Minimum waterline length for not-too-unpleasant PacCup/TransPac - SailNet Community

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  #1  
Old 09-28-2007
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Minimum waterline length for not-too-unpleasant PacCup/TransPac

I had fun doing short races and cruises (1-2 days max) with my first two boats (Olson 30 and J/105). For my 3rd boat, I am less interested in performance and more on comfort because I'd like to tackle some longer distances (short-handed and single-handed.)

A good friend of mine, with a few transpac crossings (both ways) said that I should not even consider a boat less than 35' since I'll be bobbing like a cork all the way. He said that with typical wavelength of the pacific swells, a 35' boat can ride the crest of the waves most of the time and provide a considerably better experience.

This all makes sense. I know the crossing can be made - and has been made - in smaller boats, but if you can be more comfortable why not?

If I didn't have a medium-term goal of doing a PacCup or Baja Haha, I would be looking at smaller boats (e.g. a Dana 24) since they'd be perfect for single-handed fun in the San Francisco Bay. But I am a bit concerned that when it comes to fulfilling my objective of a longer passage, I might regret it.

Any opinions. How much worse is a Pacific crossing in a <30' boat vs a 35'+ boat? If there's a "magic number" for waterline length that works best for the Pacific swells' typical wavelength, what is it?

Thank you in advance,

Alberto
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Old 09-28-2007
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Given that your primary goal isn't the TransPac or the Baja Haha... you probably should be looking at boats that are in the size range you want, rather than what your friend suggests, and find one that is capable of doing the Transpac or Baja Haha. There are quite a few boats that can do a Transpac crossing that are smaller than 35'.

Some of the best advice I've read about buying a boat is that "the Primary purpose is primary." This means, buy the boat for what you intend to use the boat for most of the time. If you have several goals, buy one that is best suited for the primary goal and can handle the secondary and tertiary goals.

IMHO, there is no magic number... a lot really depends on what you are comfortable with. If you singlehand a lot, then a boat that is setup for that is going to be important.

The Southern Cross 31, the Alberg 30, the Tartan 30, the Hallberg Rassy Monsun, and many others are capable of doing just that as well as being a decent daysailor.
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Old 09-28-2007
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I can't speak for the Pacific but in the Atlantic I find a definite correlation with waterline length and displacement and comfort and for singlehanded sailing, I would buy the biggest boat I felt comfortable in handling...probably in the 35-37 foot range...Tayana37/PS37/CD36 to name a few.
I think that with 2 speed ST winches, roller headsails, roller or stackpack booms, routing lines to the cockpit and of course autopilots and wind vanes, a singlehander in decent shape can readily cruise in the 35-40ft range these days and enjoy the extra measure of safety and comfort that larger boat provides. If you can afford the larger boat both initially and long term, I would recommend going that route especially since you will not be singlehanding al the time.
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Old 09-28-2007
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Size matters, but so do lots of other factors. Find a boat that you like and are comfortable with. At sea there is always a lot of motion until you get into the 100+ ft range, then there is only occassionally a lot of motion (I have been very uncomfortable on a 300 ft. ship). The essence of selecting a boat is compromise. Don't concentrate too heavily on any single factor.
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Old 09-29-2007
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Size matter only because it determines the comfort and length of the trip. Any size boat can make the trip itís just that larger boats tend to have a more comfortable crossing.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 09-29-2007
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The Transpac has minimum standards for boats that they will allow in the race. From the 2007 Notice of Race:

Quote:
4.2 Monohull yachts must be at least 26í LOA, be self-righting, be properly ballasted, and may not exceed the 2007 Transpac Rating Limit. Monohull yachts may not be slower than a Southern California PHRF off wind course rating of 144 sec/mile and, if requested, shall submit a PHRF certificate indicating compliance.
The 2008 Pacific Cup has these minimum eligibility requirements:

Quote:
9. Monohull length and stability limits
∑ Minimum overall length (not including overhanging spars) is 24 feet.
∑ For the purpose of OSR 3.04.3, a minimum limit of positive stability of 105 degrees is required. For yachts with moveable ballast, an ORR/IMS stability index of at least 115 is required. Documentation of stability may be required for individual yachts at the discretion of the Race Committee, and may take the form of a stability calculation from a measurement rating certificate, an analysis and certification from a naval architect, or demonstration.
Nothing in either of those about optimum waterline length (except that it has to be long enough to be fast enough to participate), but I know that on the right coast, the Newport-Bermuda race has in the past specified their minimum allowable yacht size in terms of (essentially) waterline length, which I believe they've set at 27.5 feet. In addition, they also have minimum stability rating requirements. Again, still not a specification of optimum waterline, but a minimum, and probably a good one to consider for any Category 1 ocean sailing.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by catamount View Post
Snip,
"has in the past specified their minimum allowable yacht size in terms of (essentially) waterline length, which I believe they've set at 27.5 feet. In addition, they also have minimum stability rating requirements. Again, still not a specification of optimum waterline, but a minimum, and probably a good one to consider for any Category 1 ocean sailing.
The waterline on the boat I used for my first solo trans-Atlantic was only 16 feet 3 inches. I found that boat to be more then adequate for the trip and think that the racing rule was made for the most part to guarantee that all contestants finished in a reasonable time and not because a smaller boat was unsafe. In many cases a small boat is safer then a larger boat and look at all the Mini Transit boats or MORC and JOG boats that race offshore. Lots of boats less then 22 feet long in these races.
All the best,
Robert Gainer
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Old 09-29-2007
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Alberto,

Don't discount the Dana 24 solely on your friend's advice. Sure, a longer boat will get you there faster (usually), but plenty of Atlantic and Pacific crossings have been made safely and comfortably in the Dana. One owner from Japan picked his new boat up in CA a few years ago and proceeded to sail home single handed.

I suggested the Dana in your previous thread based on your sailing location, and also based on our prior ownership experience with one. The Dana may not be the best light air performer (althought it's not bad in light air either), but this would really be a great boat for singlehanding around boisterous SF Bay and beyond. And from my personal vantage, I can say not a morning passed where I woke up aboard that boat and did not feel immense gratitude and pride in owning that tidy little ship. It is a veritable testiment to ingenious naval architecture -- thank you Bill Crealock -- and quality build by PSC.

Cameraderie suggested, among others, the PSC Crealock 37. If I recall your price range correctly, it will be challenging to find many examples for less than $100K that aren't getting pretty long in the tooth (I think you mentioned you don't want a project boat). Its smaller sisters, the Crealock 34 and Crealock 31, can more often be found in your price range. If you like the open interior layout of the Dana, the Crealock 31's is almost identical, but with the addition of a nav station and large quarter berth.

There looks to be a nice Dana for sale right there on SF Bay.

Our old Dana, now in the PacNW, and looking better than ever:



Light air sailing in the San Juans:

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Old 09-29-2007
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What is wrong with a J105 for what you want to do. There is one fellow here in the NW that has done the Vic-maui a few times with one, and is now headed out for a 2 yr cruise in one!

if you want it to be a bit nicer, a J109 might fit the bill if this is a style of boat you like. The dana's or equal are nice yachts, there are a few locally in my marina on the sound. Look slower than the perverbial dead slug going backwards!

Then again, i think even if I was going to do a world cruise or some uch race as transpac/vic-maui/Van-isle, I would look at seaworthy fin keel personally vs a full keel. that is me, there is no right or wrong to what type of boat one should choose!

marty
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Old 09-29-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tartan34C View Post
The waterline on the boat I used for my first solo trans-Atlantic was only 16 feet 3 inches. I found that boat to be more then adequate for the trip and think that the racing rule was made for the most part to guarantee that all contestants finished in a reasonable time and not because a smaller boat was unsafe. In many cases a small boat is safer then a larger boat and look at all the Mini Transit boats or MORC and JOG boats that race offshore. Lots of boats less then 22 feet long in these races.
Indeed Robert, there was a whole class of Mini Transat boats that took part in the Bermuda 1-2 Race this year. Still, most of these small ocean-going boats are purpose-built, with a lot of attention to detail -- they are NOT your typical 20-something trailer sailer!

And if Alberto really is interested in participating in a Transpac or PacCup, he does need to make sure the boat he chooses meets the minimum standards for eligibility, i.e. greater than 26' LOA and reasonably fast (PHRF<144), which rule out the Dana24, Alberg 30, and some of the other boats suggested here (even the Mini 6.5's).

Regards,
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