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  #21  
Old 01-31-2008
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Bluewater Debate

I am shopping for what my next cruising boat will be and have been reading forum debates about what makes a boat bluewater capable for a while. I want something that can take me around the Caribbean and then beyond if I choose.

I keep hearing things that seem to be contradictory. A bluewater boat is one that is built and designed a certain way but in general there is always something mentioned about how a boat that shouldn't make it but did. The Contessa 32 sounds like another example. Based on its build and its tendency to submarine it should not make it but consistently does. People have crossed the Atlantic in a rowboat for crying out loud.

The theme I hear seems to be that the captain plays a far bigger role in taking a boat out there than anything. Knowing the limits of a boat and using this to decide how far to push it. A good captain does not make foolhardy decisions and does not leave port no matter what. If they do get caught they know how their boat will best handle heavy weather and they ride it out. Fastnet is always mentioned but these are racers pushing their boats as hard as they can, trying to ride that fine edge of its limit of capability. Cruisers don't do that.

There are of course boats that are more stoutly built than others. Everyone seems to think their boat is the best and they would trust it with their lives. I hear from one person that a certain boat is bluewater capable and another it is not. One thinks it is built strong and the other does not. Opinions on this subject are many and varied. Some would say they would take the Contessa 32 across oceans and others would not even consider it.

The only thing I can learn from all this is simple. Learn everything I possibly can, get the best boat I can afford, prepare it as best I can for the trip, then just go.
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  #22  
Old 01-31-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maru657 View Post
A friend once told me that fairly often coastel cruisers would show up in Hawaii with inner bulkheads broken loose and other damage.
You can get this on modern production cruisers in Lake Ontario if you actually sail when the wind's blowing.

Luckily, that doesn't happen much. On 25-35 knot days, I'll see race boats from the '70s out with crews doing training, overbuilt cruisers from the '70s out enjoying their boats finally doing hull speed with two reefs in the main, and guys like me in steel boats figuring out that the water tanks need to be lowered.
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  #23  
Old 01-31-2008
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Can someone point me to the information on Contessa 32s submarining? That is the first I have heard of that and I would like to read the source.

Gaz
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  #24  
Old 01-31-2008
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Plumper: I don't know what they mean by "submarining". The Contessa 32 does have a moderate freeboard and can be wet at times but has a well earned reputation of being one of the most seaworthy boats around. John Vigor writes about the Contessa in his book "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take you Anywhere".

John Kretschmer also writes about the Contessa 32 having sailed one across the Atlantic and then from New York to San Francisco by way of Cape Horn. GigióOne Boat's Story

The owner, after returning to the east coast, then proceeded to sail Gigi again around Cape Horn through the Southern Ocean to Tasmania. Pretty impressive for a 32 footer. BTW - I've recently read that Gigi has been shipped back to Jeremy Rogers in England where she was completely refitted and on display at the London boat show.

BTW - I'm pretty much certain that the Contessa's hull isn't cored. Here are a couple of links, one to the history of the Contessa (written by Fiona Rogers) and the other to Jeremy Rogers company. It seems you can't kill a good boat and, in addition to refurbishing older Contessas, Rogers will build new ones (but they need a minimum order to do so). The current boat's specification do not mention anything about a cored hull.

Cheers,
John
http://www.harrisellis.com/listings/...tessa%2032.htm
http://www.jeremyrogers.co.uk/index.html

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  #25  
Old 01-31-2008
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I am pretty familiar with the boats and always have admired them. I was wondering where the "submarining" thing came from. I had visions of a Contessa behaving like Merlin (Fast is Fun) on the Transpac some years ago. I just don't think the C32 will go fast enough to drive itself under.
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Old 01-31-2008
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i would say that there really is no such thing as an over built boat for ocean crossings etc. . there are definately under built boats that do make ocean crossings, but as stated previously the capt either new what he/she was doing or was lucky in their endeavor.
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Old 01-31-2008
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[quote=maccauley123;258638]I am shopping for what my next cruising boat will be and have been reading forum debates about what makes a boat bluewater capable for a while. I want something that can take me around the Caribbean and then beyond if I choose.

I keep hearing things that seem to be contradictory. A bluewater boat is one that is built and designed a certain way but in general there is always something mentioned about how a boat that shouldn't make it but did. ... People have crossed the Atlantic in a rowboat for crying out loud.
quote]

Maccauley,


Some random thoughts on "offshore" boats vs other species, and on things you might look for as you refine your search.


- Offshore boats are generally of more stout construction for obvious reasons. While weekend cruisers and charter designs do cross oceans they sometimes have problems of a type you don’t want to happen 1000 miles from nowhere. Example: a number of years ago a charter operator moved a group of new cruising boats under sail from France to the Caribbean. Almost all of them arrived with bulkheads separated from their hulls -- earning the builder the nickname "Bendy-toy" (I'll let you guess who it was). That may have been a construction or material flaw particular to a single production run, but it also might have had something to do with the design and engineering of the boat itself. (Yes, they got there, but would you want to try to fix one of these boats? You want try to do it in the Marquesas?)


- Designers of good offshore boats consider crew comfort on long passages and safety underway before “couple carrying capacity” and separate heads for everyone. Things like mast pulpits, hard dodgers, taller lifelines, smaller cockpits, larger cockpit drains, etc. tend to be found more on offshore boats. Inside, its things like galley design (for cooking underway vs at anchor), size and location of hand holds for moving about below when things get bouncy, pilot berths tucked into small spaces vs centerline queen sized berths make for a good offshore boat.


- Offshore boats will generally have more storage space for everything -- water, fuel, personal gear, spare parts, provisions, propane, etc. Weekend cruising boats are often designed to max out living (vs storage) space. When you see a boat leave port with 30 gallons of water and 30 gallons of fuel strapped to its life lines port and starboard it's probably safe to assume the boat may not have been designed with long distance sailing in mind.

- Offshore boats quite often have more redundancy in things like steering systems, autopilots, and other critical gear. They are often are designed with fewer complicated, complex, and fully integrated state of the art systems.


- Rigging, both standing and running, will be of larger diameters on offshore boats vs weekenders of comparable size. This is both for strength and durability of the rig. Sails may also be of heavier, more durable fabrics, heavier hardware, triple vs double stitching, etc.

I could go on, but the post is too long as is. Some of the differences in boat species are owner-specified (i.e. you can modify it), but others are part of their DNA -- built-in to the design and impossible to change. In short, offshore boats and weekenders or coastal cruisers are different breeds of the same animal. If you're only going to do the Caribbean almost all of the modern or recent vintage cruising boats will probably serve you well. If you're serious about going beyond the Caribbean, think hard about the differences in breeds. The boats (and crews) you'll run into in Panama preparing for the Pacific crossing are generally not the same breed as those you'll find running up and down the island chain.
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  #28  
Old 01-31-2008
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And everyone you speak to has differnt experence .passed on stories ect

Ive wanting to liveaboard since I was a kid.
Talked to lots of people at marinas. read everything I could find.
Read histories of boat designers . fuel and water caps. keels and what designs handle seas ,storms,
Thoughts and plans of where you might travel..single handed or crew and length of boat ..sail plans........It was a head full for a long time.

After all this I stumbled into a deep hul Gilmer design, so thats what I got .
Lots and loys of detail to learn on different boats
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  #29  
Old 01-31-2008
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The big difference is "was it a fluke", "was it skill", or pure "good luck"....

Look at the cheese scow Reid is sailing. By obvious observations it is not a "seaworthy" boat yet its still out there...

Yep row boats have crossed...

Cat 27's (I would never try it with mine regardless of the crap I have installed on it)...

In the end it is marriage of fortunate events, luck of of the draw, and some semblance of being able to be out of harms way...Not others are so lucky....I tend to think that those that have a wish to leave life as they know it - do better because because they have already given up per se... others that try to approach it sensibly - not so...

To do circumsions it takes some real gut, a reckless abandonment and believe in whatever you have... there is no scientific formula or rules that apply to whether any vessel can do it...anything can just as much as it can not- there are better odds but....look at most of the books written about soloing around the world they did it 27 footers or less... somehow glory in that... bigger is not always better... and nothing we can do to label a vessel as a "open water" works because in the end it as as much about the human mental ability and resolve as it is the vessel they pilot...

Back to your regular programming... me back to some more Hogue...
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  #30  
Old 01-31-2008
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Artbyjody wrote

To do circumsions it takes some real gut


Can't argue about that, especially when singlehanding. I thought the discussion was more sailing oriented however.
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