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  #1  
Old 10-07-2000
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Cruising FAQ''''s

A great cruising FAQ database at the Cruiser Log website: http://www.cruiser.co.za
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Old 10-13-2000
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Cruising FAQ''''s

Hi

I''m new here, and I''m not sure if you have discussed early about advantages and disadvantages of different types of rigging. I''m just makeing choice to Robert 36 between ketch and sloop and need help.

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  #3  
Old 10-13-2000
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Cruising FAQ''''s

Rigs: Sloop vs Ketch

Boats are systems and when it comes to one size fits all answers, there is no right answer here. The broad generalities are for a given sail area a sloop rig will generate a greater drive for the amount of drag generated pretty much on all points of sail. That means that a sloop will be faster or will require less sail area to go the same speed. Sloops are particularly better than Ketches on a beat or on a run. A sloop rig would tend to be taller for a given sail area. This means it would be better in lighter air but it potentially might heel more or need to be reefed sooner as the breeze picks up.

Sloops work best on boats with reasonably modern underbodies. Both are more efficient and so can point higher and make less leeway.

Ketches work best with heavier boats with less efficient underbodies such as full keels and vee''d hull forms. These hull forms often need a lot more drive and the hull is the limiting factor in how fast or how close winded the boat will be. The ketch''s lack of windward ability is less of a liability when placed on a hull that similarly lacks windward ability. Also, the ability of a ketch to carry more sail with less heeling moment also makes it a natural for a heavier hull form which often has comparatively little stability when compared to the amount of drive required to make a heavy boat move.

Much is made of the ketch''s ability to be balanced to help with self-steering and also the ability to sail under Jib and mizzen in a blow. This is one aspect that traditional ketch has over a traditional sloops. It is not so true of modern sloops. Modern (especially fractional) sloops can be easily depowered and that reduces the need to reef. With modern slab reefing gear, reefing is far more easily accomplished than dropping the mainsail to the deck. In a properly designed sloop balance is just not all that hard to achieve.

The performance of both rigs, both on broad reaches and in lighter air, can be improved by the ability to carry kites of different types.

In terms of comfort at sea, ketch rigs push the weight of the spars closer to the ends of the boat which can increase pitch angles, albeit, while perhaps slowing pitch rates. The taller rigs of a sloop tends to increase roll angles while slowing roll rates.

Then there are structural issues. It is often difficult to properly stay a ketch rig as the mainmast shrouds often need to be routed around the mizzen and the forward load component of the mizzen if often taken by the top of the mainmast. It is also sometimes difficult to get proper aft staying on the mizzen of a ketch as well.

Anyway, in a general sense, if you are interested in sailing performance a sloop rig makes more sense, If you live in an area that is windier and you like traditional boats than a ketch makes more sense.

Now then, 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.

Respectfully
Jeff

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Old 10-15-2000
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Cruising FAQ''''s

Thank You for your very competent answer Jeff!

I''m very pleased with your answer and it was very helpful for me.

I''m not planing to build Roberts Spray 36 but pure Roberts 36 ( http://www.bruceroberts.com.au/sail/r36.htm ). The second potential choice might be Roberts Offshore 38 ( http://www.bruceroberts.com.au/sail/r38.htm ). Have anyone experience of those boats or can you recommend some another designs for build cruiser to Baltic Sea and Mediterranean?

Sorry my bad english and thank you once more.

With compliments Jarsky
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Old 10-16-2000
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Both of these are dated designs. Of the two I suspect that the 38 would be a better sailing boat. I really think that there are better sources for designs than Roberts, but some of this reflects my own tastes and prejudices.

To answer your question fairly I need to explain my own tastes and preferences. These are my opinions on subjects that frankly do not have one universal always-right answer. To begin with, I am fan of truly traditional boats and also, although seemingly contradictory, fast lightweight modern boats. By traditional boats I mean boats that authentically draw off of the principles of actual historic craft with a high degree of integrity. I do not like quasi- traditional boats that wear their sense of tradition like tail fins on a 58 Caddy. I also like fast/ modern designs that have their own sense of integrity. I find both types of boats fun to sail but for very different reasons. I have owned both types. For my current life style I cannot imagine owning a traditional boat again but I truly do love them.

As to other designers of home build plans that I like, I think that Van de Stadt from Holland does a nice job. Some of their designs seem to be IOR based, and as such, do not appeal to me as much as Van de Stadt''s more straightforward cruising designs. Van de Stadt has a very strong reputation for quality engineering and has designed some very fast boats in their day. I think they offer some of their designs on disk so that they can be computer cut saving a lot of time and perhaps money. From what I gather they are a class act.

Yves Tanton in Newport Rhode Island does some very nice work. I think he is a very creative designer with a very nice eye for visual proportions.

Dudley Dix from South Africa is a very interesting designer to me. I have never seen any of his boats in real life (that I know of) but he is terribly creative and seems to understand what it takes to design a nice performing boat that is also a comfortable cruiser. I like his Black Cat 38, which is a wooden boat.

One of my favorite designers of traditional Boats is Antonio Dias. I have sailed his boats and they are really nice designs. I doubt he has a stock plan that is in the size range that you are considering though.

How could I forget Charlie Wittholz? I actually worked for Charlie Wittholz in the early 1980''s. Charlie did some very nice, very interesting traditional designs in steel. Charlie was a neat guy. He actually worked for Alden and Rhodes before opening his own shop. I liked his work. His boats had a certain simplicity that was very elegant. He had a nice eye for proportion and a sweet line. Hard chine boats are actually very hard to design so that they look right. The chine forms a strong accent line that has to work with the desired hull shape, the physical properties of the plating and the other visual lines of the boat. Charlie was able to keep these sometimes-contradictory lines under control to produce attractive traditional craft. While I liked most of Charlie''s work, one of my least favorite boats of his was a bilge keel cruising boat. (I drew many of the drawings for her) This was a purpose built boat for the European canals and as such was a good boat for its purpose but was not my kind of boat. Charlie and I would have lively lunch time discussions on our divergent points of view on modern lightweight boats. We both loved wood as a building material. I loved his stories of Alden and Rhodes. Rhodes was very much a patrician gentleman but Alden was a very colorful character.

Charlie made the final passage to Fiddler''s Green a few years back. His family still sells his designs by mail order. I don''t know if they have study plans but he used to have simple list of designs that listed the basics of each design. I believe that their phone number is 301 593 7711. Also WoodenBoat still markets some of his designs.

Bruce Roberts is popular but I am not a fan of his work. It is not so much that I do not like his work per se. I think that for the most part Roberts designs conservative simple boats, but to me they are dated. His Spray series have less than no appeal to me. Having read about the original Spray and the sailing ability of some of the so- called copies of her, I have come to believe that Josh Slocum made it around the world despite the short comings of Spray rather than because of her sterling virtues. Josh Slocum was the consummate seaman. Spray was a coastal oyster boat. Why anyone in this day and age would want to use her as a model for a whole line of boats is completely beyond me. But I emphasize this is only my opinion and Roberts has sold a bunch of these things so my opinion is not shared by everyone on this.

Roberts more modern designs were probably good designs in the 1970''s but a lot has happened since then. To me his design ideas have not advanced as well. That said, Roberts has a boat he calls a 434 that someone built as a long range single-hander that looks like a nice boat but slightly dated to my eye. Still in all these are very heavy boats and I strongly believe that weight, in and of itself, has no inherent virtue and is a very serious liability.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, much of the questions in sailing have no one right answer. That does not keep people like me from having strong preferences and opinions. My opinion suits me, and the way that I choose to sail, very well. It may not suit you at all. It is easy for someone to refute my opinion on some other criteria than my own. As I have said before on this BB, ultimately that debate can have no more substance than a trying to prove that Vanilla ice cream is inherently superior tasting than strawberry ice cream, (which is why these are called ''opinions'').

Good luck Jeff
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Old 10-16-2000
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A couple follow up point regarding your original posting. The "pure" Roberts 36 would probably be better as a ketch. The Offshore 38,which is not my idea of an offshore boat, has a more easily driven hull and more moden keel foils so would probably be better built as a cutter or sloop.

Jeff
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Old 06-14-2006
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Roberts designs, etc.

Hi Jeff,

I'm actually a bit shocked by your opinion of Bruce Roberts designs. I think I recall from another thread that you have neither owned one or been on one for extended duration.

I'm an experienced cruiser/racer with 3 Lake Ontario Offshore series championships to my credit, and have extensively raced Dufours, Juneaus, Benateaus, CSs, C&Cs, and Farr-inspired one-designs. I also have a keen eye for beauty and function in a yacht, with a fondness for Irwins, Gozzards, and Bruce Roberts designs. I have sailed offshore on each.

So, when it cam time to buy my own yacht I found and purchased a Roberts 34 in GRP whose hull was laid in 1988 from late-70s study plans.

Not a sinlge regret, either. Very sea-kindly, points quite high, very stable, carries a nice middle beam, skeg rudder.

If she's at all more tippy than need be I attribute this to the extra weight aloft carried by the beautiful Fir mast.

Kevin, I have to be truthful with you...apart from your personal opinion about your view on the design and aesthetics I can't find accuracy or merit in your comments about Bruce Roberts designed yachts. For each of the criticisms you gave on the deisgn I have experience that clearly demonstrates otherwise.

I don't intend this to be a flame, but I believe that when someone is about to spend their hard earned money on a boat that they should have the benefit of more accurate objective information and less personal subjectivity.

In sum, Bruce Roberts designs present a potential owner with a terrific value-for-dollar opportunity and should be as seriously considered as any other design.

As an experienced sailor, I can comfortably recommend Bruce Roberts designs.

Winds at your back,
Tman.
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Old 06-27-2006
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wow, may you're boat's sails also be full
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Old 07-31-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tmanisaur
Hi Jeff,

I'm actually a bit shocked by your opinion of Bruce Roberts designs. I think I recall from another thread that you have neither owned one or been on one for extended duration.

I'm an experienced cruiser/racer with 3 Lake Ontario Offshore series championships to my credit, and have extensively raced Dufours, Juneaus, Benateaus, CSs, C&Cs, and Farr-inspired one-designs. I also have a keen eye for beauty and function in a yacht, with a fondness for Irwins, Gozzards, and Bruce Roberts designs. I have sailed offshore on each.

So, when it cam time to buy my own yacht I found and purchased a Roberts 34 in GRP whose hull was laid in 1988 from late-70s study plans.

Not a sinlge regret, either. Very sea-kindly, points quite high, very stable, carries a nice middle beam, skeg rudder.

If she's at all more tippy than need be I attribute this to the extra weight aloft carried by the beautiful Fir mast.

Kevin, I have to be truthful with you...apart from your personal opinion about your view on the design and aesthetics I can't find accuracy or merit in your comments about Bruce Roberts designed yachts. For each of the criticisms you gave on the deisgn I have experience that clearly demonstrates otherwise.

I don't intend this to be a flame, but I believe that when someone is about to spend their hard earned money on a boat that they should have the benefit of more accurate objective information and less personal subjectivity.

In sum, Bruce Roberts designs present a potential owner with a terrific value-for-dollar opportunity and should be as seriously considered as any other design.

As an experienced sailor, I can comfortably recommend Bruce Roberts designs.

Winds at your back,
Tman.
Tman,

I am new to this forum and have not combed the archives yet. I am wondering if you have ever sailed a Robert 434 in steel. We are considering the purchase of one. I am interested in how she sails to wind and what her motion is like. Displacement is a little more on the steel, of course which alters the ballast/displacement ratio. Any thoughts? We sea trial tomorrow and I'd love a quick response if you could...though, I'll see how she sails to wind tomorrow.

Thanks,

S.
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Old 08-02-2006
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Spray 36

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.
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