Slocum`s Spray

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Elmo, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. Boston

    Boston Previous Member

    well looking back on it all I'd have to say from personal experience as a kid growing up on the cape its a miracle any of us survived it. Only real excuse is a knowledge of the local area and a bit of luck. We regularly got away with doing the dumbest things and yet survived over and over again. Its uncanny how if your friends are watching you invariably find your way out of drowning.

    as a whole we typically had nothing but a life jacket in terms of safety gear. Barely brought water let alone food and sailed the coast of Buzzards and Cape Cod bay almost daily. been blown across the bay and been trashed by heavy choppy water so badly you might as well have been swimming. Thing that always got us buy was we were almost never alone and we always new where the nearest land was and best way to get there. Even if someones boat failed them someone else was not far. We were pretty good at staying in a group.

    Thing is I gotta give old Slocum a lot of credit for being such a good sailor in unfamiliar waters, to me that was the most amazing part of his journeys, that he went blind with marginal charts and just looking at the sky for weather
    looking back on it I'd have to say knowing the area is a major reason I survived childhood
    but Slocum did not have that advantage and so I can only chalk his success up to his skills with a boat
    any boat
    he was after all if I remember right a captain of a large commercial sailing vessel in his days before he struck out on his own
  2. Milan
    Joined: Apr 2005
    Posts: 317
    Likes: 24, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 279
    Location: The Netherlands

    Milan Senior Member

    Slocum spent all of his life at sea, starting his career at very early age, at the very bottom and working his way up all the way to the master of square rigged ships and ship owner. He experienced all of the hardships and learned all of the skills of professional seaman from the age of sail - hardships, hard work and skills that modern recreational sailors can’t even imagine.

    Aside from many memorable voyages he made, he also knew a lot about ship / boatbuilding. I think he was a head of shipyard for a while somewhere in Asia.

    With all that knowledge and experience sailing such a small boat as Spray was easy.
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 1,614
    Likes: 99, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1151
    Location: USA

    BATAAN Senior Member


    The following is edited from a letter I wrote as a reply to an erroneous Slocum article in a NW yachting publication recently. I send it along for what it's worth. Anyone who would condemn Slocum's ship out of hand shows absolute ignorance of coasters, and the usual snobbery of know-it-all modern design concepts based upon narrow academic engineering education instead of broad sea going experience.
    Just a note that my training was 4 years small-boat SAR (actually experience in nautical problems, not theory) in USCG, Mystic Seaport rigging apprenticeship, a 4 year shipwright apprenticeship, 30 years boat and yacht repair and building, museum research and restoration, many tall ships and historic replicas as crew including Captain of Columbus replica Nina etc etc. so I'm not exactly an armchair designer with a narrow experience.
    My name is Peter Bailey and I personally designed, built and have taken to sea for 26 years a modified SPRAY type vessel. She's Port Orford cedar plank on sawn PO cedar frames, commercial build with full caulked ceiling, lots of edge fastenings etc. Very strong, like the tugboats my apprenticeship master Don Arques used to build from WW One and through the fifties.
    BERTIE is a close modification of SPRAY, with a few changes suggested by J. Slocum himself, through his son Victor who was a personal friend and adviser to designer and builder Pete Culler in building Culler's SPRAY at Oxford Maryland in 1929 (so this is handed down from a man who actually sailed, often, on the original SPRAY herself with his father, Joshua Slocum), and then handed down from Pete Culler (who built, owned, sailed and chartered his SPRAY) to me in letters in the late 70s when I was designing BERTIE.
    I have sailed her a great deal since under all conditions. BERTIE's available for persons interested for inspection in Port Townsend. Her full-batten Chinese lug yawl rig is somewhat larger than Slocum's big original gaff sloop rig and she sails very well, remember he was one old man by himself and he shortened the mast, boom and bowsprit a lot in cutting her down into a yawl as his voyage went on.
    So current copies tend to sail accordingly, under-rigged so slow and sluggish under most conditions. With the proper size rig she performs nicely and the Chinese mainsail is much easier to handle than gaff and shapes better, especially in very light and very heavy air. The big standing lug mizzen with its off center running bumkin comes right from English beach yawls, while the staysail and jib head rig owes its ancestry and detailing to the Gloucester sloop-boat with spike bowsprit. The combo is about 1600 sq ft with no light sails needed as we start reducing sail in 10-12 knots by dousing the mizzen (30 seconds needed), which lightens the helm, if more wind drop a half reef in the main, then douse the staysail (about 60 seconds). More wind, put reefs in main, leave jib up. Go down wind in lots of wind use 5 reefed main and whole jib for self steering. Works like a charm. Had to lie a-hull just once in '94 for 2 days on the way to Alaska, lost the sea anchor due to chafe then decided the boat did better without it, just slipping away from the crashing seas.
    Just an introduction to keep the following rants in perspective as to where they come from.
    I wish people would stop perpetuating the same old myths among those sailors who think sailboats were invented yesterday by the smartest people who ever lived as high-aspect-ratio fin-keeled canoes and everything before that was built by Neanderthals with stone tools and sailed worse than a brick.
    Just remember that the stone toolers perfected very cheap and durable boats that carried paying cargoes anywhere in the world they could float, through every kind of weather there is and were vital parts of healthy communities, while we invent very expensive modern boats that carry nothing, mean nothing but the vanity and huge egos of the designer and owner (fast! windward! chrome! varnish!) and sit uselessly idle in marinas flaking away behind barbed wire everywhere. I wonder who's the smartest one.
    Now, take that same modern, windward-optimal under a narrow range of conditions boat, actually take her to sea and force her by stress of weather downwind very very hard... force 6, 7, oh s**t, force 9, no way to heave to, breaking seas, short, way too short and high, hour after hour (at least we're going in the right direction...), and if the vane gear/autopilot fails, the rudder comes out of the water because the skinny bow buries too far, or an exhausted helmsman loses attention, wham, broached or even rolled, tripped by the fin keel. A good modern ocean-racer with a competent crew can use these conditions safely, others should avoid them.
    Now you take my SPRAY-base boat in those same horrible conditions and it literally "sleighs off", leaving a "smooth" that calms the breaking sea to windward and mostly staying in more stable water, immediately to leeward. Again, personal observation many times since we started sailing this boat. Even when she's caught and violently broached, she slides away on that fat wooden side like a big surfboard, every time so far, and that's through the really bad hard gales we've been caught out at sea in since 1984, and I think of bad as force 7-8 and up.
    After the PT Wooden Boat Festival in 2007 my wife Heidi and I yet again took BERTIE back down the 900 mile hill to her then home port of Sausalito CA. On the way we found ourselves stupidly caught in the middle of a dark night force 9 gale 40 miles off of the Oregon/California line, chaotic huge flying pieces of water from all directions, broached, knocked down.... 10pm to 2 am, really really bad conditions until it moderated. About 1 am we were putting a second lashing on the mainsail lurching in the gallows, watching the boat steer herself as a huge breaking sea thunders down us out of the dark, towering over the huge fat transom, hundreds of tons of crashing water about to overwhelm us and..... bloop, she lifts her skirts as she always does and gets out of the way, never swerving or burying the bow or even getting wet most of the time..... and Heidi said "I just had a terrible feeling" I said "What what?" She smiled and yelled "This is fun!"
    Yeah, "fun" like body surfing Mavericks or Banzai pipeline on a big day blindfolded. But I'm just saying this is a very sophisticated and developed design, not some useless scow dock queen. I wish people who condemn a certain design would get some EXPERIENCE in the type first. SPRAY was no longer a shallow Oyster sloop, JS took out the centerboard and raised the deck over a foot, changing it into something else he knew very well from his long life, a common coasting sloop, long bowsprit, topmast, lots of sail.
    SPRAY, and so BERTIE are very close to the Scandinavian cargo cutter "jagtbygget" (Danish) type, a very old and proven general-purpose vessel.
    We have tested BERTIE severely over and over again since launch and people should know some truth about what boats like her can do.
    She's not a windward flyer except in light airs and smooth water, that's when the 1000 square foot Swatow-type Chinese lug sail pulls her long and easy buttocks like a team of mules passing many close-hauled embarrassed modern boats by making much better speed at 65 degrees CMG off the true, than they do at 40, almost stalled out and shivering.
    We make the same 65 degrees at sea, in a swell, for weeks at a time. There's more to going to windward than how high a boat will point in smooth water and light wind. We made a voyage from La Paz (100 miles up inside the Gulf) to San Francisco, over 2200 sea miles in 21 days using 12 gallons of fuel in the spring of 96 in the NE trades, wind two points ahead of the starboard beam for over 3 weeks. Work it out, about 110 miles a day to windward on 35 foot water line. Most modern marconi rigged boats do the "Baja Bash", motorsailing dead to windward in close to shore and make it the 900 miles to San Diego in 21 days if they're lucky while burning lots of hard to find Mexican Pemex fuel because they're reluctant to take their inadequate boats to sea and so do the trip the "safe" way close to shore. If I had such a delicate and trouble-prone vessel as the typical systems-heavy modern racer-cruiser with its "roller-snarler" reefing, I'd do the same thing, afraid some vital bit cracked and left me helpless far at sea. But BERTIE is a combination of antique technologies, all of them simple and easy to repair, which is seldom required by being immensely strong, again through old and proven design. Trial-and-error design over hundreds of years can be superior to book-learned methods from a 4 year engineering program, for some vessels and some uses.
    But it's downwind when a SPRAY really shines. Hundreds of miles out, bound down the hill to California or Mexico I've watched her steer herself for day after day, slamming into the seas incredibly hard and submerging to the top of the bulwarks, the 46 foot 10" deck-diameter solid mast bending like a buggy whip, the 16 foot outboard bowsprit flexing the whole 2" thick foredeck with its 4x6 beams and steel hanging knees up and down as a unit like some huge drum.
    The whole time we don't get wet, things don't break, we don't steer, we get plenty of sleep in our wide 7' long beds, things don't fall off the table, it's easy to cook on the galley close to the rotational center of the boat next to the warm diesel heater. You can walk around the dry deck outside without a thought of holding on wearing carpet slippers. On and on and on. Slocum was right, it's a good boat, even if it wasn't designed under the pressure or influence or fashion of competitive consumption and racing rules, like pretty much everything people think of as "boats" these days. She's just a simple traditional coaster type sloop such as was used for many generations in Europe and America. They call them work boats because they "work" and there were once many thousands of them, the small traditional, built-from-experience coastal sailing craft that did the work that semi-trucks do today. Then we put engines in boats and everything changed, working sail died and was reborn as an innocent and ignorant infant, yachting.
    BERTIE's 23 tons cost without machinery or rig about $15,000 in materials and overhead and three years labor, and will immerse 11" further without changing her handling when loaded with 20,000 pounds (that's 10 useful tons) of paying fish or cargo if it ever comes to that. This makes taking aboard a year's worth of groceries and beer easy in her huge cargo hold without running out of room or safe displacement range. There's a 22 horse SABB 2 blade controllable pitch wheel out under the port quarter, therefore no aperture and a tight faired fit of rudder to stern post, essential for light air response. With this arrangement you give up easy and predictable close quarters maneuverability for very efficient powering at up to 6 knots (no aperture loss) and much better sailing efficiency for the same reason. I use a yuloh to help kick the stern around in marinas and it all works. I guess it's my chinese stern thruster. Our 5 foot draft makes it easy to anchor close-in.
    As to the 1000 foot chinese sail, downwind in the dark with horizontal rain, main pinned to the lee shrouds by the hands of a giant.... required time to put in 1,2,3,4, or 5 reefs is about 90 seconds single handed. Another minute to adjust the helm and sheet and it's back into the warm scuttle to watch steer herself going like a train in a phosphorescent fireworks show complete with a tangled pattern of glowing "dolphin tunnels" as a hundred of the mammals surf by underwater in the steep seas. More coffee?
    I have the stability curve of SPRAY in front of me by NA Cipriano Andrade which shows 35 tons of righting moment at 25 degrees of heel. Flat on the water at 90 degrees there's 10 tons of righting moment, plus add the lift of the immersed deck houses and solid wood mast. From personal experience, having put the masthead in the water to leeward due to the combination of a hard gust, green helmsman and a breaking wave trying to round Punta Gorda in California in 2008, the boat, as always, recovered so fast and violently you had to hang on. Like any sensible sea-going contraption, the hatches are small and down the center line and kept dogged at sea. That time, all we did was break the boom and two of the 2" x 30 foot aluminum pipe battens. Being chinese rig, the repairs took about an hour under rough conditions and we had the main up and working again.
    Slocum did not rise to the top of his profession by going to sea in a vessel that is easily capsized or overwhelmed. He was a master of the sea, and his judgment of the SPRAY was correct, she's a very very fine sea boat, where it counts and in the worst conditions imaginable.
    For a mathematical analysis of the SPRAY by naval architect Cipriano Andrade (and as much about the SPRAY as you will care to know) see "In the Wake of the Spray", by Kenneth Slack, Rutgers Press, 1969.
    Please, when making an opinion on a basic design type that's at least ten times older than any of us are, more hands-on research, less pre-packaged internet-based opinion and re-cycled yachting myth and ignorance packaged as "fact". That's what we get in politics, let's keep it out of boats and the seamanship needed for their safe use crossing the most alien and inhospitable environment on earth, our wonderful sea that connects us all.
    Personally, I think old Josh was run down by a steamer in 1909 as he never did carry running lights, just one kerosene white light and had to sleep sometimes.
    Recent archaeological work on the island of Crete in the Med shows that seafaring hominids were there 130,000 years ago and probably earlier. There has never been a land bridge, you always needed a boat to cross a hundred miles of sea to get to an island you couldn't see. That's a lot of time to develop boat types, and the coasting sloop lasted longer than any, until the age of engines.
    So when you see something old and historical about boats and their use, pay attention, you might learn something. I know I try to. Always remember that the ability of the ocean to, with shocking suddenness, hammer an inadequate vessel of any size or material to bits will never change. Most modern yachts come under the "inadequate" banner. Work boats were developed in a different reality, of heavy cargo, short crews, little capital and no engines. They had to "work" and make a profit or die.
    3 basic rules of boats that cover everything in life:
    Rule #1. Don't be stupid.
    Rule #2. **** happens.
    Rule #3. Bring beer.
    I think Slocum would agree.
    Peter Bailey
    Port Townsend
    2 people like this.
  4. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    You rant allright but I like your rant.
    You are my kind of guy (figure of speach please :D )
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 1,614
    Likes: 99, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1151
    Location: USA

    BATAAN Senior Member

    Bertie Photo

    I tried to attach this to my reply but it didn't work. Trying again.

    Attached Files:

  6. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,025
    Likes: 195, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Finally, we hear from someone with actual experience with the type.

    Most of my statements came from theory and having read a lot of books by and about off shore voyagers.

    The stability curve appears to be a lot greater than I expected. I expected it to run out at around 90 deg.

    Maybe old Josh was run over by a steamer. They were just as bad about having regular lookouts then as they are today.

    My guess is that SPRAY was a casualty of neglect due to the poverty of its owner.
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 1,614
    Likes: 99, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1151
    Location: USA

    BATAAN Senior Member

    Slocum and SPRAY

    We may have all forgotten how before there were semi-trucks and roads, there were the small American sloops, Irish cutters, English ketches, schooners small and large that carried EVERYTHING from manure to sewing machines. The Thames barge penetrated far up every creek and river on the East coast of the UK and the coasts of Belgium, France and Germany with coal or bottled soda water until the 1950s. San Francisco bay scow schooners managed to carry gold seekers to Nome Alaska in 1898-99. I've seen a photo of one anchored off Fort Ross in a horrible breaking swell about 1875. The common workboat is not efficient in engineering terms in that it wastes wind energy in excessive drag, but it is extremely efficient in economic terms in carrying the most the farthest for the least, which are the criteria of its development.
    1 person likes this.
  8. MastMonkey
    Joined: Oct 2009
    Posts: 92
    Likes: 3, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 43
    Location: Cali

    MastMonkey Junior Member

    Slocum's Spray

    I once saw a boat down at the docks that I picked out as different. I couldn't guess what it was. But when I looked at it I liked it. It seemed like the kind of boat I would want. I spent sometime asking around until I found the owner and he told me it was a Spray and had nothing but positive feelings for the boat which he had sailed along the Pacific coast for many years. I researched some more and read some of the disparaging criticisms of her design. Being green and untrained I couldn't readily evaluate any of the claims, but reading Peter's post captures a lot of the magic some like myself might have seen in a boat like the Spray. And with the Junk rig, something I am also a fan of, she is really lovely.
  9. Milan
    Joined: Apr 2005
    Posts: 317
    Likes: 24, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 279
    Location: The Netherlands

    Milan Senior Member

    Yes, same as Dutch coastal barges that sailed regularly to GB, Scandinavia and Russia and occasionally to Mediterranean.

    People indeed often forget when comparing traditional working boats to modern yachts, that almost all types of working sailboats were cargo carriers. (Very few exceptions existed like pilot boats for example). So, comparing displacements doesn’t make a lot of sense. Scantlings of working ships are ridiculously oversized by yachting standards, yet, weight of the hull is small part of total displacement when loaded.

    Hull lines of one type, (“zeetjalk”), of Dutch coastal barges that used to sail along European shores:

    Attached Files:

  10. CT 249
    Joined: Dec 2004
    Posts: 1,701
    Likes: 79, Points: 48, Legacy Rep: 467
    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT 249 Senior Member

    Great post with a lot to agree with, but since you chose to attack modern craft surely you won't complain if we discuss your argument.

    While I can't claim your expertise in traditional craft, didn't they also run a very high loss rate? Of course, one has to allow for their exposure, materials limitations, lack of modern forecasting, communications and clothing etc, but on the other hand they were run by pros with a vast store of knowledge. So were the traditional craft really the acme of perfection in seaworthiness?

    While one understands that beach cobles and Couta boats and oyster draggers and Colin Archers were shaped by their different environments, surely there was also a fair bit of traditionalism, conformity and local pride in their design, as well as other requirements such as hauling nets and running onto beaches? Wouldn't those requirements have interfered with their seaworthiness and to what extent should that be considered when considering them as models for yachts?

    These days were take it for granted that people have their local prejudices (i.e. you play a different type of football to what we play in my state, which is different to what they play down south and in Europe, there are racing dinghies around here that you don't sail and vice versa, etc) so is it fair to assume that such prejudice didn't exist among the builders of traditional craft? Were they actually perfectly open minded and did they have perfect communication with others who were developing working boats, so that they could achieve perfection? Where is the evidence that the working fisherman of Devon, for example, was actually smarter than the stockbroker of SW1 when it came to choosing a craft? Sure, the fisho was more experienced, but wasn't he also influenced by the same sort of vanities and prejudices that produces many modern craft?

    And to what extent are the characteristics that were developed in commercial craft really useful to the typical leisure sailor today? I don't want to carry a lot of cargo, I don't want to easily heave-to to work nets or wait to drop my pilot, but I do want to be able to get upwind quickly, because where I live you have to do a lot of upwind work. The boats I favour have to be able to face a force 9 in an area that is (according to at least some people who have sailed the PNW etc) home of some of the worse seas in the world, yet most of the time we're sailing around short courses. So surely it's reasonable for us to have boats that are different from working craft?

    Interestingly, I know a bunch of pro fishermen and mariners who happily race modern boats offshore, because they accept that the ideal for a pleasure craft for their purposes is different from a working boat ideal. So maybe the criticism of modern boats is unjustified.

    I'm sure there were horse-drawn vehicles that were developed over an equally long period by equally smart people, but perhaps one wouldn't want to use one to get to work this morning. If horse-drawn vehicles or steam engines or traditional medicine or other ancient technologies have been outmoded, why not boat designs?

    Finally, if Spray is the acme of traditional design then she shouldn't be compared to a typical modern boat; surely it's wrong to compare a perfect product from one period to the average product of another. There are modern boats that are fast, seakindly, and safe and very easily handled (for example, while a 90 seconds reef is quik, some modern boats can handle winds from one knot to 30 knots without any sail changes at all).

    I'm fully open to the idea that Spray may have been run down, by the way. I don't know what happened to the early Spray copy Pandora, which also vanished. However, among some people there does seem to be a tendency to blame the disappearance of traditional boats to collisions, while blaming the disappearance of modern boats to a lack of seaworthiness. If collision is a possible cause of one loss, it must also be judged the possible cause of another.

    I would also be interested in hearing if you judged the Liberdade, which Slocum also raved about IIRC, as the model for an ocean cruiser.

    I think there's a glaring factual error in your statement "Then we put engines in boats and everything changed, working sail died and was reborn as an innocent and ignorant infant, yachting." Yachting was a large and strong sport many years before the use of engines in small craft became widespread. There was a vast amount of influence from working craft in early yachts and racing sailboats. The Clyde fishing skiffs were popular racers in the 1800s. The Sandbaggers and similar classes were often working boats in racing guise. Boats like Jolie Brise, winner of the first Fastnet, were working boats turned into ocean racers. The favourite for the first Hobart race was a copy of a fishing smack.

    While you make a good argument for the Spray, maybe you've also fallen into the hate trap. Modern boats can do a lot of things damn well.
  11. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
    Posts: 5,866
    Likes: 299, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 1749
    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    I have to agree CT. I have no problem with boats being specialised, load carriers, shallow drafts etc etc - but if I were doing long passages, being stuck with a 60-65 degree beating angle is not only really tedious, but also dangerous.

    Several long distance sailors have writen about being caught in a lee shore with no motor or anchoring options, and either making it out of embayment (or not) due to their boats pointing ability.

    There are heaps of efficent sailing boat designs that can handle really bad weather but still sail efficiently, and unless there was some other overriding consideration, I consider them a much better choice.
  12. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,025
    Likes: 195, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    I didn't see Bataan's post so much of an attack on modern boats as simply a comparison.

    Traditional boats have their virtues as modern boats have theirs.

    This sorta reminds me of a pissing match between L.F. Herrshoff and and John C. Hanna back in the day. L.F.'s H28 ketch vs. J.C.H's Tahiti Ketch. The H28 was a pretty conventional boat, well designed, of course, and the Tahiti Ketch was one of the first motor sailors, also, arguably well designed. The H28 could probably beat the Tahiti ketch to windward any day of the week and would probably be judged more sea worthy because of it. The Tahiti Ketch would simply fire up its iron topsail and power to windward. The Tahiti Ketch was full and burdensome and could carry a lot of cruising gear and was often used for long voyages. The H28 could carry a respectable amount and was sometimes used for long voyages.

    Each gentlemen was quite happy to viciously attack the other, and this battle went on for years through various sailing periodicals.

    It's interesting to see after some 70 years the same arguing is going on today, with each thinking they own the truth.

    I am sure plenty of modern boats get run down by steamers just as the more traditional ones do.

    The criticism I'm hearing about the sharp nosed modern boats is that they tend to get squirelly when hard pressed down wind and that they have trouble keeping a course down wind without some kind of self steering device. This may well be true. But people owning these modern boats are likely to have such devices, aren't they? Especially if planning long distance down wind voyages.

    As for myself, I don't think either type is inherently better than the other, any more than an apple is better than a coconut. If I lived in the tropics, I certainly wouldn't be trying to grow apples, would I?

    If I was sailing long distances with short funds, I would probably pick a more full keeled traditional type. It can have its bottom cleaned without a haul out and it's long shallow keel is less likely to tangle with uncharted reefs. The self steering device can be a luxury rather than a necessity, as I could do reasonably well without. And its greater heft would make it a more comfortable home on the open ocean.

    If I was an affluent, but time challenged, professional who liked to sail, if for no other reason, than to get away from the constant thu, thu, thu, of internal combustion engines, I would get me a more modern deep fin keeler. Since most of my sailing would be coastal and I would want to avoid using the engine as much as possible, pointing ability would easily reach the top of my priority list, even if I never raced. Being a reasonably well paid professional, it would be reasonable to pay the haul out fees and the slip fees. Occasionally, I would get enough time off to to do an offshore voyage. With my modern deep fin keeler, which I have presumably owned for several years, I wouldn't hesitate.

    Just as with work boats in the past, use conditions pretty much dictated the development of modern sailing yachts.

    IMHO, going out to sea, like flying, is an inherently dangerous enterprise. I think most boats, traditional and modern, that get into trouble, do so because they meet devastating conditions, or because their skippers don't understand them enough.
  13. Brent Swain
    Joined: Mar 2002
    Posts: 951
    Likes: 35, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: -12
    Location: British Columbia

    Brent Swain Member

    Roberts was a shopping cart salesman in Sydney in the 60's . A friend took him sailing on a multihull and he was scared shitless in moderate conditions. Couldn't wait to get back on dry land.He has never cruised extensively offshore, never built a metal boat with his own hands, never owned and maintained an offshore boat for any length of time, and his cruising experience consists of European canal cruising.
    He's a salesman , not a seaman.
  14. dskira

    dskira Previous Member

    A modern cruiser as twice the freeboard of Spray, and nothing underwater beside the fin and a displacement length average of 220
    The Spray close to 550.
    This is the difference.
    No one can afford to do a production boat at 500 or let say at 450, nor 300.Some exception, but very expensive and not very well known.
    So they put freeboard, and since Madame is scare shitless of sailing, so they put a washing machine and little bit of sail, with all the winches even Lewmar didn't invent :D
    This big triangle of sail, remember only two third work. (and I am generous)
    A gaff, full power. But yes take muscle, knowledge and balls.
    Since nobody as balls in the marina, guess what, they buy a plastic toy.

    Of course this is my two cents, and if somebody disagree, it will not change my mind, as I can't change the mind of the one who disagree :p
    Is that philosophic or what :D

  15. BATAAN
    Joined: Apr 2010
    Posts: 1,614
    Likes: 99, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 1151
    Location: USA

    BATAAN Senior Member


    It's really nice to hear good thoughtful opinions about boats here. I wasn't trying to put down modern boats, just give perspective. I have plenty of prejudice about yachting fashion but it comes from 4 years of small boat USCG SAR, pulling marconi boats off the rocks, looking for dead missing crew that fell off of marconi boats thrashing to windward, seeing the owners of same doing incredibly stupid things close to windward of nasty fangy rocks in a big swell because they have such confidence in their technology for overcoming nature.
    But if one tiny overlooked crack in the efficiently small swage fitting on a windward cap shroud causes a failure and the lovely, windwardly efficient, weak mast folds in half to leeward at the spreaders taking the main and headsails with it, and the resultant heavy rolling stirs up the bacterial sludge in the tanks, plugging the filters and killing the engine just as the jib sheet wraps the prop, well try to sail to windward out of that. You can't, you could very much be dead and the CG will look for the body for 3 days amid the expensive fiberglass splinters then quit. The above description times 5 or 6 was a typical weekend when I was in the CG. I cannot remember ever assisting a heavy, windward-weak gaff tahiti ketch or such because they know what their limitations are and stay out of those situations. Seized galvanized rigging can last 70 years, stainless swaged rigging should be replaced after 10 years. A coasting skipper in a crank, empty 100 ton schooner with a crew of 3 that won't stand up to her canvas doesn't go into an embayment unless he knows what the weather will do and he has a strong economic reason like picking up a cargo that pays his wages. Yachtsmen should do the same. A workboat's a truck. You can drive it around empty or put many tons in and drive, it's pretty much the same. A racing yacht's a sports car; you can drive it around empty or drive it around empty. Which one do you take camping for 6 months?
    Slocum was a canny old seaman, knew how to use the wind as a square rigger does, and selected a suitable vessel he could afford for the job. BERTIE is not a perfect boat, such a thing doesn't exist, but she's a wonderful cruiser, a lousy day sailer (too much work), one of the best there is under extreme survival conditions far out at sea (remember I learned in CG rollover surf boats not out of books), and very cheap per ton. I managed to raise 3 kids living aboard for 30 years. Try that on your average 40 footer that costs 10 times as much. Everyone's needs are different, that's why boats are and why boat design is so interesting.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.