What makes a boat seaworthy?
You’re out shopping for a blue water cruising boat and people keep telling you it needs to be seaworthy, but what makes a boat seaworthy and able of Blue Water Cruising?
Everyone has their own taste, level of comfort and size of the wallet – but here are some of the key things I feel are important when looking for an ocean-going boat.
Seaworthy to me means:
⚓︎ She will self-righten herself when turned over by a wave (Catamarans are an exception here, but definitely something to consider when choosing one over a monohull! )
⚓︎ The Keel and Rudder construction are strong enough to withstand hitting something while sailing and also while running aground – although I would recommend not doing this! (there are some islands and anchorages in the world that are badly charted and it’s almost unavoidable to hit something while navigating through – obviously very slowly!
⚓︎ The mast and rigging will survive a knockdown (this is when the mast hits the water)
⚓︎ She can be closed and shut down to be completely watertight – even while submerged and with waves pounding.
⚓︎ She will be able to fall off a 20ft wave without damage – this means a very solid construction, enough bulkheads and everything laminated or welded together to ensure for a solid construction.
There is also a whole list of to do’s while getting a boat ready to sail around the world, but these are things you could make or do on any boat, whereas the above are critical to the construction and buying of a boat.
Think about things like:
⚓︎ Self-steering, preferably wind or a couple of electric/hydraulic backups.
⚓︎ Back up gear and supplies to repair and maintain your boat while sailing or in remote places.
⚓︎ Readymade window hatches that can be put in place should a window break.
⚓︎ Good charts and backups.
⚓︎ Anchor gear that’s also going to keep your boat in place during heavy storms.
But to pull off a successful venture across any ocean you don’t just need a seaworthy boat, you also need to be seaworthy yourself.
Please always remember:
In the end a boat is only as good as its captain, a good captain could get an unseaworthy boat across an ocean without a problem whereas a bad captain is able to sink the most seaworthy boat.