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  #1  
Old 01-24-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I have just purchased a new X-Yacht 46 that will be ready for pick-up in August. I have a few months before I have to get my “options” finalized and I was hoping I could throw a few questions out to this group. I have been impressed with the level of comments and the depth of the threads and I am hoping to learn lots as I have lots to learn. Instead of putting all my questions in one thread I will ask a couple of questions at a time.

Having read most of the threads over the last few months I know it is important that you guys know what type of sailing that I want to do and location. I am an American that is living in Amsterdam (location of my company’s International Headquarters) and have been living in Holland for 5.5 years. I will be sailing the vessel around the Ijselmeer which is a huge lake Northeast of Amsterdam that use to be part of the North Sea until they dammed it off 50 years ago (little bit of Dutch History lesson here). This body of water has two primary leads out to the North Sea (one North and the other West) which will take you to places like Denmark/Norway, UK, Belgium and France. I am more like the fine-tuning cruiser than the race focused sailor. If the tell-tales are aiming the right way and I am going slightly faster than everyone else, the rest does not matter. In case you guys are not familiar with this new model from X-Yachts here are the standard numbers…

X-Yacht 46 has:
-LOL of 46’
-LWL 40’3”
-Beam 13’6
-Draft 7’9”
-Disp 23,600 pounds (705 lbs comes from an extra weight option insert into the keel)
-D/L Ratio 156 (prior to the extra 705 lbs)
-Ballast is 10,000 lbs (prior to the 705 lbs)
-Sail Area 1,115 sq ft
-SA/D 22.10 (prior to the extra 705 lbs)
-75 hp Saildrive Volvo

I want more stability than normal so that is why I opted for the extra weight in the keel and I am thinking about adding an In-Boom furling as well. I did not want to put an In-Mast furling as I did not want to loose that much performance and I did not want the extra weight so high in the boat. I made the mistake of taking the family (wife and an 8 year old boy) down to the BVIs last summer and cruised around for two weeks on a 47 foot catamaran. I had to do a lot of fast talking when a monohual came up on the short list for our real boat…..As this will be a family boat I want it to be fairly stable and it must be easy for me to sail single-handed (electric winches, In-Boom furling, self tacking option, bow thruster and the standard jib furling) as I would not want to disturb my son’s game boy session or my wife’s book – just kidding they are both looking forward to a weekend get away place.

Getting to my first question …..I have read a few resent threads about how XXX boat rides rough but fast while boat XXX ride smooth but sways heavily when on anchor, and boat XXX is slow but a tank could not move it ….. Any thoughts on how this boat will sail/ride? I have read that a carbon fiber mast is good for racing but how will it affect the boat in normal cruising environments? Another way to ask the question – what are the Pros and Cons on a Carbon Fiber mast for cruising not racing? As the mast will be lighter therefore the top-heaviness (is this a real word??) will be reduced resulting in less heal/swaying back and forth??? Does having a Carbon Fiber mast and an In-Boom furling go well together or do they cancel each other out?

Thanks

-John
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Old 01-25-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I have really liked X-Yachts. I''m not an engineer or NA like some here, but I will give you my $0.02 worth.

I understand you interest in making the boat as "automatic" as possible. In essence you will be singlehanding a pretty big boat! Electric winch assist is great. I have never been a fan of either in boom or in mast furling. I would rather go with slab reefing with lines lead aft. You can change your main sail area MUCH quicker that way, not lose any performance, and save some money, all at the same time. Plus, I know that in boom/mast furling has come a long way, but wouldn''t it be a pain for something to jam when you needed to shorten sail quickly?

I''m also a big believer in a more traditional salon layout, but hey, "The times the are a changin" as the imortal bard once said...

I have an older Charlie Morgan designed Heritage One Ton. A 37'' sloop that has held up pretty well. One area that I am constantly struggling with is the steel hull matrix. (Jeff... I decided against your encapsulation recomendation. While a great idea, I just didn''t think I would ever be able to get ALL the rust off before applying the epoxy. I''m trying a system of rust converters the Navy uses, along with barrior coating and bilge coating. First season has held up well. A little touch-up this winter and I hope the big pain becomes a little pain every season.) What does all that mean to you? Steel has a tendancy to rust, no matter how well you prepare it. "Rust never sleeps" as the OTHER imortal bard once crooned. With that said... If you are saving money by dropping the mainsail furling, go with the stock aluminum rig, and drop the money into making the hull matrix out of STAINLESS STEEL!!! No more rust!

The X-46 is such a lovely yacht, I am quite jealous! Good luck with her.
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Old 01-25-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

Just went on the X-Yachts web site to drool over your new yacht.

Go with the 4 cabin layout! The galley would then be usable at sea, and the settees would make proper sea berths with lee cloths.

Lucky you! I am sure you will be pleased with either layout you choose.

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Old 01-25-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I read an article recently (sorry can''t remember where) that talked about carbon rigs. The author went through the numbers and the weight savings aloft was not that much after you added all the extra hardware needed for a carbon rig. The bottom line was that it only made sense for high end race boats. Ask a rigger.

I have no experience with in boom furlers and only bad experiences with in mast furlers. From what I understand you cannot reef in boom furlers going downwind. This to me would be a serious safety issue. It also causes more friction in raising a sail over a conventional batcar system.

mmmmmm - new boat - must be very exciting

Gene
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Old 01-25-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

If you''ve put down your deposit, Niels Jepsen should be able to tell you the difference in weight and performance between the carbon and the standard mast. Roller-boom furling can seem simple, but try it when the loads on the sail aren''t even, and one end bunches up a bit more than the other. Then the battens start getting wrapped into corkscrews that poke holes in the sail and rip the batten pockets. Then when you go to hoist, the protruding, twisted batten gets caught in the boom slot so you can''t hoist without entirely destroying the batten pockets and probably ripping the sail to shreds as well. Unless the batten breaks first, and the jagged end pokes through several layers of sailcloth as your electric winch grinds onwards. Of course this has never happened to anyone the salesman has ever heard of, so it couldn''t possibly hapen to you.... IMHO the slab reefing is safer, faster, and you can still use the electric winch to do it if needed. The sailmaker, knowing that the sail will be reefed to certain points, not furled to anywhere along its hoist, will be able to build a better performing sail with reinforcements in the right places so it will last longer as well. Lazyjacks, or even better, the Dutchman system, can be used to keep the sail on the boom when you''re shorthanded. You may also be surprised how quickly your crew becomes helpful when there is something useful for them to do on board.
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Old 01-27-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I have always liked the designs of X-yachts but have also been quite suspicious of their galvanized steel structures. I looked at a quite used X-boat when I was shopping for my current boat and the bilge was a rusty pond of water. A keel stepped mast (which pretty much guarentees water in the bilge) combined with a iron structure in the bilge seems like a less than perfect idea.

Carbon spars are a mixed blessing. My sense is that they offer a very noticable increase in stability being substantially lighter than a similar aluminum mast. The reduced weight aloft means a smaller roll and pitch angle and less risk of excitation rolling. The lower roll and pitch moment of inertia could result in a slightly faster roll rate. If the weight savings is added back as additional ballast, some of that roll rate increase could be offset by the ballast.

The issues with carbon fiber masts are varied. They are expensive to build and more expensive to repair. They are actually quite prone to electrolysis (remember that mast but in the bilge water with an steel girder). They can be permanently weakened by running electrical current through them such as induced current from a nearby lightning strike. (A local race boat''s mast was condemned after testing revealed a major drop in strength due to a lightning strike hundreds of feet away.) Some insurance companies will not insure boats with carbon fiber masts and others simply exclude damage to a carbon fiber mast or damage due to failure of a carbon fiber mast.

There is no way that I would put in mast furling on a boat like this. In principle I like in boom furling but there are issues with in boom furling that would not make sense with a small crew on a high performance boat. In boom furling is sensitive to the boat''s angle to the wind when the reefing is being done. Ideally you are on a beat or even closer to the wind. On a performance boat there are a lot of times when that is less than ideal. I very much agree with Paul that a well thought through two line reefing system lead back to the cockpit makes a lot more sense on a boat like this, especially since you are sailing short handed. I also agree that a Dutchman flaking system makes a lot of sense on a boat of this size and type.

I am not sure that I have helped you any but reservations and tough decisions aside, this should be a super boat in so many ways.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 01-27-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

Oops, I forgot a couple of points here.

While I have not sailed these boats, in a general sense they derive pretty heavily from the IMS type form. IMS boats tend to offer a very seakindly motion for their comparatively light weights. They have a very low center of gravity, moderate form stability, and a lot of dampening and so tend to roll through small roll angles with a comfortable roll rate. Upwind, because of their long waterline lengths and fine bows, they have a wonderfully smooth ride (especially on models with Vee''d rather than U shaped bow sections). With a standing Sail Area/Disp of 22 or so you should be able to get by with a small lapper (something like 105 to 110%) as a general purpose cruising sail. Lappers are much easier to tack and handle especially on a boat of this size. Lappers tend to have a very wide wind range on an easily driven hull like this. Ideally the sail should be cut as a jib (rather than a blade) and constructed of a low stretch fabric (spectra for cruising).

I would suggest that you discuss hand-holds with the factory. The X boat cruising boats I have been on do not seem to have a lot of places to grab as you move around the boat. It is easier to add them now rather than later.

Also at the last boat show I believe that the salesman mentioned that some of the X-boats use a carbon fiber reinforced glass keel foil. While that really helps lower the VCG, it worries me a bit with the iron grid, bronze prop, aluminum outdrive electrolisis stew. I''d discuss that with the factory.

I really like the layout of the four cabin galley, head and main salon. But I think the three cabin forward cabin and bow storage locker makes a lot more sense for cruising.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 01-29-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

Well, I''ve watched this site for a while - this thread motivated me to join and chime in. My wife and I are about to take possession of our new boat - a Finngulf 41 and we considered many of the same issues. For better of worse, thought I''d offer our conclusions. As with John-A, agree with the value of knowing the background of the poster. We live and cruise in southcentral Alaska. Like Jeff H I am a practicing architect. I studied naval architecture as an undergrad at U Michigan so have some technical background. Raced dinghies in college and enjoy racing big boats too. Been doing this a long time but am a coastal cruiser, not an around-the-world type. If I have any special expertise its in dis-mastings. First time as a kid in Mass. on an old wooden ketch, second time in Typhoon Holly in the Gulf of Alaska in a San Juan 28 (yes, we had no business being there) and third time when a chainplate weld broke in the Southern Straits Race out of Vancouver BC (along with a few others, it blew that year). So I''m careful with rigs.


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Old 01-29-2004
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New X-46 -- New Intro -- First Questions

I''m going to try again to complete this message. I gave up a while ago after three or four tries. The post above (which I inadvertently sent half complete) was to provide a background to the choice we made, which is a carbon mast. Carbon masts can be way lighter and as strong as aluminum, or somewhat lighter and a lot stronger. Witness the Volvo 60''s which dropped rigs much more regularly in the aluminum days. They add stability but more than that, they reduce pitching. Friends here were dismasted in their Beneteau 42 a couple years ago. They replaced it with a carbon rig and said the big surprise was how much drier the boat was upwind. Where we sail, dry is good. Lightning is not an issue here, which made the choice easier. The carbon mast mfrs have electrical grounding recommendations. We''ll all know more on this topic as carbon rigs get more common.

The steel grid is a concern in a severe gounding - I''ve heard they can pop loose. The differing modulus of steel and glass work doesn''t allow good load sharing. However X-yachts has built lots of these and they have a good reputation.

As for water in the bilge, get a mast with a waterstop. We had an Isomat rig in the mid 80''s that had a glob of foam and a drain hole above the partners. The bilge stayed dusty. Hall Spars does it with a sloped aluminum plate.

Look into a self-tacker - X-yachts will add one for you. We have one now and will on the new boat. One jib works from 6 - 30 kts., just flatten then reef the main as the wind builds. Pinned amidship they are the best ever motoring sail. We think slab reefing is the way to go, and we reef a lot. Trying single line but if don''t like it will rig 2 lines back to the cockpit.

I agree with Jeff H on most everything (a little scary actually) but would argue that IMS has moved away from low VCG''s. The designers have figured out it penalizes stability and are taking lead out of the bulbs and putting it in the bilges. Dumb.

You''re going to love that X-46!

jon k
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