How do I assess if a boat is blue water capable?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by HCB66, May 17, 2020.

  1. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    Looking at buying an old 27 foot sail boat, it seems solid but I'd want to use it for long passages and it needs to be a blue water boat. The owner says its built by a company called "All American" and he can't find any information on them. Any way to know if this boat will handle the open sea?
     
  2. TANSL
    Joined: Sep 2011
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    TANSL Senior Member

    You can see the conditions for a boat to be classified as category "A" in the ISO standards for small boats, fundamentally ISO 12215-5 , 6 and 8 that talk about escantlings and 12217-2 that deals with "Stability and buoyancy assessment and categoriztion for sailing boats of hull length greater than nor equal to 6m".
    There are related the conditions that a boat must meet, in order to be considered as a certain category of navigation. But you will probably need the help of an expert.
     
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Is she one of these?
    https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/american-2627

    If so, then she would need a fair amount of work really to make her 'blue water capable'.
    It can be done - but why do it, if there are other boats already available that are blue water capable, and at much less cost than re-fitting a coastal cruiser like the American 27?

    These folk gutted a Cal 25 32 years ago to make her blue water capable - and they subsequently sailed around the world with her, having two kids on the way.
    https://www.goodoldboat.com/pdfs/JF05MartinDream.pdf
    But they did this because it would have been near impossible to have bought a blue water boat then with the budget that they had available.
    Boats are MUCH cheaper in real terms nowadays - many boats cannot even be given away in the USA, as there is such a glut.

    Re your other post about modifying the boat to sail from inside, the American folk also built a 28' motorsailer -
    https://sailboatdata.com/sailboat/american-28-motor-sailer
     
  4. fallguy
    Joined: Dec 2016
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    fallguy Senior Member

    It is a bad idea to start with uncertainty and an old hull.

    Rather than finding a boat and guessing. It would be better to make a list of affordable known bluewaters..then hunt
     
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  5. HCB66
    Joined: Oct 2017
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    HCB66 Junior Member

    He mentioned American but said his is "All American" it's keel is definitely different, not so long and torpedo shaped. The bow is higher as well.
     
  6. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Many boat can survive worse conditions than the crew. I have sailed in blue water in boats that were not advertised as such. However, I always have everything lashed down or otherwise secured. One of the smallest boats I used for blue water cruising was a 21 foot plywood Sea Fury from the Great Lakes in Canada to North Carolina. Many people by larger boats, which require a lot more physical effort. Also, if things go wrong and break, it is much harder to repair at sea. There are however, boats with hardware that won't last for long even in a gale, let alone a storm. That boat seems some weak spots, like the transom hung rudder and the large side windows. Another major defect are the huge sliding companionway hatches that will break or slide open in a capsize.
     
  7. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    ^---this is exceptionally good free advice
     
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  8. missinginaction
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    missinginaction Senior Member

    Right, right and right. Listen to Gonzo. The first sentence is some of the best advice you'll ever get. Last summer I took my restored Silverton (a powerboat 25.5' LOA) off shore in Lake Ontario. I'm not sure what the technical definition of "blue water" is but I was 20 miles off shore and in about 600' of water for some of the trip. Waves were forecast at 1 to 3 feet and I was taking them from port and aft. The boat was fine. I was a wreck after about an hour into my 6 hour ride. Never worried about my safety, boat never skipped a beat. I reached my destination and got around behind Main Duck Island. Once I got the anchor set I took a nap for about an hour. From then on I promised myself 2 feet or less.
    I'm not prone to motion sickness and used to fly light aircraft when I was young without a problem. It would have been worse if not for the autopilot.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2020
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  9. Will Gilmore
    Joined: Aug 2017
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    Location: Littleton, nh

    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    "How do I assess if a boat is blue water capable?"

    For older boats under 30 feet, you might find a metal plaque stating the boat is MORC (Midget Ocean Racing Club) certified. They certified many small sailboat designs for offshore ocean racing based on their righting characteristics, sail plans and other qualities, such as floatation.

    That doesn't mean they were good boats to cross oceans in, but it's a place to start.

    Do you have pictures of this vessel you are looking at? Quality of hardware and attachment points (backing plates, thru-bolts, etc.) are a good first glance.

    You are asking about a boat before you buy it. That shows you plan ahead and think about what you don't know. Excellent.

    It is unlikely the seller would allow you to, but you could pull the boat over at the dock using the halyard. If it doesn't pop back up on its own after 85 degrees of heel, you might not want that boat.

    How much work does the boat need, just to be in decent sailing condition? What about accommodations, equipment and stowage? How many days at sea are you talking about? Water and fuel for a week or just a long weekend? Second, even third anchor storage, if you travel far into unfamiliar waters. Ice or refrigeration? Room for extra sails and spare rope? Navigation and weather instruments? Radio, life raft, EPIRB, what's on the equipment list? What are you planning for auxiliary power, if any?

    There are a lot of points to make, do just what you're doing, ask questions, don't move too fast and understand the answers.

    -Will (Dragonfly)

     
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  10. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    The USA never had those requirements.
     

  11. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    As the folks on this board know, I am retired Coast Guard and I spent most of my career working in boating safety. Many years ago I stopped counting the number of times the Coast Guard hauled people off of a boat because they couldn't take it anymore and thought they were going to die. But their boat was found, sometimes months later, floating happily. Maybe some damage to sails and rigging, but very little damage to the hull. Usually the boat survives just fine.

    The point is that you don't need a 100 foot yacht to cross the oceans. People have done it in some really small boats. But asking questions is good because there are some things that are better for a boat going offshore. Things like smaller ports rather than large windows that will cave in from a breaking wave, companion way hatches that won't let water in, large scuppers to drain the cockpit. And so on. Keep researching and you will find more. Read books by people who have done it. Talk to the folks over at Cruisers & Sailing Forums https://www.cruisersforum.com/ because they are the people doing what you are asking about.
     
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