Thursday, January 26, 2012

A normal boat

What's a normal boat? Easy question, right?. It's a boat that's built to conquer the sea. So, would that be a Vikingship? Let's get a little more modern... Soling, no wait, -  an X79, - or could it be a Melges 24? Nah, it's  clearly a J80. The more I think about it, the blurrier the answer is. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to try something entirely different:
Sailing Motor Loons sailboat
It's from Motor Loon Watersports, and it sure is different. The sailing-script is the very popular BWind, so I expected it to sail well. It did. It has the livelyness of a smaller boat; Despite it's size, details and many functions, it doesn't feel sluggish at all. Steering is precise and it reacts instantly. It's a little different but in a good and interesting way. Sounds are good. The trimming sounds are great. Winches clicking. Trimming is easy too, or is it too easy? The spin autotrims and autogybes, and jib and main run on the same sheet.
Looking good
On the cruising side all that's missing is really bat-slides and lazyjacks for the main and possibly also auto-reefing. The underwater hull is pretty good. There's even a folding prop. (It doesn't yet unfold. I checked). On deck there are fittings everywhere. The cockpit is detailed, and there is even engine room with a hatch that opens. All in all it's a really nice cruiser.

What about the looks... It's clearly not a Q2m, but is it sexy, is it pretty? I suppose it's a matter of preference. I love sailing, I love  cruising, but cruisers... Honestly? To me cruisers are in the department of acquired taste.
Cruising with Motor
So it's a cruiser. Nothing wrong with that, but it means certain things have been given lower priorities.  There is no windvane, no compass, no telltales, no instruments, no balancing, easy sheet handling, no sail shape trimming. This really means you can enjoy sailing without thinking of all those things, - as Motor rightly noted. And he is right. It does sail very well. The livelyness and those well made sounds sure add to the sailing feel.
Cruising interior
On the inside you'll find just about anything you need. Didn't see an icecube dispenser, but there's a nice kitchen, a "living-room", bathroom and nice bed out front. You could live on this boat. Have spices grow in the vases, and you'r ready to invite the neighbours over. However, I wouldn't recommend plants. Where I come from, plants onboard kinda means bad luck. Some people say that women on board means bad luck too. Such crap. This boat is all about cozy and comfortable.
Island ahead
Back to the question: What is a normal boat? I grew up in a competitive sailing environment, so I never really looked at those floating family campers. You know, - the "Tired-of-life-42" types such as Dufour, Hanse, Bavaria. Eeew. To me  Solings or H-boats are perfectly normal boats suited for day cruising as well as racing. Even Lasers might be normal. (Though crazy people sail them). Going cruising for more than a week calls for something bigger. Around 40 feet. X-34 is a good start. Bigger gets you more luxury, but sadly... less feel. 

My conclusion? Well, - defining a normal boat is just as hard as it is to define normal, or am I wrong... Moth, Elliot or Camper32? What's your perception of a normal boat? Care to share... click comments right down there...


  1. Hello.
    To me a normal boat is somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. Not small, not big, not an extreme racer, not an extreme cruiser. I like an International 806... That's a normal boat.
    Jens Christiansen, Aarhus

  2. Hi Jens,
    So average is normal? I'd never put the 806 in the average category. I once borrowed an 806 for a summer holiday. It's a very nice boat.

  3. Normal = cruiser. I guess.

    So what a "normal" boat needs is enough berths for a family crew of 4-5 people, a motor strong enough to drive you against a current, a rigging plan easy enough to be handled by a small mommy and daddy crew or even single handed. Of course a normal cruiser needs a complete pantry and navi corner. And it needs to be stable in heavy weather and very good build quality. A yacht is a huge investment for most sailors so they expect it to have a long life expectancy. Unfortunately Js, Xs and Luffes are a bit too flimsy and/or uncomfortable for the average sailor. 28-40 ft is the best size for a vacation-worthy yacht in the baltic sea.

  4. Hey Orcs, - that's awfully close to a Bavaria 36 cruiser. I can see why it's nice for an inshore holiday cruise. It looks like they've wrapped a plastic shell around a two room flat. I wouldn't excactly call it pretty, but is it a normal boat? Why aren't the normal boats the pretty ones?

  5. Sitting here trying to figure how to equate normal to sailboats. Is there any such thing? How about plastic, 32 feet, marconi rig? You know , the kind of boats wooden boat types sneer at. Have a 30 foot classic gaff rigged sloop, about 80 years old, bit overbuilt perhaps but perfect for the snotty weather we get at times in the pacific north west, small enough i can single hand it offshore, big enough to take a cutie along, but cant honestly call any boat with running backstays normal. at least not in the 21st century

  6. Not sure about what's normal (depends where you come from / sail) but a question about that boat - is there a spinnaker? Would that hard to do in SL?

    I couldn't see a pole.

  7. Yes, you're right, normal boats aren't pretty. Not pretty in the sense of a racy appearance or elegant lines. On the other hand you know quite well that life is all about compromises.
    The normal sailor wants a stable, easy to sail boat with enough safety and creature comforts for a vacation tour that spans over a couple of weeks. So they are willing to compromise and sacrifice some speed and elegance for more storage room, more berths, an oven, a TV and hifi, a comfy salon, and a super fugly windscreen that protects the wife's hairstyle.
    And since racing doesn't play a big role in in sailing for 90% of sailors we see all those HR, Bavaria, Dehler, Jeanneau, Beneteau, Hunter and other gypsy waggons in marinas all over the world. And why we hardly see any sporty racing yachts.
    It's not good, it's not bad, it's just the way it is.

  8. Hi there Ronin, I suppose normal is plastico fantastico, though it's the smell and looks of a wooden boat that's fantastic. Knarr and Dragon spring to mind, but they "woodn't" be considered normal or comfy. Some Dragon sailors wear scuba-gear when racing. I tried googling for a wooden 32 footer with comfort. No luck. The only two boats I can think of are Molich 10 and Boheme 10. Both are wooden, pretty and in the early thirties. So cuties don't like running backstays? Tough, huh ;-)

  9. JP, there's a spin, and there's a pole when the spin is up. It looks great. You are rigth. The pole is missing on these pictures. It is due to a tradeoff on details due to some silly restrictions within the system.

  10. Orcs, compromise is for the weak :-D Ok, check the Swan 45. It probably won't outrun a Farr 40, but it sure has elegant and modern lines. Are you defining the normal sailor as the casual camper gone to sea?

  11. Well, yes, there is a similarity between campers and sailors. Although as a camper I'm more biased towards dinghies that I can pull up the beach after sailing without compromises ;)

    And Swans are kinda pricey aren't they? Probably the reason why you see more of the mass-fabricated run-of-the-mill "normal" boats.

    I once spent 3 weeks on a Bavaria 39 sailing the mediterranean. Can't say I liked the boat much, but it did what it was supposed to do, was a good home for us on our travels.

  12. You're right Orcs, Swans do have a higher pricetag. That's probably what makes them "un-normal". I've also experienced Bavarias and they do sail. Absolutely.

  13. "I've also experienced Bavarias and they do sail. Absolutely."

    Yes, ma'am. They do. Quite fine "normal" yachts in RL.
    But is that a reason to remodel a Bavaria in SL?
    I'd rather go for the elegant and racey boats, which are perfectly normal as well.
    SL is not RL, we don't need sailing caravans, we don't need fully equipped pantries, we don't need berths for the whole family. But we can have a whole fleet of ACA type boats for the price of a pack of ciggies, so why settle with mom and dad's boat from the RL marina next door?


  14. Yeah! Let's sail the racey ones.

  15. Cruisers, IMHO, are not normal boats, normally. They're just normal. Sailing, OTOH, has nothing to do with normal.

  16. LOL! Doc you may have a point or two there. At least one ;-)


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