Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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island packet 35
I had written this for another discussion but hopefully this will answer your question.
I am an architect (buildings) with my own practice in Annapolis, Maryland. I have a masters degree with a major component in architectural structures which is an architectural degree that includes a major structural engineering component.
I have informal training as a yacht designer and have designed and built a few boats, and have worked for naval architects and yacht designers at different times in my life, BUT I do not consider myself a professional yacht designer. I have also worked in boat yards and as a consultant to boat and boatyard owners, designing repairs and alterations to yachts. My mother had two companies that built and imported boats from Taiwan, which gave me a lot of insights into the boat building industry.
I first started sailing in 1961 and more or less have sailed ever since. I enjoy most types of sailing. I currently sail on the Chesapeake Bay but have sailed on much of the U.S. Atlantic coast. In a given year, I typically will daysail, race (both my own boat and other people’s boats), and cruise (both my own boat and other people’s boats) and can be out on the water as many as 100 days a year. I do a lot of single-handing. While I have cruised offshore, I strongly prefer coastal cruising. While I have raced dinghies and very high performance boats, I prefer racing 22 to 40 foot keelboats. I have owned and restored wooden boats and still enjoy sailing on traditional watercraft. These days I prefer to own modern performance cruisers.
In a general sense, I have strong preferences for boats that perform well, and that offer a wide range of sailing abilities in a wide range of conditions. I hate to start the motor and so will sail in extremely wide range of conditions, gunkholing under sail, and will sail in and out of slips and anchorages. I really am not a fan of ‘heavy weight offshore boats’ or character boats. I consider them a relic of another time, loaded with the liabilities of heavy displacement but producing boats that neither have the virtues of traditional working watercraft, and which also lack the merits of more modern designs.
I currently own a Farr 38 (Farr 11.6) which I race (6 firsts, 2 seconds and 2 thirds the last year that we raced her summer), daysail, singlehand and cruise. (For the thirteen years before I bought the Farr 38 I owned, daysailed, cruised, single-handed and raced a Laser 28.) The Farr 11.6 is a hard to classify boats and not exactly your normal off-the-rack cruising boat or racing boat. They were built as fast offshore cruisers but have had a very successful racing record. They also have a remarkable record as short-handed offshore cruisers. For example, my boat was single-handed into the States from Cape Town, South Africa
In my life I have owned over a dozen boats with family members owning over a dozen more. I have raced on a wide variety of boats, have helped out with deliveries, have helped many a new owner ‘sort out’ a boat that is new to them or which they have had a problem figuring out how to sail well, and I enjoy coaching racing crews. All of this has allowed me to sail a bunch of boats back to back which in turn has helped me to understand the relative sailing ability of one boat as compared to the other. I also like sailing up to boats from astern and observing their sailing abilities, meaning relative speed, stability and motion.
I try to stay current with changes in yocht design theory by reading extensively, and attending yacht design symposiums.
(Although I have not had a lot of time to do this lately) people will often ask me to help them with some repair problem that they are having on their boat or to help them with a ‘first look’ at a boat that they are considering purchasing. This means that I get to crawl through obscure corners of a bunch of different boats evaluating their construction side by side with other similar boats. Every week or two I get an email that starts, “I am thinking of buying a boat and I am wondering if you can help me……” I have provided second opinions to literally hundreds of folks, perhaps half all the way through the search, negotiations, survey and ultimate purchase and sorting out of their new boat. In some many cases I have gone with them to look at their most likely candidates. This has meant a lot of research with current owners, brokers and surveyors. Many of my friends are yacht designers, sailmakers, and marine surveyors who also give me an inside track when I am researching a topic. (I think that Bruce Farr still cringes when he sees me coming up the aisles at the grocery store.)
All of that combined has given me a set of strongly held opinions about the relative sailing capabilities and build quality.
AND so for better or worse that is who I am.