Originally Posted by S/V Illusion
As I type, I am asking why get involved in such a discussion but here goes regardless. To quality my opinion, I should state that I have had the great opportunity to make a circumnav a number of years ago and throughout that experience, never, ever heard people actually doing it make some of the totally irrational statements I've read here on the internet
, seemingly by people who have no clue what offshore
sailing actually entails. I may be incorrect in this presumption but the vast majority of comments derogatory toward any mfg including Hunter seem to support my belief that these folks have never done it. Suprisingly, that minor detail seems to escape them as they appear quite content to speak authoritatively regardless.
To the point, no where, at no time and under no circumstance have I, during that trip, did I ever hea a conversation among cruisers criticizing a particular boat brand. The obvious reason is that we were all too busy complaining about breakdowns, repairs
, spare parts
supplies, etc... regardless of what boat or who made it. Seemingly, the most problematic boats were the so-called gold-platers made to the proverbial highest standards with so many systems that problems were epidemic. We saw every conceivable type, size and make boat imaginable and it was abundantly clear that no generalitiy could be made about any of them. They were all there and floating nicely at anchor
in places most people never heard of.
To do so here is only indicative of one thing - that the authors simply don't know any better.
In a storm, it was FAR more important how the crew managed the boat than who made it. It was FAR more important how old the sails were than who made them. Same with engines, rigs, masts, and lest I forget, coral
can't read the nameplate when chewing up fiberglass
About the most curcial ingredient I observed in determining if people were having a successful cruise was the happiness of the crew so whether your wife, girlfriend, life partner, etc... likes a boat made by Hunter, Catalina
, Shannon or Mickey Mouse is equally if not more important than the grid structure, depth
of the bilge
, keel shape or rudder
Having never completely circumnavigated but having done many off shore races, deliveries and pleasure cruises all I can say as I agree 100% with S/V Illusion.
Just about any boat can circumnavigate. We see many, many world cruisers come by Maine
each summer. I've also seen them while cruising in the carib. and the PNW and in BC/Alaska. I honestly see as many "production boats" cruising as I do the so called gold platers or "blue water" cruisers.
With todays weather
prediction abilities hitting truly rough weather is a much more rare occurrence. I have many friends who have circumnavigated and hit maybe one storm with winds over 50 knots on the entire trip. I also have friends who were lambasted, lost
spars, rudders and broken stringers and such but none have lost
the entire boat not even a production boat, though some have had major structural damage to repair in places not well suited to to handle these type of repairs.
I had the opportunity, a very stupid one, to deliver a Shanon 50 with only two of us during the "Perfect Storm", we of course did not know at the time it would turn into the "perfect storm". I can assure you that a "screwed in bulkhead" built production boat would not have survived the pounding that boat took for more than a few hours without some fairly serious structural damage. It is and was the roughest weather I've ever seen and there was no time to think you just needed to rely on your earned and learned skills without thinking about it first. An I'll prepared crew, on this same boat, in those same circumstances, would have surely perished.
For all the second guessing "arm chair sailors", and there are always a few, we could not "hove to" as we were clawing off a lee shore. We actually had to sail the boat and beat into it for over 70 miles. Stupid but it was the reality and the storm manifested very rapidly from a 30-35 knot
prediction, nothing for a Shanon 50, to mayhem in just a few short hours. No one saw that coming especially the NOAA predictions we had been listening to. They were still calling for 30-35 when we were experiencing 50+..
Things broke, we fell off the face of two waves so big and steep that it felt like we had been dropped off an office building like a David Letterman attempt at humor
. The wave periods were "breaking wave, one one thousand two one thou.... breaking wave". The little tiny dodger
, like two feet X two feet, for the forward cabin companionway
ripped clean out of the deck
screws and all (the big one had been stowed and the frame lashed down). I broke a toe, my thumb and needed stitches when a cabinet latch exploded and sent the contents of the locker flying about like we were in zero gravity. Shanon builds robust cabinetry and uses top quality positive locking latches
but they still could not compete.
That storm was a total surprise and could still happen again but it's more doubtful today than in the early 90's.
Would a "screwed bulkhead" boat be my choice for a blue water cruiser? No, but contrary to what many say it can be done. Why would I not do it? I delivered a mid 30's foot production boat (builder not important) to Nova Scotia
. We got into some fairly standard fall NW winds of 30-35 and gusting towards 40 knots. By the time we got there cabinets had ripped free, bulkheads had gaps with securing screws at angles where they used to be straight and none of the head
or v-berth doors closed. Sure, the boat made it but I would not have wanted the trip to be any longer. We were reefed as reefed could be and sailing comfortably & balanced other than the pounding the boat took. In a more robust boat we would not have had any of these problems nor the creaking and groaning noises that give you a pit in your stomach.
We still don't know what type of sailing the OP wants to do so we can't answer his question accurately.
The so called "experts" who say cruising a production boat can't be done are ill informed and have clearly not yet spent enough time out on the water in "cruiser destination" areas to see the types of boats out there actually "doing it".
Again, just about any boat can do it if you watch your weather windows and are a competent skipper
. I've sailed some fairly ill prepared boats to and fro on deliveries. Some I actually tried to walk away from and was later convinced with more $$ and, well..., because I like a challenge. I will no longer set off in certain production boats with long range, two or three days + of, wind
predictions over 25-30. Give me a well built boat and I will...
and his or her skills are generally more important than the vessel unless of course you get in some really freak weather which MOST don't and even then the boats will most likely make it to port.
When was the last time you heard of any production boat literally breaking apart from weather so badly that it broke apart and sunk.. Just give me one reference...
One of the most popular long term cruising
boats I've seen, and I've seen many in Maine
, with hailing ports
and even Alaska
is the Catalina 42. According to some they should have sunk long ago?
It's just amazing they actually made it here, and to Newfoundalnd, and to Nova Scotia
and to South America
and on and on...