Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Portugal, West Coast
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Re: Sailing, safety, & size
Regarding reefing sails, not necessarily, I mean a bigger boat can have to reef first. It has to do with boat design and you are right regarding smaller sails and loads to be an advantage.
Regarding RM and big boats the biggest advantage is the relation of the boat total RM and the size of the wave: Generally it will be needed a bigger breaking wave to capsize a bigger boat (assuming it has a bigger total RM).
Regarding smaller sails, modern boats that are a lot less heavier than old ones need less sail area. A bigger modern boat can have the same amount of sail of a considerably smaller much more heavier boat.
As the OP had said today the typical cruiser boat, specially the ones that are used offshore are much bigger than 30 or 40 years ago but they are not more difficult to sail. They are more stable and we can do all reefing from the cockpit without going forward on a narrow smaller boat that is much more unstable than a much bigger beamier boat.
40 years ago it was unthinkable to sail solo a 50 or 60ft sailboat, even with a little help from the wife: too much efforts, too much difficulty. Today there are lots of couples there sailing boats like those, because it had become easy: Smaller sails (from the same size of boat), Jib on a traveler, all (easy) reefing from the cockpit and remote controlled winches took most of the effort of sailing and made easy big boats. Because big boats are more seaworthy have a better sea motion and are faster the market went that way, or should I say, cruisers went that way?
Also if we compare the prices of boats, not the price of 40 year old boats but the the price of the few heavy boats that are still made, or where till few years ago, we can see that the price of a boat (unless it is a race boat) has a strong relation with weight. Today you can have a bigger boat for almost the same price that it would cost to build a much smaller old designed heavy full keeler with the same weight. As I explained the lighter and bigger boat have many advantages.
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Last edited by PCP; 10-26-2013 at 08:36 PM.