Featured Boat : Oceanranger

The younger ‘sister’ of the Corsair. Our three Boatline Reps, Ian Buchanan, Mike Crummy and Gerard Versluis, share their experiences of owning an Oceanranger.

Conspiracy from Wiki

Ian Buchanan, Clar Innis, OR1932C

The Oceanranger was introduced in 1989 as an upgrade of the successful Corsairs. This added a ‘sugarscoop’ as well as some internal changes.

As crew to a racing skipper I had sailed both the Mk 1 and Mk 11 Corsairs, and also had the use of them for summer cruises with my family, between major races on the West Coast of Scotland. So my experience of a solid, comfortable and easily sailed boat led to my purchase of a 1991 Oceanranger in 2000.

I have not been disappointed in my choice, and this Oceanranger continued to be extensively sailed, and regularly upgraded, until the Covid lockdown last year, which limited some sailing.

Our Oceanranger is normally sailed by my wife and myself, so having an easily sailed boat is important. The boat has normally been cruised for weeks on end over the summer months, and has travelled from France to the Faroes, round Ireland and to St Kilda, the Orkney Islands, Fair Isle and Shetland.

As a Boatline Representative for the Oceanranger I have sometimes been asked for my views on this boat.  In response I have said it is a perfect cruising boat for the waters we sail (i.e. not needing a shallow draught twin keeled boat), but I would not classify it as oceangoing (although I do know of Corsairs and Oceanrangers that have circumnavigated to oceans).  Before and then after my trip to the Faroes, I had made some modifications to make it more seaworthy in poorer sea and weather conditions, which did help.

The build of the Oceanranger is very good, and strong, compared with many ‘off-the-peg’ modern boats.

So for anyone looking for a solid, comfortable cruising boat that has a steady sailing performance, the Westerly Oceanranger is hard to beat at the price.

Mike Crummy, Conspiracy, OR48

I went to see “Conspiracy” in September 2011.  I was really on my way to look at 2 Westerly Typhoons but as I was in the area I called in to have a look at Conspiracy first.  It was love at first sight and as I sat in the navigator’s seat, I knew that this was my dream boat. 3 days later my offer was accepted and a long loving and continuing relationship was started.

We’ve sailed from Brighton to Pwllheli over Bonfire Night weekend, Pwllheli to Iceland and above, just into the Arctic Circle, “done” the Faroe Islands from Arisaig, Pwllheli to Arisaig via Ireland many times and trips round the Western Isles including St Kilda.  Most of these trips have been written about in the club magazine over the past 10 years

Oceanrangers can sleep 8 but I wouldn’t like to be onboard with 8.   For watchkeeping reasons I have 5 on board on long trips, (1 hour on 4 hours off) but for general cruising she is ideal for 2 couples to sail as there is ample room and space for all.  Each June I have a booze cruise with 4 noisy riotous septuagenarian friends (and 2 stowaways, Captain Morgan and Matthew Gloag) when we sail the West Coast Distilleries from Talisker to Lagavulin and all points in between, we also include the Corrivreckan, or the Grey Dogs channels and we anchor in very isolated bays. Almost 2 years ago I brought Conspiracy back to Pwllheli from Arisaig, about 350 miles sailing her singlehanded without a problem.  If we’re free this summer I plan on going to the Scillies from Pwllheli.

To the more practical aspects, I do my own servicing, repairs, maintenance and installations.  Being a large boat, everything is easy to get at and you have space to move around. I frequently day-sail Conspiracy single handed and she is very easy to handle.  All control lines are routed into the cockpit and the mainsheet is behind the helm so the cockpit is uncluttered. I have both Autohelm and Hydrovane and quite frequently day sail tacking around Pwllheli just using the Hydrovane.  I generally reef using the in-mast reefing at about 17 knots and that’s very easy to do. I like the in-mast reefing as it is so easy to use and to reef without having to go on deck.  I’ve also fitted a full cockpit canopy and designed it so Conspiracy can be sailed with it raised.  We sailed most of Iceland with the canopy raised.  In cold wetter climes it makes the boat so much warmer, you keep wet “oilys” in the cockpit so below is dryer, and sailing at night and in the wet is so much cosier. Other modifications I’ve done is fit a Lofrens Anchor winch.  So much easier if doing a lot of anchoring and Conspiracy came with a bow thruster, a real “get out of jail free” card in marinas!

I have a Volvo Penta D1-30 (30hp) engine and that is under-powered.  Entering the Carlingford Loch narrow channel with NW F6 headwind going with the tide, full engine power, Brunton prop, I had to keep using the bow thruster to keep us in the channel.  A 40hp engine would be a lot better.  However it is a very reliable engine and coming back from Iceland we ran the engine for 36 hours solidly without a hiccup.

Stability wise, if there’s too much sail up she heads into wind and if you persist, she’ll just stay head to wind.  She heaves-too nicely but you have to reduce foresail to get a good balance.  I’m not a fan of sailing with the side decks underwater and neither is Conspiracy and we reef once side decking starts getting watered.  I’m also not a fan of spinnakers so haven’t used one on Conspiracy.  Once again crossing the continental shelf coming back from Iceland motoring at 1½ kts, head to wind, the bow of the boat submerged into incoming waves right up to the fwd heads hatch, the whole of the bow, windlass and baby shroud were under water and Conspiracy just rode up easily out of the water into the next wave.  We had close to 12 hours of this.  It really frightened me the first time I watched it, but when you see your boat coping so easily in those sorts of conditions it gives you a lot of confidence in the boat.

Under sail, I regularly get 6 knots in about 10 knots of wind.  Tacking, and by recording GPS tracking, I find that sailing through 110 to 120 degrees is about the best I can achieve which means not a lot of VMG!  However I have had my genoa “high” cut so I don’t sail through anchorages like a Trireme! When in a pottering mood I sail only under the genoa or mainsail and have no problem in tacking.  Also just to test myself I try to steer without touching the helm, just by adjusting the sails with modest success – with the wind forward of the beam I hastily add.  Conspiracy has spent most of her time with me on swinging moorings and I very often pick up the mooring single handed and under sail.  It seems more seaman like and it looks good!!!  However she handles so well that after a couple of attempts I reckon anyone could do it.

Down below are 3 double berths and 2 singles including a navigator’s berth which I use on long trips.  On my boat I believe we have the Sealord layout which has different saloon  cupboards.  She has the usual Westerly woodwork with lovely teak finish and mouldings. She has a very easy to use and comfortably snug galley when in lumpy seas, a “½ chart” chart table and good navigator’s seat area and plenty of space for charts, instruments and pilot books etc.  Two heads, one to port and one to starboard and both with showers.

In conclusion, for me an Oceanranger is my ideal boat and I am more than content with her.  If I won the lottery I wouldn’t even think of changing her, but I would buy a larger engine!  She is safe, easy to handle, rides waves easily and sails nicely.    She brings me a lot of pleasure and she gets a lot of presents just so she’s happy too!  

Gerard Versluis, Ginger, OR65

It will be around the year 2000 that Gina and I were invited on a Westerly Corsair. We immediately fell in love with it.  This was our dream boat for in the future when we would have more time for longer voyages. In 2010 the time was right to buy a Corsair. Our Fulmar was quickly and easily sold and the search for a Corsair started.

By coincidence in the same week that we sold our Fulmar a German flagged Oceanranger, lying in the Netherlands, became for sale. Although the asking price was too high for us we decided to visit her anyway. Quickly it became clear that the asking price had no priority for the German Owner. That was more a thing for the broker.  More important was a good home. After convincing that that was the case the deal was quickly settled.

Since we have Ginger we have made a lot of adjustments to her. It is good to tell that Gina has so much trust in Ginger that, from time to time, she sails her on her own with a few girlfriends.

Most of our sailing is naturally in the Netherlands. However, in our holidays we have sailed as far as the Channel Islands and Sweden.

An Oceanranger is a fantastic cruising boat. Specially for a couple. Roomy and comfortable are the key words both when sailing or being moored. Out on the sea she is very capable of handling high winds. However, she is remarkably quick in low wind speeds.

An Oceanranger doesn’t like to be sailed close winded. Give her a little bit more wind angle and she moves like a flying carpet. I can only think of one negative point and that is the length of the sitting area of the settees in the cockpit and cabin.   It would have been nice if they had been made 2 to 3 inchs longer to give your legs more support.

Depending on the how things will go with the virus in 2021 we hope to sail to the Solent this summer.  If you see us feel free to pop over for a Heineken beer!