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Old 16-02-2015, 12:51   #1
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True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

I'm posing the question based on production trends of the last 20+ years.

Hulls are getting flatter, beamier and lighter. Fewer handholds are to be found, while fin keels and spade rudders have replaced full keels and skegs.

Cockpits are designed for entertainment in port, rather than to protect the crew while offshore. Storage and tankage have been replaced by pop up TV's and wide living spaces.

Have most boat builders acknowledged that to survive in today's marketplace means designing their boats for 7 day charters in fair weather conditions? That fewer people today choose to cross oceans, but are permanent members of the 'jet set'?

Will the tiny production numbers of Oyster, Hallberg-Rassy and the like be enough to keep the blue water boat tradition alive?

Will boats of this caliber be seen as charming reminders of days gone by, like the era of the schooner?
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:07   #2
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

There have been endless threads around this topic already. The short answers seem to be:
1. One's personal opinion of a "blue water boat" design is meaningless in reality. Build quality is most important.
2. None of those features you list as not BW are necessarily not BW.
3. Those manufacturer's you list (Oyster, HR) and others no longer make boats that fit your described criteria of BW, so that tradition is already dead for you.
4. Manufacturers make boats that sell, not boats that fit a minority opinion.
5. Your opinion is narrow indeed - where do you place all of those multihulls running around the world and crossing oceans? Just lucky? They fit none of your "BW" criteria.

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Old 16-02-2015, 13:15   #3
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Offshore cruisers make up less than 1% of the market so its a niche market at best. The entry level boats seem to serve the other 99% just fine. There are many cruisers in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Med that don't need tough offshore boats as the entry level production boats do just fine in these areas. Actually the cockpits and layouts below also work well for these cruising areas as well. The builders are giving the buyers exactly what they want, big affordable space that still sails well in most cases.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:17   #4
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

I'd say it's a different world now, the 21st century where you have almost instantaneous contact with anyone, anywhere.

I liken the old BW designs to the old Range Rover of the 60's, not much tougher vehicle has ever been made, slow, down on power, no luxuries at all, but nearly bullet proof and if it did break, very easy to make a field repair.
But truth is, those attributes are very rarely needed anymore
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:19   #5
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

I'm firmly in the camp that belives that it is much more prudent and cost effective to take an older, proven design boat(assuming of course it had been well kept by POs), have her upgraded/refitted/updated and have a great vessel for the next 20 years than to sink one's money into one of these newish eggshell corky wave slammers.

Back in Nov 2013 I attended an auction of an early 80s Swan 47 which ended up selling for $186K. Having just returned from a circumnavigation it probably needed another $50-75K +/- in refits and upgrades, may be $100K or thereabout. But in the end one would have a great proven blue water monster of a boat for under $300K. Find me such boat today new for under $1mil.

That said I think the reason for manufacturers not coming up with sturdy models and cutting corners, etc. is the fact that the market is flooded with perfectly decent used boats of good provenance and in decent shape which can be brought up to Lloyd's standard for well under $500K including the purchase price. Usually under $300K. That cools them off tremendously as they found a way to pitch theirs shpiel to the "status symbol" crowd who wouldn't know a Swan from a Bayliner. And as far as a profit margin is concerned, of course it is much greater churning out 50s ft Hanses and Hunters and selling them for $400-500K than building an 80s Swan-like blue water monsters and pricing them competitively.

Once at a boat show, a boatbuilder friend of mine just for kicks jotted down his "cost" estimate for such a Hanse 44 we were checking out. It came to exactly half of the asking price and included shipping and fitting out. So all this crying by manufacturers about their low margins is crock. Especially if you consider that most volume producers today do their building in lower cost areas - eastern parts of Germany (which still have cheaper labor than its western parts), Poland, China, Turkey, etc. They would never be able to squeeze as much profit from a well built model.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:25   #6
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by robert sailor View Post
Offshore cruisers make up less than 1% of the market so its a niche market at best. The entry level boats seem to serve the other 99% just fine. There are many cruisers in the Caribbean, Mexico and the Med that don't need tough offshore boats as the entry level production boats do just fine in these areas. Actually the cockpits and layouts below also work well for these cruising areas as well. The builders are giving the buyers exactly what they want, big affordable space that still sails well in most cases.
It is more than just "entry level" boats. Even the higher end market has moved away from the slack-bilge, full-keel, barn-door rudder, ridiculously-heavy displacement types of boats.

As it also has with the double-enders, ketches, low-aspect sail plans, etc, which are often thought as necessary for BW.

While it moved away from glopping on 4" of mat and woven roving every where as a testament to build strength.

Those features never were required for, or even indicative of, "blue water", and most boats are safer without those features.

They are just temporarily stuck in our collective conscious as such for just a little while longer.

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Old 16-02-2015, 13:26   #7
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
I'm posing the question based on production trends of the last 20+ years.

Hulls are getting flatter, beamier and lighter. Fewer handholds are to be found, while fin keels and spade rudders have replaced full keels and skegs.

Cockpits are designed for entertainment in port, rather than to protect the crew while offshore. Storage and tankage have been replaced by pop up TV's and wide living spaces.

Have most boat builders acknowledged that to survive in today's marketplace means designing their boats for 7 day charters in fair weather conditions? That fewer people today choose to cross oceans, but are permanent members of the 'jet set'?

Will the tiny production numbers of Oyster, Hallberg-Rassy and the like be enough to keep the blue water boat tradition alive?

Will boats of this caliber be seen as charming reminders of days gone by, like the era of the schooner?
Hi Julie.

I think you have an interesting topic started. Of course there have been many threads about "what is a Blue Water Boat" and others proclaiming that today's productions boats are blue water capable.

I think the common conception of "Blue Water Boat" will change with time, as things evolve. Styles change just as technology and materials change.

For example, there are many cruising catamarans out there "cruising" and some making long voyages across oceans. I would be happy to be aboard some for a long cruise. So, those might not fit the old definition of "Blue Water Boat" but they may become part of the new concept of what that means, as more and more of them successfully cruise and voyage in "blue water."

That said, I also appreciate your topic from the standpoint of how difficult it may be to find a newer or new "traditional" "Blue Water Boat" that is not circa 1980s.

I think in the future, those sailors who find the old "blue water boat" characteristics (e.g. overbuilt, heavy-duty, watertight compartments, small portlights, lots of storage, etc.) appealing will probably gravitate towards what some now call "expedition boats" (which seems to be a growing segment).

Anyway, that is my first response.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:29   #8
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pirate Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

They've Always/Never existed in the sense you mean..
Except in the mind of the 'Old Salt's'....
"They don't build em like they used to... everyone knows a hollowed out trunks the way to go.. these bamboo catamarans won't get anywhere.."
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:30   #9
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
That said I think the reason for manufacturers not coming up with sturdy models and cutting corners, etc. is the fact that the market is flooded with perfectly decent used boats of good provenance and in decent shape which can be brought up to Lloyd's standard for well under $500K including the purchase price.
Oyster, Swan, HR, and many others are now building high-quality boats that are sturdy and do not cut corners.

However, they are no longer building boats that fit the OP's criteria of "blue water" designs.

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Old 16-02-2015, 13:30   #10
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
I'm posing the question based on production trends of the last 20+ years.

Hulls are getting flatter, beamier and lighter. Fewer handholds are to be found, while fin keels and spade rudders have replaced full keels and skegs.

Cockpits are designed for entertainment in port, rather than to protect the crew while offshore. Storage and tankage have been replaced by pop up TV's and wide living spaces.

Have most boat builders acknowledged that to survive in today's marketplace means designing their boats for 7 day charters in fair weather conditions? That fewer people today choose to cross oceans, but are permanent members of the 'jet set'?

Will the tiny production numbers of Oyster, Hallberg-Rassy and the like be enough to keep the blue water boat tradition alive?

Will boats of this caliber be seen as charming reminders of days gone by, like the era of the schooner?
My impression is you are right ... (except about beam and flatness. Think; "Spray") Even HR has caved in a bit.
I've seen enough of failures from light building, spade rudders etc to form my own opinion. Each of us has to do that .
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:42   #11
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JulieMac View Post
Will the tiny production numbers of Oyster, Hallberg-Rassy and the like be enough to keep the blue water boat tradition alive?

Will boats of this caliber be seen as charming reminders of days gone by, like the era of the schooner?
The "blue water boat tradition" has always experienced ongoing evolution. When Valiants hit the market, they got poo-pooed for having a fin keel. Then a few of them won ocean races and held records for circumnavigations and the tune changed.

It's no different now. Lighter, stronger materials, different production techniques, changes in boat design philosophies, objectives, and criteria and the landscape continues to change.

Things like "handholds" are a red herring. It's as though people believe that if the boat did not come with them that it was not designed from the keep up as a "bluewater boat" and so cannot possibly pass muster.

You can always add handholds.

I think the enduring criteria for blue water boats will be build quality and stability characteristics while everything else will continue to morph and change. Look at the new Hinckley you started a thread about. Yes it makes a great cocktail boat, but it's probably not going to be a half-bad passage maker either.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:50   #12
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

Quote:
Originally Posted by colemj View Post
There have been endless threads around this topic already. The short answers seem to be:
1. One's personal opinion of a "blue water boat" design is meaningless in reality. Build quality is most important.
2. None of those features you list as not BW are necessarily not BW.
3. Those manufacturer's you list (Oyster, HR) and others no longer make boats that fit your described criteria of BW, so that tradition is already dead for you.
4. Manufacturers make boats that sell, not boats that fit a minority opinion.
5. Your opinion is narrow indeed - where do you place all of those multihulls running around the world and crossing oceans? Just lucky? They fit none of your "BW" criteria.

Mark
+1

Lots and lots of "non BW" boats out there circumnavigating without any problems whatsoever.

Time and technology have moved on - get with it.
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Old 16-02-2015, 13:52   #13
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

[QUOTE=colemj;1750609]It is more than just "entry level" boats. Even the higher end market has moved away from the slack-bilge, full-keel, barn-door rudder, ridiculously-heavy displacement types of boats.

As it also has with the double-enders, ketches, low-aspect sail plans, etc, which are often thought as necessary for BW.

While it moved away from glopping on 4" of mat and woven roving every where as a testament to build strength.

Those features never were required for, or even indicative of, "blue water", and most boats are safer without those features.

They are just temporarily stuck in our collective conscious as such for just a little while longer.

Mark[/QU

Who every suggested long keeled boats with barn door rudders?? Who ever suggested heavy displacement as the best offshore boats?? Certainly not me although they have their following and do make decent passage makers.
Me personally im sort of in the middle. Well built without full liners and skeg hung rudders and fin keels. Boats in the low 40 foot range that can quite easily make 170 mile days in a good breeze and Still sail well in light air. Good storage and decent tankage.
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Old 16-02-2015, 14:00   #14
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

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Who every suggested long keeled boats with barn door rudders?? Who ever suggested heavy displacement as the best offshore boats??
The OP. I was just pointing out that the design features found on "entry-level" boats (the focus of your post) are also being found on new higher-end boats.

These newer design features are not exclusive of "blue water", and those old-time features I listed never made a boat "blue water".

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Old 16-02-2015, 14:03   #15
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Re: True blue water boat extinction a fait accompli?

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Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I'd say it's a different world now, the 21st century where you have almost instantaneous contact with anyone, anywhere.

I liken the old BW designs to the old Range Rover of the 60's, not much tougher vehicle has ever been made, slow, down on power, no luxuries at all, but nearly bullet proof and if it did break, very easy to make a field repair.
But truth is, those attributes are very rarely needed anymore
The first Range Rover was built in 1970, and was a luxury off-road vehicle. Do you mean Land Rover?
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