Olson 40 For Single Handed Blue Water Sailing

robertwcass

New member
16
8
San Diego
I am seriously considering an 1984 Olson 40 as my next boat. In the past I've sailed on smaller production boats and I owned Roger Swanson's Cloud Nine, a Bowman 57', for 3 years. I've done some significant offshore adventures on Cloud Nine and I sailed her single handed from San Diego to Monterey Bay. I discovered on Cloud Nine that I really love single handed sailing. I sold her due to not being able to convince my wife to sell the house and sail the world with me.

I am now looking for a boat for myself that is bluewater capable and that will be fast, single handable, and within in my budget of $40-$75k. There is an Olson 40 on the market that is well set up for single handing by the previous owner who is a very experienced offshore single handed racer here in San Diego. I understand these boats can be wet and are weight sensitive, particularly in the bow. The interior is somewhat spartan when compared with my former boat but I am ok with this. As I said, this boat is for me. 

I'm hoping the community can provide some input on the bluewater capabilities of the Olson 40 and its potential as a boat for a circumnavigation, including a trip around Cape Horn. 

Over the next couple of years I plan to use the boat for sailing the Channel Islands, a potential Guadalupe Island race, and a trip to the Hawaii potentially via a Transpac campaign or just for fun. 

Thanks in advance for any thoughtful responses to this post. 

 

El Borracho

Verified User
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Pacific Rim
The trick is keeping her light as she becomes a cruiser. That boat will not sail well if you try to “live the life” by dragging along SUPs, dive gear, the dream dinghy, the world’s finest anchor gear, etc, etc.

 

robertwcass

New member
16
8
San Diego
3 surfboards, two spearguns, one dive tank, 60' chain and 250' of rode, 22kg bruce. Need to add water maker, solar, 2 4D AGMs and 1 100amp AGM for start, 9' inflatable, 9hourse outboard, some clothes, food for 30 days, tools, a few other basics. Hopefully that won't be too much.

 

Steam Flyer

Sophisticated Yet Humble
45,473
10,228
Eastern NC
Too much as in it would be unsafe, or it won't sail as fast as it could?
"Unsafe" is an opinion. However, what is the point of buying a light displacement flyer of a boat and then loading it down like a station wagon? Get a station wagon in the first place.

As to unsafe: as always, the best answer is "it depends." Boats are designed around expected loads. In one way, you might be fine with lots of stuff in the boat as it will raise the center of gravity and reduce rigging loads. OTOH having it plow instead of fly will tend to raise the loads on rig & hull, in some cases, dramatically. Not a simple fix unless you want to relaminate the hull and replace all the bulkheads etc etc.

The O40 is a cool boat, pretty and fun to sail. Might be worth making a few sacrifices for

FB- Doug

 

sailronin

Anarchist
501
21
Seattle, Wa
The Olson 40 was designed to be raced with a full crew, maybe 7 or 8 people or 5 to Hawaii, plus food and water for the same number.  If you're talking one person and the gear you stated, probably similar weight to the full crew and provisions for a Hawaii race.  I think storage space could be a bigger concern than weight i.e. surfboard and spearguns aren't too heavy but they are bulky.

 

El Borracho

Verified User
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Pacific Rim
Not unsafe...in my opinion...but that is too much stuff. You want a very much heavier displacement cruiser.

It is not necessarily the stuff you just listed.By itself it does not amount to much. It is the sum total of that stuff and all the normal necessary stuff. Steam Flyer's characterization as a plow is correct.

The O40 is indeed a great fun boat. But few people have the severe minimalist lifestyle to cruise her on her lines. Forget about those 4D batteries and whatever power hungry crap you dream of powering. Consider a tiny dinghy with 2.5hp. Aluminum anchor and 30 feet of chain. Almost no spares or tools. Etc... You get the idea.

I have experience in minimalism as I single- and double-hand my SC50 around the Pacific. She will be no fun overloaded.

I even traded my heavy chested american grinder for a 42kg filipina grinder that only needs fishheads and rice.

 
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bgytr

Super Anarchist
5,082
689
O 40 is a good boat- when kept empty with 9 or so big bodies on the rail, at least if you wanna go in any winds forward of the beam.

loaded with a buncha stuff in the ocean it wouldn't be my choice.  Likely very uncorfortable and could be sketchy (ie safety) in rough going.

For the list of gear, something like a J44 or similar is probably better.

 

robertwcass

New member
16
8
San Diego
6 total crew at 150lbs each equals 750lbs. I'll still may have have to lighten the load as daddle suggests. My boards maybe weigh 25lbs total and fit nicely into the bow. I could do without the dive tank although I've always had one on my boat if needed to unstick an anchor. Dingy and motor can definitely be smaller. I could go with 30' chain. I could increase solar and cut battery size. I'm thinking that positioning and balance of gear is going to be more important than total weight if the weight is not more than a crew of 6. 

Why do I want this boat for cruising? I still think it is going to be faster than most moderate displacement boats of the similar waterline as long as I keep the gear down to less than what 6 crew would weigh. Plus she is beautiful to look at.

But I hear you that I may need to go with a different boat. I'd love to get a gear list or estimate of weight of gear with crew from someone who has sailed the Olson 40 on a transpac or other long distance jaunt. 

 
I don’t want to bringing this topic to other direction but I insist to ask.

mine is light displacement 33 racer but I am accommodating to mine to singlehanded and, here is the question.

like Olson, mine is wet, too. And I am thinking about the raise the entry of the companion way to higher.  Do you think this kind of modification is possible? 

 

slug zitski

Super Anarchist
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1,467
worldwide
An anchor and chain can be 250 kg.

  Dont underestimate how much weight...cruising stuff...goes into a boat .  Piles of fenders, warps, rigging , spare parts, fluids, batteries, inverters, dinghy , outboard.....to make it even worse this weight and bulk  can never be stored in the correct position 

medium displacement , medium volume boats work best . 

Boats on the bigger side should be considered 

its always possible to go super minimalistic ...but why .

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
63,114
5,845
De Nile
OK, I like this boat, a lot.

But Cape Horn?

Give me that Swan 57
 

Any boat can be singlehanded when you think it through. (ok, docking might be a bother)

 

Raz'r

Super Anarchist
63,114
5,845
De Nile
I don’t want to bringing this topic to other direction but I insist to ask.

mine is light displacement 33 racer but I am accommodating to mine to singlehanded and, here is the question.

like Olson, mine is wet, too. And I am thinking about the raise the entry of the companion way to higher.  Do you think this kind of modification is possible? 
anything is possible....

 




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