There is no such thing as a 27 to 28 foot boat that is ideal for sailing around the world. If you are an exceptionally good sailor, or exceptionally lucky or a combination of both you might get by circumnavigating on a boat that small. (And, yes, I know a lot of people have taken boats that small around.) When you start with that kind of sailing length, it becomes very difficult to carry the necessary supplies and stores without making huge compromises in sailing abilities.
A friend of mine who went to the Art Institute of Chicago had a professor who used to say, "Only a genius can do great work with bad tools and a genius wouldn''t try to do great work with bad tools." The boat that you sail around the world should be the right tool for YOUR needs in order to make this voyage. This is not meant as a put down, but if you had the kind of sailing experience that it takes to make a circumnavigation in a boat this small, you probably wouldn''t be asking that question. You would understand why that is too small a boat to be reasonable. And,yes, before the flaming starts, I know that a lot of small boats have tried to made the trip around. But of those the majority of those never make it.
There are a few famous little boats, one such is the Contessa 26 and 32. they''re vintage boats so you''d want to spend time with one and likely do a major refit before heading out. No personal contact with one, just the tales.
The Contessa 26 is actually a masthead rigged version of a Folkboat (although Contessa also produced a version that was a Folkboat complete with its original fractional rig.) I owned a Folkboat back in the 1970''s and really loved this little boat. These are super boats in many ways. But while I know that quite a few Folkboats and Contessa 26''s that have done circumnavigations and long distance passages, these are very small 26 footers that really lack the kind of weight bearing capacities and storage abilities that make them a reasonable choice for a globe trotter. While I lived on my Folkboat as a 23 year old and had no problem getting around without and engine, the 4''6 head room (Contessa''s have a little more than that) and low freeboard when added to the marginally the lack of self-bailing cockpits (they are below the waterline if loaded to go voyaging) when combined with the downflooding exposuer of their sail lockers make them a dubious choice at best.
While the Contessa 32 has gotten good press as seaworthy example of a late RORC/ early IOR race boat, that press has to be viewed in the context in which it was generated. The Contessa 32''s reputation comes from the almost 25 year old study that was performed post Fastnet Disaster. The conclusion was that the Contessa 32 was seaworthy for a "Raceboat" of that era. We now understand a lot more about seaworthiness and proper engineering and while the Contessa 32 was certainly a good boat for its day with reasonably comfortable motion and a comparatively low center of gravity for that era, compared for example to boats designed for offshore cruising in the wake of the Fastnet research, I am not really sure that the Contessa 32 is all that great an offshore boat, especially when loaded heavily with stores and gear which would tend to raise the VCG.
Yea, my very own Jesse Boyce was built for just that possibility and, who knows… She''s based on L. F. Herreshoff''s "Solitaire" design, no. 76 cira 1940 but the scantlings are massive and over killed in extreme! I can hook you up with the builder if you want to spend the splash on a one off but you better act quick ‘cause he’s looking at the big 70 and the joints aren’t what they use to be. Him and his son are currently rebuilding the folkboat Eira that raced in the first OSTAR. They’re talking about entering her in the 50th anniversary of the race. Woodenboat is supposed to be putting out an article soon. I’ll tell ya’ this, Fred ain’t much for pretty carved brightwork and posh cabinetry but when the crap hits the fan, you know that those massive, chain sawn and hand hued timbers are going to hold together and get your sorry butt through. And that is worth a handful of them “pink lady” barges any day!
Bill, with respect to Jeff, I disagree that there are NO small boats capable of big voyages. Usually, any absolute is wide of the mark when talking about boats. You might look at the examples I offered in the thread about the 29 footer an Aussie wants to do some extended cruising in.
Just to offer a few additional examples, there are many, many transocean passages having been completed by Albin Vegas and Ballads, including some circles without noticeable problems. The Vega has a bulkhead support problem that is easily addressed, it''s very basic, small, light and will be uncomfortable when compared to other boats out there which are bigger...but it''s inherently no less safe.
Hallberg Rassys have built a series of 28-29'' boats that are doing circles right now; they appear to handle the heavy lifting well altho'' they are a bit more comfy than a Vega would be.
A friend is currently taking a Tartan 27 around, after already having done two Atlantic crossings and a Pacific run. I initially thought that fit into Jeff''s point that ''anything can make it'' until I saw the boat. Lots of heavy use but no structural problems, a very functional layout, good strong gear, and of course a savvy seaman sailing it, which is always an important prerequisite.
You''ll notice I haven''t mentioned the Pardeys, altho'' they offer two examples of justified trust in smaller boats...but as with Guzzwell''s TREKKA |(which did a circle and was 20'' LOD), the boats were built to take the heavy use. A Vancouver 27 (now 28) is another excellent example in the production boat category. And I''m really just scraping the surface, writing this off the top of my head.
OTOH I should mention you apparently are falling into a trap that Jeff usually catches first: you''re thinking ''length'' when what really counts is displacement. If you were to restate your question as ''What are some well-built 5,000# boats for sailing around the world'', you''d find a thinner set of answers. Or said another way, I was always amazed at how the Hiscocks could make several lengthy circles on their ''little'' 30'' Wanderer class sloop until I saw one of those - it was beefy, big and had one hell of a physical presence in all respects except length.
I believe that my response was that no 27 or 28 footer is ideal for a circumnavigation. I still stand behind that opinion. It can be done in a 27 to 28 footer but as the early 27-28 footers are getting pretty long in the tooth and newer purpose build 27-28 foot distance cruisers are getting wildly expensive for what they offer, I still believe that a person would do better in a longer boat of the same displacement. Of course like so many things in sailing I am not sure that there is one right answer here. Its like trying to say that vanilla ice cream is universally better than strawberry.
I think that you are mistaken although I really don''t have a definitive source for that opinion. In the mid 1960''s it was considered an amazinf feat that a 31 footer had made a circumnavigation. While some very small boats had sailed around the world, most long distance voyagers that I encountered were sailing 32-38 footers. As I have mentioned before, the typically published ''conventional'' wisdom was that somewhere between 2 1/2 to 5 long tons per person was an ideal displacement for long distance cruising. Most cruisers of that era were in the middle to top of that displacement range. In other words they typical distance cruiser was a roughly 17,000 to 22,000 lb 35-38 footer. Boats like the Ingrids and Tayana 37''s and the Valiant 40 to a lesser extent seemed to be the prototypical couple''s cruisers of the late 1970''s.
Boat sized seemed to change somewhere in the early 1970s and by the early 1980''s long distance cruisers had become longer (40-43 feet) but not all that much heavier. Better boat building methods, improvement in sails and sail handling hardware, the need for ''all of the comforts of home'', etc seemed to push the size and weight of distance cruisers upwards.
That is my take but I have no scientific evidence and so could be way off here.
Bill, is there something special about 27-28 feet? I found the lengths of all boats that did solo circumnavigations from Joshua Slocum to the ''80''s (I think)-- the boats are not modern, but they were clustering at about 33 feet. Not scientific, but something to think about
Boy some on this board make it windy enough to sail the way they take over a thread. Anyway, I have been sailing my Island Packet 32 for six years. Having sailed most every size (as a delivery skipper) myself and having a very good friend who single-hands his 27 to Bermuda every year. Not my first choice but I would not hesitate to set off in a IP-27 to circumnavigate the globe.
Fair winds & calm seas,
"There is no such thing as a 27 to 28 foot boat that is good for sailing around the world." is a bit of a different statement than "...no 27 or 28 footer is ideal for a circumnavigation."
I agree with your latter statement altho'' NOT becuase a smaller boat is inherently less safe, which I think you initially implied. The critical issue is where does one store the water, food, sails, spares, and heavy weather gear that a Pacific run will require. But having said that, in reality many crews have addressed these issues and been both well prepared and have had great times while making long passages on small boats.
I''m in the same situation as Bill.....I need a "go around" boat that can be "short"
handed. Crew of 1 to 2 (mostly 1)...and while a 50ft can be rigged to be short handed I want simple rigging.... the less to go wrong the better . It appears the Bristol Channel Cutter 28 (BCC28) meets the displacment requirements with 14000lbs 26ft L.O.W and 600sqft sail area. .....but...expensive....