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Suitability of small yachts for ocean passages


Well-known member
8 Jul 2001
Our boat is a bit big compared to the vessels being talked about here - a 27ft Albin Vega - but some of the same considerations presumably apply.

We re-rigged her a couple of years ago, and knowing that we wanted to do some blue water cruising at some point in the future we thought about beefing up the rigging. A long thread on Scuttlebutt followed. One of the recurring themes was that you cannot beef up one aspect only as you may be creating a new weak point somewhere in the system that the designer had not forseen.

So - even if you beef up chainplates and go up a size or two with the rigging, you still lneed to consider mast attachments. Then once all that is done maybe you could start deforming the hull itself.

Eventually we replaced the rigging with the same size as the original - 5mm.

I don't believe there is any way to make an unsuitable boat bombproof - there will always be an element of risk. Jester was pretty well tried, but in the 'ultimate storm' she was found wanting. This particular story scares me because we are planning on coming back from the Azores to Ireland at the end of July, which is the same time/area the storm happened. Our vessel would stand no more chance than Jester - and maybe less - of surviving a storm like this intact, although we do have a series drogue on board which some believe to be the answer in a survival situation.

One thing we hope will help is en-route weather information in the form of GRIB files which may allow us to make an early course alteration as we see a bad meteorological situation developing on our proposed route. Acquisition of a satphone may be worth considering for this reason.

(Of course, storms this bad at that time of year are statistically very unlikely - and there is no way we can make ocean cruising in small boats totally risk free, so how far do you go? It is an individual thing - and as others have pointed out, lots of voyages have been made successfully in totally unsuitable boats . . . and recently we met a man who claimed to have done two Atlantic circuits and never encountered winds over 17 knots!!!)

Just a few random thoughts . . .

- Nick

Sea Devil

Well-known member
19 Aug 2004
Boulogne sur mer & Marbella Spain
I really would like to participate in 2010 Jester but will have to find something other than my present Prout 33 which is too big... I really would like to find something around 30 ft just for the sake of speed of passage and I think the 5 ft between a folkboat and a 30footer makes a world of difference... I think a halmatic 30 is high on my list but am off to surf Erics suggestions of a Muscadet which I have never heard of... What other boats are people thinking of in the 29/30 ft range.... ?


22 Jun 2005
Thames Estuary
I suspect you can wangle yourself an invitation in the prout.

Check out www.jesterinfo.org and you will see a few that are over 30ft.

My iroquois is 30ft loa and, I like to think, still within the jester spirit.



New member
15 Mar 2007
Paris France
Muscadet is smaller than that, the size of a mini (22 ft?).
You have similar designs from the same architect: the Armagnac would be a good choice.
I think there is already one registered for the JC2010.
If your boat is really cruesing oriented there is a possiblity to ask for an invitation. All the other skippers should accept your baot, but our spirit is rather on the tolerance side. /forums/images/graemlins/smile.gif
The main reason for the 30ft limit is to be out of the OSTAR world.