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  #31  
Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danielgoldberg View Post
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.
That's definitely not a hijack - Dan. I'd be interested in your thoughts. It helps a lot hearing these kinds of objective discussions between actual owners than your typical hype.

Thanks for the input guys.
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  #32  
Old 04-13-2009
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These “what makes the best…” discussions are better than the Rorschach ink block tests for revealing the psyche of the responders. “Blue”, “coastal”, “mill pond” water definitions are in the eye of the beholder and the chances of getting two people (let alone three) to agree is nigh impossible.

Reading this thread, you’d think sailing a Catalina in anything other than a Texas cattle pond would be suicidal. I’ve been in two ISAF Ocean Category 2 races (both were double handed!) so far this year. The Coast Guard had to perform rescues in each, but oddly enough, neither involved a Catalina. I’ve even taken Mrs. B out in 40kts back in March (both of us had to be back at work the next day) with no ill effect. A prudent sailor must be able to know what conditions he can or cannot safely sail in and perhaps my experience gives me an added advantage in sailing in heavier weather whereas a less experienced skipper would feel more comfortable in a bigger boat.

Weather forecasting is apparently easier for the Pacific region than the Atlantic. My experience is the five day GRIB is pretty accurate, seven day is O.K. and 14 day is so so. Heck, the five day NWS and NOAA forecasts are pretty much right on too. So if you define “coastal” as being no more than three to five days away from safe harbor then you ought to be able to pick your window and a Catalina (or even a Bene) should be up to the task. My little 34 has fuel tankage for forty hours and sufficient water for over a week (depending upon crew size) which puts it in that “costal” range.

Would I sail my C34 down to Cabo or PV? You bet! I have friends who have spent the past year in the SOC with their C34 and enjoying every moment. Would I go across the Gulf of Mexico? Why not? Sail to Bermuda? That’s like going from SF to LA out here.

To find the perfect boat you need to turn inwards and make an honest assessment of what your goals and plans really are. Folks talk about the Southern Ocean all the time but 99.99% of them never venture off the continental shelf. Nothing wrong with that at all. Land, with all of its ports of call is infinitely more exciting than endless ocean. If you don’t believe me, read the blog of the nut job who’s goal is to float around the world’s oceans for 1,000 days. If your (realistic) plan is to do the Intercoastal, Bahamas, Carib, or Mexico and you buy a boat capable for the Southern Ocean, chances are you will have overspent. You also need to be honest about your personal capabilities and risk tolerance. For example, companies like Island Packet have a profitable niche selling to first time cruisers (or wanabes) who are a bit unsure of themselves and have a very low risk tolerance.

Now, for my own ink blot test. I am perfectly happy in my Catalina. And unless the stock market rebounds in a very big way, Freya will be my retirement boat. I dream of the isles of the South Pacific, but, knowing Mrs.B, Mexico is in my realistic future. I see my boat as being on (roughly) even par with Beneteau’s First Series. Their Oceanus Series is pretty, but I think pretty pedestrian performance. I like the Farr designed Beneteau 40.7 but can’t stand the interior. If only they would come out with a 40.7 with an Oceanus inspired cabin. I thought that the Sabre 40 we raced against in the Pacific Cup had pretty good performance but was very disappointed in the workmanship on the one we looked at last winter. Quarter million was way too much for a boat that was a mass of spider web cracks topsides and the stress cracks emanating from about a quarter of the T-track bolts. Mrs. B actually liked the C400 better, but I cannot warm up to the cockpit or aft stateroom layout. The C42 is also on my short list and is pretty fast, considering that it is as dainty as a Mack truck.

I actually do sail in heavy weather conditions from time to time (and so does my camera boat!)
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  #33  
Old 04-13-2009
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I have a concrete and possibly useful suggestion: keep an eye on the organizer's site for the Sydney to Hobart Race. This is an ocean race of sensible length, taking only a few days for the mega-yachts but over a week for the cruising class, depending on weather.

The Tasman Sea is a horrific stretch of water, calm one day and furious the next; it covers a fair range of cruising conditions. The interesting part is that so many classes enter, with boats all the way from last year's racer to cruising boats 30 yrs old. Also interesting is the limit they set - don't take my word for it, but I believe the smallest boat they allow is 33 ft? Sure they carry safety gear, but a model allowed there cannot be useless at sea.
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  #34  
Old 04-13-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
These “what makes the best…” discussions are better than the Rorschach ink block tests for revealing the psyche of the responders. “Blue”, “coastal”, “mill pond” water definitions are in the eye of the beholder and the chances of getting two people (let alone three) to agree is nigh impossible.
I passed these in Northern Norway last summer. Ships like these found Greenland and later America, but I’m told it wouldn’t work. My local dealer recommends upgrading with:
200L diesel, 400L water. Radar, GPS, VHF, SSB, Autopilot, fridge, Dyneema halyards, watermaker, furling sail, el winches. stove, BBQ. Hot water, shower - how about a toilet?

Should I try with a little less? The boats look really gracious.
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  #35  
Old 04-13-2009
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The problem seems to always be the "what do you mean by blue-water" and "crew experience vs. boat hardiness" and "comfort vs. safety" responses. May I suggest a direction for this thread that doesn't involve so many apples-oranges comparisons:

For those of you who, like me, currently have a boat that you consider not quite prepared for at least some of the trips you realistically would like to take in the next few years, what do you think you need to upgrade on your boat so that she can handle what you have planned for her? Let's talk just about what the boat needs, and assume that a more experienced crew is always a good thing.

So just: type of boat you've got, what sort of cruise you want to take her on, and what you need to do to get her ready.

I'll start.

My '72 Catalina 27 was very much a racer-in-protected-waters when she came into my life. Currently she's got tankage enough for at least twelve man-days of winter cruising without resupplying (we've been on a three-day trip with four people). My planned milestones are Desolation Sound (no ocean exposure), a Vancouver Island circumnavigation (some ocean exposure), and possibly a trip down the Pacific coast.

For the Desolation Sound trip, all that she's missing is better ground tackle. She's got 90' of nylon rode shackled to 30' of chain, and a smallish Danforth. I consider that not enough for a trip where I expect to be anchoring most of the time. I don't think she can comfortably carry all chain, but I'd like at least a 200' rode and a heavier main anchor.

For the Van.Isle circumnavigation, which I would consider blue-water:
- I would like more serious gaskets on all hatches, as well as latches on all cabinets and cockpit lockers.
- There is currently no good way to secure the dinette table, so that would need to be dealt with.
- The batteries are not in proper boxes yet (we've tried, no space with present layout), and that needs to be done.
- She also needs at least a storm jib, and if there's a way I can add a third reef point to the main, that would also be ideal.
- We also need a better way of emptying the bilge than the current portable hand pump we've got.
- It would be nice to have some way of replenishing our batteries aside from the portable charger and the 3 amp alternator on the outboard.
- Finally, I don't know how strong the stern attachment points are; I would like them to be strong enough to handle a drogue.

If we actually plan to do a Pacific coast cruise:
- To really hardy up the boat, I would want her to have completely tabbed bulkheads. Some are tabbed, some at most partially -- difficult to determine because of the liner -- and in some places I can see 1/2" inch of space between the hull and the bulkhead. However I've felt her shudder after crashing down a six-foot wave, and I don't know how much of that she can take.
- I also don't know how strong the rig itself is. Would want a survey and probably upgrade some of the rigging.
- There's no self-steering other than an electric tiller pilot, and with the outboard I don't think a wind vane is in the cards.
- A weatherfax would be awesome.
- Stronger pad-eyes for jacklines.
- The cockpit drains through two small (~1" diameter) holes aft, into the engine well. Doesn't seem like the best design. I'd like to modify it to drain faster and more reliably.
- Hull is fin keel with attached ballast. Can't do much about this, but I can have the attachments (J-shaped keel bolts) inspected and reinforced.

So, there's what I think is needed for a boat that is at least somewhat more blue-water-capable than what I've got now, except described in terms not conflated by lack of specificity as to what "blue-water" means. Also this is a discussion of features independent of the brand of boat, and so the analysis can be applied to any brand (i.e. does your Benny have this stuff? If so, have a blast).

Next?
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  #36  
Old 04-13-2009
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Smack, as far as MacGregor's go, all ya have to do each do a yachtworld search on M65's. Almost all of them are in the Med or Europe. These were built in Cali and sailed from there via various routes so yes, Mac's are bluewater boats as well. The big ones anyways. I wouldn't try to sail my V-21 to Hawaii or anything like that...
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  #37  
Old 04-13-2009
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So Osmund, in keeping with the Rorschach theme of my note; Does this mean deep down inside you yearn to be a Viking? Have had much experience in sailing these boats? If so, I’d love hear your stories. What do these boats rate in PHRF? If I was to get another boat, it would have to rate below one hundred (Freya currently is 147). Mrs. B and I honeymooned in Norway and have fond memories of the country. We boated on the Oslo Fjord and traveled on the mail packets on Sogne and Hardanger Fjords as well as up the coast. Those photos look like the Lofoten islands? As you might have guessed we named our boat in honor of my wife’s heritage and proudly fly the vimple as our house pendant.
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  #38  
Old 04-13-2009
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"Why not? Sail to Bermuda? That’s like going from SF to LA out here."
George are you serious with that statement? Try that trip some time with wind blowing 20-25 against the Gulfstream.

"Weather forecasting is apparently easier for the Pacific region than the Atlantic. My experience is the five day GRIB is pretty accurate, seven day is O.K. and 14 day is so so. Heck, the five day NWS and NOAA forecasts are pretty much right on too."

Try the East Coast, Gulf Coast and the Great Lakes where NOAA is notoriously inaccurate. A good east coast forecast in the summer is 3-4 days. Great Lakes good forecasts are measured in hours with numerous local variations. You've been California dreamin' too long if you thing the Pacific weather is what we get elsewhere. Look at any major offshore race on the East Cosat or Great Lakes. Commanders weather has made a business out of providing more accurate forecasts than NOAA>

"I thought that the Sabre 40 we raced against in the Pacific Cup had pretty good performance but was very disappointed in the workmanship on the one we looked at last winter. Quarter million was way too much for a boat that was a mass of spider web cracks topsides and the stress cracks emanating from about a quarter of the T-track bolts"

There a lot of Sabre owners that would beg to differ. I wouldn't judge the quality on one boat. What year was that Sabre and what maintenance and who did the track installation? Give me a Sabre anyday on a rough day. They are less cushy than Catalinas but they sail a hell of a lot better in rough weather. Somebody better tell the folks at Hinckley that Sabre is a crap builder because that is where the Hinckley molds are made.
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  #39  
Old 04-13-2009
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If a Jeanneau 49iP can get from the NW US to Australia and back, I would think, no, make that expect with NO issues that Daniels B49 could go from NY to burmuda etc and back with no real issues too!

I am sure my older 30' Jeanneau could do pretty well ofshore, with the way it is designed etc too. It has some better options for keeping water out of the cabin from a rear swell/wave than some do!

In the end tho, a lot does depend upon the crew, the boat will do fine, I seem to recall a group getting hauled off of a Jeanneau in a storm a year or so ago, only to have a freighter find it a week or so later, and got hauled back to Europe at 17 knots behind the frieghter!

While some will say the European ratings of A, B and C are worthless, they are better than anything the US/NAmerica has. At least you know what said boats have to have to meet said requirements etc.

With that, I am sure smack could get his C27 to Bermuda. Alan will have no issues circumnavigating Vancouver Island, he will not be the first either! along witha few Kayaks when he does it. A race this summer ie the Van-Isle will be going on, 2 weeks racing around the island with ports of call ea evening etc.

Anyway, enough of my input, I do agree with George, next boat will be at or bellow 100PHRF or there abouts, mine at 190-200 can be a bit slow at times!

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  #40  
Old 04-13-2009
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Hey Adam, I see your point. And it is indeed somewhat ambassadorial - but I definitely prefer the snot fight of "my boat is bluer than yours". Waayyyyy more fun.

BTW - your C27 is bluer than mine. But mine's uglier and meaner!

And good lord, the freeboard on those Norse boats????? Shameful. No one would EVER take something like that into the open ocean. The dinghy though - sweet.
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