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Old 08-08-2003, 23:27   #1
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Canoe Stern or ?

I have fallen in love with the canoe stern. I don't have a boat but am looking. I am told the canoe stern is better at taking following waves.
I would appreciate any and all opinions..


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Old 08-09-2003, 14:54   #2
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Lots of opinion on this one out there you'll find

In my opinion, canoe sterns do indeed part following waves more fortuitously, however you have to remember you'll be in a TERRIBLE sea state at that point if you are cruising!

Considering that, if I was buying a coastal cruiser I would geta transom stern for the extra space. It is important though, to note, that if you wanted an outboard rudder (which I definitely do want) a transom stern will make a following sea even more dangerous by threatening the rudder. A double pointer doesn't have as much to worry from that.

That being said, our next boat is a double pointy, but we intend on going to very cold and inhospitable places.


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Old 24-09-2003, 09:26   #3
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There are two types of "pointed" transoms: Norwegian pilot boat hull form, and canoe stern...The Norwegian is generally accepted, to my undertstanding, as being "wider", more rounded and less "pointed" and carrying more buoyancy,.The canoe stern, narrower, nearly the same shape as the bow, with less buoyancy... With that stated, most people do call them all "Canoe Sterns" or simply "Double Enders"....But, when it come to choosing one, in my opinion the Norwegian is superior, depending on size of the boat and some other variables. But, we are discussing 'cruising" sized boats.

The Westsail 32 is an example of a copy of the Norwegian pilot boat (designed around 1900 by Colin Archer). The first “redningskoites,”( Norwegian Pilot Boats) 47’ long, were used to transfer port pilots out to visiting vessels. On the return voyage the skipper had to singlehand these boats, so manageability, and ability to go astern well were very important features. Anyway, thats how they started on bigger small boats.... (Canoes, VIKING ships etc.., I don't consider "bigger small" boats, but if you do please please excuse me)

The "splitting" of following seas, or such is generally understood today to not be better in many boat designs, and generally speaking, on a "pointy ended" boat you lose the 'lift' to the following sea which is most often more important to not being poop than is "splitting" following seas...(water tank tests etc.., tech methods of testing that used today that did not exist)...Buoyancy is sacraficed in most "pointy ended" designs, and buoyansy is considered by many to be of paramount importance ...This isn't to speak agianst the design: To the contrary, the double ended sailboat, given a long enough keel, is a sea kindly hull form that has a well balanced helm, and is easy for one person to sail...some of my favorite boats (Crealock 37, Tayana 37 and others) sport the norwiegien stern...Just to point out there are some sacrafices to keep in mind, and it is not accepted by most as an inherently better stern design, except for those who own one and have never owned another style transomed boat...I know I thought it was better when I had a double ender...until later when I bought a boat without a pointed stern and sailed it offshore..."Hey this works as good, maybe better"....I wouldn't buy a boat just becuase it had a pointy end, nor not buy it because it did...

A well designed stern, is what is important, no matter if "pointy" or not...To nature, of course, they are all but moving, floating objects; she treats them all equally and consistently, if not simply. If we know the principles that apply to one, we can, with some modification, apply them to the other. Hope this helps some...What it boils down to in my humble opinion is, if you like the looks of a "pointy ended" boat and that is the reason you want to get one, go for it..All thing being equal, if you are getting it for the reason that it is a better sea boat, or, safer because it has two pointy ends, reconsider.
I'm counting up what I've got to show for all these years afloat
a dog eared passport, a weathered face, a tired old boat
a yarn or two that might be true and a couple of battle scars
days of sparkling waters, nights of falling stars

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I've got phographs, I've got memories, but mostly I've got friends

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Old 24-09-2003, 18:00   #4
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To a great extent the canoe sterns and double-enders that we see today are an affection that really has little bearing on how the boat behaves in a following sea. When you look at surf boats they were truely double ended with sterns that were literally shaped like the bow.

Even Bob Perry sas that the modern canoe stern on designs such as the Tayana 37 and Valiant 40 are really only styling devices. The Westsail 32 is an adaptation of the Atkins Eric which is a pretty loose translation of the Colin Archer type. The Atkins Ingrid (Alejuela 37) has a more accurate rendition of the Colin Archer stern.

The canoe sterns found on Colin Archer type boats bore little relationship to its seaworthiness. The redningskoites were used as pilot boats but were primarily designed as rescue boats. The rounded transom allowed lines to be towed without catching on the corners of the transom. With all due repect to bradbarrett, these boats were required pretty large crews to handle them especially in heavy going. I suspect that Brad may be confusing redningskoites with Bristol Channel Cutters which were intended as pilot boats and which typically were sailed by a man and a boy after the pilot was dropped.

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Old 24-09-2003, 19:43   #5
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This will be a long post, but we must begin at the beginning.

First, Jeff I really don't disagree with your post at all, but let me clarify mine. No, I am not speaking of channel cutters. My understand of the original Bristol Channel Pilot Cutters was gaff-rigged cutters about 45 feet in length, which were used to ferry pilots to ships entering the Bristol Channel. They were not double enders, and always had crew owing to the rig...

Colin Archer is world known for the Norwegian double enders used as pilot boats and rescue boats used in Scandinavia and Russia. Colin archer also designed double enders as yachts. These are of lighter displacement and fast sailing boats but equally seaworthy as the workboats. I possibly should not have used the words "Redning Skoites" Because many people translate that as only "rescue boat", but it actually has a bigger meaning to the understanding I grew up with...While your understanding that Redningskoites where used for rescue is very true, the name "hjelpe skipet" in Norwegian, actually means "rescue boat"... "Redning" (Redning Skoites is actually two words) can and does mean rescue too, but also has the meaning salvage, salvation, and to deliver or delivering... all work for rescue, but also for one delivering....So perchance I shouldn't have used the words but, if you'll grant me the semantics, I'll continue.

As I am sure you very well know, Colin Archer built many other double enders long ( two decades) before his "rescue boats".

Around the year 1870, a lot of pilot boats were lost at sea. This was the reason why Colin Archer designed a boat that should make piloting more secure. She was named ‘Minnie’. The pilots praised the ship for it’s manoeuvrability and seaworthiness, but Colin Archer was not pleased. A year later he built the ‘Thor’.( My Son Is named THOR, after his great Grandfather L.Thorvald Hanson ) I digress....This ship was the prototype for the pilot boats to follow and be the most coveted. I think Colin Archer built all his ships according to the understanding at the time of the ‘wave line principle’, the theory developed by the British engineer John Scott Russell. According to this theory there are two kinds of waves when a vessel moves through the water, one at the bow and one at the back of the ship. To reduce the resistance, the ship should be built according to these two types of waves. These pilot boats were in the 47' range and double ended...Some 20 years later, In 1891 , THE 'RS1 COLIN ARCHER' RESCUE CUTTER was designed . "Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning,"NSSR ("The Norwegian Society for Sea Rescue") was founded. A year later Colin Archer built the first rescue cutter. The result was another double-ender with a continuous deck. The length was 47 feet, the same as many of his pilot boats, and his YACHTS!!! Yes, he built yachts before working boats...In 1867 he built his first yacht, ‘Maggie’, and she was in the Archer family for years. Other known pleasure yachts built by Colin Archer is "Venus" and ‘Storegut’ (I LOVE that name), built for Wilhelm Wolf who won a lot of prizes with the yacht. Colin Archer built 70 yachts in total, most before many working boats... Anyway, At the launch in late July 1893 the ship was called after its designer, and 'RS1 Colin Archer' proved convincingly during her first season and became the prototype for every rescue cutter built in Norway over the next 30 years. After 40 years of loyal service, the prototype was sold. The ship had an impressive record: She had saved 67 ships, 236 people as well as assisting 1522 vessels carrying some 4500 crew.

So Jeff, while it is true Colin Archer built rescue boats, long before that he built pilot boats...

My great grand father, Otto Nasalund, was a pilot in the "old country", and I grew up listening to his stories, and no one will convince me he exaggerated!
Sailors don't do that do they....He used a Colin Archer designed double ender that he refered to as a "redningskoites", name "Elsa Elizibeth", as a pilot boat, returning alone or with his "boy" thousands of times, and never using his own boat as a rescue vessel...the NSSR's boats were very similar to the pilot boats, probably because boats had to serve multipurposes then...In the 1930’s the Redningskoite was scaled down to 32’ by William Atkin and many erics and thistles, as you well know, followed...the rest is, as they say, history...

I normally don't engage in "techincal" discussions, because there are so many variables, and so many different yet correct answers...I leave them most often to you, and John Drake and others with possibly more knowledge.....Many of those questions are like asking "What's the best wife" to me...But, I jumped on this one because it brought back memorys of a grizzled old man with an almost impossible to understand scandinavian accent that was always yelling because he seemed to think that if he couldn't hear, niether could anyone else! ... and his easy laugh, and the smell of his pipe....and his stories that caused me to lust after the sea....

With equal Respect,
I'm counting up what I've got to show for all these years afloat
a dog eared passport, a weathered face, a tired old boat
a yarn or two that might be true and a couple of battle scars
days of sparkling waters, nights of falling stars

I've got seashells, I've got souvenirs, I've got songs I've penned
I've got phographs, I've got memories, but mostly I've got friends

See the Faithful...
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Old 26-09-2003, 14:29   #6
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I've a Hans Christian 33' with a full-ish keel, double-ended, and a barn door rudder. She's been from Vancouver to Mexico, Mexico to Hawaii, and Hawaii to Washington, in good to atrocious weather. The canoe stern does make a big difference in following seas, but I'd go with wheel steering for offshore sailing - more leverage on the rudder, and following seas aren't quite as scary as when holding the stick! I'm retiring next fall, and moving aboard. Well, that's my lie and I'm sticking to it. Good luck with your research!
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Old 14-10-2003, 17:46   #7
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I have made passages in a boat with a counter stern, and in a boat with a canoe stern. I don't think it makes much difference to seaworthiness. The pointier the end, the lower the maximum speed potential. as the buttocks are usually steeper in a pointy-ended boat. That's just my opinion, of course. After 30,000 miles of sailing offshore. Ar ar
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Old 20-11-2003, 10:22   #8
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following sea...

I recall reading an on-line log of a sailors trip from the ABC islands to Cartahena, his sailboat had a big flat, cutoff stern, and he commented on the huge following seas which would overtake the boat and slam the stern with great force.

But given the number of times a sailboat will be in that sea condition, choosing a stern shape based on that criteria alone might not be valid.

I like the appearance of a canoe stern as well.

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Old 18-03-2010, 12:29   #9
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Norwegean VS Transom Stern

One consideration that might be interesting...

While I agree that boyancy is good, lack of reserve boyancy in one part of the boat is not necessarily bad. It affects the motion and may have tradeoffs, but lack of reserve boyancy in the stern does not mean lack of seaworthiness.

The additional reserve boyancy in the stern of the transom boat will cause it to rise more quickly to a following wave.

This might keep the cockpit drier, however, it will also contribute to the boat rocking heavily. The sudden lift due to more reserve boyancy aft could cause the hull to work more in a seaway, putting more strain on the boat amidships.

While I don't believe that a well made cruiser would be in much danger due to this working, I also don't believe that the norwegian form is any less safe, and it would have the advantage of producing a slightly smoother motion, a slightly slower lift to the following seas.

There have been plenty of transom stern boats that have experienced cracking due to the hull "working" which lead to leaks around their fin keels, however, this probably would not be a problem with a full keel boat.

I have also personally experienced (and been astonished by) one other advantage of the Norwegian hull form...the ability for the boat to maintain a course when the tiller is released. My traveller 32 does this to an amazing degree, more than any other boat I have sailed. I believe that due to the totally unbalanced rudder and the sweep of water along the hull being directed back to the rudder, the overall affect is to create significant resistance to turning for this boat.

It exaggerates the difficulty of steering the boat in tight quarters, but it makes it very relaxing to sail (or motor) out in the open water.

Fun discussion...
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Old 18-03-2010, 12:38   #10
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Transom vs Norwegean Hull

Oops, I forgot one other point.

Structurally, a norwegian hull form is basically 1/2 of a tube, with the ends squished together. There is one line through the centerline of the hull, every other part of the hull is a smooth curve.

If there were a seam, it would be down the middle of the boat, and there would be only one.

With a transom stern hull, there would be three. The seam from stem to bottom of the transom, then each seam going from the point up to the deck on each side, in the form of a curvy Y.

This is not as strong a structure, and does not distribute stress as evenly. Structurally, a transom is a natural weakness that does not exist in the Norwegian form.

It doesn't mean that transom stern boats are weaker, it just means that the construction needs to be beefed up in these areas, and they become places where incorrect construction could lead to problems.

In saying this, I am not saying that transom sterns are inferior. In every design consideration for boats, there are trade-offs. This is simply one of the trade-offs.
As someone else posted, transom sterns are inherently faster than most norwegian sterns.

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