©Stan & Valerie Creighton: Fulaga, Fiji
When your voyaging takes you off the beaten path, where shore power and technical assistance is a rarity, the ingredients required for successful cruising change.
“Wind Horse is well behaved. She tracks straight. The autopilot gain is set to its lowest level and we find our own way down the waves, showing us occasional bursts to 20 knots.”
–Yachting World Magazine
Most cruisers dream about trade wind passages: long periods with the wind and seas on the quarter, steady winds, and beautiful puffy clouds. But in the context of being comfortable at sea, trade wind sailing is often less desirable than other angles.
“Even the fine details on board make Wind Horse a pinnacle of cruising dedication, like…the 4 in fiddles on every flat surface in the saloon and galley, and the fact that no matter where you are, a handhold or two will be close by.”
–Motor Boat & Yachting
What we’ve found over the years is that even though a small percentage of our time is actually spent at sea, if this time is not comfortable, then the boats tend to sit rather than move on to new locations.
It’s not easy to make the structure strong enough for a rollover, or being dropped off a wave – but it’s a cinch compared with getting the window system to stand up to these loads.
“Steve and Linda, prefer natural aluminum because it doesn’t demand the incessant maintenance of a painted boat. In fact, the aluminum oxide that eventually coats the exterior is tougher than any paint.”
We’ve built about half our clients’ (custom) boats in aluminum, and half in fiberglass. During the material selection process, we’re always asked about the maintenance of both.
” Wind Horse is deliberately left unpainted and will take on a dull patina as it self-anodizes. This actually suits Skip and Linda. Apart from removing the need for maintenance, the boat has a low-key ‘workboat’, almost military look about her.”
–Sea Spray Magazine
We have been working through the paint or bare question with clients for twenty-plus years. There are many practical reasons for leaving the topside aluminum bare, but you also need to enjoy looking at the boat.
“The key to this design goal was the ability to deal with heavy weather with a margin for operator error.”
–Bluewater Sailing Magazine
Engineering a boat is a mix of science, numbers, black art, and experience. You have to first establish a set of guidelines to use.
Of all the comfort issues facing a passagemaking vessel – power or sail – how it deals with headseas has the biggest impact on crew comfort.