Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Boat Criteria pt 2

Now that I have narrowed the boats down to some brand names and broad needs, I need to start figuring out the specific things I need and want in my boat. The first thing the boat needs to be is bluewater capable. In this post I will start to outline the things that the boat needs to be a safe bluewater boat. These characteristics are the ones that separate a successful offshore voyager from a coastal cruiser. I will develop these lists as time goes on and have estimates of costs for each major upgrade that I may come across. That way, I can evaluate potential boats and compare them to each other to find which is truly the best deal. Most of these are design related but many are upgrade/equipment related so the boat may be upgraded to include some of these.

-Small cockpit that drains quickly
-Should be able to sit at least 6 people
-Bridged deck or high sill to prevent a boarding wave from going below
-Drains need to be large enough to drain the entire cockpit in 2 minutes or lesss
-If there is a wheel, at least 18 inches of standing room behind it and a way to brace feet
-Seats should be long enough to lie down and close together enough to brace feet.
-Lockers should be watertight, reasonably sized, well secured, and fully protected by combings. Ideally, lockers should not communicate directly with spaces below and should drain overboard
-Well ventilated hard dodger or some sort of shading.

-Good nonskid surface
-Wide, unobstructed deck from bow to stern. Side deck at least 18 inches wide.
-Strong handholds always within reach
-High toe rail or bulwark that does not trap water
-High lifelines and strong stanchions. Lifelines at least 28 inches high.
-Enough space to fit at least two full surfboard bags on deck while sailing

Anchoring Platform
-Two large, properly designed anchor mounts
-Anchor mounts should be far enough forward of the stem so anchors cannot swing into the topsides
-Bow rollers at least 3 inches wide, turn easy under pressure, fit snugly in the anchor mount without binding.
-Two ore more big, stout cleats with proper fairleads.
-Large windlass with both rope and chain gypsies. (more important in boats over 35 feet)
-Solid bow pulpit
-Enough storage for adequate chain, preferably not in the foredeck

-U-, G- or aisleway galley layout for adequate bracing and footholds.
-Gimballed propane stove that can be locked in place, 3 or 4 burners. Able to swing freely to a 30-degree angle in either direction. Needs crash bar.
-Deep double sinks as close to the centerline as possible. Minimum 8 inches deep. Might be hard to find double sinks on boats under 35 feet.
-Accessible lockers with high fiddles. Sliding doors preferred.

-All berths at least 6'4". (I am 6' and it says to have a minimum 4" above the tallest person)
-20-24" wide for sea berths
-At least 2 sea berths parallel with the boat's centerline as close to amidships as possible.
-No curved settees
-Berths need lee cloths
-Would like to have a pilot berth

Handholds and Footholds
-Cabin sole needs to be made of good nonskid material like teak, holly, oak, or with nonskid coating
-Should be able to reach handhold from any point in the interior when heeled over.

Stowage & Accessible Space
-Many small compartments with adequate offshore storage
-Locker doors and drawers must all lock securely
-Drawers should be notched on the bottom so they have to be lifted to open
-Small block on back edge so drawers can't be opened all the way.
-Great engine access space
-Good plumbing access to every tank, through-hull, and seacock.
-Access to entire bilge stem to stern
-Well constructed bilge channels
-Bilge must drain to stern without trapping water along the way
-Bilge drainage must work on any angle
-Deck fittings should be easily accessible from below

High Quality Engine Installation
-Engine should be mounted over a solid fiberglass or metal engine pan
-Bolted to mounts which are in turn glassed to structural frames
-Diesel tank should have a sump

Weatherproof ventilation
-Large opening hatches, one for each major living space
-Minimum four large dorades (35 feet +)
-Ventilation will probably need to be upgraded for tropical cruising

Watertight Construction
-Strong, commercial, ocean-rated hatches with structural crosspieces supporting the Lexan or acrylic and either set on plinths above deck level or protected by wavebreaks
-Ocean-rated opening portlights installed so they drain onto side decks instead of pooling ater at the bottom of a port
-Properly constructed companionway which includes a watertight seahood surrounded by drainage channels
-Fully weatherproof door or strong, easy to use hatchboards that can be fixed in place at sea
-Strong, positively locking hatches for deck and cockpit lockers with cahnnels around them to drain seawater
-Hull to deck joint built with overlapping flanges or completely glassed over with several layers of fiberglass
-Stanchion bases mounted on solid toe rail or on solid fiberglass pads raised above deck level to keep them out of water pooling on the deck
-Solid stainless steel backing plates installed wherever bolts go through the deck
-A watertight way to seal the hawsehole at sea
-Ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene rudder bearings
-Dripless stuffing box
-High-quality bronze (Marelon for metal boats) seacocks
-Double stainless steel hose clamps on all drainage, engine, and plumbing hoses

More to come!

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