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Pocket Offshore Cruisers

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Dreaming  of going offshore in 2019 the (realistic) dreamboat is at least 44 ft , that not going to happen (44ft ) so I thought I would canvas anecdotes about small boats (under 31 ft LOA)  that have done the offshore thing.

I'm suggesting perhaps that it be limited  it to "Mere Mortals" (MM's) in NZ boats and not legends like David Lewis or Andrew Fagan etc. so here goes a few I know of or have heard of.  


Marauder 28 that did Auckland Mooloolaba a few years back

A Carpenter 29 that sailed AKL to New Caledonia 2 or 3 yrs back

A Spencer 32 (ply) that went to Tonga back in the 70's (OK 1 ft too big but still plywood)

An Alan Wright Haani 28 (plywood forerunner of the Nova 28) that sailed to the islands) described as "2 weeks in a washing machine"

And a chap from the Thames sailing club who soloed a 20 ft trailer sailer to the Three Kings twice !

Oh and that fellow who sailed a Wharram Tiki across the Tasman recently.


It would be great to hear from folks who have crewed or skippered on such boats and their insights.



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Several Raven 26 have been offshore along with the Reactor that did the last solo trans Tasman. There are several under 31ft kiwi designs that have been offshore 


Davidson 28, Tasman

Whiting 29 

Chico 30 

Smith 30

Cav 32, possible 30

Lotus 9.2, 9.5

Davidson 31

H 28

Y88 have crossed the Tasman


Just to name a few off the top of my head. Plenty off others if you really start to think about it.

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Yeah there are heaps.  Once upon a time it was considered quite normal by kiwis to go offshore in a 30 footer.

I know of a raven 26 that's been from here to Canada.  Cav 32's have been all over the show.  H28s have circumnavigated as well.  A few of the 30ish foot townsons went to the islands etc, I know of a townson 32 that's been to Darwin and back, but they had big windows and Des always said they weren't designed for it I believe.

If you can find an entry list from a fiji race from years back they were full of 30ish footers.  Big fleets too.

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I took my 32 footer round the south island via stewart island this year had no issues,only difference between smaller boats and bigger ones are speed and storage space,smaller boats are way easier to handle,reef anchor etc.

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I'm fascinated by the little pocket offshore cruisers.. 17-24ft interests me.


Andrew Fagan is a legend. Shane Acton is another.


Who sailed to the 3 kings in a trailer sailer and what was the boat? I did hear of a TS, possibly a Pacer, that sailed there several times.. maybe the same one?


From my fairly inexperienced view it seems a good small boat can be just as seaworthy as a big boat but becomes very uncomfortable in the rough. I have been caught out in marginal conditions (for a TS) off the BoP coast and while I felt completely safe, it was certainly uncomfortable.


I can't imagine what it would be like in 6-7m swells in a small boat.

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