Live aboard to Sail Away, Part 4

Part 4:
Live aboard to Sail Away
Older hull designs were often created to provide passage across large and sometimes violent oceans. Newer designs are often created to provide the buyers with big roomy cabins and large flat cock pits. These large, wide cabin are turning sailing into and indoor contact sport. Imagine walking from the companionway to the head on a modern production boat while sailing downwind on quartering seas with 9 or 12 foot swells; what do you hold on to? How will you make it across the ballroom sized cabin of polished wood flooring? If you really need the large open spaces and plan on sailing great distances, stay away from mono-hulls. In summary, don't take a coastal cruising monohull boat across the oceans unless your are comfortable with the nature of their flat bottom designs, ball room cabins and understand impact that may have on you when you encounter tough conditions in the open ocean.

Now for the details of Blue water boats.

There are many boats designed for long-range, open ocean, single handed sailing; however, there is a wide range in the quality of these boats. Many of these boat were built on the cheap. The goal of the builder was to create a open ocean look alike. Some were built well, but did not include construction features that are important to the long term health of the boat. Basically, not all blue water sailboats are the same. Some leak like sieves because of the number of holes drilled in the teak decks. Some used soft metals for key components, others used shoddy construction for the hull-deck joint. When looking at older boats, examine the comments from those that have taken their boats offshore. You will find that many of these need work in a few areas. No boat is perfect! Each one has its defects in either the design or construction.

My own boat has problems with the ports. They were set into the frame during construction; however, the means they used did not ensure that water would not seep into the crack and we the wood that structurally support the deck. I have rebedded and repaired all of the ports and was shocked by the poor design of the port installation. In addition all the deck hole in my boat are bare, namely, none of them have epoxy filling the holes to prevent water penetrating into the core. I have repaired 80% of them so far and have many more to go. So understand your boat and her construction. Know exactly how each part is put together and maintained before you head out on a life-long adventure. There is a very good chance, I'd bet a 99% chance that you will have to correct defects in the original construction. The goal is to find a boat that need less repair and rebuild than others.