Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Re: What's the deal with Bruce Roberts designs?
Bruce Roberts is very popular in some parts of the world but I am not a fan of his work. It is not so much that I do not like his work per se. I think that for the most part Roberts designs conservative simple boats, but to me they are very dated. I emphasize this is only my opinion and Roberts has sold a bunch of these things so my opinion is not shared by everyone on this.Roberts more modern designs were probably good designs in the 1970's. But not only was the 1970's a low point in yacht design but a lot has happened since then. We understand a lot more seaworthiness, motion comfort, rigs and keel shapes and none of that is reflected in the design of the Roberts 35.
But these are not 'traditional' designs either, by which I mean, the design does not evolve from traditional working water craft and so would not be expected to have the virtues that one would expect for a more tradition design either.
From your comments I understand that you do not want a tub. I have never sailed one of the 35's. Looking at the numbers these are very heavy boats for their length. It get any performance out of a heavy boat, it takes a very carefully modeled hullform and a lot of sail area, neither of which is present in this case. Given that most of these were hand built, I would suspect that few of these boats will be anywhere near their design weight, ending up instead well over. I strongly believe that weight, in and of itself, has no inherent virtue and is a very serious liability. And when you couple that with the boats very small sail area for its weight, I would expect that this will be by definition a tub.
And while you can try to crowd larger overlapping headsails to make up for the dismal standing rig, using low efficiency large overlap headsails will make this a hard boat to sail that by the numbers probably still will not offer reasonable performance.
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Curmudgeon at Large- and rhinestone in the rough, sailing my Farr 11.6 on the Chesapeake Bay