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Old 08-03-2016, 14:33   #16
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

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Originally Posted by sea-bee View Post
Where's your outboard mounted?

I've only ever seen them in a well in the middle of the cockpit floor. The only inboard Taphat I've been on still had the well there, but with a fibreglass plug that filled the hole.

If it's in the middle of the cockpit, that is just as good as the inboard. The prop is in around about the same place, and would not be a problem with cavitation in waves. A good high thrust four stroke outboard would give similar fuel consumption.

But if it's on a bracket on the stern, not so good for anything rough.
I have no well in the middle of the cockpit floor. The outboards on a bracket and when sailing i keep the motor right out of the water. Its level with the deck when folded up to its max. i dunno if im a fan of the well because of the drag you get. i like to go as frictionless as possible. my last boat(bluebird) had a well and i never used it.
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Old 08-03-2016, 21:18   #17
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

Great little boat you can do it. I'd leave from Sydney and do the Whitsundays on the way back.
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Old 08-03-2016, 23:03   #18
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

I had to look up what a Top Hat is. It is pretty similar to the Contessa 26 that I did a number of passages with. The Top Hat has a higher sail area to displacement , so it should be even better in light air. I have to agree that a wind vane is far more important to budget cruising in a small boat than an outboard. I had an outboard for a while on the back of my Contessa, until it submerged itself for about the 15th time and could no longer be revived. The windvane steered reliably without feeding or batteries or fuel , for almost 9000 miles, and generally steered a better course than I could. It would steer the boat in 3 to 5 mph winds and 40 knots with double reefed main and storm jib. Another good point for cruising in a small boat (and I have repeated this over and over) is cost. 10 years after I cruised in the Contessa, I was cruising in my Peterson 44 and was spending almost as much per month as I had per year in the engineless 26 foot boat. There are many advantages to smaller boats, but as someone else said "comfort is not one of them". Better to be out there in a little discomfort than being at a job wishing you were cruising. ______Grant.
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Old 09-03-2016, 00:18   #19
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

I'd say that a vane is definitely warranted. And in the US at least, a used one can be picked up quite cheaply if you look. Under $1k-1.5k for a Monitor. And less for other types. Used of course.

At the outset of this thread is the tale of a guy on a boat about your size who broke his vane while on a passage, & it kind of tells why having one makes sense. Monitor Wind Vane Rudder Broke Off

Also, you can mount one & still keep your outboard. Though it would probably mean mounting one or the other, a bit off center. But that's no big deal. And there are many types of vanes which handle such with aplomb. Cape Horn Self Steering comes to mind, CapeHorn - Integrated Self-Steering System - Sailboats
Also, there are plenty of others. Including those which you can build yourself. And there's plenty of info out there on how to do as much, on the cheap! And thus be able to fix it anywhere, yourself, with ease.

Ergo, it pretty much only makes sense to have one. As they're crewmen 3-6, who never eat, get tired, or complain. And only need a bit of TLC from time to time.

And if it were me, with an OB on a mono, I'd want to build something of a protective sleeve or cowling for it. Something with a bit smoother profile, so that the waves would be less likely to remove it for/from you.
Either that, or add a transom extension, with a hole for the OB, & again, a cowling. But with the extension, comes a lot of perks...

Plus, I'd build a mount like I had on my old Searunner, where the OB sild up & down vertically, on a bracket which fitted over/around 2 vertical SS tubes on the transom.
Basically it was a thick wooden plate, with 2 vertical holes in it for the tubes on the transom. And I had a small block & tackle that I used in order to adjust it's height.
VERY sturdy, KISS, & cheap.

While it's better, & proper, to be able to sail in & out of everywhere. There are times when having an engine can make a Big difference.
Albeit, yeah, in an ideal world, ALL sailors would know how to sail their boats everywhere. Especially in close quarters. We even did it at times with some of the big old, monster sized, Maxi's. And it's a priceless skill to have, along with kedging.


PS: If/When you start thinking on dodgers, look into the DIY hard type. They're cheaper, lighter, & more functional, in many ways.
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Old 09-03-2016, 00:48   #20
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

thanks alot you guys. im sold on the wind vane over the outboard. OB is fairly light and easy to mount on and off if need be. Itll fit in a locker in cockpit easily, or even behind my stern seat outside.
Been looking into them. Dont mind spending $ on one. its a nesscesity.
What about water? The rainmaker looks awesome, but 7k. im thinking 2 times 200L bladders. plus a few jerries. Surely 400 L should be fine for up to 4 weeks with the right rationing. Love the idea of building a clay dam around the water filler. bloody genuis.
Good thing about my tophat is shes really nice inside. all nice wood finish done by a cabinet maker. new cushions etc. Will mount a largish screen. ive got a nice sound system. Anything i can do to make it as comfortable as possible.
like the idea of going to the south pacific from Sydney too.
This is why im here. To pick all your brains!
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Old 09-03-2016, 01:58   #21
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

I'd also go the wind vane. I had Mark I I I Tophat . Down wind I found her very hard on the tillerpilot, can get quite a roll up. I found proper sail balance critical.

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Old 09-03-2016, 02:03   #22
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

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I'd also go the wind vane. I had Mark I I I Tophat . Down wind I found her very hard on the tillerpilot, can get quite a roll up. I found proper sail balance critical.

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do you mean when sailing downwind , she rolls??? ive noticed that too, so ive gybed a bit and flattened sails. I probably had too much sail up.
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Old 09-03-2016, 02:07   #23
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

Yes dead downwind, she could be a real pig. I sailed a mark 1 which I thought sailed better than the 3. And I believe your right with the to much sail.

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Old 09-03-2016, 04:34   #24
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

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do you mean when sailing downwind , she rolls??? ive noticed that too, so ive gybed a bit and flattened sails. I probably had too much sail up.
Downwind, much of the time, if you heat things up (come up a bit closer to the wind), then the boat stabilizes a lot more. Especially as the headsail gets into clearer air. Which is where a sprit (fixed or detachable) helps a lot. Ditto on pulling the pole aft on a kite.
And though you may cover more ground, your VMG is better, along with, of course, the boat's motion.

You may be able to find Polar Diagrams for your boat, which will tell you what the best angles are to sail at; for a given wind speed, & with sail combinations X, & Y.
Or you can keep track of the information yourself. Using just a hand held GPS, & a notebook. Or even by synching up a GPS or chartplotter to the right page of, or type of performance software.

But it helps to have said information printed out once you have it, so that you can look real quickly to see what the "best" way to sail your boat for a given set of conditions is. And a chart like this helps too. Sail Combinations

Also, much of the Polars software out there is adaptive, if one has instruments onboard which can measure both conditions & boat performance. So that you can then also tell what kind of wave conditions best benefit you for any given wind angle & speed. Plus a Lot more. Though, the catch (as always) is that some of those instrument packages & software cost as much or more than many boats.
But some of it's out there as freeware, or stuff which guys are trying out/writing for fun. If you're into that kind of thing. Some of them are over on Sailing Anarchy Forums, & know how to make all kinds of different systems talk to one another. So... if you dare to venture, you may dig up some gold, & if so, please share

PS: For a boat that size, you can find all sorts of gear, hardware, & sails, etc., that no longer has the top 3% of it's performance; for a pittance, from racers. Especially in the one design fleets. Multi, & Mono
Not to mention, Knowledge.

For instance;
http://sfbaysss.org/main/
http://sfbaysss.org/main/resources/
Click on the Link by Andrew Evans's book, & you can download an abridged copy, gratis. He's distilled thousands of hours of his own experiences, along with that of even more from that of dozens of top pro's in the sport. And such wisdoms make handling a boat solo, or shorthanded, a lot easier. He's also a member on www.forums.SailingAnarchy.com & is quite approachable.
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Old 09-03-2016, 05:57   #25
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

Congrats on the top hat. They're a very capable little boat. I'd be inclined to buy a small short shaft 2 stroke outboard of between 3 to 4 hp and use that as needed off the transom bracket. Of course this will limit you to smooth water operation, but in most other conditions you can sail quite nicely. While you're at it, buy a small inflatable dinghy (round tails work well for minimal deflated space) to suit the outboard. Having said (written!) that, I've owned a 24 footer with an xl shaft 4 stroke 9.9 and it saved my bacon in a 30+ knot blow and very lumpy seas so I can vouch personally that outboards hanging off the transom are not as prone to being swamped as some would suggest. For further proof, I've also owned a 27 footer that sailed halfway around the world with an offset 15 hp 4 stroke xl shaft outboard and wind vane (Pacific Light, fwiw) and it didn't seem to have had any problems either.

Forget the fancy electronics. Just stick to the basics with a backup or two gps, a legally required epirb and use a solar panel and perhaps even a small wind generator for charging as any small outboard would never be satisfactory for this purpose any way unless extensively modified in the charging circuit.

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Old 09-03-2016, 05:58   #26
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

You might consider starting a blog. Pretty popular right now & a way to generate income from the sea. Sounds like yours would be interesting.
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Old 09-03-2016, 15:05   #27
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

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Congrats on the top hat. They're a very capable little boat. I'd be inclined to buy a small short shaft 2 stroke outboard of between 3 to 4 hp and use that as needed off the transom bracket. Of course this will limit you to smooth water operation, but in most other conditions you can sail quite nicely. While you're at it, buy a small inflatable dinghy (round tails work well for minimal deflated space) to suit the outboard. Having said (written!) that, I've owned a 24 footer with an xl shaft 4 stroke 9.9 and it saved my bacon in a 30+ knot blow and very lumpy seas so I can vouch personally that outboards hanging off the transom are not as prone to being swamped as some would suggest. For further proof, I've also owned a 27 footer that sailed halfway around the world with an offset 15 hp 4 stroke xl shaft outboard and wind vane (Pacific Light, fwiw) and it didn't seem to have had any problems either.

Forget the fancy electronics. Just stick to the basics with a backup or two gps, a legally required epirb and use a solar panel and perhaps even a small wind generator for charging as any small outboard would never be satisfactory for this purpose any way unless extensively modified in the charging circuit.

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Ahh thats great news. id like to stick with my 8hp 2 stroke OB if i could. Its good on fuel, very reliable and simple. I flattened my battery when i first got the fridge and the engine running for a short while charged it right back up again. This engine can also be used also on a small inflatable. Glad to gear your advice on fancy electronics.. i was going to allow 5k for a bunch of stuff. wind instruments, HF radio, but i have a handheld vhf and a handheld garmin gps. Maybe just get a bigger screen gps an epirb & stop there. I do know how to navigate manually and will be doing this #1 as thats how i was taught.
What about a way to download/receive weather faxes? Is there any point?
ill never be able to outrun any weather like we did on the motoryacht.
A blogs a great idea too
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Old 10-03-2016, 02:20   #28
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Re: Mark 1 Tophat For Bluewater Cruising

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Ahh thats great news. id like to stick with my 8hp 2 stroke OB if i could. Its good on fuel, very reliable and simple. I flattened my battery when i first got the fridge and the engine running for a short while charged it right back up again. This engine can also be used also on a small inflatable. Glad to gear your advice on fancy electronics.. i was going to allow 5k for a bunch of stuff. wind instruments, HF radio, but i have a handheld vhf and a handheld garmin gps. Maybe just get a bigger screen gps an epirb & stop there. I do know how to navigate manually and will be doing this #1 as thats how i was taught.
What about a way to download/receive weather faxes? Is there any point?
ill never be able to outrun any weather like we did on the motoryacht.
A blogs a great idea too
Being able to know what the weather is doing, & going to do is ALWAYS handy, & is a safety thing as well.
But given your comments about your boat's speed, if you know where the systems are, & time things right, based on your average speed on a passage. Then you can leave on the tail end of a big system, so that you're not out in any of the heavy stuff for long. And then arrive at your next safe harbor before the following, next big system catches up with you.

Thus, you get to use some of the stronger winds to aid your speed early on in the passage, but aren't subjecting your boat, or yourself, to any real poundings.
Assuming that is, that you make hops of the correct distance in order to do this. And that you have a decent light air sail inventory so that you can take advantage of the weather lulls, between systems. So that you make good time when it's relatively calm.

Also, I have to say that your thoughts on NOT going for all of the fancy electronics is particularly refreshing. As SO many people are pretty much completely dependent on them in order to navigate. Or to "figure out" (read, are spoon fed) the weather picture. Which I find to be unsafe.
It's good, & seaman like, to be able to do those things for yourself.

Me, I'd rather spend the $ on solid boat gear, & good sails. Besides, the less fancy stuff one has onboard, the less there is which needs fixing/maintaining. As there's more than enough of that to do anyway.
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