About cruising boats.

Sybarite

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Here is something I posted a few years ago. It would be interesting to see if people's views have evolved.


This is not my portrait; it is a free translation of a letter sent to a French mag. but I agree entirely with the sentiments, :

"Although retired people are more and more numerous and financially solvent (n.b. written in 2008...), the large boat builders ignore them. They impose on us standard boats deemed to satisfy the average sailor – who doesn’t exist.

Standard range cruising boats are not adapted to those who sail far and for a long time mainly on a shorthanded basis.

Here therefore is my vision of a cruising boat (He then describes his 50 years experience and the many long cruises undertaken.)

Here is what I understand from Scandinavian sources:

• 95% of sailing is done as a couple.
• 95% use the engine in the absence of or in light wind or contrary winds.
• 99% leave the cockpit canopy in place all the time.
• 95% are between 55 and 65 years old and are retired.
• They anchor as often as they use marinas.

Therefore :

• Comfort and ease of use are more important than performance.
• A large engine and adequate diesel tanks are essential.
• A moderate sail area and a rolling foresail lead to efficiency, comfort and security.
• The canvas cockpit canopy is out.
• A hard dog-house is better : better visibility, better protection, total waterproofness and no wear and tear. It should cover the main hatch and the forward third of the cockpit.
• A short roof aids interior clarity and allows a panoramic vision as well as leaving a clear foredeck.

As far as the interior is concerned :

• It should be conceived with a smaller crew in mind.
• Rather than an over-sized saloon and 6 berths which are not required, we would prefer :
o A real fridge
o A real garbage bin
o A real bread bin
o A real oilskin locker
o A sufficient number of drawers
o A boot locker
o A large chart table with a lot of storage space
o Plenty of lockers with separations
o A separate shower in the heads."
 

RichardS

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Apart from the large chart table (which is virtually redundant now anyway with modern electronics - discuss) the list of ideal requirements is exactly what I have (except that I have two separate showers and heads)

Richard
 

Champagne Murphy

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No mention of the fact that EVERY cruising couple (or at least the decision making half) are convinced that the grandchildren will want to sail with them. Often right, often wrong, but you're still gonna need the extra berths!
 

Tranona

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Leaving aside the hard shelter which is difficult to achieve on a boat less than 40', much of that wish list can be met with many production boats in the 35' size, where the "retirement" buyer is a big part of the market. Having just bought my retirement boat, all the recent buyers of similar boats I talked to were retirees. At the boat show I spent around an hour on the show example of the boat I bought and spoke at length to 3 retiring couples who had it on their short list.
 

dunedin

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Not everybody in the "retirement boat" camp wants a slow motor sailor.

I suspect in France, from what I have seen, somebody with more sailing time on their hands who doesn't fancy a standard AWB is more likely to buy a Pogo or RM for its fast cruising ability, rather than a slower boat.

I did however find it surprising how very scarce it is to find 36-40 foot boats second hand with two cabin + cockpit locker (aka owner versions), rather than 3 cabin versions. As you note, huge numbers cruise generally 2 up - so one spare cabin and a decent cockpit locker (which in our case stores dinghy, asymmetric and fenders plus other sundry cruising gear) would seem preferable.
If the grand children do come sailing then clear out the second cabin (ie remove the folding bikes and other gear!) and this plus the saloon berths gives short term sleeping for 6. But the boat is optimised for the main role
 

jwilson

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Here is something I posted a few years ago. It would be interesting to see if people's views have evolved.


This is not my portrait; it is a free translation of a letter sent to a French mag. but I agree entirely with the sentiments, :

"Although retired people are more and more numerous and financially solvent (n.b. written in 2008...), the large boat builders ignore them. They impose on us standard boats deemed to satisfy the average sailor – who doesn’t exist.

Standard range cruising boats are not adapted to those who sail far and for a long time mainly on a shorthanded basis.

Here therefore is my vision of a cruising boat (He then describes his 50 years experience and the many long cruises undertaken.)

Here is what I understand from Scandinavian sources:

• 95% of sailing is done as a couple.
• 95% use the engine in the absence of or in light wind or contrary winds.
• 99% leave the cockpit canopy in place all the time.
• 95% are between 55 and 65 years old and are retired.
• They anchor as often as they use marinas.

Therefore :

• Comfort and ease of use are more important than performance.
• A large engine and adequate diesel tanks are essential.
• A moderate sail area and a rolling foresail lead to efficiency, comfort and security.
• The canvas cockpit canopy is out.
• A hard dog-house is better : better visibility, better protection, total waterproofness and no wear and tear. It should cover the main hatch and the forward third of the cockpit.
• A short roof aids interior clarity and allows a panoramic vision as well as leaving a clear foredeck.

As far as the interior is concerned :

• It should be conceived with a smaller crew in mind.
• Rather than an over-sized saloon and 6 berths which are not required, we would prefer :
o A real fridge
o A real garbage bin
o A real bread bin
o A real oilskin locker
o A sufficient number of drawers
o A boot locker
o A large chart table with a lot of storage space
o Plenty of lockers with separations
o A separate shower in the heads."

You can have almost all this with http://www.yachtsnet.co.uk/boats/f410915/f410915.htm - a proper sailing hull with long keel and a big rig but also a wheelhouse and a big diesel (with feathering prop to keep speed up under sail).
 

Tranona

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You can have almost all this with http://www.yachtsnet.co.uk/boats/f410915/f410915.htm - a proper sailing hull with long keel and a big rig but also a wheelhouse and a big diesel (with feathering prop to keep speed up under sail).

Think the point of the original poster (or rather the person he is quoting) is that there are few new boats that met that spec. He is probably right, although can think of a few such as the Sirius range and the larger HRs. Plenty of examples from the past, although mostly, like the Victor from small semi custom builders so built in small numbers. Neptunian, Barbary, Halberdier, Salar, Atlantic just of the top of my head. However, such lists of "ideal" requirements if met lead to high prices and generally people who make those lists are not in a position to afford to buy a new boat that meets them. It also probably results in a boat with a small potential market when sold secondhand. So buyers accept the compromises in more mass appeal production boats and adjust their expectations to fit in with what is available. The challenge for builders is to design boats that appeal to a wide market and that inevitably means that they fail to meet the needs of a small minority.
 

Bobc

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I just modified my boat to suit my needs by:-

Converting one of the heads into a big wet hanging locker and boot room
Converting two cabins into a master cabin with ensuite with a full-size wardrobe
Converting the forepeak into a storage room/workshop

Just thinking about/working on the windscreen/hardtop idea, but might have to settle for a sprayhood for the next few years.
 

Angele

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• 95% use the engine in the absence of or in light wind or contrary winds.

I don't see why 95% of people using the engine in contrary or light winds necessarily requires the boat to have a large engine. (Diesel tanks certainly should be "adequate", but people will have differing views on just how big that is).

I am in the 95%, in that I will turn the engine on if the wind is too light for me to get to my destination under sail in an acceptable time frame. But, if you mostly go out on the water when there is a reasonable wind blowing and you choose a destination that isn't always to windward, then you can still spend most of your time under sail. So the size of engine need not be that important.
 

roblpm

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Leaving aside the hard shelter which is difficult to achieve on a boat less than 40', much of that wish list can be met with many production boats in the 35' size, where the "retirement" buyer is a big part of the market. Having just bought my retirement boat, all the recent buyers of similar boats I talked to were retirees. At the boat show I spent around an hour on the show example of the boat I bought and spoke at length to 3 retiring couples who had it on their short list.

Are you getting paid by them yet? You are the best advert for their boats I have seen!!!!
 

Tranona

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Are you getting paid by them yet? You are the best advert for their boats I have seen!!!!

Just observing that when you get closer to "real" buyers you get a better idea of what actually appeals. The three I referred to were typical potential buyers. All had their existing boats ( Westerly Storm, older Bav 33 and Hanse 370) on the market and were looking for their "final" boat. Expectations of such buyers are often very different from those just imagining or not in a position to buy. However, it is the choices of such people that determines the nature of the boat park available in the future for others to buy. Looking at used boats gives a very good idea of what appealed to new boat buyers at different periods in the past which are not necessarily the same as what appeals today (or in the future).
 

RAI

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I get the impression that AWBs are driven by the charter and racer markets. Both need a big rear cockpit and wide open spaces inside but for different reasons. Neither get any benefit from a wheelhouse.
 

Sybarite

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Amel Super Maramu 53 ticks all my boxes. Same with the Contest 43. Just both a bit on the ugly side unfortunately.

I could go along with that - except if we are in the realms of wishful thinking, why not go all the way to an Amel 55? It has markedly better sailing ability.
 

Tranona

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I get the impression that AWBs are driven by the charter and racer markets. Both need a big rear cockpit and wide open spaces inside but for different reasons. Neither get any benefit from a wheelhouse.

Builders listen to the people who buy their boats and while the mass builders do not see a market for boats with all the features in the OP, other smaller builders do, such as Amel, HR and several Dutch builders for example.

The problem with the "wish lists" is that some of the features required are either not practical on smaller boats or the cost of providing them exceeds what buyers are willing to pay. So those who do want to buy a new boat have to find a compromise that satisfies them. In the past it was possible to build a boat (or fit out a hull) that could be customised, but many of such boats end up of lower value on the used boat market because they are too specific to appeal to a wide market.
 

Sybarite

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Builders listen to the people who buy their boats and while the mass builders do not see a market for boats with all the features in the OP, other smaller builders do, such as Amel, HR and several Dutch builders for example.

The problem with the "wish lists" is that some of the features required are either not practical on smaller boats or the cost of providing them exceeds what buyers are willing to pay. So those who do want to buy a new boat have to find a compromise that satisfies them. In the past it was possible to build a boat (or fit out a hull) that could be customised, but many of such boats end up of lower value on the used boat market because they are too specific to appeal to a wide market.

It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. If enough people want these features the price will come down.

Personally I am surprised that so few people want effective shelter. I for one do not enjoy being cold and wet on a night watch, yet I still want to have contact with the elements to have a better feel for them rather than keeping watch from Inside the boat.

Because I also like the idea of having the instruments at hand when helming, I prefer the idea of a solid dodger. On the older Amels the radar for example is mounted at the chart table but it's angled so that it is visible from the helming seat.

Speaking about that, why do so few European boats have helming seats? They are much more common in America. Michel Joubert says that he cannot understand why the cockpits of sailing boats are so uncomfortable when they don't have to be.
 

geem

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It's a bit of a chicken and egg situation. If enough people want these features the price will come down.

Personally I am surprised that so few people want effective shelter. I for one do not enjoy being cold and wet on a night watch, yet I still want to have contact with the elements to have a better feel for them rather than keeping watch from Inside the boat.

Because I also like the idea of having the instruments at hand when helming, I prefer the idea of a solid dodger. On the older Amels the radar for example is mounted at the chart table but it's angled so that it is visible from the helming seat.

Speaking about that, why do so few European boats have helming seats? They are much more common in America. Michel Joubert says that he cannot understand why the cockpits of sailing boats are so uncomfortable when they don't have to be.
You don't necessarily need a hard dodger for weather protection. Our canvass sprayhood covers half the cockpit and allows four people to sit under it out of the weather. Sailing long distance it is a pleasure to be tucked up under the sprayhood completely dry and out of spray and rain. We have a 14 inch plotter mounted under the sprayhood interfaced with everything so only thing it doesn't do is make me a cup of tea!
In a hot climate the sprayhood is larger enough to provide protection from the sun without resorting to a bimini whilst sailing, but then again we are normally sailing on autopilot so we don't spend much time behind the wheel (which is behind the sprayhood and exposed to the elements). At anchor we zip an extension on to the back of the sprayhood to provide full sun cover to the cockpit and provide protection from the odd shower.
it all works very well but we very rarely take the sprayhood down so having it as a fixed hard dodger would be a nice option. The only thing that concerns me is that hard dodgers rarely look good
 
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