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  #51  
Old 10-28-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Greg, was the “twenty footer” you mentioned the Cal 20, “Black Feather”, or was it the WWP named “Tubby”? I’ve seen the former at South Beach before the race and attended the talk on Tubby at BYC. Both were pretty amazing voyages, but twenty days of nothing but canned ravioli isn’t quite my style. I have been knocked down (Boom or masthead in the water) twice in a 22 footer and twice in 38 footers. If the recovery from this is an indication of safety, I’ll take a 38 footer any time. I have yet to get even close to getting knocked down in anything over 40 feet. The fellow in Oregon who is looking for a sailboat isn’t experienced enough to really know what he wants and is getting unduly influenced by the beauty pageant known as “what is the best boat for…”. As you know from your experience in sailing the Gulf of the Farallones, the ability to make speed needed to climb waves and safely navigate in high sea states is an important safety factor. Holding all other variables the same that means water line length. Smaller waterlines means shorter masts. Which means losing airflow over the sails when the boat is in a trough, just when you need the drive to climb over the next wave isn’t much fun.

A lot of these discussions degenerate in the proverbial “beauty pageant” rants that assume a lot of personal criteria, not exactly germane to safety. I see the move to ever larger cruising boats as one more to do with comfort than anything else. Bigger boats mean bigger tankage. Or water makers. Or both. Water makers and SSBs mean alternative sources of electrical generation. Mrs. B loves to sail, but the deprivations resulting from too many crew, too small of a boat isn’t going to work (she is also a Baja vet). Longer waterline gives you more space to store stuff. How do you guys manage all that stuff? Anyone have the courage to post an interior photo three days in on a five day passage? I certainly don’t.
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  #52  
Old 10-28-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delezynski View Post
Paulo,

I would like to point out that of the about 15+ boats that departed the San Francisco Bay when we did, for “long term” cruising, we are the the smallest boat, AND we are the ONLY boat still actively cruising. Of the rest, two couples are still living aboard in a Mexico marina and have not sailed in years. The rest, gave up cruising, sold the boats and are now CLODs (Cruisers Living On Dirt). ALL of the boats I cite were fitted out with the best that could be offered in 2004. What is state of the art today, is obsolete next week, some times tomorrow! I can't believe people NEED a new phone every year!

I do not attribute us still cruising to anything special about us. I do think it has a lot do with how hard/easy it is to maintain and actively cruise a larger boat. Of the breakdowns, and we had a couple, we were FAR less impacted than the larger boats...... That is, we cruised more for less maintenance.

During 4 years in the Sea of Cortez, we were offered 3 times to trade our boat, straight across, for boats in the 41 to 45 foot range. And they were NOT trash boats!

Of a lot of active cruisers I know, we are NOT unique in cruising on boats far smaller than could be bought by the people cruising them.

I DO agree that many people run out, sell the house and purchase the biggest boat they can. I would also submit that all of those that we met along the way (MANY) gave up cruising in short order! I am always sad for those that go that route. Not for the loss of money, but for the dreams that go unfulfilled.

That said, in my line of work, when I was working, a “fact” was universally true. As you have said that Jill and I (along with others we know) do not fit your "fact", I submit it is only an assumption.

Greg
Yes, I like facts but you have completed misunderstood me.

This thread is not about the right size of a cruising boat but about the relation between the size of cruising boat and its safety offshore.

I like diversity and I agree that the size and the type of the boat is a personal choice. But then if we talk about the subject of the thread it is a fact that a modern 50ft cruiser, well designed as any production boat is, it is safer offshore than any 27ft. The fact is that one and not anything about the choice of the size of the ideal cruising boat that I see as a personal choice.

Those boats that I posted represent what the majority of European see as the perfect cruising boat, if they could afford them. It does not represent the choice of all cruisers but a market tendency. That post was trying to show that the tendency, in what regards seaworthiness and cruising space goes in the direction of bigger lighter faster boats that substituted as tendency for offshore work the smaller slower and heavier sailing boats. Not for all but for the vast majority and as a clear market tendency.

Regarding cruising you make a lot of assumptions that I don't understand. Most of the cruisers that buy those big boats or others and have the time to cruise full time don't do that not because they can't but because they don't want. Most cruise during what they call "sailing season" and return home for the winter by the fireplace with the family.

It is not better nor worse, it is a choice regarding life stile.

Regarding that story about boat maintenance Europeans that have the money to buy those boats keep them in average for 4 to 6 years and when they start to get problems or a new nicer model appear they just sell them and buy another new one. Off course we are not talking about everybody but to the ones that have +1 million to give for a new sailboat and have a life style according to it.

We are talking about what sailors would like to do if they have the conditions (and money) to do that. Personally, If I could , I would change my boat every 6 years by a new one and that way would not only have a very contemporary boat as I would escape almost all maintenance and the trouble that gives. However, even if I had all the money in the world, I would not buy one of those big and heavy cruisers, but a smaller and faster cruiser between 38 and 44ft, but that is just my personal choice, my ideal and suits only me and maybe some other sailors since that is a relatively common choice even if not dominant.

Regarding cruising extensively and living aboard a 27 ft boat, not by need but by choice, well I would say that it is not a very common option. Almost non existent here where a 36ft is considered a small cruising boat. It would imply a very spartan way of living but if that suits you and it is your ideal regarding cruising and living style, than it is fine with me, as any other option if you don't try to convince me that a 27ft boat is the ideal boat for me (or to majority) to cruise.

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-28-2013 at 06:59 PM.
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  #53  
Old 10-28-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
Greg, was the “twenty footer” you mentioned the Cal 20, “Black Feather”, or was it the WWP named “Tubby”?
George,

The small one I was talking about is “Mini”. You can see it at Dave's web site at;
Home

We had a GREAT time talking to him, and the author of the book about his voyage, Sandy Moss. I love going to talks, or even just watching videos of cruisers. Not the short time guys who get a boat, drive it fast, post a blog, then dump it in a few months to a year, but the people who head out far, like Ed & Ellen on Entr'acte who built there boat from a kit ( Ellen and Ed sail around the world in their NorSea 27 Entr'acte ) or Lealea here on the the board.

We agree 20 ft is a bit small for us, but we have talked about a 15 to 20 ft as a “summer home” for cruising places for short time periods.

I think knock down recovery is sure something to think about! But I also think it's different for each boat. That is, because one 35 footer works well, another may not. It's more than just waterline. We took one on our way south along the Baja. A rogue his us broadside. We had the aft end of the boom and spreaders in the water, but not the mast top. Was at 0200, why does everything happen then????? Sure got our attention! We were clipped in, the cockpit, with Jill in the foot well, looked like a jacuzzi! NOT FUN! But we got less than a cup of water below, and she righted her self in seconds. I think our 8 foot beam helped a lot here.

You know, I have to search my memory about loosing wind in the trough? It just does not come up in my mind that it was a problem. I will think about it and see if Jill remembers any thing about it.

You know, as we cruised, we NEVER met ANY boat that did not have so much junk it took up a full storage area. By junk, I am not talking trash, just stuff like spares etc...

I agree, bigger boats do have bigger tanks, but then, they use more fuel! And with the added weight of the junk, use even MORE fuel. Never met a true cruising boat “out there” that was not over loaded, no matter the length! I think we carry about the same, size for size. We are trying hard to pair down now that we have been. We do have a reefer/ice maker, water maker, SSB, HAM, 50 inch TV (LED projector), Etc... We do NOT camp out on board. Guenevere is our home. I don't think we would have a problem with a post an interior photo three days in on a five day passage? As long as it was of the forward cabin, not our aft cabin!

I LOVE YOUR WORDS; “beauty pageant” rants! Sure fits.

Greg
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  #54  
Old 10-28-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by PCP View Post
Yes, I like facts but you have completed misunderstood me.

This thread is not about the right size of a cruising boat but about the relation between the size of cruising boat and its safety offshore.

I like diversity and I agree that the size and the type of the boat is a personal choice. But then if we talk about the subject of the thread it is a fact that a modern 50ft cruiser, well designed as any production boat is, it is safer offshore than any 27ft. The fact is that one and not anything about the choice of the size of the ideal cruising boat that I see as a personal choice.
------
SNIP
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Regarding cruising extensively and living aboard a 27 ft boat, not by need but by choice, well I would say that it is not a very common option. Almost non existent here where a 36ft is considered a small cruising boat. It would imply a very spartan way of living but if that suits you and it is your ideal regarding cruising and living style, than it is fine with me, as any other option if you don't try to convince me that a 27ft boat is the ideal boat for me (or to majority) to cruise.

Regards

Paulo
I agree about the subject of the thread. But I think we are agreeing to disagree about safety off shore. I was not trying to change any ones mind when I started the thread, simply listening to the ideas of others.

You feel one way, I feel another, each of us basing our opinions on our own experiences and what others put forth.

Believe me, I am NOT trying to convince any one to go live aboard just any 27 foot boat. But I am saying, there are more people who are actually cruising about in smaller than 45 foot boats.

As for us, Our Nor'Sea 27 is VERY seaworthy. And it is NOT spartan. We have a 50 inch TV aboard (LED projector) and all the other comforts of home. We do NOT "camp out". And we recently finished up cruising the SF Bay area for a few months and are now planning on cruising the east coast of Florida early next year. After that, who knows.

I do pride myself on making up my own mind based on what I learn from others, BUT NOT following the heard, so what is common or not in an area has no baring on what I decide to do.

Thanks for all of your ideas! I do enjoy listening to others ideas and try to learn something from every one. Hopefully, we can meet up at anchor and have cocktail in the cockpit some time!

Greg
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  #55  
Old 10-28-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by JonEisberg View Post
... So, I look at that sleek, elegant mainsheet on that HR that disappears into the boom, and I wonder "What IF...?"





Here's how H-R describes the setup:

"The mainsheet system only has one single visible line. There is a hydraulic cylinder and line purchase hidden inside the boom. The hydraulic vang is very powerful."

Hmmm, HIDDEN INSIDE THE BOOM??? Seriously? Well, I'm sure it works nicely, certainly gives the boat a sleek and uncluttered look, but I sure don't like the sound of such a system, maybe a few years down the road...

Now, perhaps Selden has made the provision for inspection or servicing such an arrangement very convenient... Still, I don't like this modern trend towards hiding lines and other critical gear... "Out of Sight, out of Mind..." Any hydraulic cylinder will begin to leak eventually, will the first indication of the mainsheet failing on such a boat be a stain on the teak decking beneath the gooseneck? If that system develops a problem offshore in a blow, what then? How easy do you suppose it will be for an older couple to deal with servicing a large hydraulic ram (which often requires highly specialized tools and presses that can realistically only be done in a shop ashore) that is hidden inside the boom?

...
I don't know much about big sailingboats modern systems (they are out of my range) but I found very strange that a conservative brand like HR use something less reliable or in a experimental stage.

It turns out that almost all modern big sailboats use a similar system even boats that race. It has to be a reliable system to have such a generalized use. The Swan use it also. Here you can see one on the relatively new Swan 60:



"Race-optimized versions, like Emma, have a racing boom rather than the Park Avenue style that comes on the cruising version. However, Emma is equipped with a Magic-Trim system that does away with the traveller, drastically reducing mainsail trim options. A racing mainsheet system is available as part of the optional $35,000 competition package.

On deck, sophisticated sail control systems and an ergonomically designed layout allow the Swan 60 to be easily sailed by just three people. The Magic-Trim mainsheet is a very safe innovation for cruisers, as it has no exposed finger-jamming blocks and includes a quick release that allows the main to be dumped in response to a large gust or when bearing away......All winches on board are electric, enabling effortless sail trimming and creating an uncluttered central cockpit devoid of pedestal grinders."


Flagship: Best Boats Swan 60 | Sail Magazine

The supplier of the system is not the same on the HR and on the Swan but you can have a look at the boats that use the system from this supplier and will have an idea of how expanded is its use and the class of boats that use them.

Cariboni - Marine Hydraulic Systems

Cariboni - Marine Hydraulic Systems

As I have said, we will have to get used to more complex sailboats at least in what regards bigger sailboats. That's the only way they can be sailed by a couple or a very short crew and that's a so big advantage that justifies the use of more complex systems that have no reason not to be reliable...only expensive

Regards

Paulo
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Last edited by PCP; 10-28-2013 at 11:01 PM.
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  #56  
Old 10-29-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

It would be great if I had enough money to freely pick whatever boat I like in order to keep my rear end safe while at sea. Whatever I lack in purchasing power I will have to make up in my seamanship skills and prudent decision making. But I do appreciate all the comments and opinions of all the experiences sailors here. I will definitely buy the biggest solid boat I can afford, which for me will be something in the 30 to 35 ft range. Instinctively, I prefer smaller boats because this is what I have ever sailed and I know I can handle them even when things get hairy, but size definitely matters and there has to be a happy median somewhere.
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Old 10-29-2013
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
....... As you know from your experience in sailing the Gulf of the Farallones, the ability to make speed needed to climb waves and safely navigate in high sea states is an important safety factor. Holding all other variables the same that means water line length. Smaller waterlines means shorter masts. Which means losing airflow over the sails when the boat is in a trough, just when you need the drive to climb over the next wave isn’t much fun..........
George,

As said, I discussed this with Jill to get her thoughts from our experiences.

A note here, we go out of our way to pick good weather windows! The great thing about open ended cruising...... NO SCHEDULE. In all our time out we did NOT have all that much bad weather! We used our Mainster for light air MUCH more than storm sails.

She said, and as I remembered it, that we would stall at times when hitting a wave, but it was more from the water than lack of wind in the sail. She pointed out that when we were in weather that was producing that high of waves, we were almost always reefed down. Or, we would heave-to and hang out for it to pass. A larger boat would most likely not have to reef as early as us. That is a point.

I also remember when we HAD to make any maneuver that even might put us beam to, I would have the engine running, just in case. I can only remember once when I felt I had to engage and rev. It was early on in our cruising and we were running with the wind picking up. Jill suggested reefing, but we were making such good speed, I waited. Lesson learned, LISTEN TO JILL!!!

Greg
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  #58  
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

“Safety” is an interesting concept. Given the right set of conditions, even a Mac power sailboat falls within the “safe” parameter. “Safety” becomes a sliding scale as the sea state and wind conditions increase. As Paulo said previously, holding all the other variables equal (build quality, principal ratios, etc.), a boat with a longer water line will be in that “safe” zone longer as conditions deteriorate. For example, I used to sail my 22 out of Santa Cruz and a weekend jaunt down to Monterey would sometimes feel like sailing in the Southern Ocean. The same conditions in my 34 is now a “fun romp”.

Yes, we ideally should pick an appropriate weather window to build in as much safety margin as we can, but we don’t always have that perfect crystal ball prediction. A wise general once told me “George, sometimes the battlefield chooses you”. When that happens all you have to rely on is your skills as a sailor and the safety margin built into your boat. By having to engage an engine to power-tack your way in a high sea state you are beginning to dig into that margin. Using our Oregon friend as an example. Safety for him is the ability to claw his way off a lee shore. What would afford more safety margin – a boat with a tighter tacking angle, or a boat with a bigger engine?

Ideally, we would all be like Paulo and be able to afford a million dollar boat equipped with all the latest gizmos and gadgets. But that’s not going to happen. For me, the “size matters” equation tappers off pretty dramatically at around forty feet. Beyond that, things just get too big and heavy to manage on my own. I want to be able to do a headsail change or spinnaker gybe with a pole that I can manage. Certainly, there are plenty of smaller boats that also have that safety margin built into them, but then the issue of crew comfort, tankage, and carrying capacity comes into play. These may be my criteria, but certainly not the only criteria.

Greg, in the great continuum of cruising boats, both your 27 and my 34 are in the same small boat category. As my Mexico sojourn is only a couple of years away, I am interested in learning more from you and Jill (I’m enjoying your website). I’ve got a lot of questions and would like to dialog further.
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

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Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
“Safety” is an interesting concept. Given the right set of conditions, even a Mac power sailboat falls within the “safe” parameter. ......

Greg, in the great continuum of cruising boats, both your 27 and my 34 are in the same small boat category. As my Mexico sojourn is only a couple of years away, I am interested in learning more from you and Jill (I’m enjoying your website). I’ve got a lot of questions and would like to dialog further.
George,

I completely agree about “Safety” and it being a concept. That's partly why I started the thread. I can't count the number of times people ask how we could possibility go to sea in our boat! They always come back with something to the effect that you need a much bigger boat to go. I see so many people that equate size to safety. We know if proper boat, with proper prep and a proper crew, what ever those may be.....

The time I engaged the engine was due to the wave period, not wave height. Jill and I put a LOT more credence in the period! We can handle ANY size wave (as long as it's not breaking) if the period is long enough. And we were starting out and wanted to make a harbor rather than head out to sea, a tactic we have done since then. We try to learn at every opertunity.

I was pondering this all week and it came to mind that the ONE craft that every one goes to when all else fails, is the life raft! Comfort is out, but you are safe. And it's the smallest craft. I just don't think I would like to try to voyage in one.

In fact, for us we spent way more time, orders of magnitude, in calm conditions than in storms!

WOW, to bad we did not talk sooner. We recently finished up our SF Bay area cruise. Spend a few months there in the Bay and Delta. Was in the Alameda yacht club for a Nor'Sea get together. I actually gave a short talk there. We could have had a gam. We are now in prep to head to New Orleans early next February for the BIG party, then cruise on over to the west coast of Fla.

We would be happy to share any info we have on our Mexico romp. We spent years there after planning to only stay a couple of month. But our info may be getting dated. One thing we agree on, we had a GREAT time. We met many people had circumnavigated and were back there, stating that is was the BEST cruising place!

Greg
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size

Nine times out of ten the conditions will range from the benign to boring. However, that tenth time is the one that is noteworthy and besides, we want to safely make harbor ten out of ten times and not merely nine out of ten. Being a San Francisco/ Norcal kind of guy, I do tend to focus on that “tenth” time as our prevailing conditions make for snotty weather more like six out of ten times. I think I had more days this year in 25-35kts of breeze than I did days under 20 kts. When I race the family Catalina in offshore races I have a hard stop at when NOAA predicts periods in seconds less than swell height in feet when swells are over ten feet. Anything less than that and the waves tend to break in the Gulf of the Farallones.

My racing buddies like to give me a hard time about owning a wildly inappropriate boat too. I know that the Nor’ Seas have a loyal following and are a pretty salty boat too. (Isn’t there a guy on this BB who has done the Hawaii thing?) We were just down the Estuary at Marina Village and I would have loved to buy you a beer at EYC. Maybe next time. What I really want to focus on is the outfitting and boat prep here. We have several friends who live in Mexico and I have tons of bread crumb trails and marked waypoints for my chart plotter. I’d like to pick your brain on what worked for you, what would have been a neat thing and what was a waste of storage space.

For example, awnings, dodgers and biminis. We currently have a dodger and a “cruiser awning” that zips into the dodger and ties into the back stay. I’m thinking of getting a framed dodger that would collapse onto the back stay and a zippered transitional piece. Our canvas work is “royal blue”, your thoughts? Also, what do you think of the cruiser curtains? I noticed that you had a big curved awning that went over the boom. Should we make an awning to fit over the forepeak? Where and how did you store all the awnings? Fire away.
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