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Suitability of small yachts for ocean passages

yachtie8

New member
Joined
7 Apr 2005
Messages
54
Want to start a bit of a discussion on the suitability of small yachts – eg. Corribee for ocean passages.

We all now it can be done- there are a few examples of successful passages.
I own a Corribee and have completed offshore passages (Channel Islands-Devon etc) in it very successfully so know what I am talking about!

But a few points about increasing the displacement:

-reduces freeboard, therefore reduces angle of downflooding

-most likely raises G, therefore reduces AVS considerably.

-reduces speed of vessel, increasing passage times, therefore require more stores (increasing displacement more!) Remember Mingming had to turn back last year because she was too slow.

- Increases the righting moment, therefore all of the rig loads, reducing factors of safety.


Few other points:
- small size of vessel means it is practically invisible on radar,
- insufficient storage space for full safety equipment.


Don’t get me wrong- I fully support the concept of the Jester Challenge etc, and I did consider preparing my Corribee for long passages. But are you not fundamentally trying to do something in a yacht which is completely unsuited to the work. They are seaworthy yes, but not I don’t think with an extra 200-400kg of kit onboard.

I guess I am overall suggesting that in such a small yacht can one, even if the vessel is modified extensively can one take all reasonable precautions to ensure your safely at sea, without having to rely on the emergency services to come and pick you up?

I think that an extra 6 foot in length makes a considerable difference (remember displacement increases by a cubed function) so much greater internal volume for storage. The extra size enables more stores and shorter passages.

One last point- all the bunks are too short! I am 6"6.

What do people reckon?
 

Swagman

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1 Feb 2005
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1,444
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Based from the UK, try to get away on a boat for a
IMHO its never the boat but always the sailor who is / is not suitable.

And if one were to extend your logic the only way to cross the Atlantic would be on an Ocean liner.........so sorry, I don't agree with you basic premise - but do agree if you are 6' 6" you need a bunk at least that long..

JOHN
 

JunkMing

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Joined
12 Mar 2007
Messages
39
There is no doubt that load-carrying capacity is a big issue for small yacht ocean passages. I also agree with most of your comments on the effects of increased displacement. That is why I would never go offshore in a small yacht that cannot be completely sealed. Unsinkability is also a sine qua non, as are predetermined jury rig and jury steering.(These three things give you all you should ever really need of a vessel at sea - the ability to stay on the surface, motive power and directional control). Where the small yacht gains is in the ease of handling under any conditions (particularly if junk rigged).
Mingming turned back in the Jester Challenge not because she was too slow to cross the Atlantic - but was too slow to be sure of avoiding what was predicted as a severe hurricane season. The next Jester Atlantic Challenge (2010) will probably start earlier in the year to give the smaller/slower yachts a bigger window.
 
G

Guest

Guest
Rip the sink unit out for a longer berth (or consider a hammock ?).

Colin
 
Joined
20 Jul 2001
Messages
205
Location
Southampton, UK
Hi Yachtie8

Glad to hear you may be tackling some long distance sailing . I agree with JunkMing that the 'corked bottle' is a great way to go. I'm doing much the same with my Corri, sealing her up into watertight buoyancy chambers. At the same time, I'm adding a bit of bottom ballast (attachment to the keel) so I can carry more sail in a moderate breeze to increase journey times.

John Welsford, a well known designer from New Zealand, has just designed a small junk-rigged long-range cruiser. (See jwboatdesigns@xtra.co.nz and look for 'Swaggie'.)

He works on the basis that 1 person needs 11lb of consumable stores a day. Into this he factors everything from food and water down to loo roll and toothpaste. If your yacht can't carry that amount of weight without jeporadising it's stability, then you need to think again. By that sum, a month long sail to the Azores should require a 'consumable' loading of 330lbs.

Another poster on this forum (see Blueboatman post to junk-rigged Corribee owners) sailed his junk-rigged Corribee right across the pond and then spent three years cruising the eastern seaboard of the USA.

Small boats are slower, as you say, due to waterline length, but they have a lot of other factors going for them. Knowing their boats are small, the skippers take extra care, and exercise good seamanship (as JunkMing did) to minimise unnecessary exposure to danger.

Hope your preparations come on well. As for being 6'6'' - not the end of the world. I'm average height, but I built my main hatch up and topped it off with a viewing dome. The galley is being shifted forward to give easier access to the port berth, and there a few other 'space making' designs going in. Little boats are quite easy to modify!
 

JREdginton

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Joined
15 May 2006
Messages
155
[ QUOTE ]
John Welsford, a well known designer from New Zealand, has just designed a small junk-rigged long-range cruiser

[/ QUOTE ]

Mmmm, Sundowner. Just been talking to Fyneboats about the possibility of a partial kit (bulkheads, frames, transom, major internal panels), already had a quote for the plans from John, but I doubt it will come to fruition in time for JAC08, maybe if the gods smile I can do JAC10 in one /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif

In the mean time I've been looking at Hurley 22's, Sadler 25's and Cobra 750's. The only one that comes in near a mortal budget is a Hurley tough, the others will cost nearly 10K a pop for a decent boat before you start to get it ready to go /forums/images/graemlins/frown.gif
 

seedog

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Joined
18 Jul 2006
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409
Location
Bristol
My recollection is that a couple of people have done west-east transatlantic crossings in sub 6 foot boats (can't find a website with details though). Where do you get a six foot six bunk in that? Obviously heroic, stupid, foolhardy madness but it does put suitability of 6metres+ boats into perspective. And given that sub 10 foot has been done a few times it isn't just a fluke.

If you want unsinkable makes me wonder if the best boats for a JC are multihulls which are already divided into at least two separate watertight compartments and have good load carrying ability. Fire rarely gets a mention as a hazard when sailing and it is probably not at the top of the list of likely events but not many unsinkable boats would survive it if it takes hold. Whereas on a catamaran without a connecting superstructure chances are you can save one hull. Not sure what would happen on a tri.
 

Bajansailor

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Joined
27 Dec 2004
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5,492
Location
Marine Surveyor in Barbados
Here is a list of all the documented coean passages in small craft - I think that Hugo Vihlen has the record for the smallest craft to sail the Atlantic, with his 5' 4" LOA 'Fathers Day' in 1993 - he was at sea for 105 days......
Tom McNally also crossed in 1993 with Vera Hugh, but she was half an inch longer than Hugo's vessel.....

http://www.microcruising.com/famoussmallboats.htm
 

seedog

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18 Jul 2006
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409
Location
Bristol
Thanks for the link, a site with an excellent compilation of small boat achievements. Tom Mcnally has also done Portugal to the Canaries in Vera Hugh 2 only 3' 11''long!!! Makes a 6 metres+ boat for JC 08 look like overkill.
Just read the account of Ant Steward's circumnavigation in an open 19 footer, an awesome achievement in a most unsuitable boat. The smallest boat to circumnavigate, Acrohc Australis, was only 12 feet and self built by Serge Testa. Both Steward and Testa have had fires at sea so perhaps it is more common than I thought.
 

andlauer

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15 Mar 2007
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310
Location
Paris France
"In the mean time I've been looking at Hurley 22's, Sadler 25's and Cobra 750's. The only one that comes in near a mortal budget"
Bonjour
A well maintained Muscadet is 8Keuro (eurosexptics may translate in old pence).
http://www.apmuscadet.com/index.php?page=news
It's a fabulous design and was elected (you know this strange democratic stuff!) boat of the century by a magasin.
Eric /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

seedog

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18 Jul 2006
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409
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Bristol
Ok I've had a look at the site and they look ok in the photos. However my schoolboy french from 30+ years ago is not good enough to make an informed comment on them. My budget is pretty tight too so can you tell us what it is that makes you recommend this class of boat.
 

JREdginton

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15 May 2006
Messages
155
I seem to recall reading about one of these going all the way around to world (similar time to Shane Acton & Shrimpy), I have very vivid memories of photos backed by Pacific Atolls. Could have been a dream or wishful thinking but I don't think so.
 

andlauer

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15 Mar 2007
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Bonjour
The Muscadet was design in the 60s to provide a cheep and efficient cruising boat. It's made of plywood.
For blue water I would recommand the keel version.
It was very popular (hundreds of them) and well built by the Aubin boatyard.
It resulted to be very safe and easy to handle. It was the start of single handed sailing in France.
At start of the Mini Transat it was THE reference boat. At total, I've been told that more than 500 atlantic crossings have been made on Muscadets.
The serie is still very active with a gauge (serious but you must also have a full-up bottle of Muscadet on board on the arriving line). The national Muscadet will take place in Cherbourg this year. It's a sailing and festivity event.
Many of them are available second handed and very well maintained.
The boat has a unclassical shape but lost of place inside.
/forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
It may support almost any sea. (I haven't try but others did!)
Eric
 

shipmatesenior

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19 Apr 2007
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Location
Suffolk, UK
Lots of different views expressed on suitability of small boats on open sea's. For me I'm still in the realms of solo sailing our Shipmate Senior on short coastal hops as being an achievement but am greatly inspired by those who undertake small boat adventures - don't stop planning those trips.

My personal view on suitability is that it is in part the boat (design, loading, state of repair, preparation for trip etc.) AND weather AND capabilities of skipper. In other words a combination.

I guess I'm always concious when planning any trip of risk to self and impact on others if I get in to difficulty - not that we have any right to being rescued. A small boat in open sea's must increase risk - its just how much risk are individuals prepared to take and that is a very individual decision.

Having said all of the above, and my humble opinion, making a challenging passage in a small yacht single handed is nothing short of a fabulous achievement and what its all about.
 

JunkMing

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12 Mar 2007
Messages
39
Lots of similarities, but the Muscadet was designed by Pillippe Harle. He designed a whole range in the same style - Cognac, Armagnac etc. They are very efficient hulls that seem to glide through the water with minimal wave-making, therefore minimal energy loss. The Muscadet has a foredeck well and a very slightly raised coachroof. Many have had a skeg added to strengthen the rudder mounting and stop vibration. I would consider a skeg version mandatory for ocean work.
 

JREdginton

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15 May 2006
Messages
155
Good call, skegs rule /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif In 3 transatlantics I have twice experienced rudder problems; Swan 40, lower bearing cap undid itself and shot up the shaft, refitted mid ocean, not fun; Sigma 39, lower bearing plate worked loose, nuts tightened mid ocean, still not fun; Victoria 34, no problems, no comment /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 

Jimbo772

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25 Apr 2007
Messages
21
Hi,

I'm curious about the views of others on suitability or otherwise of bilge keelers ? I was thinking about a Hurley 22 fin keeler to take part, using my Cobra 750 bilge keeler to provide the funds. However, a friend has a H22 which he has himself sailed across Biscay, already has reinforced chainplates etc, so may save me some cash.

Jimbo.
http://www.apassionforpens.co.uk
 

JREdginton

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15 May 2006
Messages
155
Hi Jimbo,

I'm thinking about an H22 too, done a fair few miles in 'em and feel that if it all went ***s up there are few small vessels that would be up to the mark. That said, they ar enot the only option, in fact the Cobra itself would probably be up to it too. I know that they have been about and am concidering one myself, good heavy layup, high ballast ration, skeg hung rudder, encapsulated ballast, and you can stand up in it too /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
 
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