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Old 29-12-2009, 12:33   #1
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Has Heavy-Weather Experience Influenced Your Choice of Boat?

I'd be interested to know if members could relate their heavy weather experience and how it did or did not affect a future choice of boat.
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Old 29-12-2009, 12:40   #2
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The very first offshore journey I made on a sailboat was a delivery of a CT56, and we hit rough seas early on. It was a startling lesson on why you should NOT have a wide open salon design as more than one of the crew got injured by being tossed from one side of the cabin to the other.
While the dance floor sized salon was nice in the harbor, in rough weather it became a chasm that was difficult to cross at best.
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Old 29-12-2009, 19:31   #3
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On one of my 1st offshore trips, I was helping deliver a pretty nice High Production boat....the winds were probably in the high 20's the seas were about 10 +
coming off the back of a wave...the hot water heater lifted right out of it's mounts and landed halfway into the cabin. It definitely influenced my choice.
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Old 29-12-2009, 20:02   #4
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Those of us who have experienced Storms at sea would focus more on the security of openings in the shell and cabin and integral strength rather than the actual designů. since the bottom line is to keep the water out when it is washing over you.

Unless you are a non stop, solo circumnavigator or racer then design factors is more biased towards your anticipated use, your budget and what gives you the live ability you desire rather than focused on heavy weather handling.

With a lifetime at sea and a student of meteorology, my boat choice today is based more on the above and in knowing the weather conditions I would decide to sail in, based on my conservative appraisal of what my yacht can withstand.

(That is why I consider sailboat racing as poor seamanship!)
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Old 29-12-2009, 20:25   #5
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Steering system

Got in a nasty blow some years back. You ever motor for a long time single handed. The motor noise especially at night may alter just a bit. It can become a focus or you let it go.
Well in this blow the owner of the fine vessel mentions he had broken a link in the steering chain on a prior run. He didn't replace the chain. That provided room for a lot of thought about the stress being put over and over again on the steering system. Those were some long shifts at night slamming down the sides of waves and every time I laid down on that wheel I thought this'll be a mess if it breaks now.
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Old 29-12-2009, 20:41   #6
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We have been badly knocked down in normal conditions (=F8). Boat 6.500 light, mid-dispalcement 26' design, long keel, 40pct balast ratio. I believe it was approx 130-140 degs from vertical. It could be less, much adrenaline back then, hard to judge very accurately. Some damage - broken spreader, busted electrics, mess and salt water down under, cuts and bruises (let alone the damages done to driver's self-esteem).

I believe, (aside from the driver's error of 'letting her take care about herself and the crew') that the minimum "safe weight / size" for the easiest route (Panama, Torres, RSA) is about twice the weight, and perhaps 32-34 ft. Otherwise, one has to be full ahead of events, which is not always possible in a prolonging storm.

On the rig side, I would opt for a true cutter (say sthg similar in sail layout to a typical Valiant 32, Vancouver 28/32, etc.). This is because I think it would be easier to keep the cutter hove to close to the wind, which is not quite that easy on a sloop.

Not the only option to try avoid future knock-downs, but one that matches my sailing needs/habits.

In summary:
- a longer and heavier boat,
- with a true cutter rig.

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Old 29-12-2009, 22:12   #7
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For me a big design issue is the galley.

I want to been in a space that is confined. Many charter designs have a longitudinal galley that prevents bracing yourself in.

A grab handle in front of the stove is essential as is a galley harness.

You cannot cook prepare enough hot meals in adnavce on a 21 day passage.
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Old 29-12-2009, 22:18   #8
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"why you should NOT have a wide open salon design "
Amen! And beyond that...some boats just knuckle down and plow through, others slam or toss and make your life really miserable. Harbor queens and offshore boats are "horses for courses" and as long as you've got the right one for you, that's OK too.
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Old 29-12-2009, 22:22   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
And beyond that...some boats just knuckle down and plow through, others slam or toss and make your life really miserable.
A flat bottom race boat, built for planning is very uncomfortable and LOUD offshore.
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Old 29-12-2009, 22:31   #10
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The ideal size cruising boat is 10' bigger than whatever
you happen to be on when the weather goes to hell.
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Old 30-12-2009, 08:50   #11
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Quote:
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A flat bottom race boat, built for planning is very uncomfortable and LOUD offshore.
Yes but No, but Yes.

In heavy weather:

I have sailed a Farr 40 and my own (very cruising) boat. DOWNWIND, Farr sailed flat and drove effortlessly, my own boat will roll and make life miserable.

So I would not tick off the racing design for heavy weather because it has some edge over the cruising thing, also in bad weather (like e.g. the ability to sail fast downwind without getting pooped).

Upwind, I cannot remember any issues on the racing boat, but it was NOISY indeed. It was also twice as fast as the cruising tub, so one stays in the bad weather half the time against the cruiser.

But I do remember sailing upwind in a light cruising boat (an older Beneteau) and IT WAS HELL come lose.

So my conculsion is the racing boat for racers, the cruising one for cruisiers. Pure cruisers should avoid pure racing boats as wekend drivers should avoid driving an F1 bolid.

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Old 31-12-2009, 03:14   #12
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All the preceding are accurate ,unless you are taking a long trip,have a deadline or foolish the place tobe in heavy weather is in safe harbor.Having a deadline & foolish often one and the same.In which case best boat is one with cold beer,hot food & dry bunk.
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Old 31-12-2009, 06:37   #13
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Lots of handholds in a boat without wide-open spaces, small hatches and a cutter rig with deep reef points.
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Old 31-12-2009, 11:50   #14
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"Lots of handholds"

And rounded corners! If you've ever been tossed a couple of feet into the corner of a table or counter...the makers who have rounded off all the pointy stuff, usually have been building a boat with more concern for sailing than selling. Little stuff (like up-rounded companionway steps on BendyToys, or the dust grate at the companionway base in Sabres) can often tip you off as to how much attention the builder has been paying to real time on the water.
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Old 31-12-2009, 12:19   #15
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Quote:
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"Lots of handholds"

And rounded corners! If you've ever been tossed a couple of feet into the corner of a table or counter...
And how about the glass dividers between the galley area and the settee are on most new Benes, Avarias and Jeanns (names only for demonstration purposes) ???

Many things in new designs are an offshore NO-NO for me. It is great we have so much beam in the boats now, how about some boat interior designers design so that this brave new space is utilised towards the crew's comfort and safety rather than 'decorated'.

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