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Old 11-26-2010, 07:08 PM   #1
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Hi! *waves*

I'm sure this has been asked a thousands times but hopefully if I describe my own needs better it may help...

Currently I own a little V-hull motorboat, 20ft, open cabin, 90HP 2-stroke. Guzzles fuel like crazy and no real range at all.

That boat is moored on the local tidal river, used for river and sea fishing.

It has however sparked an interest in long distance travel. This turned into a little inferno upon finding the McGregor 26M (the M is for motor, not meters) I love the look of it, it's perfect in absolutely every way - but I'm told it's not suitable for open sea.

http://www.macgregor26.com/

Apparently I'd have to "upgrade" the rigging and rudders, which destroys one of it's main advantages of being a new boat that's cheap, plus I know virtually nothing about sailing or rigs.

(but I'm learning...)

So what I'm interested in is something very much like the Mac but which IS suitable for open sea.

And cheap as possible

Main things I like about the Mac:

Retractable dagger board

Folding mast

Water bilge-keel

With sails down and keel empty, it motors powerfully with a 50HP outboard.

Massive accomodation for such a small boat

Oh, and it can be trailered.

Trailering isn't my main concern, though it's nice. Ideally I'd like a boat that after a long cruise could be used as a replacement for my current boat.

The ability to snuggle into shallow waters is important to me, plus I love the idea of some semi-serious engine power when needed. Most of the time I'd prefer to be sailing - and I know how fast boats guzzle fuel!

So I guess my questions can be basically boiled down to "Does such a thing exist?"

Size wise I'm thinking around 26-33ft, as it'll be just me and wifey. It needs to be something that during watch my petite wife can handle alone.

About us - early 40's, vaguely fit. I love jungle-trekking, camping and so on. Wifey is not as keen but once into it she enjoys herself, in fact our last jungle mount-hike was her idea. Compared to a back-packed tent the cabin of the Mac is luxury.

We're NOT thinking of luxury cruising, sipping wine and hobnobbing in port. We're thinking more "adventure", back-packing on water basically, though we'll take any creature comforts available.

Location - not sure yet. I may have to return to the UK, so European waters, or I may be staying here on the island of Borneo.

I love Borneo but don't want to just poodle up and down the local coast. The Indonesian side of the island/s isn't a good idea, so I need something that can make the 400 mile open sea journey to West Malaysia (from there up to Thailand, Cambodia, to Hong Kong)

I'm told the Mac is great for coasts but not for that 400 mile stretch, which is a bummer, as I really do like that boat.

So are there any other approx' 30ft vessels, capable of shallow water and low bridges that can take a significant engine? I'm thinking 40 to 60HP 4-stroke, or possibly a Yanmar 40 diesel outboard.

One suggestion is a motor trawler, something I know nothing about, apart from they seem to be extremely expensive. And I kinnda like the idea of wafting on the wind for free. Besides which, they're no faster than sailboats, at around 7 knots. I think.

Looking at boats for sale in the UK, there are plenty of 30ft sailboats going ridiculously cheap, though most have little dinky engines. I really do want something that can motor if necessary, not a kicker motor to nudge the boat but something a bit more than 7 knots.

The Mac is awesome, hitting 22 knots under power, which I presume is on calm water (and with sails down, dagger board up and keel empty) I'm not expecting that but around 12 knots cruising would make me happy.

So am I asking too much, or just looking in the wrong places (and don't really know what I'm looking for)?

Budget is a max of $30K, so 2nd hand. I have no real interest in cosmetics, just sea-worthy and safe.



W.
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Old 11-26-2010, 07:45 PM   #2
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Wiggly,

Having your power cruiser, you probably already realize that all boats are a compromise. To complicate matters further, there are almost as many opinions regarding what an ideal cruising boat is as there are sailors. With a few exceptions (Webb Chiles, being one who immediately comes to mind) I suspect most cruising sailors would opt for a sailboat suitable for off-shore cruising as having at least a moderate displacement. I'll admit, I'm not familiar with the Macgregor 26M, but I suspect it is lightly constructed, with standing rigging to match and probably not a particularly good sailing vessel in adverse wind and chop. While having the capability of motoring at high speed has its appeal, I would also suspect this boat does not have the fuel capacity to cover 400 miles. I am not aware of a cruising sailing boat in the size range you specified that would be capable of motoring at the speeds you seem to favor. Hopefully, there is someone out there in the community that can offer a solution to your quest. However, given your parameters it sounds like your options may lie between a moderate displacement, high speed power cruiser (with the associated operating expenses) or a considerably slower 28-35 foot sailboat that is built and equipped for safe offshore passage (albeit, slower than your might be looking for). There should be a number of shallow draft options for the latter that could prove to be perfectly acceptable for a 400 mile open ocean crossing. One example might be one of the old Norsea 27's. They were heavily built and, If I'm not mistaken, also came with bilge keels. Good luck in your research.

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Old 11-26-2010, 11:04 PM   #3
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Hello Wiggly,

Welcome to Cruiser Log, Understand that you are based in the Borneo? Neophytecruiser's post sums up the problems associated with a sailboat that can motor at 26 mph. The type of cruising available in S.E.Asia provides a huge choice in the type of boat to go gunk-holing. It might be worthwhile considering Malaysia as a place to acquire and base a boat - Easy and inexpensive to fly there by Air Asia from most places in Borneo. Have a look at this website - it has a few boats that would fit the budget and sail off shore :- C L I C K

Disclaimer : I have no connection with the above
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Old 11-27-2010, 07:15 AM   #4
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Hi, thanks for the speedy replies.

The Norsea 27 certainly looks the part, though I nearly had a heart attack upon seeing the price of a new one ($150,000)

(Is Norsea anything to do with the North Sea? I'm from the UK and know that can get rough)

Yes, the Mac is pretty light. Ironically enough it's one of the things I liked about it, including it's self-righting ability and flotation foam...

I'm guessing the Norsea is self-righting, unless turned turtle but I'm sorta guessing it can't float when holed?

Looking around I've spotted a number of 1977 examples going for around $30,000. Is there something specific about 1977 models to be wary of?

Overall though yes, it does look like what I'm after, though I have no idea of the speed under either sail or power. I'm guessing about 7 knots for both?

I'm also guessing (I'm a sales copywriter and their website is painful to me!) the range is pretty good, though I have serious doubts that the dinky 20HP engine could even move that weight, let alone provide positive steering and traction against a headwind or current?

The primary reason I'm after significant engine power is because I know I'm utterly inexperienced with sails. What sails can do and what *I* can do are two entirely different things! I like the idea that if I've got things horrible wrong, such as in irons and drifting towards rocks, that I can open the throttle and power-steer away. A little toy engine going 'thuga-thuga-thuga..' and not really doing anything is the stuff of nightmares for me.

I understand the concept of planing hulls and displacement hulls, and that more power won't equal more speed. I'm curious though as to what happens if using a more powerful engine and is that practical, or is it heavily built around that Yanmar?

Thanks again,

W.
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Old 11-27-2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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All monohull sailboats, so long as they retain their keel, are more stable right-side up than upside down. Without the mast, however, the motion can be quite uncomfortable, and losing the mast is what most often happens if the boat turns turtle, though not always. Yet the boat and its crew will survive. I can't think of many boats that won't sink if holed, though most catamarans are built to be unsinkable, and I can't think of any power boat that won't sink, even if it's not holed.

Relying on an engine rather than experience to get one out of trouble is a mistake, and one to seriously avoid. Marine engines may keep on going, and going, and going, but as with most things in life it will not go at all at the most inopportune times.

Looking at the photos of the MacGregor interior, I don't see the kind of safe hand-holds that are necessary when sailing in heavy wind to gale conditions. That long corridor makes for an attractive interior but I'm not sure it's going to be very secure when boat motion is extreme.

The range of the MacGregor is 283 miles at 6 MPH, 115 miles at 16 MPH, so no, you can't zoom from Borneo to Western Malaysia. Our last passage in SE Asia was from Kota Kinabalu to Singapore, and it had everything: bad weather, loss of engine, etc. Watermelon, KK to Singapore

I've seen these MacGregors speeding along under power on various lakes in Florida. No wind, no waves, they just put out a rooster tail and zoom along. I can't believe they could perform that way offshore, though for several days between Borneo and Singapore it was calm enough to have towed us with our dinghy and 4 hp motor! But we didn't.

We are back in the US doing coastal cruising, our furthest offshore venture is to the Bahamas, so our power catamaran is a lovely home for us now. However, I do not feel as safe in this boat as I did in our sailboat, which could take anything the weather threw at us, and survived all the mistakes we fallible humans made. I don't feel that way about any power boat. This is not to say our PDQ power cat cannot handle most everything thrown at it - our friend has taken his PDQ out in far worse conditions than I would willingly venture into, just that I'm not comfortable doing it. In bad weather, give me a sailboat over a powerboat any time.

Regarding the Norsea - that dinky 20 HP engine will power the boat at hull speed (about 6 knots) in reasonable conditions, but, as you guessed, not in strong headwinds. That's what a sailboat under sail does well and no powerboat does well. going to weather
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Old 11-27-2010, 01:44 PM   #6
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I know the Mac couldn't make that entire passage under power, my concern was that even Mac owners say it wouldn't be suitable for the open sea passage, so I was wondering what is?

I actually found this site after reading how you enjoyed Kuching (where I live), though you didn't seem to enjoy the Singapore crossing

Thing is, the very fact it caused you such a problem when the transmission went, to me, drives home the need (rather than the luxury) of a decent engine.

3 occassions, when drifting towards land, when becalmed at sea, and when navigating up a narrow river, you missed the engine. You have vastly more experience and knowledge of sailing in general and your own particular boat, than I. So what arrogance for me to go thinking I can set sail *without* a pokey engine?

9 times out of 10 the engine isn't going to fail, so I'm thinking more along the lines of grabbing any advantage I can, rather than relying on it!

For example if the Mac were suitable (it's not) I'd still go with the 50HP option, rather than fitting a long-range dinky motor. Not because the bigger engine would have any significant range but simply for it's decisive power. Wind, waves, currents, whatever, if you need to go left it's gonna go left. Not fast, not comfortable but it's gonna go left.

Unless the engine dies

An engine of a "Wait awhile and it'll start moving..." level strikes me as inherently unsafe. If I need less power I can always throttle back but I can't get more than 20HP out of a 20HP engine. On a heavy boat that's little more than a nudge in the general direction.

I guess in essence my question is 'Is there any affordable boat that combines the peformance of the Mac, with the seafaring of the Norsea?' - and I'm guessing the answer is "No."

ANY motor-sailer is basically trying for that compromise, and yes, every boat is compromised in some way. For me, my leaning is more towards motoring than sailing, because in the open sea I can always sail but up close to obstacles I want the control of engine power.

I'm used to river and coastal boating, where you're forever watching out for other boaters, rocks, sandbanks, fishing nets, huge barges, floating trees and other such things. The idea of vaguely floating along, heavily dependent upon the wind... that doesn't appeal much.

Read a couple of interesting things recently. One pointed out that when stuff happens you don't "rise to the occasion", you revert to your training and experience. My experience for avoiding stuff is "Check the way is clear, turn the wheel and open the throttle".

It'll take me a lot of experience before my reaction will be something along the lines of hoisting a jib and keeling to leeward or whatever one does when needing to go left in a hurry. When there's a 30 ton log heading my way I want, no need, a throttle that responds.

Please don't take that as arrogance, it's far from it! Nor am I dismissing your sought-after and valuable advice and experience; I'm just pointing out that at heart I'm a motor-head, so I'm wondering what kind of sailing vessel can do that?

What happens if you put a 40 or 50HP engine on a Norsea 27? Would it wreck the balance, actually make the boat dangerous - or just be a serious compromise on fuel range?

A compromise on fuel range I can live with (the motor-head thing).

Sorry for such a long post )

W.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:12 AM   #7
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With an engine on a sailboat, bigger does not necessarily mean better. In a displacement hull, the boat will go hull speed, perhaps more with waves and current behind it, but no more. So a 50 HP engine will not do much more than reduce range and increase weight over the designed-for 20 HP engine, even in a MacGregor.

Even in a power boat, speed is not the answer. And in bad weather, the wonderful self-righting ability of a monohull sailboat is its greatest advantage. Whether sail or power, getting out of trouble is more like not getting into trouble in the first place - through careful navigation, reading the wind and weather signs, knowing when to reef (reduce sail) dramatically.

On that second trip back to Singapore from Borneo, of course we missed the engine, but we weren't going to die without it, and we succeeded in reaching Singapore, sailing through all the big boats. That very big piece of rope wrapped around the prop succeeded in finally terminally damaging the transmission. Had this been a power boat and the same thing happened several hundred miles from land, how do you think that boat would make it home? The biggest engine in the world can't help you when the transmission's buggered. A few other problems - bad fuel, no fuel filters left, water-contaminated fuel - and this happens to big trawlers as well as to little sailboats.

So the point is, with a sailboat you get home no matter what problems you have with an engine - and the problems can be many. Yes, negotiating the rivers of Borneo can sometimes use a more powerful engine, but you can do the same by planning to use the tides to help you go up or down the rivers, relying less on brute force, and more on seamanship.

Push come to shove, seamanship is going to get you through when things start going to hell around you.

I'm sorry you got the idea from my logs that our trips between Singapore and Borneo weren't much fun. Getting there both times was pretty uneventful, it was the returns that had us battling some pretty bad weather, something that Malaysia is notorious for. We've been in much worse than what we encountered off Borneo; I reported it as it was, and how we worked together to get through it, but I was not frightened or concerned about the outcome - just sometimes a bit tired of violent squalls that required a lot more vigilence than we were used to devoting to offshore passages. I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 11-28-2010, 08:38 AM   #8
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I'm glad you took my response in the spirit intended but I have to perservere with the engine thing

The McGregor is a very unusual boat, capable of way beyond hull speed under power as it's a planing hull. It's actually designed for a 50 or 60 HP engine and supplied with such - and some owners fit 90HP, even 115HP.

(as an aside, you shouldn't use the engine beyond about 6 knots with the sails up and beyond 10 knots you should raise the dagger-board)

It's very much a hybrid, converting between a sailboat or motorboat. Above 8 knots you can dump the water ballast for motoring performance, then slow down and flood the ballast tanks again. Their site shows a video of the boat being held down horizontally, upon release it springs back up vertical. They also show it with the hull holed, full of water and still floating (flotation foam pockets)

As well as the water ballast there's also 300lbs of lead ballast.

They also show the boat out in double-red flagged gale force winds, which they don't recommend but claim it's capable of.

It's a combination I'm completely smitten and in love with

If sticking to coastal sailing it would be my absolute choice, no question. It's incredibly cheap too, as they're mass produced, less than $30,000 for the boat, rigging, engine and trailer.

In one way it's a matter of perspective. You can argue it's not a great motorboat and it's not a great sailboat - but no sail boat can match it for speed under power and it sails a lot better than any motorboat.

To me it's absolute perfection. Unfortunately my dream gets a 2x4 around the head, as I'm told for ocean crossing the "rigging" and rudders would need "upgrading". Exactly what that would entail I don't know but it sounds hideously expensive and I'd certainly need advice on just what to upgrade and how, and what with.

On the other hand, a 2nd hand one, with upgraded rigging might be affordable?

Grab handles and the like could be fitted...

But then I'm told she's "too light"?

So what I'm looking for is something which similar characteristics, though, as ever, a compromise.

The helpfully-suggested Nor'sea 27 looks like it fits the bill, almost, but my impression is it's a great compromise design for trailering, rather than motoring.

By the way Jeanne, we spoke once before, years ago when I asked if you knew where I could find a modern boat around Kuching. I was looking for a cabin motorboat and since then have been buzzing around in one. I virtually had to rebuild the thing but it was worth it.

I'm probably rambling far too much...

OK, this is what I'm looking for/wondering about:

Stable, ocean-crossing capable sailboat

Swing or dagger keel, for shallow water, again I kinnda like the water ballast thing

Capable of beyond hull speed under power

In short, a heavy-duty McGregor?

I'm not expecting the same motor performance (22 knots) but I am hoping for a max of around 12 knots, less when cruising.

If money were no object I'd probably get a McGregor, refit with heavy duty rigging, rebuilding the dagger board section for a beefier unit with a weight on the end (and a winch!)

In their ad' they claim "many other boats have tried to achieve such a combination"

Well, I'm interested those 'other boats'

W.
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Old 11-28-2010, 09:41 AM   #9
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From a purely practical aspect, How does one get a sailboat that matches the criteria from the Northern Hemisphere to S.E. Asia within the budget that has been decided on??

One needs to understand the Froude number is to accept a simple fact that displacement hulls cannot go much faster than their determined hull speed irrespective of the additional power of an auxiliary engine. If a displacement sail boat of LOA 26ft has a LWL of 22ft with a 20 hp engine , then its maximum hull speed according to Froude will normally be no more than 5.29 knots - even if you add a 40 hp engine.

If one needs to explore the wonderful anchorages and other places of S.E.A. at a faster pace, then a multihull ( sail or power). Expensive !
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Old 11-28-2010, 10:09 AM   #10
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You know, I was just popping back here to ask about catamarans

For example this thing:

http://uk.boats.com/boat-details/Cro...t-Tri/20192021

or this one

http://uk.boats.com/boat-details/Eig...iser/113584861

Both within my budget, both plenty comfy enough for me and wifey.

My concern is if such craft are capable of rough seas? My impression is the things break easily?

The tempest is described as having a "extremely durable, tremendously strong, virtually unsinkable structure" - do such words and multi-hull belong in the same sentence, or have I somehow developed an inaccurate perception towards them?

(I'd much prefer a pure fiberglass version though, having experienced rotting wood under fiberglass)

My impression is that cat's are more of a rich man's toy than ocean-going vessels, sometimes used for racing, where they tend to break.

I'm also considering the idea of simply going larger (longer), say 33, 36ft, or so, though question how easily such a thing could be single-handed if/when necessary, and how big a difference it makes for mooring charges and maintenance?

W.
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Old 11-28-2010, 11:50 AM   #11
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Primitive Catamarans brought the Polynesians from Asia to New Zealand without any of the modern aids.
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Old 11-28-2010, 01:53 PM   #12
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Single handing.

With just two people aboard on a long crossing, every boat is run single-handed for at least 8 hours every day. Our sv Watermelon was 42 feet, though design length was 39'. Here's a link to pictures showing its transformation from 39 to 42 feet Watermelon Gear

Compared to what people now seem to think are the minimum requirements for a cruising boat, ours was rather spartan. No electric winches, 6 years of cruising before we installed an electric windlass, no watermaker, no air conditioning, no satellite telephone, etc. What we had were an excellent wind vane, an autopilot, solar panels and wind generator, a two-burner propane stove with an oven, a small chest refrigerator with a tiny freezer compartment. An SSB radio that kept us in touch with the cruising community, and provided us with news from the distant outside world and weather fax. We didn't just survive, we thrived on Watermelon.

Not everybody enjoys long passages, but I loved them. No light pollution from the cities, no noise pollution from engines, no air pollution from internal combustion engines and oil-burning heating and power plants. Interesting bird life come to visit, dolphins coming by to check you out , it's just a peaceful, simple time.

As for cold-molded boats, I've seen some incredible examples. If that first trimaran can be seen, you should have no trouble determining how sound it is. The second one, though more appealing because it's a catamaran, looks much too rough and amateurish to consider, regardless of the price. But you should be able to find one somewhere out here. Since I'm not a multihull sailor, I'll leave to others the discussion on their suitability, etc.

Fair winds,

J
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Old 11-28-2010, 06:57 PM   #13
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I think I may have found my ideal boat - a 'multi-hull'.

Makes sense really, seeing as I wanted 2 different things in one boat

I'll pop over to the multi-hull section...

Thanks again
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:46 PM   #14
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Just saw this post... Yes, I know it is old! But... Please take a look at the Hake 26 and 32.... These do NOT motor all that much better than other sailboats, but they meet many of the requirements you specified. What you seem to want is a motor-sailor... Look them up. However, it is still quite a good bet that you cannot find a boat to both motor, and sail well... Likely one, but seldom both. MacGregers have their place, but they are not for me, and not for long voyages. I think all of us have dreamt of that "one" boat that does all things well... Haven't found it yet! May just be why we own more than one boat... Just sayin'
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