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Old 06-23-2012
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Re: Catalina 38 pros and cons

I of course understand that each generation of the IOR rule produced very different boats, and within each generation, there were better and worse designs. I generally do not like IOR era boats because of the compromises in design that each version of the rule imparted into each version of the type form.

From my perspective, I have spent a lot of time on boats from all three eras and owned boats from two of the IOR iterations. While my issues with each generation differ just as the IOR rule and the type forms differ, in a broad general sense, I see IOR era boats as being seriously compromised from a pure design standpoint as compared to boats which were designed without consideration of a rule. It is my belief that while the nature of the compromises differed over the lifespan of the IOR rule, these compromises seriously diminish the seaworthiness, motion comfort, ease of handling, and overall sailing ability across a broad range of conditions. For what it is worth, I believe this is not only true of the IOR rule, but it is also true of most measurement style racing rules such as the earlier Universal, International, RORC and CCA rules or current IRC and Volvo 70 rules

To explain why I believe this, I compared boats designed to a rule of a particular era to boats designed without attention to a race rule. Boats like the Galaxy 32 to the Vanguard or Luders 33, boats like the Cal 2-29 or Tartan 27 (loosely MORC) to boats like the Triton or Alberg 30, or boats like the Express 37, or J-35/36, and compare them to similar era boats like Heritage one ton, or Genbare, or Tartan 41. In each case the boats designed free of the rule were all around better boats when seen through the metrics of seaworthiness, motion comfort, ease of handling, and overall performance across a broad range of conditions.

So while you may see this as a jaundiced eye, I see this as having a clear preference for boats from any era which excell in terms of seaworthiness, motion comfort, ease of handling, and overall performance across a broad range of conditions.

Respectfully,
Jeff

p.s. To address the IOR 1 comment, I have spent a lot of time on IOR 1 boats like the Cat 38, Swan 38, Hughes 38 and owned a Hughes Northstar of that era. While it is true that these were somewhat better boats than the IOR III era, they were not a well rounded as the IOR II boats and frankly were very hard boats to sail with a small crew. Somehow people forget how miserable the motion was on these boats, and with their tumblehome, how they would very suddenly get to a point of heel where they would wipe out and round up or death roll. The lack of tactilely obviously defined increase in stability, meant that you would progressively heel and suddenly go from being able to steer easily, to not being able to steer at all. I personally have death rolled quite a few of these old girl and without a large crew who were doing skilled crew work we could have easily lost those boats. That does not speak well for an ideal distance cruiser in my mind.
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Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-23-2012 at 10:57 AM.
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