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50-60' Fly recommendations

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by Al Vars, Sep 12, 2020.

  1. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Yes, I'm sure about the Prestige. I did check out the sportcruiser but I'm not familiar with it so couldn't speak as to it's seaworthiness. I would put our 44' Riva over any of the boats in his original post as to seaworthiness, but I've thoroughly run it in various conditions to know what it can handle.

    In general, I've found A's to be more seaworthy than B's. I'm sure there are exceptions.

    Back to the point, I wouldn't select any of his initial choices for the Caribbean. All could work in the Bahamas although the Prestige I'd not choose for even that.
  2. KoffeeCruising

    KoffeeCruising New Member

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    Agree with all advice given so far:
    Coastal, Keys, Bahamas and even ICW are great Cruising grounds; Caribbean you’ll want to fly to snd then rent.

    I’m 2 years in and have learned my wife and guests like “being there“ more than “getting there”. And having a workable galley, washer dryer, big tv salon and nice staterooms are critical for liveability. Next consider crane for a nice tender... oh yeah- did I mention great engine room accessibility, Genset, and water maker and electronics?

    it’s a great hobby/lifestyle; but you need the right tool doe the job.

    IMHO - the Jenneau 1095 and Beneteau Swift Trawlers are nice boats that most outgrow quickly. When I was looking for my first boat I went to an in water boat show specifically to check out the Swift Trawler - It was cool-ish until I walked on the boats next to it - a Flemming 55 and a Krogen Express 52 and I immediately “got it”. The difference was staggering for fit, finish, systems, structural integrity, etc. I’m not talking bad about a Swift Trawlers.... I’m just talking about how much more thoroughly built the others were A swift trailer is a great ICW Marina boat but not an ocean boat.

    2-3 day trips are great ... then consider a week or 2 trips to lollygag around the Abacos or Exumas... or the Florida loop across Okeechobee. 2-3 months is a long time- unless you are doing the loop and can constantly swap out guests.
  3. Prospective

    Prospective Senior Member

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    Capt J,

    Wanting to push on this a bit... I too have followed these posts on YF and appreciate the difference between getting to the Bahamas and getting to the VI's. But is a SF really the only boat 55' to 65' feet that can do it? What about stabilized semi-planing motor yachts like Flemming, Grand Banks (Aleutian), or Offshore? Seems like a 54' Offshore, stabilized, with 1000gal of fuel would be capable of the journey. Totally agree this is not a trip for your typical Carver, Prestige, or Sea Ray. And I'm leaving out long distance full displacement stabilized trawlers like Selene/Nordhavn/KK in the 55-60ft category as obviously they are a different and slower animal entirely.
  4. jsschieff

    jsschieff Senior Member

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    If you are planning long stays aboard, you might want to consider a power catamaran. Leopard 53/Horizon PC52/Fountaine Pajot 67 are some of the modern power catamarans that might be worth considering for cruising the coastal USA and Bahamas. The catamarans offer well-separated staterooms and large. airy living spaces that give everyone room to spread out. The space would be very welcome on long cruises when even big motor yachts start to feel crowded. In addition, most of them are moderate draft which is valuable in the Bahamas and are fairly efficient, attaining low/mid teen cruising speeds with relatively modest power.

    The negative with power catamarans is wide beam which can limit docking options. But if you will be anchoring out a lot, that is less of an issue.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    To answer your question, yes. Semi-planing motoryachts such as Flemming/offshore etc. are fully capable of making this journey from a capability and sea keeping point of view. HOWEVER, their speed forces the owner/operator or Captain to have a much higher skill set (which someone asking if a Prestige or Searay or Galleon is capable of, simply doesn't have) and more crew to do it safely. When you dip below a 20 knot cruise speed, then many of the passages are now overnight passages. So you need a third crew member capable of standing watch, everyone has to be good at reading radar and tracking targets. etc.

    Most of your runs are 180NM +/_ , Long Island to Turks and Caicos, Turks and Caicos to Puerta Plata,DR, Samana DR to San Juan.......... You're not pulling in or out of Long Island (Bahamas), T+C, Puerta Plata safely at night, I simply would not do it. So that 12-17 knot cruise speed of the ones mentioned forces an overnight voyage in many places. Also South of the Bahamas, the sea state almost always kicks up an additional 1-2' over what you have in the day, sun goes down, air temp drops, wind speed picks up. The other issue is many of these countries, you have to clear in and OUT of every stop, so you can't leave at daybreak because you're waiting on customs to come at 8am and clear you out. So a lot of times I'd rather take longer legs and skip over some stops, like skipping over Belize (which is out of the way anyways) and doing Cancun to Roatan at 320 NM.

    So when comparing motoryachts 50-60' (20 knot plus cruise speed) and wanting to do this journey, a SF meets all of the boating parameters but has the range, speed and much better seakeeping to do this trip with relative ease. The other thing your getting into with a motoryacht in this size (with a lot of them) is fuel range and needing to carry 55 gallon drums, and transferring fuel at sea, which takes an entirely different skill set that most owners don't have and slows you down a little (having to do 9-10 knots while transferring). I've had several owners severely questioning needing to load 4 or so 55 gallon drums on their aft deck, and transferring fuel at sea and so on (which I have down to a science). And have to go through explaining that we need them.

    I've done these trips in much less, a lot of times. 2001 45' Searay sedan bridge from Ft. Laud to St. Croix, a 35' Cabo FB from Ft. Laud to Placencia, Belize, a late model 62' Princess FB from the Panama Canal to Fort Lauderdale. But I'll use the Princess as an example, as the owner is trading up to a 59' GT Hatteras which I'll end up bringing down to the Panama Canal. We carried 270 gallons of diesel in drums on deck to have the range with the Princess and 3 crew (total) and we were wiped out at each stop, just exhausted after rolling around all night even with a seakeeper, the noise etc. I shoot for 30% reserve when planning, on these trips as there's nowhere else to stop and you never know what currents or sea states you'll face.

    62' Princess F, 22 knot cruise at 75 gph, 900 gallons fuel capacity
    Colon to San Andres 220nm- we did this at cruise and was right at fuel capacity without transferring, we had 15% left in main tanks when we pulled in and the 270 still on deck. If it was rough I would've slowed down and transferred what was on deck.
    San Andres- Roatan 400NM (no other stops)- 48 hours at sea and a lot/most of it at 9 knots. Transferred all drums
    Roatan- Cancun 320NM- overnight passage and about 22 hours at sea. transferred all drums (we actually spent an extra day here to rest, we had to)
    Cancun- Key West 350NM - overnight passage and 25 hours at sea. transferred all drums
    Key West- Ft. Laud 155nm and only 7 hours. no drums

    59' GT ( the trip down), I won't even need to bring any drums. 32 knot cruise, 120 gph, 1750 gallons fuel
    Cancun- Key West 350nm, leave at 5am and run 32 knot cruise and pull in at 4pm (11 hours total)
    Cancun to Roatan- run at cruise and be there in 10 hours
    Roatan to San Andres- leave at 6pm, do an overnight at 10 knots and at daybreak light it up to cruise and get there mid-late afternoon.....

    The 59' GT Hatteras cuts out several days, and several overnights on the trip above. On a trip to the Virgin Islands, it would make it downright easy with the speed, seakeeping and range. 180NM legs are a piece of cake for it (for example). Whereas on the Princess, weather would be a lot more concern, so would timing (to get in during daylight hours) with the customs delays, etc. etc. etc.

    But, the overnights, navigational skillset and planning take much more experience to do them safely. Most owners of a 50-60' MY cannot even track a target on their radar during the daytime when they have situational awareness, and at night would be downright dangerous.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  6. olderboater

    olderboater Senior Member

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    Those are all reasonable alternatives. I've looked rather in detail at the Fountaine Pajot 67. Max speed of 20 knots, cruise of 15 knots, economy cruise of 10 knots with range at those three of 400 nm, 490 nm and 1100 nm or slow to 4 knots for 3000 nm. One problem is that you hear the sales-talk of cruising at 15 knots and 1000+ nm range but the point isn't made that those are mutually exclusive. 64' LOA with 32' Beam and draft just under 4'. On their website, they point to Autonomy of 1700 nm, but fail to indicate that would require going 8 knots.

    One of the first questions one needs to ask themselves is what speed they want to run and what speed they can be happy with. Speed and range will play a huge role in selection of a boat. We love that our slowest boat cruises at 20 knots, but very few owners of that boat cruise at that speed as you only get .17 or so nmpg and so they cruise at 12 knots to get more than double that. But then the majority have their crews relocate the boat which to me takes the fun out of it.

    In my opinion if you're going to make runs of greater than 24 hours you need at least three capable helmspersons. The average boater doesn't have that luxury so do it with two.

    We've considered a catamaran for the loop but the boats we like in the lengths we like just have beams that become problematic.
  7. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Why not transfer the drums in the main tanks earlier, regardless of whether necessary or not?
    Personally, I'd rather have drums on deck emptied ASAP, for both safety and stability reasons.
  8. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    Because it was calm, and slowing down to 9 knots for an hour in order to safely pump the fuel into the main tanks, would've made us get into San Andres too late in the day to fuel and clear customs, delaying our departure the following day.

    Normally on the overnight trips, I dump the drums as fast as I can. Many times, I run at cruise 3 hours, then slow down to hull speed and dump the drums and then do hull speed through the night. Because you never know what the sea state is going to turn into.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
  9. mapism

    mapism Senior Member

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    Makes sense.
  10. Prospective

    Prospective Senior Member

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    Thanks, this makes a lot of sense. It's true sportfishing boats like Hatts, Vikings, et al.. have a great combination of range and seakeeping ability. And fully agree that a Prestige/Sea Ray/Galeon would not be a good choice for this use. As to slower MY's like the Offshore or other stabilized 16-18knt boats...I guess, if you're not prepared to do "passages" that require people comfortable with watch standing, then a boat that can get there in a comfortable day, in a range of sea conditions, makes a lot of sense. But I dare say the vast majority of owner operated passenger vessels doing the VI run are sailboats where watch standing is just an assumed part of the deal. Having done a few offshore passages, I don't find it that intimidating as an owner/operator. And if you're willing/able to do it, then it opens up the vessel search a bit... to boats like the flemming and offshore and other stabilized boats of the like which may also be more suitable to a traditional cruising/live aboard lifestyle. I'm also guessing that paid Captains want to get there comfortably AND quickly. While owner/operators still want to get there comfortable, time may be a commodity they have more of.