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Old 06-08-2010, 09:42   #16
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I will add this one point, though. We had done a lot to learn before heading out. Taken classes, sailed as much as we could, chartered a few times, worked our way up from easy to more challenging. But, we had still not done any off shore passages. We knew "about" them, but hadn't done them. Yet, here we were, with our boat, about to do exactly that.

Now, lots of people would just bite the bullet and go for it. I'm not criticizing them, by the way. However, I'm a fairly risk averse person, and I knew enough to know that I had not tested what I "thought" I knew versus the actual knowledge gained from experience.

We ended up contacting a captain/instructor that used to do the PDQ University courses. We hired her specifically to vet us out, on the water, doing the off shore stuff. I'm really glad we did that. She stayed with us for two weeks and worked our butts off, on our own boat, in off shore conditions and everything in between. That included purposefully seeking out some nastier conditions to stress us and make sure we could do it while under her very experienced supervision.

She wasn't cheap, that's true, but worth every penny and the generous tip, too!


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Old 06-08-2010, 09:52   #17
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it took us nearly ten years to FINALLY

Denny and Diane
Lagoon 37
"The only way to get a good crew is to marry one." -Eric Hiscock
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:12   #18
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We actually looked at boats for ten years. In that time we bare boat chartered as many different boats as possible. It allowed us to learn about the subtle differences between different cats. The good thing is if I made a dumb mistake, which were many, the charter company fixes the screw up J.
A cat is really spacious and comfortable to sail/livaboard. If you don’t load them down they are also fast. But as “Sunspot Baby” and I will testify to if you live aboard you will loose speed but gain comfort!!!
If you are interested, our web page goes into our trials and tribulations of selecting our boat/home.
Denny and Diane
Lagoon 37
"The only way to get a good crew is to marry one." -Eric Hiscock
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Old 07-08-2010, 06:19   #19
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"Not (some) from RSA" - well maybe.

But you can also say: not from Oz.

A bad boat can be built everywhere.

If you have a specific bad experience with a particular make probably just name the one that did not deliver.

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Old 13-08-2010, 13:58   #20
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Lets look at the question of safety:

What you want to do is to try to look at this systematically. Identify the risks. Identify the impact and probability of those risks and then find mitigation strategies for each and how that may or may not work into the configuration of a boat.

For example, we've been doing this since 1996, and from seeing friends doing this over the years I put the risks as:

1) losing an engine at the wrong time. You can go one of two different directions with this, either have redundant engines or have enough spares and enough knowledge that you can try to repair almost everything. The problem with the second strategy is you can almost never fully anticipate everything that would go wrong, you can't repair everything, and you may not have the ability to repair it in time. If you can do redundancy, this will move the likelyhood of an engine failure causing you to abandon your boat or get severe damage due to engine failure from probably say 1/100 to 1/10000. I'd actually put the probability of engine failure at 70% for a year long cruise because something leaks, gets clogged, gets wrapped, comes loose, etc. It's just a question of when it happens, how vulnerable will you be? Will you be underway with good sails in a nice wind or out in a storm with ripped sails? If it's the latter, you'll be abandoning your boat at sea as happened to friends of ours, the captain of which was extremely experienced.

2) Loss of steering. Again, really common. I'd guess for the circumnavigating families that I personally know I think it hit more than 50% of them who were sailing a 5 to 10 year old boat or older. Tiller and emergency tiller are crucial, make sure your boat has them.

3) Impact with a channel marker, or another boat, or a log. This is probably just a question of when, not if. I wouldn't be surprised if some unlucky guy has had all three happen to them on the same trip. A steel boat is one answer, or having a nylon/steel rubrails like our boat extending down the bows and along the perimeter of boat with 6 ft long crash compartments and water tight chambers in the bows and transoms.

4) Something coming loose and flooding the boat before you can fix it. A really big portable bilge pump and wooden bungs on all the through hulls will help this.

From there, there are a hundred different things that can happen, capsize, lightning strike, etc. each a distinct possibility. Go through your list and talk to people, insurance reps would be a good start and ask them why people loose boats when on long trips and then you decide how you want to mitigate it. These issues may help answer your question on what type of boat you want. But from our experience, engine issues and steering issues are by far and away the most likely issues. I guess it makes sense, they are both vital and they are both typically complex with lots of moving parts.
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Old 13-08-2010, 18:44   #21
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What's going to make any boat safe is the captain. Experience & knolwedge will keep you safe. Many make without either, but in my opinion they are lucky. Every boat is a compromise. BEST WISHES in finding a vessel to serve you & yours well........i2f
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Old 13-08-2010, 22:27   #22
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Originally Posted by YADO View Post
Wow, I am really surprised to read that you would "have made the same trip in a 45' monohull..." I really wish you would and that you would cover the trip as extensively in writing as you did with your Privilege! That would be a fascinating read and I know that I and many others have great respect for both your opinions and writing/publishing skills. Seriously, the same journey but in a monohull........I'll buy the book and dvds.
I have a lot offshore experience in monohulls from 36-63' and depending on conditions, get tossed around when below. I have zero offshore in a cat, Bahama charter only, so I'm wondering if you get tossed around as violantly in a cat? It's the brutality of being below in weather, offshore in a mono, that made the idea of a cat a better fit for my wife.
Just wondering.........
I was ready to sail around the world in a Westsail 42, but my wife doesn't like heeling over, so we ended up in a catamaran.

When Gulf War I happened, we were getting hit by Scud missles in Riyadh, and we decided to take a break from the war because nobody in the family liked dodging scud missles. We were evacuated out of Riyadh, and we ended up in Florida for about six weeks. I looked at a Westsail 42 in Tampa/St. Pete, and I considered making an offer on her. It just so happened that the Miami boat show was happening that week, and we drove down to Miami and looked at the yachts. When my wife got on a catamaran, the handwriting was on the wall. She would be willing to sail around the world on a catamaran that did not heel. And when she went for a demonstration sail, my fate was fixed. There would be a catamaran in our life.

If I was sailing offshore in a monohull, I would probably do it in a yacht with a low aspect rig and high initial stability to make my wife most comfortable. Except for rolling downwind, I like the motion of a monohull better than a catamaran. The motion is less quick and more predictable on the monohulls on which I have sailed. If I was doing a lot of high latitude sailing, I would much prefer a monohull because I can't afford a large enough catamaran to suit me for high latitude sailing. I want a humongous bridgedeck clearance if I am going to do high latitude sailing in a catamaran.

We wanted to do a tradewind circumnavigation, and so a catamaran worked very well for that. Cats are awesome downwind sailing vessels in the trades, and there is no rolling to contend with. My wife also felt safer having collision bulkheads, five water tight compartments, two engines, two rudders, and two steering wheels. All of those things made it easier for her to feel confident offshore.

We once had a large hole knocked in the bow of our boat, and only a liter of water entered the small space in front of the forward collision bulkhead. That imparts a lot of confidence when sailing offshore in tsunami debris and when there are logs and containers in the water. The same hole would have sunk my Westsail 32 or my Renegade 27 in five minutes. Of course, I don't think the collision would have punched a hole in the bow of my Westsail 32.

I have to admit that when I sail offshore, I do feel safer in my relatively unsinkable catamaran. I know that if I ever flip Exit Only over, I will have a very expensive life raft.

My major worry offshore is fire or explosion from propane.

I really like my catamaran, and I have lots of confidence in her ability to keep us safe in rough weather. But if my wife had not wanted level sailing, I would have probably gone on the same voyage in a heavy displacement monohull. I would have spent substantially less money on a monohull than I did on my new Privilege 39 catamaran. I would have found a vessel coming off a cruise with full cruising gear, fixed what needed to be fixed, and then set sail. I am sure I could have spent 100-150k less on the front end of the trip.

Dave -Sailing Vessel Exit Only
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