Jeff, you know of no boat company that used vacuum bagging? Don't take that "bag" reference too literally. The SCRIMP process is consistent and repeatable—ideal for one-design boat building." SCRIMP stands for Seemann Composite Resin Infusion Molding Process. It is a closed, vacuum-assisted, resin-transfer molding (VARTM) process used for the fabrication of fiberglass products.
"In the early 1990s TPI was forced to revisit the vacuum system—by the EPA. "At that time we were one of the biggest emitters of VOC's (volatile organic compounds) in the state. We had been trying for some time to develop the vacuum technology, but were still working with the resin outside of the bag. A salesman from Dupont suggested we talk to Bill Seemann who had been successful in developing a closed vacuum system. I took one look and said "you got it!" - Neil Tillotson.
The early 90's. Boat company. EPA. VOC's. You been asleep Jeff?
Note, that's Neil Tollotson, not me, talking. I'm making allowances that the Oracle of Jeff knows that name.
I knew that J-boats adopted infusion/vaccuum molding in the 1990's. In their marketing materials of the day, they described the descision as a way of improving resin ratios. That they now say that it was for EPA reasons is new to me, (thank you for teaching me something that I had not heard before) but since TPI was late to infusion/vaccuum that does not change the fact that the original adopters like Performance SailCraft (Laser) had adopted it for resin ratio reasons in the early-80's, nor does it change the fact that vaccuum bagging is widely adopted by better quality builders and that it produces a better control over resin ratios and so creates a higher strength/ less fatigue prone laminate.
However, if 2 ft lengths of woven roving are weak, that is a serious indictment against the (better according to you) current methods of construction that include the use of 1-2 inch fiberglass fragments in the chaos factor chopper gun technique. You cite an ancient study, but have yet to address the chopper gun angle and how it relates (newer is better?). You seriously cite an insurance agency-funded study? No bias there, huh? Riiiiiight.
I completely agree with you that chopped glass has no place in boat building. I don't know that chopped glass is used much any more. I also agree that non-directional fabrics (mat) should be kept to a minimum since it is generally seen as the failure mode in an impact failure. One of the ways that modern laminate has been improved over older layup is that the use of vaccuum bagging has allowed there to be less mat than used to be the norm in the 1960's when mat was needed to properly bond between layers of roving. Where we might not agree is that the other improvement is that continuous strand allows for biaxial and triaxial cloth which has fewer crimps than roving and so flexes less reducing fatigue.
So they didn't know how to handle fiberglass back in the 60's? Really. You cited the fiberglass strength myth, and I agree. They knew exactly how strong it was. They had to know. Weight being at a premium in aircraft (radomes) demanded they know exactly how strong it needed to be, and what thickness/composition was necessary. You also cite all the money the military invested in the development of fiberglass. All that, and they didn't know how to handle it? Or did they just keep that info Top Secret from the sailboat guys for over 15 years? Just last night I saw bags of folded woven roving in the auto section of Wally's. Wonder if they know they're selling an improperly packaged product that is weakening as it sits there? Agreed, wet out is more of an issue with woven roving. That's why you can't just come in off the street and do it correctly. That would seem to be an argument that when done properly, it's strong, and an unskilled worker is the issue, not the construction. I would think the report you cite would serve to encourage longer strands, not shorter as is currently seen, and better wet out techniques, not abandoning of the technique.
Here we are in disagreement. You keep saying that modern boats use chopped glass and shorter strand techniques. That really does not match the reality in the kinds of quality modern boats that I advocate. As far as I know, even the value oriented shops have largely moved away from chopped glass. Beneteau stopped using chopped glass in the 1970's. The last time I spoke with the Hunter factory, they claimed that they used to use chopped glass for interior parts until the 1990's and had not used it since. I can't speak for Catalina.
Seems to me 2 ft sections are still stronger in old boast than chopper gun assembly in new boats. And if chopper gun construction is so good, a few fractured fibers in woven roving aren't an issue because they're still much longer than chopped strands.....but then, that'd tend to invalidate the insurance study, wouldn't it? Oh, but there's better wet out in chopper gun application, right? There's NO structural strength in chopper gun applications.
You and I and the marine industry agree that there is minimal structural strength in chopped glass which is why its such a good thing that quality boat builders have long since abandoned it.
I do have a link some may be interested in reviewing.
Fiberglass strength for ocean sailboats
Some will say this fellow has a bias towards building blue water boats as strongly as possible. Yeah, terrible isn't he?
He is saying precisely what I was saying.
All this because someone wanted to know which of two examples would be more comfortable. I may have missed one along the way, but I'm thinking I'm the only one to actually cast an opinion on that actual question and the cited examples. Yeah, yeah, I'm the pariah because my attitude is so acerbic, but to me, Jeff comes across as condescending. It's an imperfect world.
As to answering the original poster's question, those of us who actually owned a Vanguard, myself included, provided detailed descriptions of the boat and by and large those of us who owned one of these boats were in agreement in our observations, so I don't know why you think you are the only one to have cast an opinion.
You and I agree that it is an imperfect world. Where we may disagee is that, at least to me, given the imperfect nature of the world, it is helpful to have an honest discourse on those imperfections.