Thanks John. Good to be back.
Glad you asked about the boat. In 2 1/2 years, we never broke a thing on the boat due to weather. What we did break was due to my own negligence, namely the skeg when I hit the reef in Fiji. We have hit a whale, a reef and a huge log and still this boat kept us safe.
We met about 100 other cruisers during our cruise. Many of these suffered damage in heavy weather: a bent mast, broken whisker poles, bent stanchions, loose bulkheads, leaks, etc. In many cases, we were in the same weather as these other boats, but the PSC just pushed through without a rub. We had uncountable seas break hard against the boat making a lot of noise and impact. In the beginning, we worried about each one, but came to realize the boat could take it and relaxed.
We also heard stories of other boats heaving to or lying ahull during heavy weather. We were able to keep Swan moving during any conditions we met. I lay ahull one night in 40 knots before I realized, the next morning, that the boat would beam reach very well under staysail alone. During the two gales we encountered this last passage, the Monitor steered the boat downwind under staysail alone in the first gale and on a broad reach during the other. The boat tracked steadily, taking each sea that loomed up like the boat was on rails, never a tendency to broach like I've experienced on other boats.
On this last trip we slogged hard to weather in the trades for the first two weeks, close reaching most of the time in six to 10 foot seas. The boat just pushed through, great sheets of spray flying aft. It was impressive. I worried at first about the strain on the rigging because I could see the slack come and go in the leeward shrouds, but the rig's wide stance kept the forces in check, all day, all night.
Other boats will make faster passages, but as a cruising friend of mine said about his fast racer-cruiser, you pay for every mile in discomfort. I should mention that most of the reason for Swan's slower passages is due to my unwillingness to start the engine, not the boat's lack of speed, because these boats perform well on that score. We were able to keep the boat moving in very light winds with the big drifter, but when the wind quit, we got out a good book and just waited. We only ran the engine two hours in the forty-nine days before landfall, just enough to keep it healthy mechanically.
These boats are tough, capable cruising boats that will keep going in the roughest conditions and keep you safe and comfortable. On top of all that, they are beautiful. We love our boat and would never consider another, except maybe another PSC. Crealock was truly a master.
PSC 34 #305 "Swan"
Thanks for that great summary of Swan's performance on the cruise. Very impressive -- it sounds like she not only took care of you but did you proud, too!
If you have time, we'd love to hear more about the skeg-on-reef incident. Such as, how bad was the damage, was the rudder affected, how'd you go about repairing it in a remote location? It would also be interesting to hear your thoughts on whether the skeg was an asset or liability under those circumstances, i.e. would a spade rudder have faired better?
But no hurry, either. I realize you're just back, and likely have more pressing things to do. So whenever you have a chance, even if it's a few weeks or months from now. Thanks and, again, welcome home.