Join Date: Aug 2001
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I own a Spray 36 and have owned several other sailing boats over the years. One thing I know is that you should never criticize a boat unless you have sailed on one, and I bet Jeff H (senior member) has never been on a Spray.
He says - quote: "if the boat you are considering is the Roberts Spray 36 this is a rediculously overweight boat, that has enormous drag and not much ballast. This means that you are considering a boat that needs a lot of drive but does not have the stability to stand to a the taller rig found on a sloop of equal sail area. A ketch rig would be the better choice here. This is not a hull that will sail all that well and certainly will never be fast, weatherly, efficient down wind or very good in light air, so the ketch rig should not be much of a liability."
I'm sorry, but almost everything in that quote is dead wrong. As a pure (old fashioned) heavy displacement boat it is not overweight. My 36 has about 4 tons ballast for an all up displacement of about 13 tons. It doesn't need the ballast for keeping it upright as fin keelers do because the design relies mostly on form stability - low deadrise and generous beam length ratio.
As it has excellent form stability, it will carry a lot of sail, Sprays are famous for this very fact. My mast is 44' above deck and the boom is 16', giving a mainsail area of about 300 square feet and I have a 110% genoa - not bad for a sedate 36 footer. Sprays can hold their sail for a lot longer than most lighter boats because they don't scare the hell out of the crew by getting out of control and lying down to gusts. It is hard to push a Spray beyond about 10-12 degrees. Indeed, Sprays are handicapped with less sail on, which is why the bermudan ketch plan is a total disaster. The ketch works only on a few points of wind direction; most people tire of setting and handling the mizzen and sail only on main and headsail; they have much smaller headsails, so they mostly sail around with about 50% of their potential sail aloft. Thus many Spray ketch owners motorsail - and complain that their boats don't sail well!! Non-Spray sloops of equal sail area will sail faster, but I know they will lean more and dart all over the place when pressed.
They might appear to have a lot of drag, but if you sailed in one, you'd notice that the boat is not apparently affected by the hull shape, and as it tracks more directly due to the long keel, the rudder is not being swung from side to side, causing drag, trying to keep on course. I sailed a Cheoy Lee 40 with a cut away keel and I was exhausted after a few hours at the wheel with the wind on the aft quarter (the autopilot couldn't cope!)
Sure, Sprays will never be fast, but they will surprise in light winds of 5 to 10 knots. Also, they are quite efficient down wind, except in a short, steep sea - but what cruising boat is good at that. Remember, Sprays are solid, safe, comfortable and seaworthy cruising boats. Go sail on one before you judge - please.