Originally Posted by TheBuzz
I am getting ready to retire and planning to buy a ~50 foot <300K sailboat to circumnavigate. My experience is I had a Hobie Cat
as a kid and have no sea time. First step is to buy the boat and get some experience but which one?
I was wondering if some people that have sailed on lots of production boats could comment on which is going to be the most difficult to knock down. I like the Jeanneau
but I see them almost laying on their side in even small winds and don't think I would enjoy riding out a storm in the middle of the ocean on something like that.
Any advice on boats that are difficult to knock down?
May I just call you "The"?
As you will appreciate a 50'er is a lot of boat compared to a HobieCat - even a light displacement
50 will be in the range of 22-28000lb. That's a lot of energy to deal with when you have any form of speed on the go.
When it comes to "knock down proof" it really doesn't exist. Yes, some vessels would appear to have higher stability on paper than others - but knock-down ability on well found vessels has more to do with captain
and crew's experience than anything else!
You'll find that people will have strong opinions about stability, displacement
, key performance ratios and whether you should be looking at a Cat or a monohull
- these things can be discussed until the Cows come home.. However, i'm certain that nobody will argue that limited experience when planning a circumnavigation
is a good thing!
I hazard a guess that the reason you've seen so many low-cost production cruisers almost healed over onto their beam ends isn't due to the boat but more due to who's sailing it. Any boat which is over canvassed for the conditions, will be more liable to suffer a knock-down. Bavarias, Beneteaus and Jeanneaus are particularly popular with charter
companies and charter
companies tend to have more than their fair-share of under-experienced clients who haven't yet gained the experience to know when to reef (or reduce sail); they will not have learned that you're always better reefing early and also how to read weather
patterns in the sea and sky around the boat. The more experience you have the less likely you're going to find yourself in squally/gusty conditions carrying way too much sail - and therefore not finding yourself 'knocked-down'. That said, we've all been there at some point in the past - and hind sight is always 20/20.
I wouldn't be too down on production cruisers, they're generally well made and there are many of them doing circumnavigations as we speak without any issues.. if you do a quick search of long distance cruising blogs, you'll find a surprising amount of them are on Bavarias, Beneteaus and/or Jeanneaus. If you're looking at wanting a relatively young 50'er for under $300k then you're going to be looking at the mass production boats.
Don't think that mass production means "china plastic", these companies have managed to increase their market share to the point that they've manage to automate a good proportion of their manufacturing methods and as a result economies of scale come into play.. the result is less expensive boats and more market share etc.etc. Quality of the deck
fittings and other items is where they tend to make their savings, but generally the hulls and such are well made.
My advice would be the following:
In the next few weeks: find a nearby sailing school
and take lessons - i would highly recommend one of the intensive type courses where you sail/stay on the boat for a few days or long weekend. You'll learn a lot in a short amount of time from a good skipper
and you'll start to get an appreciation for what's what.
In the next few months: try to read as much as you can around the subject. I've put some recommended reading at the bottom of the email
, the more you can theoretically build on your initial experience, the more you'll have to "try out" the next time you're out on the water
regarding everything from general seamanship to navigation
Your aim should be to get to the point, even if this means taking extra courses, to be 'qualified' to charter a boat for a week or two somewhere with beginner/intermediate seas and coastline. The sail-school should be able to recommend here.
If you can get to the point that you've been on a couple of bareboat
charters: maybe a 40' Jeanneau and a 46' Beneteau
you'll start to get a much better appreciation for what's important, and I hazard a guess that you may find that 50' is a large boat!
The members of this forum are, on the whole, a highly knowledgeable and experienced bunch so it'd be worth heeding their advice to the best way forward. Remember, this is your own personal journey and you need to treat it that way - it'll just go much smoother if you can avoid the dark cul-de-sacs.
Good luck and i'm sure the forum here will be interested to know how you proceed - so please keep posting!
Recommended Reading (post sailing course):
Tom Cunliffe: The Complete Yachtmaster, Adlard Coles Nautical (ISBN 0-713-68948-X)
Iver Dedekam: Illustrated Seamanship, Wiley Nautical (ISBN 978-0-470-51220-3)