Adventure 40 FAQ—The Boat

There seem to be some recurring themes that have come up in the hundreds of comments to this Online Book. So I thought it would be a good idea to address these in one post.

Q: Is the Adventure 40 to be a go anywhere high latitude boat like the ones you often write about on this site?

A: The Adventure 40 will be a boat for crossing oceans, or circumnavigating the planet, as well as wonderful for a weekend on the Solent or a two week cruise to Maine.

However, the boat will not be optimized for the high latitudes. That simply can’t be done at the price point. Having said that, I see no reason that the Adventure 40 should not cruise to Svalbard, Labrador, or even the west coast of Greenland.

Q: Will the Adventure 40 be built in aluminum?

A: No. Here is why:

  • High quality and consistent aluminum construction requires a very skilled work force (just welding it is tricky). Whereas good quality glass fibre construction can be done with a less skilled workforce as long as there is good engineering, tooling and supervision.
  • Painting an aluminum boat properly, so that the paint will stay on, is fantastically expensive when the boat is new, and can be even more expensive when the time comes to repaint. And leaving the hull bare from waterline to toe rail—what most people mean when they say “unpainted”—does not solve this problem, since at least 75% of the cost of painting an aluminum boat is in the deck, coach roof, and underwater surfaces. My own experience and advice from Boreal tells us that the cost of painting an aluminum Adventure 40 would add about US$20,000 to the price.
  • Aluminum does need some special care and is therefore probably a material better suited to the experienced boat owner.

Q: Will the boat have a lifting keel or centerboard?

A: While I am a great believer in lifting appendage boats, the Adventure 40 will not have a lifting keel or centerboard, and this is why:

  • The French already do this kind of boat well. We are not trying to build a boat to compete with them. If you want a lifting appendage aluminum boat, I suggest you approach Boreal.
  • Lifting appendages add complication, expense, and maintenance issues.
  • I believe that sailing a centerboard boat well offshore takes more experience and skill than doing the same with a keel boat. For example, leaving the board down in certain conditions can be down right dangerous because of the boat’s tendency to trip over the board and not slide sideways (skid) when hit. (I raced a lot of miles in a centerboard boat.)

Q: Why are you bothering with the Adventure 40 when there are about a bazillion good used boats out there for much less money?

A: Yes, there are a lot of second hand boats out there. But good used boats that can be easily and cost effectively readied for offshore voyaging, not so much. Please read this.

Q: I have a bunch of great ideas for options that could be offered on the Adventure 40.

A: The Adventure 40 will have no options, please read this post for why. And how we plan too make the boat easy for the owner to customize.

Q: You talk a lot about making the Adventure 40 strong and reliable. But every boat builder says that, and most new boats are anything but. How can the Adventure 40 be high quality and relatively inexpensive?

A: It can be done, please read this for an explanation of how.

Q: Why not make the boat smaller, say 32-feet, so that it can be even cheaper?

A: Several reasons:

  • Sailing across oceans in a very small boat sounds romantic, but the reality is that small boats are slow and uncomfortable.
  • Larger boats are intrinsically more stable and less susceptible to roll over, which is the way most horror stories at sea start. And this effect scales by the cube of displacement. In the tragic Fastnet Race of ‘79, if memory serves, not one boat of 40-feet or over experienced a fatality or was lost.
  • Assuming the same level of complexity and gear, building a 32-foot boat would not be that much cheaper. In fact, there are significant labour savings to be had in building bigger boats because access is better.
  • Please read this post to understand how boats are sized and priced.

Q: I have been involved in building a boat of between 40 and 45-feet and I can tell you that there is no way you can build this boat at this price.

A: I don’t agree, please read this to understand why.

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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 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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