Help.. Someone took two meters off my boat - SailNet Community
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Help.. Someone took two meters off my boat

There are several methods for measuring a boat's size.

The L.O.A. (Length Over All) which measures yachts from the very front of the pull-pit to the edge of the transom. The Hull Length (H.L.), which measures only the hull and the L.W.L. (Length of the Water Line), which measures only the water line of a vessel, are the most commonly used. Out of those, the most accurate -indicating the real size of a boat- is the L.W.L, not only because the water-line dictates the maximum speed a vessel can reach, but also because it realistically represents the "volume" (in cubic metres) of the boat.

The other two measurements - L.O.A and H.L.- can easily mislead as to a vessel's size. The H.L. because a higher "inclination" in the bow and the transom of a boat can "add" several feet (when no real change has been added in the vessels "volume"). The LOA is even worse, as it includes in the calculation everything sticking out of the bow or the transom.

Some twenty years ago, the boat building companies named the new models with a number that was close to the real size of their vessels. In later years, when they are designing a new vessel they tend to name it after the LOA, in order to make us believe that their yachts are larger than their actual size. As an example, the Jeanneau model of 1983 "Trinidad 47" had an L.W.L of 41,34 ft, when the 2002 model of the same company, "Sun Odyssey 52,2" has a L.W.L 41,8 feet. Obviously, both yachts are of the same size.

But my dear Jeanneau marketeers, the beautiful 53 footer you recently sold me is only 47 feet, according YOUR estimations of just a few years ago. What happened and who took off 2 whole meters from my boat?

Please notice that I mention Jeanneau as an example, but actually ALL the companies are doing the same (when I say all, I mean Jeanneau, Beneteau and Bavaria, which represent the 95% of the yacht charter market). They are all misleading us and falsely try to make us believe that their boats are larger than what they actually are.

I hear some of you saying "ok Alex, this is a marketing trick, but it is not so important, as we always know the real size of the boats".. Do we??

Recently, I've decided to re-arrange the price lists of all the boats on @lmiyachts.com and sort the yachts according their L.W.L. Here are the results: http://www.almiyachts.com/Bareboat/rental_boats.html

Don't be surprised if you see the Super Dooper 47 model of company A listed below the Awesome 42 model of company B, as this only means that the second boat is in reality larger than the other and company B is more honest when it comes to naming the model.

I thought that this job would take me only a couple of days but this estimation was far from the truth, as I discovered...

the 3rd best well kept secret of the decade (after the DaVinci Code and Google's page ranks algorithm)

Jeanneau and Beneteau NO LONGER provide us the only accurate information indicating their vessels' real size i.e. the L.W.L. If you don't believe me, here are the addresses for their official sites: Jeanneau , Beneteau. Beautiful photos and virtual videos, but not a single word for the L.W.L.

Unfortunately, I'm afraid that all the companies will follow the same methods or collapse. Because in marketing it is the "first impression" that counts. If in your mind the first impression is that the 38 footer of company A is 15% cheaper (in buying or chartering) than company's B, then company A won the game (the fact that company's B boat is larger and it should had been compared with the 41 footer of company A, is a "minor" detail and will not affect people's decisions). Company B can only adopt the same methods or extinct. If you like, take a look at Moody's site to verify that. Total absence of the L.W.L and yacht models measured from the pull-pit to the end of the flag pole.

I believe that, since we are called to pay a small fortune in order to buy -or a great amount of money when we charter- a yacht, we are entitled to know exactly what we will get for our hard earned money. Cheap marketing methods -targeting to mislead us in our choice- are not complimentary for any company.

Alexander M. Vournas
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Old 06-07-2006
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I don't know what you are talking about. At least the Beneteau USA and US Jeanneau sites list all key dimensions. For example:
http://www.beneteauusa.com/sail/curr.../473_intro.php
http://www.beneteauusa.com/sail/curr.../367_intro.php
http://www.jeanneauamerica.com/models_05/sf37plans.htm
http://www.jeanneauamerica.com/model...o40_3plans.htm

Maybe what you have experienced is a European thing.
In the US the terms were somewhat different. Here we traditionally had LOA which historically never included pulpits etc, LOD (length on deck) which was a measurement from the point where the stem met the deck to the point where the transom met the deck. The 'real' size of a boat is a combination of LOA, LOD, LWL and displacement, with displacement being the perhaps a better size as a predicter of ease of handling, maintenace costs, carrying capacity etc.

Jeff

Last edited by Jeff_H; 06-07-2006 at 10:23 PM.
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Old 06-07-2006
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The other thing that you seem to be forgetting is that many designs have a much shorter waterline than you'd expect, especially in the case of boats designed to skirt racing boat design rules. Many older boats had longer overhangs, both forward and aft, than do newer designs.

The discrepancy between the LOA and the LWL can be quite signifcant, but does not necessarily indicate that the boat manufacturer is lying or trying to mislead you.

Please get at least a basic understanding of boat design and measurements before accusing the industry of being more unethical than they are already perceived to be.

Sailingdog

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Telstar 28
New England

You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Jeff,

You are right, on these sites there is the info, but Jeanneau and Beneteau are European and the official sites are those I mentioned. These sites you refer are not the yacht builders but the importers and representatives in the States, totally different companies. I do expect from the builder to provide us complete and accurate info.

You are also right that the displacement is the most precise measurement (I called it "volume" in my article), but I disagree that the LOA affects the displacement. Even the "hull length" hardly make a change. When you add a "sugarscoop" on a 45 ft boat you don't make a 47 footer. You only have a 45 footer with sugarscoop (exactly this happened back in '89, when Jeanneau took the Sun Kiss 45, added a sugarscoop in the transom, and over-night baptized it Sun Kiss 47). The LOA changed, the Hull Length changed, but the displacement or the LWL hasn't. Only the name and the price of the boat changed.

But since you mentioned Beneteau firm, can you please find -on any site you like- the LWL of the newest Beneteau models Cyclades 39, Cyclades 43 and Cyclades 50? I'm trying to find this info to add the models on my pages but I cannot.
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Old 06-07-2006
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I disagree with you that these are not official Beneteau and Jeanneau company sites. While you are correct that Beneteau is a French owned company, they build boats in the US as well, and this is the company site for their US operations. Jeanneau is owned by Beneteau and the site that I posted is thier US headquarters as well.

As I understand it the Cyclades are built by a British company that has no connection to Beneteau, but I know very little else about them. I have no idea why there is no website for them but a lot of companies lack websites.

While I agree with you that a lot of companies state dimensions in what can be construed as a misleading manner (Island Packet being one of the worst offenders in my mind), it is really up to the Buyer to do due diligence. Numbers only tell a small piece of the puzzle.

When I say that "The 'real' size of a boat is a combination of LOA, LOD, LWL and displacement" I think meant that using the traditional US definitions. Add a sugar scoop may not add to useable interior, or storage space but it may add to a boat's speed or alter motion comfort, in which case it is a partial indicator of a boat's size.

Respectfully,
Jeff
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Old 06-08-2006
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I think avournas is making a valid point. LOA used to be length on deck, now it includes sprits and scoops. A Hunter 41 may really have a LAO of 39. A friend of mine is a dealer and readily admits that the practice is common among all makers. I bought a 34 on deck that had a sprit and the dealer advertised it as a 35. My boat is a 34 with a 2 foot sprit.
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Old 06-09-2006
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"LOA used to be length on deck, now it includes sprits and scoops."
This could be a blessing in disguise. Take a 36 foot LOA boat, which has thirty more inches of pulpit and anchor platform mounted outboard of the hull, an your local marina will call it a forty foot boat and charge you accordingly for it.
If the builders are just catching on...I suppose the question is, who buys a boat based on the maker's numbers? A 36-foot cruiser may have room for six in comfort below, but a 36-foot racer may have half the berths and twice the cockpit. The "ratings" and numbers won't tell you much about practical space on any boat.
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