Does the 'roll' (side-to-side motion) of a boat at dock get lessened by the width of its beam? Or does that not really matter if the sea is up a bit. My partner is more sensitive to 'roll' on a boat than I am and I am looking at several different boats all in the same size range. (30-36') Can't afford a live-aboard catamaran otherwise I would go that route for her comfort. Any input would be appreciated. Are some makes of boat less 'roly' than others? Interested in the Cape Dory but am in earliest stages of boat shopping.
In a general sense, narrower boats roll through a wider angle but change roll rate more slowly. For some people, this gentler transition is more comfortable.
In a general sense, a beamier boat will roll through a narrower roll angle but will be more jerky on either side of the roll (like a catamarran). For some people, this smaller amount of movement is more comfortable.
And the reason that I say, "in general" is that some of the newer designs were developed with hull shapes and weight distributions so that they offer smaller roll angles and gentler motions.
Cape Dories tend to be in the large roll angles, gentler accelleration category but make poor choices if your goal is sailing on the Chesapeake since they sail so poorly in our prevailing conditions.
Location in the marina and it's design can make a big difference. Where I live aboard in Victoria my bow faces the prevailing wind when it blows up. But the small marina 100 yards away has all the slips facing a direction 90 degrees different from most of the slips where I am. Even in a very slight wake the boats at the other marina all rock from side to side while we don't notice. The other night we had winds in the harbor of over 30k for most of the night. We could hear it but the motion was not an issue.
Jeff H makes some good points. I would add that, in addition to the keel configuration possibly slowing the period of the roll, the standing rigging has a large effect. In summary, there are too many variables to make a rule about the beam alone. I think your best choice would be to compare the action of the boats with wind and wakes. It's easiest to stand ashore and compare the swinging arc of different mastheads in the marina during rolling conditions, Take care and joy, Aythya crew
Tide against wind cause the yacht to lie beam on to the swell at anchor. Methods to minimise this are as said earlier, but also include the type of keel - a small thin fin will cause a more jerky motion than a fuller keel. The beam of the boat will also play a part - but more so if the widest part is right at the stern. These 'bendy types' have a flat hull section aft of the small bolt on keel. The keel resistance is concentrated in a small area as opposed to a fuller type of keel.
A few months ago we were stuck in an anchorage which was very rolly [for about 10 days]. A 50' beneteau anchored close to us (too close - another story). As I spent a good deal of time watching this neighbor, I concluded that he rolled much more than we did. I even got to see his keel. His 'roll' was very jerky and althoughs ours was a PITA, I would hate to spend a night on our neighbors beneteau.
There are ways to minimise/reduce/eliminate ' roll' at anchor such as 'flopper stoppers, or a split snubber. We sometimes drag a small drogue to keep the bow into the tide flow
You mentioned a catamaran - I am biased but they can tend to have a 'washing machine' [some say seasick producing] like motion which is very unlike the smooth predictable motion of a yacht under sail. Go for a sail in a cat in some reasonable breeze and seas before you believe all the hype.
have a look at our 'sailing cat' Even she looks under the weather!
Thanks for all the good input.
Speaking of boats, it will be based in the northern Chesapeake for now but the goal is to relocate to South Florida and Biscayne Bay and on to Bimini and eventually to the Caribbean and back.
I was drawn to the Cape Dory because the prices seemed in my basic range and alot of input regarding safety, but, I am a total novice and am just starting my search.
I like the catamaran's because they have so much living space, but they are not in my price range. I will be taking a course in maryland that uses Island Packet's (32) so I will see how they are. I just want to avoid the really narrow beamed yachts I have been on---they were fast sailing but not enough room for the two of us--I think it was a Pearson.
Anyway, any good recommendations for a live aboard would be appreciated, I liked a Nonsuch I saw but folks told me they thought they were 'odd' boats. It was real roomy, though.
Thanks for your input on 'roll' and types of sailboats:)
I think that a clear view of the horizon is more important that the rolling issue. If you can see the horizon, you can deal with motion. If you can't, you are far more susceptible to sea sickness. Mal de Mer is perhaps the worst thing in the world.
With old fashioned multihulls, like Pivers or CSK, the waterplane is very small, so the rolling and motion is benign. Also, most have big windows, so you can see the horizon. Most are plywood, so cheap, but only get one in "perfect" condition. Rotten wood is a bad thing. But if cared for, plywood boats last nicely seemingly forever. And the care isn't that bad. Even fiberglass boats, you need to repaint, deal with blisters, rotten cores, etc.
When you are living on a boat, the maintenance issues are right in your face, so its not that hard to stay on top of everything. But you must, regardless of the kind of boat.
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