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Old 06-03-2018, 18:27   #106
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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So, it looks like for typical sailors (not circumnavigators or other long term/range cruisers) typical boat lengths have indeed increased. One must also consider that besides length increments, the internal volume of boats has increased even more than length would indicate. If you look at the beams of boats from the earlier days compared with a modern monohull (monomaran) the difference is huge, like really big!!

The debate about whether this is good or not continues...
Agreed. Related to that is the increase in LWL for current designs vs older. So it appears that livable volume has increased, as has boat speed, while still maintaining LOA.

And then thereís the whole move to catsÖ

atmartin, Iíve always said itís good to be short on a boat. My 5í6Ē is great! Now, if I could just shed a few pounds .
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Old 15-03-2018, 16:47   #107
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Not sure if these stars have been posted on this thread yet.
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Old 15-03-2018, 18:18   #108
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

just finished reading Denton Moore's book, "Gentlemen Don't Sail to Windward". Account of his circumnavigation in the early 1980's. on page 194 he describes a survey he gave to the cruisers currently anchored in New Zealand. Average boat length was 37.5 ft based on 21 respondents. So not a major sample size, but would suspect far fewer cruisers then than now. Not a bad read during a few snowy days.
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Old 15-03-2018, 18:59   #109
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Not sure if these stars have been posted on this thread yet.
Is this from Cornellís periodic survey? I havenít seen this summary, but we looked at his findings from the most recent survey of world cruisers.

https://cornellsailing.com/2017/08/j...-the-boats-go/

Thatís quite the range. Does the story try to explain it?
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Old 16-03-2018, 04:03   #110
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Most of these samples have major selection bias. The ARC pretty much rules out most of the budget cruisers. I suspect budget cruisers also don't bother with joining SSCA and similar groups. Panama Canal would probably be your least biased option as very few circumnavigation round cape horn or do the NW passage. But even there very small boats have difficulty meeting the speed requirements so they may get trucked across.

When you calculated 42' did you go off the model number or did you look up the actual spec for the boats. That can easily give you a 2-3' difference.

As mentioned, catamarans reduce length but increase boat size, so that can skew the data.

Small (sub-28ft) boats have always made up the bulk of boats sold. The question is how do you define cruising boats. In the powerboat world, there are tons of 20-25' boats with a cuddy cabin that could be called cruising boats but most wouldn't consider them as such, so how do you factor those is?

Then you have the issue that the typical cruising boat has a lifespan of probably around 30-50yrs so any shifts will take a very long time to result in significant changes in the average.

Also, I believe most new boats are not bought by long distance cruisers. Your average 30yr old can't afford a $500k boat. I'm betting most new larger cruising boats are bought by 55-65yr old guys.
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Old 16-03-2018, 04:04   #111
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

double post
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Old 16-03-2018, 06:46   #112
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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This is an interesting chart although given that there are huge numbers of charters in these locations is it possible that the numbers skew a little high?
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Old 16-03-2018, 06:57   #113
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

Yah the sample selection is skewing the conclusion.

Sensible people are not the norm in the overall owner's community.

Circumnavigators may not be sensible by mainstream standards, but when it comes to choosing boats I reckon smarter than most.
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Old 16-03-2018, 07:43   #114
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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Agreed. Related to that is the increase in LWL for current designs vs older. So it appears that livable volume has increased, as has boat speed, while still maintaining LOA.

And then thereís the whole move to catsÖ

atmartin, Iíve always said itís good to be short on a boat. My 5í6Ē is great! Now, if I could just shed a few pounds .
Mike,
You have no idea what an advantage your 5'-6" height is on a sailboat. I'm 6'-1" and our doorways are all about 5'-7"..I'm dying a slow death of multiple small concussions from whacking my head. Yes I duck but if I'm not really paying attention I hit right at the top of my head and as I get older it's getting worse, lol.
The first time I met Larry Pardey I realized why he fit so well on that 24 footer they were sailing. When it comes to sailing, short is a bonus.
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Old 16-03-2018, 07:46   #115
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I have semi permanant grazes at my hairline..
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Old 16-03-2018, 08:12   #116
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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This is an interesting chart although given that there are huge numbers of charters in these locations is it possible that the numbers skew a little high?
Can't see how charter boats skew this data. I believe it is customs clearance and Canal transit info.
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Old 16-03-2018, 10:08   #117
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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...When you calculated 42' did you go off the model number or did you look up the actual spec for the boats. That can easily give you a 2-3' difference.
In most cases the database specifies LOA in each record. In some cases it was inferred from the model name. I’m sure there’s a significant error bar around these numbers, but there’s no obvious reason to think it skews up or down. For this analysis I assume it’s an effect that cancels itself out.

Regardless, the main finding is not the specific length, which did come out to about 42 feet. The MAIN finding is that this number hasn’t changed significantly through the entire record of this database, which dates back to the 1970s (and earlier).

When comparing decade to decade, the average remains remarkably, and to me, surprisingly stable.

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Also, I believe most new boats are not bought by long distance cruisers. Your average 30yr old can't afford a $500k boat. I'm betting most new larger cruising boats are bought by 55-65yr old guys.
I’ve taken great pains to stress this finding is specific to this one database. It covers west coast circumnavigators whose data has been collected by this specific publication, so clearly a subset of all circumnavigators, and a far smaller subset of cruising boats in general (which is an even smaller subset of ALL boats).

The useful thing about this database is the effort put into collecting the data, and the length of time it covers. It has records dating back to the early days of amateur circumnavigation (pre-1970).

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Mike,
You have no idea what an advantage your 5'-6" height is on a sailboat. I'm 6'-1" and our doorways are all about 5'-7"..I'm dying a slow death of multiple small concussions from whacking my head. Yes I duck but if I'm not really paying attention I hit right at the top of my head and as I get older it's getting worse, lol.
The first time I met Larry Pardey I realized why he fit so well on that 24 footer they were sailing. When it comes to sailing, short is a bonus.
Oh I know . If I was your hight I’d probably not have taken up cruising as a lifestyle. One of the key factors to making a boat livable (in my opinion) is being able to walk around without leaving forehead dents everywhere. I feel for you folk of the sky .

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Yah the sample selection is skewing the conclusion.

Sensible people are not the norm in the overall owner's community.

Circumnavigators may not be sensible by mainstream standards, but when it comes to choosing boats I reckon smarter than most.
I think what this dataset suggests is kinda your last point here John. Circumnavigators have needs that are different than other cruisers or boaters in general. Given the stability of the LOA over time, this suggests west coast circumnavigators have settled on 42’ as some sort of optimal LOA.

Maybe this is specific to west coast circumnavigators. More data is needed. But it is interesting given the apparent rise in over all LOA.
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Old 16-03-2018, 14:03   #118
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

The Panama number feels too high for cruising boats. We were in the La Playita anchorage for 3 weeks waiting on parts in 2015 and while we were either the smallest or tied for the smallest at 31', there weren't many boats over 50'.

My understanding is that the Canal requires a pilot and a lot of extra expense to take boats over 50' through, we met someone who removed their bowsprit to measure in under 50'.

If that figure counts all sailing vessels that pass through the Panama Canal, which I imagine is some tall ships and proper yachts, then I suppose that's what skews the number so high.
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Old 16-03-2018, 14:21   #119
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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The Panama number feels too high for cruising boats. We were in the La Playita anchorage for 3 weeks waiting on parts in 2015 and while we were either the smallest or tied for the smallest at 31', there weren't many boats over 50'.

My understanding is that the Canal requires a pilot and a lot of extra expense to take boats over 50' through, we met someone who removed their bowsprit to measure in under 50'.

If that figure counts all sailing vessels that pass through the Panama Canal, which I imagine is some tall ships and proper yachts, then I suppose that's what skews the number so high.
The larger vessels would not tend to hang in the La Playita anchorage.

The transit costs go up at 50ft but still use an.advisor. A pilot is not required till greater than 65ft (20m).
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Old 16-03-2018, 23:07   #120
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Re: Boat length NOT increasing over the decades

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In most cases the database specifies LOA in each record. In some cases it was inferred from the model name. Iím sure thereís a significant error bar around these numbers, but thereís no obvious reason to think it skews up or down. For this analysis I assume itís an effect that cancels itself out.

When I clicked on the link, it just listed the model number.
I haven't studied it but it does seem like the model numbers used to correlate to length and have gradually changed. Seems like newer boats are 2-4' longer than the model number.

Also, did the LOA include bowsprit? They were more common in the old days, so while the LOA might be holding steady the size of the boat in real usable terms might be going up.


Iíve taken great pains to stress this finding is specific to this one database. It covers west coast circumnavigators whose data has been collected by this specific publication, so clearly a subset of all circumnavigators, and a far smaller subset of cruising boats in general (which is an even smaller subset of ALL boats).

It was mentioned in a couple of responses but the title makes it appear as if it's all boats.

The useful thing about this database is the effort put into collecting the data, and the length of time it covers. It has records dating back to the early days of amateur circumnavigation (pre-1970).

This could actually skew the data more. Modern budget cruisers can more easily stay in touch and join this type of organization.
It is interesting but it really is so poor statistically that it would be misleading to make conclusions based on it.
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