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Production Boats / Circumnavigaton DISCUSSION

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Sep 25, 2008
Bristol 43.3 Perth Amboy
Excellent Point reinforced by history

Let me offer a 'fundamental' difference between the FUNCTIONAL structural needs of blue water and coastal designs.

First, a blue water boat should be designed and built so that the boat can withstand long term survivability of extreme weather, and afford reasonable protection of the crew and no matter the 'experience' of the crew' ... A boat that is purposely built to REPEATEDELY and often withstand the MAXIMUM that 'mother nature' can provide and do so for long (materials 'fatigue' considerations).

A 'coastal' cruising boat should be able to the withstand a brief or relatively short period of maximum weather and sea state ... because it 'can' easily run for safe harbor and to avoid the average 'maximum' conditions.

The structural differences are the blue water boat is usually designed at 3 to 4 times the calculated strength for 'normal' maximum conditions expected. The Coastal boat is normally designed at 2 to 2.5 times the calculated strength for 'normal' mqximum conditions expected. That is a BIG difference!!!!!!!!

Yes, a lightweight flimsy Clorox Bottle or even a Magregor 26X 'can' do a circumnavigation .... but, and a VERY important BUT is, that the lightweight Clorox Bottle has a higher 'probability' by its 'design strength' of becoming 'broken' in comparison to a 'blue water' boat .... by a factor or 3:2. (or 4:2 for when comparing to the 'top quality' Blue Water boats). And this is a far different consideration than the boats being compared 'LOOK the same' or have experienced or non-experienced crews, etc. Also, you have to ask why these 'customary' safety factors have evolved to establish the 'scantlings' that yield 'coastal' or 'offshore .... that answer is those that didnt have sufficient scantlings numbers simply had a higher failure rate for the service intended.
Just because a coastal design LOOKS LIKE a purpose-built blue water boat doesnt make it a blue water boat. The FUNDAMENTAL considerations / differences of a blue water designed boat is its purposely built 'stronger' than a coastal designed boat and thus has a much greater probability of surviving long term in the 'open ocean'.

Its the structural NUMBERS that makes the difference, not what you 'think' or assume.
Rich's point has been reinforced time and time again by history. For example, in the first around the world alone race, quite a number of the boats started to fall apart fairly early in the race. The 2 Westerlys had major structural problems.

A friend of mine's brother is an internationally known sailor. On one of his early deliveries from the NE to Bermuda on a relatively new Seidelman, the boat started to fall apart in what only would be considered moderate offshore conditions. Inadequate backing of the keel bolts and skeg.

Its nice to have a boat that will take care of you in heavy weather rather than you taking care of her!
May 24, 2004
CC 30 South Florida
Yes, I agree, there are places like Cape Horn where the expression, Coastal Cruising, can take a whole new meaning.
Feb 21, 2010
Beneteau 31 St-Lawrence river
I am not an expert on "sea" or "coastal".... I have crossed the Atlantic ocean three times on a C&C Landfall 38. The boat was equipped for oceangoing but was not modified structurally or otherwise.
I suffered through the outskirts of Isabel (2003) and Delta (2005); I had relatively little damage.
The boat was over 20 years old at the time and beginning to show age! She wasn't very dry and not extremely user-friendly. I logged over 20,000NM on her before selling her.
Though it was a "lake" or "coastal" boat it took a hell of a beating and stood up quite well.
Pierre Desrosiers


May 31, 2004
Catalina 28 Branford

Well now, some of those modifications probably do knock Mr. Baldwin out of contention for this thread. I remembered that the Atom had been modified, but not so extensively. I won't argue with Maine Sail's decision to "disqualify" the Triton circumnavigation; after all, its his thread. However, I disagree that an unmodified Triton is a "blue water" boat. It may have a full keel and attached rudder, but so did every boat back then. And if you have ever sailed on one, you know that they are tender and have so little freeboard at the cockpit that they are a wet ride. Blue water style - yes. As my wife says of the moored Triton we pass every time we go sailing: "it looks like Popeye's boat".
Oct 3, 2011
Tayana 52 Jax
Hunter 433 1991 -Blue water boat?

My wife and I bought an ex Moorings Hunter 433, 1991 vintage in 2001. We lived on the boat and made comfort and system modifications - nothing structural. We left Florida in 2006 and sailed to Australia, arriving in 2007. (341 days)
We suffered no structural problems, didn't break anything on the boat, didn't injure ourselves etc and sold the boat after a survey in Australia. Were we dumb, lucky or both - I don't think so.
Aug 29, 2011
Catalina 27 mobile
First this is not a survey it is simply a list I would like to see because I am curious.

Secondly if you or anyone else can post the same type of data where any of these production boats "broke apart", and that was the cause of the sinking, I would love to see that too...
there is a very big difference in a catalina 27 and a contessa 26,the contessa has a full keel.the catalina is completely not at all a blue water boat.the catalina 27s that made long voyages were beefed up.im in the process of beefing mine up now, and i am realizing that to attempt a long passage in a factory cat27 is a bit suicidal.
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