. A bit late in the season but it was a great trip and one I wouldn't hesitate to do again. It was my first crossing and I only regret I waited so long in life to make it happen. Ditto for my wife. It was challenging at times to be sure, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
That said, don't go there if you aren't prepared to get beaten, and possibly beaten quite badly. The six-day blow was not forecast
and developed spontaneously on top of us. With every new sunrise I found myself thinking "when is this f'ing thing going to end?"
The boat was a NA 40 designed by Bill Carter and built by Morgan
in 1979 with a deep draft
(7' 8") and a detached skeg-hung rudder
It's a stiff boat which did a very fine job hove to in +65 knots under a blade jib
and double reefed main that I also found to be a pleasure to drive in 5 meter seas.
We did broach once with the kite up early on when the weather was still sunny and warm, no big surprise there. Really that was our dumb for getting carried away by the fun.
Not like we didn't know better or that we didn't deserve what we got for pushing it as the wind
was building when we put the kite up and we kept it up too long.
The main deficiency of the boat in my mind would be the lack of a bridge deck
, the cockpit
being similar to a Tartan 41. Despite having the wash boards in place, we shipped water belowdecks when we got boarded during the first two-day blow. That was the start of everything getting wet, a second boarding later being the coup-de-grace.
Something to think about for those considering buying
an older boat. My own boat, designed by Philippe Briand, is a similar vintage but has a bridge deck. I considered this feature to be a must have when I was boat shopping
. Don't go offshore
I think dry storage
for sleeping bags is good advice but I will add that during the worst of it we were one-on-one-off watches between myself and the owner, with the off watch sleeping in the cockpit
in foulies, hence the pain in my ass. Too rough for my wife to feel comfortable driving so she spent that time mostly confined to a wet bunk, hence her pain in the ass.
I think these types of boats have many fine qualities and I admit to a certain fondness for them, having spent time sailing on this particular design as a child.
However, I would not chose this particular design as a cruising boat without modification.
Problems being draft
too deep, bendy rig with baby-stay and runners, winch
farm for halyards forward, huge headsails, poor layout belowdecks, and of course no bridge deck, which I found to be a pain in the ass.