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  #21  
Old 10-14-2009
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Nicely said...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff_H View Post
These discussions always strike me as the sailing equivalent of the medieval “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?” As has been said above, the answer depends:
· Your definition of “blue water”
· How good a sailor you are,
· How much risk you are willing to assume.


Anecdotally, there are bunches of stories of this guy or that gal sailing the moral equivalent of a tea cup around the world. Does this mean that sailing a teacup around the world is a good idea? I don’t think so. By the same token there is a recent phenomena that just plain baffles me where brand new, know-nothing sailors go off and buy 45/50 footers as their very first boat and plan to sail around the world. And before they’ve sailed a single serious passage, or gotten hammered by their first gut-wrencher of a storm, they swear that this is the smallest boat that is safe to sail around the world.


To me, anyone seriously contemplating serious blue water sailing better have spent a bunch of time coastal cruising and getting to know almost reflexively how to sail out of any mess they get into. People would not do surgery or fly a plane without learning how to do so through a rigorous apprenticeship (by any other name). Yet they are perfectly comfortable setting off into the wild blue yonder on whatever plastic (or metal) fantastic they happen to justify owning.


I understand that going voyaging always includes a bit of the Dirty Harry factor (as in “How lucky do you feel? Punk”) But making a careful and thoughtful decision before getting your head handed to seems to make a lot more sense than trying to wrestle your way out of hell in a leaky basket. It makes a lot more sense than wrestling against the huge forces of a big boat before you learn how to work with them. It makes a lot more sense than trying to survive in a boat that is the poster child for "how big is thy seas and how tiny is my boat".


Almost any decent boat, with a touch of luck can make almost any passage that it can carry enough supplies to keep the skipper and crew alive, assuming that is that the worst does not happen. And experienced distance cruisers tell us that the worst rarely does happen. It’s the lottery in reverse.


And since you can’t be certain that you won’t be the one who won the negative lottery and in other words, can’t be certain that won’t have to be the one to prove that you really can claw off a lee shore in a full gale in a Lead Bobber 24, then you better pick the most suitable boat you can find and make every effort to make sure that boat is in good shape and that you know how to sail it.

Pretty much all studies of marine disasters have shown that length matters (at least up to a point), more than any other parameter, in the likelihood that a boat will survive a bad storm. Robustness is important because no matter how long your boat started out it had better hold together and keep water out and the rig up. Stability counts because there are cases you need to be able to carry enough sail to keep sailing no matter how much wind you are in. And lastly you need to have enough displacement to carry all the supplies and gear that you need to carry to make the passage.

Which gets us back to the original question of how small a boat makes sense for offshore use. In a general sense, if you plan to do distance voyaging offshore, you need 2 ˝ to 6 tons of displacement per person to carry enough stuff to keep them alive. If you go modern with your cruiser then you end up with an L/D somewhere less than 200 or if you go more traditional you end up with an L/D somewhere above 250. There is no excuse for an L/D any higher than 300.
And those numbers get you to a minimum size distance cruiser. But of course, not every boat that goes offshore is actually going distance cruising. Many are doing a series of short hops no longer than a coastal cruiser might grapple with.

And that, of course that brings us back to the guy with the Hunter 25 who went to Cuba. If I remember right it is roughly 90 miles from lace w:st="on">Key Westlace> to the Cuban coast. In decent weather that is roughly 24 to 30 hours of sailing. If you can pick your weather window, it’s not all that hard to make that leap on any half-way decently maintained and constructed boat, including a 25 foot Hunter.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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  #22  
Old 10-14-2009
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As I thought, size doesn't matter (even if my SO disagrees)

It's all about what you do with what you got....IMHO.
To quote a song... "It ain't the meat, its the motion that gets me hot"....
Translation: It ain't the boat, its you ability to make it sail that makes it hot.

Never been offshore, hope to one day. Doesn't matter really to me today. What I know is there are a bunch of folks on this board doing today what I can only dream about. Maybe when I retire in 15 years, I'll get me that "blue water" boat.. whatever that is. But until then, I plan to learn, sail, ask for advice (something that is not natural for an engineer), and have a great time.

Guess the Systems Engineer in me is showing, I could care less about one specific detail, but more about how the total system works (crew, boat, weather, etc).

Just my $0.02 discounted however you like....

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  #23  
Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capt.Fred View Post
However a blue water sailor could be pretty creative if he found a mangled derelict of a boat floating were he was swimming unintentionally at sea. After all that is why he is a blue water sailor.
If your theory is correct, where is the boat that caused the above sailor to find himself unintentionally swimming in the sea?

Sorry, I don't subscribe to your belief that a rrrreaaaaaaaalllly good sailor can sail through any weather in any boat. There waw a boat called Moquini in Southern Africa that was new, state of the art (or so it was believed) and 6 very experienced sailors all died on her, disappeared without a trace

Jeff, you wrapped this up pretty well. If the OP doesn't get from your post what he wanted then he'll never get it. Thanks
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  #24  
Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stiche View Post
A Hunter 25? Wow. I can get pretty close to that though. How about a Cal 25? There have been a few (at least) that have been modified and successfully circumnavigated the globe. I've heard one story of a guy who sailed a Cal 25 from San Diego to Hawaii in 21 days.
How about a Cal 20? A Cal 20 took 2'nd place in Division D of the Singlehanded Trans-Pac (SF to Hawaii) last year; followed by a Dana 24, International Folkboat, and a Pearson Electra 22 (*). BUT, the winner of that division in a Custom Wylie 27 had to abandon when beating back to SF and got caught up in a clear air gale. It was a really bad storm and Skip Allan did the right thing by ditching; as there are conditions where almost ANY boat less than 75+ feet could be overcome by.

*All of the boats that sail in the Trans-Pac are heavily modified to allow for the stresses of racing in blue-water conditions.

Last edited by KeelHaulin; 10-15-2009 at 12:33 AM.
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  #25  
Old 10-15-2009
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Moquini's captain and crew most likely died when Moquini lost her keel and flipped.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
If your theory is correct, where is the boat that caused the above sailor to find himself unintentionally swimming in the sea?

Sorry, I don't subscribe to your belief that a rrrreaaaaaaaalllly good sailor can sail through any weather in any boat. There waw a boat called Moquini in Southern Africa that was new, state of the art (or so it was believed) and 6 very experienced sailors all died on her, disappeared without a trace

Jeff, you wrapped this up pretty well. If the OP doesn't get from your post what he wanted then he'll never get it. Thanks
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a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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  #26  
Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeelHaulin View Post
How about a Cal 20? A Cal 20 took 2'nd place in Division D of the Singlehanded Trans-Pac (SF to Hawaii) last year; followed by a Dana 24, International Folkboat, and a Pearson Electra 22 (*). BUT, the winner of that division in a Custom Wylie 27 had to abandon when beating back to SF and got caught up in a clear air gale. It was a really bad storm and Skip Allan did the right thing by ditching; as there are conditions where almost ANY boat less than 75+ feet could be overcome by.

*All of the boats that sail in the Trans-Pac are heavily modified to allow for the stresses of racing in blue-water conditions.
What modifications were made to the Catalina 36 that did it? Looked pretty stock to me.

For me that's an example of getting lucky. The weather was decent for the race and the crew didn't have to find out if a C36 was up to the kind of relentless pounding that caused another crew to abandon their boat on the way home. Had the weather on the way to Hawaii been that bad, it might have been a different story.
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  #27  
Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgiguere View Post
Yes, but if you do all that stuff to a Cal 25, then it's no longer a Cal 25! You can't then say that a Cal 25 survived a circumnavigation.
That sounds like a challenge!

Now...where'd I put that EPIRB...
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  #28  
Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
What modifications were made to the Catalina 36 that did it? Looked pretty stock to me.

For me that's an example of getting lucky. The weather was decent for the race and the crew didn't have to find out if a C36 was up to the kind of relentless pounding that caused another crew to abandon their boat on the way home.
I don't know what modifications were made to any of these boats; but usually they go through and make upgrades to many of the systems like tanks, deck hardware, running rigging, batteries installed correctly/safely, thru-hulls with proper seacocks, etc. In some cases they strengthen bulkheads and put in heavier chainplates, heavier standing rigging and hull reinforcement. I don't see what difference it makes in terms of if the boat was classified as a Cal 20 or whatever; the hull form remains the same and all of the added equipment is assurance that the boat is up to the task of sailing across an ocean. I'm not sure what production boat you would buy that is blue-water ready aside from a Valiant or another cruiser that is specifically made to be an ocean cruiser.

I would not say that these boats got lucky in their race to HI; I'd say it was more of an un-lucky situation that Wildflower (the overall winner of the '08 Singlehanded TP) needed to be abandoned. The conditions that Skip Allan encountered were exceedingly rare for that time of year; and if it had happened during the race many racers would have aborted and sailed to safer waters like Los Angeles or west to the high pressure. Unfortunately Skip was trying to sail into it instead of running away; and he thought he would sail out of the heavy weather but instead was traveling deeper into the heavy wind. Fatigue played a role and after taking a continuous pounding for 3 days in 30ft seas and no end in sight you start to lose faith that you will make it out alive. When he abandoned the boat was still seaworthy; it was not the boat that let him down, it was his inner faith that he would make landfall in it (and I don't think that was an un-wise decision given the circumstances).

Quote:
Had the weather on the way to Hawaii been that bad, it might have been a different story.
Well, that's true of ANY race on ANY size of boat; as the sea is way more powerful than almost any boat on the ocean. Look at the Volvo Ocean Race; last year the 70ft boats were pummeled on their beat to China and many boats had to abort and go to Taiwan for repairs (including replacement of a hull section on Erricson 3). There are many examples of races that turned into disasters including loss of boats and life due to either wind conditions that were sudden or wind conditions that were not properly interpreted.
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Old 10-15-2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sailingdog View Post
Moquini's captain and crew most likely died when Moquini lost her keel and flipped.
I don't believe there is any remaining question about that.

The point I'm making is that it doesn't really matter how much sailing skill is on board - when the boat is bad, the boat is bad and people are going to die.
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  #30  
Old 10-15-2009
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My understanding was that one of the deciding factors in Skip's decision to abandon the boat was that he was in a position to be rescued. If he had continued on the conditions for his rescuers may have deteriorated to the point where their safety would have been in jeopardy. I believe I read this here on sailnet.

michael
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