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Old 31-08-2015, 17:10   #16
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

light or heavy may not be as important to me as strength and forgiving. Although sometimes they are the same boat.
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:19   #17
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Comfort is very related to the way the boat is sailed. When the admiral and kids are onboard or guests prone to seasickness I sail the boat differently than I might otherwise. It can make a real difference backing off a little on angles or turning on the iron genny when bashing, etc.
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:20   #18
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Thank you for all the replies. I'm leaning toward a heavier boat from the various posts I've read. And I also see the point about the shape of the hull. Given that I have virtually no experience at this, which boats would combine a heavier weight with a more "cutting through the water" hull design?
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Old 31-08-2015, 17:23   #19
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by Jaguar001 View Post
Thank you for all the replies. I'm leaning toward a heavier boat from the various posts I've read. And I also see the point about the shape of the hull. Given that I have virtually no experience at this, which boats would combine a heavier weight with a more "cutting through the water" hull design?
Albergs. They were Canadian designed and built on the great lakes. They are older but some have been cared for very well. The Alberg 37 might work well for you.

Of course that's just one example, but suits you're description very well.

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Old 31-08-2015, 17:29   #20
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Hello,

I happen to be one of the folks who have made the switch from heavy, traditional boats to a very light cruiser, and here are my thoughts.

First, the list of boats owned, with rough dry displacements

CT41-30,000 lbs
Tiburon (Cabo Rico) 36, 20,000 lbs
Steel Roberts 43 (40,000 lbs)
Carbon fiber custom 55 (24,000 lbs)

So, I guess I have been at both extremes now. I have sailed each of these boats offshore in the neighborhood of 10,000 miles, from about 52N to just below the equator, so a good cross section of conditions.

So, what do I think?

Light, Light, Light!!! It's really the only way to go. IF (big if) the boat is built to an acceptable standard. This is not always the case, and such boats can be a bit hard to find. If you're looking at relatively benign cruising, however, even the production models seem to do fine.

Why light?

1. First and foremost, just the simple joy of sailing. A well designed light boat will perform in conditions where all the traditional heavy boats are wallowing or motoring. On our 55, we commonly reach 10 knots of boat speed in as little as 12-13 knots of true wind with the working sails, and reaching with the spinnaker we can exceed the true wind speed by a good margin.

2. Weather forecasting (and the means to get it offshore) have improved to the point where the likelihood of getting caught out in something really nasty is much more remote than before in normal coastal cruising. Crossing oceans, well, you take your chances.

3. On those long crossings, the odds of being able to position the boat favorably are much better on a fast boat, where on a heavy one, you're much more likely to get rolled over by a system.

4. Offwind sailing on a light boat in strong conditions is much safer on a boat which will surf controllably. If a wave gets steep enough to break, our current boat just slides out away from the crest at a perfectly manageable 15-18 knots, even with the pilot steering. Any of our old boats would not do nearly so well in strong following conditions.

Now, if it gets REALLY nasty out, and one has to go to a more passive approach, the nod goes to the heavy boat, all day long. Button her up, find a way to keep the pointy end toward or away from the wind, and she'll take care of you better than a light boat.

Also, the lighter boats are less forgiving of mistakes. You do have to be more on your game than on the older style. This is not a bad thing, but it can get tiresome.

Anyway, it really all comes down to you. There's no right answer, but for cruising during the normal cruising seasons around the world, I'll take the light boat any day.

Good shopping, hope that helps a bit.

TJ
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Old 31-08-2015, 20:22   #21
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

TJ D,

You have certainly had an interesting mix of boats!

Thanks for adding your comments to the discussion.
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Old 31-08-2015, 20:24   #22
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Jim Cate,

I enjoyed reading your wise comments too!

Thanks for adding your experienced POV to the discussion.
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Old 31-08-2015, 22:07   #23
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Weight in itself does nothing good for a boat. Put weight low down in the keel and it is good, put weight in the rig and it is bad. I am also one that doesn't think that weight makes for a more comfortable ride. I've owned and cruised an Alberg 35, a J/37 and an Outbound 44. The order I listed them is the reverse order of comfort at sea, with the Alberg being the most uncomfortable by a good margin. The Alberg had long overhamngs that did nothing good for the ride and wanted to sail healed over and reefed in just about any wind. The J had a lot of initial stability, keeping it standing up in a lot of conditions. Its acceleration was maybe its downside -- but it made sailing fun, plus you could sail it with very little sail up, reducing the loads on everything and crew while still making great speed. The Outbound is decent performance, and being a stiff boat makes for the most comfortable ride. Bigger boats are, in general, more comfortable. I think that is more valid a statement than Heavier boats are more comfortable.

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Old 01-09-2015, 05:11   #24
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

A caution to the op, and this is what's wrong with advice on internet forums, you are getting a lot of advice from people who sail off shore with big boats. The boats you see in a marina on the great lakes are very different than the boats you would expect to see offshore or in the Carribean. Its not because lakes sailors are uneducated or ignorant to their own needs, its because they chose boats that suit their environment.

For example, multis are considered the cats pyjamas in the Caribean, but are virtually non existent on the lakes, because suitable facilities for cats on the lakes are rare.

A fast, light, wide 46' mono might be great for offshore sailing, but for the life of me i can't imagine why any one would want something that size for lake sailing.

I think heavy vs light style displacement will be a matter of preference. I have a heavy displacement boat which suited me well in western lake Ontario, but suits me less in the thousand islands.

One kind of boat I would definitely not want on the lakes is a big boat. Anything over 40' will severely limit where you can go.

Also remember, fresh water waves tend to be short, steep and high frequency, not big ocean rollers. Plus, you don't generally have many options on your point of sail, so there is always a lee shore and storm tactics just don't work, you can't run with a storm, you have to reef down and keep plugging into the chop until you can find a hidy hole, most of which are best suited to small vessels.

Forget about outrunning weather systems on the lakes as well, that's an offshore thing. The sailing season on the lakes is short, if you want to reach a destination, you often need to push your weather windows, meaning you're not trying to outrun dirty weather, but are knowingly going out in it.

Waves in excess of 6 meters are uncommon on the great lakes, but waves that size on the lakes are absolutely deadly on the lakes because the water isn't as dense as sea water, the waves are very steep and the frequency is very high. 2 meter seas of that shape are common and will knock a small light boat around something fierce, a small heavy boat will dampen the effect of the chop. Surfing ability matters very little.

On the other hand a fin keel type of job will point better which is also very important to lake sailing (less so on Huron where the wind and seas are usually on the beam).

My point is to buy a boat that suits your needs and preferences, not the needs and preferences of the offshore sailing community at large, because those needs and preferences may well be in conflict.


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Old 01-09-2015, 07:36   #25
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
A caution to the op, and this is what's wrong with advice on internet forums, you are getting a lot of advice from people who sail off shore with big boats. The boats you see in a marina on the great lakes are very different than the boats you would expect to see offshore or in the Carribean. Its not because lakes sailors are uneducated or ignorant to their own needs, its because they chose boats that suit their environment.

For example, multis are considered the cats pyjamas in the Caribean, but are virtually non existent on the lakes, because suitable facilities for cats on the lakes are rare.

A fast, light, wide 46' mono might be great for offshore sailing, but for the life of me i can't imagine why any one would want something that size for lake sailing.

I think heavy vs light style displacement will be a matter of preference. I have a heavy displacement boat which suited me well in western lake Ontario, but suits me less in the thousand islands.

One kind of boat I would definitely not want on the lakes is a big boat. Anything over 40' will severely limit where you can go.

Also remember, fresh water waves tend to be short, steep and high frequency, not big ocean rollers. Plus, you don't generally have many options on your point of sail, so there is always a lee shore and storm tactics just don't work, you can't run with a storm, you have to reef down and keep plugging into the chop until you can find a hidy hole, most of which are best suited to small vessels.

Forget about outrunning weather systems on the lakes as well, that's an offshore thing. The sailing season on the lakes is short, if you want to reach a destination, you often need to push your weather windows, meaning you're not trying to outrun dirty weather, but are knowingly going out in it.

Waves in excess of 6 meters are uncommon on the great lakes, but waves that size on the lakes are absolutely deadly on the lakes because the water isn't as dense as sea water, the waves are very steep and the frequency is very high. 2 meter seas of that shape are common and will knock a small light boat around something fierce, a small heavy boat will dampen the effect of the chop. Surfing ability matters very little.

On the other hand a fin keel type of job will point better which is also very important to lake sailing (less so on Huron where the wind and seas are usually on the beam).

My point is to buy a boat that suits your needs and preferences, not the needs and preferences of the offshore sailing community at large, because those needs and preferences may well be in conflict.


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Excellent post!

Very good points and advice.

Local conditions (waters, weather, etc.) should always be a consideration.
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Old 01-09-2015, 09:50   #26
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Keep in mind, most cruisers spend 95% of thier time at anchor or at dock.

The old school heavy displacement boats generally (but not always) sacrafice the 95% for the 5%. With Great Lakes Cruising, there are excelent weather forecasts and lots of places to duck into. There is no reason to be spending 12hrs bashing to windward where and old school heavy displacement boat shines. If you are 6yrs out, buy the boat that meets your current needs.

By the way, we are seeing more and more cats on the Great Lakes. There is nothing about them that makes them better in Florida.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:29   #27
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Keep in mind, most cruisers spend 95% of thier time at anchor or at dock. .
Not directed towards valhalla360,

Keep in mind, most of the CF posters spend 95% of their time sitting on front of their computer screens, and.... few sail beyond 10 miles of their home port.
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Old 01-09-2015, 10:58   #28
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by valhalla360 View Post
Keep in mind, most cruisers spend 95% of thier time at anchor or at dock.

The old school heavy displacement boats generally (but not always) sacrafice the 95% for the 5%. With Great Lakes Cruising, there are excelent weather forecasts and lots of places to duck into. There is no reason to be spending 12hrs bashing to windward where and old school heavy displacement boat shines. If you are 6yrs out, buy the boat that meets your current needs.

By the way, we are seeing more and more cats on the Great Lakes. There is nothing about them that makes them better in Florida.
I agree in terms of weather etc, there is no reason to not have a multi on the lakes, in fact I would love to have a little trailerable one like a wizard as a second boat, but there are very few of them that I see and moorage looks to be a nightmare. I know Toronto has a decent sized multihull club, down 1000 miles way, I have no idea where some one would dock one long term.

I find I do spend a lot of time bashing to windward, but I'm not saying heavy displacement is a must for the lakes, just that its my personal preference.

My point was I wouldn't want a big boat on the lakes.

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Old 01-09-2015, 11:16   #29
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Are you going to live on it?? or just sail for a few weeks at a time?
"my opinion" Comfort on board is a big deal since you will spend most of your time at anchor or (heaven forbid) on a dock. The trips between destinations are full of challenges and if you lose sight of land you play mental games with yourself. I prefer a heaver full keel Cutter I know I won't always make it to a safe harbour no mater how well I tried to plan the voyage and will have to ride out what ever is sent my way. My real preferred boat is a schooner. since they are designed to ride out almost anything and to be sailed by the least qualified crew usually the old drunk cook and the cabin boy. the able sailors are out fishing in dories. The remaining 2 must be able to raise sail and pickup the fishermen if the weather turns sour. I don't qualify as cabin boy . My cutter has enough sail options to get me to safe waters where I can pop a cork and relax. My boat is a Bayfield 36 wide and relatively flat at the bow she smacks water if I try to go to much to windward so I for comfort reasons usually sail a little off the wind. I try to sail at 12 degrees of heel that way I will get a hot meal and few works from the Admiral. I will finish this with a sailing tradition from our boat. "at the end of a voyage and the anchor is set I am served a drink ,,1: if its a beer the trip was pleasant trip, 2: if its a mix drink the trip had some moments in it, 3: if its a straight shot I better thinking of an apology. If you are getting too many shots it may be the boat or the skipper .. ;-)
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Old 01-09-2015, 11:53   #30
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Not directed towards valhalla360,

Keep in mind, most of the CF posters spend 95% of their time sitting on front of their computer screens, and.... few sail beyond 10 miles of their home port.
How does that count when you post while on a crossing (admittedly just a short 30 mile coastal hop)?Also, that 5% is not all favorable to the heavy displacement boat. Running or reaching, the more modern boat may be more comfortable as it stays more upright and downs wallow as much as an old style boat. It's really only when bashing to weather that it's a significant advantage and most cruisers do their best to avoid that.
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