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Old 22-10-2014, 01:07   #31
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Re: How Much Weight In The Bow Is Too Much?

Originally Posted by Alan Mighty View Post
I don't know of any such formula. I think tthat for a newly designed hull, one designed by a nautical architect using one of the several dedicated software packages, the software could produce figures for the boat in notional lightship condition.

For a boat with gear, fuel, water, and crew on board, you could calculate some index of hobby horsing, but it would require a massive amount of data specifying the mass and 3D location of every bit of gear, fuel, water, and crew members, plus an index of rigidity for the crew members etc.

I mentioned anchors in my earlier post, because an anchor can be regarded simply as a point mass and its contribution to polar moment of inertia estimated easily knowing its distance from the pitch point. An anchor chain, extending over an area, would require integration of its mass distribution. But the point of mentioning them is that anchors and anchor chain are dense and can be moved easily.

There are easy ways to get a handle on tendency to hobby horsing and other measures of the time period of motion of a boat. And the easy ways also let you see if a different stowage scheme will reduce the tendency of hobby horsing, especially in the conditions you often experience.

The easy ways are:
(1) start with your boat in 'departure condition': fuel tanks and water tanks full, provisions loaded, crew aboard in their usual positions (e.g. one below, one or two in the cockpit - whatever is your usual situation), but still at a dock with loose docklines.

(2) start the boat pitching (by whatever means is at hand - pushing down on the bow, getting a crew member to move to the bow), and then time 10 pitches of the bow, calculate the period of a pitch cycle, and the frequency of pitching. Call that 'natural pitch period, departure condition' and 'natural pitch frequency, departure condition'.

(3) do the same with roll, resulting in 'natural roll period, departure condition' and 'natural roll frequency, departure condition'.

(4) repeat #3 and #4 when you've arrived back after coming close to exhausting provisions and stores.

(5) repeat #3 and #4 in lightship condition (if you're keen) or in different stowage schemes (especially one that follows of the rules of (a) keeping the ends of the ship as light as possible - including the mast; (b) getting the anchor off the bow and moving anchor chain as close to the pitch point as possible; (c) stowing everything that is heavier than water as low and as close to the pitch point as possible; try also breaking each of those rules to see what happens).

(6) if you have discovered a way of starting a 'standard' pitch (such as getting the same person to jump onto your bow and then jump off) you can also count the number of discernible pitches before the movement decays and the hull is at rest.

(7) in your local choppy conditions, measure wave period.


* avoid stowage systems that cause 'natural pitch period' in any load condition to be close to wave period; That leads to amplified pitching.

As several others on this thread have commented, usually the lighter the ship, the better; the lighter the ends, the better; and the longer the time before pitching decays the better (a surprise to some - you want the ends of the hull to respond to the waves; if pitching decays quickly, it usually means you have a barge, not a boat, or the ends are heavy).

For Led Myne, the natural pitch period in cruising trim is 2.5 seconds; natural roll period in cruising trim is 3.8 seconds (in design light ship trim, meaning the rare occasion the waterline is at the design waterline 3.9 seconds); roll acceleration (in design or lightship trim) 0.04397 g; and Ted Brewer's Comfort Factor (design lightship trim) 37.0.

As a fun thing to do, if you're at a boat show with new boats in the water (or at a marina dock), you can choose a boat or three and start them pitching by rhythmically pushing the bow down and do the same measurements. Always good fun.



Thank you for the exhaustive and comprehensive explanation. I'll happily cede the point that a static trim does not equate to a dynamic trim state.

As you noted above - it is the place to start. If your boat is not trimmed statically correctly, then you'll have little sucess with attempting the dynamic trim.

This past summer, we sailed in heavy conditions across the Baltic and I did make minor changes to our boat trim based on the boat's behavior in the 2-3 meter Baltic waves. And she rode better because of it.

My original point to KISS was that he needed to get his static trim right, then (which I did not mention, but perhaps should have), go sailing and retrim the boat for conditions and his boat's intrinsic sailing abilities.

I think we are in agreement, but I will also note that trimming a boat for dynamic sailing is something one learns along the way, based on sailing a considerable number of NM.


I spent most of my money on Booze, Broads and Boats. The rest I wasted - Elmore Leonard
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Old 22-10-2014, 01:12   #32
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Re: How Much Weight In The Bow Is Too Much?

My original point to KISS was that he needed to get his static trim right, then (which I did not mention, but perhaps should have), go sailing and retrim the boat for conditions and his boat's intrinsic sailing abilities.
Carsten, the advice to go sailing for a while is the best answer to nearly all of KISS's posts. Considering that it is a very pleasant way to spend time, I'm surprised at his resistance to the idea!


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s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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