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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Alot of discussion has taken place here over time about what constitutes a 'bluewater' boat.......it is one of the all time Sailnet classics.

One of the controversies of this debate seems to be the question of whether this type of boat or that type of boat, or any average production boat is a suitable bluewater vessel........with replies to unsuitable vessels all seeming to say something along the lines of 'no, but they are a good coastal cruiser....'

Which leads me finally to my question, umm well do alot of the boats disqualified from bluewater duties actually really make good coastal cruisers??

Does not alot of the things that disqualify a boat from being bluewater capable also make them a compromise for real coastal cruising??

The reason I ask is that we are looking to reboat, our plan for the immediate sailing future is going to involve the east coast of Australia, with possibly a hop across to the Louisiades Archipleligo.

So basically coastal cruising....

However as I think about coastal cruising on the east coast of Oz, and I think about relying on 'weather windows' etc. I am reminded of a couple incidents.

Firstly A modern yacht whose keel broke partly away in 40 knots in the mouth of a bay....
Search continues for abandoned yacht - National - smh.com.au

...The Excalibur disaster in which 4 people died a mere 40 nm off the coast.
Sea survivors relive nightmare - National - www.theage.com.au

...and also I think of the fateful 1998 Sydney to Hobart race. 55 of 115 boats finished a race in which 5 yachts sank, 55 sailors were winched off boats by helicopter and six people died. Weather windows??? Well the fleet left Sydney in gorgeous weather with a forecast that in no way resembled the frightful reality they had to face....

Now obviously crossing an ocean is indeed a whole other ballgame to just cruising a coast, that is indisputable.

However could it not also be argued that things like a sea kindly hull, a well protected skeg-hung rudder, a high angle of vanishing stability, Glassed in bulkheads, good proper sea berths( taking to sea for a night to gain sea room and wait for conditions to change would be better than crossing a bar in the wrong conditions to try and seek shelter wouldn't it?) would also improve safety enormously when coastal cruising??

So I am seriously interested in what the experienced and knowledgeable on here think?
What is the ideal coastal cruiser?
Are some modern boats, not only unsuitable for bluewater sailing but also really unwise to coastal cruise in, and best confined to sheltered waters as weekenders and daysailors??
 

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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 · (Edited)
Cam thanks for the food for thought, your right, coastal conditions I guess do vary considerably around the world. There are also certainly plenty of Beneteaus/Hunters/Bavarias etc cruising the east coast of OZ....

i2f, you have essentially hit our current dilemma right on the head....Our dreams our big, but our experience and the kitty is still growing.....

We currently own a 27ft cruiser/racer. We are wondering whether the nest step should be to try to buy the sturdy bluewater boat now, or whether we buy something like a 32-34 ft ex charter Beneteau first...
 

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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
Thanks Smack, I have been here on and off, but also been hiding out in New Zealand with work for a bit.

I am hearing you, I guess I like the Bene's for when I am sat at anchor off a palm fringed beach with the rum and coke in hand.....but if the thing is going to lose it's friggin rudder on a sunfish on the way up the coast for example, it's going to spoil the vibe of our cruise big time. Ok sure we wouldn't die, but call me crazy If it is an issue I would prefer to buy the sturdier boat and keep the rudder attached.

I still also think that even with good accurate forecasts, using weather windows etc, there is always going to be that one time you do get caught out in bad bad weather.....I just finished reading one such account from the Pardeys that took place off the OZ east coast.

Here is OZ around Sydney alot of ports also require a bar crossing, so in bad weather it is often better to head for sea than try to cross a river bar in untenable conditions....

Maybe I am being too critical of production boats like Benes though?? Im not sure.
 

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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 · (Edited)
Sorry Cam, you are right I was making some fairly gross generalizations....
Nice video.... It does remind me of some of the bars down here :)
Smack If that was me shooting that video, there would of been nastier words involved....:)

JRP, thanks for the perspective, we are looking in the low-mid 30ft range which is why it is a tougher call, it seems like we can have comfort(ex charter production boat, for example Beneteau 351) or sturdiness(aussie old shoe), but comfort and sturdiness in our size/price bracket seems nearly non existent..
 

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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 · (Edited)
Thanks Marty,

You are right essentially in what you summize about the 1998 Sydney to Hobart. The reality is however that with improved technology, better modelling etc the forecasts ain't always right here...

The solution that did come out of the Sydney to Hobart 1998 forecasting debaucle??

Every forecast we now hear in OZ is preceded by the following warning "PLEASE BE AWARE Wind gusts can be a further 40 percent stronger than the averages given here, and maximum waves may be up to twice the height"

Wow. Gee, thanks guys that really helps me out. What it does do is now legally covers the Bureau of Metereology's ass if they do ever get it as wrong as they did that fateful day.
 

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Picnic Sailor
Moody 425
Joined
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2,182 Posts
Discussion Starter · #23 ·
Chall,

I know the Beneteau 351. They are nice boats. VERY voluminous. Great for coastal sailing with a family. But not sure I'd want to take it across Bass Strait. I'll ask my friend that has one if he would go to Bermuda in it -- I think I know the answer.

Here's a photo of my friend's 351 rafted with another friend's boat. It is really an interesting study in contrasts, especially when you consider that the other boat (on left) is a 42 footer:

We liked the 351 as well for the same reasons. I don't think Bass Strait would probably feature in our plans anytime soon - I just used the 1998 Sydney to Hobart as an example of a situation where a forecast had been off the mark, with alot of the fleet getting into trouble a few nautical miles off the coast before they even hit the strait.

The immediate plans for us would be a cruise up the east coast of OZ to the Whitsundays, QLD islands etc. Once I get up there it is tradewind sailing with a lot of islands a day sail away from each other.....beyond than the plans get a little more ambitious, across to the louisiades archipelago in Papua New Guinea(a 3 day sail but we are now off the beaten track, with no rescue services). There are also then tentative plans beyond that of Asia or the Pacific, but the reality that we are starting to accept is that those plans are going to be a little way off yet.

We were initially looking for a boat that would be capable of all of the above, that is one that would be able to take us offshore when the time comes. But if the next 5 years is going to be only coastal cruising, then we have started thinking well why not a boat like the Beneteau 351?
 
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