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Old 18-03-2013, 20:48   #1
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Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Every year, I participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal of this project is to write a (first draft of a) 50,000 word novel in a month. Currently, they run three months each year, and my April project is going to be about sailing... even though I'm not a sailor (it's not my fault... Iowa just isn't a big sailing region . Someday... someday I'm going to learn).

My two main characters challenge each other to sail solo around the world. So my question here is: What are some good options for monohull sailboats for a solo circumnavigation (or good references where I can look up ideas)? I'm thinking that the two characters would choose different boats, but they should be similar.

Thanks,
Mim
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Old 19-03-2013, 01:44   #2
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Why a mono?

If I had to race around the world then I'd go for a tri.
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Old 19-03-2013, 03:29   #3
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

I cannot imagine how hard that would be to write a fairly long story about a subject that you know nothing about. Admire your bravery there, would be like me writing a book on how to have a successful marriage.

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Old 19-03-2013, 04:14   #4
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Pretty much anything would do - I would suggest trying to use a blog or 3 of folks who gone RTW, or simply half way (even though not racing) and just their tales to get a flavour of the challenges they face (and the boats they used - I would stick with mainsteam boats like 35 to 45' of Beneteau or Hunter (if one those maybe called the Hero - Don?!) if for no other reason than more presence on Mr Google - often enough with owner's attached (just because someone hasn't gone RTW or raced won't mean they don't know a lot - in any event your readers won't know much!...and the boat does not have to be a "race" boat to have a race - but if you want that google up boats in the Vende Globe, very different beasts - with six figure plus costs and requiring sponsorship).

- have a look on Yachtworld.com for s/h boats for sale, lots of pics and boat descriptions.
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Old 19-03-2013, 06:21   #5
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimstrel View Post
Iowa just isn't a big sailing region. Someday...
Excuses, excuses. Just like the people who talk all the time about writing The Great American Novel, but never manage to put a word on paper.

I learned to sail in Nebraska. You think THAT is a big sailing region!?! Well, in fact, it's plenty big enough of a sailing region, if you look around.

Hint: you'll find sailing clubs on Lake Okoboji, Clear Lake, Carter Lake, Lake Davenport, and others.
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Old 19-03-2013, 06:33   #6
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Or you can have some fun and put one character in a Beneteau, Hunter or other newer design fin keel and the other in an old school Crealock or Hinckley Bermuda 40...

That comparison is always good for a heated debate on this forum!!!

Bill
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Old 19-03-2013, 07:03   #7
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

You did come asking about mono-hulls; you could pick two boats that are the same length but maybe one old, one new? Say a Columbia 40 and a Catalina 40? My reasoning being that these are more likely to be within reach and readers can at least try to relate to buying one and dream. There are many other boats that could fit this mold too. My point being the more readers that could think of buying one, the more likely they are to buy your story.

I'd also recommend reading a bit, you can start by reading about this guy;

When Teen Sailor Robin Lee Graham Came Home from His Epic Voyage, the Really Rough Weather Began : People.com

This is also a good read;

The Downside of Circumnavigating | Cruising World

I am sure others will chime in a with a LOT more than this but it is a place to start.

You don't have to do something to write a story about something but you do have to understand it. Sebastian Junger did a pretty good job with The Perfect Storm as a book. We won't discuss the movie.
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Old 19-03-2013, 10:16   #8
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Having done the NaNoWriMo a couple of years ago, my advice is just to write, write, write. That's the whole purpose and should be you goal. Momentum and drive. You can work out those minute details later. Just hit your 40-60k word goal.
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Old 19-03-2013, 12:21   #9
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Tinker Traveller makes it an interesting circumnavigation.
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Old 19-03-2013, 17:41   #10
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

My wife writes, and setting up a plausible situation in the first place can avoid problems later, and help add details that make the story better. We just went to a talk by the author of "Lifeboat". She carefully researched lifeboats of the period (e.g. Titanic) before plugging in her word processor. Two different boats for solo circumnavigation would need to be big enough to hold sufficient supplies, but small enough for one person to handle. Recent RTW racers have found out what happens when on-board machines fool them into thinking they can handle a bigger boat. When the machines malfunction, they end up dropping out of the race. Plus or minus 40' is probably around the right size. Though Chichester made his trip on a 60 footer, he spent the entire time complaining about being overtired (and other things). Do your sailors plan to stop en route? Standard production boats designed for coastwise cruising might have problems standing up to the conditions they are likely to encounter at sea. Big flat sections of hull, deck, or cabin are prone to flexing and failing when tons of seawater bash against them. Practical Sailor editors have said that the J/35 is one of the FEW production boats they would consider sailing transatlantic. Hinckleys are probably a good bet, Bristols, or Morris Yachts as well, but they get pricey. Steve Dashew liked his Columbia 50, but that was twenty or so years ago, and they may be hard to find. The Pardeys like custom wooden designs. There are all sorts of boats and all sorts of people who like different ones. Interesting idea in any case. Have fun!
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Old 19-03-2013, 18:12   #11
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Thanks!

My characters aren't racing... at least not the whole way. There will certainly be single-leg races, but only between the two of them.

SaltyMonkey - I've done seven NaNo months so far and I've won each one. There are always a lot of details to work out later... but I do need a really good idea of what each boat looks like inside and out. That is, after all, my setting for the majority of the book. I'm a very visual person, so I like to have a very good picture in my mind of what things look like.

As for why a monohull... I understand single-hulled boats. Sure, I've only been sailing once... but motor boats, canoes, kayaks, and river boats, I know pretty well. And I have a pretty good grasp of the basic physics involved - things like hull speed and how sails work (Thanks to the various sailors who stopped at our dock in Alaska and got me off on the right foot with that, as well as letting us "cave girls" explore their floating homes!), stability and buoyancy. Plus, I have a good mental map of how the "indoor" space of the boat works on a monohull. Not so much once you start putting more hulls on there.

I do want to keep both boats the same length, but I'd be interested in giving each character a slightly different hull as Snore suggests, or one old and one new as Ramblingman suggests, or one fiberglass and one wood construction... or anything. I'll look up some of the suggestions that have been made here. And I'll share the boats with you all once I know what I'm doing.

denverd0n: Lake Davenport is about a 45 minute drive from me, and that's the closest place with sailing. Money is short, there isn't any at the moment to throw at learning to sail.
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Old 19-03-2013, 18:27   #12
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mimstrel View Post
I'm thinking that the two characters would choose different boats, but they should be similar.
No. They should be identical. Otherwise the race is about the boats, not the characters.

Two Westsail 32s?
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Old 19-03-2013, 18:55   #13
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

psk125 - Yes, my sailors will be stopping en route. I was thinking around 35' to 40' size for the boats, so good to know I was at a reasonable size there. I'm not a rely-on-machines type of person myself (I don't have any problem with making use of machines... but I want to know that I can do what's needed without NEEDING the machines) so my protagonists tend not to be, either.

Bash - like I said, it's not a race. Except maybe a "hey, I bet I can get from here to our next stop before you can!" once in a while... and there's something to be said for understanding your own boat and how it handles in particular conditions... and different conditions will give different boats the advantage, right? You have to have the right combination of hull, sails, and sailor.
And with all that said... nobody said these two are going to be fair with each other when they do say "let's race."
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Old 19-03-2013, 19:03   #14
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

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Bash - like I said, it's not a race. Except maybe a "hey, I bet I can get from here to our next stop before you can!" once in a while... "
I'm sorry, that's not possible. When there are two boats on the water, it's a race, even when they claim to be cruisers who don't care how fast they're going.

Trust me on this one. It's a race. If it's not a race, they're not sailors.
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Old 19-03-2013, 19:09   #15
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Re: Recommended boats (research for a fiction story)

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I'm sorry, that's not possible. When there are two boats on the water, it's a race, even when they claim to be cruisers who don't care how fast they're going.

Trust me on this one. It's a race. If it's not a race, they're not sailors.
They just might be cruisers.
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