Driving through heavy rains at 0630
on the way to Moreton Bay to do a boat review and wondering if
this is a good idea. For one, the aforementioned weather is bound
to cloud judgement (sorry) as it's hard to enjoy
the sail sitting in a whiteout in Moreton Bay with shoals all
around and the possibility of a cyclonic blast of wind from any
direction that has become a near normal part of life in the Great
Southeast. Moreton Bay's waters stand right up when this happens
and can turn a Sunday sail into a survival contest. All part
of cruising but not what you would want to be the focus of the
But then that begs the question, what is the correct focus for
the review of a cruising boat? It's not about one single act
or activity. A good cruising boat must be judged on an assortment
of criteria that is beyond the scope of a day sail in the bay.
With some cruising experience a boaty can anticipate from a limited
exposure to a particular boat, the likelihood of its performance
or the absence of traits that are particularly annoying but there
are answers that will remain in the field of speculation.
A racing boat has a limited mission, to go like hell and then
fall to pieces 50 feet past the finish boat. If it does that
it is successful. It can be a miserable wet hateful thing to
endure but if it's really fast
. much is forgiven. Perhaps
why most advise against converting a race boat to cruising. But
with a race boat you can go for a day sail and derive a useful
swag of information relative to the boats suitability, if you
have conditions that allow.
So driving through the rain I am thinking of all this and how
to do it and make sense. It's come to my attention that thousands
of people read my drivel and may actually act on the information
I provide (I know, scary thought!). So how to do this without
compromising the integrity of the rag? F**k it, take a punt,
wish for luck and trust your instincts Bob.
I met Brent in the car park at Raby Bay. Quick smart, we load
my gear on the waiting boat and Brent apologises as we go that
he has a brief mission to interrupt our sail as one of his boats
has a problem and he wants to anchor up next to them at Peel
Island to dive on their swing keel to investigate a failed hoisting
line. Hmmm, this could be good!
The 46 footer backs out of the berth easily and we glide quietly
out the channel. Clear of obstructions the sails come up. The
main is an in-boom furler with full battens. This allows for
a good shape in the sail. The old in-mast furlers really sacrificed
in that department but this one looks good. She is a cutter rig
with both headies on furlers. Main halyard and furling lines
come back to the cockpit through jammers and then to a powerful
electric winch with a phallic looking hand control located under
the port side of the hard dodger. The genny sheets come back
to massive Arco's
and it needs them, and the inner to a
smaller set. The main sheet is worked to a winch on the port
The boat takes off in the light (10knot?) breeze without delay.
Nine tons of boat doesn't take long to accelerate to speed.
With the breeze filling in she heels a bit but not what I would
call a tender boat at all. Eight knots SOG shows on the GPS with
surprisingly little wind (12-13 kts) and I think it's honest,
little if any tide to tweak the numbers. She went through tacks
without fuss or stress.
We anchored up next to Moonglade and Dave came over
in their dinghy to pick us and the diving gear up. Brent found
the problem and came up with the frayed end of a double braid
rope. It took some fart-arsing around to insert the new line
through the inspection plate on the mast. There seemed to be
an obstruction of some kind in the tube that feeds it to the
board. My speculation was a bit of sea life that had worked it's
way up the tube but it'll wait till their next scheduled slipping
to find out.
All in all, I was impressed by the fact I was invited to the
scene of the crime. A lot of people in this business would have
taken pains to keep me away from a situation like this but as
it worked out I got lucky! Besides being a witness to how problems
are addressed by the designer/builder, I now had the answer to
the question of how to judge the boat! Ask the people that own
one. Dave and Jan were pleased to answer any question I had and
here is their story;
First the name, MoonGlade refers to moonlight that follows
you wherever you go. (Tell me cruisers aren't romantics!) She
was launched exactly 5 ½ years from the day and they moved
aboard at launch.
They do the seasonal migration every year
sometimes as far as Lizard Island and this year hanging about
the Whitsunday's due to the light season and clear anchorages.
They did the deal with Brent where they participated in the build.
Dave was the go-fetch-it from day one. Brent explained
later that much of the work is routine and that he likes to leave
that to the owners, he steps in where the special skills he has
are at most value and benefit to the owners. Brent feels strongly
that the owner builder is a high quality craftsman. Some low
wage labourer might hide a mistake or suspect item where the
owners will be concerned for the quality of every bit. Their
build took 21 months.
What are the things that you like best about your boat?
Dave explained, she is easy to sail and comfortable.
Other mentions include the power winches and shoal draft, Jan
and Dave were both very pleased to be able to sneak into very
skinny water. They mentioned the cutter rig as well, that it
is good to always have the right head sail ready to go. She is
powered by a Yanmar 56hp and they get 9 knots out of the motor.
On sailing performance they were delighted. They claimed that
Moonglade handles so sweet they had once sailed to
windward for over an hour without touching the wheel, no pilot,
When they cruise they load her down. 1000 litres water and half
that in fuel. Jan laughs, we come home when we run out
of the 7 cases of wine! That's a lot of wine by now as
they have 22,000 miles on the log and just getting going.
I had to ask.. Come on, there must be something to complain
about? Nope, Jan assured me, Bob, it's a great boat.
Dave and Jan had previously owned a Nantucket 33 and Roberts
28 amoung other small power boats.
With duty now well and truly out of the way, we pulled the pick
and went sailing. Because of a shortage of room, I have little
to add to Moonglades report except to say that
the finish of the boats are top gear. All the pieces are from
moulds. Clean gelcoat finish is interspersed with teak. Fitout
is generous in space, no cramped corners, and to a quality I've
seen in boats like Nordhaven. Panels and doors are made of foam
core with veneer. Strong and light. Except for ballast, weight
is no virtue. You want it to weight more? Load more wine!
She is a world class boat and she is an
For more.. see http://www.martzcruising.talkspot.com/