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Old 01-02-2015, 19:54   #16
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

One key thing about this boat/design. Pretty much, it's a moderately de-tuned racer, with some amenities which will aide in making her comfy to cruise. So the key question is, are you up for having a thoroughbred as a family cruiser? And the learning curve which goes with such a vessel?


I wouldn't fret over runners one bit. The only thing which needs any attention with them, is their connections to the spar. And there are multiple ways of doing this which make their care as compared to say, the standard t-ball type fittings, much more beefy & maintenance/worry free. Not that the standard fittings aren't well proven.
That aside, they're great for; helping to stabilize a spar, tension any type of 2ndary forestay, & to shape the main.

On the boat being a sloop, you have options, take a look here Removable Cutter Stay vs Solent Stay

And if you're REALLY worried about draft, doing something like going this route's an option Magic Keel
Mars Metals works with folks all the time doing aftermarket draft reductions. The only real catch is $. I've personally poured a few bulbs, & winglets (plus entire keels). It's not tough to do, & actually once you get near to the melting of the lead part, it's quite fun.

Although on a J44, looking at the drawings of the underbody, given her deep rudder, it'd make sense to have a new one designed if you're going to substantially reduce the boat's draft.
And if you don't mind thinking outside of the box, there are ways to build/have one built, which is pretty much bullet proof (over the long haul).

In terms of picking out a boat, & getting her ready, it's not a checklist, but it's a great read, & covers a lot of what goes into a cruising boat, & or refitting one.
The article's by Nigel Calder, one of the most respected names around, & if you need more info, just give a shout. A Refit Reality Check | Cruising World
Kurt Hughes, a Multihull designer, has a list of very specific & poinient questions for clients approaching him about custom cruising designs Kurt Hughes Multihull Design - Catamarans and Trimarans for Cruising and Charter
As do Tom & Amanda Neale www.Mahina.com

Also, one thing which is easy to overlook, & or never get schooled on to begin with, is that 15yrs or less, ago, 2/3 of the gear which you have listed above, wasn't at all common, nor the norm on the VAST majority of cruising boats.
Some of it's nice to have, all of it own's you (to varying degrees), & some of it's pure luxuries (in truth).

I'm not trying to judge, just saying that a bit of a reality check's worth it. As most of us in the 1st world take the necessities in life for granted. And have trouble breaking free of the plugged in mentality.
Freezers are nice, but are they worth your freedom?
Generally, once you've lived aboard for a while, let alone done a bit of cruising, you come to realize how little, in the physical sense, you really need.
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Old 01-02-2015, 20:06   #17
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

A few random comments:

A masthead rig that requires runners? That sounds like there must be an inner forestay/sail, or that the mast is way too flimsy for short handed cruising. We have runners on our swept-back fractional rig. Not needed below ~15-20 Apparent, but they are a big PITA when single handing, as cruising couples do all the time. I'd want to know how much wind you can sustain without using them, and whether the boom can hit them. If so, that would be a deal breaker for me.

TIP has a great reputation... in their ads! Seems to me that they have had more than their share of issues reported here on CF... keels, rudders, cores.

With no real chain locker, setting up a good anchoring system is going to be a chore. This gear is crucial to cruising. The existing roller is not adequately strong.

When thinking about an arch with davits, consider that the deck and transom area were not designed to take these loads. More than a little reinforcing will be required to do this job well. And how do you think the performance will be affected with all that weight all the say aft?

The engine access looks very awkward to me, and there is no pic of how you get to the stuffing box/shaft seal... something that needs to be inspected regularly and perhaps adjusted.

I'm not a fan of turbo engines in cruising boats. Others disagree.

The draft will sometimes be a nuisance. We've been cruising the SW Pacific, including lots of trips up and down the E Oz coast with 7'2" draft. There are two commonly accessed places where 8 feet will require careful attention to the tides: The Broadwater area of Moreton Bay and the Sandy Straits behind Fraser Island. Both will be passable at HW near springs, dicey other times. Most places the draft will not be a factor. It can be an issue in slipping the boat in some places, too. Which reminds me: can she sit on her keel without other support to the hull? If you are going to spend much time in the woop-woop, you may need to slip on a railway rather than using a travel lift, and some modern boats don't like this treatment!

The huge sail inventory is perhaps not so important. You will have little need for multiple kites and a lot of hank on or luff rope genoas, nor any place to store them. The carbon main is old, and may have suffered from storage if not from use. Not the sort of sail you are going to want cruising, for they take a lot of care that is seldom available in a short handed boat (but fast when used correctly!). Also, I suspect that many of those sails are pretty used up as well... that's why you have duplicates in old racers inventories.

Don't think I am dissing high performance designs for cruising; ours is perhaps a bit more so than the J-44 and we love it. It's just that ours was designed to the specs of a very experienced cruiser given as a guideline to a successful race boat designer , and the J's are really not so suited. Sure, you can overcome most of these issues with enough work and money... the question is if this is a wise decision for you.

Good luck with the decision and any further searching.

Jim
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Old 01-02-2015, 20:55   #18
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Quote:
Jim Cate quoted: That sounds like there must be an inner forestay/sail, or that the mast is way too flimsy for short handed cruising.
I have never before seen runners like the ones fitted on that boat. Usually they go to a single point on the mast but these go to 2 separate points which would worry me.
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Old 01-02-2015, 21:07   #19
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
I have never before seen runners like the ones fitted on that boat. Usually they go to a single point on the mast but these go to 2 separate points which would worry me.
Ahhh... didn't spot that! Those would be check stays, used to limit mast bend when putting lots of load on the backstay. This isn't a cruiser friendly rig at all IMO.

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Old 01-02-2015, 21:26   #20
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Now, on Swiftsure's listings there is a Waterline 45 that is a purpose built cruiser. Steel and you would want to have her very carefully surveyed but a wonderful boat for what you are intending. People who have sailed on them comment on the total sense of security they felt. Might be worth a look.
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Old 01-02-2015, 21:29   #21
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

You say you don’t have a lot of sailing experience so maybe you need to re-think your boat idea. Here are some considerations about cruising.

I am basing the following data on a friends Pacific circumnavigation they did in 1998 – 2000 on their Lord Nelson 41.

About 16,000 Nautical Miles all the way around:

Seattle – Puerto Vallarata, Mexico, South Pacific Islands, New Zealand, Japan, Seattle.

The Mexico to South Pacific will cover about 2,200 NM / 15 to 24 days non-stop and the Japan – Vancouver Island will be about 3,900 NM / 26 – 32 days non-stop. That leaves about 10,000 NM on shorter hops. Assuming each shorter hop is about 100 NM you will be underway another 100 days. To summarize under worst case conditions ( i.e. most time underway) you will be moving:

24 -days to S Pacific
32 - days from Japan
100 -days the rest of the time

You are going to be out for 730 days and underway 156 days so what do you do the rest of the 500 or so days you will be cruising?

Your sailboat, particularly with 2-kids and two dogs, is your home and I would consider the living aspects more important than the sailing characteristics, as long as the boat is safe and seaworthy.

I bought our current cruiser, a Caliber 40, new in 1995 after a 20-year career as a hard core sailboat and sailboard racer. I looked for several years at “fast” sailboats such as the J-40 but in the end my wife prevailed and convinced me that the live aboard characteristics were far more important than the ultimate sailing speed.

Comfortable sailing and rock solid hull and rig were far more important to my wife than 200-mile days or pointing at 42 degrees apparent.

Twenty years and over 15,000 miles of cruising later I am thankful my wife exerted her will. Our boat sails nicely and is very seakindly. It cannot begin to point like a J-42 nor can it surf like my brothers Tartan 42. But, it has gotten us thru a bit of heavy weather in good fashion and we feel very safe in secure in all conditions.

The rig is very stout, way too heavy for a fast boat but we know it will never be a problem or point of potential failure. And, most important it is a cutter rig, which provides a lot of nice upwind options for comfortable sailing. The inner forestay is removable at the base and we sail the boat as a sloop most of the time.

Our boat does sail very well with a spinnaker, code 0, big custom main, and three staysails. But, the liveability is what makes us most happy.

Additionally, the boat works perfectly for a cruising couple. There is an enormous amount of storage and tankage. There was a lot of room for installing big batteries, solar panels, and watermaker. The engine access is pretty good.

If I were in your shoes and looking at your Pacific circumnavigation I would be thinking hard about weeks at a time on the hook and how does the boat work as a floating home for 4-people and dogs.

I have done a lot of boat outfitting over the years. Make your best estimate of cost and if you are an optimist – double it! If you are a realist then add another 50% to the cost. As far as time – make your wildest guess at the time and effort and double it if you are an experienced boat outfitter.

A couple questions:

Anchoring and handling heavy anchor gear. You can tell the experienced cruiser from the oversized and dirty anchors (note the plural) on the bow. Can the J-42 carry two really big anchors and two 300' shots of anchor chain without messing up it's bow angle.

- while underway at sea where do the kids and dogs sleep? I assume the sail inventory is in the quarterberth because the extra batteries and watermaker will take up the room in the lazerette.

- How do you put on a bimini (really essential in the tropics!) with boom end main sheeting?

- Who is going to do the foredeck work and help with the sail handling? The J-42s race with a crew of 6 or so and your only deck hands will be? It may be very difficult to manage that inventory of nice racing sails out in the middle of the Pacific when it is just you and ?

I single hand our Caliber 40 at sea but had been a busy foredeck and spinnaker guy in hundreds of races for dozens of years. I also spent five years perfecty Miradors rig (spinnaker pole, multiple halyards, customized sheet and halyard leads, spinnaker turtle, Code 0 launcher, custom staysail tracks, trysail) while single handing all over Puget Sound. It then took most of our first trip from Seattle to San Diego to really get comfortable handling the big sails at sea.

My brother and I purchased his Tartan-42 from Pete at Swiftsure and they were the best brokers I’ve ever dealt with.

Brad Baker at Swiftsure designed all seven sails that we have carried on Mirador since 1999. At that time Brad was with North Sails and spent a great deal of time helping us get the sails perfect. Brad is a very experienced long distance sailor and can really help you understand the many questions you have not yet asked.

I love the J-40, 42, 44 and would seriously consider buying one but I am not sure it is the boat for all of you. I would love to have the boat and would be perfectly willing to sail it almost anywhere in the world, except maybe Japan to Vancouver Island, but for a relatively inexperienced cruiser with a family - it is a bit like buying a Porsche GT3 for a family cruise around North America. It is fast and safe but is it comfortable and will it be fun after the first 5,000 miles?
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Old 01-02-2015, 22:10   #22
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Scott,

A few items not yet mentioned.....

If you'd be using the boat for a circumnavigation, plan on adding fans to the staterooms, and dorades for under way ventilation.

One of the cushions looked as if the foam may need replacing, not a big deal in the scheme of things, but would make me want to test all the berths, consider replacing all the foam.

I think the pilot berths would wind up becoming pile-it berths, so check for lee cloths, or be prepared to install same. ...And look at the food storage spaces as if your lives depend on having at least 3 weeks of stores for all of you, including pets.

Consider the sails to be history, you may be pleasantly surprised, the heavy 130 may still be okay, but maybe not, as it came down from Washington.

There's no real reason not to have a Thoroughbred for your riding horse, as long as you can cope with it.

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Old 01-02-2015, 22:57   #23
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful replies, I genuinely appreciate it. I think we would be OK getting this boat, adding a bimini, some safety gear, lots of sweat and money for a good anchor setup, and off we go. Sailing a go fast boat such as this doesn't scare me off. Well maybe a little. But I suspect if we then wanted to add a few doodads down the road, we may run into the problems suggested here, and this boat, not designed as a cruiser, would be harder to convert into one than most.

For now we will keep looking.

Now if anyone has an opinion on that fine looking Stevens 47 in FL...

-Scott
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Old 01-02-2015, 22:57   #24
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

I would have loved a J44... but for real life CRUISING, I chose a proven cruising boat with real home comforts.

2 dogs aboard? Bad news .... quickly! Or have you trained to poop in the heads?

GL
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Old 01-02-2015, 23:09   #25
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
Ahhh... didn't spot that! Those would be check stays, used to limit mast bend when putting lots of load on the backstay. This isn't a cruiser friendly rig at all IMO.

Jim
Jim,

What's the idea there? Isn't mast bend the reason for putting lots of load on the back stay?
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Old 01-02-2015, 23:12   #26
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Originally Posted by Eleuthera 2014 View Post
I would have loved a J44... but for real life CRUISING, I chose a proven cruising boat with real home comforts.

2 dogs aboard? Bad news .... quickly! Or have you trained to poop in the heads?

GL
The engineer in me, and most of the rest, *loves* the Amels. Nice boats, or so they seem online.

And of course we will train the dogs to poop in the heads. Actually I don't worry about that, many have done it, so can we.
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Old 01-02-2015, 23:21   #27
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Hi Scott, I (opinion) think you are under estimating the magnitude of the project to convert a very sporty boat to a 'family' cruiser. If I could have 2 boats, I'd have a J24 for my local regatta series and an Amel 54 to RTW. I don't have the 'dosh' so I must compromise...

For most folks, life is a compromise... :-)
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Old 01-02-2015, 23:21   #28
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

Quote:
Originally Posted by DeepFrz View Post
Now, on Swiftsure's listings there is a Waterline 45 that is a purpose built cruiser. Steel and you would want to have her very carefully surveyed but a wonderful boat for what you are intending. People who have sailed on them comment on the total sense of security they felt. Might be worth a look.
We toured a Waterline a few years ago, a 51 I believe. Holy cow was that ever a nice boat. Unfortunately they one for sail with Swiftsure is too high for us.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TacomaSailor View Post
My brother and I purchased his Tartan-42 from Pete at Swiftsure and they were the best brokers Iíve ever dealt with.

Brad Baker at Swiftsure designed all seven sails that we have carried on Mirador since 1999. At that time Brad was with North Sails and spent a great deal of time helping us get the sails perfect. Brad is a very experienced long distance sailor and can really help you understand the many questions you have not yet asked.
I have met both Brad and Pete at various Seattle boat shows, both seem like quality guys. Pete's son talked to my kids about cruising, and was excellent. When we are closer to selling the house, I will definitely be giving them a call.
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Old 01-02-2015, 23:24   #29
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Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Originally Posted by Eleuthera 2014 View Post
Hi Scott, I (opinion) think you are under estimating the magnitude of the project to convert a very sporty boat to a 'family' cruiser. If I could have 2 boats, I'd have a J24 for my local regatta series and an Amel 54 to RTW. I don't have the 'dosh' so I must compromise...

For most folks, life is a compromise... :-)
After reading this thread, I agree with you. The folks on this board are wonderful.
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Old 02-02-2015, 14:42   #30
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Talking Re: Crusing on a J 44

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Originally Posted by ScottMeilicke View Post
You guys are going the wrong way. You are supposed to tell me "no, no, that won't do at all! <snip>

Thanks for the replies so far!
That is really funny. This is a great forum. The responses thus far prove it...

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