Live aboard to Sail Away, Part 3

Part 3:
Live aboard to Sail Away
Buying a boat is a multi parametric equation of compromises. No boat will meet all of the requirements completely so the selection process has the buyer weighing apples and oranges to find the mix that will be most satisficing. I will address each of our requirements in turn and how these requirements drove me to the boat that I currently call home. First, however, I must explain my overall plan for sailing as that plan drives the relative importance of each of the requirements. My goal, as previously stated, is to find a boat that I can live aboard, learn all about, and then sail around the world single handed until I can no longer sail or I die at sea.

Many people discuss the “KISS” principle. Keep it simple is a goal given that I will have to maintain the boat in remote locations around the world. Nevertheless, the KISS principle can be taken too far. This will be my home for the rest of my life. As a result there are things that I would tolerate on a two week adventure but would never tolerate for the rest of my life. When looking a boats and boat systems, they must be as simple as possible while still providing basic functions that I consider essential for my long term comfort and sanity. Pressure water, refrigeration, a comfortable galley, a stand up shower, and other items are examples of where KISS may have to be compromised for sanity. All the same, it advisable to keep the systems you have on your boat as simple as possible such that you can repair them using your own skills and with the tools you have onboard.

There is one item on my first list that will raise the hair on the backs of many sailors and cause some to curse and preach. There is a great deal of debate about “blue water” boats vs production boats. I've read and participated in may discussions on this topic. But basically, you can sail any boat around the world, even a coconut will float across the ocean and land intact on a distant shore. Nevertheless, the flat bottom boats with fin keels and spade rudders are great coastal cruisers and very fast boats, but when things get rough on the open ocean, I want a boat that has a smoother ride and a flexible sail plan. The most important thing is to know your boat and how she handles in all kinds of conditions. Learn to be comfortable with how she performs no matter what style of hull she has in the water. With this knowledge you will be safer and more comfortable when adverse conditions are encountered.

The boat was a neighbor of mine in Annapolis. This was a new 46' production boat that the owners were planning to take out on the open ocean. I was deeply concerned that they could outfit the boat in the time they had. Several months later I learned that they abandoned the Carib 1500 race because several of the crew were sea sick and they diverted to the Bahamas and crashed upon the shore. One of the crew died. I find this as further evidence that some types of boats are not the best in rough seas as they could over stress the crew and cause problems. Although most production boats are faster than traditional hull designs, you must consider the overall plans for sailing when selecting a boat.