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Old 12-12-2014, 12:05   #16
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

The problem with the question is that there is no such thing as "actual" seaworthiness. As if seaworthiness is some quantifiable "thing" that exists completely independent of the thousands of variables that go into any particular voyage. In truth, seaworthiness is more about the captain and crew than it is about the boat. And it is mostly about how much comfort, or discomfort, you will put up with during a particular voyage.

People have--yes, even deliberately--crossed oceans in small, open boats. For them, at that time, and under those circumstances, the boat was seaworthy. Does that mean that anyone who feels like it can safely cross an ocean in a small, open boat? No, of course not. But it does prove that, with proper planning, almost any boat can make the journey.

So seaworthiness becomes all about, what do you consider safe enough? What do you consider comfortable enough? What do you consider sturdy enough? Name your criteria. They are all matters of perception. Hence, it is all about perception, and really only about perception.

Of course, if the whole point of this thread was to try to say something about mass production boats, to somehow denigrate their seaworthiness, then I'd say the shot landed a mile wide of the target.
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:13   #17
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

The best built boat on earth, with an idiot at the helm is not safe at all
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Old 12-12-2014, 12:55   #18
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
The problem with the question is that there is no such thing as "actual" seaworthiness. As if seaworthiness is some quantifiable "thing" that exists completely independent of the thousands of variables that go into any particular voyage. In truth, seaworthiness is more about the captain and crew than it is about the boat. And it is mostly about how much comfort, or discomfort, you will put up with during a particular voyage.

People have--yes, even deliberately--crossed oceans in small, open boats. For them, at that time, and under those circumstances, the boat was seaworthy. Does that mean that anyone who feels like it can safely cross an ocean in a small, open boat? No, of course not. But it does prove that, with proper planning, almost any boat can make the journey.

So seaworthiness becomes all about, what do you consider safe enough? What do you consider comfortable enough? What do you consider sturdy enough? Name your criteria. They are all matters of perception. Hence, it is all about perception, and really only about perception.

Of course, if the whole point of this thread was to try to say something about mass production boats, to somehow denigrate their seaworthiness, then I'd say the shot landed a mile wide of the target.
Of course it's quantifiable.... regarding the ship. a good analogy might be: You are going to carry a full load of rock 1000 miles in your 3/4 ton pickup. It needs new tires so you decide to put Light Truck rated tires on it instead of E rated heavy wall tires.
The LT tires may make the trip, but which is more roadworthy in that situation?


We all make these kind of decisions often in life, I'm not sure why some think it's some sort of "Black Magic un-foreseeable" thing....
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Old 12-12-2014, 13:17   #19
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

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We all make these kind of decisions often in life...
Exactly the point. We all make these decisions. Each one of us, for ourselves.

What is or is not "seaworthy," just like what is or is not "roadworthy," depends entirely upon the specifics of the particular situation. There is no way that anyone can clearly and comprehensively define "seaworthy" so that it applies in all situations, to all crews, all journeys, all boats, all times, everywhere, and forever.

So, if you don't accept that it is a matter of perception, dependent on thousands of different variables, please define it for me. End these discussions once and for all. Give us the ultimate, fully-quantifiable, answer that is an "actual" definition, and not just your opinion of what would suit you.

Sorry. You can't do it.
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Old 12-12-2014, 13:18   #20
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

Your question is a good one. Yes, seaworthiness matters. Yes there is actually good information on the subject. However, it is NOT a simplistic subject. There are a number of factors involved. This means that simplistic internet forum answers are, at best, of limited value.

If you want to actually get a decent grasp of at least some of what constitutes seaworthiness I recommend you read "Seaworthiness, the Forgotten Factor" by Marchaj. Marchaj is an internationally recognized authority on aerodynamics and hydrodynamics, and a national champion sailor. The book is well worth your time.
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Old 12-12-2014, 13:25   #21
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

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Per Merriam-Webster - Seaworthy : fit or safe for a sea voyage.
I prefer the expression 'fit for intended purpose'.
A duck punt is fit for its intended purpose.
My Drascombe is fit for its intended purpose.
My Westerly is fit for its intended purpose.
None of them are fit for a voyage to the ice.......

'Seaworthy' is a bit of nonsense word in my opinion.... anything that doesnt leak is 'seaworthy'.... at a certain level.

and what is the definition of a 'sea voyage'?

This all reminds me of a radio interview some years ago on the ABC , a couple of old track and field blokes with a swag of gold medals between them at some sporting event.
Interviewer...' you two don't look too fit these days'
Interviewee... ' we're fit for our intended purpose ... which today is drinking beer......
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Old 12-12-2014, 13:37   #22
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

And then there is "fake" seaworthiness. Just as there are fake SUVs made by slapping SUV looking body on a sedan frame/platform and selling them as SUVs. Will such vehicle make it in the roadless desert? May be. Should one expect as much from them in harsh environment? I doubt it. Are they "roadworthy"? Sure, provided one uses them on interstate going through the desert and not off the road grid across that same desert. Is brand new Geo Metro out of dealer's showroom as "roadworthy" on a desert dirt road as a 20 year old Toyota Landcruiser? I think we all know the answer. But somehow people fail to see these differences when it comes to boats, arguing that it's all good, depends on the skipper, new materials used, blah-blah.
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Old 12-12-2014, 14:30   #23
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

See John Vogor's respected book "Twenty Small Sailboats to Take You Anywhere" -
"John Vigor turns the spotlight on twenty seaworthy sailboats that are at home on the ocean in all weather. These are old fiberglass boats, mostly of traditional design and strong construction." The description also says, "He rates their comparative seaworthiness."
http://www.amazon.com/Twenty-Small-S...8419370&sr=1-3
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Old 12-12-2014, 15:42   #24
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

Everything is relative.

Seaworthy does not mean can survive anything.
As an example I shall relate my own experience. I had a brand new CS 36 Merlin, was sailing out of Port Carling harbour on Lake Ontario - doing 8 to 9 knots broad reach in 15 to 20 knots of wind - hit an unmarked, partially submerged giant metal barge compliments of the Ontario Hydro Nuclear plant. Only 1 of the 5 keel bolts survived, the others snapped (I was knocked unconscious against the wheel) and the boat remained upright. The keel spun madly around the last remaining bolt as we were towed in. If the last bolt had snapped it would have meant the drowning of my family of 5.

By definition this would be described as a test of "seaworthiness" - however in reality such an event is impossible to engineer for. Would it have been better to have an integrated keel as one poster had mentioned on this subject?

That is impossible to answer - an integrated keel might have resulted in worse damage and the immediate sinking of the boat if the hull had torn through.

So everything is relative.
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Old 12-12-2014, 16:35   #25
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

IMHO

Boats should be well designed, well built and well maintained, and preferably used for the type of sailing for which they were designed.

I think boats designed for charter fleets are not the best choice for intensive or extensive ocean sailing. I think boats designed for ocean sailing are hardly the best marina liveaboards / Med charter boats.

But boats do not sail by themselves. Boats are sailed by crews. And the skills of the crew may in fact outweigh the designed-in seaworthiness / qualities of a boat. What I mean here can be colorfully expressed as "a good sailor in a poor boat may have seven lives, but a poor sailor in a great boat may have fewer".

So, back to the point, my ad-hoc definition would be:

A well designed, well built, well maintained boat, with strong crew.

Or something like that ;-)

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Old 12-12-2014, 17:11   #26
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

There are people called surveyors, whose inspections are required by most insurance companies.
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Old 12-12-2014, 17:27   #27
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

The European watercraft directive attempted to quantify sea-worthiness for new boats. totally useless. My favorite was when a coroner ruled the a skipper setting out into Biscay in a boat rated 'A', ocean going was acting recklessly in taking the boat offshore when it was clearly not a design that was safe to make an offshore passage!
The Skipper is responsible for boat and crew and the boat must, in there judgement, be fit for the proposed passage. The crew then signs on if they have enough confidence in the skippers judgement. It's nothing to do with anyone else unless you are carrying paying passengers. And long may it stay that way!
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Old 12-12-2014, 18:13   #28
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

Any vessel fails the seaworthiness test when it can no longer keep the water on the outside....

That is both perceived AND actual.
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Old 12-12-2014, 20:08   #29
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

Perceived seaworthiness: Something that is talked about on the internet.

Actual seaworthiness: Something that is experienced by actually going sailing.

I heartily recommend the latter.
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Old 12-12-2014, 20:32   #30
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Re: Perceived versus actual seaworthy-ness

The most well found ship is unseaworthy if the crew is incompetent.
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