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. "Bluewater" 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.
Cockpit -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 -Dodger or some sort of shading.
Decks -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
Galley -U-, G- or aisleway galley layoutfor 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.
Bunks -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!