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  #121  
Old 06-13-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

"You know you really shouldn't be at sea when you're boat is in less danger with you off of it than on it."

:-) Now that is one great quote!

In the UK there is a much republished book called "Heavy Weather Sailing" which has a very scientific and objective analysis about boat design for 'Heavy Weather'. It is based on analysis of narrative accounts of various boats encountering extreme conditions (including a dissection of the fateful Fastnet race) so it is a very good read as well as being informative.

There was a bit of discussion on the thread about exactly what 'BlueWater' meant. Maybe 'Heavy Weather' is a more meaningful term. BlueWater just means that there is nowhere to run to hide from it!

Really interesting and entertaining thread.
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  #122  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

I have over or 1.5 million miles logged as a merchant marine officer on ships over 700ft. I read all this speculation as to what could happen or what will happen at sea which boats are blue water boats and which are not. with todays electronics any idiot can buy a boat and set off on an open ocean passage,just because the person spends top dollar on a so called blue water boat doesnt mean they will make it across the ocean. a successful passage in my opinion is about being able to prepare for and plan your passage, know how to use the weather to your advantage and experience on the water(In my eyes racing around a bay in a small boat wont give you the experience needed to have an enjoyable safe ocean passage). I read all these posts that say dont take this boat or dont take that boat when the truth is if you dont have the knowledge and experience DONT TAKE ANY BOAT.In the past boats were built so much heavier and stronger because that was part of the planning because they didnt have all the electronics and weather routing services and sat services that are available today, and the chances of getting caught in a storm were more likely. another reason they built the boats so heavy was because of the materials available look at resins and space age glues of today much stronger than they had 20 years ago. How many of the old so called bluewater cruisers have used carbon fiber in their bows. Just because a boat is mass produced does not mean its not safe it means technology has allowed them to build boats faster by using computerized software for design and implementation. I could pick out flaws on any boat the question is what are you going to do with the flaws in order for it to be safe. There is so much out there today that allows us to make ocean passages without taking the risks that sailors did in the past. granted there are boats out there that should not go into the blue, but there are a lot more people with money and a dream that should not be out there than there are boats. In fact most boat owners should not even be allowed to leave the dock. In my 20 years of sailing with one of the largest shipping companies in the world only once did i get caught in conditions that actually scared me for the size of the ship(832ft). I would say all that was due to experience and planning not how big or strong i thought the vessel i was on claimed to be. Now just so someone doesnt start bashing me for not being a sail boater cancel that i have been sailing since i was 9 years old and still planning a circumnavigation beginning 2015
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  #123  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Honestly, while I don't think of Hunters or Catalina's as being great offshore boats the reality is that with proper preparation they are fine.

Let's look at this story for a moment,

1) the primary concern was a case of life threatening sea sickness. This was independent of anything the boat could have controlled.

2) A missing o-ring from a newly installed water intake. A boat problem, but one that could have been repeated on any boat. Certainly not the builders fault

3) Failure to properly update a steering recall. Again, this was a preparation issue

4) leaking hatches. Thus is perhaps the only issue that could be considered the manufacturers fault. But it is a very common problem with all boats, regardless of manufacturer. By this time the boat was 12 years old. Not particularly old by boat standards, but for caulk, sealant, and hatches this would be at or past their expected lifetime.

5) poorly installed bilge pumps. Again an inconvenience, not a condition that threatened the boat. Had the hatches been checked and rebedded before departure this would have been a minor problem at worst

6) broken windwave. While a manufacturing defect, it wasn't Catalina's fault. It was the fault of the steering manufacturer.

7) faulty electronics. Again I place this at the hands of the electronics company, not Catalina.


In short most, if not all of the problems that lead to termination of the voyage (with the exception of the sea sickness) can be directly attributed to poor preparation. Sadly this is often the case. Many cruisers (myself included) spend an inordinate amount of time worried about minor issues, or issues so rare as to never happen, that we forget to check things like if the stearing is up to snuff, or to rebed hatches, ect.

Watching some of the professional solo sailors prep for long distance racing is an eye opener. No one spends any time on what type of drough, or sea anchor they have. They have one on board, and that's enough. But every fitting on the boat is checked, double checked, and tripple checked. Masts go up and down regualrly as fittings are tested, checked for corrosion or weak spots, replaced and put back into service.

After talking with a few of the Open 6.5 guys, the single thing that gets checked the most is steering. Both the auto pilot, and the entire rudder control system. Its like a religion, every few weeks they rip apart the whole steering system to double check everything is ok. Most cruisers however are lucky if they can even find their emergency tiller, let alone know how it all goes together. And the idea of re-running a steering cable at sea, while not very difficult in reality, is something few people know how to do.

I think the most important conclusion to draw from this is to take a real shake down cruise. 2-3 days in the worst conditions you can reasonably expect to see. If it breaks, that is when it will, not on a nice 12kn day. This is particularly important when the likely conditions are widely divergent from the normal life of the boat.
We all love our boats but I think it is border-line irresponsible to encourage people to go offshore in a lightly built coastal cruiser, particularly one that is 25 years old. Catalinas and Hunters are great boats for what they are: coastal cruisers built at a very reasonable price point. Have people crossed oceans in them? Of course. But that is not what they are built for and I wouldn't push my luck by testing them that way.

Edit: Apologies. Didn't notice this was an old thread and that I had made more or less the same comments a year or so ago.

Last edited by CBinRI; 10-09-2013 at 09:41 AM.
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  #124  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumble View Post
Just for fun I looked it up, and while I couldn't find data from when this boat was built I did find out that currently:

Nautica Swan uses all lewmar hatches for its boats.
Catalina also uses the exact same hatches.
Well that seals the deal.
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  #125  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

A good builder will through bolt hatches while many will use screws - as Catalina has in the past. The hatch quality is only as good as the installation.
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  #126  
Old 10-09-2013
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

The steering thing is very uncool. A port that rips off from a jib sheet? Not good at all.

The rest is just lack of preparation. How did they not know that their boat would be all wet in that kind of weather? If this was the first time they were in weather bad enough to take some good waves and get things wet, they shouldn't have gone.

And didn't Jack know he would get that seasick? That seems a bit like lack of preparation also for that kind of trip.
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