Author Topic: More Than Coastal Cruising  (Read 5117 times)


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More Than Coastal Cruising
« on: May 17, 2015, 08:05:14 PM »
We purchased Ataraxis two years ago with the vision of learning to become coastal cruisers. Our vision has changed and we are interested in expanding our sailing adventures into the Caribbean.  We love Ataraxis and think she will perform well but we would like to hear it from others; hear it from you.

The long term plan is to sail to the Keys and then onto Isla Mujeres via Cuba.  From there, we would either sail south to Roatan, Honduras or back across to the BVI's and south to the Grenadines.  Actually, the plan is to avoid crossings more than 100 miles at a time.

Do you think the Pearson 323 is capable of more than coastal cruising?  Any comments, remarks, questions or advice would be greatly appreciated!



Sea Haven

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Re: More Than Coastal Cruising
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2015, 11:28:58 AM »

Ask Matt Rutherford...

Sailing my 323 alone across the Atlantic

You can sail a foam raft across on ocean provided you have the planning and stomach to do it.

PERSONALLY, I am of the same Caribbean desire and believe she's MY boat for those waters when it's time for me and the Admiral to do it.

North Atlantic during a winter storm...she may be willing, but not my stomach.

So the answer, as proven by Capt. Rutherford, would be yes. Disclaimer: if Captained and maintained correctly.

"Sub" Ed


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Re: More Than Coastal Cruising
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2015, 11:34:49 PM »
A P323 opposite me for a while had spent a few months in the Caribbean; Florida - Caribbean - Florida before being trucked to CA. It should be no problem for a well-found 323. And a recent crewmate sailed a 323 from California to Nicaragua.  Took a few months, and some of those crossings are nasty.  Very nasty.

I think what you are talking about is more what I think of as "offshore coastal cruising" as opposed to "blue water cruising".

Spend some time looking at the work Richard did on his boat:  IMHO, it is the gold standard for getting a 323 ready for offshore cruising. I would have thought if you followed his example, you would have a boat more than capable of what you are considering.

If you watch the weather, 100 mile crossings should be a snip. I don't know how much you have been out in heavier weather, but as an example, I was out a week ago, the winds were gusting well over 30kn; with a double reefed main and motorsailing (I was solo and lazy) it was singularly unexciting - the 323 is a weatherly beast, and loves a good blow. And where I sail (SF Bay Area) we are often sailing in 25 knots.

As for blue water cruising, I would hesitate a bit doing transatlantic or transpacific. Is the old girl strong enough? Sure.  She is well built, even overbuilt for her size. But the 323 was not designed as a bluewater cruiser; for example, the high freeboard and wide beam could make her uncomfortable in a sustained gale, and the shallow keel is not optimal.  Provisioning her for a couple of months would also be tight. Could you do it?  Probably.  For any serious offshore work, securing everything as Richard did is just the first step.  Personally I would also consider replacing the (plastic) portholes with something more robust; of course, replace standing rigging and definitely chainplates, and probably beef up a wide range of equipment and attachments. Secure the splashboards, add/improve the seals on the lazarettes, add additional cockpit drainage, etc etc.

If I wasn't on the wrong side, the Caribbean would be beckoning me too!  Good post; I'll be interested in what others say.

Now or Never!

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Re: More Than Coastal Cruising
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2015, 09:09:34 AM »
I would not hesitate to sail Now or Never! anywhere.  We bought the boat from a gentleman who planned to single hand her from the east coast to Germany.  I have spent every winter on her since 2007, mostly in the Bahamas but plan to sail down island next year.

The Great Godsea

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Re: More Than Coastal Cruising
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2015, 04:06:29 PM »
terrific stuff here. really inspires me to get out there and catch some air.