Originally Posted by sailingfool
...[W]ould folks consider a Catalina 36 a blue water boat? Some folks would say yes... But if you look at the experience documented in http://www.equipped.com/0698rescue.htm I think its clear that a Catalina 36 as constructed and designed is perhaps marginally capable of offshore use, but not at all suitable for such use.
That may or may not be true, but I don't want to debate that issue here. I just want to talk about that article, because, whenever sailors discuss the seaworthiness of the Catalina 36, someone cites that article about the voyage of the C36 to Hawaii, as proof that the C36 is not up to bluewater passagemaking. While I agree that many people disagree on that question, that article doesn't prove anything about the seaworthiness of the C36.
Let's start by pointing out that, with the exception of the emergency tiller, nothing structural failed. The emergency tiller failed, but it had been recalled by Catalina, and the owner never responded to the recall. The wind vane failed, but it was an aftermarket item that wasn't manufactured by Catalina. The steering gear failed, but it was manufactured by Edson, and could just as readily have been bolted onto a Sabre or Tartan or other boat of well-respected design and construction. A genoa block failed, but the boat was over 20 years old, and that could have happened on any 20 year old boat. The boat had numerous leaks, but that could have happened on any 20 year old boat on a bluewater voyage, if it's hardware and fittings had never been re-bedded.
The arguments pro and con about the seaworthiness of the C36 are endless, and I don't mean to open them up here, but that article doesn't tell a story about a boat that isn't up to a bluewater voyage. It tells a story about people who went to sea in a 20 year old boat without refitting it and preparing it for the trip. There's no reason to believe that a recent vintage, well-caulked C36 in good condition with a reasonably experienced crew wouldn't have made that trip comfortably.
Re-read that article, and, whenever it refers to a Catalina, substitute Sabre or Pacific Seacraft, or Island Packet, or the name of any boat that you believe is a good bluewater boat. If the article was about a 20 year old Pacific Seacraft, for example, would you point to it as proof that Pacific Seacrafts are not up to bluewater voyaging? Of course not. You'd correctly put the blame for the bad voyage on the owner who failed to prepare an old boat for the trip.