whats the best design for cruising??

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by rad..., Jun 20, 2009.

  1. rad...
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    rad... Junior Member

    Hi all, i'm new here and i'm looking for advise on cruising yachts around the
    40' to 50' mark. i had a look at a john pugh designed yacht that i liked but it had a flat, square transom that looked like it would create a fair bit of drag.
    would i be better of looking at something more rounded and smoother on the exit point or does'nt it really make any diference??
    is john pugh a good design?? what about adams, roberts, hartley??? what are they like?? I'll be living on it with my wife and two children so i want a boat that is safe, comfortable, and fast would be nice but not essential.
    I'm leaning towards a center cockpit for room and safety, and ketch rigged for more choice of sail area. looking to do bluewater and coastal cruising.
    any advise or information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks in advance, Rad...:) :)
     
  2. Eric Sponberg
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    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    It is hard to give concise answers to your questions, because many designers create many good designs that are well executed by the builder. Choices and quality vary all over the map. What features work for one person may be different and work not so well for another person. So all in all, there are many right answers, and many wrong ones.

    As far as John Pugh is concerned, he has a very good reputation. But also check the builder's reputation. A well-executed design could be a not-so-well executed boat by the builder.

    A lot depends on how much money you want to spend, and whether you want to buy custom, new or used. Establish your budget and stick to it.

    Always have an in-depth survey done by a qualified marine surveyor before completing the purchase. This will usually discover any faults with the boat which you can take into account in the final price negotiations.

    Personally, I have mixed feelings about stern shape. My wife's and my Bianca 27 that we sailed from England to California had a conventional transom and full length keel. She was a very sea-kindly boat.

    One of my favorite designs (besides my own, of course) is the Fast Passage 39 (also sold as the FP 40) which has a canoe stern. If you have a canoe stern, you necessarily have less cockpit space (in an aft cockpit boat) or less aft cabin space (in an aft cabin boat). The FP 39/40 is a William Garden design, and I just really like its layout.

    I like pilot houses. And I like split rigs. If I go cruising again (which I will someday) and I could not afford one of my own cat ketch designs, I would look for a pilot house ketch of about 40'.

    Other designs that I like: Valiant 40 and 47 (Bob Perry designs--canoe stern). The Pacific Seacraft yachts (Bill Crealock designs). The Shannon 38 and 50 (Walter Schultz designs). The Cambria 44 (David Walters design, which I assisted on the engineering). He also built the Cambria 40, but I had little to do with that design. Still, it comes from a reputable builder. Ted Brewer designs are all pretty good, from various builders. Chuck Paine's boats are all very wholesome and well built, particularly the ones from Morris Yachts. I like the long narrow designs of the Deerfoot style established by Steve Dashew and copied by others--they make a lot of sense in some respects.

    Of the free-standing mast designs, besides my own, the Freedom 44 was from Garry Hoyt's Freedom Yachts, although it was designed by the people on the shop floor during my tenure at TPI as Chief Engineer. It turned out to be a remarkable sailer. I like the Herreshoff cat ketches by Cat Ketch Yachts, the Herreshoff 31 is a particularly able sailer. They also made a few Herreshoff 38's and one or two Herreshoff 45s. They are rare. If you can find one, snatch it up.

    One center cockpit design that has caught my eye that you might like is the Morgan 45. Originally conceived by Harry Scheel, it was taken over for production by Charlie Morgan. I have never been on one, but it looks to be a well-laid-out boat.

    Let's not forget Lynn and Larry Pardey. They popularized the Bristol Channel Cutter type designs from Lyle Hess. Serafyn (24') and Taleisin (30') were their boats and they devoted themselves to minimalist cruising--not lots of bells and whistles there as far as equipment is concerned, but they certainly have lots of cruising talent. They wrote many books about their adventures and their boats. Worth the read.

    Those are some of my thoughts. I would say keep reading. Read the cruising books of Hal Roth, recently deceased and a personal friend. He wrote worlds of advice on long-distance cruising, the latest of which are "How to sail around the world" and "Handling Storms at Sea."

    At the end of the day, you may not be any closer to your goal of which boat to buy. But you will have learned a hell of a lot and will so be more informed on making your choice.

    I hope that helps.

    Eric
     
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  3. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Also check out Cape George cutters (Atkins). Fiberglass hulls married to traditional wood decks and classic interiors. i don't think there are many prettier boats, nor many as rugged.
     
  4. john.G
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    john.G Junior Member

    That's a bit like asking what the best car is for driving... it will depend on where you plan to go. You wont need a four wheel drive on the autobahn... but you wont do so well with a ferrari in the middle of a desert either.

    I'd want a steel hull near ice for instance, or anywhere where there is lots of poorly charted coral. Which is most of the Pacific away from major anchorages.

    I'd want shaol draft for the bahamas... but a deep keel for any high latitudes work etc etc.

    Despite what many say, there is no such thing as a perfect go everywhere boat .... just a selection of compromises that are best suited for a particular application.

    So the question is... where do you think of going?
     
  5. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Horses for Courses

    As others have said, the first thing to do is pick where you're going sailing. Remember that there is certainly no single design that will do it all and be the "best" at everything. Boats, like everything in life, are compromises.

    The following advice is worth exactly what you're paying for it - now that the disclaimer is out of the way....

    1) Sail on a LOT of boats. The more boats (that belong to other people) you go sailing on the better. Get out to sea, not puttering around inside some bay, and see what these boats do. This is much easier than you think. There are the obvious methods of 1) Friends boats, 2) Charter boats, 3) Stolen boats (opps - scratch that). But, it turns out that lots of folks need their boats moved, and lots of them are more than happy to have a spare pair of hands aboard that are willing and good shipmates.

    I have shown up at the dock in San Diego, Panama City, Tahiti, Auckland NZ and just started looking for who needs crew. Never missed yet. It got me rides on LOTS of boats and educated me in a way no chat room, set of brochures, books, or supposed experts could possibly do. Remember variety is what matters, you're not buying these boats, you want to see what it really feels like to go to windward for three days on a gaff headed heavy cutter in a steep chop, or to sail a fin keel boat through giant swells, or to ride at anchor on a ultra light cruising boat. This is a prolonged science experiment. Become totally promiscuous on what sorts of boats you sail - sail 'em all.

    2) Remember that whatever boat you buy - you can always sell it. Folks hold off on going sailing/cruising because they're either waiting for the perfect boat or their fixing something about their boat. Both are frequently bad ideas. Go sailing, learn stuff, it's much better than working on the boat for the "trip of a lifetime" that may or may not come.

    In general, I've found that whenever I have to decide between adding some item to my boat as opposed to just going sailing, I should have always decided to just sail. No trinket, from freezers to flopper-stoppers, is as useful as another week at sea. If you don't like the boat you get, don't rebuild it, enhance it or re-rig it. Sell it.

    Get a boat that someone else has already debugged and sail that one. If you're wrong, unload the poor thing and buy a different one. Which brings me to the last item in this point - really try to buy a boat (not a type of boat, but an actual individual) that has already done what you're going to do. If properly maintained and "enhanced" it will already have almost all the junk you need to do the trip and it will be debugged. I have debugged many boats for owners who bought a "new" boat so everything would be perfect. Nothing on a boat is perfect, but a new boat that hasn't been sorted out is far far far from perfect. Get a veteran, it'll save you money and the previous owner may have learned a lot and fixed a lot doing the trip you want to do - so you won't have to.

    3) We have learned a heck of a lot about yacht design over the last 100 years. What I mean by that is that there are certainly places where it is a real hoot to sail a 100 year old design (I'm doing it in the UK in a couple weeks at the BCYC regatta for old boats.) but most of the time newer designs are better.

    Sure there are trade-offs and yes older designs make your heart strings sing. But there is a massive improvement in knowledge about what boats do that has been accumulated over the last 100 years, and most especially since the acceptance of fibre glass in the '60s. Boats like the Cal-40 really did change everything, just as dramatically as the elimination of the gaff from a mainsail, you should try to take advantage of all that learning. The easiest way is to buy a relatively new design.

    I am NOT recommending designs which are targeted at racing in any way. Rather, I'm suggesting the wonderful cruising designs that incorporate the best that has been learned. This means that I would strongly suggest a fin keel, spade rudder boat. I know that gets the hackles up on a lot of necks, but the boats sail much better and better sailing is safer sailing. I would strongly suggest a boat built in glass or metal, even though I own a wood boat (I'd never cruise in one) and love her to death, she's a toy not something I'd bet my families life on.

    To conclude this point, I would not buy a design that was done prior to about 1960, nor would I buy any of the "traditional" designs that are copies of old boats, nor would I buy anything that was based on the IOR rule as a race-cruiser. I would buy something like the Passport-40, a fin keel separate rudder boat that was designed by a great designer to be a cruising boat, or Tom Wylie's 52' Persuasion (which is for sale). Wylie's and Perry's designs are solid safe design that capture what we've learned in the last 30 years and turn those ideas into a much much better cruising boat that anything based on the designs of the early 20th or even 19th century. As much as I adore Alden Schooners (like Mayan which is also for sale), they belong in vintage regattas, like the BCYC, and not out cruising unless you've got tons of money and are willing to work a lot harder than someone on a much more modern boat.

    Hope this helps.

    Beau
     
  6. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    latifa, jolie brise, dyarchy,
     
  7. jim lee
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    jim lee Senior Member

    Take what BeauVrolyk posted and add my vote to it.

    Spot on!

    (Good lord, I hope he doesn't go changing it and having me agree to all sorts of silly things now.)

    -jim lee
     
  8. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Jim,

    I LOVED reading the story of No Tomorrows!! Great web site! My family and I sailed from San Francisco to New Zealand and back from 1991 to 1995. My kids basically grew up on the Pacific, it was the best thing that ever happened to 'em. Thanks for the great entertainment!

    Sorry to be off the point of this thread.

    Beau
     
  9. jim lee
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    jim lee Senior Member

    Thanks Beau, stressful times putting that machine back in commission. But well worth it.

    We were doing the SF->Mexico->So Pac->Hawaii-> SF thing from 92..93 I bet we crossed paths at some time.


    rad..

    Ours is a perfect example of why your question has no meaningful answer.

    When I started the sailing thing, I was all into full keeled crab crushing machines. I'd read all the silly books about how it was supposed to be. Hogwash! After not a lot of sailing, I found that my true passion was for the most efficient sailing machine possible. Full 180 swing from crab crusher to a J/35 setup for offshore.

    Never in a million years would I've come to this conclusion from books. It took being out there to bang it into my head. I choose the boat because it was what made me feel comfortable offshore.

    Seventeen years later? Still have the same boat. Now its being used as a weekend RV for the kiddies and a wed. night beer can racer. Happy marriage.

    Will this your path? No, but I truly doubt you will find a useful path in text. You need to go out and see what -you- like in a sailboat.

    -jim lee
     
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Nice conclusion, thanks!

    Regards
    Richard
     
  11. rad...
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    rad... Junior Member

    Wow!! Thanks guys for all the replies so far, its great to get hints and tips from people that have alot more experiance than me.
    Thinking of cruiseing the east coast of australia, (because i live here) and vanuatu (parents live there) and probably the pacific island and indonesia aswell maybe.
    I'll try and get some sailing experiance on other peoples boats too so i cant get a better picture of what i like in a boat and what i dont like.
    Thanks again guys for all your words of wisdom, keep them coming!!!:)
    Rad...:)
     
  12. john.G
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    john.G Junior Member


    Okay, that narrows it down a bit. Parts of the world with which I am very familiar there. Some of the best cruising grounds in the world if you are prepared to get off the beaten track.

    There are two classes of cruising boat in that area. The first are the world cruising guys... they come in, flock from one well known anchorage to the next, and piss off before cyclone season. You can bump into the same people at every marina bar in the south west Pacific. They have boats in all types and sizes and budgets. The second are the people who get off the beaten track or live there, and you can pick them by their boats. They have a tendancy for steel hulls and shoal draft. Or cats. The number one survival technique for a small craft in cyclonic conditions is to belly up in a mangrove creek, and you can't do that in a deep draft mono.

    You mention a John Pugh design. Which one? I'm familiar with the 50' Fairwind type... not a bad boat for the area. There are a few things that are not optimum on it, I don't like any boat for around here that has a draft over 5' but generally its a pretty handy vessel. Certainly my advice would be to get out and sail on as many boats as possible, then go buy a well set up older second hand boat and go. You'll figure out what you want on the first one, and that'll dictate the second one.
     
  13. Charles Burgess
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    Charles Burgess Naval Architect

    My recommendations would be a schooner rather than a ketch rig.

    A schooner of the size you are talking about:
    • Easily single handed
    • You won't have a mast in the cockpit like a ketch does
    • Give you more sail options ranging from light to heavy air
    • Looks GREAT! - fishing schooners for example
    • Safer to reef down or reduce sail quickly in heavy weather
    • Your wife and kids will enjoy it more

    I also recommend staying away from fin-keeled sailboats...the key factor in the Fastnet 1979 disaster. Fin keels are less dynamically stable than a traditional full keel. (Fin keels only perform well at the designed speed - in low speed conditions their stability is erratic, it's a lateral plane issue.) You can have the benefits of a full keel in a relatively shallow draft. The full keel can provide better seakeeping (crew comfort) and handling, especially helm balance.
     
  14. peter radclyffe
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    peter radclyffe Senior Member

    its well known that wives & kids the world over, are always sick in ketches
     

  15. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Sloops too! ;)

    B
     
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