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Old 24-12-2021, 13:41   #46
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

Although not made anymore our Hans Christian 34 was as close to perfect as we could get.. was a good sailing boat. For example we sailed from Long Beach California through the Panama canal and up to Washington DC. The first 1,200 miles we ran the engine 30 hours. Most of those hours were for entering Anchorages. We rode out 60+knots over a 24 hour period. Cutter so sails were easy to handle.
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Old 24-12-2021, 13:51   #47
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

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Ribe16: my advice: discount all post where posters extoll features of or their boats! Noticable in many posts: opinion getting presented as fact; avoid, Ribe16!
What? Of course peoples' boats represent their opinions. This makes their opinions even more genuine as they bought the boat that represents what they value.

Didn't the OP ask for opinions? What else is there? what is a fact anyway regarding cruiser design?

So the OP should only take the opinions of people who don't back up their opinions with actions? Confused :-)

Yes I have a Valiant 42. It is much longer than the OP's wishes yet even in my advanced years I easily single hand it. My 100# wife can manage the sails. It is a true cutter. It has a relatively small main and a yankee and staysail. All manageable. It is very seaworthy. It has a head at the companionway. It has a safe cockpit and hard dodger. I reef at the mast. I see all the sails from the cockpit. It is a relatively fast boat on all points of sail. The only thing I need any help to support is asym spinnaker sailing. My opinion of the best single hand boat around. All informed by my values and experiences. But please disregard this :-)
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Old 24-12-2021, 14:40   #48
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

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What? Of course peoples' boats represent their opinions. This makes their opinions even more genuine as they bought the boat that represents what they value.
Some of us have sailed/delivered a lot of boats. Conceivably our opinions are more objective.

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Yes I have a Valiant 42.
Like them a lot. Good performance, good layout, dependent on original commissioning and previous owner work.
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Old 24-12-2021, 15:51   #49
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

An interesting question, and like asking a question to 10 economists you will get ten different answers, as we all have different sailing lived experiences and there have been some very interesting and thought provoking answers posted. Having sailed 37 foot steel ketches and also 34 foot timber sloops, along with some GRP boats I have some opnions on this. First the word budget comes to mind and then look at possible designs to fit the brief. Check out the ARC Rally fleet and one can get a good idea of what ocean voyagers are sailing these days. Yacht design and materials technology has evolved a lot in 50 years, and whereas 40 years ago I wouldnít have entertained some of the current designs, being a one eyed traditionalist that I was and still partly am. For me now a boat that can make good passage times, do well in light airs as well as the rough stuff and also be easily sailed single or short handed is the choice, mostly I sail solo so safety and physically manageable is key. Lengths of 34-38 feet is my optimum choice, sloop with sail plan option that includes cutter rig with roller furling and well thought out mainsail reefing arrangements, the latter having proved its worth when caught out. I would never go back to tiller steering and I love the dual helm positions even on smaller yachts now. Someone mentioned skeg mounted rudders which I like and which is hard to get on new yachts although even smaller yachts are getting twin rudder designs now. Draught is an important point as it improves access options and longer keel designs allow this. There are a lot of people happily sailing French designs (Beneteau) and the Danish Hallberg Rassy being my ultimate wish list cruising boat (Center cockpit design has a lot going for it) as well as some great American designs out there (Island Packet being one of my favorites). Someone mentioned Hans Christian 34, a really great cruising boat. For me sailing and handling efficiency and then as you spend most time moored somewhere liveability is next criteria. If you haven't cruised or sailed before go charter a few different modern designs and see what you think before buying or try and crew on a few different designs. Tour some marina's and see whether you can have a day out to assess.
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Old 24-12-2021, 20:17   #50
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

TLDR - get the best Valiant 40/42 you can afford. Otherwise, for your budget explore the Taiwanese overbuilt FG Perry knockoffs from the 80s. Hans Christians, Tahshing, Baba, etc.

A big part of the answer to your question is where you think you'll spend the majority of your time. If you're sailing the oceans and not, say, gunkholing around the Med, then single-handing a bigger boat is feasible, and desirable. If you like exploring other countries and doing land based activities, then something more tight quarters capable is required.

After crossing the Atlantic in our Valiant 42 and spending 2.5 years in the Med here are some things to consider:
  • <12m LOA (check) - longer boats cost more in every way.
  • Mooring stern-to the norm in the Med, so a flat stern preferred for passerelles. We usually go bow-in and step off the bowsprit.
  • Maneuverability and speed - fin keel much, much better than full.
  • Ketch. Pretty, but there's a reason they're rare these days. Cutter rig is faster and still flexible, esp with double roller furlers.
  • Really reliable engine unless you're a purist. If you sail full time, then you'll want lighter weight for lighter airs, but the flexibility a true cutter buys you for when it blows up. There's either too little or too much wind in the Med.
  • Steel is a great material, but (see all previous comments...). Aluminum too expensive. Solid FG just about right.
  • If you're really into exploration, a draft of <5' and steppable mast will get you up the rivers of Portugal and down the canals of France.
  • Livability should never be underestimated. We got a Valiant 42 because I'm 6'3" and wanted to stand up inside my boat and still single-hand if I have to.
  • Two steering systems. An autopilot and a windvane. Windvanes are essential for long passages and autopilot (hydraulic) for the rest of the time.
  • Pilot house only if you plan to stay in the Baltic for the winter. We have a full canvas enclosure that is the envy of every European. A hard dodger is very valuable.
  • Get an AIS send and receive unit. That more than most anything will probably save your life these days.
Good luck! Don't think too long or you'll never get off the dock.
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Old 25-12-2021, 04:25   #51
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

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Good luck! Don't think too long or you'll never get off the dock.
It's a rare person who does an extended refit without putting things on the boat that either aren't used or end up being taken off to make room for something found to be more important. The best thing you can do during a refit is go sailing. Organize projects and schedules so you can go sailing for a few days. First this gives you incremental shakedown which reduces risk and--for contracted work--reduces warranty grief. Second it gives you fresh eyes to look at the rest of your list and reconsider.
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Old 25-12-2021, 11:55   #52
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

When we were ready to leave there were about a dozen things that we thought would be nice to have, but didn't really know for sure.

We bought the stuff and left. As time went on we either installed some of the items or sold them to other cruisers

If we waited to install everything we would still be tied to the dock.
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Old 26-12-2021, 11:34   #53
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

I suggest you look at a Brent Swain 36. Steel, wheelhouse, a low aspect ratio very strong keel, skeg rudder. Sloop rig. They are a good cruising boat, well liked by those who own them.
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Old 27-12-2021, 03:37   #54
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

If you are not very experienced I would definitely suggest a smaller boat rather than bigger. In fact, in my view most people overestimate the room (including storage) they need on a boat, especially when they are sailing single-handed. A couple is different of course, one also needs to account for what is best described as "social space". But in terms of actual space and storage: crossing oceans is not done every day and passages are mostly done in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. So heaps of storage is less crucial than one might think. I think overall a smaller boat, easier to handle under difficult weather conditions has definite advantages. Of course they are also much cheaper to buy and maintain. The perfect boat in terms of design, stability, safety and all other factors to consider? A Vertue of course, many have crossed oceans despite their small size and so-called lack of storage. There is nothing that has ever been designed that even comes close:

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/vertue
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Old 27-12-2021, 04:00   #55
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If you are not very experienced I would definitely suggest a smaller boat rather than bigger. In fact, in my view most people overestimate the room (including storage) they need on a boat, especially when they are sailing single-handed. A couple is different of course, one also needs to account for what is best described as "social space". But in terms of actual space and storage: crossing oceans is not done every day and passages are mostly done in a matter of days, rather than weeks or months. So heaps of storage is less crucial than one might think. I think overall a smaller boat, easier to handle under difficult weather conditions has definite advantages. Of course they are also much cheaper to buy and maintain. The perfect boat in terms of design, stability, safety and all other factors to consider? A Vertue of course, many have crossed oceans despite their small size and so-called lack of storage. There is nothing that has ever been designed that even comes close:

https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/vertue
Wharrams blow them away mate.. even his 21ftrs have circumnavigated..
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Old 27-12-2021, 04:43   #56
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

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Wharrams blow them away mate.. even his 21ftrs have circumnavigated..
If I didnít already have loads of sweat and cash invested in my steel ketch, I would be highly tempted by a Wharram cat. They really appeal to me. Of course, you need room for two or three girls.
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Old 27-12-2021, 06:51   #57
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

The OP's list is kinda similar to my list before I bought my boat.
Needless to say , I soon found out that I could not find a boat who ticked all the boxes and still sailed at all.

I ended up with a Jeanneau Espace 1000DL.

Not a steel boat , not a ketch or yawl , not skeg hung rudder, and not a crazy strong (and heavy) boat.

What I prioritized in the end was decent tankage, indoor steering, simple rig with all controls at the helm, 2-position inner forestay , and a solid GRP hull wich is easy to repair. The boat is decent fast on all points of sail too.

My boat came with hydraulic indoor steering wich has been nothing but trouble. I consider removing it alltogether , and use a joystick connected to the solenoid outputs of the autopilot.

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Old 27-12-2021, 07:38   #58
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

I find this idea that indoor steering is necessary troubling. Unless you are planning high latitude sailing, indoor steering makes little sense. Even on our passage from Hawaii to Washington (25 days) we had little need for indoor steering. A good sprayhood and a big bimini took care of most of the issues. Admittedly, it was cold - we were warmly dressed. This summer we will sail to alaska and we still don't see the need for indoor steering.

Certainly, when sailing coastal, the increased visibility of steering from the cockpit without a big pilot house is an advantage
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Old 27-12-2021, 07:57   #59
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Re: Opinion on bluewater sailboat characteristics

I agree. Unless you plan to to sail the southern ocean, you don’t need inside steering (although my Joshua 40 does have it). Real cruisers never steer anyway. That’s what windvanes or auto pilots are for. We’ve sailed our boat many thousands of miles but except for one interminable trip down the ICW, have hand steered less than 10 hours total.. maybe less than 5 hours. Steering is boring and an utter waste of time. Let the vane do it while you do other things, and stay out of the sun/weather.
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