Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 145 Old 06-06-2015 Thread Starter
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Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

First of all, unless you have a one off, they are all production boats, but for this discussion, lets talk about a Beneteau (or Hunter, Catalina). I, for one , think all this discussion about blue water vs. production is largely nonsense. Yes, some boats are built more rugged and are more suitable for open sea voyages than others, but the truth is that most of us will be doing inshore or coastal boating and we don’t need a boat built for around the world voyages. More rugged means more expensive, or older, tired boats of a certain type that you hope will hold together.

Several weeks ago, I was in Beaufort, NC. Walking the docks there, I came upon the largest Beneteau that I have ever seen. Later, I determined that it was a 57 ft. mid-cockpit boat. If you haven’t been up close to one of these, just take it from me, it’s massive. This boat was relatively new, spotless, and every fitting seem robust. The triple spreader mast was humongous. I spent a good bit of time looking at this baby, thinking how nice it would be to have one of these $600-700K boats. Since I have a Catalina 320 (one of the non blue water suitable BeneCataHunter group), I am a bit sensitive to all the negative comments that are posted on these boats. From my perspective, they fit my needs and sailing just fine, and I hate all the unjustified trashing that they seem to get. Then, I thought about a blue water boat….an Alberg 30 or 35. Albergs date from 1960-1970 time frame, but are generally acknowledged as being blue water capable, despite their age.

As I admired the Beneteau. I could envision an Alberg 30 (or similar “Blue water” boat) tying up ahead of this beautiful, large 57 foot Beneteau, and the two owners/captains meeting, wherein the Alberg captain acknowledges the fine things about the larger Beneteau, but then advises the Beneteau owner that his boat really is not a blue water boat , and that his older, smaller Alberg was more suitable for offshore passages. No one would likely say this in person, but we have this discussion all the time on line and production boats are generally put down, often in favor of an older boat, which likely has age, wear, and stress issues.

So, for discussion purposes on this thread, which of these two boats would you sign on as a crew member for a transatlantic voyage., an older, smaller blue water boat, or a newer, larger production boat? Assume that an additional two person experienced crew will be on each boat, and that you will encounter storms and rough seas. My choice would be to go with the Beneteau, but which would you choose and why?

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post #2 of 145 Old 06-06-2015
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

I'd go with my blue-water production boat, a Pacific Seacraft 37.

Why? Much better ride than the Beneteau and a bit roomier than the Alberg.

Dale

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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

The world is big. The crossings long. I'd get the fastest, longest, lightest, boat I can afford. The choices above are all pigs. All else being equal I would join the Beneteau crew because the slow wallowing painful crossing will be over far sooner.

The Beneteau will be a hateful thing to own when after 5 years of cruising all the complex accoutrements begin to fail. The Alberg will, of course, not have anywhere near the complexity.

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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

Production.
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

Transatlantic? Longest wins everytime for me. As long as it's reasonably built.

I own a 60's vintage well built boat. I think it's a coastal boat, not blue water. Too short.

Tom Young sailing a 1961 38' Alden Challenger, CHRISTMAS out of
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

Got friendly with a professional captain who ran a new bene in the mid fifties. He had brought the boat from SF to bvi. Told me he had a terrible time with it.
Owner decided after just one year of ownership from brand spanking new to toss it. Boat went to usvi to be PUT ON A SHIP. Boat is going to the med to be sold.
Also friendly with another pro captain who just completed a job running a mid fifties Hylas. He had taken it from east coast to Oz. Also met him in Bvi. On that boat. Boat several decades old and looking brand spanking new. It was returning to Florida to be sold as owner broke his hip.
Regardless of what Smackie says there are well constructed boats and not so well constructed boats. Old/new, production/one off, glass/non glass just doesn't matter. What matters is it being used for its intended purpose and has it been well maintained and appropriately fitted out.
OPs original post suggests the right decision is to look for another berth.

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post #7 of 145 Old 06-09-2015
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

I will be on the Beneteau 57.

A friend has one, very nice boats and many have crossed the Atlantic, in fact they were designed and built to pretty much do just that as at 57ft they are not ever going to be in a bareboat charter fleet, nor just a picnic boat. Let's give Beneteau some credit.

However when you are comparing 30ft with 57ft you are very much comparing apples with mangoes. Anyone who understands seamanship as it exists outside of an internet forum knows waterline length is a factor.

Of course as I am a crew member on this boat, and only crossing the Atlantic I also do not have to maintain the thing or pay for marina fees in the Med

If you asked me which one would I buy for a multi year circumnavigation, or which boat I would wish to own and maintain in 30 years my answer would differ.

Likewise if you told me that I was sailing from Australia to Chile by way of the Southern Ocean my answer would also differ.

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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

Chall makes a very good point. Remember bene also builds custom one offs. Some are excellent strong boats.
In the size range OP is considering the Hunter built( yes Hunter Smack) cheribini designed 37' would be a strong competitor as the smaller boat. But at that size the old Morris 36' would be my choice. Did a passage to the Bahamas on one and she handled strongwind/big seas with ease.
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post #9 of 145 Old 06-09-2015
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

A passage is not a passage. A few days offshore, is not a month. The Coconut milk run is not the southern ocean. It's just hard to say, with any absolutes.

The new 57s (both Bene and Jeanneau make one) are big boats. Surprisingly larger than the 54 we have. Their current 53 is nearly the same hull as our 54, they must have wanted it to sound like a bigger difference? It is.

On a trade wind or shorter passage, where speed and comfort are a priority, the 57 wins hands down. If you need maximum system and structural self sufficiency, not so sure. The newest era of Bs and Js are price competitive because they clearly used lower cost materials. I'm probably overwhelmed by the finishes (plastic and fiber board) and not giving enough credit to the structure, but it's enough to raise an eyebrow.

Bottom line is, a production boat will suffice for 99% of all uses by all sailors. Even a blue water passage, at the right time of year on the right route. They only fall short as go anywhere, anytime, which virtually none of us do.


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post #10 of 145 Old 06-09-2015
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Re: Blue Water Boat vs. Production Boat Which one will you book passage on?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TomMaine View Post
Transatlantic? Longest wins everytime for me. As long as it's reasonably built.

I own a 60's vintage well built boat. I think it's a coastal boat, not blue water. Too short.
Interesting..then a PS Flicka would not be considered as "Blue Water" capable...
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