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Old 08-01-2009, 13:35   #46
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Originally Posted by Hiracer View Post
As to speed vs. comfort, you are comparing an objective thing to a subjective thing. Good luck with that.

Actually 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.
I realize that "Cruising" isn't always about making long ocean passages. However, I can see the point of limiting your weather exposure at sea by making faster passages in a faster boat.

The reality is, even on a circumnavigation, most people spend about 10% of their time at sea and 90% at anchor. Everyone has different theories on that one too but one must consider a cruising vessel as their home more than they do their transportation.

Making long ocean passages are seldom comfortable. I don't care what kind of boat that you have. I have found that bigger, heavier boats are more comfortable (however sometimes slower) than lighter boats of any size.

A lot of consideration should be given to how you feel about a boat as a home as well as to how it performs, if you are cruising.

If you are just day sailing or weekend cruising, I say get a boat that performs best because you are on a schedule and you can have your comfort when you get home.

I think the problem is, we all have a different definition of "Cruising".....mine tends to be a bit extreme because of my life experience. I'm finding that this is a problem in a lot of these threads and I guess that I should start thinking about that a little more. Most people have a much different definition of what "Cruising" is than some of us.
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:45   #47
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And finally, comfort at sea for a monohull is not solely determined by displacement. You can have two boats of similar length and displacement but their respective roll periods will be significantly different if the following is vastly different:

Draft
B/D ratio
Beam
Hull shape (hard chines versus without coupled with slack bilges)
Number, height, and weight of spars

To wit, compare two boats: same LOA and displacement but (1) one is narrow beam, low draft, low B/D ratio, slack bilges, and heavy multiple masts to the other boat (2) which is much beamier, a hard chine canoe hull, deep draft, very high B/D ratio, and super light weight single mast.

Their roll periods will be radically different despite having same LOA and displacement. The perception of comfort on each will be radically different. And some fraction of the population will prefer the motion of one over the other, and vise versa.
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Old 08-01-2009, 13:57   #48
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However, I can see the point of limiting your weather exposure at sea by making faster passages in a faster boat.
Who doesn't see the benefit of avoiding bad weather? The question is how much value is that? Some value, sure, but I'm suggesting that the amount of value is a subjective assesment posing fertile grounds for disagreement.

To a certain degree, it's a function of where you sail. There are areas where it is, for all practical purposes, impossible to dodge bad weather. Others, were it's routinely done, even on a slow boat. And all manner of in betweens.

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The reality is, even on a circumnavigation, most people spend about 10% of their time at sea and 90% at anchor. Everyone has different theories on that one too but one must consider a cruising vessel as their home more than they do their transportation.
While I might agree with you, I have an friend with five spreaders holding up the mast on his 'cruising boat' who would take violent exception to our views on that.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:18   #49
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Asking out of ignorance.

This avoiding or out running bad weather seems to come up a lot..in reality is there much truth in it? I mean lets compare 6 knots with 8...

OK I will give you that in a 24 hour period that is 48 nautical miles... a decent deference to be sure..but arnt storms SOG much faster then that? There is no way to out run a squall here in the PNW...you may make harbor if you are withing a few miles or say 15 or 20 min.. but I would not use this analogy as successfully out running a storm at sea.

My mind has an easier time grasping this idea of out running weather or getting to the safe side of it if your on a 20+ knot Volvo boat...and then only if its a smaller system thats not chasing you down...but less so in any Cruiser regardless.

Will some of you experienced mega mile sailors please explain this to me.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:25   #50
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To a certain degree, it's a function of where you sail. There are areas where it is, for all practical purposes, impossible to dodge bad weather. Others, were it's routinely done, even on a slow boat. And all manner of in betweens.
Let me amplify that. Take the Gulf of Alaska crossing from Seward to Sitka. Typically that is a 3 or 4 day crossing.

If undertook in the second half of July, with any decent weather window any sailboat can do it with great likelihood of not getting hammered by an Aleutian low.

But, if undertook in October, good luck. You are going to get hammered.

I know of a captain who does that October crossing every year in a 47' motor boat at top speed, far faster than any fast sailboat, and he still gets hammered about half the time. He has told me that he would prefer to do that crossing in his motor boat in July, but come October he would much prefer to do it in my sailboat. Just plain safer with all that lead down below, despite the slower speed. Any incremental speed from a 'fast' sailboat offers no big value to an October crossing. You are going to get hammered, get used to. You might save half a day of being hammered by being in a faster sailboat. How much value is that? Good question. Not much if you have given up loads of stability, per the captain.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:32   #51
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This avoiding or out running bad weather seems to come up a lot..in reality is there much truth in it? I mean lets compare 6 knots with 8...
Hull speed is hull speed and it doesn't vary all that much from 35' to 45.' My understanding is that the big differences in speed comes about from the ability to keep the boat moving in light airs. Boats with spinnakers or the ability to motor will dust those without light air capability. Beth L talks about this in her 'how to' cruising book. The ability to move through light airs is the main differentiator, not boat size.

So, to my way of thinking (and Beth's too), long distance speed is more of a sail and sail handling function than boat size.

And it underscores the importance of real world SA/D ratios, after the boat has been loaded with cruising stores, not the shiny brochure numbers.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:33   #52
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I'm on the side of having a faster boat, but I don't put much stock in the out-running-weather theory for the typical cruising boat. As far as not getting hit by bad weather is concerned, the bigger advantage is less time on passage. The odds are just better if you spend 16 days on passage than if spend 21.
As I mentioned above, I think the real advantage in a faster, easier to sail boat is that you do much less motoring. And, as John mentioned, there are all kinds of valid counter arguments.

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Old 08-01-2009, 14:33   #53
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To out run a system you're gonna need an awful lot of waterline and boat speed.

I prefer the Hood design philosophy of weight and a tall rig. Todays modern production boats sold for short handed distance cruising all seem to have short rigs and light weight. Balance is elusive, as the boat heels it rotates up on the broad transom and loads up. Traveler down, traveler up, reef in, reef out......... hard on the crew and the autopilot.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:37   #54
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To out run a system you're gonna need an awful lot of waterline and boat speed.

I prefer the Hood design philosophy of weight and a tall rig. Todays modern production boats sold for short handed distance cruising all seem to have short rigs and light weight. Balance is elusive, as the boat heels it rotates up on the broad transom and loads up. Traveler down, traveler up, reef in, reef out......... hard on the crew and the autopilot.
Tall rig and weight means you need lots of sail to move the boat. Big sails are hard to manage and big sails mean big forces, that are also hard to manage.

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Old 08-01-2009, 14:42   #55
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Tough to beat waterline http://www.bethandevans.com/pdf/200mile.pdf.

And, they've pretty much moved to window shade sailing other then the main which is dead simple also.

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Originally Posted by Hiracer View Post

So, to my way of thinking (and Beth's too), long distance speed is more of a sail and sail handling function than boat size.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:52   #56
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Tough to beat waterline.
I'm not denying that waterline counts. But Beth in her book makes the argument, and I like it, that the ability to move in light airs makes an even bigger difference. She quotes the passage times for a bevy of boats, big and small, for two different passages. The time deltas were way, way smaller on the heavy air passage than they were on the light air passage.

In fact, she makes the observation that in the heavy air passage, the times were pretty much a function of waterline. But on the light air passage, waterline became irrelevent. It was the ability to put up square area of sail that best correlated to passage times. Little boats were dusting some bigger boats because a few of the bigger boats didn't want to deal with spinnakers.

The differences, while very real, in hull speed are not that great when compared to the speed differences in light airs (e.ge., spinnaker versus no spinnaker). Her real world examples were an eye opener for me.

Elsewhere in her book, she offers statistics showing that light airs were experienced more frequently than heavy air. That also underscores the point. Boat speed is first about light air sailing and only secondarily waterline.
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Old 08-01-2009, 14:54   #57
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To out run a system you're gonna need an awful lot of waterline and boat speed.

I prefer the Hood design philosophy of weight and a tall rig. Todays modern production boats sold for short handed distance cruising all seem to have short rigs and light weight. Balance is elusive, as the boat heels it rotates up on the broad transom and loads up. Traveler down, traveler up, reef in, reef out......... hard on the crew and the autopilot.
This post resonates with me.
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:17   #58
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I don't remember anyone talking about "out-running-weather". The theory is reducing your time at sea to avoid weather exposure. Allow me to explain that theory.

Before making a long ocean passage, it's best to understand weather systems in the area and time of year that you are passage-making. Then, it's best to get a current weather forecast.

I don't care what anyone says....a current weather forecast is only about 80% accurate for about 3 days and declines rapidly from there. Once you leave shore, you are committed to continue on that passage, using the information that you have. Your next day out, you will get another current 3-day forecast and I can pretty well assure you that it will be slightly different from the day before.

A sailor must understand that weather is a living thing and it is constantly changing and cannot be accurately fore-casted over periods of time. The longer that you expose yourself to unknown weather systems, the more likely your chances of encountering either severe weather or no wind at all. It's an odds game, not an "out-running-weather" game.

Here is a perfect example of what I am talking about. In October of 1995 all of the cruisers in Fiji were madly studying weather faxes in preparation to head to New Zealand to avoid cyclone season in the tropics. I have made that 1100 mile passage several times including the previous June trip up from NZ. ("Queens Birthday Storm"...google that).

There was a cold front heading toward Fiji and the forecast showed 3 good days after the cold-front passed. Most of the cruisers decided to wait for the passing of the cold-front and leave on good weather. Having made that passage several times, I decided to leave that day and sail into and through the cold front.

My theory was, a cold front in the tropics is far better than a cold front off the coast of NZ. The farther South you go, the worse they get. We left and had a perfect 7 day sail to Opua NZ. We got it a lot worse in the front that we hit than I thought we would but the max was about 30kts and very rough seas.

About 2 hours after we arrived in Opua, the wind was blowing 50kts as a cold-front was passing our position.

The boats that left Fiji the next day after we did encountered calm winds about 4 days out then they got hit by that next cold-front off the coast of NZ. 2 boats were lost and a lot of boats were damaged. It happens nearly every year.

I suppose that a faster boat could have left with the fleet and may have caught up with us and been fine (as we were). A slower boat than ours could have left at the same time that we did but got caught in that same front.
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:30   #59
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Your example is not about boat speed, but the value of having a good understanding of weather patterns.

I agree with your premise that increasing boat speed decreases the odds of hitting bad weather. Who could disagree with that?

The issues are: (1) What is boat speed? (2) Is waterline the only way to get it? (3) Is lightweight the only way the make a given waterline go faster (4) How much comfort, storage, and/or safety does one give up in the pursuit of speed for any given LWL, and (5) what is comfort on an ocean passage?
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Old 08-01-2009, 15:34   #60
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HMMMMMMMMM!!!

I thought the issue was, "speed" vs "comfort"....
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