Join Date: Oct 2010
Thanked 50 Times in 48 Posts
Rep Power: 6
Re: Sailing, safety, & size
For the same type of boat, a bigger boat is safer. If the bigger boat can be sailed by that reduced crew in any circumstance, then it is a safer boat.
That do not mean the the smaller boat would not be perfectly safe on the conditions that is used but there are conditions that can be too much for any relatively small boat (even a big yacht). The bigger boat would have simply a bigger safety margin and the smaller boat will be in trouble in conditions that will not represent any problem for the bigger boat (assuming that there are a big difference in size between the two boats).
As I have been said, this is evident and it is not a way to see it, it is the only way.
Off course I am talking not not only about the same type of boat but boats with an identical quality of built. For instance a Nor'sea 37 would be safer than a Nor'sea 27, not meaning that the Nor'sea 27 is not a safe boat, just that the 37 will continue sailing in conditions were the 27 will be in trouble, or, for other type of boat, that an Oceanis 45 is safer than an Oceanis 34, meaning the same thing.
Here is an example of how a smaller boat (say my S&S 34) is safer than say a 50 footer set up for single handing. My anchor weighs 35 lbs (and I have 200 feet of all chain rhode). I can pull this anchor up (hand over hand) in less than 5 minutes. If I need to depart an anchorage in an emergency (which I have done), I can do so fast. Say on the 50 footer the windlass breaks pulling up the now 50 lb anchor that the boat requires. What then? Sure I could abandon the anchor, but that is a lot of money and not good seamenship.
A couple of times in the middle of the night we have had Tsunami warnings. I can relatively easily get my boat off the dock and out of the harbor single handed. I would not feel safe doing that with a 50 footer since many times I am dealing with strong tidal current and winds. I have seen an experienced sailing instructor have trouble docking a 40 foot boat (even with 2 aboard) due to the normal wind and tide conditions- so it is not just for my lack of skills.