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Old 25-07-2013, 11:01   #241
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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Originally Posted by neilpride View Post
This is a very interesting topic by Don Casey posted in sailnet. .....................




Some time ago SailNet citizen Wayne Wilson of Virginia wrote to inquire about the issue of seaworthiness when applied to modern production sailboats. Specifically, he wondered if there were any tangible evidence to support the frequently heard opinion that "a Beneteau, Hunter or Catalina [is] not up to an Atlantic crossing, but a Hylas, or Hallberg-Rassey, or Cabo Rico is?" Wayne was looking for something more substantial than "vague opinion, arm waving, and sentimentality."
I do my best to make sure that my opinions are never vague; wrong maybe, but not vague. It's a start.
The problem with seaworthiness is that the term means different things to different people. Is a canoe seaworthy? Presumably everyone that buys one thinks so. Of course, that is predicated on using the vessel in relatively benign waters. If your canoe sinks on the way to Bimini, there is not likely to be much discussion about whether the canoe was an Old Town or a Wenonah. A reasonable person would conclude that the sinking was a human failing, not a problem with the boat.
However, reasonable people can be hard to come by. All of those ridiculous warning labels (I told you my opinions aren't vague) pasted all over ladders are there because of a series of jury awards to people who, for example, stood on the top rung then, duh, fell off. A particularly notorious case involved a farmer who, in the early morning hours, placed one foot of his ladder on a frozen cow patty. When the ascending sun melted the dung, the ladder sank on one side and toppled, bringing the farmer with it. Twelve reasonable people thought the ladder was at fault—or at least that the ladder manufacturer probably had more money than the farmer. But I digress.


The reality is that most sailors rarely stray more than a few miles from home, so the term "seaworthy" takes on an applicable definition.

The reality of sailing is that nearly all of us do it in mostly good weather and within a few miles of our homes. Not surprisingly, this is the target market for the mass producers of sailboats. The design emphasis is on fun at a competitive price. It is wrong, I think, to indict Beneteau, Hunter, and Catalina or any other builder for giving us exactly the boats we want.
In any case, where we are talking about reputable builders, seaworthiness is determined more by design than by manufacturer. Boats that are fun to sail in light air and smooth water—the kind of sailing most of us prefer—are, by design, less suitable for heavy weather. Why? The primary issue is stability.
If the righting moment of a hull is inadequate to resist the wind pressure on the sails, the boat will blow over. This happens to dinghies all the time. In larger boats, we prevent this with ballast. The more ballast and the lower we place it, the less the boat heels. This is good, but too much draft limits where we can sail, and extra weight makes a boat slower in light air. Consequently, most production-built sailboats boast relatively modest draft, and in pursuit of the light-air performance that buyers demand, designers take weight out of these boats. Weight is also sacrificed for economic realities. But a lighter hull won't hold the mast upright when the wind intensifies—unless we make the hull wider. The end result is that the lighter a boat is, the wider and flatter it is likely to be.

"But a lighter weight hull won't hold the mast upright when the wind intensifies."
This is a win-win situation for the way most of us use our boats. Wide beam improves initial stability, meaning the boat heels less. But when conditions deteriorate, wider beam makes the boat more susceptible to capsizing and to remaining inverted. Some wide, shallow boats have a range of positive stability—the heel angle at which they turn turtle—as low as 110 degrees. Of course, the wind can't push the mast below horizontal, but ocean waves can easily roll a boat well beyond 110 degrees. For offshore sailing, any range below 125 degrees is marginal at best—and the higher, the better. A range of positive stability approaching 180 degrees was not unusual for designs from the first half of the twentieth century. Designers calculate this number and the manufacturer should be able to provide it to you for a specific boat.
An alternative numerical evaluation is the CCA Capsize Screening Formula, which offsets beam against displacement. Divide the gross weight of the boat in pounds by 64 (to get the volume of displaced seawater), then divide the cube root of this number into the maximum beam. This formula fails to take other factors into account, most notably ballast, but for comparing boats designed within conventional parameters, it remains a telling indicator. If the result is more than two, this is probably not the best boat to take to sea.


High freeboard and large windows are areas to worry about when considering a long offshore passage.
Making boats lighter, besides leading to excessive beam, tends to make the boat less durable. It can be helpful to think of pounding your way across a wide ocean as participating in a demolition derby. Are you more likely to triumph in a Caddy or a Corvette? Light can be fast and maneuverable (translation: fun) and sufficiently strong for coastal cruising, but when it comes to being pummeled for days on end, four laminates of cloth beats three every time.
High freeboard is often another consequence of wide and flat. When not much hull is in the water, you need more out of the water to get equivalent interior volume. High freeboard raises the center of gravity, but perhaps the more significant seaworthiness implication is that high freeboard impairs windward performance. In strong winds, the windage of the hull overpowers the drive of reduced sails and the boat will only go downwind. An offshore boat must be able to claw to windward and away from a lee shore.
All seamanship texts warn about large windows, and prudent offshore mariners fit oversize portlights with metal, plywood, or thick polycarbonate storm shutters. But what does one do about the great expanses of overhead clear plastic seen on lots of modern production boats? Even if the plastic is thick enough for the task—and I'm not saying it is—what effect do these openings have on the strength of the deck? A wave falling onto the deck of a 38 footer weighs 10 tons per foot depth, never mind that the impact might be at 30 knots or more. In the absence of credible evidence that a builder has beefed up what deck is there to compensate for what isn't there, I would opt for fewer and smaller deck openings.


The potential consequences of flaws in construction increase proportionally with the distance from land.
The potential consequences of shortcomings in a boat's design or construction increase with your distance from land. A weak or vulnerable rudder disqualifies a boat for offshore use no matter who the builder is; likewise, a spindly rig or shoddy construction. For offshore use, I want a hull-to-deck joint that is (at least) bolted together, not screwed. I want the cockpit separated from the interior by a high bridge deck. And I want ample, strong handholds, rounded furniture, and real sea berths.
As a general rule, boats designed specifically for crossing oceans satisfy more of these requirements. (They are also more expensive and less fun to sail on a summer afternoon.) That doesn't mean mass-produced boats can't cross oceans. A number of boats built by the very companies Wayne asks about have successfully circumnavigated, but these same manufacturers—and lots of others—have also built boats that going to sea aboard is about as advisable as standing on the top ladder rung. Come to think of it, maybe a few warning stickers defining unsafe usage for a particular boat wouldn't be a bad idea. Until then, you'll have to make your own evaluation. Do it based on the boat, its design characteristics and construction, and not just the brand name.
This guy knows what is "better" to take to the open ocean and what is relagated to close in shore work...If someone thinks this guy is wrong, try a stock 1983 Hunter 34 or an Irwin thru the roaring fortys and let us know how it well it works out...Jeeps are made to be run offroad as well as the street,it isnt as fast as a corvette,but lets see how well the corvette handles the creek crossing and the hill jumps and the rocky trails,some boats should stay within site of the shoreline ,but if your boat was designed to operate "off road" who cares where the shorline is..
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:32   #242
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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This guy knows what is "better" to take to the open ocean and what is relagated to close in shore work...If someone thinks this guy is wrong, try a stock 1983 Hunter 34 or an Irwin thru the roaring fortys and let us know how it well it works out...Jeeps are made to be run offroad as well as the street,it isnt as fast as a corvette,but lets see how well the corvette handles the creek crossing and the hill jumps and the rocky trails,some boats should stay within site of the shoreline ,but if your boat was designed to operate "off road" who cares where the shorline is..


Everyone has an opinion.. I don't know you or this guy you quote so I must ask for clarification to see if he is just another internet expert:


Do you know if or how much offshore experience this guy has?
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:34   #243
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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This guy knows what is "better" to take to the open ocean and what is relagated to close in shore work...If someone thinks this guy is wrong, try a stock 1983 Hunter 34 or an Irwin thru the roaring fortys and let us know how it well it works out...Jeeps are made to be run offroad as well as the street,it isnt as fast as a corvette,but lets see how well the corvette handles the creek crossing and the hill jumps and the rocky trails,some boats should stay within site of the shoreline ,but if your boat was designed to operate "off road" who cares where the shorline is..
Are you going to the roaring forties?
I am definitely not going there.
My guess is that very few others who read this are going there either.

I don't take all the gear needed for an ascent of Mt Everest to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:47   #244
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

I haven't read all this thread - but I would say the biggest design? / safety? / useability? improvement over the last 25 years has been..........

.......the mass production of boats in factories that have allowed cheaper prices............

..........because it has allowed folks to go up in size for extended voyaging from 30 to 35 foot to 40 to 45 foot......for an extra 10 foot on length can drop a bit elsewhere in design and build quality and still come out ahead overall. Not to say that modern boats don't also have some design advances - they do.
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Old 25-07-2013, 11:53   #245
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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Originally Posted by S/V Illusion View Post
Everyone has an opinion.. I don't know you or this guy you quote so I must ask for clarification to see if he is just another internet expert:


Do you know if or how much offshore experience this guy has?
Have you never read anything written by Don Casey? I see his books and articles in lots of places...as has been told to me before "Google is your friend" I think he is an expert, but not on the internet!
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:01   #246
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

Don Casey is not a net expert, he write very good articles and books,.... I have few onboard...
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:09   #247
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

The Don Casey pic looks like 35 foot of my kinda boat



But nonetheless if a choice between her and 45 foot of last week's Beneteau for crossing an Ocean I would go for the Beneteau.

Length for length I would stick with the Don Casey option (as long as sound! - not always a given for "older"!!), whether I need to is perhaps arguable - but I would feel happier.
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:15   #248
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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Are you going to the roaring forties?
I am definitely not going there.
My guess is that very few others who read this are going there either.

I don't take all the gear needed for an ascent of Mt Everest to hike the Pacific Crest Trail.
And you have a good boat for "not going" into the roaring forties(thanks for the spelling lesson), I would say to re-read his statements about which boat for which enviroment,if you are not going to get very far from a land mass or into rough seas on a regular basis just about any boat should do...I would not mind sailing around the cape one day ,but I do things on a regular basis that 99% of the people in this world never do ,such as, Hangliding off of a 6000 ft high mountian,80 ft free dives,strap a 15 hp engine on my back and take off running until I approch takeoff speed ,about 15 -16 mph!! (if it is a no wind day) Raze a 200 yr old building with nothing but brute force and a hammer,purchase an around the world airline ticket and see whats out there ,just because I want to (I know I am an "A-typical" type of guy) I may well find myself going around soon ,but I had planned to take the canal, but who knows? I will fill better about going around in a boat that has small openings,a solid hull(No Chop Gun stuff!) designed with lead for ballest ,set low in a long sort of keel with a rudder that is mounted on the keel with protection for the prop,lots of hand holds and places that a harness can be attached to(from the factory not ,an after thought) etc..
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Old 25-07-2013, 12:55   #249
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

To deny there's a difference between high end ocean going boats and production coastal cruisers as so many have done on this thread is just plain dumb.

I don't even know where to begin... so I won't.
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Old 25-07-2013, 13:22   #250
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

I don't know about all this...

Out.
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Old 25-07-2013, 13:47   #251
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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Originally Posted by tropicalescape View Post
Have you never read anything written by Don Casey? I see his books and articles in lots of places...as has been told to me before "Google is your friend" I think he is an expert, but not on the internet!
I once had a colleague who wrote books and who considered himself an expert. The rest of us always found that amusing. I find little difference between the typical forum expert and someone who's experience is limited to writing books about surveying old boats. Neither have much credibility.

The question remains and isn't answerable by doing a google search - has this guy the experience most of us might view as substantive?
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Old 25-07-2013, 13:50   #252
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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To deny there's a difference between high end ocean going boats and production coastal cruisers as so many have done on this thread is just plain dumb.

I don't even know where to begin... so I won't.
I think there are few dumb posts here then. I think there is a number of posts that say one does not need an out-and-out blue water cruiser to sail weekend and coastal trips. And also that plain crossings in predominantly easy wx can be done with any mass produced boat as long as she is sound and driven by a competent sailor.

b.
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Old 25-07-2013, 14:16   #253
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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I once had a colleague who wrote books and who considered himself an expert. The rest of us always found that amusing. I find little difference between the typical forum expert and someone who's experience is limited to writing books about surveying old boats. Neither have much credibility.

The question remains and isn't answerable by doing a google search - has this guy the experience most of us might view as substantive?
I dont know ,but I agree with his observations on what is good for the around the world type of boat verses the one that should "keep them old apron strings within screaming distance", screaming as in seeing the sheet metal screws coming undone at the hull/deck joint when shes being pounded and twisted and watching that mast support crack getting wider and wider with every crashing wave over the deck and the saloon being flooded because there is no bridge deck to prevent it..The cook cant even make a cup of coffie because there is no place to hold onto and then they are suddenly ejected toward the bow of the boat and all the wide space allows tremendious accelration to build as one is flying toward the "head" then getting there only to be smashed over "the head" with a wide screen tv set! There are differances,dont you think?.......
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Old 25-07-2013, 14:19   #254
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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I think there are few dumb posts here then. I think there is a number of posts that say one does not need an out-and-out blue water cruiser to sail weekend and coastal trips. And also that plain crossings in predominantly easy wx can be done with any mass produced boat as long as she is sound and driven by a competent sailor.

b.
One the Goodlander rules of safety is being in the right ocean at the right time.
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Old 25-07-2013, 14:30   #255
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Re: Modern Production Cruisers at Sea

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One the Goodlander rules of safety is being in the right ocean at the right time.
It was one of Lin and Larry Pardy's rules too. However in just about every book they broke the rule and were badly dusted up each occasion!
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