
Old 07-09-2011
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There are many threads here on Sailnet. Most are just answering questions about this and that. Once in awhile there is the SUPER thread that never dies due to questions most sailors continue to have in there mind. This is one of those. One can re-read this thread over and over again and learn something new each time. As years go by ideas, theory's, and facts either change or are proven.
My two cents worth is what has been said here and on other forums. There are about 1,500-2,000 bluewater cruisers cruising the world at any given time Very small community. Most of them are in production boats of one sort or another, modified for the owners desire. I would even venture to say those cruisers in what some here would call true bluewater boats are in the vintage of 1980-1990 boat; either for affordability or/both bulewater characteristics. No prudent sailor would go out in seas and wind over 30 knots or 6' seas, in other words most cruisers are fair weather sailors. A descent skipper can sail anything in fair weather. According to stats, most cruisers sailing around the world encounter less than 5 days of true nasty storms during their entire cruise. With the advent of getting weather through SSB, weather routers and prudent planning, fair weather sailing is paramount.
So what does get important for the average cruiser out there. 90% of the time the cruisers in either at anchor, moored or docked. So comfort down below and above becomes paramount hence the new wide stern, open cockpit designs coming out of most production boats, and new interiors that resemble floating condos. Easy sailplans; roller furling mainsail and jib, German sheeting, power winches, strong autopilots, etc. Appealing to the female gender in features that some sailors cringe about gets more sailboats on the water and keeps the Captain happy. Keeps the sport/lifestyle alive.
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  #282  
Old 07-09-2011
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Yes, the SUPER threads...

What anchor should I buy?

Crimping vs soldering.

And the funniest of all

Cruising with bulldogs. (My favorite)

224

This is the internet, not an English class fer chrissake!

But getting back to the topic the boats that are built are the ones people buy. If these features were that bad they wouldn't sell.

What I have always found odd is the opinion of many that for a boat to be "offshore capable" it must have a long keel, attached rudder, and if it behaves like a half tide rock so much the better it seems.

On the thread started by Paulo - interesting sailboats - virtually all the boats described could and in some cases have been sailed offshore for a fair distance. Many are what cruisers would call either racers or racer/cruisers with a definite emphasis on the racing part.
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Last edited by mitiempo; 07-09-2011 at 05:02 PM.
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  #283  
Old 07-10-2011
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Lightbulb Interesting

Since I have committed several days to the reading of this thread, I feel compelled to post in order to justify the time spent. And well spent it was! My days were filled with learning, confusion, laughter, and puzzlement, but mostly confusion. As a novice sailor saving and searching for my getaway boat, this thread of boat comparison and capability is what initially drew me to its review. I must say that most of my confusion stems from the fact that it ran rather counter to the majority of advice I have received from experienced sailors on choosing the right boat for me.

The feeling I got from many of the posts was that of justification, and possibly pushing the envelope at times. The theme seemed to say "this boat can go here" and go on to "justify" that capability with real life accounts. Boats and their manufacturers seemed to end up in catagories which were shuffled based on personal experience, manufacturer recommendation, or marketing rhetoric. In the end, it seems that a certain blanket statement made by many experienced and often highly respected sailors remains true; "Boats can, and often do, handle more punishment than the sailors who sail them". (My synopsis and not a direct quote.)

That being said, let me add a disclaimer. I am in no way an expert. My sailing experience is severely limited compared to those of you who have previously posted. I have enjoyed reading the various thoughts, opinions, and facts that have been presented here and only wish to contribute a newbie's point of view.

The advice I have recieved concerning choosing a boat revolves around personal needs. The fact of whether or not I "could" take a Beneteau or a Hunter across an ocean, or even within a 5 day weather window seems a mute point IMHO. The issue of whether or not I "should" seems a lot more applicable. In my opinion, it appears that most production boats are designed to appeal to a targeted, even if rather broad, market. The boat is then produced to a standard that reflects that designed use. Sure, the boat most likely will take harsher use and I believe this is that "safety factor" built into most products to absolve a manufacturer from liability.

This may be a good time in my discourse to state that all credible advice I've received on choice of boat clearly states that I should first decide on how and where I will use the boat. Since the tone of the discussion seems designed to narrow down a list of choices that can handle a given set of parameters, I must say that, in my opinion, neither question has been sufficiently answered. Where I intend to go and what conditions I am likely to encounter is entirely a personal choice and a question that only the individual can answer. That individual needs to purchase a boat that can handle those conditions in safety and comfort. Again, safety and comfort are a personal choice and relative to the individual. As a novice sailor, in all reality, I will probably buy a boat that is much more capable than what I need. But can't that be considered a way for me to build confidence in my own capabilities? The knowledge that my boat is forgiving and will allow me to make mistakes in my learning curve without catastrophic consequences is comforting to me, just as the extensive skills and abilities comfort the sailor who takes a less sturdy boat with less margin for error across an ocean. By the way, this is a sailor who is the exception rather than the norm, IMHO.

It seems that Smackdaddy has endeavored to define the limits of intended use at several points during the discussion. He has even set parameters for boat choice. Smackdaddy, please feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but without going back over the entire thread I believe the limits of intended use could be summarized thusly;

1. Distance achievable from land within a 5 day weather window. Should this be applicable to the individual's area of operation, since I did not see an actual geographical location given? Also, since the boat's speed will affect this distance, should the window be applicable to each boat?

2. The boat must be '86 or newer, and cost less than $145,000. I can't remember the actual amounts you stated off hand so please correct me. Also, I'm not clear if staying within the bounds of cost, perceived blue water capability, or with manufacturer is the priority. I have seen some boats that fall within the stated cost and model year that are considered transoceanic capable but do not meet the manufacturer names that are used extensively throughout this thread.

Perhaps a well-defined set of parameters is in order. I just realized that although you did attempt to set limits on the discussion, those same limits are rather open to interpretation. For example, boats that are widely accepted as transoceanic have been discounted but fall within price or year model. It also seems that many of the production companies offer a wide variety of capability in their product lines, depending on boat size, options available, or year produced. Is the discussion focused primarily on certain manufacturers whose boats were built on or after 1986 and can be purchased either new or used within a certain price range and are capable of being safely operated within a 5 day sailing range (does this include return trip) from land by a sailor of average skill?

I am certainly hoping at this point that Smackdaddy will post a specific specific area of use along with boat parameters, especially manufacturers allowed. Even though I did not fully understand much of the technical facts thrown out for our review, I do understand that many manufacturers made design changes over the years to boats in the same product line. These changes often changed the capabilities of these boats so that a boat built in, say 1987 would not be capable of handling the same conditions that a boat in the same line that was built in 2009 is capable of handling. It is also my understanding that most boats, reguardless of their manufacturer, can be modified to handle almost any conditions, if the owner has the $$$ to accomplish it. So I'm assuming we are talking about a stock boat with only minor upgrades rather than a boat that has been completely refitted for heavier use.

As stated earlier, I am a novice and in no way qualified to quote what boats are capable of doing what. I am simply hoping for a well-defined set of conditions the boat will be operated in and the thoughts of sailors much more experienced than me to enlighten the many novices in the background that are probably reading this thread in hopes that they will find usefull information to help them get out on the water. My comments may have pushed the intended scope of this thread beyond its purpose into the realm of "which boat should I choose" and while that was not my purpose, it is a question that many of us have.
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  #284  
Old 07-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mitiempo View Post
Yes, the SUPER threads...

What anchor should I buy?

Crimping vs soldering.

And the funniest of all

Cruising with bulldogs. (My favorite)

224

This is the internet, not an English class fer chrissake!

But getting back to the topic the boats that are built are the ones people buy. If these features were that bad they wouldn't sell.

What I have always found odd is the opinion of many that for a boat to be "offshore capable" it must have a long keel, attached rudder, and if it behaves like a half tide rock so much the better it seems.

On the thread started by Paulo - interesting sailboats - virtually all the boats described could and in some cases have been sailed offshore for a fair distance. Many are what cruisers would call either racers or racer/cruisers with a definite emphasis on the racing part.

During the course of researching boats, I have to agree with your statement about what is considered offshore capable. To go beyond that, however, I have done a fair amount of reading on why these features are desireable and I have to say that I agree with the reasons. I think the "poor performance" factor may hinge on ones point of view.

I have developed a belief that virtually any boat is offshore capable, given the right weather conditions. Since I plan on eventually crossing oceans, I have ditched the statement "offshore capable" and confined my search for "offshore suitable" boats. I think these two discriptions encompass a state of mind rather than than the actual capability of the boat itself.

I stand behind my belief that almost any boat can go offshore. They could even cross oceans given enough food and water. This is the "offshore capable" mindset. I do NOT believe that just any boat should be taken offshore. This forum is full of stories from people who encountered much more in the way of weather and problems than they expected, and those "perfect sailing weather" forecasts have sometimes turned into small craft advisories. I will eat those words on this forum for all to see if I am wrong. Many of these boats can handle heavy weather, but what about equipment failures, ability to careen on a remote beach to repair a hole caused by a collision with floating junk? The ability to carry enough stores and water for truely extensive voyaging? Maybe, maybe not.

The "offshore suitable" mindset is where I think those full keeled, half floating rocks you speak of fall. I believe these boats were designed to handle the worst that mother nature could throw at them. The design features they incorporate are there for good reason. Sure, they affect the performance, such as speed and maneuverability. But I say they are high performance in the role they were cast for. They take a beating. They get you there, not because of fair weather, but no matter the weather. Perhaps speed is not so important to the individual as being able to take punishment and still go. Maybe they want the ability to dry out on the beach to repair damage and not have to terminate their cruise.

What do you think? Could "offshore capable" be confused with "offshore suitable"? My personal opinion is that boats like the Tayana 37 or the Hans Christian 33 are absolutely beautiful in their styling and abilities. Many of the newer boats seem so futuristic to me and while they are attractive boats, they don't hold the appeal I have for the more traditional designs. With my intended use and personal preferences, when I finally make a purchase it will be one of the above mentioned, or one like them. But, that is my own choice and my priorities are likely to be much different than those of you that want to race or prefer a faster, more responsive boat.

I guess it's all in what each individual prefers and what they want to do with their boat. There is nothing wrong with any of them and I think that as long as you are out on the water doing what you want to do and feel that special connection with your boat as you cut through the water, it doesn't matter what kind of keel you have. It's all good!
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  #285  
Old 07-10-2011
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In the days before fiberglass most, but not all boats had a long keel with attached rudder. This was to a great extent due to the limits of plank on frame wood construction. A more efficient fin keel wasn't a good match for the construction method. The full keel was shortened over the years to reduce wetted surface, improving light air performance. In the process the rudder was moved farther forward, reducing its effect. The earlier fiberglass boats were for the most part a copy of this design type with a different material.

As designers and builders became more experienced with the material design improved, leading to easier to handle more nimble boats with rudders aft, making the boats easier to handle.

I am not suggesting that any fin keel spade rudder boat is the best choice for offshore use, but modern designs can sail well in both light and heavy conditions and can be very suitable for ocean crossing.

Here's an old but fairly successful fiberglass design.
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  #286  
Old 07-10-2011
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That is a beautiful boat! I agree with you that many modern boat designs are suitable for extended offshore cruising. I think the whole "offshore means full keel, heavy, and slow" thing is an image conjured of days gone by. When someone mentions pirates, I picture Captain Jack Sparrow, or images from the old pirate movies I watched in black and white, not high speed boats with RPG's and automatic weapons. Still, they are both pirates. I'm just glad that no matter what type of boat one finds appealing and no matter where in the whole wide world one wishes to sail, there is a boat to fit the fancy!
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Old 07-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean101 View Post
What do you think? Could "offshore capable" be confused with "offshore suitable"? My personal opinion is that boats like the Tayana 37 or the Hans Christian 33 are absolutely beautiful in their styling and abilities. Many of the newer boats seem so futuristic to me and while they are attractive boats, they don't hold the appeal I have for the more traditional designs. With my intended use and personal preferences, when I finally make a purchase it will be one of the above mentioned, or one like them. But, that is my own choice and my priorities are likely to be much different than those of you that want to race or prefer a faster, more responsive boat.
Dean - I'm still learning all this stuff just like you. But I'm starting to form a more solid opinion on this based on the research I've done and the various boats I've sailed on thus far.

First, the term "bluewater" is fairly specious I think - at least as used in these arguments. As has been said many times, and proven many, many more times in the briney...virtually all modern boats (the ones we typically talk about here anyway) can cross oceans. The line of division in these arguments, therefore, typically comes down to these 3 things:

1. The "comfort" of the boat in seas. And this seems to typically come down to the hull design (deep, heavy and slow versus flat, light and fast).
2. The stoutness of the boat in a storm.
3. The tankage, stowage, and layout of the boat.

So, do you get a Tayana 37 or a Bene First 38? Do you get a Hans Christian 41 or a Hunter 40? A Pacific Seacraft 37 or a Dufour 375?

You really should take a look at PCP's "Interesting Sailboats" thread as mentioned previously. Great stuff in there.

For me the bottom line is that I will purchase a faster, more modern boat that is nice and roomy below. That is because I know we do (and will continue to) spend the majority of our time hanging out on the boat...at anchor in a cove, sleeping on it at a marina while visiting some place, etc. - than doing huge passages. And we want that experience to be comfortable. And we can deal with the other stuff while sailing.

Now, what does this mean in relation to the above parameters?

1. We may very well pound in some conditions. Of course, you can pretty easily remedy this if you change your point of sail - and sail more conservatively. But the beauty is that, when headed downwind, we'll scream along and leave all those heavies in our wake. Then we'll drink all the beer in the anchorage before they get there 3 days later. Occasional pounding? Meh. I'll take the beer.

2. I've been reading the Bumfuzzle's blog. It really is interesting stuff. These people were absolutely clueless when they started a circumnavigation on a production boat they knew nothing about (though they are very smart and resourceful). Bottom line is that they sailed around the world, knowing nothing, and never had to deal with a serious storm. Part of that was luck - but part of it was never having a schedule, and never wanting to chance it too much. If they started out of a harbor and it was blowing 30, they'd turn around and anchor again and wait for a few days/weeks until it lightened up. Add to this all the feedback I've gotten from great books like Hal Roth's, and something becomes clear...big storms at sea are rare. And boats, even production boats, are incredibly resilient. You just have to be prepared and be extremely conservative when a storm hits. The odds are pretty good that the boat will survive it (if you keep the water on the outside) - and so will you (if you can stick it out). Granted, with a newer, more lightly built boat, you may have a whole bunch of stuff that breaks - but it will most likely get you through. To that end, you should look up the posts of WD Schock on this site. He was talking about this very thing in this thread:

Production Boats and the Limits

That dude is THE REAL DEAL. I'm not.

3. Tankage, stowage, etc. are problems that can be overcome based on how many you have on the boat and how far you want to go. For example, a water maker can greatly reduce your need for fresh water tankage. And lee cloths/boards can cure many ills as to sleeping in a seaway. Finally, stowage in most modern boats is actually pretty good. So I've always thought this argument was iffy. Other things like handholds, etc. can be remedied pretty cheaply as well.

So, depending on the weather and your idea of comfort - I personally think any of the major production brands are both capable and suitable for sailing virtually anywhere. But I also think you need to be a bit more conservative in relation to what you take them out in (conditions, time of year, region, etc.) - simply because they are built more lightly.

Bottom line, I'm not personally afraid of production boats. At all. They fit how we're going to sail. Others will prefer going slower in a tank that they feel more secure in. That's cool too. There are many of all kinds of boats on the ocean floor...production and otherwise. And there are many, many more of all kinds of boats doing just fine and having a blast sailing...production and otherwise.

(PS - here's another great discussion related to all this: A blue water sailer that can go in light winds)
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  #288  
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Dean101

Yes it is a beautiful boat. But probably not an "offshore" boat as it doesn't have a full keel with rudder attached that many are after.

It is Bob Perry's first successful design, the Valiant 40. Known as the beginning of the performance cruisers. And an awesome boat in every respect.

Bob also designed the Tayana 37.
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Old 07-10-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
Dean - I'm still learning all this stuff just like you. But I'm starting to form a more solid opinion on this based on the research I've done and the various boats I've sailed on thus far.

First, the term "bluewater" is fairly specious I think - at least as used in these arguments. As has been said many times, and proven many, many more times in the briney...virtually all modern boats (the ones we typically talk about here anyway) can cross oceans. The line of division in these arguments, therefore, typically comes down to these 3 things:

1. The "comfort" of the boat in seas. And this seems to typically come down to the hull design (deep, heavy and slow versus flat, light and fast).
2. The stoutness of the boat in a storm.
3. The tankage, stowage, and layout of the boat.

So, do you get a Tayana 37 or a Bene First 38? Do you get a Hans Christian 41 or a Hunter 40? A Pacific Seacraft 37 or a Dufour 375?

You really should take a look at PCP's "Interesting Sailboats" thread as mentioned previously. Great stuff in there.

For me the bottom line is that I will purchase a faster, more modern boat that is nice and roomy below. That is because I know we do (and will continue to) spend the majority of our time hanging out on the boat...at anchor in a cove, sleeping on it at a marina while visiting some place, etc. - than doing huge passages. And we want that experience to be comfortable. And we can deal with the other stuff while sailing.

Now, what does this mean in relation to the above parameters?

1. We may very well pound in some conditions. Of course, you can pretty easily remedy this if you change your point of sail - and sail more conservatively. But the beauty is that, when headed downwind, we'll scream along and leave all those heavies in our wake. Then we'll drink all the beer in the anchorage before they get there 3 days later. Occasional pounding? Meh. I'll take the beer.

2. I've been reading the Bumfuzzle's blog. It really is interesting stuff. These people were absolutely clueless when they started a circumnavigation on a production boat they knew nothing about (though they are very smart and resourceful). Bottom line is that they sailed around the world, knowing nothing, and never had to deal with a serious storm. Part of that was luck - but part of it was never having a schedule, and never wanting to chance it too much. If they started out of a harbor and it was blowing 30, they'd turn around and anchor again and wait for a few days/weeks until it lightened up. Add to this all the feedback I've gotten from great books like Hal Roth's, and something becomes clear...big storms at sea are rare. And boats, even production boats, are incredibly resilient. You just have to be prepared and be extremely conservative when a storm hits. The odds are pretty good that the boat will survive it (if you keep the water on the outside) - and so will you (if you can stick it out). Granted, with a newer, more lightly built boat, you may have a whole bunch of stuff that breaks - but it will most likely get you through. To that end, you should look up the posts of WD Schock on this site. He was talking about this very thing in this thread:

Production Boats and the Limits

That dude is THE REAL DEAL. I'm not.

3. Tankage, stowage, etc. are problems that can be overcome based on how many you have on the boat and how far you want to go. For example, a water maker can greatly reduce your need for fresh water tankage. And lee cloths/boards can cure many ills as to sleeping in a seaway. Finally, stowage in most modern boats is actually pretty good. So I've always thought this argument was iffy. Other things like handholds, etc. can be remedied pretty cheaply as well.

So, depending on the weather and your idea of comfort - I personally think any of the major production brands are both capable and suitable for sailing virtually anywhere. But I also think you need to be a bit more conservative in relation to what you take them out in (conditions, time of year, region, etc.) - simply because they are built more lightly.

Bottom line, I'm not personally afraid of production boats. At all. They fit how we're going to sail. Others will prefer going slower in a tank that they feel more secure in. That's cool too. There are many of all kinds of boats on the ocean floor...production and otherwise. And there are many, many more of all kinds of boats doing just fine and having a blast sailing...production and otherwise.

(PS - here's another great discussion related to all this: A blue water sailer that can go in light winds)
Thanks for the response Smackdaddy. I totally agree with your assessment of the 3 arguments for offshore sailing. To be completely honest here, I do read a lot of posts about how the modern designs can outperform the full keeled boats hands down. If you will notice, many people bash these type of boats because of their lack of speed. Sometimes I feel the need to defend the underdog, so to speak. While I can appreciate the fact that most modern hull designs will perform just fine across an ocean and get you there faster, I also see the point proponents of the "tanks" make when they explain why they like the features those same "tanks" have.

Now, here is where the honesty part comes in. I'm tired of the fast pace that society pushes on us. I want to enjoy the ride and not be tied to anyone's schedule. I have often thought that if I could get rid of all my debt, live aboard my boat, and anchor instead of paying to stay in a marina, I could actually cruise where I wanted to without having to worry about being at work on Monday morning. Then I read some of the Pardey's books and found out that people actually do that very same thing already! I'm reading Hal Roth's book as we speak.

As far as my boat choices, yes, I love the looks of the Tayana's, Hans Christians, and even the Westsail's. I also like the Crealock designs and Cape Dories. Some of the boats on my list have fin keels and skeg hung rudders. To be honest, unless you just happen to know what lies underneath it, you can only appreciate the looks of a boat from the waterline up. The canoe sterns and boxy coachroofs really appeal to me. The heavy displacement appeals because I won't have to worry as much about how many boxes of poptarts I load onto her. I'm really not worried about the speed factor.

You are right about the tankage and and stowage for offshore boats. I have noticed that it comes down to specific models on how much of each they have. Some seem to cram more diesel fuel than water while some supposedly offshore boats have very small fresh water tanks. Some of the production boats even look like they have enough stowage room to sink them if were all filled! I think if one were to cruise extensively in remote locations and areas of frequently bad weather, redundant or easily repairable systems, multiple water tanks, spares, good ground tackle, and heavier rigging would be advisable, no matter what type of boat you're using. Experience and preparedness seem to be the key (Good seamanship). I have read several accounts, including one posted in this thread, where the crews were rescued from their boats and the boats were later recovered doing what they were made to do; floating around on the water.

I would be interested to know what type of boats you have on your list and some of the expectations you have of them. I have compiled my own tentative list although I am continuously looking at other designs as well.
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Here's an old but fairly successful fiberglass design.
What boat is this? It looks great and reminds me of a Pacific Seacraft...
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