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Old 23-11-2008, 16:35   #16
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I chose a smaller but heavy displacement, full keel boat.

1. I did not want to be overpowered absent mechanical aids (electric winches, etc.). Complex systems are more prone to failure. I wanted the ability to singlehand the boat.

2. I wanted a boat that's easily to get underway. Alot of the sailing I will do will be from 4-5 hours to three days in duration. I wanted to be able to hoist sails and go, without the hassle of getting a 50 footer off a mooring in a crowded harbor.

3. I elected to pay more for a boat with basic systems in "as new" condition. I hope this will save me money in the long run, but I'm probably just kidding myself.

If I get knocked down, it's my fault, not the boat.
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Old 23-11-2008, 17:28   #17
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Thanks everyone for their input. I will put together some comparitve numbers re displacement to cost ratios just for grins. If it turns out to be useful I will post it.
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Old 23-11-2008, 17:51   #18
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I would always choose the smallest boat I could get away with over the largest i could afford.
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Old 23-11-2008, 18:06   #19
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Tell that to a ping pong ball

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Larger boats are inherently very much safer than smaller ones from a sea keeping point of view. This very obviously so once one gets to beyond 40 - 45 foot. Hunt out the statistics for knock downs and abandonments in the likes of the 1979 Fastnet, the 1984 Sydney-Hobart, and the 1998 Sydney-Hobart and you will see the far greater vulnerability of smaller sail boats compared to larger ones (albeit those examples in a race situation), especially when it comes to knock downs and abandonments.
This is not true, as I understand naval architecture. A larger boat is relatively less likely to be capsized through wave action (it simply takes a larger breaking wave, which is relatively less likely), but a knock-down or broach is directly related to sail area and wind, not directly to boat length. (Although yes, I know, there is a resistance factor related to length, it is simply not a large percentage of the ultimate stability moment.)

The sail area, however does not [usually] increase linearly with the length of vessels. So, relatively speaking, a larger vessel is less likely to be knocked down in similar wind strengths while a linear increase should have the same likelihood.
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Old 23-11-2008, 20:57   #20
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Tell that to a ping pong ball

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This is not true, as I understand naval architecture. A larger boat is relatively less likely to be capsized through wave action (it simply takes a larger breaking wave, which is relatively less likely), but a knock-down or broach is directly related to sail area and wind, not directly to boat length. (Although yes, I know, there is a resistance factor related to length, it is simply not a large percentage of the ultimate stability moment.)

The sail area, however does not [usually] increase linearly with the length of vessels. So, relatively speaking, a larger vessel is less likely to be knocked down in similar wind strengths while a linear increase should have the same likelihood.
Well you can go sailing in your safe ping pong ball and I'll stick to larger vesselss. In point of fact, if I can suggest this, you might find a barrel, which by the way is bigger than a ping pong ball, both much more comfy and safer .

I think your naval architecture may need some polishing up but I note you then go on to severely qualify your claims reagrding large sail boats being as prone to knock downs as small ones .

While a smaller sail boat can be knocked down by sail pressure alone that is very unlikely to be the case in larger vessels - Joli has already said "A big boat stands up to it's canvas better than a small boat" and that is so - in other than small cruising boats knock downs are predominantly due to wave action (the term knock down is applied to both wind and wave action taking the mast to horizontal or below).

I recognise though that even very large internally ballasted vessels can be knocked down through carrying too much sail combined with wave action (which may be a broach initiated by large seas), the clippers being a good example of that but that when carrying very large presses of sail not typical of cruising yachts practice.

Following up on Joli's comment regarding standing up to sail, one will also find large cruising sail boats (and large ocean race ones too which will carry spinnakers up into gale force winds through the Southern Ocean) reefing at much higher wind velocities than smaller ones. If you can find some video on the internet of the large boats in the Whitbread Round the World races where the race boats were not of as extreme race type as today (and some have gone on to be converted to cruising vessels) you will see the very large sail areas they could stand up to in very heavy conditions in the Southern Ocean. I will concede that they had very strong crews but the sail areas carried are impressive and the boats could stand them.

Most knockdowns of cruising vessels of dangerous concern occur while under very small sail areas or none at all in heavy seas so are mostly caused by wave action unable to be resisted by the stability of the hull (which is closely related to displacement and its distribution). Size (displacement) matters, that is why an ocean going cruise liner has no concerns whatsoever of being knocked down and capsizing from wave action even in very large seas, while in the same seas a 30 foot displacement power boat, no matter of what seaworthy design and with GZ and displacment in whatever proportion, would have great concern over its safety.

Just as another example, one will find that in standards the larger the sail boat the smaller the Angle of Vanishing Stability allowed - that because of the greater inherent ability of larger vessels to stand up to conditions that may result in a knock down.
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Old 23-11-2008, 21:53   #21
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Making broad generalizations such as "bigger boats are safer" is simply not true. On an occasion I was involved in there were three different boats of less than 20' in length - a 49er, a Lightning 19, and my Benford 18' gaff catboat - in a squall off West Point near Seattle.

The Lightning capsized violently, losing her centreboard. The 49er capsized repeatedly; the third time carrying her crew up and over in a 180 as they tried to right her. I had trouble getting my stupid jib in, but reefed my main down to about the same amount of area as the Lightning carried and sailed on. It wasn't the size of the boats, and it sure wasn't the sail area (I had about twice as much sail up to begin with), but it was the ultimate stability and the displacement.

Racing dinghies are not that different from the extreme race boats. It takes a very specialized crew to keep the right side up with their sail areas, and they don't always succeed. In fact, if you were to compare the number of, say, open 60s ever built with the number which have capsized, I think you'd find the ratio would suggest bigger boats are less safe. But those are extreme boats.

The number of small cruising boats built versus the number which have capsized would probably look pretty good, for equally bogus reasons. Fewer of them are in conditions which might induce a knock-down. Most of 'em probably rarely leave the dock.

Still, the number of reports of knock downs here on this board seems pretty randomly distributed - very few from big boats, but there are very few big boats, and a few in the smaller boats, but there are dramatically more smaller boats involved. If small boats were so much less safe you wouldn't hear of any big boats getting knocked down, but almost all the small boats would have been.
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Old 24-11-2008, 03:17   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
Making broad generalizations such as "bigger boats are safer" is simply not true. On an occasion I was involved in there were three different boats of less than 20' in length - a 49er, a Lightning 19, and my Benford 18' gaff catboat - in a squall off West Point near Seattle.

The Lightning capsized violently, losing her centreboard. The 49er capsized repeatedly; the third time carrying her crew up and over in a 180 as they tried to right her. I had trouble getting my stupid jib in, but reefed my main down to about the same amount of area as the Lightning carried and sailed on. It wasn't the size of the boats, and it sure wasn't the sail area (I had about twice as much sail up to begin with), but it was the ultimate stability and the displacement.
I don't think anyone is senseless enough to interpret any comment I made about bigger boats being safer as meaning, for example, some crappy 50 footer designed by some imbecile was in my mind safer than a 35 footer designed by a competent yacht designer . There are, of course, always exceptions.

Regarding your examples, those are all little non fixed ballasted boats either dinghies or little more than dinghies, and all very different styles of boat, that you are comparing against each other and nothing to do with comparing 50-60 foot cruising boats against smaller ones as the original poster raised his question about.

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Originally Posted by Amgine View Post
Racing dinghies are not that different from the extreme race boats. It takes a very specialized crew to keep the right side up with their sail areas, and they don't always succeed. In fact, if you were to compare the number of, say, open 60s ever built with the number which have capsized, I think you'd find the ratio would suggest bigger boats are less safe. But those are extreme boats.


If you reread my posts you will see that I was very careful to refer to cruising vessels. I think it is obvious that race boats may, and sometimes do, go to the extremes in matters that may affect their ability to defend against knockdowns (stability, initial stability, sail area, sail plan, design compromises to meet rules, etc), sometimes on purpose and sometimes unintentionally, in order to meet priorities of speed or rating.

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The number of small cruising boats built versus the number which have capsized would probably look pretty good, for equally bogus reasons. Fewer of them are in conditions which might induce a knock-down. Most of 'em probably rarely leave the dock.
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Still, the number of reports of knock downs here on this board seems pretty randomly distributed - very few from big boats, but there are very few big boats, and a few in the smaller boats, but there are dramatically more smaller boats involved. If small boats were so much less safe you wouldn't hear of any big boats getting knocked down, but almost all the small boats would have been.
Not sure what all that means except to deliver a message that you have made up your mind. Furthermore, it and the dinghy type comparision examples you gave above indicate to me that you either do not understand the issues or are just trying to put matters at large by muddying the waters with examples which are entirely irrelevant to what has been said. So best I leave it at that and not respond to any further comment you may make on this topic.
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Old 24-11-2008, 03:23   #23
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How about something middle size... not too small and not too big - 30s?
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Old 24-11-2008, 04:27   #24
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Smaller Sometimes better

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I agree with svBeBe....I haven’t met anyone who wants a smaller boat...and I've met lots who would go bigger if the $$$ gods allowed.
I'm one who preferred smaller. Had a Morgan Classic 41 and while it was super, it was too much for me. I admit I'm still a relatively green sailer but the added cost of hauling, a slip, manuvering in close made the decision a lot easier to go to the Morgan OI 30 we now enjoy. Of couse we are not doing a liveaboard and I realize that does make a difference, if you have the cash...go big.
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Old 24-11-2008, 05:05   #25
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Regarding sail carrying ability, a couple of examples;

Upwind, our current boat can carry the #1 and full crew to about 17 to 18 with 11 or so upwind boatspeed at 28 app. Our smaller boats were at a #3 and full main (traveller down, max twist, full crew hiking hard) with that ws across the deck. When my wife and I cruise the big boat we back down to the #3 (not as quick in the light stuff) but we still carry it to 30 or so across the deck. One sail covers a huge wind range, we could not do that with our smaller boats.

Downwind, with higher boat speeds and longer waterline we can easily carry more sail since the boat unloads, ie app wind is lower. On our smaller boats the most we could carry kites was in the low to mid 40's, at that ws we tended to drive the bow down and you would soon find the back of the boat trying to pass the front of the boat. (you knew it was time to back down when the pulpit was being drivin under)

Waterline and weight makes bigger breezes easier to deal with and the range of sail carrying ability expands. If you haven't sailed larger boats it is hard to describe. A mathmatical explanation can be reviewed in Skenes Elements of Yacht Design.
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Old 24-11-2008, 05:06   #26
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In the grand scheme of things, a "big" boat looks pretty much the same as a "little" boat once you leave the dock and are sitting out there in there in the middle of the ocean. I would suggest that the only reason a "big" boat might be safer is primarily because it spends more time at the dock getting ready to go somewhere since it's got so very many more things to fix and maintain. I don't hink I've ever heard the phrase "Go simple, go large!". That's just my humble opinion as the owner of a 28-foot cutter that I would trust to go anywhere.
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Old 24-11-2008, 05:12   #27
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My father in law cruised the Caribbean for many years, when he swallowed the anchor we sat and enjoyed a beer and chatted. I asked him what he would have done differently if the could have a do over. His answer: "50 foot".
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Old 24-11-2008, 05:16   #28
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I don't think anyone said that. The thread question was big boat versus small, I take that to mean what are the plusses and minuses of each.

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In the grand scheme of things, a "big" boat looks pretty much the same as a "little" boat once you leave the dock and are sitting out there in there in the middle of the ocean. I would suggest that the only reason a "big" boat might be safer is primarily because it spends more time at the dock getting ready to go somewhere since it's got so very many more things to fix and maintain. I don't hink I've ever heard the phrase "Go simple, go large!". That's just my humble opinion as the owner of a 28-foot cutter that I would trust to go anywhere.
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Old 24-11-2008, 06:00   #29
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I can not understand why big boats have such a bad reputation! They are worth the extra because they have extra!
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Old 24-11-2008, 06:09   #30
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I went smaller:

Previous boat was a 44' Bermuda Racer, present boat 33' heavy cruiser.

The 33 is perfect for my use here and now, but should my situation change and the bank account allow for it, I would go bigger in a heart-beat.

Bigger is faster, more stable in windy conditions due to mass and weight.
Also roomier and more expensive to run, maintain and for dockage.

(Buying a cruising permit to the Bahamas cost $150.00 for boats 35' and under, $300.00 for 36' and over..Having been there 25 times, the cost would have been $3,750.00 for a bigger boat..)

What was the question again?
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