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Old 09-09-2014, 08:00   #1
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The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

Someone posted a question about what is the best 55' to 65' cruising boat. I thought to post on that thread, but then lost it, and then decided it would be best to start a new one. I have been actually thinking about this question a lot lately, having lived on my 54' boat (about 60' LOA) for the last four months and having sailed her 3000 miles this summer. This gave me plenty of opportunity to reflect on her virtues and shortcomings.


While we’re fantasizing, I actually have a list of qualities I would want on a boat of this class. To my knowledge no boat has ever been made which nearly fulfills them, although this class is crowded with beautiful designs built by Oyster, Contest, Hylas, Discovery, and others. This is based on considerable experience on board my own boat which is nearly in this class – 54 feet on deck, about 60 feet LOA – with all of her plusses and minuses. Here is the list of issues I came up with:

1. Dinghy storage. The plague of cruising boats, I think. I have powered davits which have been extremely troublesome. Plus they look like ****, add windage, etc, etc, etc. This is not the way. If one were designing a 60 to 65 foot yacht, I think a better solution could be found. I don’t like the dinghy garages of Hanses and others, because (a) they occupy an enormous amount of hull volume needed for other purposes; and (b) they require a big fat stern, which I don’t like and don’t think is best for seaworthiness. I think the best compromise for this is probably storage on deck in chocks– on an extended afterdeck with a deck crane. If the boat were designed for this, I think a really good solution could be devised which does not interfere with lazarette or swim platform access.

2. Walk in engine room with workshop. With fully designed rational storage for a full complement of tools, spares, and supplies. Nice workbench with vice. With fully designed installation, giving excellent access, for charger/inverter, fuel polishing, watermaker, central heating, and all the other gear which otherwise gets stuck in inaccessible nooks and crannies.

3. Deck storage adequate for a decent sail inventory, ropes, etc. Modern cruising boats, especially for some reason large cruising boats, don't have any room at all for storage of any extra sails -- this is crazy (result of maximizing living space at the expense of storage and technical space). Life raft locker in the afterdeck like on my boat.

4. A separate space with a couple of pipe cots and a small heads compartment where professional crew could live. This could be combined with (3) in a space between anchor locker and forepeak cabin, as I have seen on some larger Swans.

5. Much more storage below. Storage for linens. Plenty of hanging locker space. Storage for life jackets and safety gear. Galley with plenty of storage for food for a long voyage. Dedicated storage for grab bag and EPIRB. If I started with my own boat as the starting point, I would gladly reduce interior spaces by 20% and rededicate these to storage. For a boat 10 feet longer than mine, I would devote practically all the additional hull volume to storage, increased engine room, etc.

6. Anchor chain storage not in the bows, but lower down and closer to the center of the boat. Like in the Sundeers. Chain runs through a naval pipe. This prevents the bow from being weighed down by the chain like the situation I have now. One question, however – how do you then keep the bilges separate?

7. Deck storage in much larger proportion to what modern boats have. Enough to store bicycles, fenders, and all the other stuff we need on extended cruises. Thinking about my own boat – if there were a separate sail locker forward, and if my lazarette were lengthened by a meter or so (which might happen when the deck storage for dinghy is created), then this would be fulfilled automatically.

8. Watertight bulkheads and separate bilges in forepeak and lazarette. And maybe get all the through hulls out of the main hull volume like the Sundeers have.

9. Well-engineered electrical system. My boat actually has this, very close to ideal. The main engine should have a high capacity, continuous-duty school bus alternator, and there should be a heavy-duty continuous-duty diesel generator – ideally a Northern Lights. All run through a charger-inverter or bank of them with functionality like Victron (but more reliable), and with all components highly accessible and with room for expansion.

10. Nav station not set down in a cave like mine, but on the contrary raised up higher than the salon level so that one can see out over the bow from there and keep a watch from there. The Discovery 55 has this, but it screws up the salon arrangement IMHO – a better solution than this should be found. Plus the Discovery nav station is far too small. On the contrary, we need a full-sized chart table, adequate storage for a large collection of full-sized paper charts, panels for convenient mounting of full complement of instruments, radios, electrical and electronic controls. Panels should be hinged, with latches, not screwed in place like mine, with plenty of space behind them for future modifications to the systems. Dedicated wall space for handheld VHF’s in their own chargers, hand bearing compass, rigging knife, etc., ready to hand.

11. Ground plane for SSB radio bonded into the hull. I think the Sundeers have this.

12. Raised salon with excellent views from the main salon. Opening (!) front-facing windows which allow one standing in the salon to see out over the bow. As in many Oysters. Views from the salon are just extremely important – the designer should spend a few days on some good catamarans for inspiration.

13. Excellent light and ventilation – six or eight large dorades and plenty of hull ports and hatches. Every cabin deserves at least one hull port (my forward cabins have only hatches), and cross-ventilation.

14. Hull form should be oriented to performance with bulb keel and spade rudder or at least partial skeg rudder, but should not be too beamy, and should not have the fat stern which many modern boats now have. I imagine something like my hull, except 10 feet longer, without any increase in beam (I’m 54 feet on deck and 16 foot beam). Should be an easily driven, somewhat narrow, fast shape. Forefoot not too flat to avoid pounding. Should have nice spring to its sheer and a highish bow for a dry deck, but without excessive freeboard midships. Keel should be deep enough for really good upwind performance (about which more below) – up to maybe 2.80. Keel should be lead, and hull should be fully cored with encapsulated balsa blocks and skinned with Twaron or Kevlar, for very, very high strength, impact resistance, and lightness, for performance and strength. I imagine an easily driven hull with D/L ratio of around 200. Structure should be very massive with particular attention paid to chainplates and bulkheads.

15. Rig should be designed for enough performance to allow the cruising sailor to make meaningful progress dead upwind in strong conditions. This for me is now the sine qua non, after sailing 3000 miles this summer, mostly upwind. The boat should not be overcanvassed – SA/D about 16.5 would be about right for the easily driven hull. Maybe a little more if the rig is carbon. The boat should be designed with extra headsail tracks to allow a blade jib (maybe) to be sheeted well inboard. The boat should be capable of at least 5 knots VMG to windward in any conditions from 12 knots to 30 knots true wind, which means it will need to be capable of plenty of boat speed in a wide range of conditions, and will need to have a tacking angle of well under 100 degrees. This is beyond the capabilities of normal cruising boats, but if I ever buy or build another boat, this will be a firm requirement.

16. The rig might be a lot like what I have now. Towable jib cars (but there should be alternative tracks), wide range mainsheet traveler with dedicated winches. End-sheeted boom. In-mast furling, but with electric or hydraulic furling. Eight to ten cockpit winches with at least four powered. Self-tacking staysail but with some way of shaping the sail – multiple clew attachment points, alternative regular sheets or barber haulers, something. Jumper stays so that running backs are not needed in moderate conditions. Chainplates for code zero or furling gennaker. Carbon whisker pole.

17. Getting around the deck safely at sea should be thought through thoroughly. There should be granny bars at the mast. There should be jack stays in positions which allow one to clip on short enough that you can't fall over the side. Side decks should be wide enough to crawl down safely.

18. Much thought should be invested into livability below on long upwind passages on a heel. No smart-ass remarks from cat sailors here -- we know cats are far superior on this particular point. Bunks should all be arranged with long lee cloths. Handholds everywhere. Maybe a gimballed counter in the galley. Maybe a curved seat at the nav station, with cushioned bracing points or foot rests or something. I have never seen a boat where this was really well worked out. A Swan 90 I spent some time on was a disaster. My own boat has superb handhold rails in the salon, and the galley is well designed to allow you to wedge yourself in, but getting to the heads is a disaster.

19. Cockpit should be designed so that sailors can sail, and guests can lounge, without interfering with each other. Not like mine. A Swan-like dual cockpit is ideal for this, but eats up afterdeck space, so would be incompatible with a good dingy storage solution, I guess. So I don’t know how this would be solved, but the designer should work on it. Maybe dual helm stations would help (on my boat, you can’t get around the wheel in the cockpit without walking over the seats).

20. Glass windshield like a Hallberg Rassy, with a windshield wiper. My boat has a plastic one, which is ok, but not as good as glass. With a large spray hood over that creating a place of shelter in the cockpit.

21. Glass counterweighted sinking washboard and glass scuttle. My boat has this and it is fantastic. Adds a significant quantity of natural light in the salon.

22. Steering should be designed to be practically fail-safe, in every regard. Should be actuated by rods, maybe, or a chain, rather than with cables. Redundant hydraulic rams and pumps for autopilot. Massive rudder bearings, that non-binding spherical type (forgot what they’re called). Probably a partial skeg is required for total reliability, despite performance hit compared to spade (have to think about this tradeoff). Easy access to all steering components. Wind vane incorporating backup rudder, with well-designed control mechanism. Designer should write a manual with detailed emergency procedures for various steering problems.

23. Heavy-duty horizontal windlass with warping drum. Massive Samson post. Proper fairleads for shore lines. Massive cleats and plenty of them. All this is contrary to modern practice to make all this gear sleek and cool looking, but usually undersized and poor in operation. The foredeck on my ideal large cruising boat will not be sleek and chic and cool; on the contrary, it will look like the foredeck of a fishing boat.

24. Central hydronic heating system capable of using and storing waste heat from main engine and genset as well as from a hydronic diesel-fuel powered furnace. Central heating system should also have an electrical resistance heating element powered by a separate shore power connection (which can be used for AC too if that is fitted).

25. Chainplates for Jordan drogue.


OK, well, we can dream, can’t we?
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:24   #2
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

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OK, well, we can dream, can’t we?
Nice writeup DH...

Yes we can.... And now I am... Hmmm.... walk in engine space... bench.. vice....
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:31   #3
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

On boats that size I'm a huge fan of the forward sail locker in which you can put sails, lines, scuba gear, etc. Although in the 60-65' range you can have that, or the crew cabin, but likely not both.

What I would give for a workshop area, but that's something you give up on with an older 40' boat. And don't get me started about dingy storage, particularly if you have a wind vane. Fortunately I have a clear flat cabin top forward of the mast where it can stow, but davits would make life immeasurably easier for anything other than longer passages. Can't have those and a wind vane, sadly.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:31   #4
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

I think you need to add 10 or 20 feet to make this happen. Draw it, write the check, and I'll build it!
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:38   #5
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

I think most of those issues could be resolved with a couple of extra feet in the middle of a yacht:

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Old 09-09-2014, 08:39   #6
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

But for the length, I think you just described our boat. I wouldn't want to wax a 65 ft hull.
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Old 09-09-2014, 08:57   #7
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

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I think you need to add 10 or 20 feet to make this happen. Draw it, write the check, and I'll build it!
Hah! Need to have some big windfall in my business to be able to do that. I'm sure it will be much more expensive than buying a standard Discovery or Contest. I guess it would be somewhere north of $2.5 million.

I would also not draw it myself -- I would hire a good professional designer, maybe Bill Dixon, who designed my present boat.

I would need to fit it inside of 20 meters, as beyond that there are huge added regulations in Europe, plus it becomes impossible to dock anywhere. So about 65 feet is the limit. But I don't need vast interior living spaces, which might even be less than what I have in my present 54' boat. So I feel pretty sure that 65' on deck with a 16' beam would be enough. I imagine something like my boat but with 2.5 meters spliced in between the forepeak cabin and anchor locker for the sail locker/crew cabin, and one meter (or so) spliced into my full-width lazarette. The engine room could grow at the expense of a little smaller salon or aft master cabin or master heads or some combination of all of that. Storage could be added under the salon floor, raised a bit higher. More hull volume will appear in the forward cabins since that space will be wider -- this can likewise be used for more storage.

I am thinking that this boat would have a bit of DNA from the Sundeers in it -- that is, the living spaces of a somewhat smaller boat with greatly expanded technical spaces and longer waterline. But if the Sundeer has living space like a 45' boat, I would not want to go quite that far. And I would not want the boat to be nearly as spartan as the Sundeers, but more like my present boat.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:01   #8
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

Consider one of the custom Yacht builders. You can get exactly what you want.

Something like a Stadship available in sizes 56-70 feet retractable or fixed keel would tick all the boxes.

This is just one example:
Stadtship 58 music / K&M Yachtbuilders

Just promise not to put in your order until K&M have built mine
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:08   #9
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

Dinghy/water toy hangar...

And a helipad -

Just kidding about the helipad but a dinghy hangar would be awesome - no davits, no hoisting.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:08   #10
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

Got to say I personally think 60 - 65' is a bad length range - too big to be easily managed by the owner but too small to be comfortable with pro crew.

But that of course is just my opinion.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:09   #11
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

Howdy!

I enjoyed reading your post above. The topic is one I am sure touches on the desires of many sailors who dream of the perfect boat, and one that is larger than most will have.

You brought up many different desirable features. I think you provided a good list for a start.

While I am sure everyone will have a favorite boat brand/model that fits some of your feature set, while reading your list I kept thinking of different boats I have seen and how they each have some nice points, but often lacking many others.

Some boats are visually appealing. Some have "lineage" or reputations that are desirable. Some look very comfortable (e.g. roomy). Some look impressive but are probably not as impressive as sailing boats.

For me, the "perfect 65 foot cruising boat" for a couple (with occasional visitors/crew or family members aboard) would be a Dashew designed Sundeer in Aluminum. It just seems so "sensible" and well designed for its purpose (extensive cruising by a couple). That said, it is probably "more boat" than I would personally want to handle alone.

Admitedly, at first (25 years ago) I did not like the design as much as some others (the interiors looked plain to me), but over the years I have seen many boat designs and this one continues to impress me favorably every time I look at them. That said, I have also seen that the interiors (appearances) kept by some owners look less than beautiful. The boats were designed to be practical, rather than loaded with carved wood (though I like the look of warm wood interiors).

The Sundeer line also made boats in fiberglass, and here is one example:
1994 TPI Sundeer 64 Hull #6 Sail Boat For Sale - www.yachtworld.com
_________

When I look at currently produced "new" boats in this length, I am looking with open mind to see how the new boats have design features and shapes that are different or new, and some have some very nice comfort "features" but most seem cosmetic or more "condo like" and less aimed at a life on the ocean.

I also feel many of the newer boats (by other lines) are lacking some of the features that impress me with the Dashew designs. A few of those features include:

1. Watertight compartments that are real (and the thru-hull point mentioned above)
2. comfortable doghouse/dodger seating area (partially enclosed)
3. Lots of storage
4. Large engine room.
5. Fast hull shape with very good proven performance (fast passage making)
6. Proven and extensively cruised by couples

While some of those points may be less important to other sailors, I think the combination and having all of them in one boat makes this line/design/boat a top contender for a perfect 65 foot cruiser.
_______

Put simply: there are other yachts that are appealing or impressive at 60-65 feet, but I have not yet found one that makes me think: "That is a better cruising design than a Dashew Sundeer 65 for long passages by a couple.

That said, I would prefer a fully enclosed, forward facing steering station (e.g. a pilothouse) rather than a partially enclosed doghouse.

______

To add to your list of desirable features on a boat this size I would add:

1. Retractable Bow thruster and Stern Thruster for very easy docking when short handed
2. Stowable large array of Solar panels for use in remote achorages
3. Hard bimini top with full cockpit coverage (skin cancer is a killer) with solar panels
4. Electric primary winches
5. Washer and Dryer for laundry
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:30   #12
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

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Got to say I personally think 60 - 65' is a bad length range - too big to be easily managed by the owner but too small to be comfortable with pro crew.

But that of course is just my opinion.
I often wonder about folks who have boats that require a crew. One of the biggest reasons I got the boat I did is that I am able to single hand it myself. I do have guests but more often than not sail by myself.

No boat I could not single hand would be perfect.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:46   #13
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

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Got to say I personally think 60 - 65' is a bad length range - too big to be easily managed by the owner but too small to be comfortable with pro crew.

But that of course is just my opinion.
Something to think about, but the Sundeers, at 64', are fine for management by the owner. My boat, at 54' on deck and 25 tons loaded, is also just fine. I even single hand mine with relative ease, even docking.

I think a longer boat with the same beam as mine ought the be fine. That would be similar to the Sundeer at 65' x 16' versus 64' x 15' -- just a foot wider than the Sundeer. If the displacement is kept under control with a cored hull and turbo engine, the rig will not be hugely larger than mine. With powered furlers and winches, I don't think such a boat would be much harder to sail for a short-handed crew than any normal cruising boat, and probably easier in rough weather.
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Old 09-09-2014, 09:46   #14
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

How about a 78' Cat, 35' beam twin 300+ diesels, can motor over 20 knots,
Shes awesome, we got to see her in the Exumas and were blown awayyyyyy

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Old 09-09-2014, 09:56   #15
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Re: The Perfect 60' to 65' Cruising Boat

i'm selling my 63 footer soon to go cruising on my catamaran,ticks most of your boxes,but will need a refit.
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