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Old 23-08-2016, 11:40   #1
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Blue water yacht, size versus type

Hello, I keel following threads about ocean going possibilities of newer production boats and have a slightly different twist on the problem.
I understand that the advantages of "classic" ocean going boats: stronger rigging, full keel etc. On the other hands it is often said that it is size that matters a LOT in the seaworthiness of the boat. It seems to me that the same money, let say 100-150k can buy significantly bigger production boat. Would 50 ft Beneteau be still less seaworthy than 38 Island Packet, Tayana or Tartan?
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:17   #2
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

I would prefer the 12 foot bigger boat. Its a huuuugggge size difference not only in how it goes at sea but liveability.

A Bene 50 is a substantial boat!
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:23   #3
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

I look at it like a car, if you arent comfortable with a larger vehicle and the size has made everything much harder to do, you may not be "safer". "Sea worthy" is really you + boat.
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:24   #4
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

Size is a comfort/speed advantage. Not so sure about safety.
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:31   #5
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

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Size is a comfort/speed advantage. Not so sure about safety.
I think to an extent size matters for safety - good rested crew = better functioning crew. Speed is also a nice inherent safety benefit - we can avg good speed without pushing the limits.

I think manufacturers/designers have the volume luxury of better crash bulkheads, more bilge pumps, better placement of batteries. I don't think there's a huge safety margin to be gained beyond a certain size, but I'd rather go to sea in a 35ft+.
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Old 23-08-2016, 13:48   #6
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

After the infamous Fastnet race in 79 they looked into this and concluded that boats around 40 feet had fared the best.
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Old 23-08-2016, 14:24   #7
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

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After the infamous Fastnet race in 79 they looked into this and concluded that boats around 40 feet had fared the best.
Not questioning the safety, but IIRC, the larger boats, due to starting time and higher speed, actually avoided the storm...
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Old 23-08-2016, 14:26   #8
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

For the same money the 50' is going to be safer than almost any 40'. There are a lot of reasons for it, but the biggest is that the necessary wave size to capsize a boat is related to her beam, not weight.

This of course ignores two things:
1) special circumstances like needing an ice rated vessel where if it isn't rated for something your toast no matter what size she is.
2) if the larger vessel is so poorly built that major components fall off in the sea state. But the likelyhood of this actually occurring is vanishingly small for any modern build.
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Old 23-08-2016, 14:34   #9
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

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For the same money the 50' is going to be safer than almost any 40'. There are a lot of reasons for it, but the biggest is that the necessary wave size to capsize a boat is related to her beam, not weight.

This of course ignores two things:
1) special circumstances like needing an ice rated vessel where if it isn't rated for something your toast no matter what size she is.
2) if the larger vessel is so poorly built that major components fall off in the sea state. But the likelyhood of this actually occurring is vanishingly small for any modern build.
This hits all the nails on their heads.

Size is a tremendous benefit to safety. On top of being harder to capsize, faster, less likely to be swept with green water -- I am surprised no one has mentioned the most important factor of all, the fact that they are harder to fall off of. MOB is the main killer of sailors, so this is a really important benefit.

Unlike some, I have nothing against Beneteaus, but I would avoid the B50, which is pretty notorious for build quality problems, particularly, structural problems, including rudders. You'd be better off with other Bene (or Jenn) models around that size.
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Old 23-08-2016, 15:25   #10
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

I've been on the ocean for many years, from ships to fishing schooners. Given equal soundness, I have always found the bigger boat to give a better ride, safer, etc.
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Old 23-08-2016, 15:58   #11
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

Interesting, I haven't thought of this ... my wife's next logical argument is going to be that for the price will of a 50 plus refit we can get a nice 40 cat...

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Old 23-08-2016, 16:06   #12
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

Well,yes,no arguments against all posted above ;however the forces generated by the larger size craft require larger crew and there will be difficulties that a smaller handy craft can be dealt with by dint of man power alone. After all most cruisers are short-handed and when the prop hits the poop and your intrepid crew is thinking divorce if she doesn't die first, the bigger boat may very well be too much for the diminished crew.
If the readers cannot think of many examples to illustrate this point, one can just keep sailing in both large and small boats and then come back here and tell us their ("almost true") stories.

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Old 23-08-2016, 16:23   #13
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

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Originally Posted by mrohr View Post
Well,yes,no arguments against all posted above ;however the forces generated by the larger size craft require larger crew and there will be difficulties that a smaller handy craft can be dealt with by dint of man power alone. After all most cruisers are short-handed and when the prop hits the poop and your intrepid crew is thinking divorce if she doesn't die first, the bigger boat may very well be too much for the diminished crew.
If the readers cannot think of many examples to illustrate this point, one can just keep sailing in both large and small boats and then come back here and tell us their ("almost true") stories.

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I agree, but the threshold is far larger than most people think. Up to around 60' there is nothing that really can't be done by just two people easily. At least if you have a reasonable deck layout and sail handeling gear.
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Old 23-08-2016, 18:19   #14
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

50'-60'?
Then it boils down to money.
In a perfect world we would all sail big boats in comfort and in safety.
A modern and well equipped 50' mono hull, $350-$400k.
A modern and well equipped 60' mono, $550-$700K
A 40', $200k
A 35', $120k
A 30' $75K.

Half price or more of the above when 25 years or older.

It is all about money. Go now, go small or sell the kids in slavery and go big
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Old 23-08-2016, 21:23   #15
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Re: Blue water yacht, size versus type

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I agree, but the threshold is far larger than most people think. Up to around 60' there is nothing that really can't be done by just two people easily. At least if you have a reasonable deck layout and sail handeling gear.
Yes, as long as everything works perfectly thou it takes a bit more time with bigger boat do things. But just one mainsail car jammed at the wrong time can change situations much worse..
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