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Old 31-08-2015, 08:56   #1
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Light or heavy boat for cruising

I've been doing some reading regarding the weight of cruising vessels and their centers of gravity. While I understand that a heavier class will generally offer more stability, especially on sharper angled turns, they are generally also slower due to more wet area. A lighter vessel will generally offer more speed and in the event of heavy weather approaching, that can be a really good thing to have!! Being a novice and still researching which boat I will eventually go for, I'm interested in opinions from experienced people.

I'd also like to add that I am enjoying this forum very much and in just a mere few days have already met some very nice and knowledgeable people. A special thank you to Mr. & Mrs. Bear15 for the invite out on their boat yesterday on Lake Huron. It was a wonderful day!
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Old 31-08-2015, 13:42   #2
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

A lighter boat will probably be more "lively" in a seaway, making life less comfortable.

Alain
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Old 31-08-2015, 13:48   #3
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

I vote for heavy and fast cutter rig with a high performance bulb keel, along with a protected skeg hung rudder.
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Old 31-08-2015, 14:17   #4
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Jaguar, you are going to get a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the fence on this question as well as moderate answers saying go for the middle.

I believe you are the London/Sarnia poster? Based on your previous thread I think you might be well suited to a lighter, newer, production boat like a Beneteau. I believe low maintenance and ease of use were top priorities for you, and old heavy displacement boats tend to require a lot more maintenance and are much harder to maneuver for beginners.


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Old 31-08-2015, 14:41   #5
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Light or heavy boat for cruising

Familyvan is right. Everything is a compromise. You pays your money and takes your choice

I opted for a full keel moderately to heavy boat. Being cutter rigged it will not point as high as a lighter, fin keeled boat.

But while I have been able to dodge some bad weather, never been able to outrun it. Most sailboats can't outrun storms. Well if I can't outrun it, I might as well be as comfy as I can when I get hit. I feel my configuration allows that. Don't get me wrong, it will not be fun but better than a lighter boat. Also, the full keel makes it easier to heave to.

These are my personal opinions. Not all will agree, which is fine. Keep looking, reading, asking questions.

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Old 31-08-2015, 15:16   #6
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by Hydra View Post
A lighter boat will probably be more "lively" in a seaway, making life less comfortable.

Alain
That is my concern. While I am not the least bit bothered by the rolling of a boat, my wife isn't as tolerant.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:19   #7
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
Jaguar, you are going to get a lot of strong opinions on both sides of the fence on this question as well as moderate answers saying go for the middle.

I believe you are the London/Sarnia poster? Based on your previous thread I think you might be well suited to a lighter, newer, production boat like a Beneteau. I believe low maintenance and ease of use were top priorities for you, and old heavy displacement boats tend to require a lot more maintenance and are much harder to maneuver for beginners.


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Yes, from London. And yes, ease of use is a high priority, I do understand that no matter what I get, maintenance will have to be done. What I don't want to have to do is completely refit a boat every couple years. I have tried to find a site that would rate various boats by weight but so far no luck.
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Old 31-08-2015, 15:19   #8
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Light or heavy boat for cruising

It is sort of like arguing whats better / safer a lightly built or a heavy built automobile?
At first look most would say of course the heavy car is safer, but if it's designed well, the lighter car will stop faster and maneuver more quickly, possibly avoiding the accident entirely and be as strong or stronger, weight does not always equate to strength.
My opinion is build quality trumps the heavy / light argument, a poorly built boat, is well poorly built, if it's a heavy displacement boat, and poorly built, well it's a heavy piece of junk.
Find a quality built boat, ideally that has the features and qualities you like, and if it's heavy, fine.

All has to do with the "mission", define the mission, then look for the boat that fits
The delta at cruising speeds between a fast and a slow boat is maybe at most 2 kts? Assuming the same LWL. I doubt the two kts will make much difference in trying to outrun weather, but it can make a very big difference in crossing times.


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Old 31-08-2015, 15:45   #9
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaguar001 View Post
Yes, from London. And yes, ease of use is a high priority, I do understand that no matter what I get, maintenance will have to be done. What I don't want to have to do is completely refit a boat every couple years. I have tried to find a site that would rate various boats by weight but so far no luck.
Hi.

My quick brief suggestions:

1. Go to bluewaterboats.org
2. Read about the various boats.
3. Note those you find appealing.
4. Note the hull type or shape for each.
5. Note the displacement for each, this can also be found at sailboatdata.com
6. Go sailing on as many boats of roughly the same size as your target boat.
7. Note the wind speed and boat speed while you sail.
8. Note the comfort of the ride.
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:01   #10
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pirate Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Depends on the type of cruising you intend to do.. if coast hopping something along the lines of a Bendi will do just fine..
In my case I like to pop over to the Azores or Madeira now and then which is 850 miles out in the Atlantic.. to the W or SW of my base..
My current boat is 27,000lbs...
Mind.. I used to do it in a Bendi 331..
So really.. either will do if you like the boat..
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:03   #11
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

An observation:

Not many respondents here have actually sailed/cruised longterm and offshore on both types of yachts. Folks tend to do what you are doing, gathering opinions from others and then buy whatever type of boat that fits their newly developed criteria. they then use that boat in whatever conditions prevail for them, and they survive, usually having a good time... and this reinforces their prejudice towards their choice, prejudices that they in turn pass along to others.

They don't actually have data to compare the two types of yachts. So, take these nuggets of wisdom with some fistfulls of salt.

A few folks have actually done both... their advice might well be useful, but it is often difficult to ferret out who those people are.

My take? the advice to sail on as many different boats as possible is great, but not that easy to accomplish, especially sailing offshore in harsh conditions on OPB. Yet there is no substitute for personal experience... in the long run, it will be something of a crapshoot when you make your decision. The good news is that most decent quality boats will take care of you. A look around anchorages where everyone has had to make a longish passage to get there will show that there are boats of every description bobbing about. They all made it there.

IMO, it is only on internet forums and around yacht club bars where these distinctions between styles of cruising boats are viewed as vitally important. The real worlld is a bit more forgiving!

Jim
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:17   #12
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
An observation:

Not many respondents here have actually sailed/cruised longterm and offshore on both types of yachts. Folks tend to do what you are doing, gathering opinions from others and then buy whatever type of boat that fits their newly developed criteria. they then use that boat in whatever conditions prevail for them, and they survive, usually having a good time... and this reinforces their prejudice towards their choice, prejudices that they in turn pass along to others.

They don't actually have data to compare the two types of yachts. So, take these nuggets of wisdom with some fistfulls of salt.

A few folks have actually done both... their advice might well be useful, but it is often difficult to ferret out who those people are.

My take? the advice to sail on as many different boats as possible is great, but not that easy to accomplish, especially sailing offshore in harsh conditions on OPB. Yet there is no substitute for personal experience... in the long run, it will be something of a crapshoot when you make your decision. The good news is that most decent quality boats will take care of you. A look around anchorages where everyone has had to make a longish passage to get there will show that there are boats of every description bobbing about. They all made it there.

IMO, it is only on internet forums and around yacht club bars where these distinctions between styles of cruising boats are viewed as vitally important. The real worlld is a bit more forgiving!

Jim
Sound observations & good advice.
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:37   #13
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
An observation:

Not many respondents here have actually sailed/cruised longterm and offshore on both types of yachts. Folks tend to do what you are doing, gathering opinions from others and then buy whatever type of boat that fits their newly developed criteria. they then use that boat in whatever conditions prevail for them, and they survive, usually having a good time... and this reinforces their prejudice towards their choice, prejudices that they in turn pass along to others.

They don't actually have data to compare the two types of yachts. So, take these nuggets of wisdom with some fistfulls of salt.

A few folks have actually done both... their advice might well be useful, but it is often difficult to ferret out who those people are.

My take? the advice to sail on as many different boats as possible is great, but not that easy to accomplish, especially sailing offshore in harsh conditions on OPB. Yet there is no substitute for personal experience... in the long run, it will be something of a crapshoot when you make your decision. The good news is that most decent quality boats will take care of you. A look around anchorages where everyone has had to make a longish passage to get there will show that there are boats of every description bobbing about. They all made it there.

IMO, it is only on internet forums and around yacht club bars where these distinctions between styles of cruising boats are viewed as vitally important. The real worlld is a bit more forgiving!

Jim
Jim, he has stated in a previous thread that he is based in Sarnia and is 6 years from retirement, which probably means extended off shore sailing experience is pretty irrelevant because he's a months sail to the nearest salt water and then another 1000 miles to the ocean.

So great lakes experience might mean more to him then extended offshore cruising.

Basically there aren't a whole lot of places you can reach from Sarnia on a two week vacation.

60 miles to Goderich, 170 to Tobermory or about 210 miles to the North Channel or a bit more to macinac, which means, those are the areas he likely to be sailing.

Conditions I would expect in those areas are cool prevailing westerlies with a 1-2.5 meter high frequency fresh water swells.

Aside from that likely week end sailing in and around southern lake Huron.

I've sailed and worked that portion of the great lakes extensively, personally I would prefer a heavier boat for that territory, but that's my preference, what would likely suit him best is a boat built for extensive great lakes sailing rather than extensive offshore sailing.

Op if you have money, take a look at Gozzard yachts, they are built less than 100 miles from Sarnia, in the water that you will likely sail.

If you have a moderate amount of money and want a new boat, any of the mainstream production boats will be okay in that area, and one day carry you as far as the Bahamas and Carribean just fine.

If your budget is smaller look at one of the Canadian produced used boats on the lakes, Grampian, Bayfield is a heavier boat from the region, tanzer etc.

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Old 31-08-2015, 16:39   #14
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Cate View Post
An observation:

Not many respondents here have actually sailed/cruised longterm and offshore on both types of yachts. Folks tend to do what you are doing, gathering opinions from others and then buy whatever type of boat that fits their newly developed criteria. they then use that boat in whatever conditions prevail for them, and they survive, usually having a good time... and this reinforces their prejudice towards their choice, prejudices that they in turn pass along to others.

They don't actually have data to compare the two types of yachts. So, take these nuggets of wisdom with some fistfulls of salt.

A few folks have actually done both... their advice might well be useful, but it is often difficult to ferret out who those people are.

My take? the advice to sail on as many different boats as possible is great, but not that easy to accomplish, especially sailing offshore in harsh conditions on OPB. Yet there is no substitute for personal experience... in the long run, it will be something of a crapshoot when you make your decision. The good news is that most decent quality boats will take care of you. A look around anchorages where everyone has had to make a longish passage to get there will show that there are boats of every description bobbing about. They all made it there.

IMO, it is only on internet forums and around yacht club bars where these distinctions between styles of cruising boats are viewed as vitally important. The real worlld is a bit more forgiving!

Jim
Sage advice.

I'm a coastal sailor with a very light fin-keeled dual rudder boat, and my first boat was a traditional full keel boat. I try to get out into heavy weather as often as possible, which isn't all that often here in SoCal, because I enjoy rain and waves and wind and I like the challenge.

The two boats approached weather very differently, but there wasn't much difference in "comfort"--both are uncomfortable in heavy weather. The fact is, all boats are going to roll and pitch in heavy seas and its the constant rolling and pitching motion that is what really wears one out.

My heavy boat was more "pendulous" in that it bobbed back and forth quite a bit more than the lighter, flatter, beamier boat does. The lighter boat will slam when going directly into weather (under power), which the heavy boat never does. The heaver boat is much, much wetter in the cockpit than the light boat, which stays higher in the water and drains much faster than that the heavy boat ever did. The lighter boat is also completely dry inside, which the older boat never was.

Ultimately, how I sail the boat has more to do with sea comfort than the hull type. Keeping a proper reef for the windspeed is foremost. If you're motoring, keep the sails up to minimize rolling. Keeping the bow 40-odd degrees to the seas helps dramatically. Trimming and reefing the sails to slow the boat for the wave motion helps--The newer, light boat has roller furling main and headsail, so I can simply size them for exactly the needed heel and balance. The older heavier boat was hoisted main and hank-on jib, so you had to change to a storm jib and tie slab reefs, hoping that you'd get a good balance but usually not.

In sum, heavy weather is just not comfortable, and you're just picking which discomfort you can tolerate better. I don't particularly mind being wet and a bit cold, but my wife hates it so she likes the new boat a lot more in weather. Neither of us gets seasick, but anyone with motion sickness problems would be struck on either boat.

Ultimately I'd say the new boat wins, not because of the hull type but because of the better draining, roller reefing, watertight companionway seals, and auto-pilot that allows me to come in from the cold and wet to take a break while we keep watch through the portholes. Also it has a warm shower :-)

Matt
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Old 31-08-2015, 16:53   #15
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Re: Light or heavy boat for cruising

One thing not mentioned yet is that hull shape also matters. (I read that) A wide, flat bottom boat with a rounded leading edge tends to pound going into choppy conditions. A narrow beam with a sharp leading edge won't do that.

I had the privilege of riding on a custom built boat yesterday. It is built to look like a big long gondola and was used (in Spain?) to harvest seaweed. While it was a ton of fun it definitely pounded going up wind into chop. But it has a wide flat bottom.

I intentionally chose a boat with a wide beam knowing full well that it would sail very differently from a narrow beam boat. (I read that) a narrow beam boat may roll more than a wide flat bottom boat.

So hull shape also matters a lot.
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