Faster is better than heavier crossing oceans?

Discussion in 'Stability' started by Antonio Alcalá, Oct 3, 2008.

  1. Antonio Alcalá
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    Antonio Alcalá Ocean Yachtmaster

    Although we probably know the answer of some of you, i bring your attention about what is better (for sailing on a gale in the middle of the Ocean) a faster design ( the newest models ) or a heavier design. What would be the maximum safety in large waves, the speed or the displacement of the sailboat?

  2. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer


    To paraphrase Olin Stephens on the subject, "the most important thing is that the boat be strong enough."

    Speed is nice, but if the boat falls apart, you are out of the game. And speed is only good up to a point, when it (motion) becomes exhausting for the crew.

    Weight is nice too, it slows and quiets the motion, but no one wants to sail a pig. If built of non-exotic materials a boat will have to weigh something if it is to be "strong enough", but many (most?) go to sea vastly overloaded.

    Thus, as always with boats, there is a compromise position somewhere between the two. Every sailor must choose his/her own mix of strength(weight) and speed.
  3. Antonio Alcalá
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    Antonio Alcalá Ocean Yachtmaster

    I Entirely agree with you. But for a moment imagine 50 kts behind you:

    1.- First option. A Figaro II or an Open 60

    2.- Second option. A well steel hull designed with a big displacement

    Wich do you prefer? Having in front of you 200 miles for escaping of the low pressure system...
  4. Tad
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    Tad Boat Designer


    These questions must be coloured by my own experience and abilities.

    If I had a great (highly experienced) crew and was in a big hurry (implied when sailing racing boats). It would be great fun to sail well prepared boats of option 1. With no crew or a family group the Figaro would be questionable and the open 60 unthinkable. These boats would not be my (personal) first choice for relaxed ocean cruising.

    The second option is within my experience and thus I would say no problem, first choice. My own boat is a heavy displacement full keel ketch which will eventually sail the world's oceans.
    Guillermo likes this.
  5. Butch .H
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    Butch .H Senior Member

    This is what I want under my bum when the sea goes off its head 45ft Roberts

    Attached Files:

  6. Brent Swain
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    Brent Swain Member

    With high lattitude gales moving far faster than any sailboat can sail, its delusional to think you can outrun one . The heavier the boat the more inertial resistance to capsize, and the better able it is to resist major dammage , especially if the boat is built of steel.
    You'll also be more comfortable in the meantime and have far fewer worries about hiting something.
    Foam earplugs sure take the stress out of gales at sea.
  7. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Hola Antonio!
    My two cents (repeated to boringness at the STIX and Seaworthiness threads), for all around cruising boats with short crews:

    - Agreeing with Tad, first of all an strongly built boat, able to sustain severe punishment and yet stand still with age.
    - For normal all around cruising boats and budgets, this implies weight.
    - Cruising around also implies aditional weight in the form of supplies and equipment (I'm not talking about coastal summertime cruising in developed areas, where supplies and help are at hand almost everywhere).
    - So a very low D/L ratio is not a choice, to my taste.
    - Very high D/L ratio and very low SA/D are neither desirable.
    - Sails size has to be easily manegeable and their center of effort not too high.
    - In my opinion, a medium D/L in the range of 200 to 300 for the loaded condition and a SA/D from 15 to 18, is where it should be desirable to move, in my opinion, although there are many acceptable boats under and over such boundaries (but not too far away).
    - An STIX figure equal or higher to the the hull length in feet.
    - A good winward ability.
    - A well balanced rig and underbody.
    - An small tendency to broach.
    - A MCR in the high side for the length.

    There are many other aspects to consider, but I think those are some of the most important from the point of view of seaworthiness.

    To run a gale with a light and fast boat and a full (or very experienced) crew for a relatively short time may be exhilarating, but that's a different thing. When cruising you never know if you're going to be able to run, or then be obligued to heave to, run under warps or drogues, or simply survive under bare poles.

    Last edited: Oct 8, 2008
  8. Brent Swain
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    Brent Swain Member

    I have seen many light boat fans delude themselves , then find out that their boat is anything but light when they load all the non optional neccessities , like adequate ground tackle, food , etc aboard. Being able to go fast doesn't help you much if you hit a container on a dark foggy night, or any of the other dangerous bits of debris floating out there. Light also means you have to buy your food where it is expensive, instead of being able to load up a year's supply where it is cheap.
  9. lazeyjack

    lazeyjack Guest

    for me
    A boat that can claw off a lee shore without engine power
    A heavily ballested mono with a high angle of vanishing stabilty, of at least 138 depart and 132 return
    A strong metal hull, because I have hit coral bombies in the Pacific, and seen many wrecks
    AS Guillermo says, the numbers, sail to disp ratio are important
    Ability to sail fast beats a dog so light and strong, with complete watertight integrity, and that means the boat should be able to take a fire hose on the compionway hatches and doors without ingress of water
    Sailing abilty is a real must, as is high manouverabity, so the shoter keels are better suited, prefer moderate finn with large sole area that will not sink into the mud when drying out Scheel keels get the ballast low, with a big foorprint
    having owned both types, one heavy steel clunker, with full length that sailed on its ear at 40 knots, and one light (18) tonne) 54, with 8 tonne scheel, I know what I prefer
    A fairly high performance sail/rig, but without runners, and a stick that will stay up, well cut sails
    in many countrys the airs are light, so BIG heavy , or small heavy boat loses out big time, and may take twice the time to reach a destination
    Swain please dont reply to my post, you are on ignore and we have heard it all before on every single thread you write the same thing, and attack me at every opportunity
  10. Guest-3-12-09-9-21
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    Guest-3-12-09-9-21 Senior Member

    Speed....well, sitting in first class with a free drink in hand is probably the most comfortable way to cross the oceans. This is why there are no longer any ocean liners making the crossing. :D
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  11. harry22
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    harry22 New Member

    From personal experience in heavy slow boats and light fast boats...go with strength and a bit of weight, but make it a fast shape. I totally agree with those whos suggest that when fitted out for extended cruising even a light yacht becomes heavy...but does it have the strength to sustain it's own weight?
    So build a strong boat with ample displacement that isn't doubled by the addition of your cruising stores.
    Now, lets think about the shape of the beast. I had a full ended, long keeled cruising yacht that looked after me very well when I made mistakes, and which survived a complete capsize in the southern Indian Ocean with masts intact, but she wouldn't go up wind worth a damn, and took some getting back on course after being pushed around by a breaking sea.
    For my money a medium length keel with a robust transom hung partially balanced rudder with trim tab is a great solution. The rudder has excellent "leverage", the vessel can take the hard without damage to itself, and it is easily steered by the simplest forms of self steering, operation through the trim tab. (Just make sure you figure out the differential geometry first...Gerard Dykstra's old book on self steering was a god-send.)
    A good cruising yacht, no matter what it's basic type, has to be well "balanced". What that means is sometimes hard to define, but you know it when you have it. The vessel that rounds up in a hard puff usually lacks balance, as does the vessel that buries and trips over it's bow in a following sea. Balance can be achieved in a wide number of hull TYPES, but its is designed in at the start and it's hard to correct a badly balanced design.
    If in doubt, talk to a designer who also cruises!
    Remember...moderation in all things, ESPECIALLY moderation! Be daring.
  12. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member

    Personally I prefer my ocean yachts to be in the water not on the water.
    A good design and a bad design cost about the same to build, so build a good design. As has been spoken above, there is really no room for pigs, nor is there any reason to build one, the boat must be of a design that has proven to be seaworth, easy to sail, and is of course built appropriately.
    My last ocean yacht was a Halvorsen Freya design, she was supurb, i can honestly state that, and she handled some serious offshore weather exceptionally well. I have redrawn the lines of her to modify a few slight design specs and would rebuild her again at the drop of a hat, in fact i am seriously thinking of making it into a production boat.
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  13. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    Do you have a photo or lines of the Freya handy Landlubber?


  14. Landlubber
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    Landlubber Senior Member


    send me a private message and I will email you a pdf i have just done of the lines plan
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