How Heavy Is Too Heavy - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 02-23-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

I have three friends that each own traditional yachts and they are beautiful but the heaviest one being a 41''er that displaces 33,000lbs! 33,000lbs! A 41''er! Now why would anybody want their boat to weigh that much. And brag about it! It takes a gail to move it anywhere.
What do you all say, any ideas?

Dennis
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Old 02-23-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

Are you talking weekend warrior racing or layed back cruising?

While your buddies in the light displacement boats are holding on with white knuckles in foul weather gear...your friend on the 33k lb boat will be sipping margaritas and steering with his feet. Different strokes dude.
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Old 02-23-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

... and in addtion, a heavyweight will have significantlly more ''momentum'' that will enable it to smash through heavy chop that would stop a lightweight dead cold.

A heavyweight wont change much at the waterline when overloaded with stores (for long distance voyaging) while the lightweight will be comparitvely deeper in the water when loaded and may be struggling/wallowing to sail on her the lines.

You have to constantly ''tweak'' a lightweight to keep them on course, in spite of how well you trim/shape; a heavyweight is sometimes ''boring'' to sail.

Heavy weight boats have better directional stability - by design. Lightweight boats are more unstable directionally - on purpose so that you have better helm response (for racing, etc.).

Gee, this is like comparing a staid 747 to an inherently unstable F18 .... same thing.
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Old 02-23-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

I guess I must be a light Heavyweight at 22.000 pounds bare bones and maybe 25K loaded. The Catalina 38 the old Sparkman and Stephens design is a little heavy for a fin keel by todays standards but the weight makes her go to sea quite well. I have been in some nasty stuff with this boat.She did jump a wave top a couple of times but for the most part it was a good ride.The boat never shuddered or pounded.The weight helped her to keep foward speed when a head sea came along. I did have to bear off about fifteen degrees so we did not take waves down the deck. This old girl still hauls ass 7.6 knots and the knot meter was calibrated and checked aginst a GPS and 8.3 came up several times I am not sure if that coud be true but the insturments were both acurate at all other marks.
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Old 02-24-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

My baby got back as well. At 22,000 to 24,000 for a 32.5 foot schooner, she''s a portly girl with a wide, but shapely, transom. The thing is, I can trim the sails, lock the wheel, and walk around without ''steering'' the boat. I couldn''t do that with my old lightweight. I also noticed that the easy, predictable motion of the boat drains far less energy out of me. My heavy ground tackle doesn''t load down the bow, and a hundred gallons of fuel doesn''t squat the rear. I can load her with food and water and not sink her into wallow-world. Of course, I accept her slow acceleration rounding a mark, but then again, I don''t sunny Sunday race in the bay. She''s not made for that.
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Old 02-24-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

I concur with the preceding comments in support of heavier displacement. I went to a full keel on my last boat, a Cape Dory 30, weighing 11,000. Now I''ve got a full-keel ketch at 46,000. As said, sure, she won''t win any races, but the only racing I do is to the party store before it closes. Full keel heavy boats are much more forgiving of less-than-perfect trim, far more comfortable in the rough stuff, and with enough rags up, aren''t all that slow either. The biggest challenge is short-crewed docking maneuvers. I''ve learned to power into port very....very....very....slowly....
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Old 02-24-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

My only question is this; would those of you with a 24000# boat, or those with 46000# even, expect a 48’ boat, or even 60’ boat of the same displacement, which certainly do exist, to behave less satisfactorily than yours? Yes, heavier displacement can cushion your ride, but I submit that the same displacement with a longer waterline will provide additional comfort! Lighten up, please.
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Old 02-24-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

Well, speaking for myself, the 46K is spread over a pretty long waterline: 59'' LOA, 48'' LWL. It feels to me like a nice "wheelbase" to ride on in most conditions.
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Old 02-25-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

Phil,
Thats a good point and sure there is a trade off for length with the same displacement. Regardless, light displacement boats are still lively in comparison no matter how you figure.
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Old 02-25-2005
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy

Billjr,

I don''t think that it is a fair statement to say "Regardless, light displacement boats are still lively in comparison no matter how you figure". There are a whole range of factors that control how lively a boat will be. Overall weight plays a very small role except when looking at heave, which is generally the slowest (i.e. least lively) of the six forms of motion.

For the most part weight and bouyancy distribution, and dampening play a far more critical role than overall weight. So it is that a very beamy, comparatively heavy boat with comparatively hard turns of the bilge and with a high center of gravity can have a much more lively motion than a much lighter weight craft of the same length. But more to the point, within reasonable limits, the longer boat of equal displacement will generally have a more comfortable, less lively motion than a shorter boat of the same displacement. A 22,000-24,000 lb 42 footer will have a much more comfortable motion than a 32 footer of the same displacement and all things being roughly equal will sail better, have more storage and weight capacity, and be roughly the same cost to maintain over the long haul since most costs of ownership are more proportionate to displacement than to length.

I also want to talk about the ''heavier boat being able to smash through waves that would stop a lighter boat dead'' comment above. This is a very dated comment. As modern lighter weight boats have moved their centers of bouyancy aft and increased thier sail carrying capacity relative to thier displacement, these lighter weight boats have been shown to have a better ability to make way through steeper waves with a more comfortable motion than heavier weight boats or earlier light weight boats, both of which tended to collide with each wave rather than knife through.

Jeff
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