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Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
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  #1  
Old 04-10-2011
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Different boats...

I pretty much grew up sailing a 23' South Coast Seacraft sloop. A friend's father got her used, and we used to do things like sail her from her berth in Edmonds, WA, to the San Juans, so my friend's dad could sail around the islands without the "boredom" of sailing her there. Needless to say, we loved it. Near as I can tell, she was built around 1958, and she had much sleeker lines than some of the later boats from the same manufacturer. She was very fast, and we had many an adventure aboard her, and being teens at the time, we were of course immortal, and did many things we would never even consider now.

Much later on, I had a chance to sail a 54' ketch. While any kind of sailing is lovely, and this ketch had about the same lines as my beloved sloop, I was nevertheless a bit surprised at how much an extra 20' or so with the accompanying broadening of beam turned the experience from one of driving a sports car to one of driving a truck. Oh, the ketch was plenty fast, but coming about was more like wallowing about, and so on. Of course I never sailed her through any narrow passes, (nor would I want to without a lot more practice) but gone was the crack, crack, crack of closely repeated tacks.

However, I can't deny there was something rather majestic about standing on deck behind a real wheel, instead of merely manning a tiller. So I am rather ambivalent about my experience "captaining" this ketch, and I am wondering if anyone has any similar stories to relate, or even better, has a story to relate about how they became used to and fell in love with the "truck."

By the way, it has always been my dream to sail a tall ship, but I suspect most of them would be even worse. Has anyone out there ever done that?
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Old 04-11-2011
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The small boat-big boat conflict. I'm there. My first boat was a dinghy, followed by a 20' weekender keelboat that I dearly loved. I daysailed her year round, and took weekend to week long cruises abiout Long Island, venturing alongshore too. When I moved up to a 26' yawl, she felt like a ship to me. I daysailed and cruised her too, without an engine, about LI Sound. After a bit I learned her ways and found her very handy, with a touch more room, comfort, and seaworthiness than the 20'. Now I have the truck: a 39', 16 ton ketch. I also love her dearly. I admit she is not as much fun to sail as the prior two, not as handy, but she'll sail herself for hours with the wheel tied off. She's comfortable in a chop that would make the smaller boats wet and pitchy. Below decks she has standing headroom, an oven, a shower. My wife will cruise with me. She's half again as fast as the smaller boats, making a lunch trip to Ct practical, where previously it might be all day. I can sail this one back to Florida and stay aboard all winter (I plan to). Dinghies and daysailers are the most fun, weekenders a good compromise, big boats are for cruising, but I don't feel bad about sailing her. She's still enough fun that I don't drag my trailer boats down to the beach.
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Old 04-21-2011
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Wandering, thanks for the response. Of course, there must be trade-offs. I guess I just need more time on larger boats to appreciate them.
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Old 04-22-2011
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Definitely a hard choice...when both large and small boats offer very different sailing experiences.. I have a 24-footer with 5ft headroom...she's solid enough and can stand up to a pretty good wind and slice across flats and grass where there is slightly only more than 2 feet of water...the headroom and galley conditions and vee-berth area headroom of even less than 5 feet make it tough to get at equipment forward and tough to cook as you can't do so standing up.

But If I run aground trying to stay away from the channel hordes.....I jump out and push the boat off myself or turn her back into deeper water. scraping her hull is easy and can be done mostly standing in 3 feet of water with a long-handled scraper...then have to move into deeper water to swim under and scrape the swing keel portion with a short hand scraper...I have my eye on a an old Columbia 29 MKII that has 6 feet headroom but that ship wont be so easy to scrape the bottom and draws 4 feet with her full keel. Being able to avoid channels on the weekend with all the crazy boat drivers is something I would miss but at least the 29 can take more wake abuse by the weekend crowds in the channel...I am not sure what to do either...the 29 beckons but I may just keep my Seafarer 24 for now and keep things smaller and simpler...
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Old 04-22-2011
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All true, I went through those steps too.
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Old 04-22-2011
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There is a middle ground. A medium sized (30-35 foot) racer cruiser will give you most of the comfort of a larger cruiser but still have most of the snappy feel of a smaller boat. I doubt those sailing something like a J34C or C&C 99 feel like they are driving a truck.
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Old 04-22-2011
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While I drive a truck by this definition and don't take much exception to it, I do love our boat specifically for its sailing ability. The relatively lighter weight and spade rudder has its drawbacks, but speed and agility is the benefit. If we are heeled into a good breeze, I could knock you off your seat in a tack, if I tried. I can also stay under full sails through 20 kts of true wind, more in calm seas.

And there is nothing like getting 45,000 lbs moving along at 9 knots and screaming past the pack...... That doesn't take much getting used to !!

I can't wait to get back out there......
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