Who makes Blue Water boat right from the start - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 62 Old 09-12-2006 Thread Starter
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Who makes Blue Water boat right from the start

To my understanding What makes a Blue Water boat?

To my understanding, all decent coastal cruisers can make it in the blue water by upgrading their sails, hardware, tankage and etc. What other things one must have that is hard to upgrade later in a coastal cruiser?

LS
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post #2 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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While coastal cruising boat designs can be upgraded and taken out on bluewater, they are not bluewater design boats, and upgrading them doesn't make them one.

Bluewater passagemakers are designed quite differently from coastal cruising boats. They generally have narrower interior spaces and berths, which are more usable and safer in heavy seas, while coastal cruisers generally have more open layouts, with larger berths, which become dangerous in heavy seas.

Blue water boats will often have a smaller cockpit than a coastal cruising boat. Large cockpits present a serious hazard if the boat is pooped, and the cockpit fills with water. A smaller cockpit will hold less water, and reduces the likelihood of the water's weight affecting the boat's ability to stay afloat.

The bluewater boats will often have larger and deeper storage lockers than a coastal cruising boat. Larger fuel and water tanks are also the norm for bluewater boats, as you have to take it with you...and can't just stop at the next marina if you need more.

The rigging and sails on a bluewater boat are often heavier than those on a coastal cruiser. The cockpit and cabin are designed to resist breaking seas and often have a very substantial bridgedeck separating the cockpit from the companionway. The ports are often smaller and more heavily built.

They will often have a heavier ground tackle setup than a comparably sized coastal cruising boat.

And so on...etc.
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post #3 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockDAWG
To my understanding What makes a Blue Water boat?

To my understanding, all decent coastal cruisers can make it in the blue water by upgrading their sails, hardware, tankage and etc. What other things one must have that is hard to upgrade later in a coastal cruiser?

LS
How about upgrade everything? Here's a story about a coastal cruiser going bluewater, does it sound like fun? They got about 200 miles.

http://www.equipped.com/0698rescue.htm
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post #4 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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Sailingfool-

That story is a bit misleading. Part of the reason they left the boat behind is medical, and part is because they did not properly re-fit or prepare the boat. A lot of it was due to the boat being improperly prepared for a voyage of that magnitude, and not being aware of the weather conditions.

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post #5 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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SFool... good article and though there were issues of sickness and preparedness, I think it illustrates as you intended the futility of attempting to upgrade a coastal cruiser to blue water.
Buy the boat that will take you there safely...you can't make a Chevy a Sherman tank no matter how much armor you put on!
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post #6 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Sailingfool-

That story is a bit misleading. Part of the reason they left the boat behind is medical, and part is because they did not properly re-fit or prepare the boat. A lot of it was due to the boat being improperly prepared for a voyage of that magnitude, and not being aware of the weather conditions.
That the story is damning to the idea of a Catalina 36 as a blue water boat is not misleading. Weather conditions ranged from mild to moderate (25 knots wind). The owner stated he had planned and prepared for the trip for over three years. If you consider the problems experienced: broken blocks, hatches, leaking deck joint, etc. capped off by catrostropic failure of the steering, the insight should be that a Catalina 36 is not suitable for such use - proper prearation would start with reconsrtuction from a bare hull of a boat to be made fundatentally more sturdy and well finished than what Catalina built.
As a contrast, the prior owner of my CS 36T completed two successful passages New Engalnd to Latin America. Nothing broke on the boat in either trip. The only improvement he made to the boat as built, was to install two small drains in the seahood - he found when buttoned down below in weather where waves continually washed the length of the boat, water collected in the seahood form and he'd get a slow drip from the hatch. The net is, if the desiger and builder didn't spec a boat for offshore use, don't think the necessary changes are minor or economical or doable - buy a boat built for the how you intend to use it.
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post #7 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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water, water everywhere...

A common problem I've heard when someone compromises with a coastal cruiser offshore is water intrusion. Less sturdy openning portlights weep and drip when pounded with boarding seas. Over time, the constant moisture on the interior trashes cabinetry and other vulnerable surfaces, besides detracting from the whole experience. Some people even silicone their portlights shut when they head offshore.

Something else to consider is condensation produced on interior hull surfaces from cooler seawater and air tempertures. That would seem to call for insulation of the hull in cooler latitudes.

I haven't been in offshore conditions so these items are only from what I've read or heard from those who have. Surely someone else in the forum can speak directly to wet interior issues when it comes to the original construction of the vessel.

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post #8 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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rockDawg, a bluewater boat can be anything that the owner wants it to be. I think most of us would argue over the details but we'd all agree a boat was included in the "bluewater" group if:

-It could withstand a rollover with no damage
-It could withstand breaking waves with no damage (and they'll drop with a force of well over a ton per square foot)
-It can maintain steerage in gale+ force winds
-It can sustain the crew safely, if not comfortably, in the same
-It can hold sufficient tankage, food, water, etc. to get the boat across an ocean, figure at least 1000 miles preferably 2000+.
-It is inherently seaworthy, that is, STABLE, both with regard to sailing and balance, and to capsize resistance.

Some of that you can retrofit, some you can't. There are plenty of tales of boats that literally had the cabin sides stove in during heavy storms (mostly pre-fiberglass) and I'd suggest reading "Fastnet, Force 10" and Cole's "Heavy Weather Sailing" for a look at how some hull designs and certain racing rules can make a big difference in what is more or less likely to make a good bluewater boat.

Even the QE2 has taken a beating in heavy wx, but somewhere in between "rogue wave" and "small craft warning" there's a range of typical bad wx to be found in oceans, and a bluewater boat has to be capable of at least dealing with whatever can sneak up on the prudent sailor, in between weathercasts and landfalls.

Oddly enough...an awful lot of abandoned sailboats are eventually recovered after the crew has bailed. A bluewater boat is no good without bluewater crew. "Batteries and crew not included, optional and extra."

"Some people even silicone their portlights shut when they head offshore." Silly people, haven't they ever heard of duct tape?!
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post #9 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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When it comes to a long distance voyage, a lot more should go into preparation than simply using vacuum packed bags and pre-prepared food. That Catalina sounded pretty beat up. I always include a series of inspections by professionals which would include basic items like:
1. Standing Rigging
2. Electronics
3. Blocks, hatches, any deck penetration.
4. Keel bolts, through hulls
5. Plumbing
6. Navigation
7. Steering,
8. Rudder
9. Life Raft Certification Up To Date
10. Safety Equipment Check List in Compliance with Ocean Races such as Newport to Bermuda.
11. Sails examined by Sailmaker.

(To name a few). But you want a good twice over by someone who actually knows what they are doing might save your life.

As for the point of whether you should buy a new or used boat that is a matter of personal choice. The US has not adopted the EU boat rating standards yet but certain manufacturers like Island Packet have complied. So that might be a way to check. There are others on this site who can address this point in more detail but suffice it to say you that the seaworthiness of a boat for blue water purposes has been quantified. You can look that number up and find out if the boat has the right weight to length ratio to be safe in heavy seas. And frankly, that is the issue. The conditions described in that article were not particularly challenging. A boat in good condition with the right sail plan employed should comfortably handle 30 knots and 30 foot rolling waves.
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post #10 of 62 Old 09-12-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog
Sailingfool-

That story is a bit misleading. Part of the reason they left the boat behind is medical, and part is because they did not properly re-fit or prepare the boat. A lot of it was due to the boat being improperly prepared for a voyage of that magnitude, and not being aware of the weather conditions.
Some would probably argue (and the reviewer was too polite to say) that a 1984 Catalina 36, even if refit well is simply not a bluewater boat. As great a boat as it was, I never would have attempted a 2000 mile open water trip in my own 36 foot coastal cruiser.
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