What defines performance?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by Lourencosampaio, Sep 20, 2009.

  1. Lourencosampaio
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    Lourencosampaio Junior Member

    Can anyone tell me what are the main points that define performance of a sailing boat please?
  2. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    Performance normally means "how the boat sails". How does it sail to weather? How fast? How is the boat in light air or when caught out in a bad storm?
    If a boat does well in most of those areas it is considered to be performing well, and if it fails to deliver it is performing poorly, though the boat may well be doing very well in other areas such as comfort and safety.
    I think performance is only about what could be noted from a distance by another sailor. It has nothing to do with what hardships, for example, were sustained in achieving that performance. For that reason, performance is only one of many factors that make for a desirable sailboat.
  3. bistros

    bistros Previous Member

    This is a very broad topic, and what defines performance for one boat type is not necessarily relevant for another. Before anyone can provide you with a clear answer, you would have to narrow the criteria down enough to allow a sensible response.

    Some general groups:

    • displacement dinghies
    • planing dinghies
    • foiling dinghies
    • planing keel boats
    • displacement keel boats
    • drop keel yachts
    • ice yachts
    • catamarans
    • cruising yachts
    • motor sailors
    • trimarans

    Each of these groups can be further divided in many subgroups. Each has it's own "idea" of performance.

    In general, speed is important, pointing ability is important and the ability to sail well in the design conditions is important. A scow is a fast planing boat designed for inland lakes and flat water. A scow performing exactly as designed would be a poor performer in exposed sea conditions with waves and chop. A great rough sea performing boat would not be able to keep up with fast planing dinghies in flat water.

    I hope this response helps you look further into your question and cause thought.

  4. yipster
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    yipster designer

    saw a big tree poster once with a heading "what is strength"
    than some more text and bottom line was it was advertising for zippers

    but yes, as explained and want to add its a pitty often only racers get the glory
  5. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The performance of any sailing yacht is wholly governed by the desires of the original commissioning clients. This rarely is fully understood by those other then the designer and clients. Subsequent renditions of the same design will display these attributes, but understanding the compromises necessary to achieve them, will be missing from the equation.

    In other words, the question "What defines performance" is subjective and imposable to describe, without the designer's input about the convoluted concessions and compromises made during the design's development.
  6. Brent Swain
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    Brent Swain Member

    Performance in a "Pleasure " boat is the ratio of output of pleasure to the input of displeasure ( work , expense, time on the treadmill, etc.)
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    The P/D ratio (Pleasure/Displacement) Brent or is this a formula, like displacement divided by pleasure . . .
  8. jim lee
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    jim lee Senior Member

    • center of gravity. If its tippy, you can't get a lot of power out of its sail plan.
    • Displacement. lighter is typically faster in any vehicle.
    • Hull shape, some hulls go through the water easy, some not so easy.
    • Keel shape. Keels are the "wing" that makes sailing to weather possible.
    • Sail shape. Poor sail shapes kill boat speed.

    Is this the kind of list you are looking for?

    -jim lee
  9. Brent Swain
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    Brent Swain Member


    No it has nothing to do with displacement, other than displacement of your free time to persue consumerism's , "Keep up with the Jones's" priorities.
  10. bntii
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    bntii Senior Member

    As in to perform a task well??

    Define the task and study a number of designs to see which is best suited to this task...

    Or is this the 'performance' car vs the family sedan?

    The performance boat in this case is just faster & designed well enough to find its way through wind and waves while keeping its speed.
  11. BeauVrolyk
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    BeauVrolyk Sailor

    Once again, this is like the question:

    "How long is a piece of string?"

    It doesn't have an answer. You have to say what sort of performance you're looking for. Options include:
    1) Speed
    2) Pointing to windward
    3) Planing down wind
    4) Ability to carry a large gang of friends while drinking in comfort
    5) Ability to tow a waterskier

    As you can see, there are a lot of types of "performance". Once you define it, then we can tell you what sort of things measure that "type" of "performance".

    Good hunting,

  12. Submarine Tom

    Submarine Tom Previous Member

    What is performance in a sailboat?

    Getting what you want from it.

    I suppose the next question could then be:

    "What performance qualities do you look for in a sailboat."

    To which I would respond: "It depends, why do you ask?"

  13. Perm Stress
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    Perm Stress Senior Member

    Completely agree with Brent Swain, because "the main purpose of yacht is to pleasure her owner"...

  14. Brent Swain
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    Brent Swain Member

    Step one in defining efficiency in anything is to first define what you are trying to accomplish. Performance can then only be defined in it's effectiveness in achieving that goal.
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