There are many reasons why the Rhodes 22 is not really an offshore
boat. However, in all my years of Great Lakes sailing with our
Rhodes 22, the cockpit size and getting pooped by a following sea are
not really a problem.
The transom on a Rhodes 22 is high. Unless you are in a breaking sea,
the waves simply roll under the boat. The only time I can envision
getting pooped by a following sea would be while trying to cross a
bar while returning from seaward when there is an onshore wind and
breaking waves over the bar, say from wind in opposition to tidal
flow + river current. But this would be a dangerous maneuver in any
boat. The smart play in this situation would be to wait out the tide
and cross the bar when it's safer.
The flared sides tend to deflect waves coming into the cockpit from
port and starboard. I have always found the cockpit drains to be
adequately sized. The hatch board can be installed in the
companionway hatch and left folded down. Now, the opening into the
cabin is well above the sides of the cockpit. Because the sides of
the companionway hatch are not tapered but vertical, the boat would
almost have to be flipped upside down in order for the hatch board to
come out. It's not as convenient as the full companionway hatch; but
you will find you can even climb in and out of the cabin with this
hatch board in place. We routinely sail with the hatch board in
place like this when it's rough out.
The boat can be configured for sailing in up to 40 knots of wind.
Above that, you're under bare poles and simply trying to ride out the
storm. The Rhodes 22's main deficiencies for offshore sailing are
overall small size and lack of storage (fresh water, sewage, engine
fuel, stove fuel, etc) and lack of carrying capacity for the stores
required for extended cruising.
s/v Dynamic Equilibrium
29 Feb 2000
We've had this discussion before on the list as to whether the Rhodes 22 can
be used "offshore". We've even had lengthy discussions of what "offshore"
Well, clearly nobody is about to attempt to circumnavigate the earth in a
Rhodes 22. Even an ocean crossing, which would involve weeks at sea, is
probably too much. But, explain to me what's different about sailing in
the Bahama Islands vs. sailing along some remote stretch of the United
States coastline, the Great Lakes, or in the Florida Keys? There are
enough islands & destinations in the northern Bahama Islands, each one less
than a day's sail from each other, to make for a great cruising vacation.
But, to get to & from the Bahama Islands by the route I suggested in my
previous post, you would have to be willing to wait in Florida & the West
End for a suitable weather window. My family has done extensive wilderness
cruising on the Great Lakes & it's no different. We routinely pack 2 - 3
extra days rations along on a Great Lakes cruise to allow for weather
related layover days. Patience to wait for suitable conditions is simply
a fundamental ingredient in this sort of cruising. Crossing the Gulf Stream
in a Rhodes 22 is definitely at the upper edge of the boat's capability
envelope. I certainly couldn't guarantee a pleasant or comfortable Gulf
Stream crossing. But, given a suitable weather window with a capable crew
on board & the boat properly prepared, I think it's doable.
This sort of voyaging in a Rhodes 22 has more in common with remote
wilderness backpacking than with big boat cruising. You have to learn to
be self sufficient; plan all aspects of the voyage; posses the proper
skills - sailing, navigation, First Aid, weather forecasting, etc; set the
boat up properly; plan the meals & the use of other consumables such as
fuel & water. The whole trip becomes a series of calculated risks with
contingency plans A,B, & C at every step of the way. At this level,
factoring weather into the equation, even the possibility of a hurricane,
becomes just another part of the process. Obviously, this sort of cruising
is not everybody's cup of tea & it's definitely not for the faint of heart
or a beginner. But, this is the manner in which some people, myself & sons
included, choose to use their small boats. I thank God our society has not
yet reached the point where the do-gooders have made it impossible to play
in this manner. Richard, please excuse my bluntness, but I tend to chafe
at such intrusions into my personal liberty. I think I know far better than
you what the risks are, what Dynamic Equilibrium, my sons, & I are capable
of accomplishing, & I neither need or want your advice. If I screw up,
then I am also prepared to accept the consequences.
There are a thousand things that could go wrong on this sort of trip. You
try to prepare & plan it out as best as you can beforehand. But, at some
point, the trip is all about having sufficient confidence in yourself, your
crew, & your equipment to go & do it. If your personality isn't setup
that way, then you will never understand & you should stay closer to home.
S/V Dynamic Equilibrium
07 Sep 2002