A good many of the new boats (cruisers) that you have featured, and all of he racing boats, have wide sterns. From what I have read, wide stern boats tend to be hard to control in following seas, and therefore are to be avoided for cruising. My own boat carries a wide stern, and while I am a inshore sailor, steering downwind in any kind of chop keeps the helmsman busy on the wheel to hold the desired course. I could see that this could be very tiresome in significant seas.
Could you or perhaps Bob Perry comment on this. How do the new European boats and racers deal with wide sterns and good downwind tracking/conrol?
No, not all race boat that I posted have wide sterns. Beamy and wide in what regards racing is typical of solo racers and they are like that to be easier to sail, especially downwind, following seas or not.
That does not mean that one of these if not well designed would not have problem with following seas but one of the reasons they are beamy and with big transoms is to give them precisely more stability and less roll downwind, to make them easier to sail and control by a solo sailor or even on autopilot.
Regarding other fast boats downwind but needing a crew to go fast, these ones are like those bicycles for kids with two small auxiliary wheels. They (the hull/transom) prevent the boat to heel much to either side and keeps the roll to a minimum giving also more power to the boat (more hull form stability) to a cost of some loss in pointing ability and performance in very light winds.
Beamy ones with big transoms work better with two rudders but that has not to do so much with sailing downwind but more with sailing upwind even if I believe that the control downwind is also bettered.
To understand better what you say tell me what boat do you sail?
Bob, please give it a shot
Eric please, give it a help here, does your boat have less directional stability with following seas than more classical boat you have sailed? Any problem in that area? How does your boat compare in what regards that?
(for the ones that don't know Eric owns a performance cruiser directly related with solo 40class racers, same hull and all. You cannot find more beamy or bigger transom among 40ft cruising boats)