Yes that's an important and obvious question so let's address that up front.
Firstly, maybe you should. If you are only ever going to sail close to shore or on inland waterways, harbours or sheltered bays, then yes, a Bluewater may be overkill for what you really need. Bear in mind that Bluewater's are designed for serious cruisers, for those who do want to sail a bit beyond the shelters of your home port, and who have the safety and comfort of themselves and their family and friends as their highest value.
Most Bluewater owners have owned a number of yachts before stepping up to a Bluewater. Often they cut their teeth on sailing 28 footers then step up to a 36' before realising that they are truly serious about wanting to cruise / liveaboard, and deciding to invest in a larger yacht. Some have even bought cheaper production built 42's before deciding that they just don't cut it, and realise that if they want to feel safe and secure on the oceans of the world that they do need to invest in the best purpose built cruising yacht available.
So honestly, if you have no intention to cruise offshore for extended trips a boat such as ours is probably considered to be overbuilt.
But if you definitely want to cruise offshore, or even if you think you might in the years to come then the blunt answer is….because your life may depend on it!
Don't just take our word for it, here are what our most recent customers went through before deciding that building a Bluewater was the way to go. Ask our customers why they chose a Bluewater over a cheaper imported boat.
"Why Build a Bluewater?
It has taken some considerable time and research to finally come to the decision to build a Bluewater 420. Our decision was based on the criteria we felt was important…
- The best size two people could comfortably handle… we decided 40-45 ft was the optimum;
- A manageable sail plan;
- Large tankage and lots of storage;
- A powerful engine with solid construction (no cored hull for us) and a skeg hung rudder;
- A comfortable motion at sea was important as well as all-weather protection from a hard dodger.
The build quality had to be second to none. There is nothing like knowing who will be building your vessel….after all your life could be at stake in a lesser yacht. We have all heard and read about the horror stories of keels falling off while at sea on other yachts.
With all of this in mind – and after years of looking – we decided on a Bluewater 420. Bluewater have a commitment to quality that is rare in today's world. Their attention to detail and the way they partner with an owner throughout the entire building process is exceptional.
Our experience at every stage in the building of our Bluewater 420 by David and his team has been unbelievably positive. Their professionalism, pride and workmanship are consistently at a high standard. But it's their enthusiasm for innovation and inclusion that has been the most welcome and will result in a beautiful and reliable Bluewater cruising classic yacht for years to come." - Gail & George Grant, 'Southern Belle'
"Our initial interest in evaluating a Bluewater cruising yacht was purely practical. We wanted a yacht with far greater structural strength than any of the typical production yachts, an encapsulated keel, a skeg hung rudder and a high angle of vanishing stability - in other words a genuine cruising yacht. Once we had established the practical issues, our decision to purchase was purely emotional. We just loved the build quality and finish levels of the Bluewater 420's that we inspected. We look forward to launch day although we are also enjoying the building process where we are welcome to drop in anytime to check on the progress." - Greg & Heidi Turton
Bluewater's are built with the harshest conditions in mind and to be sailed with absolute confidence in the open ocean where it is expected to encounter rough conditions, and is built to withstand these conditions.
All Bluewater deck fittings are solidly bolted quite often with large backing plates. The difference is how we bolt our fittings on. Each bolt hole is drilled then tapped into the fibreglass to create a watertight seal then primed and sikaflexed into position. Cheaper production boats do not spend the time doing this, they can't afford to. They normally just drill an oversize hole, pop the bolt in, then seal with silastic. Over time with loads on fastenings they move and will ultimately leak causing weaknesses and other problems.
A Bluewater and an imported production boat may be similar in length, beam, freeboard and internal space, however, that is usually where the similarities end.
A Bluewater is built heavier with more tankage capacity and has in-built safety features such as integral keel and skeg, kevlar bow reinforcement, collision and watertight main bulkheads. Its fittings are more substantial, it has more ports and hatches and built-in cruising features such as bulwarks, solidly bolted railings, enclosed cockpit, davits, solar panels, washing machine, massive storage, work bench, etc that are critical to comfort when living aboard and travelling long distances.
Our designs which have been proven over many years and millions of ocean sea miles are based on those and world renowned designers.
We take building a boat very seriously and look closely at all our fittings such as mast and boom sections, rigging thickness, cleats, staunchions, bow fittings, windlass, railings, blocks, winches and all others. You will find that they are substantially bigger, and stronger than those on the lightweight imported production boats.
Our keel is heavier. On a 420 it consists of 4.5 tonnes of lead means it has a much higher righting moment than most production yachts. They normally use cheaper cast iron and often as little as 2.5 – 3 tonnes in their keels in boats of equivalent length.
A Bluewater takes longer to build, 12 months or more compared to production boats that are churned through the factory in as little as 2-4 weeks. We take the time to properly bond all structural components, we make the structure heavier and thicker, you get a yacht that is stronger and safer not one built to a production line schedule.
You cannot have an integral keel and skeg hung rudder on a production boat because the time and effort to build it this way would not be economical. Shorter production times mean that the quickest and easiest building methods are used. This is a compromise and can have an impact on safety and stability. No Bluewater yacht has ever lost a keel nor had a distorted rudder. We take the extra time to ensure that all these critical components are manufactured to the highest standards possible.
Every Bluewater interior structural member is individually fitted and laminated into position. For example, structural floors, engine beds, bulkheads, chainplate attachments, cabin sole, and the interior fitout are all manufactured as integrated components. It is impossible to dismantle the interior of a Bluewater because every item becomes integral and maximises the strength. However, in most production boats the internal liner or starter mould is glued in place then everything simply slots in or is screwed in place. This may be adequate in ideal conditions but think about what happens when you run aground or encounter huge seas. Usually the internal hull grid delaminates in case of grounding, and the interior starts to fall apart.
The strength of the structural moulding is the most important part of any boat, and at Bluewater we take no shortcuts. When laying GRP it is not recommended to layup more than 6mm a day. This is to ensure good compaction, less shrinkage, and to monitor correct resin/glass ratios. A Bluewater hull and deck is up to 35mm thick and weighs over 3 tonne alone (just compare our core samples), and we allow 6 weeks to layup a set of Bluewater mouldings (hull and deck). Many production boats take only four weeks to build from start to finish. They physically cannot have the same strength and rigidity.
Yes, it is a legitimate question to ask yourself "Why Shouldn't I Buy A Cheaper Imported Boat For Half The Price?" but seriously, if you have the money and desire to cruise with confidence knowing you have a vessel built for the purpose why would you even consider risking the safety of yourself, your family and anyone who sails with you. After all the reason we can offer a Lifetime Structural Warranty is that we at Bluewater are supremely confident of our building methods which have proven themselves on close to 20 years, and millions of ocean sea miles.