Archive for 1999

Cruising Insurance

How do you get insurance to sail as a couple on BEOWULF? I have friends with a Tayana 52 in Hawaii, who are now kind of stranded because their Lloyds policy requires four crew and the other couple (the guy actually) wimped while they were all headed for NZ. Or do you sail bare (which is what I am doing right now as a singlehander)? -Lesley

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Piracy, Dogs and Cruising Rallies

We are in the final year of a 3-year plan to head out on our voyage. Our plan is to get as far as Oz and then decide if we want to keep going. We expect to keep going but, in addition to my wife and I, we have 2 very young children and a Jack Russell Terrier (Harley) we want to make sure all is OK. Anyway, now that you have the brief intro to who we are and what our plan is I have a few questions. Any thoughts comments or suggested readings would be very helpful.

1. Piracy during our trip. As I mentioned we will have 2 small children and I'm not sure what to expect or what the best plan is to avoid problems.

2. Harley. How do we best prepare for bringing a pet into foreign countries?

3. Your opinion on cruising rallies to hook up with throughout our voyage? That's it for now. Cheers, Tom

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sextant Backup

Dear Steve and Linda: Have your Encyclopedia and am now on my second reading to really start nailing down the key points you make…what a great book…couple of quickies I have now…Do you navigate with GPs with celestial as backup? Thanks, Richard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Yawl Rigs

In your new weather book, do you cover storm tactics in a yawl? On a mizzen staysail where do you place the clue? We are thinking of getting a mizzen staysail for our Crealock 37. The mizzen mast is about 21′ tall, is this too small for a mizzen spinnaker or stay with the staysail? Thanks, Dave

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Motorsailing

Greetings, I have purchased two of your books, with CDs, and they are excellent. I refer to them regularly to solve specific problems and for general learning (random open and read).

One area I want more information on, and cannot find in either of the books (Surviving and Offshore) is motorsailing. In addition to your two books, I have done quite a bit of research on the web, looked for magazine articles (current and archive), etc., and still cannot find any information. All I can find is the occasional reference to motorsailing in some trip logs.

I am interested in the theory and practice of motorsailing, and the pros and cons, cautions (re: sails, motor) etc. Can you provide this information and/or refer me to a qualified source of information on this.

By the way, another item I couldn’t find in your books was on the matter of what gear/or neutral to leave the engine in when sailing (I recently switch from a folding to three-blade fixed prop). Thanks, Howard

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Singlehanded Sailing

Please tell me the maximum feet of trimaran a single sailor can handle. Thanks.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Towing a Rib Inflatable

I am familiar with your suggested method of towing a regular inflatable by running lines from eyes on transom, forward and down through the lifting handle. Now I have just bought a new RIB and wondered how you recommend towing one of these babies! It has a D-ring glassed in the bow, near the waterline. Would this be the best place to tow from??

Thanks so much for your response!–Rodd

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Furling vs. Conventional Mainsail

I am in the last stages of purchasing a new Catalina 400mkII. The only remaining issue is furling main or standard. The boat will either be in Charleston SC or Oriental NC. 99% of my sailing will be coastal cruising, shorthanded or fairly inexperienced crew. I’ve chartered for 25 years but this is my 1st owned boat and I’ve never used a furling main. Your advice please

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

GO Gennaker vs. Langor Genoa

I own a Morris 486 which is equipped with a fully battened mainsail and a 100% roller furling Genoa Each is about 500 ft in area. I am interested in getting more performance in light winds, and was considering either a larger Genoa (135%) or a G-0 gennaker. Any input regarding the pros and cons of each? Conard

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Reefing the Mainsail

Hi I am having trouble getting an answer on how to reef my main sail. I have a Beneteau 350 Oceanis. It is “new to me” but the person I purchased it from could not reef the main. It is a North sail. I will try to describe what I have. First of all the Sail is set up for Dutchman flaking. (I don’t think this has any bearing on the problem) This is applicable to both the first and second reef points. The main sail has only 2 cringles.

I have a line that starts at the cockpit and goes to a pulley at the base of the mast. From this point it goes up to a pulley into the mast end of the Boom. It exits the boom at the clew and goes through the cringle in the sail and then the bitter end is made fast at and anchor point at the bottom of the boom.

As it is currently rigged I can reef the back of the sail. I cannot reef the luff or front. There must be some way of leading the line through he cringle at the luff of the sail. I can’t go from the base of the mast to the cringle because when I return to the boom it would be on the wrong side of the pulley. I am sure it would snag.

I do have 2 open stainless loops attached to each side of the mast but they do not seem to be at the right location to aid in the change of direction. I hope my description is adequate. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

ATN Tacker

Have you had experience with the Tacker, that plastic device that slides over the roller furled headsail to attach the clew of a spinnaker so you don’t use a pole? It seems to me the load on it would be excessive and possibly bend the foil on the furler.

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Snuffer

I’m about to order a gennaker for my Sabre 402 and have been trying to decide between your snuffer and ATN’s. For dousing, ATN recommends blowing the tack before pulling the snuffer down. If I am reading your response to Doug Peters’s question about this, you seem to be recommending easing the sheet. Having had some difficulty doing this with the non-ATN, non-North snuffer on my last boat, ATN’s idea seems sensible to me. Is there a reason I couldn’t take this approach with your snuffer?

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Tri-Radial vs. Crosscut MainSail

I have a 1987 Ericson 34 MKII and am looking to replace my mainsail. Why would I consider a tri-radial verses a cross cut mainsail? I do not race but the family enjoys going fast. Thanks

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Determining Maximum Mainsail Roach

I own a Cal 34 III and would like to know what physical measurements I need to provide to my sailmaker to determine the maximum mainsail roach I can put on my sloop.

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Mildew Prevention

I cruise in Florida and the Bahamas. I am quite worried about mildew problems. Losing a sail to mildew (I would replace it if the stains wouldn’t come out) after a year would be totally unacceptable to me, no matter what the performance compromise I needed to make. Should I stick to Dacron and stay away from all laminated products? Norman Freedman Sabre 452

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Center of Effort of Aggressive Roach Main

I am trying to find out how to estimate the center of effort (CE) of a high roach main. With a triangular sail the roach is usually neglected when measuring the CE, but I am not sure this is the way to go with a high roach main, where the luff may take up 30% of sail area. Thank you very much for your help, Michiel

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Snuffing Gennaker in Strong Wind

We have a Snuffer on our Gennaker. What is the proper process for snuffing when the wind is strong? It’s tough to get the snuffer to collapse the sail.

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sails For 33 Cheoy Lee Cutter-Rigged Clipper Ketch

I’m in the process of purchasing a 33′ Cheoy Lee cutter-rigged clipper ketch. I’m an intermediate recreational sailer searching for information regarding the types of sails recommended for cutter-rigged ketches—-for instance, why might one fly a single 145% Genoa rather than the Yankee/Staysail combination?—-trimming techniques, more advanced configurations, such as a "mizzen spinnaker", performance configuration recommendations. My impression from internet and library searches is this type of information concentrates on racing sloops. We sailors with little or no desire to race seem to be left out in the cold, despite the fact that we still desire to get from point-to-point as efficiently as possible.

No doubt you’re as busy as the rest of us, but any information or pointers you might be able to shoot my way would be greatly appreciated. Best regards, Brian L

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Gennaker, Screecher, Code One & Asymmetrical Spinnaker

Dear Dan,

Could you please explain the differences between a gennaker, screecher, code one and asymmetrical spinnaker? Is it possible to have a gennaker cut for reaching and another gennaker for running? What would be your recommended sail selection for a performance 55′ catamaran? Thank you, Chris

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sail Inventory for Jeanneau 51

Dan: I am considering purchasing an ex-bareboat Jeanneau 51. One of my requirements is that the vessel be suited for passagmaking including windward ability. My strongest reservation about this particular model is the standard in-mast furling rig.

If you were designing a sail inventory to take this vessel back and forth from Newport to St. Lucia each year, what would your choices be? Fullbatten main (Spectra or Dacron?) how many battens & reefs?, Code 0 ? Staysail on removable stay?, #2 on separate furler? Thanks, Richard

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Hydra-net

Dear Dan, I am looking at sails for extended cruising. I wonder if you have any experience/views on Hydra-net from Dimension polyant. Your book has been very helpful already and will be coming sailing to help with repairs! Yours sincerely, Bruce C

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Re-cutting Old Dacron Sails

My 30′ Woods catamaran is rigged with a fully-battened roachy mainsail and a roller-furling genoa with a padded luff. The sails are probably seven to ten years old. I can’t get either sail flat, or to set well close-hauled. This is affecting my ability to point, and because much of my sailing is there-and-back weekending, I can’t avoid upwind sailing. Is re-cutting worth considering? The basic cloth seems to be fine, with little evidence of chafe. Thanks for your help, Tim Barnes

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Outhaul Problems w/Roller Furling Main

I have a Hughes Northstar 80/20 ketch with a roller furled mainsail. This is obviously an aftermarket modification, and it is extremely difficult to unfurl and furl. The outhaul and furling lines by necessity are each routed around several blocks (around the boom, down the mast, across the deck, through a block, then to the cockpit) which greatly increases the mechanical
effort required to move the sail. At times we have had to use our large winch and are putting a lot of (hopefully) unnecessary strain on the lines, deck organizers and blocks. Our best efforts have resulted in still about a foot of slack in the outhaul line at the clew. This is my first experience with such a mainsail arrangement and I have no idea what is considered "normal" operation or configuration. In addition, the car to which the outhaul line is attached moved freely on the boom track until I hit on the idea to lock it in place using a second, locking slide. By keeping the car stationary, sail management improved a bit but it still seems to be much harder than it should be and requires two people pretty much dedicated to the mainsail during furling and unfurling. My original plan of sailing the boat shorthanded or singlehanded is now in question until I can resolve this problem.

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Worn Bearings and Car Track on Catamaran Mainsail

Hello Dan, great service and answers, thanks.

We have a FP Belize 43 catamaran, and the fully battened main is attached to a track that is fitted into a track on the mast. We have recently been transatlantic and on arrival in the Caribbean found the cars badly worn, two of the end caps the battens fit into (mast end) broken in half, and the bearings of the cars mostly missing. On inspection the track running up the mast was worn heavily where the cars park when the main is fully raised.

We have had new cars sent out but do not want this to happen again. Does the track need replacement? How is this done (excuse our ignorance)? How do we prevent this problem? The boat is 3 years old. Best regards, John Jones

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Posted by admin  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Draft Issues for Cruising

Thanks Steve, for the comments on teak decks. I am just about to make an offer on an 85 ft Formosa, and I know the decks will need doing in a few years, so I will adjust my offer. The other misgiving I have is the 9′ 6″ draft. I sailed half way round the world a few years ago, going East. This time I am going through the Panama Canal and then the Pacific–could you comment on the draft , please? John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Range of Stability for Early IOR boat

After reading your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia I have a couple of questions about converting an alum. IOR boat to a cruiser. The boat, Doug Peterson 44′ alum. flush deck, displ 25,000 keel 10,000 , 13’6″ beam 8′ draft. Built 1978. Intended uses of boat, Mexico and South Pacific.

Should I be concerned about the range of stability? If I buy this boat I plan on adding extra tankage low in the hull and under the floorboards if possible.

Is there a formula to figure range of stability ?

And lastly, I really like the 14′ Wherry pulling dingy. Are they still in production?

THANK YOU, Gene

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Types

I’ve recently escaped from Saudi Arabia where I’ve been working for the last six years. It’s now time to reclaim my life. I intend to do a few years cruising and am presently looking for a boat. One I have details of is a Venus 46, designer–Salthouse N.Z., built by Dong Sung. I have never heard of this one before, do you have any knowledge or info on these that you could advise me of. My favorite is the Hallberg Rassy 42. How do they compare. I’d be grateful for any info you could provide. Regards, Ian

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Roller-Furling Mains and Center-Cockpit Boats

1) What are your thoughts on the merits of roller-furling mains, especially the leisure furl boom systems which allow a better cut main with full battens?

2) Center-cockpit boats–Is the benefit of a better aft cabin and a small afterdeck worth the wetter, more motion at the helm that results from being higher up and more forward?

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Birdsall 60 Range of Stability Calculations

Hi ya: For years we have lusted after your boats (Wiroa was one) but couldn’t afford them. Our own boat Gungha (Alan Buchanan design in steel, round slack bilge’s and overhangs) was getting too small. We owned her and lived on board for 21 years.

Last year we were lucky to change boats and boat designs. The new boat is a Birdsall 60. She really is the boat of our dreams. Heaps of space, stable and fast-as. I can’t think of anything about the layout or performance of the boat that I could criticize. We have just made our first offshore passage from NZ to Tonga with heavy weather and she went like the clappers. So no problem there. There is however a problem of lingering doubt vis-à-vis the design.

I have been used to the deep draft and 45% ballast ratio of Gungha (nice and rolly). I always knew that if she was capsized she’d snap back upright in moments. I know you’re probably familiar with the Birdsall designs, as they resemble your own in some aspects. This yacht is 63′ on deck, 60′ at the waterline. She has a 14’10” beam which is carried aft but certainly not forward (very narrow there) and she has a 6′ draft.

The yacht is single chine steel with a long (about 17′ fore and aft) fin keel and a skeg-supported spade rudder. The hull of the yacht draws a little over 2′ with the keel making up the rest of the draft. The yacht is double-bottomed fully with welded in tanks, which hold a total of 800 gallons of fluids. The deck plate and all construction techniques have concentrated all the weight as low as possible. The yacht has a center cockpit and trunk cabin with considerable buoyancy.

My problem is this. The yacht is adequately stiff even in hard conditions but…she only has 4 tons of ballast. Her total shipyard weight is 27 tons. What do you think of that and her ability to be tipped over????? We have sailed over 60,000 miles and prior to that I was a commercial fisherman in Alaska…Am I getting paranoid in my old age?

Thanks and cheers, Mike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Aluminum Cowls

I am trying to locate a contact number/E-mail/website for the Paul Luke large aluminum cowls you mention in the cruising encyclopedia. Grateful if you could assist.–Andrew

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (1)

Headroom

Hello Dashews, We love the books and are busy trying to absorb all the info as we plan toward and dream of our own cast off day in 36 months. We have been educating ourselves on design as we continue to search for the right boat for our needs. I agree with your philosophy on waterline and the value of older CCA boats. I also like aluminum or steel (though right now steel seems like a better buy in general).

Here’s the issue–I am 6’5″ tall, my wife is 6’0″ and our two sons 4 and 2 1/2 are destined to be at least that big. That’s a lot of height on a boat. Can you give us some direction on makes of the older boats that would be more inclined to accommodate our height? I know that it is an issue of free board as much as anything but has interior volume and subsequently headroom increased with the newer boats or can we find a pool of appropriate boats built of steel or alum. In the 60s–80s that will save us aching heads? Thanks, Dave

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Extra Range under Power

I am considering our next major cruise from NZ/Oz up through the Red Sea, and our charging/motoring/fuel strategy. I have calculated that we get about 1 mile/liter at our normal cruising speed, possibly a bit more. This gives us about 1200 miles with current fuel capacity. Across the Pacific we pretty much motored all the way to Galapagos–no wind. Sailed all the way to Marquee’s, but then motored all the way to Tahiti, and got low on fuel and had to reload from a ship in the Tuamotus, which was very messy and expensive. So I am investigating how to get some more capacity. Ideas:

Glass a tank in on the port side of the lazarette. The area is hard to get at anyway so won’t be too much of a loss.

Glass a tank in on the stbd side behind the current tank in that ‘dead’ area below the compass/steering box.

I reckon, without actually measuring the boat as we are currently skiing in South Island (life’s tough, eh), I guess I could add about another 300+ miles. Which would have life a lot easier in the Tuomotus, for example.

I KNOW ITS MORE WEIGHT!!!! but do you have any other ideas?

I am also considering swapping my homebuilt DC generator for the Balmar, with watermaker add-on. Is this what you have? How does it work out? The literature says it will set its own speed/charge rate, how does that work out?

Also our batteries are getting real bad and I’ll probably change them, did you go for the lead acid Tudors as we have, or the more sophisticated dry cell ‘I can’t remember what they are but not gel type or lead/acid’ new types.

Any advice gratefully received–and probably written about, we start a ‘Masterclass’ series for YW in October!

Hope cruising is going well–Regards, Brian

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Limit of Positive Stability Data

Hi–I read about the importance of knowing your boat’s LPS in the Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia, and I was wondering where and how I can review the LPs for different models of boats so I can use that information to help me buy the right boat for me. Is there a site online that lists the LPs for different models of yachts? Thanks, Erin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Multihulls

(Regarding Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia)…An encyclopedia it certainly is–a wealth of information that must have taken a lifetime to collect. I enjoyed reading your book and I’m glad I made the purchase.

Criticism: 1. There are a few mistakes where you reflect imperial measurements and then the metric measurement in ( ). Assuming that the imperial measurement are correct, then the metric conversion is incorrect. I cannot remember the page numbers where the errors are. It’s insignificant really–perhaps a tiny slip of the pen? 2. You seem to have a big prejudice against multihulls and this is sad. All the text and pictures also show outdated multihulls designs and concepts. Regards, Wiets

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dashew Boats For Sale

Is there a listing of used Dashew boats available?–Tom

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (4)

BEOWULF Design Questions

I love your design concepts of fast cruising sailboats designed to be handled by a couple. I have a few questions that, if you have the time, I would love to get answered.

I have read your design paper for BEOWULF and it looks like a terrific boat. How is the water ballast working out and do you ever worry about having all that ballast on the wrong side in the event of an accidental jibe? What do you think of the use of carbon fiber, particularly in masts? And have you considered the use of a free-standing mast? What do you think of the Fox 50 concept of converting an Around Alone Open 50 design to an ultra-fast cruising boat? I think they were to be built by TPI and Lyman Morse, although after the initial hoo-ha I have not heard anything about them. They seem to take your concepts a step farther, but perhaps too far.

Thanks, Pete

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Deerfoot Questions

We are flying to Florida this week to look at a couple of boats. We currently own a ’95 Caliber 40 that we have prepared for offshore cruising. Your Encyclopedia and the 2 hour Offshore video have been very helpful in those preparations. Now that we have our 6,000 sq foot home for sale we have decided that a 40 footer may be a bit small for permanent liveaboard for two people, Just the two of us have lived in this monster house for 18 years. We plan to live on our new boat until I am 64 or 65. I just turned 52 and my wife is 44 years old.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Dashew Offshore Designs

I am curious what boats you are designing and building other than BEOWULF. I am actually looking for a boat in the mid-40’s and I am dissatisfied with anything currently available on the brokerage market. To complicate things a little my last boat was a cruising pilothouse multihull, Atlantic 42, which I loved but was impractical for Northeast cruising. Regards, Kevin

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sundeer 56/67 Availability

Dear Steve & Linda, I have read both your books several times. How can anyone read the same stuff over and over? I can, if it is as interesting and informative as your books. (Especially the Encyclopedia). I just sold my O’Day 40 and I am preparing to sell my business. After the business is sold, I want to buy the last boat that I will own. ( I am 57 years old, & I want to do some serious cruising) I love the Sundeer 67, but I do not know if I will be able to afford it. Are you still building boats? If so, can you give me a ballpark price of both the Sundeer 56 & 67(built in aluminum). If it is not in the realm of my ability, then I will go in a different direction. If you are not building anymore, can I purchase the plans? Thank you. Tony

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Design Origin of PRIVATUS

Hi Linda & Steve, My wife and I have just purchased your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia and are enjoying the read very much. Keep up the good work.

A quick question, based on information in the above mentioned book and on your website, I was under the impression the “Deerfoot” name designation was yours. However, I have just come across a Deerfoot 50 (s/v Privatus) that is said to be designed by Ulf Rogeberg and built by Hinkley, Lange & Son. Any explanation or information you or your staff can provide about other “Deerfoots” would be appreciated. Regards, Roy

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Aft Cockpit Designs

Steve…Your recommendation to look at CAL 48 and CAL 46-2 was received. You stated though that you prefer aft cockpit. This does make sense. Some aft cockpit designs are better then others. Could you make recommendations for an aft cockpit design that I should be looking at in a used boat that has a long waterline as well as seaworthy? All your help is much appreciated in my quest for a used blue water boat. Corey

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Bos and Carr New Zealand

Hi. Could you tell me if you have had any boats built at Bos and Carr in NZ. Two clients have an interest in using this yard and I have some indication that you are familiar with their work. John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Retractable Keel Designs

Dear Sir, I am looking for a good cruising boat with a shallow draft or proven retractable keel design. I have raced in the southern oceans against wind and tide in 67ft steel hull 42 ton yachts and they were superb–but they have 9 ft drafts. I now live in Florida and plan to do some world cruising with my family. However, local water depths can be very shallow. Most of the day boats here have a very flimsy retractable keel (rotating blade hinged on a bolt and lifted on a cable. Many snap their cables and some break their bolts–and they just would not work in severe weather!!). I have heard of a famous 54ft steel ketch, Northanger, which cruises the extreme latitudes and has only 1m draft–but I have no idea of her retractable keel design or other design specifications. Regards Richard R. from the USA

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Multihulls in Heavy Weather

Hello! The subject of Multihulls vs. Monohulls is a hot one, and is likely to continue to be. 🙂 However, there is one designer who has put online a very good paper on multihull seaworthiness. It is, of course, true that he is a catamaran designer, so the criticism may be the paper is biased, but it is very technical in nature, and I find (having an engineering background) reasonably complete and suited to the informed lay reader.

The article on your site I am referring to is: Multihulls.

John Shuttleworth’s article on multihull seaworthiness is here: http://www.steamradio.com/JSYD/Articles/NESTalk.html

I believe that your opinions may be swayed by his treatment. As always, seaworthiness is as much a function of the crew as of the boat, but a good crew with a bad boat can only go so far. I was very timid about the idea of multihulls and blue water, but decided I would research it before making up my mind. What I found were many good sources of experience reports (MultiHull Voyaging by Thomas Firth Jones for example) which finally convinced me that multihulls, designed correctly, could be as seaworthy in blue water as a well designed monohull, if not more so.

I have heard a bit about storm tactics and multihulls, and the one thing I have heard that I do not know if you have mentioned (not having purchased your book yet) is using a large para sea anchor. I am told that using a very large para anchor, head-to the seas, creates a slick much like the one one gets with a keel boat that is properly hove-to. The idea is to use the para anchor at roughly a one wavelength distance from the boat. This saps the waves power as it comes towards the boat and will then rarely, if ever, break across the bow. Since swell cannot capsize a boat, it stands to reason that this would be a very good tactic.. a sort of heaving-to for a multihull. The para anchor should be something like at least 75% of the beam. I have heard that 28 foot, nylon para anchors are most common, being able to be gotten from other sources than custom. Have you heard of this tactic?—Timothy

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Smallest Boat for Cruising

I noticed that your boats keep getting bigger and bigger. What do you consider the best minimum size for cruising? My dream is to sail down the coast of California to Mexico, Panama Canal, Caribbean, and then Greece, Italy, France, and England. Thanks for writing what looks like a wonderful book. Sincerely yours, Sal

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Small BEOWULF/Custom building

My question is this. I feel that BEOWULF is too big for me. I don’t really want to deal with so many sails and the cost and effort to maintain, dock, haul, paint, etc. a 78-foot ketch, even if I have to go a little slower. I expect that, as in the past, you can’t help but always be thinking about how you might build a successor to your current yacht. Historically your yachts have always gotten bigger, but I was wondering if you had ever given any consideration to a new design, maybe in the 50-foot range, for those of us that are a little less aggressive in our cruising requirements than are you and Linda. A boat like the Farr 50 Pilothouse seems to have interesting design characteristics but I have not test sailed one because it doesn’t have sufficient headroom for me and I don’t want to waste their time. Because I am 6’3″ tall, and refuse to have to duck anywhere on my own boat,I require an absolute minimum of 6’6″ headroom throughout, including heads and showers. After many years of trying to find a boat in the 48-53-foot that is based on the design characteristics that you have pioneered, with an attractive pilothouse and an interior that is designed for both voyaging and live aboard, I am finally giving serious consideration to custom building a boat. I have eschewed this option until now for fear of making a mistake and owning a white elephant, which I can ill afford, but it seems that no production builder is going to build my dream boat for me while I am still young enough to use it. Whether you are interested in such project, or might suggest a couple of yacht designers whom you favor, I would appreciate your thoughts. Jeff

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Calculating Cruising Speed

Hi Steve. With a 36 foot waterline, wouldn’t the boat (at least theoretically) have a hull design speed of about 8 knots? [sqrt 36 = 6 x 1.34 = 8.02] Do you find that such boats won’t sail at the design speed? Sidney

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Pilot House Pros & Cons

Steve, Thank you for responding so fast to my e-mail. I have many questions which seem to be answered several different ways by as many people. It is always a pleasure to have some one like yourself to give input. I still am interested in a boat, I thought a motorsailer since I will be in Alaska most the time. But several people have been talking against them if one was ever to truly sail in the open ocean, small on deck structures etc is preferred as to a pilot house. Although I have found the open ocean, hundred miles off shore to be calmer in the long run than the inshore tides etc… (I have skipped tugs across the gulf of Alaska several times). I anxiously await your response. Cheers, Spike

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

INTERMEZZO

Dear Steve, It has been while since I last connected with you–in fact it was 2000 prior to the Bermuda race. By the way, INTERMEZZO now FUERA did quite well. In any case the reason why I am writing to you is because I am now working with Bill Tripp Jr. to figure out the true history and facts on how to bring her back to her original state. I thought you might be able to help me separate history from folklore–fact from fiction. I am not sure if she was a ketch or a yawl, you reference in one of your books that she was a ketch, but we are not sure. Do you have any before pictures that you could share with me? Many people who think they are in the know think that she was hull number one. We are convinced that the bow sprit was not part of the original sail plan. Any help sorting any of this out would be very much appreciated. Best regards, Fred

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Twin Center Boards

We are looking at buying a 1983 Alden with two centerboards. I’m familiar with one board but not two. The boat draws 5′ 4" BU and 11′ 8" BD. What is your advice on this arrangement. Thanks, Rod and Lucinda

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Size for Cruising Couple

I realize this must be the single most common question you hear, but I cannot find it on your FAQ page. What are your recommendations on rig type and boat size for a cruising couple? We currently have a Frers 41, but want to move aboard and go offshore indefinitely – so we are looking at other boats. When we cruise now – which is every available moment (we do not race), our boat is stuffed with all manner of gear, supplies, bikes, books etc. Our gear wish list is long, and provisioning for a long journey… Personally we love split rigs, and are very inclined towards a marconi rigged schooner we have seen. My concerns are handling a large boat (60′) with my wife, and of course maintenance costs. Any pointers you may be able to give us would be much appreciated. Thank you for all the information you have published. Alex & Daria Blackwell

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sundeer 56/60 – What Would You Do Differently?

Hi Steve, I read that you felt at one time your Sundeer 56/60 was one of your best designs. After your experience with Beowulf, are there any significant changes that you would make to that boat? A better question is if you were going to design a similar sized boat today, what would it be like? Thank you, Downing Mears

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Full-length Keel for Cruising

Hi Steve, I’ve just found your website and have a couple of questions. I live on a 1977 40ft Cheoy Lee ketch. It is quite spacious and has a full keel. I couldn’t help noticing that you don’t mention Cheoy Lee’s anywhere on your web. Do you see this as a good cruiser and is a full keel better in weather? Thanks, Todd

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Cockpit Location

Hello and thank you,

Over ten years ago I read of Sundeer 64′ and bought the video and watched it over and over again. I dreamed my wife and I were owners of such a boat thousands of times. Being just regular people, a police officer and stay-at-home mom, we’ll never likely have the means for such an acquisition. Now I see Beowulf and am THUNDER STRUCK. I think if GOD The Father, Son and Holy Spirit decide to sail a human-made vessel, it will be Beowulf. It is as close to perfect as mere mortals can produce. You MAY do a newer sailing design in future days, and it MAY be different here and there, but I can not imagine it could be better. Please continue your work of supplying the able people with such fine boats. We dreamers can always use more "fuel". And those with the financial means to become owners of your creations will be very well satisfied with their fine decisions to do just that. {Three-hundred miles per day…it almost seems to defy the laws of physics.}

With gratitude, encouragement and best regards,
John M

P.S. Hello again, I forgot to ask, I thought you two were steadfast REAR COCKPITTERS! What made you put Beowulf’s cockpit in the CENTER? Cordially, John

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Centerboard Designs

Hello Steve. First off thanks for writing the Encyclopedia. It was a driving force in getting my wife and I to buy a boat and sail the West Coast from Vancouver to Mexico.

We are now looking to move up in size from our Roberts 44 to potentially an Irwin 52. These boats are rare on the West Coast and abundant on the Southeast Coast. They have 2 keel configs – one has a centerboard and shoal draft of 5’6", and the other is a fixed keel with a draft of 7 feet. I have no experience with big boats with centerboards, and would value your opinion on their merit when going to windward? What do you think of Irwins?

Thanks a bundle, Tony

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Boat Size, Draft, and Performance

Dear Linda and Steve, We first heard about you two in the Mahina Cruising seminar given in San Francisco this past March by John and Amanda Neal. It was a great seminar and your books were prominently displayed and talked about during their seminar.

We are just about ready to take off for five or so years on a cruising journey which we hope will include the Med, Caribbean and South Pacific. More if time allows. I (Glenn) have been boating/sailing since the age of 12 and am now the ripe old age of 52. I grew up sailing on Puget Sound, the San Juans and Canadian waters and sail/race J-105’s in the San Francisco fleet. The two of us have chartered all kinds of sail and power boats in California, the Caribbean, and Mexico.

Because we understand that you sail on a 78-footer Beowulf, we thought you could help us with a dilemma we are currently experiencing. We are looking to purchase a boat in the very near future. Two boats are under serious consideration. One is a new Hylas 54. The other is a used Farr 63 built in 1999. Both are cutter-rigged, center cockpit pilothouse models. Both are loaded with the latest in nav and electronic gear. Both have in-mast furling mains and a bow thruster. My wife likes the smaller Hylas, thinking that it will be easier to sail shorthanded (just the two of us most of the time). I like the larger Farr which is a bit roomier, has a bit better sailing performance overall and will be more sea kindly with the longer waterline length. The biggest ISSUE is draft. My wife thinks the 9-foot draft on the Farr will keep us away from many tropical locations where we may want to anchor/moor the boat. I say the difference between the Farr’s -foot draft and the Hylas’ 7’2’" draft is negligible and that it would affect less than 5% of the places we’d like to go. For instance, we chartered a Hylas 54 in the BVI and barely were able to join other boats anchored on the south side of Annegada Island where the depth water was 8 feet. We assume the draft on Beowulf is at least 9 feet. Do you feel limited in where you can cruise??

Any thoughts or opinions would be greatly appreciated if you have the time to respond. We look forward to using your reference materials. Kind Regards, Glenn and Linda

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (2)

Keel Shape & Performance

Hi Steve, As part of researching for a suitable boat I’ve read the articles about keel and foil design at www.vacantisw.com as well as your description of using a NACA 0000 foil shape with a 15% foil section in Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. Can you tell me in general terms how much a foil shaped keel improves boat performance compared to one that has no foil, ie. the sides of the keel are parallel? Is this difference enough to warrant keeping away from boats without foil keels? Thx, DM

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Speed Length Ratios/Hydrofoils

Dear Steve and Linda: Having discovered SetSail site, I want to tell you what a terrific boat you have designed in the Wind Horse. What I found particularly interesting is your break up with the dominant design rules of cruising power boats, e.g., trawlers.

While my limited budget allows me only to dream of Wind Horse, I am myself involved with pushing ahead my own dreams of ocean cruising. Having known your work, I have already given up my trawler-oriented mindset and I am rethinking the entire issue considering the canoe-like hull proposition you so beautifully materialised in Wind Horse.

Having said this, I’d like to know your comments on two points.

-according to the equation of displacement hull speed (1.2 times sqrt water level length in feet, am I correct?), a 85 feet-long boat could achieve a max speed of around 11 knots. But boats often go far beyond these limits, as are good examples your own designs. So, I confess I’m puzzled. Could you, please, shed some light on the issue?

-have you ever considered adding lifting hydrofoils to your designs (I think about Wind Horse) not, of course, to turn them into 60-knot-out-of-the-water rocket-boats, but to reduce their displacement and wetted area by say, 30%, so increasing speed & range? I think of hydrofoils added, say, to the keel and skegs, in order to compensate for, say, 30% of the vessel’s weight, or displacement, and adding to stability as a bonus benefit. Is this way wrong? If so, could you point the problems with it?

Thank you for your attention. Best regards, Francisco

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Finding Limit of Positive Stability

Hi! Is there anyone who could tell me where i could find the angle of limit stability or angle of vanishing for a morgan 382 or a cal 39? Thank you! – Jacques

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Working Through Storm Fronts

Typically, in a race such as the Global Challenge, do you think it best to avoid the severest of the weather by working one’s way to the safer side of the fronts, or is it quicker to just batten down and ‘go for it’ ? I look forward to hearing from you . – Chris

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Using Drogues When Crossing a Bar

Re: your article in Cruising World some editions ago concerning crossing a harbour bar. As a last advice there could be the option of using a drogue from the stern for stabilizing reasons (I also use a drogue as a steering device).

What do you think about this? The first one who mentioned this method was Captain Voss in 1901 (in “The Venturesome Voyages Of Captain Voss). Best Wishes Yours, Jens

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Sailing Short Handed in Heavy Weather

I received Surviving the Storm for Christmas, and have found it to be a very informative and useful book. It is great that you provide specific advice on what to do in different situations. You also inspire a great deal of confidence in the boat – that most modern boats will survive if the crew is careful.

I do have a couple of questions. How do you maintain active tactics like running off or heading up into large waves when 1) you are shorthanded with a husband and wife only on board and/or 2) it is night and you can’t see the waves coming? Regards, Hank

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Nonsuch 30 Storm Tactics

Dear Steve & Linda: I have a NONSUCH 30, and would like to know if you have any comments about modifying your storm tactics for a catboat rig. The large forward mast makes it nearly impossible to stay into a heavy wind…and heaving-to is not an option. At anchor, as would be with a sea-anchor, the boat wanders at right-angles to a heavy wind. While I thankfully haven’t had to try it in heavy seas, I have found that anchoring off a stern corner keeps the boat headed downwind pretty steadily…of course it causes extra windage, and makes the cockpit area a wet and windy place. I am eagerly looking forward to studying your book…overcoming anxiety is worth a lot in being able to think through a stressful situation…and your spouse having greater confidence in you and the boat is PRICELESS!

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (4)

Heavy Weather Tactics at Night

I enjoyed your book Surviving the Storm very much – essential reading – but wonder about how much is possible at night when visibility is poor. Perhaps the sea anchor is needed here, especially if shorthanded. A chapter on methods for retrieving a man overboard would be useful.

Yours Sincerely, Bruce C.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Drogues on Multihulls

Most catalogs show drogue requirements are based on size/length of the boat. We have an 8,000 lb., 36-foot catamaran. Wouldn’t the weight be more of a factor than the length in determining the proper size? -Roger

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Anchoring in a Hurricane

In your (absolutely fabulous!) Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia, you talk on page 46 about using a “Fortress to back up the Bruce in a hurricane” Would you link the Fortress to the Bruce via a chain trace? if so, what sort of length would you use? or would you run the Fortress on a completely separate chain back to the bow (with the risk of the chains winding around one another)? This is important to me because we have both anchors, plus a delta on our Fisher 32, and may be going into the tropics next year. Whilst we would aim not to be there in the cyclone season, I won’t go until I know what to do if we get one!

I will be very grateful for your suggestions. Best regards, Stuart

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

WH Autopilots

Do you still use the WH Autopilots referred to in your first edition? Where can I find them? Website? Regards, Hal

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Alpha 3000 Autopilot

Dear Steve and Linda, My wife and I finally made the big jump and are sailing around the world. We’re now in Lisbon, Portugal. A friend of ours lent us your book, Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. It’s wonderful, and we look forward to borrowing it again. We read with great interest your comments about the Alpha 3000 as this is our primary autopilot. (We have no wind vane) So far we’ve had only minor problems which were turned into major problems when the unit was returned to the company for repairs. Mostly due to Barron and now Chris, who refuses to even give out his last name. The company’s mode of operation is beyond my comprehension. We’re wondering if you could give us any input as to what we can do to keep our autopilot working in the best possible fashion without returning it to the factory. Thanking you in advance. Our wishes to you and your family for a Happy Holiday season and your best New Years ever. Harold

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Hard Dodgers & Autopilots

Dear Linda and Steve, It has been a while since we first wrote you and we are making progress on the particulars of a our next boat which we hope to use for a couple of years of voyaging, starting in Northern Europe in the summer of 2002 and ending in New Zealand. We have dog-eared our copies of OCE and STS and just returned from a weekend weather course with Mike Carr. We seem to be a bit “in irons” on a couple of topics and would love your advice on them and perhaps a general thought on the direction we seem to be heading with the boat. Background: I am 41, have sailed/raced for 25 years, raced my Ohlson 38 to Hawaii a few years ago, several other blue water passages under my belt, have moderate mechanical aptitude. Nancy is 29, sailed for 4 years, is taking additional sailing courses, a little frightened of the long passages, and nervous about anything other than a bullet-proof boat. We are both reasonably fit. We are sold on the advantages of long waterline for comfort and speed and since we will not be cruising for very long (this time) want to get a boat that will have a strong resale value (that and inexperience in owning a larger boat have caused us to not consider a custom boat).

Potential Boat: we have a tentative contact on a Swan 56 that will be a one-cockpit design with hydraulic furling headsail, a manual furling stay sail, and some type of manual boom-furling main (to permit easy in-the-cockpit reefing by one person) a couple of electric winches, a bow thruster, etc. A little more mechanically and electrically complex in order for us to easily and safely short-hand a longer water line boat. 1) Hard dodger – My bias is to get one, but several experienced sailors are telling me otherwise. They claim we’ll be fine with a soft dodger, that the hard dodger will look bad, potentially reduce the after-market price unless it is easily removed, in the tropics it will impede airflow and make the cockpit hot when at anchor. They say that we’ll not want or need the dodger in the tropics. No one at Swan wants us to get one of these – in fact German will not allow the factory to build one, it would have to be added after Nautor releases the boat to us. What do you think? I know we’ll appreciate the hard dodger for the mid-latitude portions of our trip, but what about the tropics where 70% of our trip will be spent? If we do get one, how big would you suggest? Our cockpit is about 8.5 feet from the aft end of the companion way to the (huge) wheel and about 2.5 feet from the wheel aft.

If we do opt for a hard dodger how much of the cockpit should we cover. We want room to sit and read in the sun/breeze, eat meals under the stars, etc. (80% of the time there will be only the 2 of us on board).

We’d love any other thoughts on the topic.

2) Auto pilot – With only two of us this has to be a bullet-proof system and I am thinking that we may want to install two complete systems so that we have redundancy. I have been pleased with my B&G system, Nautor knows and likes these systems and they seem to be wide enough spread that repair will be possible in many places. The B&G with an oversized RAM is the recommendation of Nautor and friends at KKMI here in the Bay Area who have a lot of experience with these systems. On the other hand the WH system that you have seems very interesting, if a bit less user friendly. I have tried to get some information but haven’t had a lot luck and am some what skeptical of buying electronic equipment from niche manufacturers who haven’t made a serious financial investment in the sailing market. My most important criterion is dependability and reliability, my second criterion is that I’d like it to be fast enough and smart enough to use on a short-handed Hawaii race.

Can you give me any additional thoughts? WH vs. B&G? Two redundant systems?

Any general comments on our potential boat choice and direction would be welcomed.

Congratulations on the 1500 and we love your books, videos, and web site. Nancy is already checking out the vacuum packers and the Splendide. Thanks very much if you find the time to respond. (I know you must get dozens of these types of messages and certainly can’t answer them all.) Fair winds, Scott and Nancy

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Autopilots for Steel Boats /Solar Panels

Dear Sirs, Please advise which autopilot system will be better for a 12m. steel ketch: Autohelm or Robertson? We have a hydraulic steering system by Vetus. I would like also to know which self-steering you would recommend? We have a central cockpit. Our intention is to sail from the Arabian Sea to Australia so we need really good gear. So far, we have sailed from Slovenia to Oman (wintertime on Med) – hand-steering all the time and only two of us. To be honest, I (would rather) have something to help in the future. Last question – how many solar panels should we have to be able to run fridge and have a hot water system as well? I have ordered your Encyclopedia and am waiting for it to arrive. Thank you for your help. – Nina

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Autopilot Back-up

Hello and thank you for reading this. On two previous transatlantic passages I used a Plastimo belt driven wheel unit in the cockpit as a backup to my primary Robertson autopilot. The unit worked well. It was purchased in 1989 and has been discontinued. I am departing shortly for a long passage and would like to know the best alternative on the market today. The steering on our 48′ custom built Al Mason Ketch is hydraulic. I want the strongest, most reliable unit available. This will be mounted in the cockpit as a backup to the primary autopilot. Thanks for any assistance, Steve

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Back-up Self Steering

Steve & Linda: What would be your recommendation on offshore aux. steering? We have a Beneteau 40CC with hydraulic steering. We have an Autohelm ST6000+ autopilot integrated into our chart plotter and GPS with Seatalk. We have solar panels, wind generator, two alternators (a large one dedicated to the house and a small 50 amp. One to the engine), and four 8D gels. Being that we have a center cockpit and hydraulic steering, a windvane does not seem to be the answer. To engage the windvane we would need to go below and put the hydraulics in the bypass mode and run the vane off of the emergency tiller. This does not seem safe.

Another thought would be to put an aux. rudder type vane and just center lock the wheel. Being that we have fixed davits and a scoop/swim platform stern, that is not attractive either. My thinking is a back-up ST6000+ unit. Am I being dumb? My second remark is more of a comment on your Seamanship book.

First off let me say the book, as all the others, are fantastic. My wife and I were a little shocked by the photo of your very young children high up in the spreaders at their ages with no tethers. As a farm boy I was climbing everything as a young child. As a result of a fall, I suffered a broken leg before I was two. This was done on solid ground, not a pitching boat. I know children are monkeys but I question its place in your Seamanship book. Thanks again and we are looking forward to any new works you produce. You guys are our role models.

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Wind Vanes

Dear Steve, I have just finished your Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia. What a book!! It is now on my bookshelf next to Calder, Marchji and Brion Toss – sitting with the greats!! Just a quick question though. You make no mention of wind-vane steering. Have you never fitted this or do you rely totally on electronic autopilots? Thanks, Howard, Cape Town, South Africa

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Self-Steering

In the Dashews’ book, in a chapter on self-steering, they make a comment on sheet-to-tiller self-steering. Would it be possible to have more details on the how-to-do-it?. Thank you. Claudio

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)

Self-Steering for Singlehanding in the Med

Hello Steve, I am planning a single-handed voyage to the Med. and a few years cruising there before a return through the Caribbean and am looking for advice on the ideal self-steering set up for such a trip. So far it seems that a wind vane plus a tiller pilot to assist for motoring is a good choice. This would work well offshore as it allows me to get some sleep in a situation (offshore) where going a little off course doesn’t matter too much. Sailing in the Med however requires more reliable course keeping and my question is whether or not the tillerpilot attached to the windvane will fill the auto pilot needs for this situation. I realize that there is a lot of motoring in the Med.in the summer but when it isn’t calm it is often blowing very hard and I am not sure that the tiller-pilot driving the vane will be up for this in the autopilot mode. I’d be most interested in your thoughts on this. Primary steering on the boat is a wheel. Regards, David

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Posted by Steve Dashew  (November 30, 1999)    |    Comments (0)