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  #21  
Old 04-13-2009
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It is more than just can it make there and back - although it should be the overall deciding factor.

You also have to consider the fact you'll actually be living on it for some extended period of time (most of the time). Finding the perfect blend for you will not be easy...Kinda like RVs and SUVs. Some have the looks, the capability, and livability (function as for example = when not sailing)...Storage and how you'll use it and what you have to compensate for coupled with lifestyle habits.
  • Bigger is not always better it is how space is used and how functional it is.
  • Seaworthiness is defined by understanding the worst qualities of what you sail and adjusting thereof.
  • Popularity of a item is determined by either fad or it works as advertised and to the customers expectations.
Bennies are actually nice boats, have helmed one and the amenities are nice and for coastal cruising I could see myself owning one. First appearances can be deceiving however. Sometimes simplicity is the order of the day, but when you are distant from a dealer, yard etc, you do have to think about what it is you are capable of handling on your own when the crap hits the fan.

Been many discussions like this on Sailnet over the years - in my reading of it all - it is up to the individual to determine if a production boat brand lives up to it - everyone's sailing style and habits are different. There is no one all answer - and like all these threads of related topics - really determined on the combination of concerns I listed above.

Personally, I went for a European designed boat - as it mimicked alot of features I have with an Airstream. But, that decision was made due to my selective process and certainly wouldn't work for many others. Production boats have the semblance of customer confidence that when it goes wrong you have someone to call. Once you are out 100 miles out or outside the United States - the rules change quick...
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  #22  
Old 04-13-2009
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By the way, even on the production lines over 38 feet, if I did not have good access to major systems, could not easily examine things like Tie Rods/chain plates, could not add various tankage/cabinets without it looking "odd", did not have a good sea berth or the potential of one, and did not have a decent Lazarette, I would not include it in this category. There are just flat some sow's ears that can never be a silk purse... even with my imagination. I also believe a nice Nav Station should be added into this category, but this is more personal preference.

- CD
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  #23  
Old 04-13-2009
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Originally Posted by OsmundL View Post
Smack, I saw this and wondered if "apologise" was a misinterpretation of my "embarassed to say" - so just in case: after arguing how well almost any boat could do, I wasn't going to fezz up and admit that mine is "blue water", only three years old and hardly inexpensive. That was what I was shy about, in case someone thought rambling about handholds was snobbery

So OK, mine is an Ovni 395, with a lot of go-anywhere gear. Also, I go anywhere, have lived in it for a year traveling around (not just now), will cross north past the Polar Circle this summer, then straight south through Europe, and hopefully around New Year my address should be the Americas. The longest/furthest I have been without dropping anchor so far is 10 days at sea. It is not a snobbish boat, but much thought went into safety, self-sufficiency and such. There is a distant photo in my profile.
And, to be sure, it wouldn't worry me to try in a much less dedicated boat. In any case, Smackdaddy, I am as capable as you at sinking any boat, anywhere - guaranteed.
Os - you are the MAN! No I wasn't referring to your post about the "boat apologizing" - Daniel mentioned it in his post regarding people that have production boats perhaps being apologists that they are not "blue water". And I don't think that needs to be the case.

Actually, I now appreciate the fact that even though you have an SFB (Sweet Freakin' Boat) - you're still cool with the production boats. You're hardly snobbish, dude.

And MAN you sound like you are having a blast and seeing some beautiful places! BTW, I'll buy you the first beer when hit the Americas - and even epoxy some handholds on the pint glass if you need 'em.

Cheers!
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  #24  
Old 04-13-2009
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Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
The bene is no better than a Catalina - the Catalina no better than the Bene. I think there are some models of both that are distasteful. I like the older Catalinas and Benes better than some of the new ones - but that is just my personal opinion. But for anyone that has not seen some pics of Dan's boat... you cannot tell me that is not a sweet ride (even without the BBQ's). Why wouldn't you take that boat anywhere within reason?? Same can be said of many/most production boats over 38 feet or so. I would feel comfortable taking my boat to most distant locations... but again I have been making and have made many modifications. From solar panels and arch to revamped electricl system, and many other changes, this ain't your typical out of the box C400!

That being said, you can take most production boats anywhere. I guess you could take one straight out of the box and circle the world, but it would take more seamanship and more luck than you might need for a Valiant of similar size. In order to reduce the need for luck and/or seamanship skills, you can start making changes to the boat like better portholes, handholds, lifelines, tankage, cabinets, tankage, cabinets for storage, positive latching floorboards, tankage, tabbed bulkheads or reinforced bulkheads, cabinets, etc (and not to forget to add tankage). By the time you have made all these changes, it might have been cheaper to just buy a traditional bluewater boat! Maybe not. But there are also many positives of production boats... cost not necessarily one of them.

However, if I was certain of making far destinations beyond a 5 day weather window, I really would start looking at boats outside of the typical production line. I personally draw the line at 5 days because beyond that, it is very difficult (if not alltogether impossible) to guess the weather. At 5 days, you also start really pushing into the tankage limit on most production boats without modification (again, my personal limit WITHOUT modification). But I stress that unless you are certain to make those jumps, I probably would not do it. I would buy the boat that is comfortable on the hook (as a live aboard) first and foremost. That is where 99% of your time is spent.

I believe that most production boats of a reasonable size will, with some amount of luck and good seamanship, go to distant ports. The questin typically is not whether the boat can get you there, it is whether the captain can. It is hard to appreciate this statement until you have weathered your first good blow beyond the reach of a VHF and you really are on your own.

- CD
CD - awesome post. This is good stuff. Here are some of the interesting take-aways:

1. Though I know you didn't mean it as such - I think a feeder of the production/blue debate is this statement/perception:

"I guess you could take one straight out of the box and circle the world, but it would take more seamanship and more luck than you might need for a Valiant of similar size. In order to reduce the need for luck and/or seamanship skills, you can start making changes to the boat..."

This is really an interesting paradox, one that possibly drives a lot of people to buy a blu - then perhaps be too relaxed about the weather and seamanship - i.e. - "the boat can handle it". It makes you wonder. Does perceived fragility increase skill/attention? Does perceived strength decrease them?

2. The 5 day window is a great rule of thumb as far as I'm concerned. I'd not thought about it in those terms. I was thinking more distance - which is wrong. It's about the weather...always.

3. The realistic limitations of tankage is another important consideration - and one I'm just beginning to understand since I mostly pee off the stern into the lake.

4. Finally, I've always agreed with your 99% on-the-hook maxim, although you might get some blowback on that one due to your notorious (and I'm sure errant) reputation as a dock-dweller.

So - the Benes and Catalinas seem well-suited to pushing the blue edge a bit with what we'll call "minor" modification. Yes?

Other productions that have hammered away successfully?
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  #25  
Old 04-13-2009
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Seaworthiness is defined by understanding the worst qualities of what you sail and adjusting thereof.

There is no one all answer...
Yeah - I know there's not a single answer. But, hey, what else do we have to do other than debate this until the second coming?

Anyway, I think your statement above really nails it. And most of the debates I've seen center around the "what do I need to go blue" question. But when you think about it, that question typically comes from newbies like me that don't have a clue what "blue" means.

CD's (and others) point that almost ALL sailing is coastal and island hopping puts that very starting point into question. It's really the wrong question to ask for the vast majority of sailors.

Maybe I'm trying to vein a line that's not there - but it does seem to have a distinction from the debates I've seen. The question should be what are the best production boats (fast, comfortable, strong) for cruising sailors that can stand up to stink when you get caught 2 days out?
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  #26  
Old 04-13-2009
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But, hey, what else do we have to do other than debate this until the second coming?

You have until 2012 by most historical advocates Thanks
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  #27  
Old 04-13-2009
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Originally Posted by Cruisingdad View Post
I guess you could take one straight out of the box and circle the world, but it would take more seamanship and more luck than you might need for a Valiant of similar size. In order to reduce the need for luck and/or seamanship skills, you can start making changes to the boat like better portholes, handholds, lifelines, tankage, cabinets, tankage, cabinets for storage, positive latching floorboards, tankage, tabbed bulkheads or reinforced bulkheads, cabinets, etc.
This is one of the better summations of the issue, in my view. Nice going CD.
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  #28  
Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
CD - awesome post. This is good stuff. Here are some of the interesting take-aways:

1. Though I know you didn't mean it as such - I think a feeder of the production/blue debate is this statement/perception:

"I guess you could take one straight out of the box and circle the world, but it would take more seamanship and more luck than you might need for a Valiant of similar size. In order to reduce the need for luck and/or seamanship skills, you can start making changes to the boat..."

This is really an interesting paradox, one that possibly drives a lot of people to buy a blu - then perhaps be too relaxed about the weather and seamanship - i.e. - "the boat can handle it". It makes you wonder. Does perceived fragility increase skill/attention? Does perceived strength decrease them?

2. The 5 day window is a great rule of thumb as far as I'm concerned. I'd not thought about it in those terms. I was thinking more distance - which is wrong. It's about the weather...always.

3. The realistic limitations of tankage is another important consideration - and one I'm just beginning to understand since I mostly pee off the stern into the lake.

4. Finally, I've always agreed with your 99% on-the-hook maxim, although you might get some blowback on that one due to your notorious (and I'm sure errant) reputation as a dock-dweller.

So - the Benes and Catalinas seem well-suited to pushing the blue edge a bit with what we'll call "minor" modification. Yes?

Other productions that have hammered away successfully?

1. I don't know the answer to that question. I find many people relying too much on electronics and gadgets versus seamanship, but I cannot comment on the other. I have seen both very knowledgeable and not knowledgeable that buy those boats.

In the right hands (and luck), a Bene and Catalina could probably go anywhere. Understand too that there are some basic things that are difficult to change. FOr example, the cockpit is large on these boats. A pooper would not be pretty. Luckily, it would also run off quickly, but it would seriuosly add a lot of weight while there. I honestly do not know what the effect of it would be. Also, the rudder is not protected. You might want to consider some type of alternate means to steer - maybe a pre-fabbed jerry-rigged rudder?? The thought has seriously crossed my mind. Also, most production boats have lots of hatches. These are a plus when anchored and a negative when at sea. Most of the other things can be modified I guess??

I am curious what others think.

- CD
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  #29  
Old 04-13-2009
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This is one of the better summations of the issue, in my view. Nice going CD.
Thank you DG. Curious how that B49 is going to do Bermuda. I bet quite well.

- CD
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  #30  
Old 04-13-2009
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Thank you DG. Curious how that B49 is going to do Bermuda. I bet quite well.

- CD
I'll let you know next year! I'm not sailing her to Bermuda this year. Just don't have the time to devote to that this year, and besides, I really don't know her well enough yet. We took delivery in mid-August last year, so taking her to Bermuda this June would be quite close to taking her out of the box and heading offshore. And even though I like the boat quite a bit and have been impressed so far, we're still teething a little, as is the case with all new boats, and I want to work all that stuff out before going off soundings.

I'll not hijack the thread, but I note your arch. I'm starting to wonder if we made a mistake not going with one. Too soon to tell, and we'll see I guess.
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