It is about time to re-focus mind and soul and continue our search for our future home. Being confined to our land based place combined with plenty of time (ok, the kids have been given their Minecraft 60min) at hand I continue my search of the “perfect” vessel for a long term trip, if not circumnavigation.
Apart from being a very helpful writing and research excercise it is much more fun doing this than talking Covid.
I have a sailed a few boats but most of the sailing boats I am going to describe here have either been recommended to me or have a reputation for Bluewater sailing by there very nature – build for bluewater sailing.
Let’s get started with bluewater sailing and what it actually means.
Bluewater sailing is a type of ocean cruising: it refers to long term open sea cruising, for example, passages (ocean crossings). Bluewater sailing implies a lack of support and requires a certain amount of self-sufficiency since you’re away from land for long periods of time. An example is crossing the Atlantic. Bluewater in general means, you can only see blue water wherever you look. No land in sight. Not that is matters but I read somewhere that the difference between offshore and bluewater sailing lies in the fact that you can go offshore for 10-15 km (that’s when you lose sight of land based on the earth curvature) and if you return home at that point you have been offshore sailing, if you keep going you are to different shores you are bluewater sailing. It doesn’t really matter but I thought I’ll entertain you a bit.
So obviously the above needs a capable seaworthy bluewater sailing boat to deal with everything the oceans can and will throw at you.
There are two types of sailing boats (well three if you count trimarans) that work for bluewater sailing. Catamarans, or cats, and monohulls. Catamarans are part of the multihull group like trimarans so in the end we are down to two categories of boats – multihulls and monohulls. I am not going to bore you to death why we won’t be using a catamaran. I don’t like them, but they can be capable bluewater boats. Check Sailing Zatara and La Vagabonde crews they love their cats and there are plenty of blogs that explain the difference between a cat and a monohull.
You will see that most times cats score higher on the “livability scale” because given the same length they have mich more space, little to no heel, fast and more. Still, I don’t like them. The landbased equivalent ould be a caravan or a heavy motor home. It’s just not me. Check out the O’Kelly’s video about Cats vs. Monohulls it is very entertaining.
Back to bluewater sailing boats. Bluewater boats are generally stronger, more stable, and the majority has centre cockpits (although that’s not a requirement but I prefer them). The main difference is usually the build quality and hull thickness or composition.
Another difference between a blue water and inland sailboat is the production method, hull type and shape, material, and general safety and quality of the boat. The most important aspect of ocean sailing really is a strong hull and strong rigging.
Most production boats are made of thin layers of GFK are pretty light and flimsy. Don’t get me wrong people have been crossing oceans in nutshells from 10ft onwards – check out this article and The Sailing Frenchman’s Video channel (26ft boat)
So to close this blog entry I leave you with a list of requirements for our boat and will introduce our shortlist of boats that fit most of our requirements in the next blog post.
Most likely used ($$)
Length minimum 45 ft to maximum 60ft
Displacement of 15 to 25 tons
Centre cockpit or safe aft cockpit
Hull – aluminium or GFK composite
Maybe centreboard keel
6 or 8 berths (3 double cabins – 2 identical port / starboard)
min 2 heads
diesel capacity 1000l
water capacity 1000l
in-mast furling mainsail or lazy jacks
electric winches main
forestay, staysail, main
Let me know in the comments what you think.