I think the unfortunate trend in modern yacht design is that the buying public seems easily beguiled into thinking that the design principles of a Volvo 60, manned by a bunch of professional athletes standing watch on watch and probably terrified nearly every second (but loving it, I am sure) is somehow the right thing for the average guy and his mate, or vice versa, who want to go to sea.
I kind of don't think it is and will offer two observations to support this:
1. Most of these wide beamed, high aspect ratio fin-keeled (with spade rudders) and similar tall thin rigs spend their time as patios.
2. When you do see them sailing they usually do so with an enormous amount of twist in the sail rig -- Harken even advertises windward sheeting mains'l travellers to promote this -- so as to lessen the "twitchiness" of the high aspect rig referred to earlier. With a twisted foil, there is always at least some part of it working properly -- but never all of it. If they could figure out how to make twisty fin keels and twisty spade rudders we'd see fewer "crash jibes," "death broaches" and all the other terms recently invented to describe the behaviour of these things.
The one that know me know that I am a firm believer that each sailor should have a boat adapted to his sailing tastes and not otherwise. The big choice in the boat market, specially on the European one is a clear sign that choice exists. Boatbuilders that make boats that no one wants go bankrupt and out of the market. It is as simple as that.
This thread is not about choice of sailing style but about the means to provide that sailing style. What I have been saying is that even for the ones that like heavy boats (and that are some still made today) a fin keel or a modified fin keel on those boats makes everything a full keel would do, only better.
This is not about the choice of the type of boats (performance cruiser, voyage offshore boat, coastal cruiser, heavy, medium or light sailboat or the type of sailing each one prefers, this is about sail design: the best solutions to attain a mean that is, a given type of sailboat.
Regarding what you say concerning the difficulty of sailing fast performance boats directly derived from racing boats, it seems to me that you are the one that is partial. I do understand and see as natural that others have different sailing options regarding the ones I prefer. It is you that think that for offshore work all the boats should be like the ones you prefer for that kind of sailing.
Just to show how wrong you are about sailing difficulty I will post here what Eric, the happy owner of a brand new Pogo 12.50 (the cruising version of a racing 40class boat), said about its first sail on its boat (I hope he doesn’t mind).
Last week we sailed the boat over to Nieuwpoort, which was a cold but nice and very valuable experience. I will be happy to discuss this in more detail later, but the bottom line is: the boat dislikes pointing or sailing dead downwind, keeping up the speed is the issue and then the VMG is always very correct. It is quite a different way of sailing compared to more traditional designs.
I mentioned before the statement of an experienced class 40 sailor: it’s just like a big 470 dinghy. I’ve been sailing a 470 for almost 30 years and could not agree more. “Sail the boat under the mast” and first try to build up the apparent wind. Then you get exhilarating sailing everywhere between a close and a broad reach.….
The initial (form) stability is as spectacular as the 4m50 wide (and honestly quite disgraceful) beam. Even with myself and my two basketball centre players of sons on the same side, the boat hardly moves.
Under sail, more than 20° of heel only slows the boat down. But before you get there, you have already enjoyed the enormous power of both the hull (form stability) and the 3m deep, leaded keel (weight stability).
Between l’Aber Wrach (North Brittany) and Cowes we kept all the sail (full main + solent) up in 25 knts on a broad reach. With nice, long, 3m high waves and gusts up to 35 knts the average speed was around 14 knts with some wonderful long and thrilling surfs up to 21 knts, without ever feeling out of control.
So our first experience after 450 NM with the 12.50 is: WYSIWYG.
A big 470 with visually basic, but functional and in fact quite comfortable accommodation for our crew of 6.
To make things clear that boat option is not the one I favor to myself, not because it is too radical in what regards sailing but because it has an interior “too clean” for me and because on the type of sailing I do I make a lot of upwind sailing that is not the strong point of that boat. But if I was circumnavigating, following the trade winds you can bet that it would be that the type of boat I would chose…and I am not implying that would be the right choice for you or any other that prefer slower heavy boats with a different sea motion.