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Old 21-12-2009, 11:47   #1
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What's Wrong With This Boat?

I heard this a week of so ago from someone who had just bought a boat but never spent much time on that particular boat, or that model...
And I read the forums as to "which boat should I buy to go cruising" and I wonder how much experance with different rigs, and boat conditions the person has..
As to this person I'm refering to, He and His Wife had done their homework, so to speak, on brands of boats, the hull design, the depth of keel and had saved for years to buy the boat.. went through all the inspection, got the loan, and then went out where the water gets deep and found it didnt handle like They expected..
So here they set, with a life invested in the boat, and they cant handle what they have.. Their dreams are gone..
And its not due to Non-Experance... Myself, is a good example..
I've raced for years, I've crewed on more boats than I can count.. Delivered a good number up and down the West Coast and had my share of "Blue Water" experance... But I bought my boat, a FIRST 42 based of reputation and design....
4 hours out of Coos Bay on the way to bring her home to SF, I was ready to throw in the towel.. She was like sailing a slick bannana.. all over the place and I couldnt keep her in a streight line.. Thinking I had really screwed up and blown 100k on a boat I couldnt handle.. And I had even mentioned it to the wife and decided to drop the sails and motor for awhile.. Now I'm running wing on Wing so as I started to round the boat up to drop the sails, turning off a few degrees, and pulling the boom to the other side, and all of a sudden I knew what the referance was to the FIRST 42 being a true Thoroughbred.. She laid over about 10 to 12 degrees and took off... and running like she was on tracks.. at 14 knots...
What I found was that with the "pinched" stern, she wont sail DDW in following seas..
Now I'm ok with that, as my life is full of tacks and jibes... But for the average person, They would have just found a nightmare...
There are so many people buying boats thinking they are like cars.. get in, put it in gear and stay between the lines, but there are as many different characteristics about the way a boat handles as there are boats..
And handling is another item..Can you handle it when the s**t gets nasty.. All the safety gear, and hull designs wont keep you alive when something bad happens.. and it does, and Damn fast..
So Pick the design, and then imagine yourself crawling out on the deck at 3 am in the morning to put a reef in the sail or to grab that lose halyard. Now add 40 knots of
winds, and breaking waves and for good measure, the waves are breaking to the west with the wind, the swells are rolling East....
For many, you've just entered Hell..
But for some of us with the right boat and skills to handle the boat and the knowledge of how it reacts.. Its Just Cruising 101..
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Old 21-12-2009, 13:00   #2
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First is a racing series, I think. Requires crew weight on the rail to keep it on its feet and may be squirely down wind - sort of like driving a Porsche 911 - don't let go of the wheel or let off the trottle in a turn or the back end will pass the front end - that I know from experience
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Old 21-12-2009, 13:25   #3
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I see more and more a trend to taking racing boats or "fast cruisers" as cruising boats. I know this will open a can of worms but i see a trend leading to another Fastnet disaster in the brewing. I see this light weight boats all the time heading out to sea. Yes I know many have sailed safly around many times so that just proves they are safe right? I cringe every time I hear of someone taking a Hunter or Catalina offshore. I am not so old school I think you need a Colen Archer to cross an ocean but but I do think there is a balance. A boat heavy enough to give you some comfort and to not beat you to death when things get lumpy, but yet fast enough to get you to where you are going. i think for me the perfect form can be found in the Perry designs of the 80's and similar boats.

Just my thoughts and I know others may disagree but then we all sail differently anyway. And our comfort levels are different.

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Old 21-12-2009, 13:28   #4
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The FIRST is the racing series.. and In a 42 foot, makes a really good cruising boat. and no, you dont need rail meat or a crew.. The First series was also the choice of the copelands in a 38 foot.. the copelands produced the film 5 for 6 which is the family of 5 cruising for 6 years around the world.. Liza Copeland has written a number of books about cruising.. They are still cruising aboard their First 38.
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Old 21-12-2009, 13:59   #5
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Speciald,
I have no experience with First 42 but some onboard a First 36.7. I agree with you, this kind of boat isn't intended for cruising, even if it can sleep 8. When sailing downwind with more than Beaufort 4, there is too much weather helm for many people. On each wave, the helmsman has to pull the tiller hard over, then pump it hard, to keep the boat on course. In a seaway, the fore cabin is too bumpy, I took off from the berth on each wave and got seasick. The boat draws more than 7', too much for many ports at low tide. IMO, this kind of boat is only intended for racing.

I also have some experience with a First 31.7. This is a fine fast cruising boat, easy to steer, even for a total beginner (I made the test with a cruising school). Of course, if you have nobody to put on the rail, you have to depower the mainsail to reduce heeling. This boat is also seaworthy, with easy motions. A colleague of mine even crossed the Atlantic ocean with his First 31.7.

IMO, the issue isn't really about weight, but more about hull lines. So many recent fast boats are just designed for speed on flat water, not for waves.

Alain
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Old 21-12-2009, 16:46   #6
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I'm thinking the OP was talking more about people getting out on boats strange to them, rather than a particular boat.

No matter how much experience you have, a new boat is going to be strange to you until you get a chance to know her. We all know how to sail but as mentioned in the previous post, its not like driving a car. Every boat I've ever sailed on has its particular points or quirks. I am just now getting comfortable with Espina, about where I used to be with my Grampians. Sabre Dance is a whole different story. Every time I go out with her I keep looking over my shoulder waiting for that F-18 to come down n land on that huge deck. I'll be getting used to her for some time til I feel comfortable with her.

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Old 22-12-2009, 05:06   #7
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Orginally after reading all the "how to" books I thought sailing would be hard. But I found that sailing isn't that hard, but sailing well kind of is. So now I try to sail my boat the way it likes instead of trying to "make" it do otherwise.
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Old 22-12-2009, 05:42   #8
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Quote:
He and His Wife had done their homework, so to speak, on brands of boats, the hull design, the depth of keel and had saved for years to buy the boat.. went through all the inspection, got the loan, and then went out where the water gets deep and found it didnt handle like They expected..

So here they set, with a life invested in the boat, and they cant handle what they have.. Their dreams are gone..
My Sainted Grandmother had a saying that has become a Mantra in our family: "Don't let your expectations get in the way of your enjoyment".

Nothing is perfect for everything, but everything is perfect for something. Discover that something and act accordingly. And enjoy.

As for the First 42, the yacht does not want to sail DDW and little will make it do so unless one knows a few tricks. Sail off at 160 to 165, however, and she'll fly along easy-peasy. On the rare occassions when we do have to sail dead down wind, such as heading up-river, we hard sheet the main to limit roll and pole out the headsail, or, if it's a long run, reef and hard sheet the main and pop the chute. Guy's on other boats always seem to laugh at us when they see us reefing in 12-14 knots of wind--until we blow past them steady as a rock with my 5' wife steering with two fingers.

If one happens to pick a Lemon in the Garden of Love--learn to make Lemonaid, eh?

s/v HyLyte

PS: Having crew sit on the rail on a First 42 has about the effect of a bunch of flea's sitting to windward on an elephant's butt. The elephant doesn't notice but it makes the fleas feel useful (and gets them out of the cockpit!)
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