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Old 26-08-2008, 16:45   #1
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What is Seaworthy?

Obviously people have proven that with good skills almost anything can be seaworthy, but concerning a person with average cruising abilities, what would you consider a sound and fit boat?

For me, I want to know if the following general criteria are good for long ocean passages for 2 to several people.


44-55 feet, ~27000 lbs displacement, ~8000 lbs. ballast, Ketch rigged sail area towards of 1000 sq. ft. Without major superstructural additions like a bimini.

I just don't understand if this boat is too light or unbalanced? If it is what should the displacement be?
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Old 26-08-2008, 16:54   #2
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Obviously people have proven that with good skills almost anything can be seaworthy, but concerning a person with average cruising abilities, what would you consider a sound and fit boat?
Question 2 - What are average cruising abilities?
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:18   #3
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Someone who has some experience, but not enough that his experience really factors into the boat's abilities...meaning, if a boat were not mishandled, but not exceptionally handled either, and leaving the boat's stability, and likelihood of safety in the hands of its shape, size, etc.

Just taking the sailor out of the equation entirely would probably have been a better way of asking this question, if many types of boats in a certain range were to just be out there floating around which ones would hold up the best on their own merits.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:30   #4
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Obviously people have proven that with good skills almost anything can be seaworthy, but concerning a person with average cruising abilities, what would you consider a sound and fit boat?
This is not an easy topic.

But you can find a complete answer in Seaworthiness : The Forgotten Factor by C.A. Marchaj. His reasearch on this started after the Fastnet 77 race.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:36   #5
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I would not ever want to cut corners, I'll try and get that book shipped to my local book store and read it there to see if I should also keep it...

But, in the meantime, just some thoughts on the matter would help greatly. Thanks.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:46   #6
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FreeMason,

You just cut a corner on the book. You want the book store to order it, so you can read it, and then determine if you will buy it? That would be a library, not a book store. One of those books could be a lifetime supply for the average book store.


There are many boats, that left to their own, would survive better than some sailors sailing them. What fun would that be and why go if you are not prepared to sail her?
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:49   #7
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I would not ever want to cut corners, I'll try and get that book shipped to my local book store and read it there to see if I should also keep it...

But, in the meantime, just some thoughts on the matter would help greatly. Thanks.
The problem is hull shape, which is not revealed in those metrics you provided. A J-class boat is a real steletto and designed to beat a set of rules by sailing at a pretty large angle of heel. Not such a good thing if there are heavy seas. Can be fatal; has been in fact.

As for the book, it's a classic but you will need to spend some real time with it as it doesn't lend itself soundbites well.
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Old 26-08-2008, 17:50   #8
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You have added some limits and we are talking generalities and so here are some opinions:

1 - A bigger boat is more forgiving of mistakes - except around the dock. You don't set the sails right and the boat goes slow, you don't reef early enough and you get beat up a bit.

2 - A simpler rig is a simpler rig - Ketch, yawl and any multi mast gaff rig etc. requires more decision making. A cruising sloop with furling genoa and jiffy reefing is simple.

3 - At sea a full keel will generally give a better more forgiving ride.

4 - Keep the deck rig simple. Modern blocks, lead cars, winches etc. Tall ship rigging with all of it's ropes may look cool but it is a lot of work especially when the chips are down.

5 - Keep the boat systems simple especially the engine. You want Mr. Reliable under the floorboards.

As far as your exact specs in terms of weight LOA and sail area - there are a couple of sites that provide these sail stability calculators. I'll leave it to the marine engineers but I would suggest that it is all a trade and that rather than pick a spec you should be thinking about ranges.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:05   #9
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FreeMason,

You just cut a corner on the book. You want the book store to order it, so you can read it, and then determine if you will buy it? That would be a library, not a book store. One of those books could be a lifetime supply for the average book store.


There are many boats, that left to their own, would survive better than some sailors sailing them. What fun would that be and why go if you are not prepared to sail her?
Amazon's warehouse for global distribution is right down the street - from where I currently live actually it really won't be much expense for them at all

I do not want to buy a boat that in itself presents a lot of problems, design or construction or otherwise, it has nothing to do with what I want to eventually learn or achieve through my own skills, it is merely practicality of purchase.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:24   #10
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Aloha FreeMason,
My recommendation is 32-36 feet LOD, fiberglass, diesel inboard, cutter rigged and for long distance cruising, full or 3/4 keel. I prefer aft cockpit. Just my opinion.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:32   #11
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Amazon's warehouse for global distribution is right down the street - from where I currently live actually it really won't be much expense for them at all

I think tomdidit is right here. The justification that you could have it shipped to you local bookstore or that Amazon would not have too much at stake since they are only down the street seems to be tantamount to saying you are only passingly interested but have no intention of actually purchasing the book and it doesn't seem ethical. Without getting too far out on a metaphysical limb here, let me say that should the time come, the sea doesn't care. You will either be prepared or you won't. People that consistently take shortcuts (and I'm not implying you do) tend not to be prepared.

So, back to the boat.

I think from the other post you are talking about a Bruce Roberts. His designs have been around for a while and are decently popular; they aren’t my favorite. Chalk that up to personal taste only. The part you said about not wanting to buy a boat "that in itself presents a lot of problems, design or construction or otherwise", is quite sensible. But if you are talking about a particular design or, more specifically, a particular boat, call it out and you will get better input.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:33   #12
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What about weights? I just don't know how much displacement and ballast really matter...or rather I should say, I still am not sure if for 44' a 26880# boat is "heavy" enough or "why wouldn't it be heavy enough"?

With an 8,000# ballast.

I'm just more concerned about heeling while reaching, or having a gust across the beam easily knocking it down because of some design more than of piloting...obviously reefing and using storm sails and such are an issue of skills, but design wise...would a 26880# boat simply be too light and thus, more in danger of that situation?
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:34   #13
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That boat is too big for most short handed inexperienced sailors. You need to be able to maneuver in tight anchorages, come up to and get off docks, and raise and trim the sails. Boats of that size demand strength and skill.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:39   #14
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Strength I have, and skill I can come by, and eventually learn myself. But, for now, my friends are far more skilled than me - I'm just the buyer at the moment. This is not something I intend to be good at immediately. But it's what I want to direct a majority of my time to from here-on out.

Again I'm just concerned of problems in heavy seas where unavoidable, and for that I want a boat more apt to perform through that situation than another boat.

If the 26880# boat can ably perform in that situation...then to me it seems like a reasonable purchase.
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Old 26-08-2008, 18:49   #15
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What about weights? I just don't know how much displacement and ballast really matter... would a 26880# boat simply be too light and thus, more in danger of that situation...
I agree with defjef… a boat approaching 14-15 tons can seem like three times that if its inertia is carrying it the wrong direction in close quarters… even 30 ft boats can seem like a handful for awhile – and, yes, there certainly are 30 footers (plus or minus 15 feet) that will pass muster as seaworthy…

On another note… to know whether 8000# of ballast is correct (for that boat), or whether that displacement or sail-area is correct, you’ll need to see the BR plans, or at least the specs for that design… But as for Bruce Roberts in general, many of his designs have crossed oceans with little or no drama or fanfair… There have been a few of his designs that caught my eyes over the years, but for the most part his designs are for the accomplished amateur or small professional boat-yard…
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