News Home Video Gallery Newsletters Photo Gallery Cruising Int
Sail-World.com : Choosing the ideal cruising boat
Choosing the ideal cruising boat


'Windflower'    John Martin    Click Here to view large photo

So you want to acquire a cruising boat ideal for the kind of cruising you want to do. Where do you start? Every manufacturer says theirs is the best, every ancient mariner has their own favourite. Here John Martin of the Island Cruising Association, having led myriads of rallies, having counselled hundreds of sailors how to make their own boat-buying decisions, gives us all some wise advice:

There are many reasons why people decide to pick up the hook and head off into the blue. It may be a retirement dream or simply ticking off an item on the bucket list. For Lyn and I and our two kids Adam and Jenna it was the realization of an unfulfilled dream.

My Dad had graduated from his first cruising boat and built a boat, his dream boat, with the express purpose of cruising his local cruising area. The boat was finished but it was never quite ready, maybe next year.

One year next year didn’t come. Lyn and I had always had a hankering to explore distant horizons and create a different lifestyle to bring up our kids. This was the catalyst, there was no way we were going to let our dream slip away.

We made the decision to go cruising in November. By April, the following year, Lyn asked me why we hadn’t bought our dream boat yet. I was starting to get disheartened, we had looked at so many boats and, yes, some of them had promise but everything that looked good was also way out of our price range.

We finally found Windflower in September that year and you could say she was ideal, she ticked many of the boxes and we could afford her.

I have often been asked since then, what is the perfect Cruising Boat? And is there such a thing? The answer is, every boat is a compromise and depends on what you, as the individual, want out of your cruising lifestyle.

You will never buy a boat that will suit your requirements for all time, so we need to look at what your needs are today as your cruising needs will evolve over time. To start, the following questions have to be answered.

3 very different cruisers -  John Martin   Click Here to view large photo
Budget:
First and foremost, what is your budget? Yep, that’s the biggie and it’s the one factor that will have the biggest effect on your choice. Some lucky people may have a pot full so the choices are wide open. Unfortunately not many of the cruisers out there are on unlimited budgets so we need to establish some priorities. Remember too, if you are wanting to cast the lines off for an extended period you will need to have something left to live on. Add to that the inevitable fact that whatever you buy will need money spent on preparation and remember the acronym for BOAT is Bring On Another Thousand.

Where are you intending to cruise? If you want to cruise the higher latitudes then your choice of boat is going to need to be different than if you are simply going to cruise sunshine-filled coastlines or the tropics. There’s a world of difference between a passage in tropical waters and a North Sea blast. Are you looking at coastal cruising or to head offshore? Each one has its own requirements but a good coastal boat may not be suitable for extended offshore work.

Construction Material:
Construction material is next on the agenda; you may have a preference here but keep an open mind. Every method of construction has its good points and its disadvantages.

Many people like steel from its safety aspect, 'If I hit something I won’t sink'. Yeah right. Tell that to the folks on the Titanic; anyway it’s my preference to avoid hitting stuff. While Steel is strong, rust is a lifelong companion.

Fiberglass or GRP, depending on age and construction may be subject to Osmosis or 'the pox' as it’s known, but a glass and gell coat boat is by far the easiest to maintain.

Wood, they’ve been around forever and boy a good one looks great but they are hard to keep looking great and of course rot never sleeps.

As to ferro, tremendous construction medium but maybe I’m biased. They’re not good if you stick them on the rocks but bang for buck they’re good value and being heavy means they’re comfortable in a seaway.

Construction techniques for Aluminum have improved over the years, light and strong but again the flip side is corrosion. If Carbon Fiber’s in your budget, hmmm, now we’re into a whole new world.

Cruising style:
How many people are you going to cruise with? Do you want to do the longer passages, coatal or offshore as a couple, or are you going to take crew along. Crew is an interesting subject on its own but if you are intending to take crew you need to comfortably accommodate them. You’re not buying a racing boat so the idea of your crew 'Hot bunking' is not an option. On the other hand, if the crew is only with you for the longer passages, are you going to be able to handle the boat by yourselves after they’ve gone?

Will you be having guests to stay on a regular basis? There is an old adage when cruising, the ideal boat should, entertain eight, feed six, sleep four, two comfortably. Guests are a little like fish they start to go off after a week. As to the master cabin this is now your home and the bunk needs to be comfortable, easily accessible, for both of you and have good ventilation. Your cruise is most definitely going to get cut short if you are always tired and grumpy from lack of sleep.

There needs to be at least one bunk that is a good sea berth for the skipper that’s close to the action and comfortable on both tacks. Even if you are only intending coastal cruising there will be occasions where an overnight passage will be necessary. If you are having the kids along for the ride are they going to get along Okay in the one cabin or are they going to need a cabin each. Hmm, the boat just got bigger again!!

Size of boat:
That brings us to the next question, size. We have watched the average size of cruising boats increase over the last fifteen years. When we first set sail around the South Pacific, at 13.5m we were one of the bigger boats in the fleet, five years ago we were considered smaller than the average as systems aboard became better at allowing small crews to easily handle bigger boats. You still need to consider though the weight of the gear, while it’s on the roller furler good winches can bring in a sail of any size, but think about trying to lug your sails up from the sail locker or man handle them if they need repair.

A number one genoa on a forty footer I can lift with one hand, on a fifty footer it will take two beefy lads to shift the number one.

The other consequence of size is dollar value. The price goes up by the square of the size and so do the maintenance and berthage costs. With the world economy in a recent slump the size trend has now started to reverse and about 12.5m is now the average.

Performance:
Next question is what kind of performance you are looking for in your cruising boat? There have been three separate shifts in cruising boat styles over the last decade. First is a move towards lighter displacement, fast cruisers. These are ideal for the lower latitudes (ie the tropics), they go to windward better than some of the older heavy displacement boats, often have great cockpits for entertaining but are not as comfortable in a seaway.

Second is an increase in the number of powerboats. Particularly if you are looking at extended coastal, these displacement trawler style boats have a lot going for them. Let’s face it, once the longer passages are over, most cruisers will admit they spend a lot more time than they would like using the motor. Whether it’s just to charge the batteries, bring down the freezer or navigate through channels and around reefs a good motor needs to be high on the priority list.

Number of hulls:

Cat and Mono -  John Martin   Click Here to view large photo


The other and most significant shift is towards cats. The catamaran has gone from almost non-existent as a cruising platform fifteen ago, to making up over a third of the fleet in some rallies. If you are looking at a cat, be careful, your social calendar will never be empty and you risk becoming the party boat, cats make great entertainment platforms as well as being quick and in the main, easy to handle.

So, now you’ve answered the above questions and have a handle on the type and size of boat you’re looking for, what else is important?

The Galley:
A good galley is a must, you’re not just dishing up the lunch you packed at home for the day out, and you need to think Christmas dinner. Just as important is it a safe galley in a seaway. Most modern cruisers have refrigeration, is it easy to access and can you see the bottom without the use of a strong torch, your arms are only so long. You will need both fridge and freezer for extended cruising, particularly if the weather is hot.

Many of the imported production cruisers come standard with fridge only, have a look to see where you would put a freezer. Is there enough storage space, not only for pot, pans, utensils and crockery but enough for a major provision to last two, three or four people up to three months?

Ventilation:
Ventilation is another important factor, not just the galley but the whole boat needs good ventilation. Hatches are fine at anchor, if they are covered, but dorades are necessary for ensuring the boat is ventilated on passage. Good storage for boat gear is also essential.

On deck:
Moving outside, a good cockpit has enough room to entertain but still works for sailing, has good shelter and high enough coamings to keep the sea out and you in. If you are looking at a sloop, where is the traveler? A traveler in the cockpit is fine for racing but a real pain, literally, for cruising.

A good lazarette or other storage and a large anchor locker is a must. Your best insurance is how well you stay put in a blow, so good ground tackle, a winch that will pull up the Titanic and somewhere to stow the spare rode and all those fenders is essential.

Maintenance:
There are as many styles as there are methods of construction all of them have their good points and bad, but of all the things we need to consider in the longer term is how easy she is going to be to maintain. It is often better to spend a little more on a boat at purchase, to save cost over time. I would also sacrifice size for age, the newer the boat the longer it will be before you need to replace worn out gear and systems.

Sea trials before purchase:
Next on the agenda is the sea trial. Your boat also needs to perform, this is not only important from a safety aspect, boat balance ease of handling etc., but also the frustration factor. After all the time and drama to get to this stage you have probably donned a pair of rose tinted glasses so it’s a good idea to get someone with experience to go through the boat with you, put the boat through its paces out on the water, give you an honest unbiased review of the boats character and always, always, get a survey done prior to purchase.

Extra funds required:
Last but certainly not least, how much is it going to cost to bring the boat up to an acceptable standard for extended coastal cruising or offshore? This can make a big dent in the kitty. As a guide for planning use your local racing regulations. Although designed for racing boats they will give you a guide as to the minimum standards you should be looking to achieve.

As with all things yachting, compromises will have to be made. In general, buy the best boat you can for the budget you have but don’t stretch your finances too far and most important, get out there and do it!

If this isn’t you, it could be... whatever else you decide, decide to ’get out there’! -  John Martin   Click Here to view large photo


John and Lyn Martin run the Island Cruising Asociation. Their tag line is 'we make cruising more fun'. The Island Cruising Association provides resources, training and events to help you get yourself, your crew and the boat out there safely and having fun. Most of their cruisers are around the islands of the South Pacific.


by John Martin, Island Cruising Association

  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.sail-world.com/index.cfm?nid=117978

5:15 AM Sun 29 Dec 2013GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.







Cruising USA

The Marion to Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race have announced the opening of registration for its 20th anniversary, which will commence on June 19, 2015. Supported by the Beverly YC of Marion, Mass., the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club of Paget, Bermuda, and the Blue Water SC of Boston, Mass., the race is open to seaworthy yachts appropriate for an offshore ocean race as defined in the USSER. ... [more]  

Just the thought of falling overboard scares most sailors into a 'stay-aboard-at-all-costs' mindset. And yet this most serious of sailing emergencies does happen now and then. Recovery will be tough no matter what the marine weather conditions. ... [more]  

If a car or truck's vanity license plate can tell you a lot about the person behind the wheel, what can a boat name tell you about the person behind the helm? ... [more]  

The Cauden Basin in Port Louis has come alive with rally atmosphere over the last week. Transformed to a vibrant marina with yachts dressed overall, boat parties and welcoming new arrivals has made for a great spectacle and an exciting place to be. ... [more]  

Boyan Slat is a 20-year-old on a mission - to rid the planet's oceans of floating plastic. He has dedicated his teenage years to finding a way of collecting it. But can the system really work - and is there any point when so much new plastic waste is still flowing into the sea every day? ... [more]  

Tell me what self-respecting Galley Guy could possibly (while on the beautiful island of Barbados) turn down an opportunity to tour the famous Mount Gay Rum Distillery? For sure, not this Galley Guy! Sadly, the other Galley Guys did not get the call. ... [more]  

Nv charts announces the release of their newly updated chart set for Region 9.1, Bahamas Northwest, including Bimini and Berry Islands, Nassau to Abaco, and Grand Bahama, for 2015-2016 in paper and digital format. ... [more]  

We are northwest of the southern peninsula of Haiti lying within radar range south of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and drifting in the current in the direction of Port-au-Prince at less than a knot. ... [more]  

The 60ft Makayabella was stormed by elite members of the Irish Navy some 200 nautical miles off Mizen Head - Ireland's most southerly point - in the early hours of Tuesday, September 23rd. Five men, including the three onboard the yacht and another two in England, have been arrested and police are hunting for a sixth man in connection with the seizure. ... [more]  

A pearl among Gulf Islands parks, this sandy haven is ideal for hiking, beachcombing, birding, fishing…or just hanging. Sidney Spit is a park of superlatives. With the best sandy shores, the best sunsets, the best crabbing and some of the best hiking in the Gulf Islands, it’s no wonder it’s a hit with just about all who visit – for a few hours, a day or a week. ... [more]  

Vast, magnificent and remote, Prince William Sound offers the ultimate adventure for cruisers on North America’s West Coast. Few cruising boats visit beautiful and remote Prince William Sound. Some 2,800 square miles in area and situated at the very northern tip of the Gulf of Alaska, this inland sea has a coastline equal to that of Oregon and California combined. ... [more]  

Cast off on a cruise on someone else's boat and you'll want to remember to pack those basic essentials that form the foundation of your personal 'sailing ditty bag'. Each sailor will have their own ideas of the best gear to bring aboard. But here are some pieces of gear I've found to come in handy time and again, day after day. ... [more]  

This was our eleventh Malacca Straits passage, and it turned out to be just like some of the others - a pain in the neck. Keeping in mind that the boat hadn't been actively used for fifteen months, we started cautiously with a 40 mile passage from Singapore to Pulau Pisang. ... [more]  

The Marion Bermuda Race and Harraseeket Yacht Club are thrilled to announce a cruising yacht rally from Maine to Marion in advance of the 2015 Marion to Bermuda race. Called the M2M2B, the rally will be an enjoyable and convenient way for Maine-based yacht skippers to sail from Maine to Marion, MA as they stage their boats for the 2015 Marion-Bermuda race. ... [more]  

The Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) revealed in a peer-reviewed journal, PLoS One on October 9th that inshore reefs are particularly vulnerable to Ocean Acidification (OA)* on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). 'We found that inshore reefs were particularly vulnerable to ocean acidification (OA) during the wet season. ... [more]  

Estimating the diversity of life by Australian Institute of Marine Science
How many species are on Earth? Answering this simple question is not easy, but essential if we are to understand impacts of global change and manage environmental resources successfully. Without baseline knowledge of how many we have or what we have in different places, how do we know what we have lost, or might lose and how do we manage these natural resources to minimise extinctions? ... [more]  

NOAA, with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard, will manage the historic wreck of Diamond Shoal Lightship No. 71, the only American lightship to be sunk by enemy action during World War I. The two agencies signed a formal agreement between NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries and the Coast Guard’s Historian's Office last month. ... [more]  

A British couple was rescued off Spain's Almeria coast after their 21.6m yacht caught fire. The Coastguard and the 112 Emergency Coordination Service received several reports of a flare going up 12 nautical miles east of Carboneras at 11:30pm on Saturday. ... [more]  

We sail with just two crew most times, so it was amazing to visit a vessel with a ship's crew of 3000, plus another 3000 'passengers' being the various air wing teams deployed aboard. That's 6000 people on a ship that is 1000' long, and displaces 192,900 tons. ... [more]  

Nature’s Own founder Vaughan Bullivant had previously hoped to get around $65 million for the Daydream Island resort he paid $25 million for in 2000. But with his health deteriorating and the island failing to sell in two years, agents have convinced Mr Bullivant to lower his expectations — and the price — to about $30 million. ... [more]  

After sailing approximately 2350 nautical miles, the first of the World ARC fleet has arrived in Port Louis, Mauritius. Nexus, the 17.90 meter Semi Custom Catamaran skippered by Russell Owen, arrived today in the late afternoon. Completing the passage in 13 days, a warm welcome ashore greeted them with offerings of fruit and rum! ... [more]  

A new research project being run by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) with the support of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) and the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is exploring attitudes towards risk and safety, and the various ways yacht sailors participate in their sport. ... [more]  

Will your lifelines pass this sailing test? by Captain John Jamieson, Florida
Most production sailboats have lifelines these days, but just how safe are they. Would they keep your sailing crew or partner, spouse or family members safe in all sailing weather-fair or foul? Put your lifelines to the test today with these five easy sailing tips. ... [more]  

After her gruelling and eventful maiden voyage of over 8000 miles, Aventura was left in the care of the New England Boatworks in Portsmouth, R.I., to give her a thorough service before being exhibited at the Annapolis boat show. With everything done on time, my crew joined me last Saturday ready for the passage to Annapolis. ... [more]  

Super Typhoon Vongfong reached sustained winds of 155 mph (250 km/h) this morning (Oct. 7), with gusts of up to 190 mph (306 km/h), according to the U.S Navy's Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. ... [more]  

The Commander in charge of the warship that helped rescue a stricken sailor says she is proud of her company. Conditions during the drama, which began with a May Day distress call on Monday afternoon, were intense, with heavy rain, wind, little light and an incoming electrical storm. ... [more]  

Earth Wind Map - with typhoons by Sail-World Cruising
The Earth Wind Map is an amazing project to visualize global weather conditions carried out by Tokyo based software engineer Cameron Beccario, resulting in a beautifully mesmerising depiction of the earth's winds. Weather data is produced by the Global Forecast System (GFS), operated by the US National Weather Service. Forecasts are produced four times daily and made available for download from NO ... [more]  

For the first time, scientists have used an unmanned aerial vehicle to study killer whales from above. The device they're using is a remote-controlled hexacopter with a high-resolution camera mounted in its belly, and the photos it produces are beautiful and full of detail. The images offer an entirely new view of this species. ... [more]  

Having taken Operation Command of the EU Naval Force at the end of August, a priority for Major General Martin Smith MBE was to visit the Horn of Africa and the east African region to strengthen ties with the EU’s partners and highlight EU Naval Force’s commitment in the fight against Somali piracy. ... [more]  

Since leaving the paradise of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands exactly one week ago, the World ARC fleet have made good progress towards their next destination of Port Louis, located on the western coast of Mauritius. Awaiting the fleet is a beautiful island with its blend of diverse cultures and religions including Hindus, Creole, Chinese, Muslims and Europeans. ... [more]  

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) researchers are part of a collaborative effort to understand and monitor changes in marine biodiversity within U.S. coastal waters. Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries. ... [more]  

In preparation for his forthcoming circumnavigation with the Blue Planet Odyssey round the world rally, Jimmy Cornell completed this summer a grueling test of his new 45 foot Aventura, an Exploration 45 aluminum centreboard yacht built by Garcia Yachting in France. ... [more]  

Join Andy Schell and Mia Karlsson, event managers at our World Cruising Club USA base, for the 45th edition of the Annapolis Sailboat Show. For the first time, WCC USA will be featuring a boat in the show (in lieu of a booth this year), to demonstrate what it takes to make a classic cruiser into a proven bluewater voyager. ... [more]  

Canadian shipwreck discovery solves 170-year-old mystery
British couple help stranded Syrian refugees to safety
Blue Planet Odyssey yacht completes Northwest Passage transit
World ARC fleet embarks on leg 11, across the Indian Ocean
Pantaenius and Camper & Nicholsons Marinas become strategic partners
How to make a distance scale for faster navigation
New maps of the polar regions reveal unseen world beneath the ice
Naval Commanders talk on-going piracy threat at sea
Erie, Pennsylvania - Small place, big boating
EU Naval Force frigate, ESPS Navarra aids yacht in the Gulf of Aden
Insurance, towing and safety 'provisions' reminder for snowbirds
A guide to steering without a rudder + Video - a must read and watch!!
You scratched my seagrass!
Cocos Keeling Islands - Yet another paradise for the World ARC fleet
Hurricane Odile: Two Brits missing in Mexico after yacht overturns
Sailor texts girlfriend for help after yacht sinks in Bristol Channel
Gas safety: don’t let it go off the boil
Arctic sea ice summer minimum 2014: A scientific perspective
British Virgin Islands, a taste of Caribbean cruising
The Galley Guys take on the Vancouver International Boat Show
Are you ready to enter that marina?   
Cruising the Bay of Quinte and Thousand Islands   
Ten safe and clean refueling tips for boaters   
World ARC fleet moored at Christmas Island   
Blue Planet Odyssey welcomed to Bora Bora   
Remember to properly dispose of obsolete distress beacons   
Blue Planet Odyssey - Aventura makes landfall in the US   
World ARC fleet bids farewell to Bali   
Antarctic Team discovers mechanism for massive ice shelf collapse   
Baltic 4 Nations - Next edition sets sail July 2015   
BoatUS offers 'Boater's Guide To Winterizing'   
Yachts prepare for second Atlantic Odyssey, departing this November   
Thai drama with Phuket yacht clampdown   
Sailing Rallies launch two new events at PSP Southampton Boat Show   
World ARC crews in Bali   
Could your sailing navigation use a tune-up?   
Images of marine sunsets by Tripadvisor   
Citizen science model proposed to fill fundamental ocean data gap   
Ocean Cruising Club celebrates 60th Anniversary with record gatherings   
The Boat Cookbook   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
   Archive News







Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL NEW Cru USA
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT