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Old 08-12-2014, 08:50   #1
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Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

My wife and I are planning to leave for a nice bluewater cruise in March from Delaware. We are currently planning to sail from Delaware to San Francisco through Panama but do not want to feel restrained if we decide to hop across the Pacific.

I bought our Hunter 356 as a step between our old Cal 25 and a larger bluewater boat but I am having second thoughts about moving on from the hunter. The boat serves all of our coastal sailing needs and is very comfortable - fun to sail.

So here is the question. Any 356 owners with significant bluewater experience? Any recommended upgrades to take my 356 out for a circumnavigation? Any reasons to move on to a dedicated bluewater boat? Anybody have spares for sale
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Old 08-12-2014, 23:44   #2
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

You do realize that to get to San Francisco from Panama means you will have to sail almost to Hawaii, before coming back east? Your not going to be harbour hoping north along the coast.

Have you read the pilot guides? How are you going to load enough water on your boat? What about diesel?

You have 75 gallons of water plus 6 in the water heater, and 38 gallons of diesel. In a 27 HP Yanmar with your size boat I'm guessing that may give you 50-60 hours max of running time. Do you have a life raft? EPRIB?

Can a small boat do that trip? You bet, if it is set up right. Can yours? Probably with a lot of modifications.

In the meantime, maybe you can get some hints from this fellow, who did a similar trip (Los Angeles - Hawaii - Los Angeles) single handed in his 32 foot Ericson.

Singlehanded Cruising on Vimeo
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Old 09-12-2014, 03:46   #3
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

There're so many threads on this subject here on the forum, just type in "Hunter bluewater" and start reading.

In the end it will cost you less to buy a more appropriate boat than to do the number of upgrades that your present boat will requires for the journey. The Hunter is fine for coastal harbor hopping, but that's not what you'll be doing. You may also want to include some of the "Rebel Heart" trans Pacific threads in your reading list.
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Old 09-12-2014, 05:39   #4
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

The Pardeys boat Taleisin carried 85 gallons of water and 0 gallons of fuel. The Hiscocks Wanderer III carried 12 gallons of fuel and I would guess a comparable amount of water as Taleisin. Why is it nowadays people feel they need a floating condo with enough fuel and water to support a third world country for their boat to be considered seaworthy. With the ability to make water nowadays why would 75 gallons not be enough?


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Old 09-12-2014, 05:56   #5
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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The Pardeys boat Taleisin carried 85 gallons of water and 0 gallons of fuel. The Hiscocks Wanderer III carried 12 gallons of fuel and I would guess a comparable amount of water as Taleisin. Why is it nowadays people feel they need a floating condo with enough fuel and water to support a third world country for their boat to be considered seaworthy. With the ability to make water nowadays why would 75 gallons not be enough?


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Different times, different people. There seems to be a trend to think of people who cruise now, with the same type set-ups, funds, and equipment that people used to use regularly 30 years ago, as bums on boats, risking their lives. Blame it on the gentrification of cruising.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:00   #6
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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Originally Posted by smj View Post
The Pardeys boat Taleisin carried 85 gallons of water and 0 gallons of fuel. The Hiscocks Wanderer III carried 12 gallons of fuel and I would guess a comparable amount of water as Taleisin. Why is it nowadays people feel they need a floating condo with enough fuel and water to support a third world country for their boat to be considered seaworthy. With the ability to make water nowadays why would 75 gallons not be enough?


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I think the Rebel Heart threads may speak to that, I'm very inexperienced, I was bringing my boat home after purchase when the Rebel Heart thing happened, but the thing that struck me was him wanting to only take the thirty gls of Diesel in the tank with him. I'm going solely by memory here, but at the time that struck me as foolish. Maybe it's because of my powerboat background, but I see that engine as another form of propulsion, to be used if needed. For me it's my redundancy in the event for some reason or another I can't sail.
There was another thread about this guy singlehanding from NY I think to Bermuda in a 42 Westsail, towed a lager disabled sailboat quite a ways before getting in weather and having them collide etc. That whole saga wouldn't have happened if the disabled boat had a good engine and plenty of fuel. (got to be more to this story, I have to assume a very poorly maintained boat, but that is just my guess)

Water is self explanatory
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:01   #7
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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Originally Posted by avb3 View Post
You do realize that to get to San Francisco from Panama means you will have to sail almost to Hawaii, before coming back east? Your not going to be harbour hoping north along the coast.

Have you read the pilot guides? How are you going to load enough water on your boat? What about diesel?

You have 75 gallons of water plus 6 in the water heater, and 38 gallons of diesel. In a 27 HP Yanmar with your size boat I'm guessing that may give you 50-60 hours max of running time. Do you have a life raft? EPRIB?

Can a small boat do that trip? You bet, if it is set up right. Can yours? Probably with a lot of modifications.

In the meantime, maybe you can get some hints from this fellow, who did a similar trip (Los Angeles - Hawaii - Los Angeles) single handed in his 32 foot Ericson.

Singlehanded Cruising on Vimeo
That sounds like plenty of water and fuel even before allowing for a small watermaker / rainwater collection system and maybe a few extra jerry's of fuel. According to sailboatdata.com the Ericson 32 has a tankage of 30 gals water and 22 gals diesel so by that standard your example the boat in the video doesn't cut it either.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:20   #8
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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Different times, different people. There seems to be a trend to think of people who cruise now, with the same type set-ups, funds, and equipment that people used to use regularly 30 years ago, as bums on boats, risking their lives. Blame it on the gentrification of cruising.
90% of the people who I know personally who started out on either a world circumnav or some such were not "fully prepared" according to these modern "minimum standards", which are driven more by insurance interests and WM marketing departments more than anything. And those who are making the preps (EPRIBs, larger tanks, gensets, etc) are still dockside "getting ready". And a vast majority of them never leave for that trip as age, illnesses, family emergencies and so on interevene. But they sure have a much more bluewater rigged boat than the risk takers who left.

The most vivid example I have is an acquaintance (in his 40s at the time and in the midst of his midlife crisis I guess) who never having sailed in his life before, after spending a week with his wife and 2 kids on a chartered Catalina 34 in the early 2000s got bitten by a sailing bug. He re-mortgaged his paid off house to buy a 78footer and few months later set out for Europe with a rag tag volonteer motley crew as he could not afford a paid crew. We, all who knew him and knew of his lack of any sailing experience, never mind bluewater, expected to see news of him being picked up by the CG somewhere in the Atlantic. But 12 years later he is still on his boat, having crossed the Med and the pond a few times and now he mostly singlehands as he has trouble finding crew due to his lack of funds and social graces. If he had listened to the experts he'd still be docked trying to make his boat and his sailing skills perfect for the trip.
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:36   #9
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

This couple did half of that trip in a Hunter 380. I don't think there is much difference from your boat. PacificSailors.com

This couple did the other half of that trip in an older Sabre 34. Followed that up by crossing the Atlantic. Matt & Jessica's Sailing Page | Experiencing the world while it's still large

It can be done but you need to be a better sailor, cruiser and handyman to go in a smaller boat.

Good luck and fair winds,

Jesse
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Old 09-12-2014, 06:44   #10
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

"There was another thread about this guy singlehanding from NY I think to Bermuda in a 42 Westsail, towed a lager disabled sailboat quite a ways before getting in weather and having them collide etc. That whole saga wouldn't have happened if the disabled boat had a good engine and plenty of fuel."

I think in Drakes case (Westsail 42) the fuel would not of made a difference. If I remember correctly the other boat he was towing had a disabled rudder, a incapacitated captain who could not afford the fuel to begin with.
But I agree, I think carrying extra fuel is important when looking at the "what ifs", in a proper tank, not 20 cans tied to the lifelines on deck.

IMHO I think it comes down to an honest assessment of your sailing ability, the preparation of the boat, proper planning and weather. We all have read the stories of "Bluewater sailboats" being abandoned and guys sailing across oceans in boats many would not sail around a bay.



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Old 09-12-2014, 06:55   #11
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

From my point of view everyone always overthinks this problem.

Estimate water consumption per day. The more civilized the captain and crew the more water per day (think showers, dishes, etc.)

Estimate the fuel consumption per day based on running the generator to make water (or not) and charge the batteries (or not). Estimate fuel needed to approach and get into ports, help sail upwind, progress through the highs, etc.

Multiply by the number of days estimated for the passage.

Add a reasonable margin for contingencies and slower progress for above quantities.

Do the same for the remaining consumables.

The resultant calculations will contain estimates of water and fuel tankage needed for the passage. Pretty simple stuff.

My experience, two Atlantic crossings, four guys, saltwater rinse on the dishes, two showers per crossing, 19 days each way, we used roughly about 120 gallons of water per crossing.

Fuel use was less than a gallon per day (generator) although we opted to run for 16 hrs to side-step a 970 mbar low which upped the consumption. We could have not used the engine and moved slower but would have suffered higher winds.

Our tankage was 200 gal of water and 160 gal for fuel...COMFORTABLE...there is lots to think about on a passage. Fuel and water were not on that list for us.
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Old 09-12-2014, 08:45   #12
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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From my point of view everyone always overthinks this problem.

Estimate water consumption per day. The more civilized the captain and crew the more water per day (think showers, dishes, etc.)

Estimate the fuel consumption per day based on running the generator to make water (or not) and charge the batteries (or not). Estimate fuel needed to approach and get into ports, help sail upwind, progress through the highs, etc.

Multiply by the number of days estimated for the passage.

Add a reasonable margin for contingencies and slower progress for above quantities.

Do the same for the remaining consumables.

The resultant calculations will contain estimates of water and fuel tankage needed for the passage. Pretty simple stuff.

My experience, two Atlantic crossings, four guys, saltwater rinse on the dishes, two showers per crossing, 19 days each way, we used roughly about 120 gallons of water per crossing.

Fuel use was less than a gallon per day (generator) although we opted to run for 16 hrs to side-step a 970 mbar low which upped the consumption. We could have not used the engine and moved slower but would have suffered higher winds.

Our tankage was 200 gal of water and 160 gal for fuel...COMFORTABLE...there is lots to think about on a passage. Fuel and water were not on that list for us.
I think you could leverage some more modern tech and cut that down.

Why use the generator to make water or charge the batteries? Go solar.

They have 12 volt water maker systems. During peak sun hours most solar panels produce more power than you can put into your batteries safely. Thus the regulator. But if you run a heavy 12 volt load during this time you can take advantage of the extra power to make water.

I would probably add a high output alternator as a backup.

Modern systems don't require the same tankage that many of the older boats need. Watermakers reduce the need for large water tanks. More efficient engines use less fuel. Therefore you can get the same cruising range under power with less fuel on board. Solar produces plenty of power to charge batteries. Things like LEDs and more efficient refer units use less power. Etc.

Just my thoughts
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:03   #13
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

The ancient Polynesians did it on outrigger canoes.

Robin Lee Grahm did it on a Lapworth 24

I knew a guy who crossed the Pacifc on a Cal 25 (with his girlfriend)

Captain Woody circumnavigated on a Cal 34 and usually had a ride along with him (read ""Sailing Low Key")A great book

I just watched this video that was recommended about the guy who went to Hawaii and back from Marina Del rey. He had No Dodger, No Bimini, No Solar, and did the trip out and back earlier this year in an Ericson 32.

You know your boat and you are comfortable sailing her. You have probably repaired many thing on her already and know the systems. That takes time on a new boat.
I guess my point is, plan well, make your boat as safe and strong as possible. and just )"Do it" (thanks Nike), and then come back here and tell us all about it while we are all still planing our perfect boat to follow you) My guess is you might just keep going
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:11   #14
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

There are no bluewater boats. Only blue water sailors.

If this boat can do it, any boat can
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Old 09-12-2014, 09:15   #15
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Re: Hunter 356 Bluewater Capable?

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I think you could leverage some more modern tech and cut that down.

Why use the generator to make water or charge the batteries? Go solar.


Just my thoughts
When we crossed the Atlantic, Halifax to Ireland, 19 days, we saw the sun maybe 5 days. Most of the time heavy cloud cover, my guess would be 200 watts per meter squared max irradiance at noon most of the time.

This kind of solar irradiance wouldn't pull a sitting hen off her nest.


One doesn't need to plan the perfect boat. One just needs to bring enough fuel/water to make the trip. If you need 40 gallons of water to make it with a margin then a 30 gallon tank is not sufficient. Don't "just go" with the 30 gallon tank.
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