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Old 12-27-2016, 09:15 AM   #1
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Boat design vs actual use?

As I read the thread of Dauntless's ocean crossing, I wonder just how many powerboats are really used as they are designed.
I can say that coming from the sailing world, the answer is "few..."
Take a stroll up and down the docks of any marina and you will find "off shore capable" sailboats that have literally never been out of sight of land.

For the record, I have no problem with how any person derives pleasure from any boat.
If you want to own a globe crossing yacht and use it as a comfy place to nap on Sunday afternoon, more power to you!


Being less familiar with the powerboat/trawler side of the equation I'm not sure what the norm is. I could easily have found myself attracted to a big sport fish, given the means to pay for fuel and never fished. They are simply beautiful things to look at!

So, is this offshore capable mindset prevailant here too? I see lots of full displacement vs semi displacement discussions happening on this forum and I wonder the same thing. How many people simply like the boat and then rationalize the design?

When we decided to move to power, we listed the ways we wanted to use the boat and tried to find designs that would allow us to fulfill them. Then we got aboard boats and imagined what life would be like...
Next we refined a list of features we liked/admired/wanted including a flybridge (mandatory), maximum length overall (a hard line in the sand as there are limits to the size boat we can keep in our slip), colors (surprisingly high on our list) and build quality a few amongst the many.

We have a lot of time on the water, almost all of it sailing. Ocean crossings, offshore racing and coastal cruising yet we both understand that this decision is a bit of a leap of faith.

We will use the boat. Will we love it? Will it be well suited to our likes? Time will tell but I am guessing that we will love the boat, we always do...

I am still curious, do we as power boaters (still strange referring to myself that way...) follow a similar pattern that I have observed of sailors? Do we use our boats as designed or do we live a little closer to fantasy?

Bruce
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:36 AM   #2
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Bruce B,
An answer to your question may emerge if you were to imagine what boats people would own if the boats diapeared after a year. Kind of a Cinderella scenario.

Many people own boats with capabilities they imagine that they need. Like walk-around decks, twin engines or perhaps extra power, bigger anchors, excessive electronics ect ect. Many or most trawlers reflect percieved needs of this nature.

Good question Bruce. Most of the answers I suspect will be centered around insecurity, percieved needs re the "what if scenairo" and the lust to have all the right stuff. Many don't really care if an anchor will hold in a hurrycane but they want to be seen with the right stuff. A cmbination of the appearence of being a wise old salt and being affluent.
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Old 12-27-2016, 09:54 AM   #3
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Bruce B
Boat design vs actual use?
As I read the thread of Dauntless's ocean crossing, I wonder just how many powerboats are really used as they are designed.
I can say that coming from the sailing world, the answer is "few..."
Take a stroll up and down the docks of any marina and you will find "off shore capable" sailboats that have literally never been out of sight of land.



The tennis coach at high school said to me "in your case, remember it's as important to look the part"

Hope this is not too cryptic a response to the question posed.

Obviously he saw I had very little talent in the game.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:03 AM   #4
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Lots of ego driven choices being made. I see many big 4x4 trucks with absolutely no scratches or mud on them getting nursed over little bumps at the ends of driveways. Why should boating be any different?
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:25 AM   #5
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Thought provoking, Bruce. My boat is designed for coastal cruising, and except for the occasional jaunt to the Bahamas, I'm sure that I'll be using the boat for the purpose it was designed for. Asking myself, if I was able to pursue the whimsical ownership of a much more capable, bluewater boat, would I have one? ....probably. Would it 's greater capability change my cruising plans, ...probably to the extent that I would enjoy the choice of going "outside" more often, but I doubt that I would undertake any ocean crossings. So, in summary, having more money would probably just make my boat selection a lot less disciplined and practical than it is now.

Cardude and I text each other all the time about this. We keep looking at boats that aren't nearly as practical for our usage as though we might one day adopt the cruising style to fit the boat instead of the other way around.

There's something magical (not to mention egotistical) about the supreme safety of truly weathertight, blue-water capable vessels that seduce one into believing its durable assets must surely make it a "better boat", even in other applications.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:34 AM   #6
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Might I throw in the notion that the most "non purpose used" vessels I see are sailboats motoring and darn proud of it.

Followed in order by "why have a boat at all" judging by the low hour vessels and dock sitters that frequent marinas. Of course these vessels do represent buying opportunities for us dreamers.
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:35 AM   #7
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For me I would say that the question is where u want to put ur money. If expect to spend most of your time at the dock or doing coastal cruising, buying a passage maker would be putting your money in something useless. You will pay for feature you will never need while you could have saved it or put it in some other features for better confort or whatever you need.
Beyond that I guess that for some it is more a question of prestige to own something capable of more than being capable of. Same principle apply to many thing outside boating.
Personnally I would select my boat for what I really want to do with it not what it could do if...
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Old 12-27-2016, 10:55 AM   #8
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A few years ago, when we were preparing to cruise full-time, we were looking for the "right boat" after selling house, car, older trawler, etc. I was convinced a Nordhavn was it, but the Admiral didn't care for the layout. We went aboard a PDQ powercat and she said "I could live aboard this boat!" That was all it took - bought the PDQ and proceeded to cruise the East Coast, Bahamas, Gulf, New England, Great Lakes, etc. for the next three years. It ended up being the perfect boat for what we wanted to do and I don't know how many times I was grateful we never bought the Nordhavn.

In retrospect, I was drawn to the Nordhavn for what it REPRESENTS as much as for WHAT IT IS. I knew it was unlikely that we would ever be passagemaking, but having that capability in reserve was intriguing.

Now that the PDQ is sold, and we're land-based back on the West Coast, the decision-making criteria for boat selection has changed. I think the Nordic Tug 32 we just bought will be fine, especially with the capability of having it trailered to any new, distant cruising areas.

That said, I don't think less of anyone who buys, or even just lusts after, that long-range passagemaker. If you don't have a dream, you can't make a dream come true...

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Old 12-27-2016, 10:58 AM   #9
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As my current boat is about my 13th, before making the purchase decision I had a lot of experience in identifying my needs and the respective deficiencies of my various boats. Fundamentally, I wanted to be able to travel a long way, safely and reliably, to catch fish. My last boat was a big sportfisher that carried 1,000 gallons of fuel. That really didn't give me the range I needed.

I came close to ordering a Nordhavn, but realized it didn't fit the fishing part of the mission very well so ended up getting the Mikelson I have now. It has fantastic range (1200 nm, with genset running 24/7, uphill, using less than half of its 2300 gallon fuel capacity), and is very fishable.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:12 AM   #10
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Bruce, I think that you and your wife have the advantage of years of experience. I think the choice you have made will be a good one since your anticipated use of the boat is well informed. For many, they don't really know how they will use the boat until they get it.

I opted for a coastal cruiser because I know that is all I will be doing. The only big water my boat will see are the Staits of Juan de Fuca and Georgia. My sailboat was/is a coastal cruiser as well.

That being said, if money had not been an issue, I would have preferred a boat that was more blue water capable. A stabilized FD hull would be nice at times. However, the added cost for an extremely small increase in utility makes no sense. There is also the issue of creature comforts. There were some really nice KK 42s around, but the interior layout and berths weren't going to be as comfortable for us.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:41 AM   #11
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I've seen two posts here that mention "ego" and "prestige". I would really like to think that is not the case. I have met allot of large boat owners and have not met any that in my opinion bought a particular boat to fill their ego or to show off, IE prestige.

I think that probably many "passagemaker capable" boats are purchased and never actually get to cross oceans. I think that many boats are purchased and don't get used like they were designed to be used, or used much at all.

I don't think it's an Ego thing, I really think that it's dreams that the owner had that never came true.

The reasons are many. Some are financial, the owner has to work to pay for the dream boat so he has little time to use it. Some are spouse related, not all spouces really want to cruise long distances or for long periods of time. Some are as simple as changing priorities.

The saddest ones I've seen is where the clock runs out on the owner. They end up working too late in life and do not have the health to fulfill their dreams.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:44 AM   #12
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Dave,
"A stabilized FD hull would be nice at times" ..........
Yes there's more that's NOT on Willy than is because it would only be "nice at times". Stabilzers, genset, dinghy davits ect ect ... and then there's the wallet.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:56 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by healhustler View Post
There's something magical (not to mention egotistical) about the supreme safety of truly weathertight, blue-water capable vessels that seduce one into believing its durable assets must surely make it a "better boat", even in other applications.
Envy showing?

Take out what you put in parentheses and you're pretty close. Of the dozens of blue water boat owners I know their propensity for being egotistical seems no higher than the general population.
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Old 12-27-2016, 11:56 AM   #14
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Interesting question posed, and interesting responses.


When we bought Beachcomber we were looking for smaller boats but boats that were capable of a trip around the coast of WA ad boats we could spend lengthy amounts of time on.


We found this boat in MI and it was (a) a freshwater boat with (b) low hours and (c) I was able to buy it for a song because of the depression/recession the country was heading into. We originally had no intention of getting a boat this large, but this one would MORE than do what we wanted at LESS than what we had figured we'd spend.


Do I now use it for what it was designed? No. Is it a dock queen? Not hardly.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:08 PM   #15
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I don't think it is a secret that a lot of boat ownership is about emotion dreams and imagery rather than utilitarian use. Certainly the people who build and advertise production boats know and use that knowledge to considerable effect. In general there is no problem with this. It is very hard to get a perspective boat buyer to make an accurate assessment of what they need and match a boat to its actual use. I know this first hand due to the custom one off we had built. I tried very hard to match the boat to our use and needs. Maybe I scored 90-95% not 100% even while giving it my best effort. I can easily imagine that a person not making a strong effort in that department may only score 60-75% resulting is a significant mismatch between boat and use pattern. I don't think it bothers most owners and they still enjoy owning their boats.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:14 PM   #16
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Of course there's ego involved or else there would be more boats with "fine work boat" interior fit & finish rather than "elegant yacht" opulence.

Our boat suffers from 1980's era teak drilled & screwed into otherwise perfectly good fiberglass decks. Why? Because that's what the market (ego driven image of what a proper boat should look like) demanded, rather than what made sense.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
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Envy showing?

Take out what you put in parentheses and you're pretty close. Of the dozens or blue water boats and owners I know their propensity for being egotistical seems no higher than the general population.
Yeah, probably true....envy showing. But aside from that, most of my boating life has been lived in Miami, Ft. Lauderdale area, and now in Sarasota. There are some serious cruisers here with practical vessels, but there are a great number of first time boat owners with more money to spend on image than need. We're pretty famous for ego boats here, ya know.
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Old 12-27-2016, 12:56 PM   #18
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Dave,
"A stabilized FD hull would be nice at times" ..........
Yes there's more that's NOT on Willy than is because it would only be "nice at times". Stabilzers, genset, dinghy davits ect ect ... and then there's the wallet.
That is so true.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:17 PM   #19
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There are a few "I wouldn't be caught dead in one of those xxxxxxxxx" boaters here....they posted exactly that..

Evendors though they probably wI'll never need the full capabilities of their boat or alost aNY othe for that matter.

Not sure thats ego...but it is prestige.

No wrose than those of us that struggle to keep a nice looking boat, not bristol but neat and relatively clean, when boat-a-wrecks cruise more miles a year than most here.
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Old 12-27-2016, 01:25 PM   #20
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We really liked the living accommodations on the KK42 and no, we won't be crossing oceans. We like the fuel efficiency, from the environmental standpoint, and the comfort during adverse weather conditions. And...we use it for what we intended.

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