I've been reading this with interest - being an armchair circumnavigator myself (done quite a bit of sailing the last 20 years but no vast crossings), pondering upon the same questions as in the original post - and having spent a great deal researching the questions for a long time - I am still non the wiser. I do still believe I have a few cents of calue to add to the discussion. Please don't chop my head
off - this is my first post (been an avid reader for years).
Regardless what type of construction you fancy or think is better, I think most of us will have to get used to the "new" concepts and construction means of your typical low displacement
floating condo with a spade rudder
and a vulnerable keel - and a design that is also inferior in terms of heaving to.
Virtually everey single boat
manufacturer has abandoned the old concepts, even reputable brands such as Halberg Rassy, Moody, Amel... The old are a dying breed - and in due time there simply won't be enough old specimens still around to satisfy each and everyone's individual tastes for the old - atleast if money
is an issue.
Another point to be made. The hull
of a boat
constitutes about +/- 20% of total costs, regardless of which common material used (steel, wood
or fiberglass). So, what will depreciate more - allmost completely refitting an ancient hull
of old design or partially refitting a 10-20 year old hull of newish design? My assumption is the first.
My greatest and only fear of going for a production is a collision
with a whale or container on a long crossing - leading to a loss of rudder
, rudder jamming or even worse - the rudder tearing a large hole that sinks the boat. The second is tearing off the rudder - though I assume the latter is is an extremely rare occurence. As for the spade rudder, I wonder how legitimate these fears actually are. Sure, there are many instances you hear of - then again, spade rudders must vastly outnumber any other rudder design crossing oceans this day and age? How probable is a crash mid ocean? How significantly more secure will you be with a skeg rudder? Will it survive 99% percent of the time where a spade rudder would fail or 1%? Also, to what degree will a side mounted vind wane with individual rudder sace your vacon in a collision
with a whake ir container - will they both be ripped off? These are the questions I want answers to.
As for a crash or grounding closer to shore, I am less fearful. Losing the boat is not a big fear, losing life is. I trust my seamanship enough to mitigate offshore
and inshore risks to a tolerable level. As for fire aboard, they all burn perfectly well and don't affect my purchase
"Capable" and "suitable" are very different things. I've participated in trans-african enduro rallies, totally unassisted, riding a classic
Vespa scooter - up against purpose built cars, trucks, quads and notorcycles. I finished last. I could have taken my dakar bike or enduro - I made the right choice.
A production cruiser, like the Vespa, has proven itself many times to be capable of travelling very long distances in very inhospitable environments - it can't be disputed - it's a fact. But are they the most suitable - ofcourse not. Are they terrible? Maybe not as much as thise who have not tried it on for size thinks? Shall we believe all those who have actually done it and gives two thums up, or those that have not and give production cruisers two thumbs down? To what extent did those that made it round the world
play with fate and just got lucky? For me it is this latter question that really matters. How dangerous is it? Hom much more dangerous is it relative to a large displacement
boat with skegged rudder, etc, etc?
For me personally I really want/wish the production boat to be relatively safe - but is it - that's the question that needs ansering. The number one reason is that for the vast majority of time, I (and most others) will be at anchor
or sail under moderste to easy conditions - and I want an awesone floating condo for those times and not a constricted dungeon. I would also go to great lengths trying to avoid terrible conditions or pushing the envelope on any system. This I believe to ve true for many that ask these questions.
access to updated real time information on weather
, etc - a sailor today is in a total different position to mitigate risks than 20 years ago. If ice bergs or Cape Horn is not on my bucket list, but rather live comfortably aboard a boat as I veeeeery slooooowly circumnavigate - is a production boat such a terrible choice?
As for tankage, storage
, hand holds, strengthening a piece here and there, etc, etc - I'm confident that these issues can be adequately worked out - not perfectly, but adequately for those long does passages and the occasional rough conditions.
When it comes to a budget
, I am overwhelmingly confident in a production boat giving a tremendous more bang for buck for my needs (and others like ne) - presupposing ofcourse it is moderately safe (which is the only question that matters to me and that I can't find a good answer to - which I also assume the original poster wants answers to).
On a last point. I belong to the breed that do not fear new designs, concepts and technologies - and more often than not see it as progress. Where some find watermakers complicated and tedious, I find rain collection systems, carrying cans long distances, purifying water
every bit snd bob frequently, etc - far more tedious and complete cated than learning
how to fix broken tech and prepare myself for such instances - including having water
colkection as backup. If it can be designed and be built by man, another man can learn how to repair
it - it's not voodoo magic - only knowledge.
My guess is that few concepts have been more tried, tested and improved upon, than the boats that are turned out in the thousands by a single
manufacturer... Production cruisers if the last 30 years.
On a last point. I think that some of you have in this post treated your fellow sailor in ways that your mothers would be ashamed of. I think you ought to apologize and make friends again.