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Old 21-09-2010, 17:52   #1
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Kretshmer on 'Traditional' Boats - Floating Bathtub / False Security ?

Just started reading At the mercy of the Sea by John Kretshmer.
One passage (recounting advice given to one of the other characters) stood out to me:

Quote:
I did my best to dispel his romantic notions. He liked heavy, long-keeled boats with sweeping sheerlines and traditional bowsprits, the kind of boat that makes you think of Tahiti when you're hunkered down in an armchair during a winter storm in Des Moines. Unfortunately, many traditional boats are slow, cumbersome, and not as seaworthy as they look... if he and his wife were really going to sail shorthanded across the oceans of the world, he needed an easy to handle sail plan and an easily driven hull ["nimble... with a fin keel and skeg-hung rudder"], not a floating bathtub and a false sense of security.


While I don't live in Des Moines, this guy has apparently got my number, dead on.

Curious if this passage struck any other readers of the book as a bit cavalier? Or is there context that might indicate which designs, in particular, he might be talking about?

My bubble feels so heartlessly burst...
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Old 21-09-2010, 17:59   #2
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G'Day Robert,

Haven't read this book, but agree 100% with the quoted passage... and have put my money, life and happiness on the line by following that logic for the past 24 years of full time blue water cruising.

Sorry about your bubble, mate, but better now than at sea!

Hang in there...

Jim and Ann s/v Insastiable II lying Cairns, Qld, Oz
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Old 21-09-2010, 18:02   #3
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You know what they say about opinions---
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Old 21-09-2010, 18:38   #4
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G'day, mate. Traditional lines here, 3/4 integral keel, attached rudder, but no bowsprit. The boat is equiped with the proper gear to allow the 2 of us to safely manage the sailplan. 150 to 200 mile days, so no bathtub here and she can safely take us comfortably where we want to go. Our bubble was not burst. Cheers.
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Old 21-09-2010, 19:33   #5
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Different folks, different strokes. Good thing we don't all like blondes! Regards, Richard.
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Old 21-09-2010, 19:43   #6
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Just think how bland life would be if there was only one sailboat design that was best for everyone! We have family who have sailed the world in a 28 ft wooden, full keeled sloop, and family who've sailed the world in an Apogee 50. Both great boats.
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Old 21-09-2010, 19:50   #7
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Long keel here, but combined with pretty light displacement. No safety nor seakeeping issues. Slow? Probably, still we make some passages faster than many lighter and bigger boats (put this on the crew's sailing skills). I used to race ULDB before I got myself a long keel cruising boat.

I do not care about how fast or slow a boat is but I do care about how easy (or not) it is to get a good percentage of the boat's speed potential on a passage. Some classics do deliver, especially upwind. Other classics do not deliver, especially downwind.

On the lighter vane, a Deerfoot delivers upwind and downwind, a Bavaria only downwind (note - both are light boats).

In extreme conditions I would always chose a well sailing heavy displacement and long keel over a tetra brick boat. Then again you will be just as safe in well built light boat (e.g. Cigale). Provided you know what it takes to get her safely thru the weather.

Perhaps read the book vis-a-vis Marchaj's 'Seaworthiness'. That's another eye opener.

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Old 22-09-2010, 12:05   #8
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John Kretshmer is a very well established delivery caption with a gazillion nautical miles under his belt on hundreds of boats.

If he is not entitled to an opinion, nobody is. And let's not pretend that all opinions are equal.

Read what he said. He never said, "all;" he said, "many." The trick is to know the difference.

Don't make the mistake of reasoning from the general to the specific. Boat designs are individuals. Even boats that superficially look similar can handle very differently in the water.
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Old 22-09-2010, 12:27   #9
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It's just want you want to live with. "Pick your poison", so to speak.

You'll get a fin keel, then not be able to heave to properly and you can have more damage to your keel and rudder if you smack into a sand bar. Get a full keel and the boat won't back for crap and close quarter maneuvers are maddening.

And plenty of "non traditional" boats not only don't look seaworthy but they aren't either. It's not as simple as "fin" vs. "full". It's "a really well built fin keel lighter displacement" vs "a really well built full keel heavy displacement" boat.

Whatever you pick will have advantages and disadvantages. Or you can get a hybrid. The infamous Valiant 42 has neither a fin or full keel and is regarded as incredibly seaworthy and well built.

My honest two-cents is that barring a poorly built vessel in the first place, the ability of the crew matters far more than the boat.
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Old 22-09-2010, 12:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rebel heart View Post
It's "a really well built fin keel lighter displacement" vs "a really well built full keel heavy displacement" boat.
My guess, based on the boats that the author has owned, is that he would disagree with your characterization of the issue.

I would guess that he would recommend a medium to heavy fin keel boat with skeg-hung rudder, of medium width, adequate draft, and sufficient SA/D to drive the boat in light winds.

In the very next paragraph, after the one quoted by the OP, JK talks about the perils of a boat with a motion that beats up her crew, something that light canoe shapes can do (but not all do).

Also, there are "fin keel" boats where the fin is rather long, say compared to racing versions, and will heave-to just fine. There are fin keels, and then there are fin keels. This is another example of why I do not like the over generalizations that typically accompany these threads.
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Old 22-09-2010, 12:59   #11
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The infamous Valiant 42 has neither a fin or full keel and is regarded as incredibly seaworthy and well built.
I do not think the Valiant 40 or 42 is infamous. Quite the opposite.

Further, it has a fin keel. In fact, much of its reputation was built on the fact that is was the first, or one of the first, blue water boats that had a fin keel. The fin keel on a cruiser is what made it a break through design by Bob Perry.
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Old 22-09-2010, 13:04   #12
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I guess when I hear "fin" keel I think of a near vertical blade, not a "almost long as it is deep" keel. My last boat was an Ericson that was raced heavily so that's where I'm drawing the majority of my "light displacement/fin keel" knowledge from. And when I look at the displacement and keel designs of those two vessels, they're pretty different.
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Old 22-09-2010, 13:14   #13
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Rebel Heart,

Yes that's the point. There are all kinds of fin keels, and they behave differently. To say fin keels are one thing, and do just on thing, is an overgeneralization.

The same is more or less true regarding full keels. There are different flavors of full keels too, but perhaps to a lesser extent.

I do like JK's focus on boat motion. Having own two different boats separated in length by only 3.5 feet but with radially different movement in the water, I have become a true believer in the motion thing. I like a boat that doesn't beat me up. You don't see many people talking about it, but JK puts it up front and center.
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Old 22-09-2010, 16:25   #14
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G'Day all,

Not sure that it is relevant, but according to the Sep Latitude 38, two boats had to be abandonded in this years "Puddle Jump": both were Westsail-32's.

Interesting...

Jim
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Old 22-09-2010, 17:23   #15
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Would John Kretschmer be any relation to the late Admiral Otto Kretschmer?
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