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Old 14-12-2014, 04:46   #1
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A new breed of sailor?

I think the title is a little bit misleading, but it is the only way I can broach the subject and come out of the closet.

From my teens on I have been involved in boating in one form or another. I started with 17 foot outboard powered fishing boats then move to a 24 foot sailing boat, then to a 19 foot Seawych which was used on an inland lake for a number of years. Then a variety of boats, both motor and sail leading to a sailing vessel which I sailed from the UK to Majorca in the 80s.

When I moved to America, I again had a series of boats, a couple of sailboats that were unsuitable in the main for the area I lived in. As a keen fisherman I work my way up from flats boats to a 42 foot offshore power cruiser for fishing.

Along the way I fell in love with sailing catamarans, and have pulled the trigger on three but in each case for different reasons the sale did not progress.

At the moment, I have a small Westerly Centaur for piddling around in the Bristol Channel and further if I desire. It's a lovely boat. It was well cared for before I got it and has been cleaned and polished and all the little details have been taking care of that makes it a reliable safe and able coastal cruiser.

Recently I took the time to evaluate my interest in in boating, and why I would pick a sailboat over a motor cruiser. First there is the cost in operating the vessel, then there is the absolute delight in sitting in a vessel powered only by the wind. On a beautiful warm day I don't believe there is anything finer to experience on the water.

However boating is not made up of continuous beautiful warm days. I also am not keen on the continuous heeling of a sailing vessel. I find the chore of having to put everything away before commencing sailing a drag. Yes I know it is something that you get used to doing, but you only have to forget one cup somewhere and you will find liquid spilled all over the place. For this reason and several others I turned to catamarans as the answer. The differences in sailing action and stability in the vessels were enough to persuade me to look for my next sailing vessel to be a catamaran. I have had the pleasure of test sailing and spending days aboard different catamarans with friends who own catamarans.

As an amateur sailor who likes the ease of operation of a powered vessel, along with the main operations and steering centre inside the cabin or wheelhouse, and not keen on sailing for miles on a sharp angle, I look for catamarans that would fulfil this purpose. I never did see the point of having a fixed steering position open to all the elements and being the only place to steer the vessel regardless of the weather. I also did not see the point in having to go forward to work on the sails instead of having everything running to the cockpit.

I believe, I am one of a growing number of boaters who love sailing but are looking for a crossover experience with some of the advantages from motorboats incorporated into a sailing vessel. I readily admit to not being a sailing purist. It would seem that Broadblue and Tag have recognised us as being the new market for sailing vessels. Broadblue more especially as they have designed the vessel with everything in the cockpit including all the lines and winches. (Broadblue have still retained a movable steering tiller at the rear of the vessel for those nice days or for people who prefer traditional methods of sailing). Tag have made a complete dedicated sailing area in front of the cockpit windows, usually wasted space on a catamaran.) and this area they have made only lacks a steering wheel, but one can control the vessel using the autopilot. A lot of catamarans on the market can control the vessel from a portable handheld autopilot device, but I prefer the motor vessel like steering position as adopted by Broadblue.

I don't believe it makes a person desiring this less of a sailor. People like what they like and as long as it is safe, practical, and allows the captain to fulfil the purpose of sailing the vessel in a variety of conditions in comfort, then I don't see why it should be the province of Motor vessels only.

Unfortunately as with all new innovations the cost is way beyond my pocket. The Tag 60 is around $3 million and the Broadblue goes up to $2 million. However the concept has been adopted and in time I see it going into production for smaller vessels.

I recently placed a video of the Broadblue on CF and a lot of the traditional sailors did not like it. I can understand this, but as someone who loves sailing and boats, I also do not like the necessity of handling sails in the traditional manner which has seen little improvement over hundreds of years, this is not to say that sails themselves, the masts the operation of the actual mechanics of raising and lowering sails have not improved, but the methodology involved has not changed. Broadblue as a company did not try to reinvent the wheel, but they did consolidate the entire steering and sail operations into one location internally and as such have simplified the whole process and obviated the need for anybody to be on deck for sail handling except for zipping the mainsail into the bag when it is no longer required.

People have different reasons for going sailing. Some like being out in all weathers and running forward trimming, adjusting and generally playing with the rig. I don't mind doing this for an hour or two, but if on a long passage I would prefer to have the convenience that I found in my motorised offshore cruiser and be warm and dry and stable. I believe the new breed of catamarans fulfil this criteria for me and I eagerly await each new development in the future.

Broadblue


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Old 14-12-2014, 05:02   #2
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

I can't say as I saw the video, or am familiar with which the design you're referring to, but... Have you looked at Chris White's Atlantic series catamarans? They feature the bridgedeck cabin aft, with the cockpit between it & the mast. So yes, you do have to go out through the front of the cabin in order to trim, or raise & lower sails. However, you can steer from inside or out, & the view from inside the bridgedeck cabin is Extraordinary. They're truly a unique design, & concept. And some even have aft cockpits in addition to the forward ones.

The kicker being that they can be had on the used market for FAR less than the numbers which you quoted. I just saw one recently for $349k, asking. Although that's not necessarily representative of their price range. And I state as much, as I haven't looked at what they cost, for the numbers are out of my league, ditto on the $ required for upkeep on a cat that big.

Still, they're worth a look.
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Old 14-12-2014, 05:46   #3
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

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Old 14-12-2014, 07:25   #4
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Weavis - you don't need to defend your preferences.

There are cats out there that meet more of your stated preferences than you may realize, as suggested by UNCIVILIZED. I can operate my boat entirely from the cockpit (without going forward) until I want to use light air sails or attach/detach the bridle from the anchor chain. You would have to do the same on the Broadblue example. I can steer from anywhere using the AP remote or from the nav station using the AP control located there. All of this is common for many boats. Good luck in your quest.

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Old 14-12-2014, 07:36   #5
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Yes, lots of boats for many years have had designs where everything is run to the cockpit. On ours (1998), I can do absolutely all sail handling, in all conditions, without ever getting off the helm seat. Well, except for raising and lowering the Code 0 on its furler, but I can unfurl it and trim it from the cockpit.

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Old 14-12-2014, 12:32   #6
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

I used to wonder why not 'drive' a sailboat from the front, but the reason to be in the back not just because the manual tiller would be there, but it lets you SEE the sails, which is kinda important.

The electronic control center for all the lines looks about as complicated as it can get.

This boat seems to me a lot like the early 90's Dodge Stealth VR-4,
which was the peak of stuffing every kind of technology into one car, all electronically controlled, all-wheel-drive, all-wheel-steering, traction control, twin-turbo, fuel-injected, everything. It was an amazing performing car, blew everything else away. Until it stopped working. It was pretty much impossible to fix it. Cars like this become worthless when they get older.
Compare that to the Dodge Viper, a priceless gem, its performance from a simple big monster v10 motor with real wheel drive, no high-tech.

I suppose my point is take a really complicated sailing boat and now make it even dramatically more complicated using electronic controls, in order to make it simple. I can't imagine anything even more prone to failures.
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Old 14-12-2014, 17:11   #7
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Seems like dragging a bunch of wet lines into the middle of the cabin would not be that much fun.
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Old 14-12-2014, 17:13   #8
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Seems like dragging a bunch of wet lines into the middle of the cabin would not be that much fun.
LOL
Theres an electric winch for that. Push the button.
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Old 14-12-2014, 18:20   #9
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Both the Antares 44 and FF46 provide sheltered helms without the need for wet weather gear.

Antares Yachts: Building the World's Best Liveaboard Catamaran

Designs - FreeFlow 46
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Old 14-12-2014, 18:21   #10
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

I watched the video on the Broadblue 550, & sorry, but IMO, you'd miss WAY too many of the small details essential to sailing well if you're inside all of the time. And that's not just my opinion, it's obvious on the salesman/skipper's face with him just tacking the boat under ideal conditions.
Honestly, he doesn't have full control of the boat through one of the most basic maneuvers in sailing. And while he's trying to keep his cool, he knows as much as well. Also, he is TOTALLY instrument dependent (to know what the boat is doing).

Plus being inside all of the time, you don't/can't have any real feel for what shape the sails & gear are in, thus you can't head off failures before they happen (SIC).
And with that much automation, you're going to have a LOT of failures. I mean look at how much maint. you have to do on a standard boat. If you then automate everything, multiply that figure by 5 at least.
So you'll be perpetually stuck at the dock, or in the yard, fixing things. And or stuck in a port, not of your choosing, waiting for a part to be shipped in, or a technician to fly out to fix one of it's high-tech gadgets.
The latter statement is fact, as the more complicated a vessel is, the more TLC it needs (in this case, of the highly specialized type, most likely).

Realistically speaking, on a 40'er or there abouts, you're getting close to the level where you need a full time maintenance guy (or the crew to do said chores). Or definitely by the time you get to 50', if the boat's used a lot. And that's on a standard vessel.
I can dig up the math, complied by experts if you like.

Also, being inside like that, & everything being automated, there are a myriad of failures which I can think up that could lead to hazarding the vessel, other dangerous situations, or VERY expensive goofs.

My opinion, that company will be belly up inside of 2 years. Ain't trying to be rude, just calling it how I see it.


If you look at the Dashew's Sundeer & other lines of sailboats, the Vast majority of sail handling, trimming, etc. chores, can be handled from inside of the protection of the hard dodger. Where you also still maintain contact with both the vessel, and the big picture. And their boats are far from the only ones configured thusly.
Such is about as automated, & sheltered as I care to get (and consider wise/safe).

PS: With being inside all of the time, & that level of automation, I have trouble really calling it sailing. Why not just buy something with twin V8's and be done with it?
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Old 14-12-2014, 18:51   #11
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by weavis View Post
LOL
Theres an electric winch for that. Push the button.
I'm talking about bringing in all the wetness/water.

If you think the lines will always be neatly and only in the pockets/bins, well..........
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Old 14-12-2014, 18:59   #12
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
I'm talking about bringing in all the wetness/water.
Well the video shows that the central Mast and line position is self draining. I guess there would not be too much wet. As nothing has to be touched, it will do the task assigned.

Aesthetically, I would look for a less obtrusive method of doing the job but it still is a fine concept. Eventually I see everything as enclosed but it will take time to work out the details.
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Old 14-12-2014, 19:12   #13
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

All innovations meet resistance until the objections are diminished in time by the simple fact that the new project works.

I LIKE the concept. I dont want v8s strapped on the boat, I want a sailboat. At the outset I did say traditional sailors WOULD NOT LIKE IT. Its a completely different feel and approach to sailing.

The same resistance is between Multi and Mono boats. BOTH work and work well. But both camps deny the right to choice based on preference. Weird that.

In time we will be seeing this working. Im not the only one liking the concept. I could name at least 3 major manufacturers prototyping aspects of this type of setup. Broadblue have put their money into working on it. DazCats designed it. The vessel is fast and efficient and selling.

You dont have to like it. Your reasons may be logical given that you only know how to sail in the prescribed manner. When the manner changes, so do attitudes. Maybe it needs a nonsuch type rig to work really well.

Its a forward looking concept. Im with it.
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Old 14-12-2014, 19:18   #14
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post

My opinion, that company will be belly up inside of 2 years. Ain't trying to be rude, just calling it how I see it.
Established 2001
76 employees.
Turnover 20 million pa
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Old 14-12-2014, 19:45   #15
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Re: A new breed of sailor?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Therapy View Post
Seems like dragging a bunch of wet lines into the middle of the cabin would not be that much fun.
they thought of that
theres a catch bucket and self draining sump right under them
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