Sprays

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by greenwater, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    If you really want to go cruising, buy a small, cheap used fiberglass boat and GO NOW! It is later than you think. I spent 8 years building BERTIE, but was quite experienced and knew what I wanted and why. Building and sailing are very different. So many give up the project, or never finish, or die first. Go sailing instead for a few years, then decide what boat is right for you.
    Photo of SPRAY about 1906.
     

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  2. MikeJohns
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    MikeJohns Senior Member

    The physics of capsize has moved on since Guzzwell was theorising about it.

    There is a well known characteristic of wide beam craft such as you describe, that characteristic of heeling away from the crest and sliding sideways downwave.

    In what's termed a significant breaking wave the scenario is different, the wave front is too steep to effectively slide away from and also the high velocity breaking jet acts well above the CG for all craft. The resulting overturning moment is high and all boats regardless of design are propelled into a B1 knockdown. What happens after that is well indicated by the reserve of righting moment over 90 degrees the boats total mass and the roll moment of inertia. It's not the shape or size of the keel, rather the shape and size of the deck edge and it's angle of immersion that's more significant. Since it's the deck edge the boat actually 'trips' on proceeding from a B1 to a B2 knockdown (knockdown to a capsize).
     
  3. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Yes, I agree with Mike Johns about the B2 knockdown and can certainly see how any vessel could roll in that situation and an advantage would be to a boat with a 'soft' deck edge she could slide on (at 110 degrees of heel) instead of tripping and rolling. BERTIE's big knockdown was different, a result of wind gust and wave combined but she came up very fast when the large deck houses were immersed. The sea can overwhelm any vessel so be sensible and pick your route, season and vessel to match your experience and stay out of places, areas and times known for these conditions.
    I spent 2 1/2 years as a USCG seaman on 44' and 40' boats out of USCGSTA FORT POINT in San Francisco from 67 to 69 and have a good deal of experience on the 'potato patch', an extensive shoal NW of the SF bay entrance, with its huge falling breakers that come up suddenly. One of our 44 footers was rolled on the south bar in late 1969 and we searched for a few missing persons from overwhelmed vessels in the area, finding smashed wreckage floating testifying to the power of a steep falling breaker as opposed to a spilling one. One of these was a 90 foot schooner....
     
  4. gilberj
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    gilberj Junior Member

    For what its worth I have sailed in company with a pretty accurate Spray copy called the "Joshua". Though very different from my boat I'd say she is a very roomy boat for cruising and living aboard. I'd also say she is surprisingly fast in some circumstances. The bluff bow will be slow to windward in any sort of sea, but in in fairly smooth waters of the Salish Sea, and with a massive rig she could step out with little fuss. Those who discredit a Spray, probably have little experience or understanding of the type. I have heard others suggest Mr. Roberts really did not represent the type well, and his versions are not as good. I cannot vouch for those comments. I suspect many of the sailors that chose those boats perhaps did not understand how to get the best from the type.
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Just calling a boat design a 'Spray' conveys little info about the boat. Joshua Slocums boat was a lot different than Mr Roberts version. There is a lot of difference. And thats not to say that the original Spray was all that great - it was mostly a cheap way to get to sea.

    However, this thread was started on Bruce Roberts version of the Spray - and all the adverse comments about its lack of sailing speed, low pointing ability etc are spot on.

    There is an upside, and that is its steel construction and volume and beam - and for quite a few owners, this is the main selling point.

    "Those who discredit a Spray" probably aren't looking for these 'features', but that doesn't make the criticisms any less valid, especially on the smaller versions.
     
  6. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    I know this is expanding the thread's topic, but I was wondering if your analysis of the knock-down characteristics of a wide monohull applies equally to a wide multi-hull? Can a cat or tri with large-volumed floats reliably survive a large, steep breaking wave?
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The stability curve on multi hulls is very dramatically different, than that of a mono hull. I've never seen a multi hull with a capsize favorable AVS. Simply put, the typical stability curve on a multi hull falls off a cliff at a relatively low AVS.
     
  8. ImaginaryNumber
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    ImaginaryNumber Imaginary Member

    I understand that the stability curve on multis is very different from that of monos. What I was interested in was MikeJohn's statement that...

    "In what's termed a significant breaking wave the scenario is different, the wave front is too steep to effectively slide away from and also the high velocity breaking jet acts well above the CG for all craft. The resulting overturning moment is high and all boats regardless of design are propelled into a B1 knockdown."​

    So I wondered if "all" includes multis as well as monos, particularly cruising multis that have high-volume floats? How well can they survive being hit on the side by high, breaking waves (assuming their leeward daggerboard is retracted)?
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yes, in the case of a "significant breaking wave", you're screwed into a B1. Most multi's are often forced in this scenario and a B2 is the result. A deck trip by any hull form in these sea states conditions, isn't going to be a good hair day and most will rotate considerably, until their freshly immersed volume can come to play, of which most multi's are at a disadvantage. Not only is the side on volume an issue, but they're usually well past any hope of a recovery from this angle and they go turtle anyway.
     
  10. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    BERTIE is headed to Alaska next summer. Hopefully we can avoid the situation discussed by good planning. Here she is summer '12 on the west coast of Vancouver Island with a reef tucked in just having rounded the Brooks Peninsula in a lot of wind.
     

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  11. MasalaChai
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    MasalaChai Junior Member

    Bertie Spray Foam II

    Hello Bataan and others,
    Do any of you know of any steel Sprays other than Mr Roberts' designs that have tried to stick very close the Spray's lines?

    Has anyone got the lines and photos of J Hanna's Foam II? And any experience anywhere of it?


    In these B1 and B2 situations discussed in this thread, there is also the fact that after such situations it isnt suddenly calm flat water. Is there not also some odds that a Spray would roll on over, maybe losing the rig, but coming back up. Didnt Palladin apparently do that of the Horn? Provided ballast is secure and hatches watertight might the next wave trip you back up again if still inverted. The 'deck edge' would have an almighty grip on the water in that scenario... (nightmare stuff!)

    And just another point (from one with no experience of these conditions) but I got the impression that Slocum would still be trying to run away from such waves, and unless broached would not be sideway on to it... seemed to reckon that the huge broad bouyant bow would prevent it burying? But from the descriptions of the wave you describe creating the B1 and B2 events sounds like there would one heck of a load of water smashing down on deck...?

    Alaska sounds fun Bataan. Good luck with that trip.
     
  12. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    About Foam II, I think I saw one on the way to Mexico in '95, red, with a Chinese schooner rig like a Colvin design. My impression was it was Spray with a 12' beam basically but it was a long time ago and I am relying on memory rather than research. The SPRAY copy that was rolled a week after passing Cape Horn in 1911 was PANDORA, which lost the rig and rolled upright. She was later lost at sea after leaving New York, possibly due to poor watch-keeping and being run down by a German liner that was in the area at night while she was hove to. Slocum carried a sea anchor and used it in his final storm off of Fire Island at the end of his circumnavigation, but ran off streaming warps when near the Horn. I tried a sea anchor once on BERTIE in a gale but the rig's windage being so far forward she does not like to lie to it, and when the warp chafed through it was lost and we spent the rest of that storm lying a-hull and getting washed occasionally but with little effect. A few years later we again got caught south of Monterey and had a vicious night, but hove to she did fine though we did have things wash overboard. I have run the boat off in a really nasty gale near the Oregon/California border and been badly and repeatedly broached in some really chaotic short seas, but usually she does very well with a strong wind aft and running under headsails, self-steering perfectly. The old-fashioned round bow keeps the boat from burying and she can be driven very hard at times.
     

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  13. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    There's no real "original" lines for the Spray. This boat was a bit of a ******* in the first place. She was cutup, rebuilt (many times), eventually highly modified as she set out on her first circumnavigation. She was further modified in route, suggesting even the masterful skipper still wasn't satisfied. If you ask any professional designer or NA about her sailing qualities as a deep sea boat, most will not have the kindest words about this particular set of shape choices. The original hull was a near shore, shoal working craft, likely an oyster dredger that was left rotting in a field, when Slocum had her given to him. He removed her board, fitted a fix keel (which he later added onto), added ballast, whacked off her stern and basically rebuilt her into something he could work up and down the coast in his twilight years, to earn beer money.

    Bataan has proven quite an above average skipper and owner. He too has made significant alterations to the "original" Spray concept, as has every Spray owner I've met. As to the Roberts versions of this boat, well I doubt he actually designed it and by most accounts they suck, unless used as a harbor queen. There are several versions of the Robert steel Spray model, ranging in size from quite small to considerably larger than the original Spray. They have the look that people want, but are fairly different from one end of the scale to the other.

    If you're looking for a solid, stout, steel cruiser, with some old school charm, then there are a lot of designs I'd consider first, before looking into the Roberts Spray. Of course Bataan might disagree, but there are hundreds of steel cruiser designs available, most a fair sight better then the Roberts in particular and the Spray in general. Simply put, building some version of a 150+ year old, antique design, just isn't the best option, with all the choices currently available.
     
  14. WindRaf
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    WindRaf Senior Member


  15. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    For modern cruising boats, I like the Diesel Duck and also the Dashews' various builds. BERTIE was built as a comfy, shallow draft sailing home that I could build quickly and cheaply using 19th century commercial construction and it worked, the hull costing about $15k. PAR says Slocum added outside keel but that it not what happened. The original lines were kept as the old man rebuilt, but he added about 14" of freeboard to the original shallow centerboard hull. Pete Culler told me that Victor Slocum, very experienced on the original boat, told him that the original had a significant weather helm and so Culler and he designed Culler's boat as a modification of SPRAY. Before I built BERTIE I did big repairs to that boat and measured her up, finding the outside keel was quite deep, making that boat's draft 5'6", opposed to the original's 4'2". I copied Culler's new profile with its greater drag, but made my boat's draft 5'. I have sailed BERTIE against various SPRAYs and we do very well especially in light air, as we do against most traditional 'work-yacht' types like Friendship sloops and Coaster Schooners. She is not a perfect cruiser but is rock solid, dry, warm and gets us where we are going. Her huge storage capacity makes it easy to carry months worth of food, water and supplies and still have room to move inside. She sails pretty flat on her bottom and the hull weight counteracts the snap roll caused by the excessive stability so we arrive rested and cheerful usually. She is also beautiful, something many modern boats are not.
     

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