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Old 10-22-2008, 09:19 PM   #1
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I'm looking to purchase my first sailboat and I am in need of some guidance. I was leaning towards a steel or aluminum hull but most do not have a swim step and walk through transom. It sounds kind of odd but the is a top criteria for me. Three reasons: it is easier to land big fish, it is easiers to board from a tender, and I have a dog who loves the water and if she jumps I need to get her back aboard somehow. Do you know of any steel hulled sloop or cutter rigs that have a walk through transom and a swim step?! I am looking at the 40'-45' range. I can spend up to $140,000 but would like to keep it around $100,000 if possible. I will be sailing mostly around the Channel Islands off California and down in Central America, but I would like the ability to sail to the South Pacific in the distant future. Seaworthlyness is much more important than a yachty teak interior. Any suggestions?!?!?!?! Any suggestions if I decide to go with a fiberglass hull?!

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Old 10-23-2008, 01:30 AM   #2
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Jimmy Cornell's last boat Aventura III was a OVNI 43 - Aluminium alloy - described in his book

'Passion for the Sea' ISBN 978-0-9556396-0-9. YOU CAN BEACH THE BOAT.

Here is a picture of a another OVNI, a 435 :-

Ovni.435a.jpg
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Old 10-23-2008, 11:26 AM   #3
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I am not convinced that this design, seen all too often on racing yachts, is seaworthy enough for the Pacific. One big wave over the stern and you've got a boat full of water. Plus there is no way you can have a decent aft cabin with this sort of design.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:56 PM   #4
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Are you suggesting that a center cockpit design like the Island Packet is the only way to go for a long passage in the Pacific?! How about something like the 44' Bruce Roberts design? I don't want to raise a argument over hull material (I have read them all!), but do you think a fiberglass hull is safe for a extended cruise in the Pacific?!

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I am not convinced that this design, seen all too often on racing yachts, is seaworthy enough for the Pacific. One big wave over the stern and you've got a boat full of water. Plus there is no way you can have a decent aft cabin with this sort of design.
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Old 10-23-2008, 04:00 PM   #5
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I just came across a photo of an Ovni 43 last week, there are an amazing boat. Unfortunatly, they are way out of my price range and I can not find one for sale in the US.

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Jimmy Cornell's last boat Aventura III was a OVNI 43 - Aluminium alloy
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Old 10-23-2008, 05:54 PM   #6
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A couple of under rated boats that routinely see blue water is 41' Morgans and 45' Hirsch. Both have their strong points. I have traveled on both and prefer the Hirsch. Both can be bought for under $90,000.00
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:06 PM   #7
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I'm looking to purchase my first sailboat and I am in need of some guidance.
Its also easier to land big waves (get pooped!) with that sort of transom

Given the size and $ constraints you've stated...you're probably going to find a fiberglass boat that suits your needs rather than a well built steel or aluminum hull. And, to find a sugar scoop transom, its likely to be fiberglass anyway.

Davits are great for the really big fish, the dingy, and if there's no other way, the dog for that matter.

There are "side stair" type swim ladders that lead down to a platform at water level that you can add onto any boat of about 40' or more...if you need the pooch to be able to scramble up the stairs.

I surely wouldn't compromise on seaworthiness (and usable space) to have a sugar scoop transom for my pooch! I'd find another way.
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:40 PM   #8
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SteelVsFiberglassNordhavn.pdf

No, and yes.

No to center cockpit designs if you want to use a wind vane self-steering. I just don't like center cockpit boats for sailing.

Yes to fiberglass as safe. For many reasons.

First. Steel hulls have a shorter life than fiberglass hulls and the risk of undiscovered pinhole rust leaks in a steel hull are pretty high.

Quoting Dave Gerr in Ocean Navigator magazine:

Steel vs Aluminum – one designer's view, by Dave Gerr. In Ocean Navigator

http://www.oceannavigator.com/site/c...nt.asp?id=4108

"Even more important, rusting wastes away the steel so the plates get thinner with age. This is why, with small craft, you cant make effective use of most higher-strength alloys. Indeed, the plate thickness for small-boat steel hulls are somewhat heavier than required for basic strength to allow for corrosion, the corrosion allowance.

A good rule of thumb is that a steel hull will loose about 0.004 in. of thickness every year. A well maintained and properly built steel boat will do a bit better than this in most places. Still, in those hard to reach areas like inside the bilge at the base of bulkheads near stiffeners and other obstructions this rule is close.

Another old saying is that steel boats rust from the inside out. This is because its just these hard-to-reach areas, that are difficult to inspect and maintain, that waste away fastest. All this means that in 25 years 3/16-in. shell plate would be reduced to 0.09 inches thick in several areas, approaching just 1/16 in. left. In order to get adequate life in small craft, steel plates must be made heavier than needed for strength with a corrosion allowance to accommodate this wastage."

To prevent this, the majority of steel hulls have no "dry" lockers; they're all open to the bilge so that water can't collect in a locker and rust its way to the outside. And yet they can and do rust anyway, often in places that aren't so obvious. (there's a story here, but not for this post). I know that I would have hated bilgewater in my food lockers after living on a boat with wonderful dry lockers. The tops of Watermelon's forward lockers were higher than the waterline, so a hole in the bow of the boat would not sink it.

A steel boat up on the rocks is as likely to be holed as a fiberglass boat.

Second. I've seen many a fiberglass boat up on a reef with lots of damage but no hole. There was a book written by a woman who ran her boat up on the reef at Las Aves, Venezuela. She could not get the boat off the reef on the windward side and instead manhandled it over the reef (with help) several hundred feet and into the protected lagoon. Lots of damage, but still able to be towed to Bonaire (or Aruba). One of the boats that was abandoned in the Queen's Birthday Storm in the Pacific (June, 1994) ran up on a reef off Vanuatu a few days (or weeks) later and was intact, but there was nobody to salvage it; it was blown off the reef by another storm and was never seen again.

Circumnavigator magazine was kind enough to send me a copy of an article from their 2003 issue discussing steel vs. fiberglass as hull material. Do check it out, link at the top of this posting.
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Old 10-23-2008, 06:52 PM   #9
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I like the 45' Hirsch. Just to throw it out there,... how about a Tayana, Endeavour, Freedom, or an Islander?! Anyone have an opinion on any of those boats being retrofited as bluewater cruisers?!
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:24 PM   #10
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... boats being retrofited as bluewater cruisers?!
IMHO, the basic difference between a "blue water cruiser" and any other cruising sailboat is the boat's basic design. Either it's optimized/suitable for bluewater sailing or not--by design--no retrofitting will get you there unless you're talking about changing keel, righting moments, and other matters that don't make a whole lot of sense to change when you can just go off and buy a blue water capable boat at the outset. Buy the right boat to start with...or, if you've already invested in something that isn't quite right for the task, be smart about where you go and watch the weather
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Old 10-23-2008, 07:40 PM   #11
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redbopeep,

I understand what you are saying, that makes total since. With that in mind, could you recommend a fiberglass boat between $90K and $140K that is a good "blue water cruiser"?! Would the 41' Morgans or 45' Hirsch, OR any other production boat previously mentioned, fit your criteria for a "blue water crusier"?!

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Either it's optimized/suitable for bluewater sailing or not--by design--no retrofitting will get you there unless you're talking about changing keel, righting moments, and other matters that don't make a whole lot of sense to change when you can just go off and buy a blue water capable boat at the outset.
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:27 PM   #12
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Someone recommending a boat or two will not get you to where you want to be.

Do a search on Bluewater Sailboats and look at some of the lists provided, then study "Why" these boats are listed. A boat suitable for bluewater should have a good righting moment among MANY other attributes. Motion Comfort ratings can be the difference between a dream fulfilled and a survival experience! Learning the what and why of these characteristics will help make you a better sailor (Which is far more important that the boat you go to sea with!). There are plenty of used bluewater boats in your price range, but nearly all of them will need to be commissioned for bluewater use before any adventure. Consider a less expensive boat and used the funds left over to equip it for bluewater sailing (you must still start with a good boat). Knowing what you need and why you need it will take you much farther, far safer than having some very knowledgable people (the folks here-not me) point out a good bluewater boat to you!

I commend you for asking your questions in such a fine place, but the question should be more like; "What attributes should I look for in a bluewater boat?" SEARCH THE SITE, IT HAS BEEN ASKED...

There are, as I have been told here myself... Horses for courses. Bluewater is a course.

Our dog has no fear of water at all, and I fear that he will look quite like a small seal to Mr. Shark, so we have devised a shock-corded safety line for him, and his own harness. He is small, so we lift him back aboard. A few boarding ladders are made with a platform just below the waters surface which makes it easy for a dog to climb out onto.

Good luck in the hunt for the right boat for you. None of them are perfect. Enjoy the search, otherwise it can become frustrating.

David
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Old 10-23-2008, 10:45 PM   #13
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As mentioned earlier Jimmy Cornell's "Aventura III" is the same boat as illustrated. Aventura III completed a visit to Antarctica's Deception Island from Cape Horn then criss-crossed the Pacific to Canada. Cornell as one of our most knowledgeable sailors was more than satisfied that this design was seaworthy.
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Old 10-24-2008, 01:29 AM   #14
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Everyone has opinions...the attributes I believe are important to my husband and I in a blue water cruising boat include size (45 ft -55 ft), full keel w/keel hung rudder, plumb bow with fine entry that won't pound thru the waves, good righting moment but less than 7' draft, a sea kindly motion, aft cockpit, pilothouse or other sheltered second station, split rig (ketch or schooner) with manageable sail sizes, ...then you get into the water, fuel, batteries, systems which are an entirely different issue...

Good luck!
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