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Old 05-05-2006, 16:36   #61
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According to an article*, by Jim Flannery, in the May issue of “Soundings - Trade Only”,
”... the “Superyacht” fleet is expanding - fast ...”

130 “superyachts” (worth $20 million or more) are on order for 2006 (up 15% over 2005), while orders for yachts over 200 Ft are up 33%, and sailboats over 150 feet are up 20%.

* Even the wealthy lack 'civilized dockage’ ~ by Jim Flannery
The article will be on-line in about 2 months

FWIW,
Gord
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Old 05-05-2006, 19:17   #62
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Paul,

I have to tell you that you are far off base with engine technology. A diesel engine today produces far more power, last 3-5 times longer and cost much less in maintained over the course of its life then an engine of just 20 years ago. In materials; the use of hypereutectic alloys, nickels and plastics have reduced weight by as much as 40% in pounds per horse power. The fuel specifics of pounds per horse power hour have gone down significantly and fuel system reliability has never been longer. The service intervals have increased and total cost to operate an engine during its life span has gone down in real dollars. All this is base on both on and off highway use. From the oil and coolant to the fuel it burns the technology of the last twenty years has seen tremendous gains in engine longevity and reductions in down time. Again these are averages; some segments may have never adopted the new technology. Any boat that operates in salt water for example with raw water cooling is not using available resources to reap the benefits of current technology. Synthetic lubricants have proven to be far superior to petroleum base products in every aspect of use from keeping engines cleaner to protecting gear trains from corrosion and sliding friction. From the manufacturing standpoint part of the reason these things last longer is the ability to produce parts to a net size with less tolerance and greater precision. An engine with a hypereutectic alloy block would have to be removed from the drive to be overhauled however; the cylinder walls in these blocks have shown in over 20 years of service that they are far more resistant to wear then an iron block. In the real world this means instead of having to remove the engine you merely replace the pistons.

From trucks to turbine engines the amount of time between overhauls and the cost to operate them in real dollars have come down dramatically in just the last 30 years. Using electromechanical technology has reduced cost, weight and failures across the board from machine tools to domestic appliances. I remember looking at well over a hundred gauges in older airplane to monitor engines, attitude and environmental systems, now we have a few back up instruments and a few flat panel displays the show what is important to the crew for a given segment of operation. Removing all the clutter, weight and complexity of the old standards gave pilots a better workplace, removed the need for a flight engineer and provide a better display of what is pertinent and relevant.

About the only thing they don’t make better these days is wood; old growth wood is hard to beat and I am pounding this out on my hundred year old oak desk, you can’t get quarter sawn oak like this anymore. I am again not saying that old stuff is necessarily bad I am saying that using what we do have in technology to reduce long term cost and improve reliability should be exploited. I don’t know what the inner working of a newer winch consist of but; if I had one fail I surely would analyze its materials and construction in an effort to improve its suitability. I have not looked at the small boat market to the degree I have looked at the larger and commercial segments of the industry. Looking at the small boats in comparison to the commercial or classified ranks the service factors appear low. This is my opinion and my comments are based generally accepted standards I can make observations and suggest that perhaps a different material or method would increase usage, reduce work load or add to enjoyment of the people on board the boat. Making a blanket statement that everything I mention is wrong or unsuitable only points to small mindedness or ignoring the fact there may be another way to look at these same issues. People outside of an industry often see things from perspective insiders never would because of preconceived notions. I am seeing this digress to the point where any comment I make will be ridiculed and disregarded. I am not going to dignify any more comments about how wrong I am in every thing I write. The facts I have mentioned about technology are not my own opinion or something I just wrote on a whim. I didn’t enter into this discussion to do battle with the boating world; I sought advice and asked questions that I thought would provoke responses of how not why.

Many people have replied to this and many more have looked at it, I have taken the comments about size and maintainability to heart but, I have heard very little about why all my crazy ideas are so far fetched only that they won’t work or cost too much. The cost of most of these things depend on a lot of factors but it is no where as costly as replacing stuff every couple of years just because.

Steve
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Old 05-05-2006, 22:47   #63
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Motors 50 years ago

Well I just happen to have owned some of this antigue iron. I still own a 1941 Ford 9N tractor and a 1953 Gilson rototiller, both run fine. My collection of autos has included a 33 Ford, 37 Ford hearse, 36 Vauxhall, 53 Chev car, 53 GMC van, 53 Bentley, 59 Vauxhall, 59 Plymouth, 69 GMC pickup, still own a 78 Chev 3/4 ton pick up, 90 Isuzu pickup and many others. Boat motors go back to side valve V8s, Ford 10 motors, 33 hp Evinrude OBM, a slug of small OBMs and most recently since 1979 a Yanmar 2QM15. All I can say is if you want real misery go and put a few miles on some of the old stuff. They only run better than the new stuff in your dreams. My 2.2 liter Ecotech motor in my Saturn is sheer joy compared to the old stuff. Motors like my diesel did not exist. Had quite a few motorcycles too. Just as well the Japanese started building some of these things or the British and others would still be building crappy designs.
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Old 06-05-2006, 01:08   #64
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I would like to also say that I indeed like old iron, I have a stock 1936 Chervolet truck with a 207 stovebolt six, the only thing that is not period correct is the 12 volt charging system so I can use 12 volt light bulbs. I have tons of old stuff from an oak parners desk and roll top to my old cars and airplanes. I fly airplanes that are 25 years older than I am on occasion and I have had owned a Garwood runabout that dated from the late 1930's. I am not down on olde stuff and I don't think everything has to be high tech however, I do rely my stuff to work with a degree of reliability. My 36 can sit for months and start on the first crank. I don't drive it too much due to the 47MPH top speed but it has moved my entire shop full of tools and equipment, it is the only truck I own.

Just because something is old is no reason to condem it and just because something is new doesn't make it good, weakness in design is the death knoll for any poorly developed product. My house and shop are full of stuff from the late 1800's and early 1900's that are not treasured antiques but part of my daily life. I will say this when it comes to things like HVAC and ovens in my house or on a boat I would live on current technology is better. The house or the boat may be old but the areas where reliability and efficiency matter I will go with modern equipment. I don't have to drive my 36 if its too hot or cold I have to live in the house or a boat if I make that change every day.

Steve
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Old 06-05-2006, 10:39   #65
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Steve -

I agree completely on engine technology - at least as far as it applies to autos. Perhaps things are different on boats, but car engines are lighter, more powerful, and more reliable by far than they were years ago.

I don't doubt that the same technological advances can, and in many cases, have been applied to boating. Certainly, if you set aside cost considerations, it would be possible to build highly reliable systems to automate many manual tasks on a boat.

However, I think one aspect you haven't addressed in your posts is the limited ability to generate power on a boat. If you're going to run your engine constantly to power all that stuff, you might as well buy a powerboat. If you're going to have tons of batteries, then you'll need to dock frequently where there's shore power in order to recharge. If spending time boondocking in isolated anchorages isn't appealing to you, or if the engine noise doesn't bother you, all of this may not matter.

Another problem is weight. All the technology in the world isn't going to generate more wind, and so part of the benefit from having an easier boat to sail is returned in having a slower boat to sail. If you aren't in any hurry, that may not be an issue.

I think part of the reason people can't seem to come together on this thread is because you may be seeking something much different from what everyone else seeks. I ran into this on an RV forum I post on from time to time. Everytime I asked about good campgrounds, I got replies for places that seemed wholly unappealing when I looked at photos. Most other people wanted good satellite TV reception, cell phone signals, and WiFi, while I was looking for wooded sites with peace, quiet, and plenty of shade. The problem was that most of the frequent posters were either fulltimers or people who spent weeks in their RVs, and wanted to be connected to the world, while I am a vacationer who wants to escape from the world.

In the same manner, you seem to be trying to find a way to bring many of the comforts and conveniences of 21st century life on land with you on your boat, while many of the people who post here are looking for ways to leave as much of that behind as they feel they can.

I think there are two unresolvable viewpoints at work:
1) Take along everything you can, vs.
2) Take along only what you can't do without.

That's an exaggeration, of course, but it may be part of the reason why so many people are trying to talk you out of things that seem like obvious improvements to you.
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Old 06-05-2006, 12:30   #66
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JGarrick,

The RV analogy is right on the mark, I did say I like boon docking I understand the difference in full timers and campers. Part of this is regarding being a full timer on a boat; camping or cruising for a specific time period and then leaving the boat is not what I was planning on, moving from a house to a boat is in this case much more permanent. The full time RVer trades space for travel but they do maintain nearly the same level of creature comfort in the RV they had at home. This comes at a cost in space and weight for batteries and charging systems and of course the price of the parts. I am using this example in describing the kinds of things I want on a boat. While underway a generator or the engine would have to cycle to keep the batteries up when on the hook to a lesser degree with the aide of solar panels and shore power when in port. I realize everyone doesn’t want the same things on board and in medium or smaller size say 36’ and under boats these may not even be practical. I also realize that spending 6-8000 dollars or more on batteries, inverters, chargers and monitoring is not worth it for many. This however worth it to us because we are accustom to a level of comfort and need to be able to deal with down sizing in ways that are not a total assault to our way of life.

The other side of the expense up front is the cost of ownership, using the battery bank as an example I did not include the price of a generator in the above for a couple reasons. First most boats we have considered would have a generator on board and next because the batteries have reserve power for starting loads a smaller generator could be used then if the load was dependant on the generator alone. This works to the advantage of using less fuel running the generator and loading the generator to a constant load both desirable in long term use. One of the MONITORS I mentioned is for this system; it keeps track of water levels in the batteries, temp, charge state and running total of amps used, it also charges via best method when needed and, charges at max rate predicated on voltage and battery temp. This kind of charger can reduce the on charge time considerably compared to running the engine to charge the batteries of an alternator. These are all real things that work in RV’s trucks and off grid houses right now, yes the up front cost is not cheap however, fuel cost in a few years of running a generator could pay for the stuff.

The electrical capabilities with a system like this are not unlimited but they are far better suited to living on board then being tied to a dock or running a generator all the time. This is the kind of stuff I am thinking about, not titanium plated warp drives. This stuff is designed for use in vehicles and I think Steve Dashew has something like this on his boat. While it may be unusual in boating these systems are commonplace in RV’s that people live in boon docking for weeks at a time, some using no generator just solar to charge the batteries. This is impractical on a boat due to space for solar panels and movement but even a few panels on a sunny day add quite a bit of efficiency. The weight could be an issue; a system as I envision it would weigh 700 pounds or so that could be offset by the need to tanker less fuel for power generation.

Steve

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Old 07-05-2006, 08:00   #67
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Two books worth reading: Eric Hiscock -"Cruising Under Sail, Voyaging Under Sail" c1949 and Nigel Calder - "Cruising Handbook" c2001.
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Old 07-05-2006, 10:26   #68
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Cut my "cruising daydreaming" teeth on Hiscock. Can't go wrong there.
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:05   #69
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I see a lot of talk but where is the products.

There is a lot of cruisers that would like to have things that last a lifetime of use. Where are They?

Just list one!
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Old 07-05-2006, 11:16   #70
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Steve -

I think what you're talking and thinking about is fascinating. If you've got the bucks to do it, then go for it. I think some of the reaction you are getting is due to what I imagine is a pretty natural conservatism of sailors. Tried and true will always tend to win out over new and different, bearing in mind that "new" has a very flexible definition. Look at the Pardey's for example. They seem to be having a simply wonderful time. Many people are envious of their adventures. Yet, their technology is quite old school, but very serviceable and they can (and have) fixed just about everything, anywhere. But none of this sounds like "you", and that's just fine. Push the envelope all you want -- many of the comments you're getting are ones that are intended to help. Often one of the best ways to do that is to point out the perceived weaknesses. Whether you accept those, modify your plans slightly, significantly, or not at all is, of course, your decision.

Just to give you a bit more feedback, it is sounding more and more to me like a big cat best meets what you're looking for. Check out a Lagoon 570, a Privilege 585, or a Yapluka 60. If you're looking for something a bit sportier, then a Switch 55. Of course, you might also want to look at doing a custom build. Pedigree Cats, http://www.pedigreecats.com has some interesting examples on their website. For a well-documented, custom build cat that has been doing a lot of traveling, look at www.adagiomarine.com

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Old 07-05-2006, 15:02   #71
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I have seen mentioned several times cats as being what I should look at and I have briefly looked at several of the sites you all have posted. How do cat’s sail and handle in rough seas is my major concern. From the outside looking in a cat has all the benefits of a mono where are the gotcha’s? I like the hull volume and beam of the cat and the shallow draft is great, the speed is alluring and the deck space is huge. What are the not so desirable traits of a cruising cat, width in port has to be one and I am sure there has to be other reasons sailors haven’t flocked to them in mass.

Regarding building a better mouse trap let me tell you about some folk I know that make bolts. Their company really did start out in a garage; at the time they started two big companies dominated the aerospace fastener business. These two companies also sold bolts racing firms for engines and structural mounts. In just a few short years the upstart company’s products were acknowledged by many in the industry as the best and most durable products in use. Yes they cost more to buy however, saving a hundred dollars on bolts is a false economy when a 20000 dollar engine breaks because of bolt failure. The point here is this; the suppliers of traditional hardware were dumbfounded by a tiny start up company because they didn’t look at the issues causing failures. From the alloy used to make the bolt to the heat treatment and many more sublime details a seemingly simple bolt can make a world of difference in total component reliability. They completely redefined the manufacturing of bolts for several high stress applications. Today this company makes bolts for everything from formula 1 to being an original equipment supplier for Mercedes, Porsche and Ferrari to name a few.

I am not saying that everything on a boat should be 100% bullet proof 100% of the time; I am saying that comparing yacht hardware to other industries the life span taking into account the salt water environment is lower than I would have expected. If the failure is not a function of environmental factors then the design itself needs to be reexamined. If the failure is attributable to salt water then using other materials in the construction should be examined, a winch that cost 1500 dollars that has a life span of 6 years as an example I don’t know if this is a good analogy in price and life span. The same winch in another material may cost twice as much to buy however the life time may be four or more times that of the original product. Yes the new product cost more a lot more but, in cost of ownership over the life of the product it has saved you not only the cost of replacements but also in labor and up time.

The idea that criticism makes for a better design is true. Making the determination that an idea has no merit without understanding or considering the concept is where I have trouble. Perhaps all of the ideas I have mentioned have been tossed around in boating and dismissed earlier for some reason or another. The ideas are still relevant in my opinion not because I asked about them but because they do offer real advances in quality of life and ease of use. Some people buy cars with stick shift transmissions because they like to be in control or think that a manual gear box is more reliable. Most people choose an automatic because they don’t want to be bothered shifting and the automatics in many cases get better mileage and cost about the same to use over the life of the car. If you want to sail around the world in a gaff rigged schooner shooting the stars and living on vacuum bagged food more power to you, I would like to maintain my standard of living as much a possible.

I don’t have unlimited funds to throw money at these issues I do however have the resources and skills to explore constructing these on my own. I had not thought about this in terms of a business more in the desire to make my own nest comfortable. That said you guys are saying telling me two different things; first it’ll never fly and then ask where it is. Give me some real examples of what fails and how. You guys are telling me that all your boats are using raw sea water to cool your engines? This would be one of the first things I would change in any boat I planned to use for any length of time.

Steve
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Old 07-05-2006, 15:41   #72
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Steve - you are right that there is products that are more reliable than others. Given enough stress, everything will break.
There is a good book called "Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia Vol II" by the Dashews http://www.setsail.com/products/oce/oce.html They designed and sailed boats and has some advice on the better quailty products.

Good luck
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Old 07-05-2006, 15:44   #73
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Steve-
"I am not trying to condemn all boats and all equipment but the stories I hear lead me think that failures are occurring at intervals that are out of sync with standards of reliability in most segments of industry."
I think the short answer that so many others have been working around is that the MASS MARKET MARINE industry is different from all the others. On gold platers, the buyer has a fat wallet and often specifies details and hand-picks the yard to build it. But in boats under 36-40', the vast bulk of the pleasure boating market? Everything *must* be "built to a price" or else the buyer walks out the door to the next cheaper boat. In a 32' boat, a builder might use an automotive type integral alternator/regulator simply because it costs him $300, instead of $700 for a Balmar external pair. $400 difference to the builder, which reflects up into a thousand dollar plus difference to the buyer, which means "But why do I need that, this one looks just like the one in my car and that works fine."
So yes, corners are cut and performance is not paramount--building to a price, is.

Then you've got the marine environment, which is harsh. And a common lack of maintenance because the boat is for pleasure and work isn't pleasure.

As a car repair shop owner, you may have heard the words "Chevy Vega" ?<G> Well, the Chevy team borrowed the idea of an aluminum block running at high temperatures (210F thermostat) from Porsche, where it worked perfectly well. But the Chevy target market is low-end and first-time buyers, who unlike Porsche buyers, usually don't understand that oil is *critical* to an engine. Result? Same technology, same application, two different sets of customers and the customers killed the engines in the Vegas.
Megayacht owners place a very high value on their play time. If you are making a million a month, your two week cruise is "worth" a half million of your time, and yes, you are going to spend the money to have things maintained so you don't have breakdowns and lose that two weeks on your boat.
The guy in the BlueJeans30 down the slip? Has a hard time finding the $400 for the bottom paint and has to shop for it on sale, so he sure as hell isn't going to do routine preventive maintenance the same way.
Short answer, again: It's a different market. Or industry. Oh, and Mercedes? Let's just say that when the ML320 first came out, I stopped with a friend who makes more than I do, to check on her delivery date. While they were talking I looked at the cars in the showroom, and the orange peel on the paint jobs--on all of them--is frankly something that no car maker would have allowed to ship thirty years ago. Along those 30 years, Mercedes has become a mass-market car!
What it all comes down to, is that the market for "a buyer who really knows what they are doing, who is going to see everything, who is going to appreciate every extra buck spent" is just too slim a market in boats. That's for custom builds, and that's still very much a top-dollar niche market.
For the rest? Well, bless the internet it can cut the learning curve.<G> And if you sit down to read the classics by cruising and racing sailors, you can pick up a whole lot more to speed things up. But if you're just looking for a top name, you might try Steve Dashew's semi-custom builds. Ain't gonna be cheap, but the man has a top reputation and the sailing experience to back it. He may not be interested in building a "fly by wire" boat though, because no matter how good the systems are--when they fail, they're a problem. And in salt water and air, things fail.
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Old 07-05-2006, 18:57   #74
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Again thanks for your replies,

First Hellosailor; the Vega reference is right on, I don’t know about Porsche but Mercedes started developing their hypereutectic engines at the same time. GM cut a few corners that made all the difference, not etching the cylinder walls and plating the piston skirts to eliminate gaulling. The cost to do these things per engine would have been insignificant but to the bean counters it was enough to begin a down slide that haunts GM to this day. Mercedes had a similar event when they bought Chrysler and decided to add models to appeal to every market segment. The ML was designed before the merger as a US built US market model. The early ML’s were rather bad in general and no doubt that poor quality fit and finish added to the detractors. Both Mercedes and GM have learned by their mistakes and both make some very good cars and some clunkers.

One of the first things I asked about on the big custom made boats I was looking at was, are these built to higher standards with better quality components and several folks here said no. Now we are getting a whole different story and I am inclined to believe that my original observations were correct. Anyone that has a custom built boat made for private use is most likely to want the best quality not the lowest price. You are trying to compare a Catalina 30 with a Vitter’s or Alloy custom built boat. That would be like saying a Ford Taurus has the same build quality and components as a Mercedes SLR. They both ply the same roads and steer in similar manners but they are worlds apart in just about every other way, in both design and quality. Back to boats, the big boats I have looked at use a lot of the things I have mentioned here that have been disputed. While a small boat built at a price point may have iffy gear does that mean that a high end boat is going to have the same weaknesses and failure modes. I don’t know if anybody here can answer that and perhaps that is why we are so crossed up in this debate.

I am looking at boats that cost? 3-6 million maybe more to build, the used prices on these boats range from six hundred thousand to around two million asking prices. That is a lot of money in anyone’s dollars but not out of line with the price of a new boat. Given that I am not concerned with somebody taking a dump in the head before I have and that boats loose value from the day they float I would rather buy a great quality used boat in a price range I could never afford new and get the advantage of the all the best quality gear. I have done this in most of my major purchases and it has been very effective in getting more for the dollars spent over the long haul. This is the crux of this thread when it began. I am not looking at production boats, most of the boats I have looked at built by yards that routinely build this size boat and larger. The boats are designed by world class designers and structurally engineered to meet classification ABS, MCA or Lloyds. These are not cookie cutter boats and to the best of my knowledge they were built using the best products available when they were built. Most of these boats date to the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s and they have been maintained by crews. I do understand that these boats could well be more boat than a couple can maintain on their own but I also know that most original owners would have never considered doing their own work and that most crews consisted of two to three people on average.

This goes back to my original thoughts and question about this topic. I am in a position where I can do a lot of the maintenance myself, not only desire to but the skills and training to effect high quality work. I know sources and supply chains that can make what I need if a part fails and I will sail for the most part a major ports and US, European waters. I do understand also that the scale and size of many things on boats that large are big and heavy, I am used to dealing with stuff like this on a regular basis. Whit that as a background and a wife that can handle a wrench on her own, what limits or exceptions are there to keeping a boat shipshape. Cleaning is going to take a lot of time no doubt about that. Excluding cleaning how much work or repairs do you expect to do on your boat for every week on passage or month of easy cruising?

I am asking you to give me feedback on boats that may well be unknown to you so the only thing I can ask is what breaks, stops working or never seems to work just right on any boat even well designed and built boats.

Steve
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Old 07-05-2006, 19:11   #75
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My boat is new - Change the outboard oil. repair a stich in the bimini.
Only 26 feet, it does not take much.
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