Originally Posted by Kenomac
Sailorboy and others,
We changed out all of our through hull
fittings last summer, just to be on the safe side. Unless you know for sure who the manufacturer is and the metal composition of the bronze, you will never really know what was installed on your boat. The prudent sailboat owner will change all of them if the boat is older than 5 years, it's not enough just to have them inspected. A skin fitting can fail from the inside where you can't see the problem. Electrolysis eats away at the fitting like calcium leaving the bones in the human body during osteoporosis, just leaving a weak shell of a fitting waiting to fail.
Everyone, no matter the make or model of the boat should be 100% certain their fittings are naval bronze. Forget about arguing about the regulations
... just do it.
Example: Today, Oysters are being fitted with naval bronze fittings according to the manufacturer, BUT.... 12 years ago, who knows what the shipyard installed on our boat? I can't ask the guy who installed them which bin they came from or which manufacturer they were using at the time... so we changed all of them.
Isn't this getting at the real heart of the argument/discussion? There are certain things that the prudent owner does as part of regular maintenance
or preparing for a long cruise
. On a custom or semi-custom boat the manufacturer probably considered how you would do that work and built in proper access. On production boats, they didn't care. It's up to the owner to figure that out. It doesn't mean it can't be or shouldn't be done but you might need to put in more effort.
For example on my Catalina
, I need to make access to get to the back of the stanchions so I can properly rebed them. I am sure you can just open up an access point on an Oyster
to do this, but I actually need to cut away part of the fiberglass
liner. This means a bigger mess, more forethought and a plan to repair the area.
Much has been made about the fender
washers for backing on cleats
. Probably fine for light use, dock
queens. But if you plan to anchor
during a storm or attach a sea anchor
to that same cleat, a prudent owner will add additional backing plates
to make that more secure. Might even change the type of cleat that is there. Doesn't mean you can't do it on a production boat and someone already did it for you on a semi-custom.
A lot was made of the early example of a Hunter rudder
that had water
intrusion. Right in that individual's description they said they saw the water
weeping out and they ignored it. Never mind taking the prudent steps to sound your hull and rudder when out of water for a bottom job. That's the sign of a bad owner, not a bad boat (don't mean any offense to the person who posted that). A good owner, taking prudent steps probably would have noticed the issue much sooner. They also would have know that if you have water intrusion you need to open up the rudder to thoroughly inspect it to ensure the rudder is still safe. Not just drill some holes and let the water drain out.
I have said this too many times in boat discussion but I will repeat it again. Boats are a series of compromises. Going with a production boat over a semi-custom or custom boat is just another compromise. You are saying that I will take the time and effort the make necessary upgrades to the boat to make sure it is fit for my use, while going with a semi-custom or custom boat is saying I will trade money
to have someone else think or do that for me.
Can you name one aspect to a production boat that can't be upgraded or made stronger for use as a "blue water" boat, if needed?
The hull to deck
joint on almost all boats are the same, overlay glued with 5200 and bolted every few inches (with a minor exception for newer Hunters but I don't want to get sidetracked by that discussion). There are pros and cons to all aspects that get debated in these type of threads (e.g. spade rudders are more hydraulically efficient but more exposed but skeg hung and keel
hung have hardware
that can fail more readily if not properly maintained and put a lot more force on the boat and rudder due to their poor hydraulic properties). Some may argue that thicker hulls are stronger but as has already been pointed out on this thread the strength to weight (i.e. thickness) ratio of a vacuum bagged hull is higher than that of a hand laid. It's also less likely to suffer from applicator error.
Production boats are generally fit for purpose by the builder
. Sticking with Catalina
, they call their smaller boats "sport series" those are under 27 feet, the mid sized boats "cruiser series" 31-35 feet and their larger boats "ocean series". Cruiser series could be made into more "blue water" with some upgrades if the owner so intended. But most don't so Catalina builds them to that market.
But I would challenge anyone to name a single
aspect of of a boat like the Catalina 445 that would make it unfit to sail anywhere you would take an Oyster
or any other high end boat. I would put that boat up against any traditional "blue water" boat including many semi-custom and custom boats.
Someone earlier made a statement about the lack of statistical data on what makes a blue water boat. I think this is false. The insurance
companies have tons of statistical data they use to determine how much to charge you or if they should even cover you in certain areas. If there were a particular boat that had more issues, they would charge you more to insure that boat. But there are not any "uninsurable" boats when it comes to particular designs or manufactures. Instead they base the insurance
on the condition of the boat and the ability of the crew. Thus the need for updated surveys for insurance. Insurance companies are also smart enough to require a separate inspection by a rigger if the standing rig is over a certain age. When it comes to crew capabilities, a fair number of insurance companies want a licensed captain
to the Caribbean
but have no problem insuring the boat once there for use by your average skipper
or proof of the crews experience. Bottom line, if production boats were unfit for blue water it would cost so much to insure them for that use it would be cost prohibitive, but it is not.
Just thought I would weigh in on the topic.