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Old 06-05-2016, 10:02   #16
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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We crossed the North Sea (my fifth crossing), the most pleasant one yet. We departed Hamble on Saturday, stopped in Cowes to buy fuel and deal with various loose ends there, sailed to Portsmouth to pick up a mess of new ropes from my rope pusher at Endeavour Quay, then set out in the afternoon.

Three nights and two days later we were in Helgoland. We had 24 hours of dead calm and slow motored during that time, then slow sailed when we got sick of that, and the wind picked up slightly.

Then the last 24 hours we got quite a lively sail, with the last leg sailed at 9 to 10 knots. But hardly anything over 30 knots of wind sustained -- quite freakishly calm for the North Sea. We used my large 120% yankee rather than the blade jib which was acquired specifically for these North Sea crossings!

A lovely passage.

Now we're in the Kiel Canal, in a lovely layover at the entrance to the Gieselau Canal, with bucolic surroundings, soaking up the warm sun (at last). Soon after we arrived yesterday, a newish Borealis Boreal 44 pulled in next to us, with four friendly French sailors on board who had just returned from an interesting long distance cruise -- through the Panama Canal, around Cape Horn, around Patagonia for a while, and back to Europe. They are on their way to poke around in the Baltic a bit.

They saw my interest in aluminum boats, and kindly invited me on board to look around.

What a beautiful boat!! A real sailor's boat, with a hundred Dashew-esque touches which show the hand of a designer with many sea miles. "Boat made for sailor! Not for catalog, not for magazine, not for marina!" The owner declared. As he proudly showed me a photo of the designer's own boat, a sister ship, floating in Antarctica next to an iceberg.

I made a mental note of many things to add to the list of design features to consider for my own next boat, but one thing which was particularly interesting was the inside helm station.

Not a full pilothouse, but a small doghouse enclosing the companionway and a nav table with 360 degree view out. Separated from the cockpit by a strong watertight door..

The salon is a raised one with decent views.

So this is an interesting compromise, without the windage of a full pilothouse (and compromise of the deck layout), but with an absolutely perfect indoor helm/watchkeeping station.

Looking at the strong watertight door made me want to never see a normal companionway scuttle and washboards ever again. Ick!

I also loved the aluminum deck with everything strongly welded to it.

Here is the perfect mast arrangement -- a deck-stepped mast with no compromises since the alu deck is incompressible. With a stout bulkhead underneath. So different from the case of my boat, with the mast base occupying a lot of space below, and deluges of rain water coming down the mast into the bilge every time it rains.

Chain plates welded into the deck (and tied into bulkheads below) -- so simple, strong, perfect. Stanchion bases just welded on -- mangle one and you just cut it off and weld on a new one, which is just a bit of alu pipe -- simples.

The Borealis also had ground tackle handling arrangements like Dashew's Sundeer -- the chain locker is located at the base of the mast, with the windlass under a hatch. The chain is led aft from the bow roller through a spurling pipe. I didn't like the inaccessibility of the horizontal windlass under the hatch, but that's a detail. This 44' boat carries 100 meters of 12mm chain -- the same as what I have on a much larger vessel, and the same 100# Spade anchor I have.

Stout samson post.

The stringers do not touch the hull skin -- they are let into the frames and bulkheads. The owner explain that this is to prevent structural damage in case of being bashed and dented. He said that the boat is designed to be grounded repeatedly on rocks at hull speed without compromising integrity of the hull.


Here is another interesting and unusual thing about this boat -- the underwater appendages. The keel is a ballasted stub with a daggerboard. The owner said that the reason, besides shoal draft when you need it, is so that in very bad weather you can retract the daggerboard and prevent any tripping over your keel in large breaking seas. Never heard that theory before, but it sounds reasonable to me, and interesting.

And here is the weirdest thing I saw on this boat -- it had small retractable fins fwd of the rudder, set at an angle, which you let down through the hull into the water when beating, to reduce leeway. What??? Never heard of such a thing and don't understand the principle. Maybe someone on here has some knowledge or insight.


I didn't like the layout below -- forward master cabin and quarterberths -- but that's what you get with an aft cockpit. I don't know if I will have to resign to that for my own boat -- a question for the designer I guess.


If there was any doubt at all about whether my next boat will be metal or not, I think it's gone now.


And the pilothouse arrangement is something to think about.
Well said. I enjoyed the read. Thanks!
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:31   #17
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

My nauta54 has two cockpits, an aft one for helm/navigation, plus a larger centerboard one for guests, open to the companionway and serviced by a bimini and a soft dodger:-)

I plan to close the bimini sideways, down to deck, for wintertime on anchor/mooring.

I want to apply some remote- control inside the dodger, to be able to steer AP while sitting outdoor, but off the weather
Sure, a 5-sense participation to navigation is important! In the Med, it is enough. No need for fixed structures

A mast carries the boat displacement, or more.... even on an Alu deck I prefer it sitting on keel. That extra length of 7' makes the mast so much more flexible and apt for trimming. Water intake is minimal (not zero) when properly set for.

A water tight bulkhead!? Why not, but at which cost, on existing boats with plywood panels. Has anyone tryed it!?

DOCK, where are you going!? N POLE, OR S POLE ?:-)
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Old 06-05-2016, 10:43   #18
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

On the End Fixity "question", you can believe a certified expert on it, or not at your own peril. Well yours, & anyone within the fall radius of your spar.

In addition to having the section of Brion Toss's book pretty much memorized, regarding selecting spar sections, end fixity, & the other relavent aspects of such. Here's a link to Brion's website, which offers a quick snippet on it's importance. Convert Keel step mast to Deck step ? - SparTalk

And while yes, you can rig up a semi-dietic strength step, for deck stepped masts, they're not sufficient to provide the same level of support as does keel stepping a mast.


Or, to put it another way, if it were as light, or lighter, to go with a deck stepped mast (which generally is cheaper & simpler to assemble) do you not think that the vast majority of racing boats out there would not have such rigs?

And when I say lighter, I'm not just referring to the mast tube, & it's supporting rigging either. But rather, if it were possible to build a complete boat; to include it's spar, et. all, & keel structure, plus belowdecks mast support etc., based around a deck stepped mast. And have the whole package, boat, mast & all, weigh less than a vessel with a keel stepped spar, then racers would DEFINITELY be doing so, regardless of cost.

However, to my knowledge, such hasn't as yet, shown the slightest signs of happening.
To me at least, that's a pretty definitive statement that you get more bang (strength & stiffness) for the buck (or pound), from a keel stepped spar vs. one stepped on deck.


And to be blunt, there are plenty of others in the marine industry who will tell you the same thing.
Ditto if you do a search on "mast end fixity" & read a few of the articles. As the ones which I read, stated the same thing on the matter. That there's not a substitute for end fixity.

If I'm wrong, someone please show me the proof.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:13   #19
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

Deck stepped masts - The big trade off is that all those lower shrouds really screw up your headsail sheeting angles. Often to get a boat with a deck stepped mast to sail close to the wind you have to re-run the sheets inboard and rig up barber hauler arrangements to stop the sheets chafing.

I think that you generally end up with heavier loading on the mast foot with a deck stepped mast and need a strong end cap. I have heard of a few problems with the lower end splitting and crushing when the design hasn't been quite right.

Loosing that end fixing that Ben mentioned, along with deck collar, can also contribute to the mast wanting to pump fore and aft when upwind.

Seeing as somebody brought up the Pelagics look at Pelagic Australis as a case in point. The mast used to pump terribly - we moved the lowers around quite a bit and added the jumper stay to the foreward face to finally get it sorted.

Somebody mentioned the saving of space in not having the mast protrude below decks but that is not always the case. If there is no pole supporting the mast (mine is a square section of 2 75mm channel irons welded together) there will be a heavy bulkhead where you wouldn't necessarily have a bulkhead.

Those are the downsides that I see to having a deck stepped mast, otherwise it's all good.
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Old 06-05-2016, 11:28   #20
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

I would like to hear from those plying European waters. With the numerous canals and the North Sea I feel sure there are many deck stepped masts that are gimbaled.
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Old 06-05-2016, 13:17   #21
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

I love the boreal and garcia, and also the ovni. If you buy one, please post pics.
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Old 06-05-2016, 13:29   #22
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

In structural engineering terms, a keel stepped mast has definite advantages

1. A more solid fix on the lower end, which much adds to rigidity, and ability to sustain compression stress (much less so upon a plate/deck, whatever stiff you can do it).
I mean, even millimetric movements on the tip can have dire consequences

2. Extra length of say 8', which adds say 12-15% to length overall. It adds to the flexibility, and to the ability to shape sails along with conditions.
Maybe less of an issue with exotic sail-cloths and carbon masts.... but a fundamental issue till a recent past

3. To my knowledge, a Classy, refined, ocean-racer design has a through-deck mast

Of course, deck must NOT absorb any stress from mast (aspartite is quite elastic) and water proofed collars are quite necessary, and carefully looked after by any good seaman

PS great post, Dock
I am happy to see sailors pushing hard for the better, beyond traditional practice, with acumen. Seamanship is much about looking around and checking for improvements.

Mostly so nowadays, as mass-production requirements win over NA prowess, and innovation seems to come more from new materials, than from intellectual innovation :-)
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Old 06-05-2016, 14:21   #23
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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Originally Posted by Snowpetrel View Post
The twin aft boards are also an idea I would like to borrow. A much better idea than twin rudders which are very vulnerable, especially around ice and make maneuvering with a single engine more difficult without the propwash going directly onto rudder.

The leeward board is lowered downwind and reaching to help tracking, like the feathers on an arrow. And lifted for windward work and maneuvering. Both down when drying out to stabilise if needed, or if running off in extreme conditions to help prevent broaching.
From swapping emails with an owner that's not quite the idea. The rudder on these boats is fairly short to protect it behind the shallow keel and allow it to be beached. They designed the rudder immensely strong (Starzinger style) and also so that it can support the boat sitting on it and the keel.

Because the rudder is short, once heeled over it has very little bite depending on heel angle. While these boats are not super wide in the stern, they're wide enough to cause a problem. The dagger boards help solve this. Upwind you drop the center board and leeward dagger board unless you have very light wind, leaving the windward dagger retracted. The leeward dagger board gives you a lot of directional stability normally provided by the rudder. Reaching you can sometimes raise the centerboard part or all of the way, and leave the leeward board down. On a broad reach you can sometimes raise both boards, otherwise leave the leeward board down. Running you raise the center board all the way, drop both dagger boards, and now you have a nice amount of directional stability in the stern where you want it. Couple that with a front-centered sail plan off the wind (drop the main and run all headsails) and you have a ideal DDW setup that will minimize work on the autopilot. The owner I spoke with said they ran DDW in the trades with both dagger boards down, center board up, main down, and twin headsails set on poles, and described the boat as tracking like it was "on rails."

Personally I think this is a very well thought out system. It's certainly better than 2 rudders in most respects. The only drawback I've heard is that the steering is pretty sluggish, especially under motor, because the rudder is so small. It's not a fatal problem, but if you do a lot of marina sailing you might consider a bow thruster. If you mostly anchor it's probably not a worry.
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Old 06-05-2016, 14:53   #24
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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Personally I think this is a very well thought out system. It's certainly better than 2 rudders in most respects. The only drawback I've heard is that the steering is pretty sluggish, especially under motor, because the rudder is so small. It's not a fatal problem, but if you do a lot of marina sailing you might consider a bow thruster. If you mostly anchor it's probably not a worry.
I've heard more or less the same onthe use of the dagger boards from Mr Boreal and his son and from the owner of the first Boreal 44 (it started as the second one but leapfrogged Juan San Bulan due to the customers ill health).

I don't think a thruster would work well on these boats. If you do a lot of marina sailing your not going to buy a Boreal unless it is for posing on! Just drive with bursts of propwash.

Most of the Boreals seem to have turned up in Patagonia at some stage and maneuvering in the tight caletas there while you attach mooring lines etc. is very akin to maneuvering in a marina, often with more wind, and nobody reports any major problems.
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Old 06-05-2016, 15:07   #25
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

I can't figure out anything more impracticable than daggers, on a cruising monohull.

2nd comes a centerboard ballast. I have seen a 24m ship spending 20k to fix its one.

Cantilever got blocked. How would you call it!? A Bermuda tribute!?
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Old 06-05-2016, 16:33   #26
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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I can't figure out anything more impracticable than daggers, on a cruising monohull.

2nd comes a centerboard ballast. I have seen a 24m ship spending 20k to fix its one.

Cantilever got blocked. How would you call it!? A Bermuda tribute!?
I don't see the issue with these boards, they are simple and also work as drying legs apparently. More complexity than I would like sure but its a trade off with the other areas of these boats.

I would agree that any kind of retractable ballasted keel that retracts inside the hull on a cruising boat is a waste of time, space and energy. However I have a different view on a non-ballasted centreboard that swings up into a stub keel.

That allows you to retain upwind performance but still have a shoal draft. Beaching and drying isn't used very often but when you have to do it you'll really appreciate it. Much better to change a prop that you bent in the ice on a dry beach at low tide than having to dive on it.. Or to replace bolts on rudder by diving as Ben from Snowpetrel had to do once I think.
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Old 06-05-2016, 16:44   #27
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Borealis

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(snip)
Put another way, you could have two masts, one 50 feet long and the other one mile long. Place the mile long mast into the earth so only 50 feet show. Both masts will stay put or fail depending on the loads on the top 50 feet and the strength of their stayed attachments. Footings have nothing to do with that reality.
There is a measurable benefit to end fixity. This is simple engineering that has been known and proven for centuries. The mile long mast would be capable of handling much higher compression and side loads than the other mast. Or it could be made slightly lighter for the same strength.
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Old 06-05-2016, 16:52   #28
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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(SNIP)
Because the rudder is short, once heeled over it has very little bite depending on heel angle. While these boats are not super wide in the stern, they're wide enough to cause a problem. The dagger boards help solve this. Upwind you drop the center board and leeward dagger board unless you have very light wind, leaving the windward dagger retracted. The leeward dagger board gives you a lot of directional stability normally provided by the rudder. Reaching you can sometimes raise the centerboard part or all of the way, and leave the leeward board down. On a broad reach you can sometimes raise both boards, otherwise leave the leeward board down. Running you raise the center board all the way, drop both dagger boards, and now you have a nice amount of directional stability in the stern where you want it. Couple that with a front-centered sail plan off the wind (drop the main and run all headsails) and you have a ideal DDW setup that will minimize work on the autopilot. The owner I spoke with said they ran DDW in the trades with both dagger boards down, center board up, main down, and twin headsails set on poles, and described the boat as tracking like it was "on rails."
(SNIP)
Thanks for this info. Makes sense for these wider sterned boats. It sure would be nice to be able to dial in the amount of weather helm. A friend has twin aft boards on his lift keel yacht, being much narrower with a deep lifting rudder the boards are used more for tracking and less for steering.

I wonder if the Boreal can tack with the aft board down, or if it needs to be raised before tacking?
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Old 06-05-2016, 16:56   #29
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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I don't think a thruster would work well on these boats. If you do a lot of marina sailing your not going to buy a Boreal unless it is for posing on! Just drive with bursts of propwash.
I agree. If you're going to spend a lot of time in marinas a Boreal is not for you. It's a good point that it's sort of a semi-full keel arrangement (not like an IP or something, but still...) so a bow thruster might not work as well or need a heck of a lot of thrust.

BTW, I know you know this, but for the record the centerboard on the Boreal is an unballasted swinging board, not a lifting keel or anything. It's actually a hollow aluminum NACA foil so it should also be pretty efficient.
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Old 06-05-2016, 17:03   #30
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Re: Pilothouse Variations -- Boreal

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I wonder if the Boreal can tack with the aft board down, or if it needs to be raised before tacking?
That's an interesting question. The dagger boards are pretty small relatively speaking. In light air you wouldn't use them. Otherwise you'd already have the leeward board down. My guess: If you're using the leeward board, drop the windward board, tack, and raise the new windward board. I doubt they'd keep you from tacking unless it's light, in which case you don't use the dagger boards.

Or if it's blowing you might be able to raise the leeward board and have the boat just round up into a tack.
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