I like the Belize, it's a very well built boat. No, I haven't done any major crossings, unfortunately, I still work full time!
We have spent up to 30 hours in 30-40 knot
winds/12 foot seas 100 miles off shore. Although not exactly 'fun', I never feared for our safety
. On a recent 80 mile crossing, we did enjoy 30-35k winds at beam, 5-7 foot seas, triple-reefed, running 8 knots for 10-12 hours. We were fortunate to be in the lee of land, at most no more than 20 miles offshore
(which held the seas down). Yes, this is sailing at it's best!
If I were planning your crossing, I would be equally or more worried about the crew. The boat is easy to prepare, it sounds like you are gathering the correct safety gear
, although I didn't see you list a life raft (I carry a six-person off-shore Winslow). I'm not sure I would put the orange non-skid paint
on my decks, with the proper footwear, I've never noticed a slippery deck
, but then I don't spend much time going forward in rough weather
. I do utilize jacklines/tethers/harnesses. Never is there a time in rough weather
(or night time) when only one crew is on deck
without being tied on, even when just sitting at the helm
So, a well trained crew would be my number one concern. Most accounts of problems in weather can be traced to a mis-judgement by a tired/over worked crew. Minimum, two that know what to do in bad weather. One can be getting some rest while the other is handling the boat. Once the boat is stablized, storm sails
set, pointed well, etc. one crew must rest while the other watches for changes. I'm always very conservative, first reef at 18k, 2nd at 24k, and 3rd at 30k. I'll starting pulling sails
down between 35k-40K, point it into the wind
and ride it out. The major difference I see is that in my experience, I can point it into the wind
with the engines as fuel
is never a problem while coastal cruising. In your case, you need to maintain pointing using the para-anchor. I carry a 16 footer, but never have deployed it. Practice with that would be a must for me.
My experience with the autopilot
is good/less than good. I think they respond to slowly. Dead downwind, mine is useless, but of course, so is an in-experienced helmsman downwind. Again, I don't have the experience above 35-40 knots for extended periods of time, so I can't help here.
I haven't sailed the Levezzi, but comparing it with the Belize, I would tend to stay as light as possible in the front. I carry 4 anchors/200 feet 3/8 BB chain and then load up 160gal. of water
and now I'm approaching 1800lbs. forward of the mast
. Add to that the stores in the forepeaks. If I were planning a big crossing, I would move as much aft as possible, if not simply leave something at home. I have seen 2 feet of water
above my genaker furler diving
into a 12 footer. That will make you appreciate the net vs. a solid deck forward!
I would not be afraid of the Levezzi, or any FP boat. I would be afraid of crew mistakes
that no boat, no matter how well built, would be able to overcome.
Good Luck in your journey!