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Steve & Linda Dashew post history of their sailing and designing career (Part 1)

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The Dashew's have published a lengthy post on their sailing and yacht design history.

https://setsail.com/steering-clear-of-trouble-our-search-for-cruising-perfection

321444031_FirstSail.thumb.jpg.94b25a3cbb3b24e124447c6897476642.jpg

Steve and Linda Dashew have been sailing and working as a team for more than 50 years: racing, initially, and cruising for the past four decades. This is the first of multiple posts and starts leading up to their 20’ Shark catamaran, to their D-Class Beowulf catamarans (Steve at the helm with Linda on the wire), to their 78-foot ketch, Beowulf.

This is a fascinating and in-depth read from a very talented couple. I highly recommend it!

Beowulf-Auckland.thumb.jpg.300bd5cb6fa3de596215d0a087104010.jpg

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Back in the 60's and 70's Dad used to race A-Class Unicorns up at CBYC. In 1974 I was 13 years old and would walk/ hang out on the pier waiting for Dad to finish racing. Steve had Beowulf a D-Class custom uni rig. I once got a ride after he broke something and needed to come in and repair it. I got to go back out for the test sail. That boat was incredible for its time. 

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The "Speed Trials" off Hurricane Gulch, Long Beach was an annual event. Take turns on assigned time slots, cross the start line and when at the end of the run make a quick right turn behind the RC boat at the other end so the start line folks could take the time. I was there in a homemade A-Cat, mixing it up with the Unicorns. 

Seaman and Alter had a Hobie 16 on steroids named El Gato something. They were to go when there happened to be a good, long lasting puff. Beowulf V, noticed and took off through the line out of turn shortly thereafter. It took a while, but Steve and crew slowly overtook to windward and thereby won the speed record. 

The early 70s was a really an innovative time. Beowulf was a pleasure to watch. 

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Dad had Tantalus. Alex Koslov had Aquarius a C class. 

Steve also mention Mickey Munoz. He built his cat on the beach near Hobie and Edwards houses at the end of Beach Road. Looking back I must have been a pest. But, Mickey would let me hang out and "help".

 

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Beowulf (the ketch) is docked right across from me. She's so very sexy. I'd give my eyeteeth to see her leave the dock. Been there almost 7 years and never seen her move. 

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2 hours ago, techdef said:

Beowulf (the ketch) is docked right across from me. She's so very sexy. I'd give my eyeteeth to see her leave the dock. Been there almost 7 years and never seen her move. 

It’s so true: the bigger the boat, the less it gets used.

Steve and Linda have been long-time advocates of the “bigger is faster, and therefore better” school of offshore sailing, but there are certainly disadvantages to owning a large yacht.

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Wow- this is great!  I had no idea they had been so active in development classes, and held the records they did.  Success there was an early indication of their ability to re-think the whole concept of a cruising boat,  how it really should be organized in terms of priorities and design.  After his experience burying the  leeward hull and compromising steering, the prioritizing of steering quality in a cruising boat has a new depth to it.  Love it!

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On 9/13/2019 at 7:44 PM, Tom O'Keefe said:

Dad had Tantalus. Alex Koslov had Aquarius a C class. 

Steve also mention Mickey Munoz. He built his cat on the beach near Hobie and Edwards houses at the end of Beach Road. Looking back I must have been a pest. But, Mickey would let me hang out and "help".

 

I think I remember reading about a Munoz "cruising" cat in a old Surfer magazine in the 70's.  The picture in my mind was a high center pod and some very beautiful "dolphin" inlays.  I have tried unsuccessfully to re-find the article in the last decade or so.  Wonder what happened to that boat.  It seemed very innovative at the time, when my "dream" boat was a Seasprite 23.

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Thank you. I have all their books (nothing boots faster than paper). Although visiting their website sometimes I never came across their history. Very nice read - enjoyed it very much!

Years ago I lived in Flensburg, Germany. As a christmas present I ordered their "Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia". Paid by Credit Card. Got a post card from customs to get the parcel. Customs told me to pay additional ~ USD 25,00 for custom fees. Well - I paid. Opening the box they had included a video tape (VHS). Nice video...

Next time - after having consulted a friend with customs experience - I ordered the "Mariner´s Weather Handbook" and asked them to declare "advertisement material" in case they added a video. Went perfect - no fee.

 

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22 hours ago, Svanen said:

It’s so true: the bigger the boat, the less it gets used.

Steve and Linda have been long-time advocates of the “bigger is faster, and therefore better” school of offshore sailing, but there are certainly disadvantages to owning a large yacht.

Tragic to think of a boat like that sitting unused. 

I also loved the story and am looking forward to the next installation. I do think they downplay the disadvantages of so much length, and their ideas don’t seem to scale down very well to the financial universe inhabited by most of us. 

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On 9/14/2019 at 9:12 AM, techdef said:

Beowulf (the ketch) is docked right across from me. She's so very sexy. I'd give my eyeteeth to see her leave the dock. Been there almost 7 years and never seen her move. 

Likely cannot move. I have been all over that boat. Wayyy to complicated to function without a dedicated maintenance crew. Cruising? Like far from modern ports? Out of the question without a home office, crew and DHL support. It is not cruising, it is exhausting.

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19 minutes ago, El Boracho said:

Likely cannot move. I have been all over that boat. Wayyy to complicated to function without a dedicated maintenance crew. Cruising? Like far from modern ports? Out of the question without a home office, crew and DHL support. It is not cruising, it is exhausting.

What parts of the boat are the particular problems re: Maintenance/reliability?

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46 minutes ago, socalrider said:

Tragic to think of a boat like that sitting unused. 

I also loved the story and am looking forward to the next installation. I do think they downplay the disadvantages of so much length, and their ideas don’t seem to scale down very well to the financial universe inhabited by most of us. 

That is the tragedy. Their designs are really novel and smart and exciting and seem to perform as advertised. But all of that depends so heavily on waterline to work. From righting moment/stability to D/L to widespread split sailplans. Then to get the torsional stiffness on a hull like that while keeping weight under control, ya almost have  to build in alloy, which piles materials & construction costs on top of future ownership costs to really put their designs beyond most sailors' means. Those few who can afford to buy and own an 80 footer with lots of systems likely crave more interior volume, more home-like layout, and more toys for the 85% of time most sailors spend at dock, mooring, or anchor.

I'm agnostic on the Dreadnought aesthetics, but as fast cruising machines go, Dashew boats are very cool. Think I'd rather own an X Yacht or SC tho.

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7 minutes ago, MR.CLEAN said:

What parts of the boat are the particular problems re: Maintenance/reliability?

The number and complexity of internal systems. The hull and sail plan and all that is surely great. But the wiring, mechanical, plumbing, gizmos....holy crap. A remote control with fifty buttons. The galley systems alone would overwhelm a cruising couples maintenance schedule. Never sailed on one, but doubt many of the rig gizmos work on any given cruise. Yachts that successfully execute carefree cruising share more traits with a dinghy than with the Dashew yachts. I've crossed paths with several like yachts sitting in ports waiting for parts from afar. Certainly all of us long distance cruisers have done that. But imagine the chores with 100 times the complexity: Dishwasher, jacuzzi, a million electrical and hydraulic connections.

That said, they are correct about bigger, longer, faster being better out at sea. However, there is simply no good reason to burden such a boat with such complexity other than to rope in wealthy dock walkers. So the mantra should be longer, faster, lighter and simpler. How to do that is more difficult than what they have done.

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Nope!

Steve and Linda Dashew sailed Beowulf all over the place from the Pacific, to the Caribbean, and on to the Atlantic with just the two of them on board.

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Yes, the Dashews are more talented than most, and have yrs miles of experience.  But the new owners may have bought the dream that a couple could run the boat - and Dashew does sort of admit the boat was at THEIR limits to handle. As to maintenance, who knows what state things are in. But complexity is relatively easy to remove, but doing so requires more work out of the crew to continue to operate the boat. It's a double edged sword.

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1 hour ago, El Boracho said:

That said, they are correct about bigger, longer, faster being better out at sea. However, there is simply no good reason to burden such a boat with such complexity other than to rope in wealthy dock walkers. So the mantra should be longer, faster, lighter and simpler. How to do that is more difficult than what they have done.

That begs the question of how much complexity is added just because it's a big fast boat?  Certainly the autopilot/remote complexity is required to keep a shorthanded 70' boat surfing downwind for days at 20kts.  And a big boat with that much windage needs heavier ground tackle, maybe bigger & powered winches.

Looking at the pilothouse of their FPB78 it seems like the complexity has just spiraled out of control.  Maybe this is necessary if the goal is for an elderly couple to cruise the world in comfort, but it seems like a nightmare to keep on top of all those systems without a top notch hired crew.

The closest thing to an affordable version of this seems to be an ULDB sailboat in the 40-55' range, for example:  https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2000/santa-cruz-52-3556293/ - you get the comfort and speed of a longer waterline, but still only 10T displacement, so loads are still somewhat manageable.  

The long/efficient powerboat concept is appealing for some use cases as well, but fewer examples of this outside of the FPBs; would be neat to see a FPB50 equivalent.  

Displacement trawlers probably come closest, but not as efficient as an ULDB under power and they make no attempt at being light.  Here's a 50' at 35t: https://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2002/diesel-duck-enhanced-50-3018317/?refSource=enhanced listing 

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2 hours ago, Keith said:

 

[Enter, Stage Right, Lin and Larry Pardey, in straw hats and flip flops]

“Friends, you don’t need an annual income of $150K to go cruising.” [furtive glances to side; Larry slowly pushes an odd-looking cedar bucket out of video frame with foot, as Lin smiles]

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On 9/15/2019 at 7:01 PM, Jud - s/v Sputnik said:

Lin and Larry Pardey: “Friends, you don’t need an annual income of $150K to go cruising.”

Or Pete and Annie Hill.

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I like modern conveniences as much as the next guy (nothing like enjoying a cold Coke at sea, courtesy of the electric ice-maker!). But all that stuff is indeed time-consuming and expensive to keep in good repair. Even if one has virtually unlimited money to throw at problems, access to spare parts and competent technicians can be a real problem, especially - but not exclusively - in remote areas.

When choosing a cruising yacht, the KISS principle (keep it small and simple) tends to work well.

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On 9/13/2019 at 7:48 AM, QBF said:

The Dashew's have published a lengthy post on their sailing and yacht design history.

https://setsail.com/steering-clear-of-trouble-our-search-for-cruising-perfection

321444031_FirstSail.thumb.jpg.94b25a3cbb3b24e124447c6897476642.jpg

Steve and Linda Dashew have been sailing and working as a team for more than 50 years: racing, initially, and cruising for the past four decades. This is the first of multiple posts and starts leading up to their 20’ Shark catamaran, to their D-Class Beowulf catamarans (Steve at the helm with Linda on the wire), to their 78-foot ketch, Beowulf.

This is a fascinating and in-depth read from a very talented couple. I highly recommend it!

Beowulf-Auckland.thumb.jpg.300bd5cb6fa3de596215d0a087104010.jpg

Thanks so much for posting that.  Great read!  One of my favorite designers. 

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The New York Times article from 1972 about Beowulf V set me to wondering how it compared to an M32 (Marstrom) catamaran as they are the same length. Turns out the M32 at 18 feet is a couple of feet wider though it's 27 feet with the racks. More importantly the article states BV had a sail area of 361 square feet, and the photo indeed shows only a main, a deck sweeper, no less. The M32 with gennaker totals out to 1220 square feet so I guess things have progressed here and there. Still they claimed 35 kts on the 825lb BV where the M32 is 1125lb.  Thanks for posting this, the Dashew philosophy is certainly an interesting topic to ponder.

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