Understanding What Blue Water Cruiser Is Right For You
Bluewater sailing: An increasingly fashionable definition that has recently been exciting a new generation of sailing yacht owners with the desire to live long periods on board. Many no longer feel the limitations that terrified our fathers: today, more or less, everyone thinks by buying a sailboat to sail the route of the trade winds. This is demonstrated by the success that organizations like ARC have been achieving year after year. Hundreds of boats set sail from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean and then wander around the following winter for some time. However, many owners thinking about how to make their dream come true, realize that the boat as it came out of the yard is far from ready. True, it has everything it takes to tackle summer holidays in the Mediterranean, but offshore sailing is another matter. Some with a little more experience face the project and begin to rationalize the necessary changes. Others simply drop it. They cannot visualize the problems and end up letting themselves be discouraged by abandoning their ocean dream in the drawer.
Ok, let’s start the process for a Bluewater Sailboat conversion:
The main point is: do you really know what’s out there when it comes to blue water cruisers? Do you know what’s best for you, your family and the type of trip you are planning? These are all important points, because there are way too many people out there who invest in a sailboat without really knowing what they are looking for Now, let’s be clear: there is no “perfect,” ready to sail blue water boat, but you can create the one perfect for you, depending on what you want to use your new yacht for.
If you are looking for a boat for two, then you should look for something less than 50’ for a mono hull and less that 45’ for a catamaran. Anything bigger than that means you’ll need extra crew, too, so keep that in mind.
What you may not realize is that taking care of a large 60+ feet sailboat alone is a real challenge. Try to lift a 60 ’feet mainsail to do a job of any kind and get back to me!. Experienced solo sailor are actually using less than 40 feet
Monohull or catamaran?
Some would never choose a catamaran because they consider catamarans as aquatic motorhomes, unsafe and not very well-known and expensive in budget and maintenain, not to mention in many ports catamaran pays as much as two monhauls of similar lenght.
And those who consider mono hulls boats now outdated, slow, not very spacious, rickety and always tilted on their sides, not suitable for exploring the atolls and reefs of the South Seas which requires a shallow draft.
Monohulls are characterized by the following:
• They are safer because, even if it were to scuff and make a 360 °, they should always return to their feet (unless they lost the bulb against a semi-sunken container or against a coral head)
• They are better upwind better and bounces off the waves less;
• They are more fun to sail
• They are slower when running downwind;
• They suffer more from cross sea and the swelling ( suella) at anchor.
The Catamarans on the other hand:
A Catamaran can be roomier, generally people buying catamarans are more experienced while the boat itself is more stable and somewhat easier provided the fact the skipper knows the particularities of a catamaran.
- They are very spacious and stable on the wave;
- They are better for families with kids
- They faster when reaching or running downwind;
- They have two engines and two rudders and therefore emergency situations can be more easily overcome, at least when only one of the two components fails;
- They are much better for shallow waters
- They requires more attention in strong winds and extreme weather conditions. In the event that they tip over they can’t be straightened up. over it is no longer able to straighten itself; ( anyway Modern catamarans are almost impossible to tip unless conditions are very rough, some no one should ever experience given precise weather reports available nowadays!)
- They are slower when upwind (close hauled) as well as very uncomfortable. They move, shake and slap on the waves returning low security confidence and annoying conditions
- For the same length they cost much more than mono hulls and requires an important maintenance budget. Berthing, cranes, shipyard, antifouling, two of everything…
Blue Water Sail Boat Options
• New versus Used
• Older vs Newer and Resale Value
• Monohull versus Catamaran
• Size (length, beam, waterline)
• Displacement options
• Cockpit (placement, size)
• Sprayhood/Dodger and Bimini
• Deck layout
• Anchor and windless system
• Navigation equipment
• Look and feel of the inside
• Overall layout of Berths ( how many?), Heads, Galley, Saloon
• Engine, Generator, Inverter
• LPG and Gas or Green technology (solar, wind & water), Fuel Tanks
• Water tanks,Water Purifiers, Filtration systems, Watermaker
• Holding tanks (black and gray)
• The dinghy and motor
• Safety equipment
• Comfort factor
• Considerations for children
• Ease of sailing experience
Bluwater Sailboat construction
The sturdiness of construction is the most important quality of a sailboat suitable for the ocean. Even if this depends mostly from which oceans are you planning to sail. The Drake Straits can be really demanding while an Atlantic cross in the trade winds is pretty much a vacation. All the weak points of a hull must be known and should be reinforced if necessary. It is difficult to make a complete list, but there are some things to consider that immediately come to mind.
The hull-deck attachment, potential waterway, the floors of the central part of the hull, where the tensions of the mast are discharged, and the bow, always at risk of collision with floating objects.
1. The hull-deck attachment, potential waterway, the floors of the central part of the hull, where the tensions of the mast are discharged, and the bow, always at risk of collision with floating objects.
2. Another critical point is the bulb, which should have reinforcement plates for attachment to the hull or in any case constructive solutions that distribute the tensions on several points instead of only on the prisoners
3. Another thing that is often overlooked is the enormous stress to which the rudder is subjected, especially in the stern, and a close competent inspection is vital before a long navigation.
4. Check the hull for delamination, where rudder force is applied and check bushing. Check the rudder shaft and lamination of the rudder blade, check tiller ropes.
5. Last but Most IMPORTANT: According to various search and rescue authorities figures rudder issues are the number one reason for people abandoning their boats in the past 30 years A recent example is that of the yacht Dove II, which lost its rudder 400 miles east of Barbados while on passage to the Caribbean in December 2016. The crew, a couple with their children and another crewmember, were unable to improvise an emergency steering system and had to be rescued, abandoning the boat.
Once you have chosen the right boat, you need to be careful not to go overboard with extra equipment. Often, we are naturally inclined to get all that’s available, only to realize, once we are at sea, that a very small amount of all that is necessary. Our advice is to be smart, find out what you really need on board and get it and sail!
We have the experience needed to suggest any necessary changes, the best materials, and the most suitable solutions
Blue water boats are set up to go long distances and to remote places therefore they need a variety of items that make life a bit more self-sustainable.
Here are some considerations:
• The cost of preparing your boat for what you want to do with it (This is about getting it up to scratch. Does the rigging need to change? Do the engine(s) and overhaul? Do you need anything structurally fixed? Are all the plotters and navigation systems working? Does the boat have AIS?)
• Energy consumption (batteries, genset, solar, wind, water)
• Solar Energy System
• Fresh water – holding tank size? One or two tanks (to avoid contamination)?
• Water Filtration system
• Grey water tanks (some countries require them even if many sailors do not use them).
• Watermaker – a must-have
• The proper anchor, chain and windless that make sense for the area you’re sailing in
• Communications – Satellite, mobile networks, SIM cards.
• Charts, pilot books, navigation charts, backup systems
• Washing machine. If you want a far easier life you must have a washing machine!
• Comforts – beanbags, hammock, grill…
• Spares and service kits
• Tool kits – electrical, mechanical, plumbing, etc.
• Mental preparation – how are you preparing yourself, your partner, your family for the experience?
• Books and service manuals to have on board (or in your Kindle)
• Insurances (Boat, health, critical cover, airlift, etc.)
• A schedule of cleaning, maintenance and servicing
• SAR insurance and emergency positioning
• Safety equipment – in addition to what’s on the boat already
• Extra sails (for downwind sailing – Atlantic/Pacific crossing)
THE EXPERIENCE – A LIFE CHANGING WEEK-LONG LIVEABOARD EXPERIENCE
Spend 3 days to a week on board with us at Sailing Oceania to see how it all works and to see for yourself how you enjoy off the grid life. With us you can learn all you need about sailing and life on board, anchoring, maneuvering docking, provisioning, cooking ( we mainly cook Italian / Mediterranean style food), maintaining, troubleshooting AND checking out all the white sandy beaches, snorkeling over the fish-filled reef and testing out exotic tropical drinks.
While staying with us, you will be able to check in person how it all works and be able to better understand your own boat needs. Discover how we can help you to get out sailing and enjoying the lifestyle sooner rather than later.
4. The Blue Water Cruising Life
Living on a blue water cruiser is not like living on land, as you can’t just “head out to the store” if you forgot something. You need to be organized and plan well in advance. Let’s take a look together at a list of areas you must consider and do some research on before sailing off:
• The cost of cruising life
• Provisioning, food, cooking, grilling, galley
• Social life
• TV, phones, communication, internet
• Learn about the cruising community and making new friends
• Families, kids and pets
• Working from the boat, telecommuting
• Cleaning (systems, how-to, etc.)
• Mold control,Bug control
• What kit to have/not have
• Life in a boatyard/marina versus life at anchor
• Having friends and family visit
• Systems and routines
• Choosing a home for your boat – Marina, mooring ball, at anchor and cruising
• Living with your sailing partner 24/7
• Boat Buddies – what they are, how to find them
• Passage preparation (Meal, water prep. seasick prep, stowing…)
• Sailing destinations, routes and planning
• Fishing, fillet and cooking fish
• Dealing with seasickness
• Booking into and out of countries (website clearance, paperwork book)
• What to expect in other countries, customs – yes we can help
• Getting parts in remote locations
• Taking on paid or unpaid Crew
SAILBOAT CONVERSION TO BLUEWATER BY US:
If you are considering living onboard for extended periods of time and facing longer sailing without having made your apprenticeship in a more experienced crew, you need us! We have the experience needed to suggest any necessary changes, the best materials, and the most suitable solutions. We have experience and we can help you with specific, individual projects, supervising the installations, or doing the work on your behalf until we deliver your boat ready for the ocean. We can work on your electrical system, the water system, communication, and, last but not least, rigging and sails.