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post #1 of Old 09-15-2007 Thread Starter
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A formula for seaworthiness?

John Vigor knows what seaworthiness is and can certainly decide if a given boat is or isn’t. I have a great deal of respect for him and his great fund of knowledge on the subject and in fact his fund of knowledge on all aspects of boating. Recently he had an article in "Small Craft Advisor" where he proposes a system to rank the seaworthiness of small boats where numbers are assigned to different criteria to come up with a comprehensive "Seaworthiness Score." The score includes things such as a companionway bridgedeck getting 5 points more than an open companionway.

But I think he is doing a disservice to everyone by trying to reduce this decision to a simple formula. Of course a bridge deck is desirable but a successful offshore boat is a blend of many factors some of which are a tradeoff between conflicting things. But more then that it’s the entire package that needs to survive the trip. Just because a boat has some good point in the design doesn’t mean the package will successfully make the trip. A good score isn’t enough and you must pick a boat that is ready or can be made ready no mater what the Seaworthiness Score says. It only takes one fatal (and fatal might be the correct word) flaw to sink the ship.

This isn’t about any boat in particular but instead this is about how we are trying to substitute other people’s judgment for our own. Before you head offshore learn what you need to know and pick your own boat based on real experience and skill instead of trusting someone else who will not be available to help when things get bad.

What do you think? Can everything be reduced to numbers? Can the numbers replace skill and experience so that someone with little or no understanding of the underlying principles can now safely venture offshore?
All the best,
Robert Gainer

Last edited by Tartan34C; 09-15-2007 at 05:40 PM.
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