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Old 25-04-2015, 10:33   #16
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I strongly disagree. Get any new car and an old 60s-70s Buick or a Ford and smash them head on and see the results. In general it's the old cars which are inherently safer. But on the new cars features like seatbelts, airbags, etc. make their flimsiness tolerable. And that's only if the drivers use them. A big "if".
Yeah, but the point was that it's a hell of a lot safer not being in an accident in the first place and that the vast majority of accidents are driver caused. New car or old car, it's much safer being driven by a good driver than a bad.
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Old 25-04-2015, 10:39   #17
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Originally Posted by jwcolby54 View Post
Well... I'd prefer that my hull was not floating contentedly keel to the moon.
Quite so, however, the likelihood of even a totally unstable boat ending up that way is way down in the slim to none range.

If you like to go offshore in the middle of hurricane season, sail around Cape Horn, the north Atlantic in winter, the very far north Atlantic (think Greenland, Iceland) in any season or other extreme sailing then think seriously about ultimate stability, maximum survivability, built like a tank, etc.

If you're cruising the Gulf of Mexico, US east coast, Caribbean and have enough smarts to stay out of hurricanes then would make more sense to focus on other aspects of a boat.

Comes down to pick the right tool for the job. Don't use a sledge hammer to drive a 2 penny finishing nail.
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Old 25-04-2015, 10:55   #18
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

"And the whole point of the Fastnet investigation is that very VERY experienced sailors died in that race in less than optimal boats, while optimal boats survived just fine."

I was unfortunately a crewmember in the Fastnet 1979 race and if you read the inquiry/investigation by the RYA and RORC carefully than the above is definitively not a conclusion.

Both yacht design and captain/crew experience were assessed as contributing equally to the disaster that happened. The two conclusions that really stick out for me are:

1. The knockdown to horizontal of 48% of the racing fleet was to be expected since they were racing boats (racing boats not cruisers)

2. The severity of the storm in an almost open part of the Atlantic Ocean was far above the experience of any of the captains and crews participating in the race.

It is really interesting reading material, it also addresses how seasickness of experienced crews affected their ability to make the right decisions.

Robert
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Old 25-04-2015, 12:00   #19
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Well, you might want to educate yourself... :-)

The book is edited by John Rousmaniere - of Fastnet '79 fame, and author of the Annapolis Book of Seamanship - and features chapters written by the following, among others:

Some guy named Olin J. Stephens, who apparently thought he knew something about the trends in yacht design over the past century, and of the elements of design that determine the stability of sailing yachts...
Rod Stephens, Jr.
Richard McCurdy
William Lapworth
Bill Shaw
Lynn Williams

These, and others, comprised the Technical Committee of the Cruising Club of America at the time of the book's writing... Between them, they had roughly 850 years of sailing experience, covered more than 750,000 miles offshore, and owned 43 different cruising/racing yachts. They have sailed a total of 147 Newport/Bermuda Races, 36 trans-Atlantics, and a dozen races to Hawaii...

I've been touting this book for years. In my opinion, even though it is now somewhat dated in certain respects, not much about the sea itself has changed in the intervening years. I think it still represents by far the single best starting point/introduction to gaining an appreciation of the basic elements of design and construction that matter when venturing offshore in a small sailing yacht...

Unfortunately, very few want to hear about the value of a feature such as wide, uncluttered side decks, in today's world... That's not the sort of result you get when boats are being designed from the inside/out, around the accommodation plan that some Marketing Guru has determined will show best at the Boat Shows, after all...

:-)

You completely missed my point with your rant:

Don't trust a single source and I don't care who the "guru" is supplying it, hence I don't care who wrote this book. I've done plenty of reading on the subject thank you very much.

My point is proven by the comments in this thread that imply to try and cross oceans in a catamaran is equal to a death wish because they all flip and stay that way at the slightest breeze. Yet, I've read stories about how catamarans chasing the fleet, thought it was a bit rough but nothing to get excited about while the supposedly blue water mono's were falling over left and right. This isn't to say that mono's can't go to sea just that you need to get multiple view points because they all come with biases.
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Old 25-04-2015, 12:05   #20
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Originally Posted by Jon Eisberg View Post
Unfortunately, very few want to hear about the value of a feature such as wide, uncluttered side decks, in today's world... That's not the sort of result you get when boats are being designed from the inside/out, around the accommodation plan that some Marketing Guru has determined will show best at the Boat Shows, after all...
I owned this book and loved it. However, one must be aware that it was written 30 years ago, and much in boat design, materials and construction techniques have changed in this time.

For example, boats like Beth and Evan's HAWK would not necessarily be a "desirable" design back then, although its equipment and outfitting would. Likewise, CF's Jim and Anne Cate's ULDB (I forget its name). Woe on something like the Boreal!

Our boat has wide, uncluttered side decks to rival any monohull <100' long, but it is a catamaran - which were almost unheard of when that book was written, and not even considered in it (desirable or undesirable).

So if one is looking for a good ol' crab-crusher, then this book will instill sufficient fear around the right hand side of stability curves and ultimate storms, while failing to include construction techniques and materials that did not exist at the time.

On the flip side, most people now would consider the Pardy's Talisan "undesirable" for many reasons unrelated to Marketing Guru's and boat shows.

It reflects the thoughts and experiences of designers whose main body of work is 50 years old now. Great designs and creative people, for sure, but one must view this book in the light that not everything in boat design and construction that has happened in the past 30yrs is bad ("undesirable"). In fact, much of it is good.

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Old 25-04-2015, 12:20   #21
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Originally Posted by jwcolby54 View Post
The mailman delivered my physical copy (not available in Kindle) of Desirable and Undesirable Characteristics of Offshore Yachts.

What a fascinating read. I will preface this by saying that many of the "best bluewater boat" threads end up with a ton of "it's the sailor / skill that counts". Well... hmmm...

I am only through chapter 5 but it has led me to the conclusion that nope, it is NOT primarily the sailor that determines the viability and safety of my boat out at sea - where the big winds and waves are. Some boats are inherently more seaworthy, sometimes much more seaworthy. Some just plain unseaworthy.

The book has discussed (just so far) the influences, good and bad, of racing on cruise boat design. Boat size - length, beam and weight - on stability. How and why boats capsize, and as importantly, what happens next. How and why some boats are better than others in this regard. Keel and rudder design on directional stability, steering, and what happens when gusts or large waves hit. How these issues can cause loss of control in precisely the weather where that control is critical to staying upright and afloat.

LOTS of info. The book does a good job of explaining in words as well as graphs and diagrams how all this stuff fits together. I am really just beginning the read but so far the cost has been good value.

I am certainly not saying that good seamanship isn't necessary, but that some very good seamen lost their lives on fundamentally bad boats (discussed in the Fastnet fiasco and the analysis after). And that being the best in the world would not be enough on a bad boat, but likely would on a good boat. And that the desire for the racing "look" and handling paired with the desire for creature comforts has pushed a lot of fundamentally poor choices choices into our cruisers. Sometimes potentially disastrous choices.

Having read the book, I will be in a much better position to choose among the available choices.

Highly recommended.
"I am only through chapter 5 but it has led me to the conclusion that nope, it is NOT primarily the sailor that determines the viability and safety of my boat out at sea - where the big winds and waves are. Some boats are inherently more seaworthy, sometimes much more seaworthy. Some just plain unseaworthy."
Couldn't agree more! ... Hang on... here we go again!
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Old 25-04-2015, 12:39   #22
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

Many sailors define a 'blue water boat' as one that must be a very heavy full keel design. These boats will surely take a beating they sail very slowly. It seems a faster sailing boat's speed can be a safety factor that I don't see discussed often. If you are able to pull weather fax reports while under way avoiding low pressure systems seems to be prudent. There are many well built fin keel designs that would provide much needed speed when avoiding the beating or minimizing it.
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Old 25-04-2015, 16:16   #23
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

Originally Posted by Island Time O25 View Post
I strongly disagree. Get any new car and an old 60s-70s Buick or a Ford and smash them head on and see the results. In general it's the old cars which are inherently safer. But on the new cars features like seatbelts, airbags, etc. make their flimsiness tolerable. And that's only if the drivers use them. A big "if".


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Also have to disagree. I would define safety in a car as survivability of the passengers in a collision AND a reduced likelihood of collision (due to better braking and maneuverability). I think most would agree to this definition. Then newer cars beat out the 60-70 era cars hands down in all regards.

There might be a slight advantage to a large, heavy 60s car going against a truck or large SUV vs a smaller modern car. But if you compare similar sized modern vs older cars I see no advantage at all.
Since there are two posts together here I'll add my cents.

Truth is that the new cars beat the old ones. Last year I spent too much time studying crash data and tests in comparison of old and new and found that "detroit iron" as to body-crash integrity was a myth. Some comparison tests are readily available on youtube.

In 25,35, 45 MPH crashes the occupants of the old cars died whereas the occupants of the new cars did not. The difference in the cars is this: Old car, all components are rigid and fixed; in new cars the cabin is rigid and everywhere else is soft to absorb shock. They are not flimsy in the flimsy sense; frames are designed to let the engines slide downwards instead of straight back into the passenger compartment; suspensions are designed to let tires become an integral part of shock absorption.

Volvo and Mercedes were the pioneers of safety in design the elements of which eventually found their way into the labs of other carmakers as safety laws evolved. My own mother walked away from a collision in our 1966 Mercedes which left her with a concussion and the car totaled, with crumpled steel all the way from the front bumper to the windshield like an accordion. In Detroit Iron cars, the metal didnt absorb shock, the passengers did; the engines and steering columns greeted the passengers abruptly and thoroughly. Supposed strength, what with those massive chromed bumpers is a myth. Rigidity is fatal.

If you want to be seen, buy an old car; if you want to stay alive buy a new one.

But this is a boat forum. The parallel is that an old car in the right hands can easily still mean death and a bad driver in a new car may still survive. Design matters, and why should anyone have to choose either/or? We need skill AND a good design for weather. Both.
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Old 25-04-2015, 16:27   #24
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Contessa 32 Assent in Fastnet 79 skippered by 23 year old Alan Ker:

The story of Alan Ker - Yachting World

The Contessa 32 is used many times to illustrate what a seaworthy boat should be:

CONTESSA 32 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
This is a reply to many of the above posts.
How can we compare boats to cars? Seems ridiculous to me.
Maybe we should also bring old/heavy Vs new/light airplanes into the discussion.
What is the marine equivalent of a tank? I want one of those!
Now amphibians.....
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Old 25-04-2015, 17:14   #25
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

Hopefully I did all of my upside-down sailing in my youth. I am rigging my dink with a mast so I might find myself there again soon.

It makes me wonder how many here have turned turtle.


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Old 25-04-2015, 18:08   #26
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

I, for one, very much appreciate this thread. Every boat thread on the site seems to devolve into, "it doesn't matter how cheaply a boat was made or for what purpose, someone is sailing one of them around the world so it just as good as any high quality boat purposefully designed for offshore or blue water sailing". My objection to this type of thinking is not just because I think it's plain wrong but it's also pragmatic. If the market does not understand the difference between a cheaply made boat designed for coastal cruising & a more expensive boat made for offshore sailing then it cannot react properly & the quality builder will not be rewarded. And so the deeply discounted, used, high quality blue water cruiser that I hope to buy in the future will not exist.
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Old 25-04-2015, 20:30   #27
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

Let's see:
(a) Design a safe boat, then fit in the "goodies" and "comforts".
(b) Design a floating hotel, then make it as "safe as can be under the circumstances".

Personally, I'll take (a).

And probably won't give the least thought to crashing old cars headon. Let's try to stay on topic. Boats.
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Old 25-04-2015, 20:46   #28
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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And probably won't give the least thought to crashing old cars headon. Let's try to stay on topic. Boats.
Ahh c'mon. What's a thread without an abrupt port tack to the south pole?
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Old 25-04-2015, 20:50   #29
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Re: Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Quite so, however, the likelihood of even a totally unstable boat ending up that way is way down in the slim to none range.

If you like to go offshore in the middle of hurricane season, sail around Cape Horn, the north Atlantic in winter, the very far north Atlantic (think Greenland, Iceland) in any season or other extreme sailing then think seriously about ultimate stability, maximum survivability, built like a tank, etc.

If you're cruising the Gulf of Mexico, US east coast, Caribbean and have enough smarts to stay out of hurricanes then would make more sense to focus on other aspects of a boat.

Comes down to pick the right tool for the job. Don't use a sledge hammer to drive a 2 penny finishing nail.

How about what happened today in Mobile Bay?


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Old 25-04-2015, 21:13   #30
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Characteristics of Offshore Yachts

I'm guessin' Skipmac doesn't spend a lot of time around the GOM.


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Edit....

I typed this a might quick Skip. Please excuse the glib nature of the post.

While the GOM has handed me my hat a few times over the decades it is not the southern ocean nor the North Atlantic.

While my Tupperware tub suits me in the gulf I am not likely to carry her hurricane hunting. Never been a real adrenalin junkie.
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