Originally Posted by DumnMad
There has not been much said about hull shape, particularly with respect to following seas. I'm a bit new to all this but I thought a broad stern (looks pretty OK on the right shape) was not so good for large following seas?
I think it depends on a lot of things. I had a nightmare trip down in the Southern Ocean once on a 52' steel
yacht with a wide bum and a small rudder
(and a long keel - quite traditional underbody).
There were six of us onboard and I was the only one who could navigate, and the satnav was playing silly buggers, and one by one the other members of the crew either succumbed to terminal seasickness or found themselves chronically unable to steer within 30 degrees of our course, which was a broad reach.
We had to scrape past Bristow Rocks (notorious for ripping the guts out of sailing ships) in order to have any prospect of laying Port Ross on Auckland
Islands, otherwise we were likely (in a building westerly) to end up having to run off for several days towing warps, and maybe take a week to get back.
And so for about the last six hours I'm left in charge, trying to navigate with the sodden chart on my knee while steering
this recalcitrant pig with the other hand. The only surviving crewmember, his face waxy pale, would hover sporadically in the companionway
peering up at me like Banquo's ghost, intoning "Beware the Bristow Rocks" in an unhelpfully lugubrious and unsettling tone.
I always feel a certain degree of impish delight when I hear people making unqualified blanket assertions about the merits of full keels and protected rudders, and how easy they make it to steer a boat.
Having said that, the more extreme IOR boats of that era (early 80s) had tiny wee bums, and despite big deep rudders were equally nightmarish going downwind in a breeze or worse.
On the other hand, a very modern, wedge shaped boat, with almost no rocker, waterline beam nearly the same as beam on deck, and really deep, efficient rudders, situated and splayed out towards the corners (one of which will be ideally placed, and biting deep, when the boat is trying to broach), can be a delight to steer in big stuff downwind provided the crew are alert and competent. They can even be left to the tender
mercies of a really fancy autopilot
, and in single handed long distance racing, they generally are ...
even in what most cruisers would consider borderline conditions, especially for the amount of sail they're carrying.
However those rudders are very vulnerable because there's nothing ahead of them to take impacts. A cruising boat with twin rudders should (IMHO) have transom mounted, kick-up units, (or at least carry a spare or two, which can be built into the joinery, even used as doors - the pintles come in dead handy for this.)
Neither of these answers helps much when you're trying to assess a Beneteau
But I hope it does suggest that the question (like pretty much all questions in a thread like this) has no simple answers.
If there's any remotely useful generalisation I can think to offer, it's that any
boat which prioritises comfort (and volume of accomodation) is likely to be a handful in these conditions.