SailNet Community banner
1 - 20 of 70 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am looking to go sailing in the ocean in a few years most likely singlehand and I was wondering what the smallest length is considered safe for open ocean travel.

I have tried searching but there does not seem to be a thread on the subject, only tales of small boats doing big things but I do not want a high risk. I want stability.

Through my research so far I have discovered that a fin keel boat is probably the worst if I hit a shipping container or reef, and that spade rudders also are most likely the weakest of the rudder types. (Skeg / Keel hung)

There seems to be an opinion that long narrow beam boats are more stable as well.

So just looking for some characteristics to look for if I want an acceptable safety factor.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,654 Posts
You could try a Mini Transat. You'd get places a lot faster. Personally, I wouldn't go to sea in a Cape Dory 25. Very tender boat, as is the Alberg 30, IMO. Old and heavy doesn't equate to stable, IMO.
 

·
islander bahama 24
Joined
·
1,842 Posts
my islander 24 bahama is what they used to call morc rated midget ocean racing which ment offshore racing and robin graham sailed most of the way around the world on a gladiator 24 which is a splash of the islander most of your smaller full keel boats would be good imo however you have to feel comfortable in what you take out there
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
The Transat is a purpose built racing boat, which equates to not very comfortable. Also what happens to that keel if you hit a submerged log or something at 25 knots? Looking for comfort, who cares when I get there as long as I am goin.

Also looking into the islander 24, do you actually have a good amount of room on that?
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
9,225 Posts
"Kenichi Horie is regarded as a Japanese National Hero, and we are most pleased to bask in a small reflection of his glory. Mr. Horie was an unknown 23-year-old when he sailed his 19-foot black plywood sloop, the Mermaid, through the Golden Gate in 1962. His arrival was entirely unannounced. He had, in fact, left Japanese waters without any form of official clearance. Ninety-four days later, he arrived in San Francisco with no passport, no money, and little knowledge of English."
There is no right answer to your question. It's more about tiny boats and camping and a larger boat and living. Kenichi Horie survived in a damp, uncomfortable little hole for 90 odd days and we live in a dry, comfortable 3 bedroom, 2 bath home. What's your comfort level?
 

·
islander bahama 24
Joined
·
1,842 Posts
The Transat is a purpose built racing boat, which equates to not very comfortable. Also what happens to that keel if you hit a submerged log or something at 25 knots? Looking for comfort, who cares when I get there as long as I am goin.

Also looking into the islander 24, do you actually have a good amount of room on that?
Actually yes you do I have the Bahama model with the raised deck sthe deck/cabin goes full width of the sheer you loose about 6 inches headroom to gain lots of room laterally I have been living aboard for about two years now.but if you can find it go with the 1968 islander 30 or the columbia defender if you can get one (standing headroom )
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
8,386 Posts
I was wondering what the smallest length is considered safe for open ocean travel.
I think the other responders to this thresd have not read your question correctly.

You say "safe".

In the last ten years there has been no modern sailboat above 100 feet long that has been lost with crew killed (or still missing, as the media like to imagine many islands of Robinson Crusoe's).

So as far a "safe" goes you should look at those above 100 feet.

I wouldn't be seen at sea in any less than my size boat, maybe a few 36's but nothing smaller, no matter how old it is.
 

·
Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
Joined
·
4,525 Posts
Have to disagree with Mark on this one. We have seen several Vega 27s in widely-separated parts of the world. I think they are as safe as any boat in the 30 to 50 foot range. Certainly not as fast or as comfortable as a larger boat. Actually perhaps they are a tad unsafer because if a passage takes 20 days rather than 15 you have more possibility of something bad happening I guess.
 
  • Like
Reactions: davidpm

·
Registered
Joined
·
551 Posts
Many small boats have gone to sea, some that come to mind are Flicka, dana 24 Falmouth Cutter 22 as I am sure there are many others. These 3 I listed are probably the more notable Blue water very small cruisers.

I am a fan of Alberg designs as they have proven quite seaworthy, boats like Pearson Trition, Alberg 30, Bristol 27, Ariel and Cape Dory 28 have many ocean passages, even circumnavigations under their belts. Again these are older boats so I stress that these were well maintained boats, Meaning rigging was not 40+ years old and other systems were up to the task

These boats I am listing now are not boats others would list as "blue water" but there is a Russian guy that is attempting to sail around the world on San Jaun 24 and just made a crazy weather filled passage from Hawaii to San Francisco, Ronnie Simpson just sailed Cal 27-2 from San Diego to Hawaii(only to be dismasted a few days later a few miles off the coast). There was at least one cal 20 that competed in the single hand race from San Fran to Hawaii. Another is Roger Tayor who sailed a coribee 21 into the very northern atlantic on 40-60 day excursions(has youtube channel called Junkming). So it can be done with just about any well prepared boat.

I think this question comes up at least once a month and truthfully I don't think there is a real good answer other than go with a well maintained boat. Seems as long as you know the boat and know how to sail it in adverse conditions just about any boat will cross an ocean. Some more comfortable than others.

Last but very not least, is a smart and knowledgeable sailor. You must know your boat, you must watch the weather, you must know how to handle your boat if you get caught in weather, you must know how to provision your boat, you must ALSO have some luck. You may have all the best gear, the most seaworthy cruiser ever made and not make it. Sometimes SH!t happens so you must also be prepare to get/call for help.
 

·
Senior Smart Aleck
Joined
·
2,150 Posts
I am looking to go sailing in the ocean in a few years most likely singlehand and I was wondering what the smallest length is considered safe for open ocean travel.

I have tried searching but there does not seem to be a thread on the subject, only tales of small boats doing big things but I do not want a high risk. I want stability....some characteristics to look for if I want an acceptable safety factor.
Your focus is misplaced. What matters is the skipper, not the boat.

What is your skill level and experience?:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
A year of sailing my sirocco 15 dinghy, I plan to go another year of sailing that and volunteering to crew for a few larger boats after I move closer to the coast.
Then I will get one of my own and sail that near the coast for a while and after that hope for the best.

I have experience with ropes/knots, charts, some instruments, electrical equipment and am trying to learn more as I go.
 

·
Bombay Explorer 44
Joined
·
3,619 Posts
If safety is your first priority and you are thinking blue water then there is not anything much tougher than a steel boat.

Something like this 1986 Tahitian Ketch Blue Water Cruiser Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com

It is even reasonably pretty which is not true of most steel boats.

That will look after you well and survive most storms collisions and groundings.

However it will not be fast. A classic 4knsb.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Also it is not like I plan to go around running up on shoals carving my initials in there but I have heard a few horror stories of debris and high ground ruining peoples day.

That boat is cheaper that what I expected before clicking.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,536 Posts
I agree. Bigger is not necessarily "safer" when it comes to sailboats on the ocean. Structurally, a small boat is much easier to engineer to be able to withstand the stresses of the Ocean. Put the cap on an empty two liter bottle of soda, toss it into the ocean, and I bet it is still floating safely many months later.

Bigger can be more comfortable, nicer and faster, however.

Have to disagree with Mark on this one. We have seen several Vega 27s in widely-separated parts of the world. I think they are as safe as any boat in the 30 to 50 foot range. Certainly not as fast or as comfortable as a larger boat. Actually perhaps they are a tad unsafer because if a passage takes 20 days rather than 15 you have more possibility of something bad happening I guess.
 

·
Senior Moment Member
Joined
·
13,300 Posts
It's not so much the length as the displacement - 10K Lbs is the lower limit of what I would call a true offshore cruising boat. Lighter than that and you'll have to make too many sacrifices.

Experienced cruisers seem to generally regard 35' - 40' as optimum. Smaller is cheaper so you can go sooner and bigger is more comfortable but quickly gets a LOT more expensive.

My own Fortune 30 was designed to be a minimum offshore boat for one or two and I think it would do well - several have made long voyages.

Check out the thread "Sloops New Cutter" last year for info & pics.
 
1 - 20 of 70 Posts
Top