What can you tell from the numbers?
Re-reading my post I realize I was pretty vague, so let me try again. I''ve been looking at boats in the 28-32ft range for a while. I''m not looking to race the boat- just use it to overnight and spend a few months a year cruising in southeast Brazil (which is a terrific cruising ground, BTW). I''m not terribly interested in speed, but I do like the idea of having a boat that is safe in a blow. I may never cross an ocean, but deep down, I think everyone would like to know their boat is up to it if they should suddenly get the inkling to do so. Now comes my doubt. It seems that half of what I''ve read would look favourably on the boat I described above for it''s narrow beam, high ballast ratio (and even high displacement). It has a low center of gravity and low freeboard (though at the cost of a high wetted surface). When I compare this boat to a modern 28ft. production boat made here in Brazil (the Aruba 28) it seems as though they were made on different planets. The Aruba 28 looks like a Volvo Ocean racer with it''s wedge-shaped hull, long waterline wide, flat stern and fine entry. It also has a low ballast ratio. So, here is what I would like to understand a little better.
1) What are the advantages (if any) from a high ballast ratio, and how does this affect the way the boat sails? What are the trade-offs?
2) Are there advantages to a narrow beam? (I keep thinking of thoses images of Volvo Ocean racers upsidedown with the crew sitting on the overturned hull waiting for their rescuers).