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This Guy Is Cruising On An Open 40 – With His Family

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Totally nuts, but totally awesome. And not only with his family, but with his young kids (3.5 and 1.5 years old) – IN THE SOUTHERN OCEAN. Wonder how long until it all goes wrong.

James Burwick writes on his blog:

We arrived in Fremantle, Western Australia on 12 May 1012 after 30 days from Simons Town, South Africa.

Boat preparation was long and detailed. This was to be one of those trips where it was better to send a report in after we arrived safely, not before.

It was late in the season for sailing in the Southern Ocean in many minds, but not mine. I felt I could go above 40S, avoid ice, and avoid low pressure cells dropping off of the Indian Ocean summer cyclones. Leaving in mid-April just meant more darkness. Well, it always seems to happen at night, so with longer nights, maybe the possibility of more bad stuff to deal with.

After approximately 1200 hours of boat preparations by myself, after sailing solo 32,000nm and with the family aboard 13,000nm, I felt the risk could be managed.
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“Next Time, We’ll Do It On A Better Boat”

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Latitude 38 has this riveting tale of three Canadian sailors rescued just 280 miles outside Hawaii in worsening conditions.

Three Canadian sailors, including a nine-year-old boy, are safe at home in Calgary after a harrowing rescue from their Yorktown 40 Liahona, about 280 miles northeast of Hilo, during the wee hours of February 8. Bradley James, along with brother Mitchell and son West, had left Puerto Vallarta on January 11 bound for Hawaii on their first ocean crossing. They planned to keep the boat in the Islands, as the family travels there regularly.

They report the weather was relatively uneventful until a few days before the rescue. By February 7, it had deteriorated drastically — 20- ft seas and 35-knot winds — and caused the forestay to part. Brad hauled Mitch up the mast to attach a “new cable,” but Mitch was thrown into the water when the shrouds came loose and the mast buckled. Brad was able to bring his brother aboard, but they feared he’d suffered a concussion in the fall. As the pair attempted a jury rig, the mast fell away completely. To top things off, the engine had overheated.
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Boat Found Adrift – Three Years After It Was Abandoned

Another reminder to stay with the boat if you’re ever tossed overboard (although in this instance swimming to shore probably saved these men’s lives). Read more:

BOSTON – A small fishing boat lost off Massachusetts after its crew was thrown out in rough seas has been discovered near Spain more than three years later.

Scott Douglas and Rich St. Pierre were tossed off the 26-foot-long boat in August 2008 and forced to swim two hours to shore. The U.S. Coast Guard says the boat was left adrift because the seas were so dangerous.

But the Coast Guard said Wednesday that the boat was found 20 miles off Spain on Jan. 17. It was intact but covered in rust and barnacles.
The Coast Guard says the boat likely got into the Gulf Stream, then headed east with the North Atlantic Current for the 4,000-mile trip. The agency says such trans-Atlantic trips are rare, but not unheard of.

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Vintage Hobie Crash Of The Week

Those old Hobie eighteens were great boats. Complete with their colorful sails, and tanned young men sailing them, they offered extreme performance compared to what was available at the time. Not sure these guys recovered from this move, but at least it looked like the water was warm.

Love those colorful sails.

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Heading South? Could Bypassing Bermuda Save Your Life?

Don Street writes this fantastic article, well worth the read, which highlights the pros and cons of three major routes. He also notes the high risk of the unstable weather systems during the months of October and November. With weather predictions in those months only good out 48 to 96 hours, a route to Bermuda from Newport places you at risk of unforeseen and dangerous weather patterns. Definitely an remarkable article from someone with enormous experience at sea.

Going south in late fall from such New England ports as Newport, Rhode Island, by way of Bermuda is basically playing Russian roulette. In 2011, the bullet ended up in the firing chamber, and as a result, two boats and one life were lost. (See “Hard Lessons Learned in the North Atlantic,” February 2012.) This has happened many times in the past, and it will happen again if sailors keep following that same route. The North Atlantic is no place for a cruising boat with a shorthanded crew when fall gales rile the sea.

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Which to Buy? Catamaran vs. Monohull

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Around the world, you’ll see many thousands of sailing boats. The vast majority of them are monohulls. In fact, among the U.S. cruising fraternity (those out for more than a few months), this trend is even more pronounced. Yet other countries – the French come to mind – other designs dominate. Why is that? What are the tradeoffs in each design?

We’ve sailed tens of thousands of miles on monohull boats over the last two decades. And, we’ve conducted boat tests of a number of cruising catamarans, and explored different designs – from Gunboats to Lagoons. So we have a pretty good starting point. We’d definitely welcome your feedback though – what are your impressions?

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Debating The Merits Of A Full Keel

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One of the age-old discussions online – and off – are the relative merits of a fin vs. full keel. There are many tradeoffs in any boat, yet this is a lightening-rod issue on many forums. So it was with interest that we found this extended Sailnet discussion about the topic. In particular, we found two posts – included below – to be most enlightening around the relative merits of these two designs choices.

What do you think – should full keels be banned forever? Or required?

Username “dacap06” offers the following note:

A keel is your underwater wing, just like your sail is the in-air wing. Remember, the sails generate lift around the leeward side of the airfoil, the angle of the boat as it moves through the water causes the keels to generate lift on the windward side of the waterfoil. The vector sum of these forces is what pushes you forward. As I understand it, the advantages and disadvantages are as follows.
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Gunboat To Open North Carolina Factory

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Gunboat announced this month their intention to open an new factory based in North Carolina to augment their existing line in South Africa. The new factory will create 71 jobs, at the $1.8M construction facility. Good to see Peter Johnstone building a local plant. U.S.-based plant will provide a natural hedge on exchange rates, and will also allow for additional access to the U.S. market.

Now if only they would introduce a sub-$1M boat…

RALEIGH—Gov. Bev Perdue today announced that Gunboat Company, a maker of high-end sailboats, will locate a new shipyard in Dare County. The company plans to create 71 jobs and invest more than $1.8 million over the next three years in Wanchese. The project was made possible in part by a $213,000 grant from the One North Carolina Fund.

“My top priority is creating jobs,” Gov. Perdue said. “Our state’s top-notch workforce and job training programs create a strong business climate where manufacturers can thrive in a global market. We welcome Gunboat and wish them smooth sailing here in North Carolina.”
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Boat Review: Tartan 4000

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Tartan and C&C Yachts – both brands are owned by the same company – has had quite a few bumps on the road over the last decade. A series of challenges with poor designs, quality issues, a lot of very public criticism all playing a role in the drama which ultimately culminated in the sale of the company to new owners. These new owners have lavished significant attention – financial and otherwise – on these venerable brands.

This latest effort – the Tartan 4000 – is in many ways a culmination of their investment.

The Tartan 4000 is an entirely new design by Tim Hackett (unlike several claims by internet forums). Hull and molds were built from the ground up to reflect the latest thinking in yacht design. This can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your perspective. Common criticisms of ‘modern’ yacht design include plumb bows which make it difficult to drop an anchor, flat runs forward in the hull which lead to pounding, excessive weather helm due to wide beam carried all the way aft, and keel designs which are structurally weaker than the old hourglass shape. Key benefits of these designs include substantially more space down below due to the wider beam, lighter displacement (faster acceleration), more waterline (higher boat speed), and a larger, wider cockpit with direct access to the transom, water and dinghy.
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The Beneteau Oceanis 41: A Practical Review

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NASailor had a chance to explore the Beneteau Oceanis, and we liked what we saw in our visit. So it is with interest that we saw Practical Sailor’s latest boat review. Somewhat hard on the marketers of Beneteau, Practical Sailor critiqued their marketing photography – “long-stem wine glasses that would scatter like pins in a bowling alley when the first gust hit” but they also communicated a grudging sense of respect for the way Beneteau has embraced the modern, wide-hull design aesthetic.

In our opinion, the most notable design criteria is the wide, flat run of the hull which carries all the way after, similar to the Beneteau Sense line. In fact, one of the most common questions during the show was “what differentiates the two lines.” Ultimately, the cockpit and interior configuration is a bit more traditional in the Oceanis, while the Sense line truly was built to generate a catamaran experience in a monohull’s hull. Read More »

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Crash of the Week: Costa Concordia

It may not be the biggest cruise ship. It (thankfully) hasn’t set a record of lives lost, due to the efforts by the local Italian Coast Guard. It ran aground only 600 feet from shore. Yet for sheer spectacle, the grounding and abandonment of the Costa Concordia – the largest cruise ship ever constructed in Italy – is remarkable. As fellow mariners, we are stunned by the admission by the captain that he left the vessel in the midst of abandoning ship. The chaos, confusion and poor decisions when so close to shore and in relatively calm conditions is deeply disturbing.

Truly, Captain Francesco Schettino appears to give professional mariners a bad name.

Underwater video after the jump.


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Is This The Craziest Boat You’ve Ever Seen?

The design brief was for a safety vessel for the Arctic, capable of rescuing up to 50 people in minus 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The result: the oddly designed and named Arktos. Check out this video. Jump to 4:45 to see her maneuver in the ocean. Amazing. This is the boat you want to have when the ice age comes.

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The Catalina 355: A Well-Balanced Cruiser

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We found this insightful review by one of our favorite sailors – John Kretschmer – which popped up on the web the other day. We had a close inspection at Miami in 2011, and found it to be a very traditional Catalina – in mostly good ways. The traditional hull design strikes a nice compromise between maximizing interior volume, and make a boat which sails well and looks traditional.

As John noted:

It’s a handsome, well-proportioned boat of moderate beam and freeboard. The fairly low-slung cabintrunk completes the pleasing profile… The helm seat has been raised and the sailing instrument pods placed outboard, resulting in terrific sightlines from behind the wheel and a nice steering perch when heeled. The primary winches are located well aft, allowing the helmsman a full throw of the winch without releasing the wheel.

We also noted Read More »

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The Best Boating Vacation Ever?

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The future of boating – if not good taste – is here. This artist’s concept of a totally over-the-top personal luxury liner caught our attention. The best possible combination of personal island and luxury yacht. Just imagine all the jet skis. Madness!

Luxury Overboard: Private Yacht as Tropical Island Paradise. . .So you already have your own private tropical island and giant-sized personal luxury yacht … how do you take things to the next level? Why, you combine the two into a portable slice of floating paradise, of course! Somewhere between crazy and kitsch, this monster of the sea features its own miniature volcano, flowing waterfall, mountain stream, and valley pool flanked by a series of small bamboo huts and shelter-providing palm trees, all set upon (and concealing) a cruise-ship-style deck. For adults looking for a little more reality on their oceanic voyage, an extendable deck can be deployed belowdecks via a fold-down hatch in the hull; this opening revealing stairs leading to shelters, seating and other detachable smaller sea-faring vessels for short off-ship excursions.

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These “Pirates” Spent New Year’s Aground

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While many of us were celebrating New Year’s Eve on Saturday, a large number of would-be pirates had to be ferried off the “Pirate’s Ransom,” a ship (sort-of) in Clearwater, Florida, after she ran aground. Apparently, it was foggy. I didn’t realize that Florida got a lot of fog, or maybe it was just the rum. And you thought your boat had a lot of windage…

Scores of would-be swashbucklers found themselves in need of rescuing Saturday night when their ship — the Pirate’s Ransom — ran aground in west Florida, a government spokeswoman said.

The pirate-themed ship was actually one of two vessels in and around Clearwater whose passengers inadvertently celebrated New Year’s Eve on shore, rather that at sea. The other ship — the Island Time — went aground while trying to take some of the first ship’s passengers ashore, said city public safety spokeswoman Elizabeth Watts. Read More »

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Extreme Restoration: Hunter 54

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We wrote about this restoration of a Hunter 54 earlier this year. At the time, we were skeptical of how it would turn out, and even if the exercise would be worthwhile. Well, the fellows down at Baggett and Sons have performed a miracle on this baby, and the boat is now for sale for around $75k. It even comes with a dinghy garage.

Here are the restored photos – the topsides and decking look particularly impressive. More images are available on his photobucket page.

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These Robots Are Sailing The Ocean For Science – Just Don’t Run One Over

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A set of four small robots left San Francisco earlier this month to explore the ocean. They are expected to arrive in Australia and Japan in roughly 300 days.

Between the bottom of a swimming pool and the surface of Mars is one frontier a robot has never crossed: the Pacific Ocean. While humans and robots have conquered land and space, relatively little is known about our oceans, yet they cover more than 70 percent of the Earth. A Sunnyvale-based startup believes its new fleet of robots could make the ocean a mystery no more.

In San Francisco, a quartet of Liquid Robotics Wave Glider unmanned robots were set afloat in the Pacific. They’re on mission to cross the world’s largest ocean and collect data, break world records, and bridge the gap between the sky and the murky depths below. The missions will be a success when the robots, which are traveling in pairs, arrive in Australia or Japan where their journeys are expected to end 300 days from now.
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Interesting Cruising Boat Of The Week: Freya 39

The comfortable galley with dual sinks, and integrated storage.

The Freya 39 is a classic racer / cruising from the late 60s which represents a great cruising value even in today’s market. This is a boat designed by Trygve Halvorsen in Australia, and won early acclaim for her exploits on the race course – in this case, as one of the only three-time winners of the Sydney-Hobart race (1963 to 1965). But the racer of that era may make a comfortable cruiser of this one.

What interests me the most with this boat is the combination of cutaway forefoot – which reduces wetted surface area, combined with the long keel and protected rudder. The long keel is a major plus for sea keeping and comfort at anchor and underway, but usually requires the sacrifice of speed. This boat has a fantastic reputation for being stiff and weatherly – 6+ knots speeds, with 8+ and 200 miles days are achievable when pushed hard (it helps that she’s actually 44 feet LOA). And with the moderate to heavy displacement, she should have a very nice motion comfort.
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Sailor Lost Overboard In NARC Rally

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In tragic news, the sailing vessel Triple Stars lost crewmember Jan Anderson overboard when a 30-foot wave washed over their deck on Friday, November 11th. This is another reminder that conditions this time of year off New England can be quite challenging.

The vessel, an Island Packet 38, was hove-to 285 miles Northwest of Bermuda while they waited for a tropical storm to clear the area, in 40 to 50-knot conditions. They were participating in the 12th annual Newport to Caribbean Regatta (NARC) at the time, and ten days out of Newport en route to Bermuda and then St. Maarten. The regatta is unaffiliated with the Carib 1500, which last year suffered a loss as well. Read More »

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