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Old 13-12-2011, 11:59   #16
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Has anyone ever read a professional written boat revew that was negative?
No, the best I've ever seen are a few subtle hints, like this boat is 'well made for coastal voyaging' or 'it had a lively motion in 15 knots of wind' and etc.

Even the 'offshore' reviews are on mellow downwind trips or reaches. I think nearly any boat is beautiful on a mellow reach.

But... I also think it's complicated. I don't think we have good tools to share knowledge about how a boat feels. The SA/D, L/B, D/L, and etc are... kind of B/S. I've been on boats with good numbers that, in my opinion, feel quite a bit worse than boats with nearly the same numbers. So.. Even though I've tried to study yacht design, and read nearly every 'armchair sailor' level book I can find on it, I do not feel that we have the right words and abstractions to really transfer knowledge among ourselves. I am one of the dumber people that I hang out with, and I know that I couldn't really 'feel' a boat and extrapolate that out to other conditions until I'd sailed halfway around the world, and I'm very very far away from being able to look at a boats hull when she's out of the water and predict how it all comes together at sea. So I have pretty low expectations for people writing boat reviews, since even if they are only half as dumb as I am and can somehow go on a mellow daysail and predict what it'll feel like in stronger trades, I feel it is still pretty difficult to distill the feel of a boat into a few well chosen and accurate sentences, especially since we are all coming from different expectations and ideas of what we want.
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Old 13-12-2011, 13:32   #17
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Nor really are boat reviews anyway a way of determining how good or bad the boat is. Since this is a totally subjective perspective and in practice few boats are bad now. The,re just not what " you" want. So you get reviewers who like modern fast boats producing reviews that full keelers don't like, etc. it's a very subjective topic.

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Old 14-12-2011, 05:39   #18
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Actually in my opinion the best sailing mags in the world are produced in the US. Mags like ocean navigator, water sailing">blue water sailing. Lat 38, Good old boat, practical sailor. ( even L &A, for the pictures!) No equivalents exist elsewhere

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I don' agree. We are talking about testing boats nothing more and among those magazines the only one that tests any significant number of boats is BlueWater sailing. I subscribe that one and the reason they cannot come close to a magazine like the German "yacht" magazine (that comes out 2 times a month) is because they really test a small number of boats. The American market is poor in what regards sailboats (as the number of American sailboat builders) and they only test a very small part of the boats available on the European Market.

The guys from Yacht magazine test probably 20 times more boats a year than the guys from BWM and that just gives them a much broader perspective of what the market has to offer and about the value of each boat in its segment and this permits them a much more objective opinion about each boat, not by itself (as you have to said there is not really bad boats anymore) but regarding all other boats on that segment.

American magazines have not the means neither the availability of sailboats to make big comparative tests among most boats of a given segment.The only way of having a truly objective idea of what each boat worth regarding sailing is having all the boats at the water at the same time and with the same sea conditions and changing from boat to boat, comparing speed, sea motion and the feeling at the wheel and how well the rigging work. This is frequently made by "Yacht" magazine, many times together with other North European magazines.

Take a look at the movies of one of those tests where they test at the same time 7 different 37ft sailboats from the performance cruiser segment.
Most of the boats are not even imported to America.

Of course, this is only a short movie of the test, the test is big and complete, so big that it was published in two editions of the magazine.

It is a 2009 test and the Halberg Rassy 372 was the winner. In 2010 the 372 was European boat of the year. The Halberg Rassy 372 only this year come to the US market and was tested by some magazines, I mean 2 years later





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Old 14-12-2011, 06:15   #19
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Re: Boat Reviews

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No, the best I've ever seen are a few subtle hints, like this boat is 'well made for coastal voyaging' or 'it had a lively motion in 15 knots of wind' and etc.

Even the 'offshore' reviews are on mellow downwind trips or reaches. I think nearly any boat is beautiful on a mellow reach.

But... I also think it's complicated. I don't think we have good tools to share knowledge about how a boat feels. The SA/D, L/B, D/L, and etc are... kind of B/S. I've been on boats with good numbers that, in my opinion, feel quite a bit worse than boats with nearly the same numbers. So.. Even though I've tried to study yacht design, and read nearly every 'armchair sailor' level book I can find on it, I do not feel that we have the right words and abstractions to really transfer knowledge among ourselves. I am one of the dumber people that I hang out with, and I know that I couldn't really 'feel' a boat and extrapolate that out to other conditions until I'd sailed halfway around the world, and I'm very very far away from being able to look at a boats hull when she's out of the water and predict how it all comes together at sea. So I have pretty low expectations for people writing boat reviews, since even if they are only half as dumb as I am and can somehow go on a mellow daysail and predict what it'll feel like in stronger trades, I feel it is still pretty difficult to distill the feel of a boat into a few well chosen and accurate sentences, especially since we are all coming from different expectations and ideas of what we want.
Regarding the brown part on your quote, I have seen a lot more than that. I have even seen many hard critics published with a foot note saying that the shipyard agrees that it is a weak point and that they are going to change that.

Just to give you an example if you look at the boat test made by "Yacht Magazine" to the new Dufour 335, that is now probably the best all around small cruiser in its class, you will see that they have come very hard on the shipyard regarding the lack of a frontal waterproof bulkhead and other minor points regarding boat safety.

They said about it (translated):

The modern 10m Yacht: An extremely wide rear, dual steering wheels and good sailing performance - are characteristics of the Dufour 335 Grand'Large. But a lack of collision bulkhead below decks, and other inconsistencies raise some doubts.


(they obviously explain in detail what they are talking about on the published magazine test)

I guess this is hard, on a boat that is a great sailing boat and I am sure it will be better because I bet that in a month, at the Dusseldorf boat show the boat will have a frontal waterproof bulkhead

This is not the test that it is obviously much more complete but even on the small movie they show and talk about that nonexistent bulkhead:

Dufour 335 GL: Die modernste 10-Meter-Yacht - YACHT-TV*|*YACHT.DE

Regarding the rest you say, I cannot agree more. It is fundamental to sail test several types of boats to have an idea of its characteristics and after that you start to understand better what the testers are talking about regarding a specific type of boat But really it is very important a personal experience. Charter is a good way to do it.

Some valuable information can also be found on threads like this one:


Interesting Sailboats - Page 200 - SailNet Community


I noticed that several people have posted there saying that the information provided was useful for identifying the type of boat that suits them better, but in the end I agree with you: "I do not feel that we have the right words and abstractions to really transfer knowledge among ourselves".

Manuel
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Old 14-12-2011, 07:17   #20
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Re: Boat Reviews

My problem with most reviews is that they are usually of fancy, new, and very expensive (to me ) boats. I almost never read them b/c I'll never be able to afford such things. It's all just eye-candy which sells mags to dreamers, and more importantly, brings ad revenue to the publisher.

I appreciate the few occasions when I can find a review of an older boat that it still worth looking at in the used market. The only magazine that does this on a regular basis is, not surprisingly, Good Old Boat.
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Old 14-12-2011, 07:47   #21
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Re: Boat Reviews

Amazing how irrelevant the boat magazines become once you've bought your final boat.
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Old 14-12-2011, 08:00   #22
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Amazing how irrelevant the boat magazines become once you've bought your final boat.
Good point

Given that I have the boat, all I'm really interested in are the very practical "how-to" and "fix it" articles. The rest is just fluff.
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Old 14-12-2011, 08:11   #23
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Good point

Given that I have the boat, all I'm really interested in are the very practical "how-to" and "fix it" articles. The rest is just fluff.
Could not agree more.
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Old 14-12-2011, 08:24   #24
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Amazing how irrelevant the boat magazines become once you've bought your final boat.

Yes because after a while all you were really reading anyway were the boat listings. Now what do you read when you're not interested in getting a different boat?
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Old 14-12-2011, 08:30   #25
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Yes because after a while all you were really reading anyway were the boat listings. Now what do you read when you're not interested in getting a different boat?
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Old 14-12-2011, 08:44   #26
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Re: Boat Reviews

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As a writer for Multihull World magazine I have certainly written a couple that were not complimentary, I recall finishing one review with words to the effect that I wouldn't sail that particular boat out of swimming distance from land.
Well, which boat is that? I have a collection of past MW mags and would like to look it up so if you would tell us the issue I would appreciate it. I do seem to remember a negative review but can't place it now.

Also, is MW owned by or in partnership with Lagoon? It seems like they lean that way?

Also, David Old Jersey, Love your posts but so many Smiles (emoticons) makes yours hard to read. Maybe I'm old or is it just me?
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Old 14-12-2011, 10:06   #27
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Re: Boat Reviews

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It is fundamental to sail test several types of boats to have an idea of its characteristics and after that you start to understand better what the testers are talking about regarding a specific type of boat But really it is very important a personal experience. Charter is a good way to do it.
I learned a lot from chartering, but it seems like most charter boats have about the same design philosophy, so you may not learn as much from chartering the same kinds of boats over and over again.

I learned more about completely different types of boats while cruising and buddy boating, since I could watch another boat at sea on a short passage, up close, and hang out on board in a rolly anchorage. The difference in vibe between my late-70's Perry performance-cruiser (cutaway forefoot and skeg rudder, no real bilge), a friends mid-70's cruiser (full keel, wineglass shape with deep bilges), and another friends late-70's racer-cruiser (fin, spade rudder) was huge. Each boat looked sort of the same above the water.

I am torn between trying to think of these things in narrow quantitative terms (accelerations, moments of inertia, prismatic coefficient, and etc) and looking at it more like wine people talk about wine. I feel that the numbers come together in such a complicated way that to go from a few numbers to an overall feel is beyond most people.

The vibe at sea is a personal choice. Some people just have more energy and don't mind boats that need more active sailing, or that have more (or a certain kind) of motion, or like boats with less momentum.

But I do feel that my biggest disappointments with some boats are design flaws. Like rudder stalls that are crisp, I just can't stand that in a boat, especially if the rudder is not powerful. Or, I don't know the technical word for this, but that thing where some boats abruptly lose directional stability when they heel, where it's not gradual but there seems to be a cliff where they go past a certain angle and it suddenly has an unstoppable desire to turn into the wind. I really feel like a more gradual onset of that effect is important and may not just be a matter of taste.

So I think there's room to talk about manners that are just bad, in any boat. It's hard to settle a boat into a groove at sea if it's just not that stable to begin with, if the forces don't tend to balance out.

And I don't even have the words for all of the bad manners.
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Old 14-12-2011, 12:34   #28
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Re: Boat Reviews

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Also, David Old Jersey, Love your posts but so many Smiles (emoticons) makes yours hard to read. Maybe I'm old or is it just me?
Yeah, I've noticed that as well
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Old 14-12-2011, 13:22   #29
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Re: Boat Reviews

Google David Pascoe Hunter 28 review, if you own one you may want to skip it.
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Old 14-12-2011, 16:21   #30
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Re: Boat Reviews

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I learned a lot from chartering, but it seems like most charter boats have about the same design philosophy, so you may not learn as much from chartering the same kinds of boats over and over again.
...

The vibe at sea is a personal choice. Some people just have more energy and don't mind boats that need more active sailing, or that have more (or a certain kind) of motion, or like boats with less momentum.

.....
So I think there's room to talk about manners that are just bad, in any boat. It's hard to settle a boat into a groove at sea if it's just not that stable to begin with, if the forces don't tend to balance out.

And I don't even have the words for all of the bad manners.
I am not interested in sailing in old boats and I am among the ones that find boring a boat that has an indifferent sailing. When I am in a sailboat I like to sail and sail for me is to have the boat always tuned to work as best as it can. So even if I am not young anymore I guess I am one of those sailors that like active sailing. I like to have a boat or a car that responds quickly to the slightest wheel movement.

Of course, if I had no option, I would sail in any boat, but given a choice I am interested in modern boats, those that reflect the state of the art in what regards sailing.

Globally modern boats are better designed than old boat, meaning that today almost all boats are designed by great NA with huge experience and it is hard to find a boat with really bad habits has you say. Some are better than others, but they are all reasonably good.

I am not saying at all that there is not some great old sailing boats around, just saying that the quality was a lot less uniform and you also have some not very good boat, boats with bad habits.

Regarding charter boats, to have the pleasure of knowing some great boats and to find what really fits you, I agree that it is a lot more easy in Europe where besides the typical charter boats you can can find almost all kinds of boats. Sometimes for sailing the boat you want that means some compromise in what regards the place you will cruise. You have to cruise in the place(s) you have the boat you want to sail.

Regarding Caribbean grounds, on a rapid search I found some interesting sailboats, all in French Charter companies: Dufour 40, Dufour 44 (both from the more expensive performance series), Sun Odissey 409, Cigale 16, Allures 44, OVNI 395, Grand Soleil 46.3, Feeling 55...and it was really a fast search.

Location de voilier aux Antilles - Sparkling Charter - Yacht chartering in the Caribbean - Sparkling Charter
Media Ship, Yacht Charter - Cigale 16 - Caribbean - Lesser Antilles - sailing boat vacations
Catamaran Guadeloupe et Martinique, Location voiliersAntilles - Location bateau Caraibes - Sun Odyssey 409
Allures Yachting, location voilier Allures 44 en Martinique et aux Antilles
Catamaran Guadeloupe et Martinique, Location voiliersAntilles - Location bateau Caraibes - Ovni 395
Catamaran Guadeloupe et Martinique, Location voiliersAntilles - Location bateau Caraibes - Grand Soleil 46.3
Catamaran Guadeloupe et Martinique, Location voiliersAntilles - Location bateau Caraibes - Feeling 55


Well, I know what I like, but these are all interesting boats, some very different, and none the typical charter boat with the exception of the Jeanneau 409 that it is there because it is an interesting boat and was not the typical charter boat 3 or 4 years ago. I mean it is faster, more comfortable and more exciting to sail.

So I guess that even without the huge variety you can find in Europe, you do have some interesting choice and you can try some pretty different boats and some different way to look at cruising and I am not even looking at cats. Some are fat and slow but there are also out there some exciting ones
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