Hi, John - hope you got the email
I just sent...
I think there are some decided disadvantages of a 'sugar scoop' transom if you plan to cruise
the boat (vs. daysail it) and I'd encourage you to talk to cruisers who are using such boats to hear the pro & con.
On the typical cruising boat, the crew is small and consequently self-steering becomes a critical system...as otherwise, how will one or two people rest, eat, service
the boat or download the weather
and update the nav plan while also hand steering
. Most crews feel an autopilot
is the answer - the only answer - to this dilemma but I noticed when we stopped in the Azores
two years ago that, day after day as boats cycled thru Horta and then left again, my daily count of boats with wind
vanes spanned ratios between 66% and 90%...even smaller boats with fewer systems and smaller budgets. And wind
vanes typically don't match up well with step-thru transoms. Mfgrs are forced to claim that you can offset their vanes because they don't want to lose out on that portion of the market...but when I talk to them privately, they don't really feel all the good about making those claims. So one dilemma is how to retain the option of a vane if initially considering boats with step-thru transoms.
Another big issue if comments on some of these BB's are any indication is the noise
factor when the boat's layout puts the larger berth in the aft cabin
or quarter cabin
while wind driven chop works on the aft end of the boat, splashing noisily and relentlessly. With some boats, this can drive the owners right out of the cabin.
Also, there is the issue of internal volume as a boat with a conventional transom and the lazarette locker typically placed just forward of the transom will have a great amount of storage
available than with a step-thru transom. Weight in the ends of the boat isn't a great idea but there are a host of bulky things that aren't terribly heavy and yet need a home; on cruising boats, this is especially true. Not only does a step-thru transom reduce the internal volume for storage
(all other aspects of the design being equal) but it typically reduces the size of the locker door(s), meaning that a deflated dink can't live there even tho' that's where you might want to put it before putting out to sea.
Don't overlook the fact that there is a midway option, which you see frequently with closed transom boats: a stainless tube & wooden slatted platform, anchored on the transom just above the waterline, usually hinged so it can be raised to lie adjacent to the transom. A common addition to such a platform is a hinged, collapsable extension ladder of sorts (stocked in most marine
chandelries) that allows one to reboard the platform. Access to the cockpit OVER the transom is not as convenient as with a step-thru transom, but this approach does provide some of the conveniences of an open transom and is simple and relatively inexpensive to set up.