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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 02-12-2002
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Too small for offshore?

Hi, I have a Rainbow 24 sloop and would like to do some short distance offshore sailing with it. It''s a very stable boat with a bulb keel. But, it''s small and lacks interior space. It also has an outboard. Obviously, the amount of fuel and provisions will be a limiting factor. But otherwise, what factors determine whether a boat is suitable to go offshore?
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Old 02-13-2002
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Too small for offshore?

What makes a boat suitable for going offshore??
Picture this scenario; You are surfing down a huge wave in a storm at night and there''s a container in the trough of the wave, and you are heading right for it. If your boat would be holed and/or smashed to bits by this, it''s probably not suitable for taking offshore.
Also, read Steven Calahan''s book, and the story byb Dougal Robertson.
Plan for the worst, buy the right boat and you will do just fine.
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Old 02-13-2002
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Too small for offshore?

And do you actually know for certain of a boat that will not be holed in that situation?

I sure as hell don''t. Cold molded wood construction with a kevlar sheathing has the best chance of survival in that circumstance especially for the weight but, even Cold molded wood with a kevlar sheathing in the wrong circumstance is a goner.

Jeff
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Old 02-13-2002
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Too small for offshore?

The single most significant short coming on a Rainbow (except the last few made) as an offshore boat is the lack of a self-bailing cockpit or a way to prevent down flooding.

Jeff

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Old 02-14-2002
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Too small for offshore?

What avery sad view on life to say you wouldn''t go offshore if you couldn''t survive a worst case, and it must be right to respond that no boat coyuld guarantee survival in such a collision... possibly not even in a steel hull if you were unlucky.

so what are we saying ... only drive a tank down a freeway and just hope you don''t cause an accident by driving slower than everyone else.

The point is that if you wish to go offshore you have to have a (1) suitable boat, (2)in suitable condition, (3) with appropriate equipment and (4)sufficient crew experience. (4 conditions)

Its a good question, but if you have to ask then it means at this time you have not met at least one of the conditions (the fourth). However I am not trying to be negative because you could well be on the road to completing all 4 conditions ... and good luck to you.

Firstly, I have no knowledge of your boat type as I sail in Europe.

(1) Suitable boat. If it is true you don''t have a self draining cockpit this indicates you need to be thinking "what do I need to do to ensure my boat is seaworthy?" It sounds like modifications are required which might include creating a raised false cockpit floor and making it self draining. You will need professional assistance from a naval architect and a boatbuilder to assess the most appropriate modifications and a review of your basic hull strength. Perhaps you need to strengthen your hull, chain plate fittings and increase the weight of your rigging. Are the spars basically of sufficient inherent strength. If you start looking at the ORC special regulations you will see helpful requirements (requirements for ocean racers, just damn good advice to cruisers) on such issues as cockpit size, collision bulkheads, hatch covers.

(2) In suitable condition means you not only make sure everything is working, but you know how to work it and are very familiar with, not just how it works but your repair and alternates strategies.

(3) Appropriate equipment dovetails with (2) in respect of many spares, but again see the ORC Spec regs for recommendations about survival suits, liferafts, grab bag contents etc.etc.

This is the point ...yes you might hit the proverbial steel container (unlikely but you plan for it) .. thats why you are going to spend so much money getting ready and buying all this kit (Small is cheap as well as beautiful)
(4) OK with a small boat you don''t have room for many people, but you''ll need at least one with practical ocean going experience as a skipper. You will be a great supplement to his/her experience because by the time you go sailing you will have completed courses and gained cerificates in all sorts of disciplines ( see ORC again for the list).

David

Size, per se does not matter. In many ways it is easier to survive very heavy weather in a small boat (albeit terrifying and very unconfortable).

(2) In suitable
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Old 02-14-2002
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Too small for offshore?

Davidk,
Yea, my scenario was a bit extreme, I guess. My point is that you have to plan for the worst and hope it never happens. That''s why we have car insurance and wear sealt belts, me thinks. Personally I like a steel hull. I agree that you are better off on a smaller boat than a bigger boat in nasty weather. Too bad we can''t choose the weather like we can choose the boat.
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Old 02-15-2002
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Too small for offshore?

Thanks everyone for your input and advice. I do have sailing experience and I have taken sailing courses and do have certificates. But, this is hardly a subject that comes up in an ASA course. I''m not looking to buy an offshore vessel. I have a Rainbow 24 and plan to get the most sailing experience out of it before moving up to my next boat. I don''t plan on using it for an offshore vessel. Just would like to possibly take it offshore occationally for short, well planned excursions of a few days max..I know if I were shopping for an offshore vessel, this would most certainly not be it by a long shot. I guess what prompted me to ask the question is the stories I see of small sailboats circumnavigating, etc. Some smaller than a Rainbow! The lack of a self bailing cockpit has been a concern. Any other thoughts?
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Old 02-15-2002
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Too small for offshore?

Your last few replies caught my interest. I have a 25ft Kelt and have wondered the same thing about off shore sailing. What interests me is your statements concerning small boats are safer in heavy weather.
Could you let us small boat sailers know why?
It might raise up our confidence.
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Old 02-16-2002
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Too small for offshore?

The debate on small boats being more safe in a storm has to do with a larger area being exposed to wind and waves. In a very large vessel (say a large ship for example) you have an immovable object being hit with an irresistable force, eventually the ship will give., whereas a small boat will bob and weave like a light bulb, the light bulb being fragile still survives even after being washed up on shore after a storm.
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Old 02-19-2002
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Too small for offshore?

I''ve seen people 40 miles offshore in a dingy. See what is required by the Coast Guard for a boat that size, aquire it and go have fun.
Jim
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