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  #1  
Old 08-26-2003
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boat check - to Jeff H and others

Over the past year and a half I have been researching information for the purchase of my first boat. Finally the time has arrived and I have narrowed my choices down to these models Alberg 37, CSY 37, Cape Dory 36, Dickerson 37, and the Allied Princess.
I will liveaboard - Southern Climate maybe the tropics. I expect to single-hand most of the time. Occasional guests. The extent of my cruising will most likely be from North Carolina to USVI/BVI area.
I would value your input on the above models as to which would best suit my needs and which you think have the better reputation as a sea-worthy boat.
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Old 08-26-2003
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All of these boats have a reasonably good reputation as seaworthy boats. I am not a big fan of the Dickerson 37 as an offshore boat. Although the Alberg 37''s and Cape Dory 36''s have gone offshore successfully, their short waterline lengths and propensity to hobbyhorse in a chop would make them less than ideal to my way of thinking.

I am a little at a loss as to how to advise you here. We all come to sailing with our own goals and tastes and experiences. I know very little about your own goals and tastes and experiences but judging by the list of boats that appeal to you, they are very different than my own.

Two years ago, I went through a search for a boat for my own needs. For all intensive purposes I could summarize my objectives and price range in a very similar manner to the way that you have summarized your goals above. None of your choices are boat that I personally would have considered appropriate for my own use as a single-hander. This does not mean that I think that your list is wrong, but with the information available, it does make it a little hard for me to advise you.

I don''t know if this will be helpful to you but to explain why these boats were not on my list in a little more detail, I really prefer boats that have easier to handled sail plans (fractionally rigged sloops) than older style cruising rigs. Because, all other things being equal, displacement controls how easy a boat is to singlehand, I prefer a much lighter boat as a single-hander than you have on your list. So, while all of these boats can be single-handed, they are all heavy boats and so carry comparatively large complex sail plans. While these most of these models are available as cutters, ketches or yawls which break the sail plan into smaller pieces, they still require huge sail plans with comparatively large sails to sail in light to even moderate conditions. This means more sail changes than you would expect on a well thought out more modern design.

To put this in perspective on many of the boats that you are considering, even though their sail inventory is distributed into more sails than they would be on a similar length sloop, most of their mainsails are each bigger, for example, than the mainsail and their genoas much larger than genoas on my similar length but substanially lighter 38 footer. In my mind that would make these boats substantially harder to single-hand.

The large displacement of these boats and comparatively small sail area and stability in relationship to that displacement, also means that even with the use of large genoas these boats would not really be very good boats in the typical light winds of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas late spring, summer and early fall. Then again I really hate to motor when I could be sailing.

Of course, that is all about how I view single-handing and clearly is not representative of your tastes and goals. But without knowing more about why you singled out this particular group of boats, it is hard for me to provide more meaningful comment.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 08-26-2003
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boat check - to Jeff H and others

maiden,

If you have read much on this BB you know that Jeff is a true wealth of information!! As he has stated in the past, each of us look for different things in a "cruising" vessel. I look for something quite different from Jeff. I prefer the moderate to heavy displacement sailboats (which seems to mirror your preference). Having been in heavy weather in both light & heavy disp. boats, I have found that the lighter boats beat you to death, while a good heavy disp. boat is much more stable (generally speaking). Of course this stabiltity usually comes at a price = loss of speed, larger sail area, ability to point, etc.

YOU are the only one that can answer which is more important to you. It would help if you define your objectives and what you are looking for more concisely.

good luck
bob-m
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Old 08-27-2003
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I would like to touch on Bob''s well written comment. I am backing into this a little differently than Bob and therein lies the difference in our approach. I prefer to start by trying to select a boat that is smaller than the biggest boat that I am comfortable single-handing in a wide range of conditions. At 5''-9" and 165 lbs, I am not a very large person. Although I am in pretty fair shape, after sailing boats of a wide range of displacements, I have concluded that my body strength and the physical endurance of my 53 year old body limits the size boat that I can single-hand comfortably to somewhere in the range of 12,000 to 14,000 lb displacement. It is not that I can''t singlehand a heavier boat, but I find that the loads go up substantially with displacemnt so that I am ground down more quickly by a heavier boat in heavier conditions. As I noted before, it really displacement more than length that determines carrying capacity, maintenance costs, sail size, the loads on various components and ease of handling.

Now then, in my case, starting with something less than 14,000 lbs as an ideal manageable displacment for myself, this would point me at boats as small as 30 feet or as large as 40 feet. The reality is that all other things being equal the longer boat will have an easier driven hull and so would get by with less sail for a given condition. This becomes very critical in rough going. Beyond that, all other things being equal, the longer boat of the same displacement will actually be be less likely to "beat you to death" than the smaller boat of the same displacement

Normally a heavier boat for a given length would be thought of as a moderate to heavy displacement boat. From my way of thinking what would normally be called a moderate to heavy displacemnt boat is actually a short boat for its displacement. I know that this appears to be difference without much of a distinction, but again as I have argued here before, I think this comes down to how you define the size of a boat. If you define the size boat that you can handle by length then the heavier boat for a given length would seem more comfortable. If you define the size of a boat by weight, then the longer boat would be more comfortable.

In reality the longer boat for a given weight will generally offer more stability than the shorter boat of the same length. This occurs for a number of reasons but in a general sense the longer boat will generally have a shallower canoe body than the shorter boat of the same displacement. This raises the vertical center of bouyancy (VCB)while allowing the vertical center of gravity (VCG) to remain at the same height. As we all know one of the key determinants of stability and motion comfort is the relationship of the VCB and the VCG (the lower the VCG is to the VCB the more stability the boat will have.)

This becomes even more evident in heavy conditions when the more easily diven hull of the longer boat of the same weight is able to get by with less sail area to achieve the same VMG.

There is one more point here, not all light displacement boats are created equal. A lot of prejudice against lighter boats comes from sailing on early or poorly designed lighter boats which I must admit are more common out there. By and large early light displacement boats came from two different model types based either on the IOR type form or a ULDB (so called sleds). The IOR type form produced boats that had a very high VCG and which depended on a lot of form stability and crew weight on the rail. As a result they were tender and very uncomfortable in a seaway. The ULDB were optimized for downwind work and so were short on stability. Since the 1980''s more well rounded lighter boat type forms have appeared and these offer very high stability and motion comfort for their displacement.

There is one last point on stability. Short boats for their displacement (moderate to heavy displacement boat) often gain their weight in components located in other than stability producing locations. They are often short on stability relative to the boat''s displacement. This is often compensated for by carrying smaller sail plans (lighter boats often carry SA/D''s in the over 20 range while heavier displacement boats typically carry SA/D''s in the low teens). This means poorer performance in light air, and the use of larger, more difficult to handle, less efficient sails in these condition but as referred to above, in really heavy conditions a certain amount of drive is required to safely sail a boat of a given drag. The higher drag of the shorter boat of a given displacement requires more drive to push it through rough conditions. It is threrfore in really heavy going that the reduced stability often found in a shorter boat of a given displacement becomes more of a problem for the singlehander forced to carry more sail than the sailor or boat can comfortably handle.

Anyway as bob-m notes, "YOU are the only one that can answer which is more important to you. It would help if you define your objectives and what you are looking for more concisely."

Jeff
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I would like to touch on Bob''s well written comment. I am backing into this a little differently than Bob and therein lies the difference in our approach. I prefer to start by trying to select a boat that is smaller than the biggest boat that I am comfortable single-handing in a wide range of conditions. At 5''-9" and 165 lbs, I am not a very large person. Although I am in pretty fair shape, after sailing boats of a wide range of displacements, I have concluded that my body strength and the physical endurance of my 53 year old body limits the size boat that I can single-hand comfortably to somewhere in the range of 12,000 to 14,000 lb displacement. It is not that I can''t singlehand a heavier boat, but I find that the loads go up substantially with displacemnt so that I am ground down more quickly by a heavier boat in heavier conditions. As I noted before, it really displacement more than length that determines carrying capacity, maintenance costs, sail size, the loads on various components and ease of handling.

Now then, in my case, starting with something less than 14,000 lbs as an ideal manageable displacment for myself, this would point me at boats as small as 30 feet or as large as 40 feet. The reality is that all other things being equal the longer boat will have an easier driven hull and so would get by with less sail for a given condition. This becomes very critical in rough going. Beyond that, all other things being equal, the longer boat of the same displacement will actually be be less likely to "beat you to death" than the smaller boat of the same displacement

Normally a heavier boat for a given length would be thought of as a moderate to heavy displacement boat. From my way of thinking what would normally be called a moderate to heavy displacemnt boat is actually a short boat for its displacement. I know that this appears to be difference without much of a distinction, but again as I have argued here before, I think this comes down to how you define the size of a boat. If you define the size boat that you can handle by length then the heavier boat for a given length would seem more comfortable. If you define the size of a boat by weight, then the longer boat would be more comfortable.

In reality the longer boat for a given weight will generally offer more stability than the shorter boat of the same length. This occurs for a number of reasons but in a general sense the longer boat will generally have a shallower canoe body than the shorter boat of the same displacement. This raises the vertical center of bouyancy (VCB)while allowing the vertical center of gravity (VCG) to remain at the same height. As we all know one of the key determinants of stability and motion comfort is the relationship of the VCB and the VCG (the lower the VCG is to the VCB the more stability the boat will have.)

This becomes even more evident in heavy conditions when the more easily diven hull of the longer boat of the same weight is able to get by with less sail area to achieve the same VMG.

There is one more point here, not all light displacement boats are created equal. A lot of prejudice against lighter boats comes from sailing on early or poorly designed lighter boats which I must admit are more common out there. By and large early light displacement boats came from two different model types based either on the IOR type form or a ULDB (so called sleds). The IOR type form produced boats that had a very high VCG and which depended on a lot of form stability and crew weight on the rail. As a result they were tender and very uncomfortable in a seaway. The ULDB were optimized for downwind work and so were short on stability. Since the 1980''s more well rounded lighter boat type forms have appeared and these offer very high stability and motion comfort for their displacement.

There is one last point on stability. Short boats for their displacement (moderate to heavy displacement boat) often gain their weight in components located in other than stability producing locations. They are often short on stability relative to the boat''s displacement. This is often compensated for by carrying smaller sail plans (lighter boats often carry SA/D''s in the over 20 range while heavier displacement boats typically carry SA/D''s in the low teens). This means poorer performance in light air, and the use of larger, more difficult to handle, less efficient sails in these condition but as referred to above, in really heavy conditions a certain amount of drive is required to safely sail a boat of a given drag. The higher drag of the shorter boat of a given displacement requires more drive to push it through rough conditions. It is threrfore in really heavy going that the reduced stability often found in a shorter boat of a given displacement becomes more of a problem for the singlehander forced to carry more sail than the sailor or boat can comfortably handle.

Anyway as bob-m notes, "YOU are the only one that can answer which is more important to you. It would help if you define your objectives and what you are looking for more concisely."

Jeff
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I would like to touch on Bob''s well written comment. I am backing into this a little differently than Bob and therein lies the difference in our approach. I prefer to start by trying to select a boat that is smaller than the biggest boat that I am comfortable single-handing in a wide range of conditions. At 5''-9" and 165 lbs, I am not a very large person. Although I am in pretty fair shape, after sailing boats of a wide range of displacements, I have concluded that my body strength and the physical endurance of my 53 year old body limits the size boat that I can single-hand comfortably to somewhere in the range of 12,000 to 14,000 lb displacement. It is not that I can''t singlehand a heavier boat, but I find that the loads go up substantially with displacemnt so that I am ground down more quickly by a heavier boat in heavier conditions. As I noted before, it really displacement more than length that determines carrying capacity, maintenance costs, sail size, the loads on various components and ease of handling.

Now then, in my case, starting with something less than 14,000 lbs as an ideal manageable displacment for myself, this would point me at boats as small as 30 feet or as large as 40 feet. The reality is that all other things being equal the longer boat will have an easier driven hull and so would get by with less sail for a given condition. This becomes very critical in rough going. Beyond that, all other things being equal, the longer boat of the same displacement will actually be be less likely to "beat you to death" than the smaller boat of the same displacement

Normally a heavier boat for a given length would be thought of as a moderate to heavy displacement boat. From my way of thinking what would normally be called a moderate to heavy displacemnt boat is actually a short boat for its displacement. I know that this appears to be difference without much of a distinction, but again as I have argued here before, I think this comes down to how you define the size of a boat. If you define the size boat that you can handle by length then the heavier boat for a given length would seem more comfortable. If you define the size of a boat by weight, then the longer boat would be more comfortable.

In reality the longer boat for a given weight will generally offer more stability than the shorter boat of the same length. This occurs for a number of reasons but in a general sense the longer boat will generally have a shallower canoe body than the shorter boat of the same displacement. This raises the vertical center of bouyancy (VCB)while allowing the vertical center of gravity (VCG) to remain at the same height. As we all know one of the key determinants of stability and motion comfort is the relationship of the VCB and the VCG (the lower the VCG is to the VCB the more stability the boat will have.)

This becomes even more evident in heavy conditions when the more easily diven hull of the longer boat of the same weight is able to get by with less sail area to achieve the same VMG.

There is one more point here, not all light displacement boats are created equal. A lot of prejudice against lighter boats comes from sailing on early or poorly designed lighter boats which I must admit are more common out there. By and large early light displacement boats came from two different model types based either on the IOR type form or a ULDB (so called sleds). The IOR type form produced boats that had a very high VCG and which depended on a lot of form stability and crew weight on the rail. As a result they were tender and very uncomfortable in a seaway. The ULDB were optimized for downwind work and so were short on stability. Since the 1980''s more well rounded lighter boat type forms have appeared and these offer very high stability and motion comfort for their displacement.

There is one last point on stability. Short boats for their displacement (moderate to heavy displacement boat) often gain their weight in components located in other than stability producing locations. They are often short on stability relative to the boat''s displacement. This is often compensated for by carrying smaller sail plans (lighter boats often carry SA/D''s in the over 20 range while heavier displacement boats typically carry SA/D''s in the low teens). This means poorer performance in light air, and the use of larger, more difficult to handle, less efficient sails in these condition but as referred to above, in really heavy conditions a certain amount of drive is required to safely sail a boat of a given drag. The higher drag of the shorter boat of a given displacement requires more drive to push it through rough conditions. It is threrfore in really heavy going that the reduced stability often found in a shorter boat of a given displacement becomes more of a problem for the singlehander forced to carry more sail than the sailor or boat can comfortably handle.

Anyway as bob-m notes, "YOU are the only one that can answer which is more important to you. It would help if you define your objectives and what you are looking for more concisely."

Jeff
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Old 08-27-2003
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Jeff,

You make some GREAT points, but IMO you need to look at both displacement and length together. a)what size boat meets your needs (lenght & beam, not diplacement) b) what displacement do you want for the size boat you have determined meets your needs). Example: if I have selected a 40'' w/ 12'' beam, I want 20,000+ displacemnet.

Interestingly, I am the same height and weight as you but I''m 61. I agree that handling the sail plan required to drive a 14k vs 20k boat will be much easier to handle. However, with the proper sized hardware and other items such as roller-furling, these differences can be minimalized. As to the issue of comfort: all things being equal, I would prefer the heavier boat (assuming proper design, etc).


Again, this is simply a matter of what each sailor looks for in a boat or more importantly, how the boat will be used. I''m a cruiser, although I think it would be more correct to call us wanderers. We have no time schedules to keep, if todays destinations was due North and a northerly is blowing, we simply head east, or west. We can always go there next year or the year after. We NEVER beat to weather, that is for those of you who DO have a schedule. I nice beam reach or run works better for us. If Aunt Mable wants to join us for a week, she has to come to us, we don''t go to her. I lost my watch 15 years ago and haven''t had time to purchase a new one.

I guess my point is this = If you intend to truely cruise, you need to approach your puchase from a totally different perspective than if you will be sailing weekends and during vacations. I''m sure Jeff and I agree, you must first define your true use (not your dreams) before you start looking.
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Jeff H

If you add 2000lbs of provisions, tools, equip, etc to a boat, will there be an appreciable effect on sailing performance on a lighter displacement boat. 16% increase for a 12k vs 9% increase for a 22k displacement.
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Old 08-27-2003
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First of all I apologize to everyone for the three copies of my submission. I am not exactly sure what happened there.

I do think that this is a wonderful discussion because it demonstrates how individual sailing styles can result in very different ideal boat sellections. Bob and I clearly have differing sailing styles. I really have no problem with the concept of beating, and in fact on a lighter air day prefer to beat because of the higher apparent wind across the deck.

While I too prefer not to cruise to a schedule, when you cruise in places like the banks in the Bahamas where it is important that you have vertical light to slide through skinner places means that you either make sail longer routes around these areas, motor to maintain speed, sail shorter legs perhaps bouncing on the anchor, anchored out over the banks or else having a boat that can be sailed at speeds that allow a quicker passage under sail. None of these are the wrong answer and cruisers elect to do all of these things but for specaking strictly for myself, I would prefer to have a boat that makes the last option posible.

I do want to touch on Bob''s point about adding the weight of supplies and ggear to a boat. While it is true that a substantially heavier boat can often tollerate more gear with a minimal loss of performance, a lighter boat even with a greater loss will often still out perform the heavier boat with the same added weight.

But again this comes back to my earlier point. If we consider two boats of equal displacement, the longer boat will generally have a substantially larger waterplane. It is the water plane that controls the amount of submersion inches that occur with a additional loads and it is submersion inches that have the biggest effect on increased drag. In other words, the longer boat of the same displacement (light L/D) will actually tolerate more weight than a shorter boat (Higher L/D) of the same displacement. Again if speed is not important than of course this is not as important a consideration.

I want to come back to the original post here. The boat in question is intended as a single-hander going offshore. I have pushed 22,000 lbs boats around single-handed. It can be done, but boy does it take a lot more physical energy. While winches give you the mechanical advantage to deal with the higher loads, it takes a lot more turns of the winch handle to actually pull in the same amount of line and with the larger sail plans of a 60% heavier boat, there is a lot more line to haul.

As anyone who has followed this boards has probably noticed, I like being able to push a boat at speed whether I am single-handing or with crew. To me, keeping a boat at speed is one of the more challenging aspects of sailing and it is the challenges of voyaging under sail with the least amount of engine time that gives me a lot of pleasure. But as this discussion points out, we all come at this sport with our own goals, pleasures and experience and for the most part there is no one right answr here.

Respectfully
Jeff
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