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post #9 of Old 04-28-2008
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I wouldn't buy most current production boats at any price. I don't consider some of them seaworthy, or at least seaworthy enough. Some older boats, yes, and some ridiculously expensive boats, absolutely.

But the "average" 40 footer of today? A nice coastal daysailer, or something that will make you puke in the Caribbean when the wind pipes up.

Maybe it's just because we launched about 200 boats yesterday, and as I was driving the club crash boat in case some of the "pushers" fell in (the membership does this job...only the crane operators are pros), I saw from a perfect distance a vast variety of hulls, Canadian, American, French, German, custom, you name it. I was certainly struck by how some boats that race share certain characteristics, even the now-elderly ones, and how other, more cruising oriented, had different features, and how the true passagemakers shared a family resemblance that owed little to the other two.

Of course, 90% of the owners of 90% of the boats will not sail in anything but moderate conditions, and even racers will come in if it gets too rough, and so I can't criticize the market for providing style and focusing on "livability" at dock or anchor, but I find a lot of boats today seem...skimpy...when you start looking at the construction details. This goes for Hanses and Dufours as well as Hunters and Catalinas, and if it sells boats, I can't object.

But I cringe when I hear of these boats, most of them inexplicably rated "offshore Class A" by Lloyd's, actually venture out of sight of land, where their big portlight are stove in, their dodgers are ripped off and their spade rudders go to the bottom, all while their crews are bouncing off the tasteful fittings in the 14 foot wide saloon.

I think it's not really good for the cruising lifestyle when more people need to be rescued because they are the wrong people in the wrong boats. That is ultimately a higher price to pay than the difference between dollars and euros in my opinion.
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