Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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How Heavy Is Too Heavy
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.