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Old 01-09-2015, 12:00   #31
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
I agree in terms of weather etc, there is no reason to not have a multi on the lakes, in fact I would love to have a little trailerable one like a wizard as a second boat, but there are very few of them that I see and moorage looks to be a nightmare. I know Toronto has a decent sized multihull club, down 1000 miles way, I have no idea where some one would dock one long term.

I find I do spend a lot of time bashing to windward, but I'm not saying heavy displacement is a must for the lakes, just that its my personal preference.

My point was I wouldn't want a big boat on the lakes.

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Having done the Great Loop, we don't see how it makes much difference finding a slip anywhere from the Great Lakes to East Coast to Flordia to Gulf Coast.Our little cat can fit into standard slips pretty much anywhere. When you get to the big monsters with 20-25' beams, you are on an end tie pretty much anywhere. It's not really area specific.If you find yourself bashing to weather a lot, the old style boats do have an advantage. Certainly over a small cat but that is typically a matter of choice in an area like the Great Lakes where you can almost always bail out to a nearby port.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:29   #32
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Keep in mind, most cruisers spend 95% of thier time at anchor or at dock.

The old school heavy displacement boats generally (but not always) sacrafice the 95% for the 5%. With Great Lakes Cruising, there are excelent weather forecasts and lots of places to duck into. There is no reason to be spending 12hrs bashing to windward where and old school heavy displacement boat shines. If you are 6yrs out, buy the boat that meets your current needs.

By the way, we are seeing more and more cats on the Great Lakes. There is nothing about them that makes them better in Florida.
How about two days "bashing" to get home for work at the end of vacation. Yup "schedule" sailing.
To the OP get the most "comfortable" motion boat you can to keep your wife sailing. If she doesn't like rolling get a flat bottom. If she's like my wife get something with a slower motion.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:45   #33
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

By "heavy" and "light" I presume you are referring to the ratio of displacement to length. But it is a little more complicated than that it seems to me. The shape of the hull and the location of the ballast have a lot to do with what I think you are asking for: sea-kindliness. This is kind of a subjective feeling for a given designs response to the seas of various sizes and on various points of sail. I would say that boats that depend on beam for stability and/or have a flatter entry, are going to slam the waves when going to windward. If you are ok with that you are probably not sleeping in the bow. Heavy deep full keel designs have a good reputation for being able to ride out a storm. By the way, unless you have a very high performance trimaran or catamaran, don't count on outrunning a storm. So for me, having crewed on a large high performance monohull, and having sailed a heavier displacement boat (Downeaster 38) and the most of the Catalinas which would qualify as medium displacement, my preference has been the old school narrow beam, fairly deep, fairly long keel design of Sparkman and Stephens, or Alberg or Rhodes or Luders and others, for what feels (TO ME anyway) a good blend of performance and that mysterious thing called "sea-kindliness." These designs seem tippy by modern standards but they were intended to be that way to drop a longer waterline in to gain speed quickly, and with the press of driven sails they balance firmly and have a nice motion. Without the balance, yes they are more tippy, more responsive to wave action, than a heavier displacement design. But I'd recommend, if you can find a few of these designs to sail, that you try them and see how they feel, even if only for comparison. These designs have been the favorites of many world cruisers. For heavier boats, old school, that cut through well have a look at a Pearson Triton, Vanguard, and Rhodes 41, as well as Cheoy Lee Luders 30 and 36, Columbia 29, Cape Dories and the Albergs.
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Old 01-09-2015, 12:46   #34
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Having done the Great Loop, we don't see how it makes much difference finding a slip anywhere from the Great Lakes to East Coast to Flordia to Gulf Coast.Our little cat can fit into standard slips pretty much anywhere. When you get to the big monsters with 20-25' beams, you are on an end tie pretty much anywhere. It's not really area specific.If you find yourself bashing to weather a lot, the old style boats do have an advantage. Certainly over a small cat but that is typically a matter of choice in an area like the Great Lakes where you can almost always bail out to a nearby port.
Agreed a little cat should be no problem for tie ups I am not arguing against small anything. I was responding to posts by decidedly offshore sailors claiming that big, deep offshore boats were some how more appropriate to the lakes than a stout little mono- like say a Bayfield (manufactured of course on the shores of Lake Huron).

I don't believe we are really disagreeing on anything, except, that I have spent A LOT of time (close to 50%) bashing to windward on the lower lakes because they are long narrow lakes with fairly consistent west winds.

If you did the Great Loop, is it possible you sailed with the prevailing winds? That would certainly explain the lack of bashing to windward.

Not possible with two way travel on the lakes unless somebody is blessed with unlimited vacation time to sit around and wait for an East wind. Remember, the OP, is currently employed (as am I), so us poor suckers have to sail to windward.

Yes, I agree, a little cat with shallow draft would be great for great lakes weather holes.

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Old 01-09-2015, 13:59   #35
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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How about two days "bashing" to get home for work at the end of vacation. Yup "schedule" sailing.
To the OP get the most "comfortable" motion boat you can to keep your wife sailing. If she doesn't like rolling get a flat bottom. If she's like my wife get something with a slower motion.
Back when we did more of that kind of cruising, you planned your trip and if the weather didn't look good, you might start back a day or two early (again, it's a choice thing).Really if you are that pressed for time a power boat makes far more sense.
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Old 01-09-2015, 14:02   #36
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Agreed a little cat should be no problem for tie ups I am not arguing against small anything. I was responding to posts by decidedly offshore sailors claiming that big, deep offshore boats were some how more appropriate to the lakes than a stout little mono- like say a Bayfield (manufactured of course on the shores of Lake Huron).

I don't believe we are really disagreeing on anything, except, that I have spent A LOT of time (close to 50%) bashing to windward on the lower lakes because they are long narrow lakes with fairly consistent west winds.

If you did the Great Loop, is it possible you sailed with the prevailing winds? That would certainly explain the lack of bashing to windward.

Not possible with two way travel on the lakes unless somebody is blessed with unlimited vacation time to sit around and wait for an East wind. Remember, the OP, is currently employed (as am I), so us poor suckers have to sail to windward.

Yes, I agree, a little cat with shallow draft would be great for great lakes weather holes.

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No I don't think we are that far apart on our thinking. If you are talking weekends and an occasional week, to cover significant ground, you are really looking at a power boat. 4-6mph just doesn't get you any significant distance.
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Old 01-09-2015, 14:47   #37
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

[QUOTE=valhalla360;1905112]No I don't think we are that far apart on our thinking. If you are talking weekends and an occasional week, to cover significant ground, you are really looking at a power boat. 4-6mph just doesn't get you any significant distance.[

My boat will easily transit at a solid 7 knots, 6 knots in up to 2 meter seas and 5 knots into 3 meter seas. I have a 50 HP deisel, so absolutely if my destination is up wind I will happily motor. Given those speeds I can travel 84, 72 and 60 miles a day respectively.

I grew up in and have many friends in Toronto which is approximately 180 miles upwind of my current club, so I count on 3 days there, 3 days back (with the wind). So, if I depart on Saturday morning, I can arrive in Toronto Monday afternoon, spend 3 days visiting, going to the theatre, zoo etc, depart on Thursday morning and be back to work in plenty of time for work Monday morning. Same thing goes for Niagara Falls.

My heavy cruiser with a decently powerful engine can really cover miles in all but very dirty weather. If I have another watchkeeper on board with me, she can cover the 180 odd miles in 30 hours in almost all weather conditions.

I know, this approach doesn't appeal to everyone, but suits me just fine. Some people prefer to avoid dirty weather, my heavy cruiser might not suit them well, but it suits me very well. It extends my range, weather window and cruising season.

If somebody prefers to stay at dock in inclement weather, a heavy boat might not suit them as well, for them, fin keel and good light air performance might make more sense.

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Old 01-09-2015, 15:21   #38
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Not directed towards valhalla360,

Keep in mind, most of the CF posters spend 95% of their time sitting on front of their computer screens, and.... few sail beyond 10 miles of their home port.
probably the most accurate thing ever said on CF.

The most comfortable i have ever been on offshore by far was a santa cruz 70, original ULDB. Very spacious, dry, great motion at sea.

I have also crossed oceans on a 46' carbon racer where even the head and sinks are made of carbon. When at speed, 15+ kts, top speed for us on that boat is 29 kts in the dark, the boat is very uncomfortable, bouncing around all over the place, water 2' think coming down the decks. But when slowed down to normal speeds it is very comfortable. As has been said before, light boats accelerate, heavy boats just tip over.
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Old 01-09-2015, 15:25   #39
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

When I trade up to a bigger cruising boat in a few years, a big consideration will be upwind sailing ability, especially the ability to sail herself off a lee shore. This seems like a basic safety requirement, and many heavy cruising boats can't do it.

We have a race up here in the PNW called "Race Your House", where the live aboards pry the dock off their homes and go for a sail. This usually involves an upwind start. I see some of those heavy cruisers tacking back and forth at the start line making no forward progress, and I wonder, what would they do if they were anchored near a lee shore, had engine trouble, and needed to get out of there?
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Old 01-09-2015, 15:45   #40
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Since most boat buyers have a budget, and since price is most intimately linked to displacement, it makes sense to decide how "heavy" a boat to buy, then decide how long you want it. I.E. would you prefer a 12,000 kg 35 ft boat or a 12,000 kg 63 ft boat?
I prefer long skinny light to short fat heavy for a given disp.
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Old 01-09-2015, 17:32   #41
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Back when we did more of that kind of cruising, you planned your trip and if the weather didn't look good, you might start back a day or two early (again, it's a choice thing).Really if you are that pressed for time a power boat makes far more sense.
Yes but if it was about making sense we would just take a car lol.
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Old 01-09-2015, 18:30   #42
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Yes but if it was about making sense we would just take a car lol.
Isn't that the truth, or an airplane...

OP , you haven't really said what your plan is , is the boat for cruising where you are, or for retirement somewhere else? Listen to FamilyVan , he is giving good advise for the Lakes (different as they all are) . My wife met someone several years ago in her navigation class that bought this crazy big cat ( came from Lake Michigan somewhere) would be a great boat in the islands , but a complete pain in cleveland . The area of the city they lived and wanted the boat to be near , made it so there was exactly 1 slip/marina it would fit. Granted if they wanted to drive an hour or more, they had more choices, but they didn't - so that matters.

My wife and I are the most relaxed cruisers I know( as far as pushing through weather) but the lakes do force you to do it.. This summers trip the wind came strong from the NE for the first 6 days ( of course we were heading east) .. No problem, the ocean guys say.. Nice close haul... Wrong ... Bad deal on Lake Erie ... At some point schedule takes over ( got to get to work) and you have to go.. BTW .. Never saw a powerboat out there either when we were bashing, in fact one place we ducked into was full of charter captains and the one next to us said ' you came from there today?'
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Old 01-09-2015, 19:21   #43
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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When I trade up to a bigger cruising boat in a few years, a big consideration will be upwind sailing ability, especially the ability to sail herself off a lee shore. This seems like a basic safety requirement, and many heavy cruising boats can't do it.

We have a race up here in the PNW called "Race Your House", where the live aboards pry the dock off their homes and go for a sail. This usually involves an upwind start. I see some of those heavy cruisers tacking back and forth at the start line making no forward progress, and I wonder, what would they do if they were anchored near a lee shore, had engine trouble, and needed to get out of there?
I think this has been covered in this thread but I'll reiterate that a lot of people buy a boat based on what their dream is of sailing rather than the sailing they actually do or will be doing.

Jeff H had something he mentioned quite a bit that really became meaningful to me and still is. He would talk about a boats 'cruising radius'. Basically how far can you go in the time you have available.

Here in the Seattle area the ability to go upwind really adds to your cruising radius. I know most people motor when they go places in their 'blue water' cruisers around here. Sure I guess some of them at some point may have sailed their boat to Hawaii and back but they spend most of their time motoring around here. That to me is a boat with a local cruising radius of zero miles.

Not only that but a boat that doesn't sail well isn't fun. That huge heavy teak pit may be Ok when you're only broad reaching but a lot of sailing isn't that and why be miserable most of the time just so you can feel safe in the gale at sea that you are most likely never going to experience.

And in terms of actually being safe at sea. I'm skeptical that some boat built to a style rather than a design is really going to turn out safe. I'm sure I'll piss off some owners but for example the Force 50 is a terrible sailboat. I wouldn't feel safe on that in the Straits of Juan De Fuca let alone out at sea. With the huge one ton wooden masts and the shallow round bathtub of a keel it has a very ponderous and intimidating motion. None of the thing is really 'as designed'. It's built to look like something it's not, an old fashioned sailboat. As spectacular as that carved teak interior might be tell me which of those beautiful features is actually going to be in your favor out at sea?

The answer is none of them. With a lot of these boats you get a very high center of gravity a low ballast displacement ratio, very little form stability, no ability to sail to windward, giant windows, questionable everything.... it has the makings of a nightmare. I refuse to believe that just because it's heavy and has a thick hull that it is therefore safe. A boat has to be designed to be safe.

And really (sorry Mr Perry) most of these stylized boats fail in some way to live up to their own image and as has been said in this thread it doesn't really matter anyway because most boats are going to get you there most of the time. Why throw away storage space on the canoe stern that ostensibly splits following seas? All you really do is lose initial stability, room in the cockpit and storage space. Yeah I guess in some mythical hurricane perhaps it gives you some extra amount of safety but only if all the rest of the boat, equipment, and systems are up to that level of survivability which in most cases you can bet they are not.

I mean seriously, you put a canoe stern on a boat to split following seas but then put swing open doors with louvered vents for the companion way?

People really need to be honest and realistic about what they will actually do with a boat. Sure we may all dream of long sunny broad reaches through the tropics but a lot of us, most of us, don't do that, and probably won't ever do that. We've all read the various accounts of the pioneers of sailboat cruising and all the knockdowns and survival storms but honestly most people these days will never even get close to doing what the old timers used to do. Back then they didn't have GPS, didn't have weather fax, didn't have EPIRB's etc. They paid their dues and took their chances and boats were built to be what they were not to look like something they weren't.

Get a boat that works for what you do and wear it out. You'll know when it's time for a different boat and you'll have the experience of the current boat to inform the decision.
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:12   #44
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

[QUOTE=FamilyVan;1905144]
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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
No I don't think we are that far apart on our thinking. If you are talking weekends and an occasional week, to cover significant ground, you are really looking at a power boat. 4-6mph just doesn't get you any significant distance.[

My boat will easily transit at a solid 7 knots, 6 knots in up to 2 meter seas and 5 knots into 3 meter seas. I have a 50 HP deisel, so absolutely if my destination is up wind I will happily motor. Given those speeds I can travel 84, 72 and 60 miles a day respectively.

I grew up in and have many friends in Toronto which is approximately 180 miles upwind of my current club, so I count on 3 days there, 3 days back (with the wind). So, if I depart on Saturday morning, I can arrive in Toronto Monday afternoon, spend 3 days visiting, going to the theatre, zoo etc, depart on Thursday morning and be back to work in plenty of time for work Monday morning. Same thing goes for Niagara Falls.

My heavy cruiser with a decently powerful engine can really cover miles in all but very dirty weather. If I have another watchkeeper on board with me, she can cover the 180 odd miles in 30 hours in almost all weather conditions.

I know, this approach doesn't appeal to everyone, but suits me just fine. Some people prefer to avoid dirty weather, my heavy cruiser might not suit them well, but it suits me very well. It extends my range, weather window and cruising season.

If somebody prefers to stay at dock in inclement weather, a heavy boat might not suit them as well, for them, fin keel and good light air performance might make more sense.

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As I said previously, it's about choices. If that's your idea of a fun trip, by all means get the boat that can bash to windward because you will be doing a lot of it. That trip strikes me as punishment even if the weather is perfect with a nice following wind every day but we have friends into ultra-marathons and ironman competitions who can't walk straight for 2-3 days after the weekend they claim to love it so if it makes you happy...
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Old 02-09-2015, 05:35   #45
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

[QUOTE=valhalla360;1905504]
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As I said previously, it's about choices. If that's your idea of a fun trip, by all means get the boat that can bash to windward because you will be doing a lot of it. That trip strikes me as punishment even if the weather is perfect with a nice following wind every day but we have friends into ultra-marathons and ironman competitions who can't walk straight for 2-3 days after the weekend they claim to love it so if it makes you happy...
He he, its not as bad as you make it sound. I hate driving, and I mean really don't like driving. I ride my motorcycle to work for the 8 months I can and suffer through the commute for the other 4 months.

With the boat, take her away from dock, either set the sails or start the engine, set the autopilot, grab a book, some pickles, grapes, pears, potato chips, fresh cartridge in the soda stream and let the world go by. Obviously, all my sailing isn't a mission to windward, I like floating around to nice islands and yacht clubs as much as anyone, but when cruising turns to transiting, I would rather do that than drive somewhere and stay in some expensive flea bitten hotel.


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