Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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This is a topic that could fill a book. In fact it has called "Desireable Characteristics for Offshore Yachts". While the book is somewhat dated, there is a wealth of good information contained within it.
If I had to summarize my viewpoint on this, -adequate displacement to carry food and supplies for a long period offshore (roughly 2 1/2 to 5 or 6 long tons per person),
-low VCG and moderate to low form stability,
-A limit of positive stability (LPS) in excess of 130 degrees fully loaded for voyaging,
-Long waterline length for comfort, seaworthiness and speed,
-high ballast to weight ratio carried in a deep keel,
-easily manageable rig (in my order of preference fractionally rigged sloop, cutter, ketch),
-carefully engineered structural system (meaning lots of closely spaced framing or glassed in bulkheads and flats, good sized transverse floor frames, squash block at the stem, and reinforced forward 1/3),
-Easy to reef reefing system that does not count on a roller furler or sending someone on deck, easy to set storm sails.
-Water tight compartments near the bow and in compartments containing through hulls,
-reasonably balanced helm,
-small cockpit with big drains,
-preferably a deck stepped mast with a moment connection at the deck or failing that a keel stepped mast,
-small portlights and dorades that can be easily sealed,
-almost continuous hand holds through the interior or on deck, sturdy lifelines, sturdy jackline and other harness attachment points,
-A minimum of thru hulls,
-a plethora of storage ideally compartmentalized to permit access without having to unpack lots of unneccessary items,
-multiple manual and mechanical bilge pumps,
-positive latches and hold downs on all lockers and other heavy items within the interior,
-minimal extraneous deck openings(such as sail lockers or lazarettes open to the interior),
-Capable of being handled single-hand by the smallest member of the crew (or in a crew of 6 or more by the two smallest members of the crew.)
-Seaberths for at least 1/2 of the crew ideally with these berths on the windward side of the boat (which would mean seaberths for the whole crew in a blow),
-40 to 50 gallons of water tankage per person and 300 to 500 miles of fuel tankage,
-narrow interior passages with adequate foot holds to permit safe movement,
-a place where navigation can be safely and easily performed,
-adequate ground tackle and ground tackle handing gear.
These next items are probably a little controversial:
-Fine, vee shaped entry to minimize impact with waves and improve upwind performance,
-easily driven hull,
-L/D under 200 and over 150 for reasonable performance in a wide range of conditions,
-Enough sail area to sail through lower wind areas (L/D in excess of 20 using the standard calculations meaning 100% foretriangle and not counting roach).
I am sure that there is much more that I have skipped but I need to get to work.