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Old 02-28-2013, 11:28 PM   #1
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Coastal Cruising Vs Passagemaking, boat capabilities

Well, its time to get this subject out in the open.

The issue is that there seems to be an "attitude" or "Belief" amongst some otherwise good folks that unless you have a Full Displacement Passagemaker, you're best suited to the ICW, or even worse tied up at a dock while the "real" boats go blue water cruising.

I don't know if this misconception is promoted by folks with FD boats, or folks that are unsure about their boat, or folks that just don't know, but its time to set the record straight.

I would argue that almost any of our boats could safely, and comfortably travel the full coastline of north America, much of central America, and almost all of the carribbean.

Here's why...

Looking at the charts I find that there are safe harbors no more than 300NM apart, in pretty much this entire area. 300NM at 8 knots is 37 hours of cruising.

Weather forecasting is really good for two days in advance. That means that there is nowhere an 8 knot boat could not safely travel to in good weather.

The reality is that most of this area has safe places 100NM or less apart. That makes it even easier.

Provided you do not push the weather, and have time to spend in port. But then again isn't that what cruising is all about?
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:32 AM   #2
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I didn't even know we had this subject. I thought this was a trawler forum.

Some people think passage making is extreme trawlering. I think not. It must be taken so seriously it's hard to imagine it as any or much fun.

As to brown water boats going blue water there are many many people that have made voyages in or on the ocean of great distances without even a flat bottomed cruising boat like row boats and rafts and even kayaks. It's all a matter of how much comfort and safety one is comfortable with.

And yes if I cross the gulf of Alaska in a small boat it will be in/on a full displacement boat. But I probably won't even do it in a FD boat either ...... WHY would I want to do that. I'm glad there are very few that are inclined that way. One of our friends did it w a 40' Willard .... a fairly good boat to do it in but I still don't why one would go in such a dangerous place just to have "fun"?
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:44 AM   #3
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I didn't even know we had this subject. I thought this was a trawler forum.

Some people think passage making is extreme trawlering. I think not. It must be taken so seriously it's hard to imagine it as any or much fun.

As to brown water boats going blue water there are many many people that have made voyages in or on the ocean of great distances without even a flat bottomed cruising boat like row boats and rafts and even kayaks. It's all a matter of how much comfort and safety one is comfortable with.

And yes if I cross the gulf of Alaska in a small boat it will be in/on a full displacement boat. But I probably won't even do it in a FD boat either ...... WHY would I want to do that. I'm glad there are very few that are inclined that way. One of our friends did it w a 40' Willard .... a fairly good boat to do it in but I still don't why one would go in such a dangerous place just to have "fun"?

I've crossed the gulf twice now in Bayliners. Its not something you do for fun, its something you do to get somewhere. Almost all the rest of the non trailerable boats in Whittier, Seward, Kodiak, Valdez, and Cordova have crossed the gulf safely as well. Hundreds of boats. Many hundreds.

The gulf is as far as I can tell the longest or very close to the longest voyage you need to make to travel the coasts of north america.

If we can make it that far safely, we can go anywhere.

Sorry, but I just get a little tired of hearing people say that a non passagemaker is a dock queen, and not capable of cruising our oceans. Especially when I know its not true.
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Old 03-01-2013, 07:59 AM   #4
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I think you are correct about cruising any part of the American coasts as you describe. But I would consider that Coastal Cruising, not Passage Making, so perhaps this is just a terminology thing.

I see Coastal Cruising as covering a very wide range of cruising - everything from the ICW and inland waters to the Alaskan Inside passage to the Bahamas.

Where things change is when you want to cross an ocean, or do any leg that starts to get over 1000nm. Just to put a stake in the ground for the sake of this conversation, let's say passage making is a crossing in excess of 1000nm. That's where range becomes critical, and getting range means going slow. That often correlates with a displacement hull, but not necessary. But instead of talking about range, people tend to talk about displacement hulls which confuses the issue.

I agree with you that a displacement hull is not a pre-preqisite for passage making. Tony Flemming has clearly demonstrated this with his various voyages on his Flemming 65. The boat is a planing or semi-planing hull (another set of nebulous terms), but can cover the range by simply slowing down to something below hull speed.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #5
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Well, its time to get this subject out in the open.

The issue is that there seems to be an "attitude" or "Belief" amongst some otherwise good folks that unless you have a Full Displacement Passagemaker, you're best suited to the ICW, or even worse tied up at a dock while the "real" boats go blue water cruising. ......................
I think folks who say things like this are just trying to make themselves out to be "better" than other folks.

There are no medals given out for blue water cruising or even for leaving the dock. If someone buys a boat, docks it, and uses it for a weekend getaway, who among us is to say that that's somehow wrong or that we are better than them because we run our boats X days per year?

Time and money factor in on what boats we buy and how we use them. If our boat and our style of boating makes us happy, that's the bottom line.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:15 AM   #6
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100 percent agree with you Kevin...and I don't think many experienced here would disagree..

I think I see what you are talking about.....it's when newbies ask that painful question...can I "cruise" in a "XXXXX" or can I cross an ocean in a "XXXXX"...

It's then you get a generally accepted tier of responses...but someone will always say you can cross an ocean in a bathtub. And they aren't wrong...it is possible. And you also get...nothing less than a battleship will do.

Given enough posts....hopefully even the dumb or easily mislead will still figure what they should or shouldn't consider...it won't necessarily answer their question...but anyone wanting a simple answer to a complex question get exactly what they deserve.......because nobody is going to write a library worth of books in a single post....
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:16 AM   #7
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Blue Water Medal

2012 Blue Water Medal to David S. Cowper

The Cruising Club of America (CCA) has selected David S. Cowper (Newcastle, England) to receive its Blue Water Medal for his completion of six solo circumnavigations of the World and five solo transits of the Northwest Passage. The Blue Water Medal was first awarded in 1923 and is given “for a most meritorious example if seamanship, the recipient to be selected from among the amateurs of all nations.” The award will be presented by Commodore Daniel P. Dyer, III at the annual Awards Dinner on March 1, 2013 at New York Yacht Club in Manhattan. read more
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:31 AM   #8
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I would argue that almost any of our boats could safely, and comfortably travel the full coastline of north America, much of central America, and almost all of the carribbean.

Here's why...

Looking at the charts I find that there are safe harbors no more than 300NM apart, in pretty much this entire area. 300NM at 8 knots is 37 hours of cruising.

Weather forecasting is really good for two days in advance. That means that there is nowhere an 8 knot boat could not safely travel to in good weather.
I use to second captain 2 or 3 trips each July to the wreck of the Andrea Doria on the Seeker a 65' Harkers Island. The Doria is 101 miles SE of Montauk Long Island NY and around 80 south of Nantucket MA. On one trip back from the Doria to Montauk we drove back during the night into 20'+ seas out of the NW with in 80 miles of Montauk. Not exactly what the noon forecast of 10 to 15 knots out of the NE was predicting! Yes it was a rare freak storm, but the weather service didn't see it 8 hours before it started!

Then there was the time I got caught in 10 to 12' seas in my 42' steel boat going from Nags Head NC to Ocean city MD within 50 miles of land, again during the night on a 10 to 15 knot NE forecast.

The weather service is good most of the time 24 hours in advance, fair 48 hours out, and dreaming at 72 hours. Unfortunately, when they are wrong, good people get killed going places they shouldn't be going with the boats they have because they can't reach safe harbor fast enough!

If you go out on the Ocean often enough, sooner or later you are going to taking a pounding. Thankfully, you get to choose the boat, how far from safe harbor and whether or not to go. Choose wisely!

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Old 03-01-2013, 08:50 AM   #9
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Greetings,
ALL valid points thus far. I suspect the reason some folks get into boating is the romantic idea of a perpetual cruise off into the sunset to paradise. Eventually reality OR Darwin intervenes. For the rest, the reasons are as varied as the choice in anchors and ground tackle...Nope, NOT going THERE!!!!
There is still a great deal of validity in the cruise/paradise dream but only YOU can determine what the cruise is and where paradise can be found. The sunset remains the same and it's this last fact that keeps ME on the water. Take a look at the Tranquility thread.
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Old 03-01-2013, 08:54 AM   #10
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one thing that is rarely discussed is there is a HUGE difference between "dangerous" conditions and "uncomfortable" conditions.

The really experienced will probably successfully cruise through both, the pretty experienced will probably successfully cruise through the uncomfortable, the inexperienced may not successfully cruise through either.....

The really, really experienced cruiser may never encounter the dangerous. I've sat on panels with the "father of modern powerboat cruising" who has several circumnavigations under his belt plus...and when asked how to survive really bad weather he answered "I'm not sure, I've really never been in any"...
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Old 03-01-2013, 09:33 AM   #11
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one thing that is rarely discussed is there is a HUGE difference between "dangerous" conditions and "uncomfortable" conditions.

The really experienced will probably successfully cruise through both, the pretty experienced will probably successfully cruise through the uncomfortable, the inexperienced may not successfully cruise through either.....
+1

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Old 03-01-2013, 09:49 AM   #12
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Well, its time to get this subject out in the open.

The issue is that there seems to be an "attitude" or "Belief" amongst some otherwise good folks that unless you have a Full Displacement Passagemaker, you're best suited to the ICW, or even worse tied up at a dock while the "real" boats go blue water cruising.
Kevin,
You are totally correct, one doesn't need a Nordhavn to coastal cruise or do some of the smaller passages necessary to do the islands in the Caribbean. The tendency of people is to add their dreams into their needs when it comes to boats. In sailing it used to be said that 75% of people that buy blue water sailboats want to cross oceans, of them 10% actually "plan" to go cruising. Of that group less than 1% of them will ever actually go and realize their " dreams".

I believe the same holds true for trawlers. Most people that buy our boats have the dream to go to exotic places... but few ever do. Many people convince themselves that they will do it at some point so they must buy the boat that can do it. Everyone in the boat business has sold folks that if they are going to do it the MUST have a full displacement trawler ( or those Dashew beer cans ) to go out there. That mantra gets passed down as gospel ... as it must be the truth... brokers and builders of yachts would never embellish so they could sell boats right?

We have been out there, I have been in big water that scared me to the point I thought I would die... and it lasted for days on end. My admiral says she doesn't want to cross oceans ... I am still working on her on this but I believe she may not budge. We still plan to at some point in the not too distant future leave the PNW and head South, do the Panama canal, Caribbean, East Coast of the US.

Would I like to have a Nordhavn to do it... you bet!. It widens the acceptable weather window and adds to the safety factor of cruising. Will we actually buy one?... more than likely not. I mid size Grand Banks, Ocean Alex, or most any one of the Taiwan boats can, will and have done the same trip countless times at a fraction of the cost.

Every sport, hobby etc. has what people tout as the acceptable equipment to do the job... I am amazed at how much crap some of the guys I scuba dive with take as the necessary stuff to be able to dive..
Boaters fall into the same trap.

HOLLYWOOD
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:39 AM   #13
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one thing that is rarely discussed is there is a HUGE difference between "dangerous" conditions and "uncomfortable" conditions.

The really experienced will probably successfully cruise through both, the pretty experienced will probably successfully cruise through the uncomfortable, the inexperienced may not successfully cruise through either.....

The really, really experienced cruiser may never encounter the dangerous. I've sat on panels with the "father of modern powerboat cruising" who has several circumnavigations under his belt plus...and when asked how to survive really bad weather he answered "I'm not sure, I've really never been in any"...
That was a really great post!

Well Said!
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Old 03-01-2013, 10:47 AM   #14
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That was a really great post!

Well Said!
Thank you....

Comes from 20 years of hands on search and rescue, another 10 of assistance towing and all the time absorbing everything written on the subject I could find....

not too many stories of what went wrong I haven't heard or ....WORSE!!!imagined happening to me...
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:24 AM   #15
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A very good source of blue water stories on weather and waves are Steve Dashew's personal experiences and writings. No blue water boater has been more prolific in this regard during the past 20 years than Dashew.

The mantra of Dashew - avoiding bad weather is prudent and possible, especially in this day and age. Having said this, some of Steve's writings about his bad weather sailing passages around the tip of South Africa are compelling, and chilling.

Those who think they must keep a schedule and course as referenced by OC Diver are at the greatest weather risks. Such as the Bounty. Or Fastnet racers. Or Sidney to Hobart racers. Or Bangledesh ferries. Or the Andrea Doria. Or the Titanic. Or the many other etceteras out there.
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:39 AM   #16
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The issue is that there seems to be an "attitude" or "Belief" amongst some otherwise good folks that unless you have a Full Displacement Passagemaker, you're best suited to the ICW, or even worse tied up at a dock while the "real" boats go blue water cruising.
?
There are other forces at play here:
  • Some do not overtly report on TF about their journeys
  • Most of the serious coastal cruisers on their non Nordhavns do not even know TF exists
  • Some are too busy cruising (I wish I was) to spend time on the internet.
  • Bayliner owners have something to prove
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Old 03-01-2013, 11:54 AM   #17
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Some people think passage making is extreme trawlering. I think not. It must be taken so seriously it's hard to imagine it as any or much fun.

And yes if I cross the gulf of Alaska in a small boat it will be in/on a full displacement boat. But I probably won't even do it in a FD boat either ...... WHY would I want to do that?
I couldn't agree more with what Eric has written.

Maybe it's my age (72) but it is not my boating experience that causes me to think this way as I have cruised from Juneau to Seattle, Seattle to San Francisco, San Francisco to San Diego, San Diego to Cabo San Lucas & all up and down the Sea of Cortez. Seven different cruises on five different boats, the smallest of which was 42 feet. Most of these were entirely enjoyable (Especially going down hill) with the Sea of Cortez being the absolute best" (Great weather, benign seas, excellent fishing and diving over the side before cocktail time.)

It's not for the faint of heart, however, and to suggest that this can be done in "tiny boats" is foolhardy. Of course it can be done in tiny boats! Just ask Thor Heyerdahl. Is it recommended? IMO, no!
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:08 PM   #18
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There are other forces at play here:
  • Some do not overtly report on TF about their journeys
  • Most of the serious coastal cruisers on their non Nordhavns do not even know TF exists
  • Some are too busy cruising (I wish I was) to spend time on the internet.
  • Bayliner owners have something to prove

You're probably right there on all issues.

Its kinda funny, this internet thing.

You can go on a forum and talk about your TT, which we all know have had their fair share of issues, some very serious and nobody knocks your boat.

Mention you have a Bayliner, even a large one like mine and some uninformed ding a ling will slam your boat for no other reason than brand bias.

The funny thing is that never happens in person. Walking the docks, we are all a community of boaters.

I am VERY THANKFUL that since coming here in 2010 as a guy looking for a large cruising boat, to today, that there has been very little brand bashing here on TF.

This is a great community, and I amp happy to participate.

BTW, the Bayliner Owners Club, where I moderate the Motoryachts forum was started many years ago to escape brand bashing. Now there are over 15,000 members. Many TF members came from the BOC, like myself as their boating moved to larger boats. Many here still participate in both forums.

TF is great because the discussions are not brand specific. This opens up allot more conversations about things all boat brands share in common.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:16 PM   #19
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You're probably right there on all issues.

Its kinda funny, this internet thing.

You can go on a forum and talk about your TT, which we all know have had their fair share of issues, some very serious and nobody knocks your boat.

Mention you have a Bayliner, even a large one like mine and some uninformed ding a ling will slam your boat for no other reason than brand bias.

The funny thing is that never happens in person. Walking the docks, we are all a community of boaters.

I am VERY THANKFUL that since coming here in 2010 as a guy looking for a large cruising boat, to today, that there has been very little brand bashing here on TF.

This is a great community, and I amp happy to participate.

BTW, the Bayliner Owners Club, where I moderate the Motoryachts forum was started many years ago to escape brand bashing. Now there are over 15,000 members. Many TF members came from the BOC, like myself as their boating moved to larger boats. Many here still participate in both forums.

TF is great because the discussions are not brand specific. This opens up allot more conversations about things all boat brands share in common.
I knock my boat...had I know what I know now about at least my model and year Albin...I'd have bought a Bayliner instead.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:32 PM   #20
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KS

Most serious boaters know the Bayliner story and TT's as well. I am amazed as to how many Bayliners are present in the PNW. A trip to the dry storage yard in Anacortes looks like Bayliner heaven.

I've a dockmate with a Meridian (4788 ripoff) who talks about the advantages of his pilothouse design vs my 3 cabin DeFever. When we are side by side though my helm chair is eyeball with his and my ER is walk in. So there!
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