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Old 10-25-2010
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Trends that won't last?

I have been totally away from sailboats for a decade or so. I grew up sailing in Michigan with my familty, and continued on in my 20s doing some decent ocean voyages and many weekends on Long Island Sound. A move the the West Coast saw me keeping a beach cat on the beach in Santa Cruz for many years. The dream!

I moved to Portland, OR and have been focused on other things for a decade or so.

Lately I've got interested in sailing again, and went out and bought some magazines and have been looking at some manuacturers sites, and reading this forum just lately.

I don't think of myself as a curmudgen, in fact I was a huge multihull fan back in the 1980s. I do, of course, still love the traditional blue water numbers like Valiants and Pacific Seacraft and such. But progress is a good thing and I really do like the look of the newer cruiser/racers. They look fast, which is something I always liked about multihulls.

But there are a few trends that I just can't believe are going to last. (Of course I thought that about rap music in the 1980s.)
  • Twin rudders. These were popular on surfboards in the 80s, then they went to tripple fins. Should we expect that same in French boats soon?
  • Twin steering wheels. I'm still a tiller guy at heart, but a nice wheel is great, too. I guess two fins require two wheels?
  • Giant steering wheels. (I mean really giant!!) wheels. Wheels so big that they fill the cockpit from one side to the other. So that you have to get up on deck to move from the back of the cockpit to the front. Wheels so large that they disapear into slots in the deck! (Can you steer from underneath in the aft cabin while lounging in bed?)
  • Open transoms. I get the 'fast draining' thing. I've been in a Hans Christian when a wave completely filled the cockpit and sat in the resulting two and a half feet of water until the cockpit drained, which took what seemed like a few minutes. But still, we're talking ALL THE WAY OPEN here. Lots of room for anything not firmly attached to go overboard in a wave. And speaking of waves, seems like a following sea might do a pretty good job keeping your feet wet too.

    I see these on ocean racing boats, and yes, it does look fast, but (despite a couple widely spaced safety lines) it seems all to easy to lose a crewperson through that giant void. Would the cockpit really drain THAT much slower with a 6" or 10" slot across the bottom of a full transom? I doubt it, and safety would be much enhanced. (Yes, I know we're meant to be on the wire at all times when on deck, and I never break safety rules, ever, really)

    (I came off the back of my Nacra at about 15 knots one time, just didn't have a firm enough grip for the motion of the boat... but that was 1/2 a mile off the beach on a sunny afternoon. Not 20 miles off shore or in the middle of a large bay.)

OK, bowsprits, asymetrical spins, wider beam (which I realize covers several of these) are here to stay. I'm not completely sure about the severe "A" shaped boats, but I guess what's fast wins, and what wins sells.

It's odd to think that things like Valiants (a boat I've always admired) are becoming sort of a nostolgia style, like cat boats or clipper rigs were in the 20th century. People will still buy them, just like people buy cat boats, but the conventional wisdom will have moved on to boats as wide as catamarans with tripple rudders.

I still can't believe that rap music is 30 years old.
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Old 10-25-2010
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Twin Fins!


Twin Wheels!


Big Wheels! Open Transoms!

Last edited by Nacra52; 10-25-2010 at 08:13 PM.
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Anyone know how to size pictures?
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Interesting thread. From a gal on a 'romantic' design (actually, I think "romantic" is a euphemism for slow and tubby, lots of teak and a clipper bow). But then, all sailing is fundamentally romantic, no?
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That's a beautiful looking boat. That's what I mean, though. I wonder what kids who are 8 now will think of it? Probably what I think when I see a clipper rigged wodden ship.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nacra52 View Post
....

But there are a few trends that I just can't believe are going to last. (Of course I thought that about rap music in the 1980s.)
  • Twin rudders. These were popular on surfboards in the 80s, then they went to tripple fins. Should we expect that same in French boats soon?
  • Twin steering wheels. I'm still a tiller guy at heart, but a nice wheel is great, too. I guess two fins require two wheels?
  • Giant steering wheels. (I mean really giant!!) wheels. Wheels so big that they fill the cockpit from one side to the other. So that you have to get up on deck to move from the back of the cockpit to the front. Wheels so large that they disapear into slots in the deck! (Can you steer from underneath in the aft cabin while lounging in bed?)
  • Open transoms. I get the 'fast draining' thing. I've been in a Hans Christian when a wave completely filled the cockpit and sat in the resulting two and a half feet of water until the cockpit drained, which took what seemed like a few minutes. But still, we're talking ALL THE WAY OPEN here. Lots of room for anything not firmly attached to go overboard in a wave. And speaking of waves, seems like a following sea might do a pretty good job keeping your feet wet too.

    I see these on ocean racing boats, and yes, it does look fast, but (despite a couple widely spaced safety lines) it seems all to easy to lose a crewperson through that giant void. Would the cockpit really drain THAT much slower with a 6" or 10" slot across the bottom of a full transom? I doubt it, and safety would be much enhanced. (Yes, I know we're meant to be on the wire at all times when on deck, and I never break safety rules, ever, really)

    (I came off the back of my Nacra at about 15 knots one time, just didn't have a firm enough grip for the motion of the boat... but that was 1/2 a mile off the beach on a sunny afternoon. Not 20 miles off shore or in the middle of a large bay.)

OK, bowsprits, asymetrical spins, wider beam (which I realize covers several of these) are here to stay. I'm not completely sure about the severe "A" shaped boats, but I guess what's fast wins, and what wins sells.

It's odd to think that things like Valiants (a boat I've always admired) are becoming sort of a nostolgia style, like cat boats or clipper rigs were in the 20th century. People will still buy them, just like people buy cat boats, but the conventional wisdom will have moved on to boats as wide as catamarans with tripple rudders.

I still can't believe that rap music is 30 years old.
No, two fins don't require two wheels and are many boats with two wheels that have only one fin.

The two wheels are needed because boats have larger sterns and that has come to stay, as you say.

There is a thread about that (larger sterns) somewhere.

About the reason boats "need" two wheels, look here:

Interesting Sailboats

You are right regarding tillers. A tiller with a bigger stick can substitute two wheels on a large transom boat and in some cases that is the option used. Look for instance to the Pogo 12.50.


The "Fashion" youl talk about could be between a wheel or a tiller. Most boats till 42ft could have a tiller instead of a wheel, but the tiller (stick) uses more cockpit space, I mean dynamically, while you are using it and does not provide a possibility of a pedestal to have the navigation instruments.


Twin rudders, are a better option on large transom boats. If you have a single rudder on a large transom boat, it would need to be a really big one, sometimes almost as big as the keel. This makes the rudder more exposed to chocks and more fragile, in what regards efforts (twin rudders can be a lot smaller, for the same effect).


The Open transom boats would always be advantageous while racing, but in what regards cruising there are several cruiser-racers (modern boats) that have a kind of "door" that closes the back of the boat and that when opens work as a bath platform. Boats like the Dufour 40e performance, or the Opium 39 use this system.


Regards

Paulo

Last edited by PCP; 10-26-2010 at 04:59 AM.
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Good questions Nacra...

I'm not a fan of the twin wheel look. I'd rather have one big one or a tiller. Twin rudders are a necessity on some hull forms. I've sailed a good deal in open transom boats and have never felt less secure than in a standard cockpit. We almost bought an open transomed boat and thought about using netting across the back for the pooch. Big wheel? I'd rather have a big one than a small one, but rather have a tiller than a wheel on any boat >40'. Much of the stuff you pointed out is here to stay, but most certainly won't be universal. A Valiant 40 is still a nice boat and a version of it, the 42', is still in production.
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IMHO, twin wheels makes sense on larger boats with their wider beam and are far more sensible a solution than a giant wheel. I don't think they're going anywhere as boats are tending to get larger and beamier...
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I hope that 'In the Mast Furling', as a standard feature,
is just a fad, and that it disappears from the market soon.
As far as things like wide sterns, twin wheels and rudders,
form follows function. These developements have been proven
to be better in racing boats, and have trickled down to the
cruising market.
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