Sprays

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by greenwater, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. greenwater
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    greenwater New Member

    I learned about Joshua Slocum's Spray after reading his book and found the Spray's by Bruce Roberts which I like.

    I'm trying to decide on what will be a live-aboard cruiser and I'm comparing the sprays w/ some of the more modern styles cruisers. But I don't quite understand stability, though not for lack of trying, just not that experienced.

    The sprays are really beamy boats, a 46' has a 20' beam. I don't really care about speed as much as I do strength, which is why I'm opting for steel. But I'm wondering how safe such a wide boat is on long distance voyages, how well it would right itself, etc... Just things that people might have had experience with from a Spray type boat.

    Does anyone have an experienced opinion on the Bruce Roberts sprays (specifically the 460 pilot house)? Would you voyage in one? Know anything about them?
     
  2. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    in a word, you can go fast and super strong, and you can go slow
    with your spray you will be frustrated beyond belief beating to weather
    things have moved on since then
    lots people think like you, when they first start thinking boats. but they change:)
     
  3. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I have to agree with lj.

    They *are* great for liveaboard, but dont plan on going very far.

    The idea of a liveabord is that others want to stay with you. Spending weeks at 4 knots on the rolling sea is a real put off.
     
  4. Steam Flyer
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    Steam Flyer Junior Member


    Personally I would not go voyaging in a SPRAY replica, no. They're slow & unhandy, don't go to windward very well either. SPRAY herself eventually killed ol' Captain Slocum, his incredible level of skill & expertise is probably the only thing that allowed him to succeed in his voyages in the original.

    Stability for offshore vessels is a compex problem, but from a standpoint of evaluating a vessel for cruising and long-term living aboard, you don't need to get into great detail. You need to know "Is the vessel stable enough to sail well" by which you mean, does it generate enough sail-carrying power to get moving. Secondly, you want to know how likely it is to survive the worst storm you're likely to sail in... the best answer to that is to not sail in storms (and that's fairly easy in this age of modern communications), but nontheless you want a boat with good watertight integrity (strong secure hatches & ports) and a relatively high 'Limit of Positive Stability.

    A SPRAY replica with a pilothouse is not IMHO going to score high on these tests. It would be a great live-aboard for coastal cruising though.

    FB- Doug
     
  5. greenwater
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    greenwater New Member

    Thanks Doug, That was very helpful info. I found a book 'The Nature of Boats' that I'm reading and still trying to get the info on the boats so that I can run the calc's it asks for to help me find the boat I'd like. It's tough to find some of these numbers on the websites, designers don't seem to post a lot of the numbers.

    I'm liking the Orca '45 by Brewer more and more. :)
     
  6. Gilbert
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    Gilbert Senior Member

    Guy Bernardin, a former solo ocean racer, bought a wooden Spray replica and voyaged around the world with his wife and young son. He wrote a book about it called "Sailing Around the World". Even though he agreed with those who have here stated that it is not much of a boat for sailing against the wind, he absolutely loved the boat for voyaging. He is off voyaging again and you can follow his progress on www.gbsailing.com
    Everyone is entitled to his opinion, but the best opinions about boats are the opinions of people who have actually used a particular one for a good long time.
    If there is anything the Spray would do, it is stand up to her sail. Slocum said he did lots of 8 knot sailing in her. He described her as "wholesome and noble"
     
  7. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    yeah - a wooden one!
    And I dont think the Bruce Roberts 'Spray' design in steel is a 'replica' either.
    Just a fat awkward overbuilt steel lump!
     
  8. FAST FRED
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    FAST FRED Senior Member

    They're slow & unhandy, don't go to windward very well either.

    "Only Fools and Yachtsmen beat to windward".

    Many style world cruises can be done on a reach or a run, and most cruisers today are Auxilaries with a thumpimg big diesel to bash to windward.

    The claimed advantage of Slocums SPRAY was its ability to self steer , before the advent of auto pilots or self steering gears.

    For a live aboard , power boats 3 or 4 stories high are the usual choice , to go cruising , esp voyaging a different choice is needed.

    FF
     
  9. dreamer
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    dreamer Soñadora

    You are enamored with the 'look'. I was too. For its day, Slocums boat was probably better than most. No one went to windward and if they did, they were flogged repeatedly (I'm exaggerating).

    You can find boats that have the 'look' you're after, but actually have modern underbodies that would be safer, more comfortable, and offer better performance. Gerr's 'Nature of Boats' is a good one, but it's a bit esoteric. You might want to try something that's more real world like Bob Perry's new book 'Yacht Design Accorting to Perry'. This is an especially good book as it follows Bob's design history from the 'cruising' style of the T37 up through the hi-tech boats like ICON. His design philosophy changed in that time and you get the impression that what we thought was a sturdy 'crusing' boat (full keel, heavy, short rig - usually cutter) isn't necessarily the best approach.

    As mentioned, SPRAY was great downwind. OTOH, I would be a bit concerned about its stability. A lot of the ballast is up high in the bilges and that makes for a higher CG. My guess is this boat was a bit wallowy and may have contributed to Slocums demise.
     
  10. Steam Flyer
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    Steam Flyer Junior Member

    Agreed, somewhat...

    I agree that the opinion which is most reliable is the one of the person with the direct experience. However, I also bet Guy's replica of Spray has fixed external ballast. He has kept a lot of period rigging, which looks great and I'm sure it also works great *if* you don't mind the labor-intensive nature of the beast. Looks like he has made some pretty good passage times, too.

    If your goal is to follow in Slocum's footsteps, then a SPRAY replica is obviously the thing.

    Anybody up for circumnavigating in Voss's footsteps? ;)

    If what you want is a practical & comfortable cruising boat, then obviously you'd do well to copy some of SPRAY's features which gave her some of her best capabilities... like easy self-steering... so we have a long underwater profile with directional stability, check.... divided rig, check... let's make the boat a little less of a muscle-cracker to sail eh? How about a less maintenance-intensive type construction, and a deck / hatch /port layout that's less prone to leak below?

    And I still insist that boat which cannot go to windward in many conditions (especially rough water) will find herself in trouble on a lee shore, eventually. And avoiding that trouble will *greatly* constrict your voyaging.

    If what you want is a practical cruiser, you can start with a SPRAY replica and improve it to the point where it's not recognizable. Or if you want a SPRAY replica, then don't improve it.... cotton sails and manila rope... and let's hear it for a hauling 60kg fisherman anchor by hand YAY!

    That's the nice thing about the world, everybody can have fun in their own way!

    FB- Doug
     
  11. diwebb
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    diwebb Senior Member

    Hi,
    if you want character that cant get out of the way of a storm then go for the Spray. If you want live aboard comfrt and decent performance look at the Deerfoot range of yachts for a more modern approach to liveaboard offshore passagemaking.
    David
     
  12. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    There are a few subtleties that have not been mentioned here:

    1.) a world cruising yacht does not have to have Sterling upwind performance, just adequate, because most of the time it is going to be sailing either across the wind or down wind,
    2.) Such a boat will spend at least 85% of its time in port with people living aboard (your real good upwind bashers will spend 98% just accruing berth rent), so the wide decks and modest draft of the 'Spray' type really come in handy,
    3.) the modern 'Spray' types (I hesitate to call them replicas) have external ballast. The original had only internal. The modern 'Spray' most certainly has a better range of stability than the original, as well as being able to carry sail longer,
    4.) modern 'Spray' types have much better sail material than the original, further improving their windward performance. ol' Josh probably would have killed to get the stuff we have now, and
    5.) When ol' Josh went out on his last voyage, 'Spray' is said to have been in bad repair. She was built using 'green', unseasoned wood and that later caused problems. Also, the rigging was said to be in dire need of replacing. It seems that ol' Josh was more a victim of poverty than he was of the shortcomings of his boat. Few boats can tolerate sustained neglect, and fewer can get by with as little yard equipment as a full keeled 'Spray' type can. She can stand on her long, shallow, keel and be scraped and repainted during low tides. I would love to see one of these glider wing like, bulb keeled wonders do that.

    Modern boats need steering vanes, electric autopilots, or other mechanical do dads in order to sail down wind well. A 'Spray' type can do without.

    I would not hesitate to go voyaging on such a boat.

    But I would hesitate to get into a tacking duel with a more moder type in one.:eek:
     
  13. SCOWBOY
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    SCOWBOY Junior Member

    Here's a link to Guy Bernadin's Spray hauled out in Chile next to a large fin/bulb keeled ULDB style boat. If the superiority of Spray isn't obvious from this photo (check the other pictures also to get an understanding of why Spray was such a good sea boat) then perhaps the viewers are enamored of fashion and not experience. Guy just finished his latest circumnavigation in the boat the 1st of July '08.

    as for Slocum getting done in by his boat, he probably put to sea in that condition because he couldn't stand all the commenters on the beach (the old equivelant of net forums) making ignorant ill informed remarks about him and his boat. first step read his book.

    you;ll also read about him building a large sailing canoe and sailing it back from Brazil to New England with his wife and daughter. another vessel totally 'unsuited' to ocean sailing.

    which by the way brings up the remark about 4 knots. 4 knots for 24 hours is 96 miles, times 30 days is just under three thousand miles. not too shabby old son. btw anybody who thinks they're going to outrun a storm at sea, ie get out of the way of, is dreaming. better a boat that can survive it and ride it out like a duck. ever see a duck capsize and sink? me neither.

    and Slocum didn't build Spray. she was an old oyster boat to start with, that he repaired, maybe you could rebuilt... and as Arno Day Master Boatbuilder once said to me, "If you took all the green oak out of boats on the Maine coast three quarters of them would sink." Bud McIntosh made a similar comment to me about red oak. You also can't bend oak well when it's seasoned no matter how long you steam or boil it.

    I could go on but it's supper time in the Northeast. and I've worked up an appetite reading these posts.
     
  14. SCOWBOY
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    SCOWBOY Junior Member


  15. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    It wasn't the oak I was talking about. It's the planking.

    I think the real problem, though, was that ol' Josh came upon hard times and wasn't able to keep up with the maintenance of his boat (even though he could do much of if not all the work himself). I know at least the rigging was in need of replacement.

    My guess is even that didn't do him in. Maybe just plain bad luck. He could have been rammed by a steamer that failed to see him.

    Although 'Spray' was originally a derelict lobster boat, so much of it was replaced that the original served mostly as a template from the waterline down. And, from the waterline up, it was purely his invention, as he raised the sides up considerably. I think he also added the keel, as that type usually had a centerboard. I think he kept the original mast placement, though.
     
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