Please select your home edition
Edition
Sealegs - Be Amphibious 728x90-3

The School Bus

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com 18 May 00:00 PDT
The ubiquitous School Bus... © Supplied

You've probably all heard the urban myth about the school bus that gets wedged in a tunnel? The driver, representatives of the bus line, roads board, police, and fire brigade are all hanging around discussing and pontificating as to the best way to resolve the dilemma.

It was one of the children on board that offers the logical and easy solution of simply letting down the tyres and then driving her out. At any rate, I recently had the fortune to be with an utterly delightful empty-nester couple, who are very keen to begin their long awaited cruising odyssey, after more than a couple of decades of putting in.

Now he was very specific about requiring an aluminium vessel because when you rub into something it usually goes a lot better for you than with GRP. Then she quickly turned around and said, "Well don't bump into anything!" (...and that certainly gelled with me, but then I later remembered just how often and swiftly things can go South when around boats...)

Our discussion continued, and it became evident that as he, especially, knew the pointy end from the blunt, that pace was going to be a key determinant. A cat was also top of mind, and whilst he liked the idea of an Outremer, what he had settled on was an alloy (5803) Mumby.

All of that lead me into reviewing exactly what makes a particular boat the right boat? Over time, the boats have certainly got larger and faster. The requirement to manhandle stuff has been drastically reduced with things like furlers and powered winches, auto-pilots have improved and link in marvellously with the one facet that has probably put more people on the water than anything else. Electronics.

Yes. Without the changes there to understanding weather and navigation, along with added pace in many conditions, the game would still very much be the same. Previously, and no doubt on many an occasion, we have also looked at how the whole design ethos has changed, with more seating outside, and vast prairies down below taking over from multitudinous bulkheads and stuffy cabins.

So if you no longer have to have salt in your veins, then what are the best ways to address safety, performance, comfort, functionality, and for that matter a certain feng shui, with regard to your personal space and zen.

Now obviously the primary questions have to be where are you going, and what are you going to do? Multiple long-haul passages is way different to lolling around from cove to cove, and both offer many and completely different paths to enjoyment and relaxation.

Some former racing boats get converted over to be performance cruisers, but racers are harsh, and unforgiving. So displacement is crucial to you, as is rocker and wetted surface area versus sail area, and no matter whether you want a house sized fridge on board, or wish to get on towards fifteen knots, and even more when you can, this will be your next port of call. In conjunction of course with whether you are going to have one, two or even three hulls.

Catamarans certainly are the big category of the moment, and for good reason, but earlier ones were so heavy as to sail like the fridges we just mentioned in virtually all weather, thus effectively making them full time motor-sailers. It is also fair to say that whilst they can clip along well when the weather suits, when it deteriorates, so too does their ability to cope, so passage planning becomes even more critical.

In terms of monohulls, a shoal draft keel is ideal for getting in close, and that eliminates a lot of rowing, but they are not ideal in terms of vessel control and you will find yourself helming a lot, and reducing sail early. Centreboarders and lifting keels are very popular for this reason, and many of the giant cruisers now deploy the latter, rather than having five or six metres downstairs to consider at anchorages. Done well, the keelbox is also less intrusive into the open plan than it might once have been.

Equally, cats could do just over a metre of draft easily, and keelsons were good for that, but daggerboards always win, specifically when done in conjunction with slippery hull forms and low mass.

No matter whether one lump or two, a deep rudder is best, for it is the tip that does the work, but alas you're back at draft before you know it. Equally, they place a significantly higher load on their bearings, necessitating more frequent servicing and replacement. This, along with being awfully exposed to hitting stuff needs to be considered and appreciated as you make your choice.

Many still prefer a full keel, or at least a partial skeg to help in this regard, but you are paying a price with performance, just as you do with a shaft over a sail drive, with the latter also having exposure issues. Some portion of a deep ruder being sacrificial is often preferred, and an inspection port is also a good idea. Alas, no matter what choice you make, you will need to heed the cruisers' mantra. You will need to become proficient in the use, maintenance and understanding of all of the systems and equipment on board your craft!

We'll come back and address rigging, construction, layout and other things next time, but in the meantime you will find that we have information for you about Garmin's ActiveCaptain, gear from Musto, the Swan 98, Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, Going to Japan, Going to Cuba, the World ARC hit the South Pacific, the Whitsundays, Bermuda, Fountaine Pajot's Astrea 42, Whales near Antartica, Fremantle to Bali, Poppy Moore returns after he voyage for Parkinson's, Raymarine Magnum radar, cruising Alaska, the Beneteau Pittwater Cup, NEBO App, The Great Barrier Reef, Hawaii and sunscreens, whales, as well as much more.

So you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other Hemisphere, go to the top and the drag down menu, select the other half of the globe and, voila, it's all there for you.

In the meantime, do you love being on the ocean? Well remember to love them back too. They need our help. Now more than ever! Until next time...

John Curnow, Editor, Sail-WorldCruising.com

Related Articles

U.S. almost suffers a medal ceremony shutout
At the Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 While the Dutch-flagged team sailed away from the Sailing World Championships Aarhus 2018 with a stellar report card, the same cannot be said for U.S.-flagged efforts. Posted on 13 Aug
Susan Ludwig on the Coast Guard Foundation
An interview with Susan Ludwig about the U.S. Coast Guard Foundation I interviewed Susan Ludwig, president of the Coast Guard Foundation, via email, to learn more about this organization and the important work that they do on behalf of the brave men and women of the United States Coast Guard. Posted on 13 Aug
Darren Burns & Brian Todd on Farr 30s
Darren Burns and Brian Todd about Farr 30s and the 2018 Helly Hansen Chester Race Week I interviewed Darren Burns, president of the Farr 30 World Council, and Brian Todd, One Design race officer for the 2018 Helly Hansen Chester Race Week. Posted on 13 Aug
Home Build International Moth Blog 7
First flight for Valkyrie! The day for launch of Valkyrie had come. We woke up early for a short trip to Rutland Sailing Club (sadly not the open at Eastbourne) to meet up with the other local (ish) boys for support. Posted on 13 Aug
70 years ago this week
The story of singlehanded sailing at the London 1948 Olympics For the last decade or so, A in our modern lexicon has stood for Austerity, but 70 years ago this month the UK was suffering under so severe a regime of austerity that just about everything in life was either unavailable or rationed. Posted on 10 Aug
Maiden pushes forward equality... again!
The story of Tracy Edwards and The Maiden Factor Tracy Edwards and her team on Maiden changed perceptions and in no small way pushed forward the concept of equality when they completed the 1989/90 Whitbread Round the World Race. Now Tracy is again pushing the equality on another step. Posted on 9 Aug
Change arrives to the 2021 Volvo Ocean Race
A lot of opportunity, both on the corporate sponsorship side and for sailors and designers Change is afoot at the Volvo Ocean Race, and the 2021 edition of this classic race will offer a lot of opportunity, both on the corporate sponsorship side and for sailors and designers. Posted on 6 Aug
Thor Borresen on the “World's Highest Regatta”
An interview with Thor Borresen about the “World's Highest Regatta” Sail-World.com interviewed Thor Borresen, vice commodore president of the Dillon Yacht Club, in Dillon, Colorado, via email, to learn more about the 2018 Dillon Open Regatta. Posted on 1 Aug
Gladwell's Line: Class of 2018 homeless in 2024?
The Youth progression which works nicely with the Olympic lineup, is set to be shredded Several Youth teams turned in an impressive performance at the 2018 Youth Sailing Worlds. Their coaches would be justified in thinking they had the talent coming on stream for the 2024 Olympics and beyond, or has World Sailing given those dreams the snip? Posted on 31 Jul
Female skippers dominate the Clipper Race
Only one male on the podium of the 2017/2018 Clipper Round The World Race Tuck and Henderson were joined on the winner's podium by Chris Kobusch (GER; 32), skipper of Qingdao, who was the sole male skipper honored at the victory ceremony. Posted on 30 Jul
WindBot-COACH-660x82Marine Resources BOTTOMZhik 2018 Kollition 728x90 BOTTOM