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Old 20-09-2010, 01:28   #31
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Some very interesting thoughts, motives and arguments here! Thanks!

One issue came up I did not even pay enough attention to before: Size also matters greatly when it comes to deckspace aka safety.
So its not only comfort of movements at sea and the amount of beating bigger boats can take, or about the comfort below decks ... its also very much about how safely one can move about on deck - especially since only very few boats offer all sail handling from within the cockpit.

Also when looking at some of the stanchions of smaller boats I shudder upon the imagination of being thrown against them in a sudden violent move of the boat. What are the odds that those will prevent me from being washed over board?!

Speed on the other hand is not a factor. Unlike suggested in an other thread here (southernspeed's) I dont believe a sec. that one can actually outrun a gale. So when it hits, it hits and I'd prefer to be on a boat that I know can take any such beating for days and days and days if it needs be.

As to the effort it takes to handle larger sail areas, I really dont see that. Small boats have single-speed winches, larger ones have 3-speed selftailing. So the amount of strength needed to handle probably even decreases!

The 47' Vagabond introduced here would sure merit a bit of drooling on the screen :-) ...while the 172' Dubois sure is overkill and not only NOT possible to single hand anymore but the argument that one would just be moving a lot of useless space around is one thing while such a boat is highly impractical because of too much space below decks! Try to move around when the thing is playing cork in rough seas! (Or to sleep in that masters bed for the matter! *grin*)

So for Slocum it was 37' - but times have changed, today I would go with those voices that say: It gotta be +/- 45' to 50', ketch or schooner rig, preferably steel (too much crap floating around in our oceans), long keel with attached rudder, wheel steering with cables rather than hydraulics ..and, most of all, a REALLY, really good autopilot.....
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Old 20-09-2010, 02:20   #32
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My last baby was a 60' steel, 2.3m draft (7'?) 56 ton "rock" in the water. The ketch rig distributing sail areas to make them easily handle-able in all conditions...
My steel "rock" is a bit smaller, but I sure agree that some things just come with the size, with the weight, and with the cutter ketch rig. Some things go, too. If seaworthiness is the primary concern, then size probably matters.

It sure has it downs, too. Entering to a marina singlehanded with 13 tons of steel and no bow thruster really is not my idea of fun. I have only had boats that are under 30' or over 40', however, I assume being 5' shorter and 5 tons lighter could make some things a lot more simple (and safe).

Ladies can skip the next one, this is for (gentle)men only: sure the size matters on boats as well! It is much easier to convince the opposite sex on the marina that you are the man, if your boat is 5' or 10' or 30' longer than other vessels. An extra mast or two does not hurt either. Of course, the man in a smaller vessel can try to claim that his sailing technique is better, he tacks faster, hoits sails in no time etc - but is there anyone listening?
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Old 20-09-2010, 02:45   #33
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I posted the dimensions of Slocum's Spray on another thread and was interested in peoples perspective on ideal size but didn't get a response. Slocum had a lot of ocean experience and arrived at 37 feet of length, 14 feet of beam and 4 of draught. It worked out well for him. His mast was very low by modern standards so didn't need more draught I guess. My Honeysuckle has a 14 foot beam and it sure makes for a nice space.

As boatman says 'horses for courses'.
Real lazy day with a few bouts on the net so I thought I would propose an answer. If you read Slocum’s account what actually happened was an old acquaintance proposed, “Come to Fairhaven and I will give you a ship” adding “she wants some repairs”. He must have seen a real potential in the old girl especially considering “great was the amazement” at the fact he intended to rebuild her.

“Will it pay” is the wonderous and near cynical bit that gets me! Being an old Sea Captain from the moment he saw her he must have realised her potential to sail the world otherwise why would have he put so much effort into the re-build including the fitting of a false keel? Maybe he never intended to go with these exact dimensions, but there must have been something about her that inspired him? Not once in the book does he mention a desire or need to take onboard crew. Instead he just stocks his provisions and heads off. Obviously, he was also a man addicted to the sea who seized on an opportunity?

The other thing is that there is definitely something of the Gothic if not supernatural about Slocum’s narrative. While it might sound a bit too metaphysical for some, I really do believe that if you are a “Man of the sea" the right boat will find you. (Please take this as old English including man and/or woman!).
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Old 20-09-2010, 03:30   #34
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Just as an additional point, we were particularly impressed by the argument (made strongly by the Pardeys) that your boat size should be related to the maximum anchor you can manage without an electric windlass. This, at the time, limited us to the 40'/12m range. New gen anchors might lift the level a bit.

We have been v glad of the extra few feet as it allows an aft cabin, and we can have visitors (which we like for short periods). Two of us manage 12m fine, though (at the mo) neither of us would voluntarily single hand her. It's the stopping that's difficult, not the sailing!
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Old 20-09-2010, 09:32   #35
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You neeed a wind vane... I cant imagine not having one . Auto pilots are a plus, there is no doubt, but on a good long run... a wind vane rocks
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Old 20-09-2010, 09:49   #36
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Real lazy day with a few bouts on the net so I thought I would propose an answer. If you read Slocum’s account what actually happened was an old acquaintance proposed, “Come to Fairhaven and I will give you a ship” adding “she wants some repairs”. He must have seen a real potential in the old girl especially considering “great was the amazement” at the fact he intended to rebuild her.
Slocum had his tongue in his cheek much of the time when writing. I've often wondered how much of the boats design reflected the original but there certainly wasn't any of it physically there. He "rebuilt" it as in everything was new. He was an experienced designer so to me it's not inconceivable that it didn't reflect the original at all. While building he says, "the Spray changed her being so gradually that it was hard to say at what point the old died or the new took birth". When he lists her dimensions he says her "dimensions were, when finished", which might imply she changed considerably.
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Old 20-09-2010, 12:13   #37
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be interesting to imagine what response Slocum would have gotten as a newbie on CF.com.

"I have this plan............"
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Old 20-09-2010, 12:14   #38
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long keel with attached rudder, wheel steering with cables rather than hydraulics
I'm not saying that my boat (Pacific Seacraft 44) is the right one for you, but look at the keel, rudder, and steering. VALIS has a fin keel, but it is *very* well attached, and is not one of the skinny blades that are vulnerable to being levered off. She's got a skeg-attached rudder that is fairly bulletproof. The keel / rudder combination gives us good maneuverability that you might not get with a long-keel / attached rudder, and we can still heave-to well enough.

Compared to a racer's fin keel and freestanding rudder, our short/thick keel does suffer when it comes to pointing and leeway, and the unbalanced rudder can take some strength to operate when we've got big seas on the quarter. There are always tradeoffs.

The steering is a gear / linkage Edson setup, which I believe to be more reliable and stronger than cable steering.
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Old 20-09-2010, 13:02   #39
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be interesting to imagine what response Slocum would have gotten as a newbie on CF.com.

"I have this plan............"
And he didn't really seem to appreciate goats...
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Old 20-09-2010, 17:11   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hummingway View Post
Slocum had his tongue in his cheek much of the time when writing. I've often wondered how much of the boats design reflected the original but there certainly wasn't any of it physically there. He "rebuilt" it as in everything was new. He was an experienced designer so to me it's not inconceivable that it didn't reflect the original at all. While building he says, "the Spray changed her being so gradually that it was hard to say at what point the old died or the new took birth". When he lists her dimensions he says her "dimensions were, when finished", which might imply she changed considerably.
I have to agree – at the end of the day he was primarily a “Man of the Sea” in search of his next boat? At least the original Spray must have been some sort of work boat of a seaworthy nature for the Captain to have put so much effort into her re-construction? Maybe too he enjoyed the little bit of attention even controversy especially about the “how will it pay” part. He was probably ginning all the time just waiting to disappear across oceans like he had been doing his whole life?

We are kind of sidetracking the thread, but this is a really interesting matter!
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Old 20-09-2010, 17:14   #41
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be interesting to imagine what response Slocum would have gotten as a newbie on CF.com.

"I have this plan............"
"But how will it pay"???? Maybe nowadays we could ask Jessica Watson the same question?
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Old 20-09-2010, 18:15   #42
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"But how will it pay"???? Maybe nowadays we could ask Jessica Watson the same question?
You know ... there are some paralells. He ran into someone on the way out of harbour at the beginning of his journey. He planned on writing about it and in fact had a deal in place before going. This was the day real adventure journalism and his reports were published while he made his journey. However, much as I'd like to I can't quite picture Jessica covered with tallow!
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Old 22-09-2010, 05:22   #43
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Times change and even so my first books I ever read about long distance yacht sailing also were Slocum & Motessier I just dont see where what they (rightfully) believed to be true will have any value nowadays.
Just look how much yacht design has changed and what flimsy boats are being marketed as "family - global cruisers" (I bet Slocum would have been very hesitant to set a foot on one of the even while securely moored at port!)
I have ben on 1920 built 60' yachts that had less space and comfort than one of these modern 28' tupperware thingies - so: impossible to compare.

But in the meantime I did look at the 35' (+/-) listings at yachtworld and found that there are some 10,000 (!!) boats currently listed! - Which does bring me to the conclusion that there the going believe here must have some merrit that this is a desirable size for a yacht.
What one would have to do as a seller to make a buyer buy ones boat in such a market place rather than one of the 9.999 other ones? No clue! Especially since they all seem to look more or less alike, feature the same equipment, etc.
I shudder when imagining that I would be in the market to shop for a boat in that size-range (and the idea gets worse if I would want to sell a boat like that!)

As to fin-keels; I did not mean to suggest that they are unsafe per se, and I can see the merits of a moderate fin vs. a long keel - but on the other hand, I just dont like exposed props (too likely to catch on ropes and other slightly submerged junk and fishing lines etc.) and the directional stability a long keel offers while under way simply is unsurpassed. Granted manouvering in tight spaces can be a bit of a drag, but how often do I do that compared to actual cruising?
The killer to me still are free spade rudders (*shudder*) and I'd like to know how many of the people with boats like that actually have some sort of emergency tiller ready rigged on board in case something knocks or brakes their spade rudder off?!
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Old 22-09-2010, 05:44   #44
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As to fin-keels; I did not mean to suggest that they are unsafe per se, and I can see the merits of a moderate fin vs. a long keel - but on the other hand, I just dont like exposed props (too likely to catch on ropes and other slightly submerged junk and fishing lines etc.) and the directional stability a long keel offers while under way simply is unsurpassed. Granted manouvering in tight spaces can be a bit of a drag, but how often do I do that compared to actual cruising?
The killer to me still are free spade rudders (*shudder*) and I'd like to know how many of the people with boats like that actually have some sort of emergency tiller ready rigged on board in case something knocks or brakes their spade rudder off?!
These things can be ameliorated. A fin keel and efficient spade rudder far aft tracks very well and has very low drag. It's those compromise boats that can't seen to balance - plump fin keels and stubby spades not far aft. And as you mention maneuvering in forward or reverse is possible in tight spaces at slow speeds. A folding prop doesn't catch much if one is sailing, and one will sail a lighter boat much more often rather than motor, perhaps. A spare tiller and easily fitted spare rudder are a necessity. And the spare rudder on a windvane doesn't count as it is likely in the water where it will get damaged along with the primary.

One does need to be more careful about groundings. It's not unlike hiking in flipflops. We take some care where we step without boots on.

Perhaps the best use for full keeled boats is the livability and load carrying capacity. My life would be much harder if I couldn't paddle over to my fully laden friends to borrow a few heavy tools or dig through their hundreds of pounds of spares while enjoying their variety of cocktails and treats :-)

We are very fortunate to live in a period where such a wide variety of good boats are readily available.
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Old 22-09-2010, 06:53   #45
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Why? I think mostly because a 35 footer is a comfortable size boat to sail. It is easy to get away from the dock, it's easy to handle the sails, it's easy to maintain. Does it make a good cruising size? Sure, if that is what you can afford and that is what you want to cruise.

My in laws spent several years cruising their Pretorien (35 foot). They had tons of fun and went further afield then most. After swallowing the anchor I asked them what they would have done differently. The answer was 50 foot minimum, mostly for the ability to carry gear, speed and comfort.

My wife and I are big so a larger boat fits us better plus we have a fair bit of time on boats. Although, I still get anxious about docking when the breeze is over 30.


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*mean grin* ... NO! I am NOT talking about ´that´ old issue.... :-)

Seriously: In many a discussion I have been reading here, the going opinion seems to be: 35' (+/-) is the perfect single hander / family cruising boat.

I have sailed my share of such boats, each of these trips I have been (well!) paid for and maybe it's only my 6'3 and 220lbs (+) size that the thought of living or cruising on such a boat for an extended period of time makes me squirm. (Yet alone circumnavigating - God forbid nonstop!)

If one just loves sailing, and if a 35'er is all one can afford: Yeah! Go for it! (if you can stand the extremely confined space for an extended period of time, - and I am not talking a two week sailing vacation)
Also the argument of "can't handle more single handed" sounds strange to me. What would be difference in sailing a 35' and a 70' sailing yacht somewhere mid-Atlantic?
Oh! There is ONE major difference: If you are miserable in the tight space and minimalistic "comfort" of a 35'er - you'll throw the towel much, much sooner than if you were simply comfortable.

My last baby was a 60' steel, 2.3m draft (7'?) 56 ton "rock" in the water. The ketch rig distributing sail areas to make them easily handle-able in all conditions, with the only requirement that one would have to plan a little bit ahead. More than once I did reduce sail area because the skys looked like I should, just to shake the canvas out again after a couple of hours of "under-canvased" (=uncomfortable) sailing - and mind you, I didn't even have a roller-jib.

Uups, sorry, here is the real question I wanted to ask: Why do so many of you believe that 35' is a feasible size boat for single handed sailing?
I have single handed mine a lot, and quite honestly the only problem I ever had was never due to her size, but when I was in "congested" areas like the British Canal, or approaching Port Said or Suez and the likes and the lack of sleep would become to be my worst enemy... (snoozing off, just to awake startled because my mind would play tricks on me, making me see steamers coming straight towards me, or waves braking at the shore - when in reality there was neither!) ...and the lack of sleep is something that would feel worse the smaller the boat gets, right?!

And in heavy weather? I had absolute confidence in my Victoria, and when things got really bad, which they did *aehm* "once or twice", I would trim her to and pile all the cushions I could find into a heap with me plus a nice book in the middle. All that's left to do is to wait it out and I MUCH RATHER do that in comfort!

Last and only other "problem" with larger boats: Handling them in tight marinas, but then big boats do have another advantage: The docking-master will assign you a berth towards the deep end anyway, where the other bigger boats are at, and again manouvering there often is easier than at the really tight areas further in.

I would be very curious to learn more about how Cat's behave in such environment, but as to Mono's all I can say: If you want to go extended cruisin' - be it alone or as a couple, settle for at least 50' .... and if given the choice: Go as big as you can (afford to).

Your opinions?

......I mean, I am "just thinking"..
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