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Old 07-31-2009
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Eric,

The one truth here is that you don't know much about my preferences at all. I have only have one strong bias, that is towards boats that sail well and by the term 'sail well' I do not simply mean that they are fast. I use that term to mean, are easy to handle, have reasonably comfortable motions, sail reliably in a wide range of conditions and so on.

I am very much a fan of traditional sailing craft, by which I mean both cruising boats and working boats that derive from the lessons learned from working water craft. That includes boats that truly have full keels and not some aberation that derives from some racing rule or some marketing gimmick.

You are very mistaken when you say that I have a prejudice against full keels. I do not have a blanket prejudice against full keels, but I also have enough experience sailing on a wide variety of boats that have had full keels to understand that they are not the panacea that they are often portrayed to be.

I also have spent enough time sailing on boats that have a deeply cut away forefoot and rudder posts located far from the transom to understand that these are not full-keeled boats at all, and that they do not behave like full keeled boats, and frankly, in my experience and opinion, result in compromises that make them far less desirable in most ways than either a more traditional full keel or a well designed fin keel. If I have a prejudice against a keel type, it is what used to be (when I was a kid) referred to as a fin keel with attached rudder, and which by any name is a keel whose bottom approached 50% of the length of the boat and which has an attached rudder. To me, these are the worst of all worlds and in most cases lack the virtues of either a full keel or a fin keel with a detached rudder.

And yes, it is also true that I personally like well designed fin keel/ spade rudder boats (whether that rudder post or skeg hung). I use the term 'well-designed' because there are a lot of really poor fin keel/spade rudder designs out there. I frankly prefer fin keel/spade rudders for my own personal boat and consider them better suited for my current needs than a full-keeled boat.

I also think that most of the sailors who come on Sailnet are sailing in venues and manners where they would be better served by a boat with either a fin keel/spade rudder or else with a keel/centerboard configuration. (I say 'most' because there are folks on these forums sailing in venues, with specific sailing goals, or with aesthetic preferences that would lean them towards other keel/hull configurations.)

Unlike you, who says he is still looking for his first boat, I have owned 17 boats in my life. These include a 1939 Stadel cutter, a design that derived from a 19th century working pilot boat and was as full a keel design as you could imagine, a 1949 Swedish Folkboat, CCA era boats, IOR era boats, MORC boats from a range of periods, and early IMS (MHS) era boats. I have had near unbridled use of dozens of boats in my life, and raced and cruised on perhaps a hundred different classes of boats in my life. You and I are in agreement that what I write is only my opinion and is limited by my own limits of knowledge, but that said my opinion is based on 47 years of comparing the behavior of these many boats that I have sailed on, a whole lot of reading and attending yacht design symposiums over a 48 year period of time, my training as a yacht designer, and my experience working in naval architect and yacht design offices.

Throughout all of those experiences, I have carefully studied the behavior of one design feature relative to the other and from that I have formed my opinions, and yes, i know these are soley my opinion and yes I know they reflect the biases that reflect the types of sailing that I personally have done, and perhaps more importantly, often reflect and is limited by the types of sailing that I have not done and have no intention of doing.

And despite all of that experience, I know that there are holes in my knowledge, and areas where I am mistaken. I understand that I am very much an amatuer, a dilettante, that there is a lot that I don't know, that I make mistakes, remember things incorrectly, and that there are a whole lot of folks out there who know a whole lot more about these things than I ever will.

Like most folks, I come here to share my experiences as a way to return the favor to those people who generously shared knowledge with me along the way, but equally importantly to continue to learn, and one way to learn is to engage in informed and intellectually honest discussion, where dubious opinions can be corrected or clarified, and missing knowledge added to.

As to your comment, "that he does not understand yacht design as well he thinks", I suggest that blanket statements like that add little to a discussion. If you think that I have made a mistake in my comments address that mistake. We both might learn from that process. But no one learns anything from baseless ad-hominem comments and I say 'baseless' since you clearly really know very little about how I view my knowledge of yacht design.

Which brings me back to the topic at hand, in a general sense you are very right that simply relying on the numbers can be a little or even very misleading. But in this case, getting down to specifics of the boat in question, the numbers are so skewed relative to the norm or even to a well-known benchmark for a small full-keeled offshore cruiser, (the Folkboat) that I think the numbers are very relevant to someone weighing a decision to go offshore on the boat in question.

And lastly, when you say, "The really interesting thing is that the Bayfield 25 would seem to have more in common with Jeff_H's preferred type of boat than the Folkboat which is in fact closer to what I would prefer." it shows that you do not understand my viewpoint at all. The types of boats that I prefer includes boats like the Folkboat. They were simple, seaworthy, well mannered little boats that could sail well across a very wide range of conditions. That description and my preferences do not include boats like the smaller Bayfields, which (in my opinion) I generally consider to be charactures of traditional sailing craft, rather than being the kind of well balanced design concept that traditional water craft tend to be. To my eye, and in my opinion, Bayfields, and other character boats of that era and thier ilk, eschew the lessons learned from geniune traditional watercraft which have designs evolved based on hundred of years of experience in harsh environments.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 07-31-2009 at 09:39 AM.
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