Sailboats designed following Tony Marchaj's seawothiness principles

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by jollyjack, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member

    Hello All,
    I am looking at a lot of sailboat specifications in my search to zero in on designs that incorporate the principles that Tony Marchaj sets forth in his "Seaworthiness: The forgotten factor" text.

    Are there any sail cruising yacht designers who design boats with these principles as a primary goal in their work?

    Can you direct me towards any particular boats worth examining?

    I am feeling a little frustrated, and some times feel that the only way to put it all together is to get the Rhinoceros(CAD) package and do it myself. I'm half joking, but it would be fun.

    All your assistance will be very much appreciated. Thanks.
  2. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,181
    Likes: 291, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    Having read that book several times, I would say he prefers boats with long keels (keels that are a healthy portion of the hull's length long) over short deep keels.

    He also favors heavy displacement over light displacement in relation to Beam.

    He argues that the longer keels have greater roll dampening effect, lose 'lift' at a greater angle of attack, and tend to stay on course better.

    He argues that heavier displacement in proportion to Beam reduce heaving and landing accelerations. A lighter boat rises faster to a wave and stops sinking faster when it reaches the bottom of its trough. All of this adds to the wear and tear on the boat and to the fatigue of the crew.

    I think you will find few who disagree on those assertions

    But you will find even fewer who select their boats on those principles.

    There is seaworthy. And there is seaworthy enough.

    Most sailors want performance to be a major design criteria and are willing to sacrifice some sea kindliness to get it. After all, few plan on major ocean voyages.

    Also, a lot of the steering problems he commented on were based on heavily IOR influenced designs of the late '70's which had ample Beams, pinched ends, and small rudders. Today's lighter boats have less Beam, wide transoms with wide, flatish sterns and have proportionately much larger rudders. They seem to handle rough going much better than their late '70's cousins did. I have often wondered if hanging a larger rudder on even the late '70's boats would go a long way in curing their course keeping problems.

    In answer to your question:

    Just about any 'traditional' hull design will meet all or most of Marchaj's seaworthiness principles. There are a lot of them around. Westsails(r) and Flicka's(r) are but two examples. There has always been a large subculture in the sailing community that prefer more traditional designs and are quite content to accept slower top speeds and slower turning as part of the bargain.

    Just bear in mind that these heavier boat require different storm survival techniques than their lighter sisters. And any boat that is either badly built, badly designed, or badly handled using the wrong techniques for its design, can be just as much of a death trap as any other.
  3. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member


    Your description of what Marchaj theoretically recommends in his text are exactly as I read it too. My difficulty is finding, what I would call, examples that meet one of his primary requirements, proven by simple mathematics and test, a high angle of vanishing stability, which is so dependent on a high ballast to displacement ratio with the appropriate draft. Of course there are other attributes to look for too, but smehow it really does seem to be the forgotten factor. I have looked at the Westsail 32, however I am more interested in the 36-ft to say 42-ft range. Also, of course, there are all the other attributes and characteristics one looks for in the design of a voyager. It is not easy.

    Do any other candidates come to mind?
  4. Noodles
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Rome

    Noodles New Member

    Colin Archer design can be considered quite compliant to Marchaj's seaworthiness requirements. you can find a lot of existing boat description on internet.
    What seems from your wishes is you are serching for someting not well defined.
    As you know the perfect design doesn't exist because it is a compromise between different requirements. First you fix them first you can work on them.
    If your req. is to design a boat as safe as possible, for the ocean and confortable too it is quite defferent with respect to design a boat very performant to be use just for race near the coast and for istance for the mediteranean sea.
    For istance I am interested in designing a sailing boat to be safe and seaworthy enough for a middle european family who likes to travel in the mediteranean sea and to spend time for cruising and for costal resting, not interested in extreme performances, loving space inside and outside. This means a first choice: long keel, and heavy displacement.
    from this design spec you can make all your trade off you like..
  5. Perm Stress
    Joined: Sep 2009
    Posts: 554
    Likes: 24, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 323
    Location: Lithuania

    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Look to for seaworthy and high performance design. Then you can follow the links to other boats and books. All of them are however, not small - generally over 60 feet. S. Dashew place much emphasis on high vanishing stability angle -generally about 130 degrees, albeit with moderate ballast ratios.
  6. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member

    Noodles, Perm Stress and Sharpii2:

    Thank you all for your input.

    I have looked at Colin Archer type boats. However I have not yet stumbled onto any that excite me. Most are extremely old, and although I am not one to be afraid of a lot of hard work, I don't want to spend so much time with my head in the bilge, so to speak. I am a "senior" now and am not sure I can afford all that time. If younger, I would design and build it myself. I am a design engineer. That is probably part of the problem, I am a damn perfectionist. Jokingly, I can't understand why someone hasn't designed a boat that has it all "right". But, yes, I shall continue looking at Archer designs. I am looking at them "all". I am certainly of the opinion that for my purposes I am interested in the fuller keel and higher displacement, as I am not, for my present purposes, interested in speed, as much as I love it. I want something that I can go anywhere in, and if the #$%^& hits the fan, I have the odds in my favour. I like solid things, with some mass.

    In fact I have been, of late, looking at Koopmans (Dutch) designs, in steel or alumnium. There are the Van de Stadt's too. But Koopmans has produced a number of full keel boats that look interesting, but their are no figures for the AVS.

    As to Dashew, I have his his "Offshore Cruising Encyclopedia". I have looked at his boats, too large and expensive. But I will take the hint and check his site and links, which I have not done. Thanks, I had not thought about that.

    Being a designer I DO know that "perfection" does not exist, however, good design is attainable. I am trying to find what I think is a good design that incorporates all that I want in a boat. Of course money enters the equation too, darn it!
  7. Paul B

    Paul B Previous Member

    Before considering something like a Colin Archer design you might want to take a look at what someone like Herreshoff said about that type of boat even back in the 1940s. I have included a snippet of text from his Common Sense of Yacht Design that speaks directly to that type of boat.

    Most sailors I know would rather have a nice trawler than something like an Archer or Westsail type. If you are going to power most of the time anyway you should at least do it in something designed for it.

    It depends on the definition of "right". If you are going to base "right" on one person's narrow view then it is going to be difficult to attain your goal.

    Attached Files:

  8. Noodles
    Joined: Feb 2010
    Posts: 2
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Rome

    Noodles New Member

    for sure, being you a design engineer, you know that the 99% of a project is to have clear requirements.
    My personal experience is to work a lot, at the beginning of a new design, on the requirements:
    - cruising or racing (both)?
    - family use
    - how many people
    - open water? ocean?
    - what type of certification
    - maintenability
    - money

    For istance your phrase " I want something that I can go anywhere" seems to me to vague, have you time to go anywhere? and if so, every seas or ocean? My suggestion is to work on the requirements and than to find a lot of similar solutions you can find on the market (litterature, internet, etc) and than to update your design (trying for sure to fit it and to iprove it).

    Perm Stress,
    I saw the FPB64 it seems to be a very good solution for what their requirements were...
  9. sharpii2
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 2,181
    Likes: 291, Points: 83, Legacy Rep: 611
    Location: Michigan, USA

    sharpii2 Senior Member

    When you talk about ballast/displacement ratios, I think of the 'plank on edge' designs of the late 1800's. They had no point of vanishing stability.

    They were that narrow, that deep, and had that much ballast.

    They were, however, often death traps.

    They tended to plow through waves like a submarine. And, being the way they were, were mainly sailed in sheltered waters. One of them went down with most of its crew-including its designer.

    Modern boats that come closest to them in design principles are the ill begotten 'America's Cup' Class, which now days, is more about lawyering than sailing.

    Check out some of George Buehler's older designs-he has moved mainly toward power boats these days-they are in the size range you are looking for and are designed to be as seaworthy and inexpensive as possible.

    His most notorious design was his 42 ft 'Olga' design. It had an almost 45 degree dead rise in its single chine bottom. It was roundly condemned by knowledgeable locals while it was being built.

    It went on to sail the Pacific ocean quite successfully.

    That particular design has most of the elements Marchaj recommended: heavy displacement, low initial stability, lots of ballast, and, most important, a long keel.

    The long keel seems to be the one design element he discussed the most, and did so with the most fervor.

    You should also check out 'Trekka' which, for a time, was the smallest sailboat to sail around the world. It was relatively light displacement, but had a huge steel plate keel that was relatively short and deep. Its very size, IMHO, made it a quite effective roll dampening device, and made it much more effective in course keeping than its proportions would have other wise indicated.
  10. u4ea32
    Joined: Nov 2005
    Posts: 416
    Likes: 14, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 192
    Location: Los Angeles

    u4ea32 Senior Member

    There are a lot of boats that are not specifically designed along these principles that are really nice at sea. Examples include: CSK catamarans, Farrier trimarans, S&S and Frers designed IOR boats, Etchells and Solings, and Sea Wolf ketches.

    The flat bottomed boats are the ones to avoid, IMHO. Deep deadrise provides all the directional stability promised by a long keel. A long keel is, in my experience, no advantage over deadrise and skeg hung rudder.

    Narrow beam is theoretically the best way to go for seaworthiness, but there are those counter examples of the plank-on-edge extreme. Also, very narrow beam is impractical in most cases. You won't find many choices to buy, and you won't find the demand if you try to sell.

    Trimarans and catamarans of course demonstrate the value of narrow beam hulls: they can be really good in heavy seas. Dealing with steering issues, like a lost rudder, on a multihull is a walk in the park compared to doing the same on a monohull.
  11. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member

    I suspect, I may sound rather vague, however, I am not to myself. Its that age old problem of being in the design phase of trying to get everything together in the best compromise, so you see yourself winning, in a fashion.

    I basically know what I want, but I can't seem to find it already meshed altogether into an integrated whole, on an existing boat. As I mentioned some of Koopmans aluminium V bottom designs have an appeal but I don't have all the data yet.

    I had the experience of sailing a 46' Hallberg Rassy, and it was all over the place requiring constant corrections. I fully understand the theory behind the fin keel and skeg hung rudder: to reduce drag and improve performance and agility. The full long keel is slower, less agile, but easier on the helm, and tracks better, where one can leave the helm for a brief time. Has anyone had any experience with a long keel who could add to this subject? From all reports one can successfully 'heave to' with the fuller keels, whereas it is not as readily accomplished, if at all in some cases, with a fin and separate rudder. Of course I mean during foul weather.

    I have read about Trekka. It is too small for my purposes. It is quite famous. I thoroughly enjoyed reading "Once is Enough" about the Smeetons and John Guzzwell.

    As regard my 'go anywhere' comment: I mean just that. I would be totally content to wander for rest of my life. The Antarctic, Chile, Pacific, Atlantic, Southern Africa, Newfoundland, etc.

    The idea of having a trawler has been found somewhere in my reading too. I much prefer to sail. The iron horse is something I want, but it would be used only as needed. I want to get as far away from engines as I can within reason.

    I will look up some of the names mentioned: George Buehler (Olga), Etchells & Solings, Sea Wolf ketches, etc.

    Your all helping. Thank you.
  12. TeddyDiver
    Joined: Dec 2007
    Posts: 2,589
    Likes: 125, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 1650
    Location: Finland/Norway

    TeddyDiver Gollywobbler

    First to Jollyjack.. I'm not a pro in boat design.. but I'm a Marchaj fan what comes to seaworthines.
    Anyway JollyJ.. if interested, I have some thoughts and interest in the subject and love to discuss more, please PM.. ..

    Chears Teddy
  13. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member


    Yes, go ahead. Whatever you can add will be grist to the mill.
  14. Rodsbt
    Joined: Nov 2009
    Posts: 1
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: montana

    Rodsbt New Member

  15. jollyjack
    Joined: Mar 2009
    Posts: 10
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: yukon

    jollyjack Junior Member

    I know of Lyle Hess well, mostly via the Bristol Channell and Falmouth cutters. I will enjoy checking on the Nor'Sea, etc. Thanks.
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.