Man, you're slippery! Okay, let's take this one at a time...
Where you get the idea that the perspectives of people like Harries and Neal apply only to voyaging to places
like Labrador, or Cape Horn, is completely beyond me... What they are arguing, is essentially very much in line with the views presented in the book I've recommended over, and over, here...
I've not said that your or these guys' perspectives apply ONLY to anything. I said that when arguments are made against modern production boats - the examples (including yours above) tend to be about Labrador, or "slugging it out for days to windward" (John's), or the Southern Ocean, high lats, etc. Back to your point above about the guys that have really DONE BFSing. That's where these types of older/heavier boats really come into their own - in those places, in those conditions. No question.
My point is that if you're not planning on sailing those places (i.e. - "extreme voyaging"), the odds of encountering conditions inherent to those places drop pretty considerably, therefore changing the equation when considering the type of boat one will buy for the conditions one will likely encounter.
I mean, have you seen the pic in PCP's post above? Do you honestly think I have ANY desire to go hang out in that god-forsaken deep-freeze? Ahhhhh - no. No sand, no babes, no booze. And since that's the case, I have no desire to buy and sail an ice-crusher (unless it's for drinks) just because it can do what's in that pic...giving me the comfort of knowing that if I hit any icebergs in the BVIs, I'm golden.
I think you are seriously underestimating the amount of sailing to weather a "typical cruiser" is likely to encounter on a trip from the East coast to the Eastern Caribbean, for example... A weatherly boat is a desirable attribute for anyone intending to go places, even those well short of the high latitudes...
Which production boats cannot sail to weather? I think most all of them can do so pretty well.
Again, for your point to be valid here, the weatherly conditions must be severe enough that the newer production boat is going to seriously pound...and the boat has to be driven hard enough to make that happen.
Again, these extreme examples just don't hold water in this debate - as extreme conditions are pretty rare in typical cruising if one is prudent (at least according to Hal Roth).
A boat that will heave-to with little fuss is a desirable attribute in an offshore boat, the crews of those abandoned last fall between Newport and Bermuda may have a greater appreciation of that fact, now...
Generally, I totally agree with this statement. As to whether production boats can or cannot heave-to (compared to the old heavies), I don't have enough experience on enough boats to know. I can say that thus far I've hove-to (at the helm) on a Pacific Seacraft 37 Cutter, a Pearson 365 Ketch, a Beneteau 380, a Hunter 30, and a Catalina 27. Every one of them were stable in moderate conditions.
I'm a big fan of heaving to...and fully agree with you that it's a tactic that is invaluable and probably underutilized.
And, finally, it is not so much a matter or what a particular BOAT may or may not take, but rather which sort of boats will best take care of their CREW?
That is the ultimate question, IMHO, and the most important argument in favor of the importance of Seakindliness in a boat that's going to be sailed offshore...
No argument at all from me on this. It is the ultimate question for sure. I'm simply saying that I've not seen enough evidence that production boats are not taking care of their crew. I know of at least one Hunter 49 that did a stellar job of that.