Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather window? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 46 Old 04-09-2012 Thread Starter
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Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather window?

I would love a blue water boat, but the facts of life at this moment are that I need to be happy with what I got, and I need to be happy with it for quite a while. Even if I pursue my dream of quitting my job and going cruising in two years time, if I buy another boat (even a "10K bluewater boat" lol) then that just means I won't have any money left to go cruising, so I'd rather go with what I got than never go.

My question is, if I watch the weather carefully and ONLY go out when there is a solid window, and carry all the right safety gear, what kind of destinations are safely possible for a "coastal" production boat?

I know the western Bahamas are easily within reach if you wait for a weather window.

How about island-hopping some other parts of the Caribbean? (PR, Cuba, etc)

How about other destinations? (west coast? Gulf Coast? etc)

PS I have a 1981 Hunter 25, shoal draft fixed keel

Last edited by peterchech; 04-09-2012 at 05:03 PM.
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post #2 of 46 Old 04-09-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

I met a couple of the age of 60 + and they cruised the bahamas in a niagra 26 not so blue water but they just jumped from island to island and really enjoyed it its all comon sense and being prepared. gl to ya
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post #3 of 46 Old 04-09-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

A weather forecast is typically good for 3 days certainly...and 5 days at ok level of confidence and 7 days beyond...very low confidence. The stronger your boat, the more confidence you have to go beyond that 3 day/5 day/7 day cliff.

In your boat, I'd really look hard and strong at 3 day forecasts and not make passages if the weather forecast looks dicey in those 3 days. Remember, while it may be island hopping in the Caribbean, those tradewinds blow 20 knots+ which is a lot for your Hunter 25.

Also, there are some nasty passages in that stretch of sea. Going from Florida to Bahamas involves crossing the Gulfstream. If you take the thorny path down the islands (I doubt I see you going down "I-65"), then you'll be beating/bashing all down the coast of the Dominican Republic. That can shake bulkheads loose in hardier boats in the wrong conditions. Then, going from Dominican Republic to Puerto Rico involves crossing the Mona Passage.

Sure it can be done, but why not enjoy the many cruising grounds in the USA where your boat is perfectly suited for? Florida Keys, both coasts of Florida, Mid-Atlantic, & Great Lakes?
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post #4 of 46 Old 04-09-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

More to do with the level of seamanship than the boat, after all Shane Acton went around in a 18ft bilge keeler and Webb Chiles made it most of the way round in an open 18 ft boat.

Bahamas should be within your reach further East will be a slog as you have surmised but doable.
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post #5 of 46 Old 04-09-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

Would you really wait 3 weeks for the right window? or chance it after 2 weeks since you're bored.

and since the H25 doesn't really have much storage. you'll not be able to stock up where stores are cheaper.
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

So basically, if I can get there in 3 days or less, then I can go there?

I hear ya about the 20 knot trade winds. I had my boat out this weekend in the 15-25 knot conditions we had in new York harbor and raritan bay. Even with 2 crew to help stand her up, progress beating into the swells was pretty slow. For a while we could only point almost 90 degrees off the wind, between wind shifts, gusts heeling us to 30 degrees, and the boat just dropping into the troughs killing our forward speed... In the really big drops, I could almost feel the boat shudder a tad... Is that what caribbean trade wind sailing is like? If so, I might just stay in fl ;-)

But just on the numbers, as far as non-storm conditions, what is different between my boat and, say, a cape dory 25? It has almost the same draft, a slightly lower ballast to displacement ratio, and a full keel, just on the numbers and based on the fact that a full keel typically points lower than a fin keel, would such a proven offshore boat do any better beating into a chop in heavy winds? Would any boat under 35' loa do much better?

Last edited by peterchech; 04-10-2012 at 08:52 AM.
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post #7 of 46 Old 04-10-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

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Originally Posted by peterchech View Post
So basically, if I can get there in 3 days or less, then I can go there?

I hear ya about the 20 knot trade winds. I had my boat out this weekend in the 15-25 knot conditions we had in new York harbor and raritan bay. Even with 2 crew to help stand her up, progress beating into the swells was pretty slow. For a while we could only point almost 90 degrees off the wind, between wind shifts, gusts heeling us to 30 degrees, and the boat just dropping into the troughs killing our forward speed... In the really big drops, I could almost feel the boat shudder a tad... Is that what caribbean trade wind sailing is like? If so, I might just stay in fl ;-)

But just on the numbers, as far as non-storm conditions, what is different between my boat and, say, a cape dory 25? It has almost the same draft, a slightly lower ballast to displacement ratio, and a full keel, just on the numbers and based on the fact that a full keel typically points lower than a fin keel, would such a proven offshore boat do any better beating into a chop in heavy winds? Would any boat under 35' loa do much better?
The full keel will track better and be sea kindlier than your Hunter, plus the Cape Dory has a better build quality that will take the pounding a lot better than the Hunter. I really think that you will only lose a few degrees of pointing ability between the two boats.

Are you asking for informational reasons, or do you have the ability to swap over to a CD 25?

I'd take the CD25 for your Island hopping any day. If you are stuck with the Hunter, then I'd learn to be satisfied with cruising the Florida keys and the Gulf Coast. There's a lot of water to be covered either way, and you won't get bored.

Edit: I see that the Hunter 25 is one of the Cherubini Hunters. Supposedly these are better than later Hunters?

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Last edited by BubbleheadMd; 04-10-2012 at 09:32 AM.
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post #8 of 46 Old 04-10-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

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Originally Posted by BubbleheadMd View Post

Edit: I see that the Hunter 25 is one of the Cherubini Hunters. Supposedly these are better than later Hunters?
Better designed, yes...but not necessarily better built. So that means it may sail well, but will still suffer from build quality issues like delaminations, rigging failures, bulkhead shifts, etc...

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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

I did have to re-tab the two aft starboard bulkheads that are attached to the galley/counter/step under the companionway, and while re-fitting the boat I did notice that another starboard bulkhead, under the setee, had been re-tabbed by the PO...

Not to mention that the bulkheads are not tabbed to the deck, though this is apparently common on small boats...
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post #10 of 46 Old 04-10-2012
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Re: Cruisers: what kind of trips can be made by non-bluewater boats in a weather wind

Over the next two years work to develop experience, knowledge, and skills you need to assess whether you'd actually enjoy "going cruising" as well as "the idea of going cruising", to form your own reasoned opinion of your boat's capabilities and suitability for the cruising you envision, to assess your capabilities in challenging conditions, and to develop confidence in your seamanship. In those two years you should thoroughly explore LIS, Narragansett Bay, and Buzzard's Bay; sail your boat for several hours in 30Kn breezes, charter the the smallest boat you can in in the Virgin Island, and sail a charter boat between two nations (e.g., Guadeloupe and Dominica).

Last edited by Hudsonian; 04-10-2012 at 12:10 PM. Reason: grammar
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