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Old 30-01-2013, 21:29   #1
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D/L Ratio Questions for Cruising Boat

Hey All,

Still looking for the ideal cruising boat as we plan our escape from Southern California. The goal now is to sail across the Pacific to French Polynesia and eventually circumnavigate the Pacific a la Hal Roth and I'm sure many others.

I should note that I've always been a seat of the pants type and have little knowledge of non-dimensional figures like D/L ratio but I do know that, while a heavy boat my be a slug in light airs, it's not going to get tossed around the way a light boat would be in bigger seas.

We're looking for a CC in the 45-50 foot range (bumped up from a former max length of 46 feet) and have really taken to the idea of a deck salon. If we can find a used Oyster we can afford, that might be the ticket.

Anyway, the Oysters and other cruising boats we've looked at tend to have D/L ratios between say 240 and 280+, which - based on my reading - seems to be a solid compromise between stability and speed. I'm not really interested in a full keel, long overhang design. A close friend owns a Mason 44 and, while it's beautiful, it's really not very maneuverable and is something of a chore to day sail or enjoy in light airs.

While surfing the web the other day, we came upon the new Elan Impression 494, which is beautiful, a heck of a lot more affordable than an Oyster - we could buy it new - and includes the option of bunk/passage births right by the companionway, which would work well for us on passage.

The boat was designed by Rob Humphreys, who does the new Oysters, and is recommended for bluewater cruising. It's got plenty of tankage, decent handholds and the option for a full, closed transom instead of a gate/swim platform. I was shocked, however, when I did the D/L calculation to see the boat comes in at an ultra-light 155!

Can anyone shed some light on this? Is Elan full of BS when they say the boat will be comfortable in a seaway? Is the "bluewater" moniker just marketing hype from a company that knows full well that 99% of their customers will only day sail the boat? I may be able to test sail the boat but there's really no way to know how it'll behave in heavy seas or a big swell.

I'd rather not fixate on the Elan 494 specifically, as I'm more interested in the value of D/L ratio for bluewater use in general.

Is there a legitimate "lighter is better" school of thought?

Thanks,
CCR
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Old 30-01-2013, 21:47   #2
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Yeah. There is that school of thought. But we get out shouted by those with more displacement.

I think my light boat is more stable than any heavy displacement boat of comparable service. No overhangs greatly reduces pitching both at anchor and at sea. Narrow beam reduces rolling and the influence of waves. Good light air performance reduces need for motoring. Good speed in weather reduces apparent wind and exposure time. Superb hull design gives balance and light controls. Smaller lighter sails, running rigging, winches, loads for equal speed.

Light displacement implies all that heavy crap that is purchased and maintained on a heavy cruiser does not exist.

Looks nothing like a condominium apartment.
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Old 30-01-2013, 21:53   #3
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Re: D/L Ratio Questions for Cruising Boat

daddle,

Are you based out of Puerto Galera or is it a temporary stop on a longer cruise? I'm asking because I haven't been there in years and am wondering if it's still as beautiful as I remember.
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Old 30-01-2013, 21:59   #4
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Originally Posted by ColdCutterRig View Post
daddle,

Are you based out of Puerto Galera or is it a temporary stop on a longer cruise? I'm asking because I haven't been there in years and am wondering if it's still as beautiful as I remember.
Yes I am based here. Plans unknown. Certainly cruising around. Hauled out in Subic now. PG doesn't look like it has changed much recently. Green mountains, islands, villages. Friendly beautiful people. But noisy with bankas. Probably more resorts now. Good active YC. Safe moorings. Good food.
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Old 30-01-2013, 22:03   #5
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Re: D/L Ratio Questions for Cruising Boat

Great. I'd love to make it back there some day - it's been twenty years. I've always wanted to sail north of Luzon and check out the islands between there and Taiwan. My grandmother was born on Batanes. Hopefully, we'll visit the RP by sailboat in the next coupla years.
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Old 31-01-2013, 04:39   #6
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Re: D/L Ratio Questions for Cruising Boat

The old DLR of high 200s for a cruiser don't really apply well to today's designs. Those were numbers when boats had a lot of overhang and the overall length was a lot more than the LWL so once the boat heeled over there was a big change in waterline. Now days the water is carried for/aft a lot more so when you do the math the DLR becomes less, but once heeled the boat has numbers a lot different.

A high DLR nowdays for a cruiser of modern design would be 200 and lots are 160-200.
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Old 31-01-2013, 06:10   #7
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Re: D/L Ratio Questions for Cruising Boat

It certainly looks like a good performance machine and with that much waterline will certainly be more comfortable than something shorter. The fuel tankage is low for a 75hp engine crusing boat. The draft is significant - only matters depending on where you are planning to cruise. Its a medium-light displacement performance cruiser. If your plans are long distance cruising and your budget is new then there's lots of boats to look at it - maybe an Ovni or an Allures.
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