Are voyaging sailors considered curmudgeons when many new boat designs start to worry them? If so, I guess I’m there; in fact, I guess I’ve been there for a while. Some time ago I sailed on an expensive modern boat from the drawing table of a famous designer and the yard of a reputable builder. Now let’s see if I can put this kindly. She really did not sail very well, tended to root (nose dive) and to top it off pounded so badly when going to windward, even in benign conditions, that we feared the electronics would jump off their mountings. There is truly no excuse to launch a boat that bad for people to cruise in, but I think I know how it happened. It started with the marketing people who said "OK we need a nice wide stern to get a huge cabin into, and then we need a big salon, guest cabins, many heads…No don’t make the bow too pointy, we need to put stuff up there. Oh yes, make sure the sections are nice and U-shaped so we can get a lot of tankage and equipment under the floor boards." So if you are in the market for an offshore sailboat, put sailing comfort, speed and safety first and interior a long, long way last.
John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 18 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.