Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions. - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 126 Old 06-10-2012 Thread Starter
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Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

I'm in the market for a bluewater. Used to have a cal 25 for years and sailed around in Galveston bay until I moved inland and sold it. I've been reading forums like this for awhile doing research to see what my next boat should be and have seen the question of "what bluewater boat to get," and "what makes a boat bluewater" etc.

I found this and regged just so I could post it. If you're asking those questions, then you should read this --an amazing story that adds to the answers for such questions. Just look at the things that went wrong!
EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Lessons Learned: Sailing to Hawaii...The First Attempt by Arnold Rowe

I take some much from a story like this, from "make everything heavy duty as possible," to "have backup parts for items you can't move without," to "double check that everything works!" to "do drills with gear to make sure it works in a pinch" and the list goes on.

By the way, because of forums like these, I think I've narrowed it down to one of the heavier boats like an Alberg based on my budget. Thanks to all those here for the wealth of info.
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

A very good eye-opening story. Thanks for posting it.

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post #3 of 126 Old 06-10-2012
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

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Originally Posted by tes735 View Post
I'm in the market for a bluewater. Used to have a cal 25 for years and sailed around in Galveston bay until I moved inland and sold it. I've been reading forums like this for awhile doing research to see what my next boat should be and have seen the question of "what bluewater boat to get," and "what makes a boat bluewater" etc.

I found this and regged just so I could post it. If you're asking those questions, then you should read this --an amazing story that adds to the answers for such questions. Just look at the things that went wrong!
EQUIPPED TO SURVIVE (tm) - Lessons Learned: Sailing to Hawaii...The First Attempt by Arnold Rowe

I take some much from a story like this, from "make everything heavy duty as possible," to "have backup parts for items you can't move without," to "double check that everything works!" to "do drills with gear to make sure it works in a pinch" and the list goes on.

By the way, because of forums like these, I think I've narrowed it down to one of the heavier boats like an Alberg based on my budget. Thanks to all those here for the wealth of info.
There is no such thing as a bluewater boat.

Where do you want to go? What is your budget? Let's start there.

THere are a million threads written on this on sailnet and other places. Youu will get twice that many opinions. If you will give me an idea of your itinerary then I can give you my opinion on a suitable boat.

Just remember the old adage: Better to go around the world on a Hunter with an experienced crew than a Valiant with someone that doesn't know what they are doing.

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post #4 of 126 Old 06-10-2012
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What a story! During my professional delivery days I learned neither Catalinas or Hunters are blue water boats. That was well before the internet. Today you can get on line and come to the same conclusion. Why these people in the Catalina attempted to go to Hawaii without doing some research is a topic onto itself.

They ought to have a sign in the cockpit of Hunters and Catalinas that say "no more than 25 miles offshore."

Let the flaming begin.
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post #5 of 126 Old 06-10-2012
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

hey I've got a Catalina and I totally agree. More than a few times, newbies come on here, talking about buying some cheap POS boat and they think they can sail around the world in it and then get upset when I and a couple dozen others tell them in a nice way, they are nuts.

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post #6 of 126 Old 06-10-2012
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

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.
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Last edited by Stumble; 06-11-2012 at 03:24 AM.
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

I think it was more the poor preparation on a poorly maintained boat that resulted in this situation. The boat was recovered some time later still afloat (as is usually the case). You can get into the same situation in a Valiant, Sabre, Swan, -enter your favorite 'blue water" boat here-. It all comes down to ensuring the vessel is properly equipped, properly maintained, and properly sailed. A Catalina 36 is more than capable of making that trip given the right weather window and given the right preparation of both boat and crew. If you were going to undertake a trip like this is that preparation something you want to get into? THAT's really where you're going to see a difference with the more traditional "blue water" manufacturers; there will be fewer mods required to affect their safe passage, but the same rules for sound maintenance, and weather window's apply.

One other observation: The majority of successful voyagers don't make webpages to discuss the hows or whys of their success. People who survive a life threatening ordeal are MUCH more likely to publicize lessons learned. While this is a very interesting read, and offers a number of really good considerations, this I don't think this can be viewed as representative of Catalina 36's or production boats. I think it is more representative of this specific Catalina 36, and this particular sailor.

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post #8 of 126 Old 06-10-2012
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

A good account but pretty sure it has been featured here before. Certainly I have read it.
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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

Yes, this is an old story, but a good read just the same. I like Stumble's summary.. not a lot of those issues can be laid at the builder's door.

The boat ultimately survived the ordeal and was returned to the owner, IIRC.

Ron

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Re: Is she bluewater? Interesting story to help with these questions.

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Originally Posted by CaptTony View Post
What a story! During my professional delivery days I learned neither Catalinas or Hunters are blue water boats. That was well before the internet. Today you can get on line and come to the same conclusion. Why these people in the Catalina attempted to go to Hawaii without doing some research is a topic onto itself.

They ought to have a sign in the cockpit of Hunters and Catalinas that say "no more than 25 miles offshore."

Let the flaming begin.
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