I like the question that was posed by Outbound. It gets to the heart of something that often crosses my mind when I see or worse yet write, the word 'ideal' in the context of boats. Its seems like the term 'ideal' should almost always be accompanied by the questions, 'for whom?' and 'for what use?'. Outbound's query seems to go to the heart of that, and the responses have shown a very bright light on the how the 'for whom?' impacts the 'ideal' in ways that really surprised me after years of reading posts by some of the respondents.
Anyone who has read more than a handful of my my posts would probably admit that I am somewhat predictable on these questions, but here are my responses.
Day sailor: Yes
Blue water: Probably
High latitude: Not a chance in hell
Still, would be a interesting discussion.
What material: Cold molded wood/ composite or higher tech FRP
What hull shape: See drawings
what appendages: See drawings
what size: 16000 lbs
what sail plan: Fractional sloop
In my opinion a coastal cruiser which is optimized to permit offshore passage making and so should offer the following traits:
Should be seakindly which means an easy motion. Seakindliness coming from long waterline relative to overall length, fine entry, minimal weight in the ends of the boat, moderate beam, Vee'd hull sections forward and elliptical hull sections (not too round and not too hard a bilge) from amidships aft, a low vertical center of gravity, a tall enough but light enough rig to slow roll without increasing roll angle dramatically.
Ideally should be robust and simple. Weight should not be expended on fancy interiors or excess weight in areas that are solely for show. The hull and deck should have small panel areas with reasonably close framing and bulkheads. Details should be simple and solid.
Should have an easily driven hull so that it can get by with smaller sails and a smaller sail inventory making it easier to handle across the wide range of wind and sea conditions that will be encountered. Sail plans and under water foils should be robust and efficient. I don't think that a skeg hung, or keel hung rudder is necessary, and in many ways I think that an outboard rudder makes more sense in terms being able to check and maintain it, and use a simplified self-steering.
I personally would want a fractional rigged sloop rig for its ease in adapting to changeable conditions. I would want a permanently affixed track for the storm trysail. I am of two minds on a removable stay for a storm sail, vs. one that goes up the foil with safety ties incorporated.
Sailing systems need to be robust, easily operated, suitable to short-handing and easy to maintain offshore. Here there needs to be a balance between having the tools to do the job efficiently vs. being overly complex and maintenance prone.
Electronics and the electrical system also need to be simple, and no more than necessary to get by. Here again there need to balance between having enough to do the job efficiently vs. being overly complex and maintenance prone. In my opinion, the boat needs to be operable without an electrical system should the worst happen.
The boat needs to be adequately burdensome to carry all of the consumables and spares that are required for distance voyaging. There needs to be solid, secure and low in the boat food storage lockers. Water tankage needs to be adequately large, with multiple and maintainable tanks. Other types of tankage and storage are less critical.
Ideally there should be complete access to the skind of hull everywhere in the boat.
Deck houses should be low and there should be solid foot and hand holds along the deck. There needs to be good ventilation, which can be secured from leakage when offshore; large portlights and hatches are a no-no.
There needs to be a way to secure ground tackle off the deck and to secure hawse pipes when offshore. There needs to be really great ground tackle and ground tackle handling gear.
There should be narrow passage ways in the cabin, with good foot holds and hand holds, so you are not thrown about. Galleys and heads should be small so you can brace yourself when in them. Refrigeration is less important than good dry storage. I want a dedicated shower.
I would want water tight compartments in the bow and stern, with the propshaft and rudder post within the aft compartment.
I would want about 15,000 to 17,000 Lbs of displacement.
A protected on deck 'watch station' would be important. I would not want a pilot house. A liferaft compartment should be an integral part of the design, as should a solid solution to store a dinghy.
I drafted the images below during the late Wolfenzee's ideal boat discussion as 'My version' if I had Wolf's displacement to work with. In reality, my ideal boat would be a foot or two longer and there would be a dedicated shower/ wet locker aft of the head. But this gives the general idea.