Originally Posted by Sanduskysailor
I am continually amazed at people making statements about passage making capabilities of their production yachts. Capsize ratios and stability indexes don't tell the whole story. Construction details are overlooked in these. When your hull is oil canning like crazy, your hatches leaking due to flex in your cabin top, and your bulkheads are coming loose from their tabbing all those ratios don't mean a thing. It still comes down to where you are sailing. If you get caught in some bad weather hitting the gulfstream or one of the stream's eddies that trip to Bermuda just might be a little more than your boat can handle. Running your engine to get out of trouble can have some issues also.
I used to think a lot like most of the posters here. After I experienced a 3 day gale (35 to 55 knots true, braking 20-25 foot seas, short duration waves) in the North Atlantic way offshore my opinions have changed. Dropping off a 20 foot wave repeatedly changes your perspective on boat construction. The custom built aluminum pilothouse I was in survived this with no damage. It probably was due to the ring frames, longitudinal stringers, crash bulkheads, engine in a a gasketed watertight compartment etc. Our friends, in a well found production boat one day behind us, detoured to Bermuda to miss most of the storm. In the 24 hours they were in it they endured major structural damage to their boat with crew injuries. The hull flexed like crazy, bulkheads separated, the nav station separated from the hull, the sole broke etc. They survived but the boat was a total loss. Their boat, an Ericson 46, had some pretty good numbers, was well maintained, and well equipped. Specifications for the Ericson 46
LOA 45.8 ft. LOD 45.8 ft.
LWL 35.0 ft. Beam 13.2 ft.
Draft 7.2 ft. Displaces 31,500 lbs.
Ballast 16,500 lbs. Sail Area 1,064.0 sq. ft.
D/L 328 B/D52 % SA/D 17.1
Comfort 39.1 Capsize 1.67 L/B 3.5
Bottom line, you can sail around the world in most production boats. If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time most of the boats can get you into trouble. If you are sailing offshore of the east coast of US your chance of encountering those wrong places is pretty good in the spring and late fall when low pressure systems coming across the continental US are unpredictable. I'm not saying that most production boats won't make it and aren't suitable for passage making, it is just that there are risks involved. Some boats aren't suited for those extremely rough conditions that we all hope we don't encounter.
With respect, I'm not sure I understand your basis for these conclusions. First of all, many people look at an Ericson as an example of the kind of boat that is so much better than today's production boats. I always find that kind of thing hilarious, as Ericson's, C&C's, Irwins, Cal., etc., were the production boats of their day, yet critics of today's boats regularly point to those as examples of how a boat ought to be constructed.
More importantly, however, as far as I know, I don't believe there are mass reports of production boats collapsing in on themselves during offshore passages up and down the U.S. east coast. Please don't misunderstand my comment as suggesting that they are the best, most hardily built boats, or that they're "better" than higher-end boats, or have a better motion at sea than other designs. But the suggestion that the bulkheads collapse, hatches pop out, etc., particularly while plying the waters up and down the U.S. east coast as you suggest, does not seem supportable to me.
Not picking a fight, just seizing on something that I see as a bit of an extreme position.