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What is the "perfect boat"?
Jeff gives his opinion on that...
I am not sure that there is such a thing as a perfect boat. Years ago, Tony Dias, a yacht designer friend of mine, was writing a book called "Designer and Client" showing how the design process worked by cronicling the process of designing boats for seven real people. I was one of them.
Here was the description that I wrote of my ideal boat for the book.
"My ideal boat would be the ultimate coastwise cruiser. Coastwise cruisers were first popularized in the 1920’s. While they were not intended to be race boats, they were fast enough to race competitively, and to get you home when it was time to go back to work. They were not intended as ocean voyagers, yet they were seaworthy enough to stand up to whatever weather encountered. They were not meant to be floating hotel suites but they provided a comfortable place cook and eat and sleep. In the 1970’s, the coastwise cruiser became the cruiser/ racer. They were still boats that could do both. Then came the age of specialization. Today, you’re forced to choose between blue water cruisers that are only intended for ocean voyaging, and race boats only intended for grand prix racing, and so called family cruisers that are designed to carry the maximum number of people crammed into their own little “staterooms”. I may dream of long ocean passages, or racing the grand prix circuit, and be attracted to the image presented in family cruiser literature but I have to ask myself, How do I really use my boat ?
I sail weekends, evenings, perhaps a long cruise now and then. I would love to live aboard but mostly cruise when time permits. I may race a few club races and perhaps the beer can series. I have friends to sail with, but more often than not sail a short handed. I am far more likely to face light to moderate conditions than to weather a gale underway and are more likely be hit by short chop and motorboat slop than the “ultimate wave”. I would like to follow the wind’s call but mostly follow a schedule. No gimmicks- just a fast and comfortable cruising boat
I would like something like:
Full sized berths for a reasonable number of people. Berths that are comfortable underway as well as at a boat show. Comfortable seating for the entire crew and a few visitors more. A galley that works. Canvas clothing lockers that can be packed ashore and carried aboard. Canvas hull liners that are light in weight and which can be thrown in the washer at the end of the season.
The fully equipped galley is located near the companionway where it is within easy reach of the cockpit and dinette. Its position near the center of buoyancy means a galley with the least amount of motion. A top loaded Ice box. Frankly the one item that seems to be the most problematic on boats is refrigeration so I am not sure that I would have refrigeration. As a vegetarian this could work for me.
High Tech Construction:
The careful use of modern materials carefully engineered to produce a boat that is strong, light, and durable. Light to be able to drive through a chop or ghost in light air. Durable since you would rather use your limited time sailing than performing maintenance.
The fractional rig is the perfect cruising rig. Since the majority of the sail area is in an easily de- powered mainsail there is no need live with an oversized genoa. This tall rig is very effective in light air. The comparatively small lapper jib works in a wide range of wind speeds. It is easy to tack and furls on a below deck mounted roller furler. As the wind builds the main is easily de- powered, just drop the traveler and crank in a bit of mast bend. When it really blows, the cockpit led reef lines and halyards permits quick on- the- fly reefing.
Daggerboard with Lead Bulb and Water Ballast:
Despite the shoal draft long keel, or wing keel hype nothing goes to weather like a properly ballasted deep draft keel. Unfortunately, many a great anchorage is inaccessible to a 7’-6” draft. A daggerboard would permit the boat to sail exceptionally well when depths permit and an electric center board winch would allow for quick draft adjustment when shallower venues beckon.. A 1990’s era Whitbread 60 style moveable water ballast would allow the boat to sail safer faster, and carry more sail comfortably in higher winds.
Full Size Tankage:
When a boat can sleep seven people it needs to have proper tankage and storage. Tankage should be something like 120 gallons of potable water storage in separate tanks, a 60 gallon holding tank (less with a treatment system), and a 80 gallon diesel fuel tank.
LENGTH OVERALL LOA 44’-6”
LENGTH ON WATERLINE LWL 41’-6”
BEAM ON DECK B 12’-8”
BEAM AT WATERLINE BWL 10’-1”
DISPLACEMENT 16,800 LBS.
DRAFT- BOARD UP 5’-7”
DRAFT- BOARD DN. 7’-7”
BALLAST- LEAD DAGGERBOARD 6,845 LBS.
BALLAST- WATER BALLAST 1875 LBS.
Mainsail 585 S.F.
100% Triangle 438 S.F.
TOTAL 1023 S.F.
DISPLACEMENT/ LENGTH RATIO 140 to 150
SAIL AREA/ DISPLACEMENT RATIO 24-25
BALLAST/ DISPLACEMENT RATIO 41 %
MAX. GZ Positive To 125 o"
I also drew a couple preliminary sketches at the time which are attached. I also really like my current boay a Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
S/V Dawn Treader - 1989 Hunter Legend 40