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  #41  
Old 04-29-2014
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Re: Lifting Keel Yachts

Hello,
I'm wondering if you could please tell me about the experience and process of taking ownership of Blue Dog. How many times did you sial her before leaving the shop slip in Stuart and how long and extensive was the training period on the boat and systems. I know someone who bought a 46' Saber sailboat and had the factory rep with him for 2 full weeks as part of the delivery process.

Thank you
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  #42  
Old 04-29-2014
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Re: Lifting Keel Yachts

Shoal points out a key issue. Morris includes school at time of delivery. Outbound arranged owner of company, broker and us owners to spend time together at time of commissioning. Then broker sailed back with us from Norfolk to R.I. Since broker has spent days with us helping us learn systems and instructing us as we did first maintenance service and tweaking bugs out of things like ssb and electronics. After sales service has been the best I've ever experienced. Our last two boats on the " last boat" list were boreal and outbound. One of the reasons we went with outbound was I thought it would be problematic getting after sales services from France.
I read the tragic story of someone's dreams sinking and following comes to mind.
For those sailing any time above 40N hard dodgers are wonderful. You can be suited up and harnessed already to go but still out of wind and weather with the AP remote in your hand. Pilot houses or Captain Kirk chairs take you away from the action and cut down your awareness of the environment.
Time constraints kill boats and people.
In a decent boat outside may often be safer than the ICW.
I read the story and thought I could see myself doing every the owner did. My heart goes out to him. I have learned to add 30% to any transit. I learned to listen to others but as captain/ owner not blindly follow anyone's dictates not even professional captains given their time pressure to get a delivery done. I learned to multiple source my cruising guides and weather predictions.
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s/v Hippocampus
Outbound 46
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  #43  
Old 04-29-2014
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Re: Lifting Keel Yachts

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoaldraft View Post
Hello,
I'm wondering if you could please tell me about the experience and process of taking ownership of Blue Dog. How many times did you sial her before leaving the shop slip in Stuart and how long and extensive was the training period on the boat and systems. I know someone who bought a 46' Saber sailboat and had the factory rep with him for 2 full weeks as part of the delivery process.

Thank you
That is an excellent question and may shed some light on this whole ordeal…

The training period was virtually non-existent. When we were considering different boats at the 2012 boat show in Annapolis, (mostly Catalina’s and Beneteau) one of the things that Hake sales team brought up over and over again was that they were small and would offer, “Better service than the big boys.” “We’ll take very good care of you and ensure you have everything you need. Come on down to Stuart and stay as long as you like.” That’s an exact quote best as I remember.

My wife and I own a small engineering consulting business and try to give business to other small companies such as ourselves. We offer personalized services to our clients and assumed Hake would do the same. Especially since they promised this upfront as a selling point. This was however, not the case. We sailed the Blue Dog one time the week after the 2012 Annapolis Show to see how she performed. It was a beautiful day and the boat sailed well. My wife and I decided to put down a deposit to hold the vessel then make the final purchase and pick up the boat in the spring.

I asked on that day (and many others after that) for an Owner’s Manual such that I could study the systems and layout of the vessel over the winter. I’m an ex-Navy Engineer with Nuclear and Fossil Fuel experience and have been sailing for over 30 years. As a former Navy Engineer, you can correctly assume that I’m very anal about being prepared to get underway. I wanted to be as ready as possible for the voyage from Stuart to Norfolk.

The owner’s manual was promised many times but never materialized. I got online and downloaded information on the Yanmar engines and other systems as best as I could to try and put together my own manual. My plan was to go down a month or so before we brought the boat home, get in daily shakedown cruises and learn the systems. After spending a significant amount of time preparing in that fashion, I would make the call whether to employ a delivery skipper to accompany us or do it on our own.

I asked Hake when was a good time to come down and offered a time window. We agreed on dates and I bought plane tickets for a 10 day period. In short, during that 10 day window, I believe we sailed 3-4 times and only a single time (maybe twice) with anyone from the factory. Once I wrote the final check and took delivery, we were essentially on our own. When I asked for help getting to know this brand new vessel, we were told, “Sorry. Not today. We have demos to do in St. Pete, Clearwater, Jacksonville, Tampa etc.”

In addition, the boat was in an extremely tight area at a small marina in Stuart. It was an excellent marketing location for potential buyers to see the vessel as it was closest to the road, but the water depth was right at keel depth and the bow was resting in the mud when we came in. As a result, the bow thruster was pretty useless until we got into deeper water. Also, there were other boats all around us (including 2 large catamarans) with very little room to maneuver or make mistakes while learning the new boat. The Blue Dog had twin 54 Yanmars, but they were very close to centerline and was like driving with a single engine. A couple times someone would come over from the Hake factory, assist us getting out of this very tight space, then hop off on the next dock and leave. We would be left on our own.

At that time of the year, the wind changed directions approximately 180 degrees during the course of the day. In the morning, the prevailing winds blew us directly into the dock, which made it difficult to depart. In the afternoon the wind blew away from the dock which made it difficult to return.

We discovered later that Hake Yachts was sold a few years ago to a fellow who makes artificial sweeteners in the Midwest. That company had an appreciation party for their sales people in the Bahamas about the same time we were in Stuart. The Bahama event appeared to have top priority, not the owners of their expensive new design, Hull #1. The local folks in Stuart were shorthanded and helping the new owners was not at the top of the list.

After a few days of this behavior, I realized that I did not know the boat well enough and did not feel comfortable making a 1,000 mile trip on our own. I asked Hake for a delivery skipper recommendation and they suggested we use the fellow that delivered boats for them as he knew this vessel the best other than Nick Hake himself. That’s what we did.

I decided not to go out in the open ocean till I was more familiar with the boat, also we did not have a life raft and other items for offshore cruising. That’s why we sailed the ICW the entire way.

I will say, in Hake’s defense, we spoke to numerous other Seaward owners before buying this boat and their treatment by the builder was generally positive. Don’t know if that was before the ownership change or not. We did not have that same experience.
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  #44  
Old 05-04-2014
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Re: Lifting Keel Yachts

The detail of your saga with Blue Dog from start to finish has been outstanding and i can't tell you how sorry I am for the way things ended. I am very curious as to how you ended up with the Seaward as you mentioned that you and the wife were looking at Bene's and Catalina's while at the 2012 Annapolis show. Seaward is very different than those makes. Could you shed some information? Were the dual Yanmar's worth it and what kind of speed did you see with both of them on? Did the 46 sway at anchor like the 26 and 32 do? Do you have an opinion on the fact that there is no port side seating below other than the small first mate chair. I have a Seaward 32 which is fine for day sailing or a 1 or 2 night trip and am / was strongly considering moving up as it is just too small for 2 adults and 2 kids.
I did go and take a look at Blue Dog at the salvage yard up here in MA this past winter thinking that she may have been worth looking at as a rebuild but a friend who is very skilled in boat building felt the project would be north of 200K with no guarantee.

Thanks again and I hope you find great sailing in San Diego.
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Old 05-05-2014
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Re: Lifting Keel Yachts

Quote:
Originally Posted by shoaldraft View Post
The detail of your saga with Blue Dog from start to finish has been outstanding and i can't tell you how sorry I am for the way things ended. I am very curious as to how you ended up with the Seaward as you mentioned that you and the wife were looking at Bene's and Catalina's while at the 2012 Annapolis show. Seaward is very different than those makes. Could you shed some information? Were the dual Yanmar's worth it and what kind of speed did you see with both of them on? Did the 46 sway at anchor like the 26 and 32 do? Do you have an opinion on the fact that there is no port side seating below other than the small first mate chair. I have a Seaward 32 which is fine for day sailing or a 1 or 2 night trip and am / was strongly considering moving up as it is just too small for 2 adults and 2 kids.
I did go and take a look at Blue Dog at the salvage yard up here in MA this past winter thinking that she may have been worth looking at as a rebuild but a friend who is very skilled in boat building felt the project would be north of 200K with no guarantee.
Thanks again and I hope you find great sailing in San Diego.
Good questions Shoaldraft. I can answer with my best guess but as we only had the Blue Dog underway for two weeks, motoring in the ICW mostly, my responses will be limited to that. I can tell you what we liked and didn’t like after being aboard 24 x 7 for that period.

Liked: Aft “Catbird seats” were awesome. Probably our favorite thing about the boat. We mostly stayed on deck in the cockpit area unless it was raining or really cold/hot/windy. The stock seats had the railing right in the middle of your back so we had Hake modify them and add a backrest, then padding on the back rest and also where your arms rested on the rail. Very comfy and secure feeling. It was also quite nice at anchor to sit back there and watch the world. Excellent viewpoint with good visibility.
Captain’s chair- the main chair while driving the boat was very comfortable and offered good visibility. Hake spent top dollar for both chairs (Kirk Chair in the cabin also) and that was one of the things we liked a lot. Very comfy and secure.
Cabin windows- Lots of natural light came in and seemed like you were outside.
Cabinets/woodworking- One of the things we didn’t like about the major production boats Beneteau/Catalina etc. was the amount of pressboard with veneer. When you came onboard and went into the salon, it smelled of glue and other nasty things. The Seaward used actual wood cabinets with a rattan vent that allowed air to dry dishes naturally. We liked that.
Cabin table/work area- My wife and I have an engineering consulting business and worked at that table while underway. As long as we were in the ICW, most times, we had cell phone service and could get on line and work. It was a good spot for two people to work simultaneously while one of the other passengers was driving. Not sure how that would be in the open ocean, but in moderately calm waters, it was very handy.
Shoal Draft- We kept the keel up at the highest position during the majority of the voyage. It was pretty cool when anchoring to go past the other sailboats and get right next to the shore, within the protective line of shelter provide by trees or houses. More than once as we were slowly motoring past other sailboats, someone would call out on channel 16, “Blue Dog, Blue Dog, that’s pretty shallow over there.” We’d reply with something like, “Thanks. We got it.” Then go further in. There were times where we could literally anchor so close we were encroaching on someone’s dock space next to their house. That would be the limiting factor, not how far we had to go for keel depth. That ability gave us very nice anchorages (as long as the wind didn’t change too much during the night.) Sometimes we would lower the keel and rudders just a bit to help with movement at anchor, then pull it up in the morning before getting underway. One of the first nights on the hook we dropped a line over the side with a weight on it three or four times, measured the depth and zeroed in the chart plotter so we knew exactly how much water we had.
Speed- Blue Dog was FAST. Fast under sail and motoring. For the first day I dialed in 1,800 RPMs on both motors. I then looked up Yanmar specs online (we never got an owner’s manual) and 2,200 RPM was a nice number. We kept it at that RPM for most of the underway time. At 2,200 RPM we were tooling along around 7 kts-7.5 kts depending on wind and current.
Deck space- flat and fairly uncluttered going forward. Was pretty easy to clean when we got to a marina and not much to stub your toe on if barefoot.
It was gorgeous!
Those are the big things we liked about the boat.

Things we didn’t like about the boat mostly came on after being aboard for a while.
Step up on cabin sole next to port side chair- I can’t begin to tell you how many times everyone on board stubbed their toes on this. We got to the point where we wore deck shoes in the cabin all the time. We also would forget to step down coming from the cockpit. A few times people fell. It was extremely inconvenient.
Sole decks in the cabin had gloss finish and were VERY slippery if wet- I’m sure this is not unique to this vessel, but if you washed dishes and got any water at all on the deck, the next person would slip and catch themselves or fall. My wife and I both fell numerous times as did each crew member. Also numerous hatches leaked the entire voyage and would drip water onto the deck. Even if you were careful to wipe up after dishwashing or using the sink, the main cabin hatch leaked as did the one in the V-berth forward and you would step into the forward berth and fall on your butt. Especially tricky if we were in any type of seas.
Main engine hatch- It is wide and heavy. You need to remove the short ladder coming into the cabin from the cockpit and raise the heavy engine hatch cover by hand. It was secured only by a screen door type of latch on either side that extended into a very, very shallow recess. You could check the engine and Racors at the dock or at anchor, but underway, especially in rough seas (like the night we had water in the fuel and ran aground) it was virtually impossible to open and also ran the risk of the heavy hatch falling on you if you got it open. Quite dangerous.
No manual method to raise or lower keel- There is an electric keel motor that raises and lowers the keel. As long as everything is good and the stars are aligned, it works very well. There is no provision to use a main winch to raise or lower the keel. I had not thought of that when we bought the boat but was told this often by folks helping with the recovery.
Hull construction- The inner hull is bonded directly to the outer hull. This is a good thing as far as interior space goes. The interior of the Blue Dog was huge compared to other 46’ vessels. The drawback with this design is it is virtually impossible to repair hull damage without doing both inner and outer fiberglass at the same time. On a typical design boat with stringers, there is a space between the inner liner and outer hull. If you hit something that damages the outer hull, you can pull up a deck hatch/plate and see the damage then repair both sides. With this boat, large interior sections were made in molds then glued to the outer hull. The inner liner actually provided stiffness for the outer hull and are very difficult to repair if damaged.
Fuel tank vent close to the static waterline- This is one of those things that is easy to see after the fact, but not so much when you are buying a boat. I don’t know if seawater was sucked into the fuel tank during our trip that caused this accident, but I do believe there is a high probability of that. Also, after getting the Blue Dog on blocks at the marina, I spent a significant amount of time with marine surveyors, Naval Architects, composite material experts and generally salty dogs learning more about all types of boat construction. It was also discovered that there was no “Loop” in the fuel tank vent line. The thru-hull vent line ran directly to the fuel tank. If water got up to the level of the tank vent, it had a non-interrupted path to the tank. That was not something I checked when buying the boat.
Skegs were “tabbed” to the boat- After we were up on blocks and had the opportunity to check out the hull, we could find no support at the aft end of the boat on the hull for the skegs. It appeared as if the hull were laid up and the skegs were “tabbed” to the boat only without any further support, then gel coated over. There was a single stainless “thru bolt” but it did not have backing inside the hull either and was what tore out when we hit the sand allowing seawater into the boat. We were never provided hull construction drawings or any information on how the fiberglass was laid up. We had to take multiple hull samples then send off to a lab to try to figure out what each layer was. Hake offered to do the repair work and for a fairly reasonable price, but had to be at their yard in Florida. We were leery of using them as we had gotten poor support to that point. When we decided to use a local boat yard, Hake was unwilling or unable to provide any construction documents.
Twin engines close to centerline- I was initially excited about having two engines for redundancy and also being able to maneuver in tight spaces as I have driven twin engine boats (Bertram’s among others). As both engines fit into the same cavity as a single engine, the props are very close to centerline. This has the effect of having a single engine for maneuvering purposes. Not necessarily a big deal, but it is when you are trying to get into a difficult docking location and running one in forward and the other in reverse does nothing. I would probably go with one engine in the future and spend the money saved on dual Racors and on-board fuel polishing system.
Climb Mast to connect main halyard to main sail- The boom is pretty high which is nice for not getting hit in the head tacking or gybing while in the cockpit. The flip side of this is you need to connect the main halyard before leaving anchorage or the dock. This is a good practice to get into anyway, but if you are in a restricted maneuvering environment like the ICW and don’t have your main rigged, it is virtually impossible to climb 3 steps up the mast to attach the main halyard if the seas are rough.

That is probably enough. There are other things, but the bottom line is the 46RK is a gorgeous vessel with sleek lines and goes fast. I would not however, classify it as a “Blue Water Cruiser” If your goal is a 46’ day sailer with a shoal keel, it might be a good fit.
We have found some local sailors out here on the west coast and started Wednesday night “beer can” races this past week. We looked at used ~35’- 40’ boats over the weekend for something to sail while we are deciding what to do next. Hard to say how it will all turn out, but we are much more informed than before and slow to buy another boat. We do like the Hylas 46’ and that is top on our current list.
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