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  #451  
Old 10-07-2013
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzk View Post
I agree with you, sort of. I suspect that if you took your hunter, closed it up, and just let it bob around in the middle of the Atlantic, you could come back a month later and it would be fine.

But what do you mean by "sailed prudently" that would be required on a modern production boat that wouldn't be required on a traditional offshore vessel?

As far as offshore vessels go, there are differences. People like Jimmy Cornell will argue that he would never go offshore without a protected rudder.

THere are also a host of things like floorboards that don't latch, etc.
I think you're right about the boat being fine if it was simply closed up and just bobbed around in the Atlantic. There are plenty of stories of just that - boats being found floating months or even years after a rescue (or worse, MOB).

What I mean by "sailed prudently" is basically this:

1. Make sure your boat is dry and secure, then test it with off-shore shakedowns, prior to heading out . I've seen several stories now where wet below-decks, or stuff flying around have caused the crew to crater or fully pack it in and call for rescue. The floorboards you mention is a great example. The Yachting Monthly Crash Boat Youtube series is fantastic for getting a sense of what needs to be considered. Simply addressing leaking hatches, or chainplates, or cockpit drainage, or seacock hose clamps, proper safety equipment, proper tools, etc. and like is a very straightforward way to ensure a safe, dry passage. It's not that hard.

2. Carefully choose your weather windows. Sure, there are stretches which will go far beyond a reliable immediate forecast. But weather information is so good these days that if you pay attention to it, you can avoid most all the nasty stuff (see Hal Roth).

3. Be conservative in your decision-making. Actually one of the best examples of this was the Bumfuzzles. Their RTW blog is replete with examples of them deciding to stay put in an area for weeks on end until the conditions were mellow. This worked very well for their level of (in)experience at the time. But it's the epitome of not sailing to a schedule. You go when things are comfortable.

4. Sail the boat you have. Again, the Bumfuzzles are a good example of this. On their cat, they typically had very little sail flying. They probably over-relied on their engines because of this during their run (I'd rather sail), but they never got into serious trouble either. So it's hard to argue that approach. The point here is that your boat will be able to do certain things very well - and other things not so well. For example, if your boat pounds and you get caught in a blow with your destination upwind - why not drop a JSD and hangout for a day or two instead of relentlessly beating into it and breaking stuff? There's rarely a need to push the boat that hard (see Hal Roth).

Beyond that, everyone has their own idea of what's necessary to go off-shore. And with all due respect to Jimmy C - there are lots and lots of boats out there that successfully traverse the world's oceans with wildly unprotected, yet very strong and capable rudders.

So that's basically what I mean.
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  #452  
Old 10-07-2013
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Again, I tend to agree with you. We have a 2000 First 47.7, and it has been through some pretty rough stuff and she takes it with ease. We were even in the Mac Storm.

However, all of those things suggestions that you made apply to any boat.

Can you inspect the chainplates on your Hunter? I remember this 80s Hunter 34 that had steel chainplates bonded in the hull that you couldn't even inspect. Chainplates rust, rig goes down. Ouch. Anyone with a Hunter 34 better get to inspecting their chainplates.

Quote:
Originally Posted by smackdaddy View Post
I think you're right about the boat being fine if it was simply closed up and just bobbed around in the Atlantic. There are plenty of stories of just that - boats being found floating months or even years after a rescue (or worse, MOB).

What I mean by "sailed prudently" is basically this:

1. Make sure your boat is dry and secure, then test it with off-shore shakedowns, prior to heading out . I've seen several stories now where wet below-decks, or stuff flying around have caused the crew to crater or fully pack it in and call for rescue. The floorboards you mention is a great example. The Yachting Monthly Crash Boat Youtube series is fantastic for getting a sense of what needs to be considered. Simply addressing leaking hatches, or chainplates, or cockpit drainage, or seacock hose clamps, proper safety equipment, proper tools, etc. and like is a very straightforward way to ensure a safe, dry passage. It's not that hard.

2. Carefully choose your weather windows. Sure, there are stretches which will go far beyond a reliable immediate forecast. But weather information is so good these days that if you pay attention to it, you can avoid most all the nasty stuff (see Hal Roth).

3. Be conservative in your decision-making. Actually one of the best examples of this was the Bumfuzzles. Their RTW blog is replete with examples of them deciding to stay put in an area for weeks on end until the conditions were mellow. This worked very well for their level of (in)experience at the time. But it's the epitome of not sailing to a schedule. You go when things are comfortable.

4. Sail the boat you have. Again, the Bumfuzzles are a good example of this. On their cat, they typically had very little sail flying. They probably over-relied on their engines because of this during their run (I'd rather sail), but they never got into serious trouble either. So it's hard to argue that approach. The point here is that your boat will be able to do certain things very well - and other things not so well. For example, if your boat pounds and you get caught in a blow with your destination upwind - why not drop a JSD and hangout for a day or two instead of relentlessly beating into it and breaking stuff? There's rarely a need to push the boat that hard (see Hal Roth).

Beyond that, everyone has their own idea of what's necessary to go off-shore. And with all due respect to Jimmy C - there are lots and lots of boats out there that successfully traverse the world's oceans with wildly unprotected, yet very strong and capable rudders.

So that's basically what I mean.
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  #453  
Old 10-07-2013
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

I think Jimmy C is building a new boat and the rudder does not appear to be skeg hung?
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  #454  
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzk View Post
Again, I tend to agree with you. We have a 2000 First 47.7, and it has been through some pretty rough stuff and she takes it with ease. We were even in the Mac Storm.

However, all of those things suggestions that you made apply to any boat.

Can you inspect the chainplates on your Hunter? I remember this 80s Hunter 34 that had steel chainplates bonded in the hull that you couldn't even inspect. Chainplates rust, rig goes down. Ouch. Anyone with a Hunter 34 better get to inspecting their chainplates.
You were in that Mac storm? The one with the ~100 K burst that took out Wingnuts? Holy crap. That thing was nasty. I'd like to hear more about how you guys dealt with it.

You're absolutely right that all these things apply to any boat. And that's kind of my point. The argument that only "traditional 'blue water' boats" belong in blue water is bogus as long as you are prudent and don't sail stupid.

Following that line of logic on out, I believe that even in the rare extreme conditions that finally allow that trad-bw boat to show its perceived merits, you'll likely be just as sick, wet and nervous as you would be on any production boat, or just as calm as you would be on an off-shore tank (e.g. - Sequitur - a Hunter 49 that cruised through an F-10/11 off Cape Horn). It's kind of up to you.
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  #455  
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

We were something like 15 miles north of them when we started hearing the distress calls two missing, etc. We got caught with our full main up and not an easy solution to drop it, so we rode it out. We were hitting 12.6 under main alone, and not surfing down any waves as there were none.

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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Quote:
How long does a builder and a boat "style" have to be around till it is "traditional" design?
Good point. What are people going to be sailing in 20 years?
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Quote:
Originally Posted by jzk View Post
We were something like 15 miles north of them when we started hearing the distress calls two missing, etc. We got caught with our full main up and not an easy solution to drop it, so we rode it out. We were hitting 12.6 under main alone, and not surfing down any waves as there were none.

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That was some scary stuff. I remember seeing a video on YouTube of some guys getting really laid over (lots of lightning and howling wind). I'm glad you guys came out of it okay.

Go the Production Boats!
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  #458  
Old 10-07-2013
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

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Originally Posted by jorgenl View Post
I think Jimmy C is building a new boat and the rudder does not appear to be skeg hung?
If you are talking about Aventura IV (an Exploration 45), she is a shallow draft design with twin rudders and a centre board, and (OMG!) a bow thruster...
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Last edited by DJR351; 10-07-2013 at 11:21 PM.
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Old 10-08-2013
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

shallow draft and a thruster? Planning on spinning her like a top?
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Re: Production Boats and the Limits

Regarding the Mac Storm. Well I must say, it was probably the scariest sailing experience that I have had. And, it wasn't just one thing. Big winds? That happens often on lake Michigan. You get used to it. The other 2 big ones I have experienced was cruising, and I got the sails down in plenty of time. Then you just ride it out and be sure not to hit anything. These types of storms are not uncommon on Lake Michigan, but this was a pretty severe one. It seems as all hell is breaking loose, but you just ride it out. No problem.

It was probably the lightning that made it so scary. It was not my watch, but I was summoned on deck. I ran up in my bare feet without even realizing it. 5 hours later after standing on the teak grate behind the helm, I noticed that my feet hurt like crazy.

We just thought it was going to rain. We really had no idea that this kind of weather was approaching. We started to see a bunch of lightning, and the wind picked up to 28 knots or so. That is kind of pushing it with the spinnaker we were flying. After a bit of that, we dropped the chute and unrolled the genoa. We were moving along pretty good.

There were two mistakes we made which were just bad seamanship. First, when we left the dock, the roller furler would not roll all the way up, but rather had a little corner out. We didn't think much of it, and left it. A crew member had rerun the genoa sheets and didn't have enough roller furling line on the drum. The second was that we took our fortress anchor off of the bow roller and put it down below. It was “accessible” but not really.

We were sailing along pretty good with the genoa and main down wind. The lighting was everywhere. There were times when it seemed like there was more lightning than not. Every once in a while it would hit pretty close to us, and that got kind of disconcerting after awhile. The flashing was like some kind of torture continually ruining your night vision. And you never knew when another strike was just going to crash right next to us, or hit us for that matter. This went on for hours, and it was hard to be on top of your game for so long.

When the wind hit us hard, there was zero visibility and it was difficult to talk to the person next to you. My whole mission was basically to keep the boat on the proper heading so that we didn't run up on an island or the coast of Michigan. It was very difficult to keep the boat pointed at a certain heading as all I could see was white, so there was no horizon. I just had the compass with little else as a reference, and we were hauling pretty good. There were times in the worst of it that the headstay started oscillating violently. That little corner of genoa still out wasn't helping things. I didn't do anything about it because we were just trying to “hold on.” I should have tightened up a jib sheet to stop the oscillating, but I didn't think of it, and it would be almost impossible to communicate with the crew. Or I could have tightened the backstay. I had one crew next to me telling me the desired heading, and we had to really shout just to communicate. The wind was blowing lots of rain horizontally. I saw consistent winds in the high 40 knots. When the worst of it was blowing, it was all I could do to keep her on track, so looking at the wind speed did not occur to me. Nor did it occur to me to check the graphs of the wind speeds later that would be on the Nexus instruments. I was more thinking that I didn't want to be there. I mean, I am not afraid of much as it relates to sailing, storms and weather, but the lack of visibility combined with the lightning and just trying not to hit anything wore on me, I must admit. We were just going so fast almost blindfolded.

It also occurred to me that the anchor was not on the bow roller. Dragging it up from where we had it did not seem very convenient, and I will not be doing that again.

We came pretty close to some other boats which is pretty scary because you only see them at the last minute. I heard there were several collisions and some boats ran up on the beach. Some dismastings, and I remember Painkiller's blown main.

I remember seeing 12.6 on the speedo. We were going down wind, but not dead down wind with the main pretty much all the way out spilling lots of wind. I thought about dropping the main, but with the ruckus going the way it was, I really didn't want to be sending the crew anywhere. Sure, we can drop it from the cockpit, but then what? Even though we have a dutchman, it would be a cluster. If I had the anchor available, I could have dropped the main, and then just dropped the anchor and waited it out.

This went on for 5 or so hours to the best of my recollection. I noticed that my feet were killing me and I saw that I had on no shoes and was standing on the teak grate. There were 2 or 3 blasts of extreme wind. I was 100% wet. I couldn't have my foul weather cap on because I couldn't see. I just cupped over where I was looking with my hand. The GPS chart at the helm required seriously leaning down and looking closely that if I did that I lost track of keeping the boat on the right heading. An excellent crew member just kept next to me relaying the heading from the guys down below so I could dispense with dealing with that, but the desire to know “where I am” is overwhelming.

I remember one of the lightning strikes where one crew member just grabbed onto my brother in a bear hug.

I recall the constant radio transmissions about wingnuts with the entire crew in the water and 2 missing. That was over and over and over again and made the situation the real deal. This was serious.

I kept on task, kept calm, but had this serious feeling deep down that I wished I was anywhere but there. That has not happened all that often. Usually I am looking for the next monster wave to surf down having the time of my life no matter the weather.

At the end of the day, no damage and everything was fine. Even when things were settled down, we kept hearing the transmissions. “2 missing.”
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