New vs. Old school blue water 37 footers?

For a couple doing long range cruising in the Pacific it used to be that a good affordable boat would be something like a Pacific Seacraft 37.     I sailed to Bermuda on a Hans Christian 36 many years ago, and we hit absolutely horrible weather and the boat never gave me a worry, and sort of convinced me that there was something to the old-school, double ender for passage making over the typical boats I grew up sailing on in the Great Lakes, like Sabres and Ericsons.    I got busy having a family and a career, and most of my sailing was on beach cats for a decade, followed by no sailing at all for too long. 

Now I'm thinking about getting a boat to sail from Washington to Hawaii and beyond, and I don't want to be stuck with my 1980s vision of "bluewater".    But I've missed a lot. 

I see boats like the Xc range, which are priced similarly to Pacific Seacraft, Tayana, and Hans Christians, but obviously are designed with very different ideas.   How do these general types of boat stack up?  Is there any reason to still favor the older double-ender style over the newer ones?   

The gods willing I'll be in a position to buy a nice boat in a year or two and plan to sail to the Philippines, where I will be retiring with my wife, and wondered what people here with more experience think about the relative merits of the two types.   I've thought 37 foot or so was a good size for a couple, maybe I could go a little smaller in a more modern boat which seem to have more volume below per foot of LOA,  but also maybe I could go larger as the prices on some of the newer designs seems a bit less. 

Apologies in advance if this has been covered previously, I did try to do some searches, but couldn't find a topic much like this.  Thanks in advance for your sharing your opinions. 

 

Tom Scott

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Piggy-backing on "boatcat65's" comments: If there was a "best" boat type, and everyone wanted the "best", we'd all be sailing the same boat. :)

When it comes to picking a boat for any desired adventure, we seem to spend so much time focusing on the boat - when in reality it is our attitude and desire that will be the biggest factor in the outcome. The best boat for you will be the one that comes closest to matching the attitude you are comfortable with in operating it. There is no shame in being stuck in your 1980's vision of "bluewater". Designs and attitudes have changed a lot - but the sea has not. If cared for, old boats can do what they were designed to to do just as well today as they ever could - it is our attitudes that change. For example, in another thread I suggested a Block Island 40 as a possible choice to meet the needs of a family for weekend cruising. In the 1960's & 70's, countless families used that boat - and similar boats - to do exactly that, and they were happy. But today, the boat has been deemed "tiny" - only "suitable for two, and a couple of visitors". The older boat really hasn't changed that much in its modern iteration, but the attitudes and perspectives of people certainly have.  

If your intended use is to sail to across and down the Pacific to the Philippines as a couple in the 21st century, length still equals speed - and size equals load carrying capacity. (...load not being just people, but water, fuel, dinghies, food, supplies, and comfort items.)  You can ignore a lot of things, but the basic physics of sailing still apply to modern cruising boats - and waterline length is a big factor in speed for your heavy non-planing cruiser.  Light modern boats may be faster in spurts, but the key is how consistently can you maintain that speed?  Will it carry the load? And regardless, a good cruising boat of any vintage should be able to take care of itself fairly well when you are necessarily pre-occupied elsewhere. Can it comfortably and readily lie-ahull for a few days? Can it self-steer long enough for you to go below for a while without the auto-pilot working? Will it carry all you want without the performance suffering terribly?  What is the longest you could expect to be on passage? 60 days? 90 days? What if the water-maker fails? 

In the end, I imagine you will be best suited to a boat in the 20,000+ lb. range of displacement no matter what length it ends up being. Whatever you choose, the boat should reflect your sensibilities and your attitude, not what all the cool people are doing or using. (..can you tell that I sail an old and uncool boat? :D )  I bet you will know what you want when you see it - good luck in the search!  :)

 
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kent_island_sailor

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No one wants to sail a slow crappy handling boat, but just for example if you had any number of fast light boats, you might really love the exciting sailing and curse the lack of storage, lack of tankage, shallow bilges that get water everywhere, and all the other things that differentiate a race winner from a home.

YMMV and all, but I can't say the PS 37 is a bad boat in 2017 and neither is a Valiant 40 and both are a step up in performance from a traditional full keel boat.

Right now for me to sail to Bermuda, I would take 3 weeks off work and a 5 day passage vs a slow boat taking 7 days really gives me a lot more vacation time on the island. If I were retired, I might not really care that much.

 
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Bob Perry

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I've been giving this question a lot of thought for 50 years. I designed heavy cruising bats and I have designed light cruising boats.

Two categories does not cover or even come close to the variety of design choices.

I'm not sure the "old school" vs "new school" approach works. I'd be more inclined to break it down into high D/L boats vs low D/L boats. And of course with that goes high and low SA/D numbers. But in the end I think it's about personal sailing style and how long you want to stay self sufficient.

 

kent_island_sailor

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Kent Island!
Bob - what are your thoughts on shallow bilges?

My old C&C 35 is fast in any wind offshore, but water gets EVERYWHERE because the bilge holds about 5 gallons when upright and none healed over and it gets to be a really annoying quality of life issue with anything in the lower lockers getting wet sooner or later.

 

Bob Perry

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Kent:

If you asked me to design you a fast cruising boat I would recommend some deadrise in order to get some depth to the bilge and a natural bilge sump. I think no deadrise is faster but not faster enough to offset the annoyance of not having a sump.



 

RKoch

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Choosing a live aboard is a balance between a size large enough to carry the equipment and provisions you need, and small enough for a couple to handle without fatigue on a passage. 35-40' is about right. Find a boat in that range you like.  Doesn't need to handle Cape Horn or Hurricanes...prudent planning avoids extreme weather. Most time will be at dock or anchored out. Most of the sailing will be off the wind, but reasonable windward ability is desirable. Draft should be compatible with area you're cruising.

 

Zonker

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I think Lin and Larry Pardey have a lot to answer for - at least to American and Canadian cruisers. They convinced a generation or two that slow and steady is the way to go.

The French all cruise around the world in light fin keelers with their wives, mistresses, girlfriends, kids (usually all on the same boat). Or some that have read Moitessier have ugly steel hard chine and steal your stuff. The Aussies sail odd boats if they are older because there were high import taxes a while ago and so they built a lot in-country. The other European countries tend to the medium range of displacement. Brits tend to follow US/Canadian style boats.

Our first boat was a slow heavy, high D/L 30' mono. A good safe first boat for offshore cruising.

Second real boat was a 40' light displacement cat. There is nothing better than a good sailing boat (be it cat or mono). If you like sailing, get a boat that sails well. All boats slow down when heavily loaded for cruising, but a heavy slow boat will always be slower.

 

Ishmael

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A keel stub helps give a shallow hull some sump, also gets the lead outside and helps the keel stay attached to the boat.
That's what they did with the C&C 35 Mk 3, there still isn't a lot of capacity in the sump but a decent pump takes care of that. We haven't got water into any really unusual places during normal heeling over, but it will ooze out the corners if you're playing silly buggers.

 

SloopJonB

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Brent Swain said:
Adding the needed thousands of pounds of gear to a 10,000 lb boat is a much bigger percentage of increase in displacement than adding the same weight to a 20,000 lb boat. The heavier design will be floating much closer to its designed displacement.
Even when it's been explained to you you can't understand the concept of Pounds Per Inch Immersion and Waterplane Area can you?

As with everything you just go with gut feel and call it technical awareness or engineering.

 

Bob Perry

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Jon: I find a lot of newbies have the same problem BS has with weights and flotation. They assume a heavier boat will not sink the same rate as a lighter boat. I'm pretty good at explaining it.

 
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kdh

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I think it's a mistake to too easily associate heavy with slow or with a design that doesn't sail well, and no one knows this better or has more experience with this than Bob.

Look at his designs. I have every confidence that the carbon cutter design, for example, will be a joy to sail and at the same time inspire supreme confidence when pressed in heavy weather.

Also, to me a ULDB is light with flat sections aft so that it will get up on a plane when pressed enough. Planing regularly is not a reasonable expectation when mom and pop are voyaging with their household accoutrements.

 
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SloopJonB

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Sa/D seems to be the biggy for making a heavy boat fast.

I knew a guy once who built a '65 Chevy Impala that would do the 1/4 mile in the 10's. That barge was big enough to have a big H in a circle on the hood and/or the trunk lid but he shoved about 900 horsepower into it and it would run that sort of crazy speed and acceleration.

Same process applies to boats.

 

kdh

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Sa/D seems to be the biggy for making a heavy boat fast.

I knew a guy once who built a '65 Chevy Impala that would do the 1/4 mile in the 10's. That barge was big enough to have a big H in a circle on the hood and/or the trunk lid but he shoved about 900 horsepower into it and it would run that sort of crazy speed and acceleration.

Same process applies to boats.
I think there are important differences. For cruising acceleration is not an important consideration. 

What is important is that a heavy displacement design has its speed limited by hull speed. Sail area needs to be sufficient to get the boat to hull speed in the wind conditions available, but any more area is wasted.

For speed, planing or foiling is the way to get it, but these designs are impractical for a small crew.

 




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