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Old 06-01-2009, 10:42   #31
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The jerky motion of a lighter design or cat can get to you after a while, but so can the wet slow roll of the heavy cruiser. I've had the spectrum from a Hans Christian 38 to a 42 cat. At the end of a passage, the lighter boat wins in comfort for me. I used to hate the bruised up hips from going down the companionway etc on the slow roll for hours. The jerky motion is more like isometric conditioning of the legs! I'll take a medium light fast boat and be asleep at anchor when your sea slug gets there. :>)
Just kidding on the sea slug guys. Whatever works for you is what is best.
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Old 06-01-2009, 16:42   #32
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You can argue the merits of a light boat vs a heavy boat in rough weather, but for my money they are both uncomfortable. The argument that speed just means you are in a hurry to get to your destination is bogus. The reality of cruisers out there is that a whole lot of these heavy boats spend a whole lot of time motoring. A light, responsive, not overloaded, boat can be and usually will be sailed a whole more - light airs are more typical than heavy air.

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Old 06-01-2009, 16:57   #33
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You can argue the merits of a light boat vs a heavy boat in rough weather, but for my money they are both uncomfortable. The argument that speed just means you are in a hurry to get to your destination is bogus. The reality of cruisers out there is that a whole lot of these heavy boats spend a whole lot of time motoring. A light, responsive, not overloaded, boat can be and usually will be sailed a whole more - light airs are more typical than heavy air.

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I don't know where you sail Paul but I had a pretty heavy boat and we sure didn't motor much. In 7 years, we put 40,000 miles on that boat and put less than 2,000 hours on the clock. My rule was, when the boat speed drops below 3 kts for more than 4 hrs, we started the engine. I believe that it is worth the fuel to limit the exposure time at sea.

The only extensive motoring that I ever did was crossing the Caribbean from the Bahamas, through the Windward Passage to Panama (900 miles). Believe it or not, we never saw an ounce of breeze the entire trip. The water was like glass.

We even stopped one night and laid there in a sea of glass with no Moon. It was amazing. It was so black out that we couldn't see the horizon. There was not one ripple on the water and the sea was like a mirror. We looked up and saw stars.....we looked down and saw stars, just as bright as they were in the sky. It was like being in outer space. I'll never forget that feeling as long as I live. We sat perfectly still and hardly breathed for about 4 hours. Never saw a ripple on the water.

At daylight, I jumped overboard, scrubbed the bottom and started the iron spinnaker again.
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Old 06-01-2009, 17:01   #34
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Slow roll?

One of the things I've read about is the 'slow, wet roll' when going downwind on bermudan rigs, and I've never quite understood it.

My current boat (bermudan sloop) can roll like hell going dead downwind with the main and the jib poled out. So I drop the main and rely on the biggest sail I can put up before the mast. The roll almost immediately disappears if the water is reasonably flat. The weight of the mainsail and boom dramatically amplify the rolling motion, and without them (and with the lift all from the bow and quarter) life is more comfortable.

But usually that's not fast enough, or there's swell on the quarter, so instead of dropping the main I come up on the wind a bit and occasionally gybe to keep somewhat close to the rhumb line. I lose 5-10% in vmg, but the boat is moving faster through the water and everything is easier aboard with the breeze giving a slight heel. And it's strictly for comfort.

Don't others do similar things to increase comfort on the downwind legs?
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Old 06-01-2009, 17:07   #35
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I don't know where you sail Paul but I had a pretty heavy boat and we sure didn't motor much. In 7 years, we put 40,000 miles on that boat and put less than 2,000 hours on the clock. My rule was, when the boat speed drops below 3 kts for more than 4 hrs, we started the engine. I believe that it is worth the fuel to limit the exposure time at sea.
With 7 years experience, I would have thought you'd seen an awful lot of boats out motoring -- often in conditions that could be sailed. Even in the Caribbean where the XMAS winds blow consistently, you still see a lot of motoring. If you set a rule like you have, then you will reduce your motoring a lot. Most boats don't and most cruisers do a lot of motoring. It is much easier to get a light, not overloaded boat moving in light airs than a heavy overloaded boat. For me, that is more important point than how comfortable I will be when it gets rough out. I have found that when it is rough, it is not comfortable - you are just measuring levels of discomfort.

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Old 06-01-2009, 17:12   #36
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I think of the slow roll more an issue when there are more seas than wind... which seems to happen a lot. 4-6 footers in 10 knots of wind etc. but also to some extent in large swells...
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Old 06-01-2009, 17:22   #37
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I started racing while learning sailing and raced for years. When cruising, everything changed, it was at least 3.5 knots or the engine comes on unless it was a short trip or a pleasant reach like inside the islands on the way to the Exumas! At .6 gallons per hour and diesel at $1.00, thats about 60 cents per 5 -6 miles. I'm not going to sit out there for that..... especially since I need the amps and watermaking time. To me the boat became less of an emotional thing and more of a "tool" over the years. My logic changed too: Let's see $2300 for a cruising spinnaker.... if I fly it once a month (not!) for the next 2 years, that will be a cost of $100 every time I put it up.... So next time you go sailing with a buddy, ask him if he's willing to give you $100 to fly the chute!...... :>)
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Old 06-01-2009, 17:32   #38
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With 7 years experience, I would have thought you'd seen an awful lot of boats out motoring -- often in conditions that could be sailed. Even in the Caribbean where the XMAS winds blow consistently, you still see a lot of motoring. If you set a rule like you have, then you will reduce your motoring a lot. Most boats don't and most cruisers do a lot of motoring. It is much easier to get a light, not overloaded boat moving in light airs than a heavy overloaded boat. For me, that is more important point than how comfortable I will be when it gets rough out. I have found that when it is rough, it is not comfortable - you are just measuring levels of discomfort.

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Paul.....you hit the nail on the head....any boat that is overloaded increases it's wetted surface beyond the vessels intended design. However, a heavy boat that is overloaded with the same amount of gear as a lighter boat of the same size, will bear the load better. Over loading a light boat can be down right dangerous at some point.

Not only are the loads that are placed on the hull extreme beyond the vessel's design but the chances of getting pooped and sunk increase dramatically.

To start the engine if the vessel is making 3 kts is quite common for rookies. It takes a while for it to sink in that 3kts gives you 75 miles a day. That's nothing to be disappointed with unless you are in a hurry. If you are in a hurry, you shouldn't be cruising.

Having said that, if you are motoring to put yourself in a more favorable weather situation, that could possibly be justified. Although, in reality, if you are sailing a 3kts and you decide to motor at 7 kts, that will merely give you an additional 100 miles of repositioning for a weather pattern. There is no way that you can predict any weather movement to be accurate to within 100 miles. The fact is, you could actually place yourself in a worse position. The better plan would be to spend that time preparing for the worst that you could get.
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Old 06-01-2009, 18:08   #39
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::chuckles::

There are times when I love having a tiny boat... I have a quote for a cruising asym here for $1400, which I plan on purchasing if my budget lasts long enough (we're buying new skirts this year. All of 'em if I can.)

For my little boat the general rule is if I can't make vmg 2.5kt, the motor comes on (at just about a liter per hour at 2700rpm, that's the point it becomes cost effective.) I do have a very light air asym, but it simply doesn't make sense to hoist it when the wind speed is less than 4kt because it only gets me to 2.5; I need something that can handle 7kt wind ghosting. But, if I change my rule to 2.25 knot before motoring (which is my goal on the eventual cruise to Hawaiʻi) then the use of the asym will probably be even more common; although, to be honest, the pilot charts suggest the wind speed will be rather higher than that over the majority of the passage.


Assuming that particular cruise and a time frame of two years, it looks like I'll be averaging a bit more than one time per month using the cruising assym a total of 30 times, a total cost per use (for comfort's sake) of $47 and an average hourly cost of 7.78, or about twice as much as running the motor. (But considering my current sails are averaging 20 years old, the cost becomes $4.7 per use, hourly $.78, or about one fifth the cost of running the motor.)
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Old 06-01-2009, 18:18   #40
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There are times when I love having a tiny boat... I have a quote for a cruising asym here for $1400, which I plan on purchasing if my budget lasts long enough (we're buying new skirts this year. All of 'em if I can.)

For my little boat the general rule is if I can't make vmg 2.5kt, the motor comes on (at just about a liter per hour at 2700rpm, that's the point it becomes cost effective.) I do have a very light air asym, but it simply doesn't make sense to hoist it when the wind speed is less than 4kt because it only gets me to 2.5; I need something that can handle 7kt wind ghosting. But, if I change my rule to 2.25 knot before motoring (which is my goal on the eventual cruise to Hawaiʻi) then the use of the asym will probably be even more common; although, to be honest, the pilot charts suggest the wind speed will be rather higher than that over the majority of the passage.


Assuming that particular cruise and a time frame of two years, it looks like I'll be averaging a bit more than one time per month using the cruising assym a total of 30 times, a total cost per use (for comfort's sake) of $47 and an average hourly cost of 7.78, or about twice as much as running the motor. (But considering my current sails are averaging 20 years old, the cost becomes $4.7 per use, hourly $.78, or about one fifth the cost of running the motor.)
Generally speaking, a June/July crossing to Hawaii from S.F will give you more than enough wind to keep your light sails stowed away. If you leave from LA, you could get some light air for the 1st 300 miles or so. Once you get in the trades, you are on a train ride.
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Old 06-01-2009, 18:54   #41
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loaded question

I think Paul starts to nail it on the head. In many ways It is about the sailor and the parameters that they have set. How you pick your weather windows and if you are sailing with schedules that are desired to be met.
I sail a trimaran that is dreadful in a short chop narrow wave length. It pitches slams and is the most horrid dumb yourself down and get through it boating. I never would run the boat in this circumstance but weekend cruising requires a monday deadline. When conditions are favorable I extend my cruising grounds considerably on the corsair. At 18 knots the sound vibrations etc are exillerating not at all relaxing.At those speeds the apparent wind speeds could be near 35 knots. My old hard chine Ketch was dynamite down wind again hell in a Jersey chop had lots of room balanced well and was very dry.So alot of fwd bouycency and flair throwing off the spray. My Peterson has the best feel in a slop. I have sailed a few boats where the designers in my opinion compromised well David Walters Did this really well on the Cambrias. The boat falls into a wave instead of slamming the entry knifes its way in and resistance is built before the boat burries its bow and the wave is thrown outwards rather then on deck. The Peterson 44 does this.
So really depends what you are doing and how you sail.
My last example we sailed from the Ct river to the chesapeake. In Moderate winds and unpleasant forecast we made Northport on Long Island in a day. The forecast pooped and winds gusted Se at 35 and chose to wait it out I would have in either boat. The next day was better sailing was good but still gusting we made the jump hit hells gate at slack and continued nonstop for Cape henlopen. Seas were still steep on the Jersey coast and my displacement hull was exactly where I wanted to be. We waited/slept in Henlopen a few hours to time the tide on the C and D. I guess the point here is we waited we did a sloppy sea way in comfort the crew had shifted and was rested. But we still had to wait for the right timing. WE sailed the Delaware and i never thought I would say this we really sailed the damn thing I have never except this once been able to sy I sailed the Delaware hit the tides right and saw speeds at 10 knots. I don't think in a lighter boat we would have done any better meeting time constraints and tides but we were comfortable reasonably rested and had fun. On the back side of the chesapeake we had out going tides with head winds and really short wave pattern that sucked I was very happy to be in the peaterson rather then the tri. But Had it been the tri I would Have dropped the hook in worton creek and moved on in the morning. It would be great to hear from some designers how they make thes compromises.
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Old 07-01-2009, 09:54   #42
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Paul.....you hit the nail on the head....any boat that is overloaded increases it's wetted surface beyond the vessels intended design. However, a heavy boat that is overloaded with the same amount of gear as a lighter boat of the same size, will bear the load better. Over loading a light boat can be down right dangerous at some point.

Not only are the loads that are placed on the hull extreme beyond the vessel's design but the chances of getting pooped and sunk increase dramatically.
....
I'm not sure I agree with you on the adding weight and safety issue. The amount that a 1,000 lbs will sink a boat has nothing to do with the original weight of the boat. It has to do with the size of the plane at water line. You can go to the sail calculator sites and see what it takes to sink different boats 1 inch.
The loads on a heavy displacement boat are much higher than on a lighter boat. It just takes more sail to move these through the water, both due to weight and drag. A heavy displacement boat often has deep bilges that a lighter boat doesn't. If the weight being added is in the bilges, below the CG, then the damage done is much less. Unfortunately you see a lot of boats where the weight added is on the large jungle gyms on the stern, rows of jerry cans on the deck, etc. These all contribute to less stability and righting.

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Old 07-01-2009, 10:03   #43
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I'm not sure I agree with you on the adding weight and safety issue. The amount that a 1,000 lbs will sink a boat has nothing to do with the original weight of the boat. It has to do with the size of the plane at water line. You can go to the sail calculator sites and see what it takes to sink different boats 1 inch.
The loads on a heavy displacement boat are much higher than on a lighter boat. It just takes more sail to move these through the water, both due to weight and drag. A heavy displacement boat often has deep bilges that a lighter boat doesn't. If the weight being added is in the bilges, below the CG, then the damage done is much less. Unfortunately you see a lot of boats where the weight added is on the large jungle gyms on the stern, rows of jerry cans on the deck, etc. These all contribute to less stability and righting.

Paul L
Your point is well taken Paul. However, I was referring more to the vessel's ability to handle the weight structurally. Generally speaking, a heavier boat of the same size has more weight carrying capabilities, without adding stress to the structure and dynamics of a hull laboring in big seas.
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:13   #44
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K,

The other thing, and Paul and I have already gone round and round on this, is that for any given weight of stores on board that weight will more quickly adversely impact the SA/D ratio of a a light boat than a heavy boat. That fact is a matter of simple mathematics.

The counter argument is that most heavy boats start out with smaller SA/D ratios, so the lighter boat can afford to give up some SA/D.

The counter argument to that is that not all heavy boats have low SA/D ratios and those boats clearly excel at carrying cruising stores.

Moreover, heavy boats tend (but not always) to be built to structurally handle the weight better, as you have pointed out.

And finally, and frequently this is the biggie, heavy boats by virtue of their larger displacement have the physical space in which to better store the loads down low, thereby not raising center of gravity as much, whereas the lighter boat with its canoe body and lack of real bilges ends up storing cruising stuff in higher locations which negatively impacts stability.

For example, in my little 36er', I carry 120 gallons of water and 99 gallons of diesel, and 7 gallons of kerosene, and all of that, except 30 gallons of water, is under the sole. My settees are completely free for storage. How many canoe-bodied light 36ers' can say that?

The problem with this kind of discussion is that for every typical 'light' boat and every typical 'heavy' boat, there are a few exceptions that defy the stereotype, i.e., a heavy boat with high SA/D or a light boat with space carefully carved out low to carry cruising stores. Thus, conclusions based on stereotypes may have, in fact, no bearing on any one particular boat. (The problem of moving from the general to the specific.)
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:18   #45
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As to speed vs. comfort, you are comparing an objective thing with a subjective thing. Good luck with that.

Moreover, the effects of speed can be a subjective thing also. Some prefer to be out sailing over being stuck at anchor in port. The journey is the destination. Thus, the value of objectively measured speed may well be subjective.
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