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Old 03-13-2004
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Caliber 28 Stability

First of all, as a new sailor you would not be aware that the Capsize Ratio really does not include many of the key factors that determine whether a boat is likely to capsize or not. The Capsize Screen Ratio and the Motion Comfort Index are both surrogate formulas that produce results that can be so misleading that any reliance on these formulas is makes no sense and in the worst case is a bit dangerous.

I know that I have explained this to you before but here it is again, both of these formulas were developed at a time when boats were a lot more similar to each other than they are today. These formulas only have limited utility if used to compare boats that otherwise are extremely similar. Neither formula contains almost any of the real factors that control motion comfort or seaworthiness. Neither formula contains such factors as the vertical center of gravity or bouyancy, neither contains weight or buoyancy distribution, and neither contains any data on dampening, neither contains the vertical center of effort of the sail plan, all of which really constitute the major factors that control motion comfort or the likelihood of capsize.

I typically give this example to explain just how useless and dangerously misleading these formulas can be. If we had two boats that were virtually identical except that one had a 1000 pound weight at the top of the mast. (Yes, I know that no one would install a 1000 lb weight at the top of the mast.) The boat with the weight up its mast would appear to be less prone to capsize under the capsize screen formula, and would appear to be more comfortable under the Motion Comfort ratio. Nothing would be further than the truth. That is why I see these formulas as being worse than useless.

As to the Caliber 28, first of all, this is not a light boat by any stretch of the imagination. A moderate displacement 28 footer would be somewhere around 5500-6000 lbs. My last boat was a 4100 lb 28 foot performance cruiser. So if anything at 7200 lbs the Caliber is on the stoggy side of the weight range. While 10''-10" is on the beamy side for a 28 footer, this beam is carried at the deck, and not so much at the waterline. I doubt that this will be a ''stiff boat'' meaning with its deep canoe body and comparatively normal waterline beam, I would not expect this boat to have a lot of form stability. The Caliber 28 actually only has 3100 lbs of ballast, and with its shoal draft (meaning that the ballast is carried fairly high in the boat relative to the center of buoyancy), and a ballast ratio down around 42%, (Which become substantially less when loaded to go cruising), I would not expect this to be an overly stable boat. What saves the Caliber 28 from being "tippy" is that they are a bit under canvassed and so do not have the sail area to be quickly overpowered. On the other hand, the Chesapeake is a light air sailing venue and boats like the Caliber are a bit shy of sail area for our venue. As a result, there will be a lot of decent sailing days that may be lost to you.

It is not that the Caliber 28 is a bad boat for a first boat. They are reasonably well constructed. They sail half way decently. They are not as responsive as would be ideal, and lack tiller steering, both of which are very helpful if you really wanted to learn sail well, but the Caliber 28''s are a reasonable platform, albeit an expensive one for what they are, to get out there and putter about without getting into to serious trouble. They do not point upwind especially well, but they are not total slugs either. Any 28 footer will take some abuse from the Chesapeake Bay''s famous chop, but a 28 footer or less is really a good size boat for a first boat and a nice size for poking around the Bay. I had my last boat which was also a 28 footer for 14 years and really loved that size for poking into all kinds of neat places. As much as I love my current 38 footer, I sometimes miss the handiness of my former 28 footer.

Good luck,
Jeff


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