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Discussion Starter #1
I know that I'm going to get an earful on this: Which is better for offshore cruising? A displacement hull or a planing hull?

I'm drawing up sketches for a potential build and currently the prismatic coef is 0.65 -- right between a displacement and planing hull. It would be nice to be able to get the hull up on plane, but I'm concerned that it will be a pounder in rougher water and slow in light winds. On the other hand, the potential planing speed sure looks nice when facing a long trip. I suspect that having the pc at 0.65 will yield a hull that sucks at both.

Comments?

stats: LWL: 33.5', LOA: 37', Displacement: 13500, Beam (waterline): 9.7', Beam:11.5', Sloop rigged.
 

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Umm... just how much experience do you have designing boats??

Also, where are you getting the numbers for the displacement from??

On a long trip it is probably better to have a displacement hull that will get you there safely, than a planing hull that will pound and break under the stress... If speed is an issue, you should probably be looking at multihulls rather than a monohull.

BTW, I'd highly recommend you read the POST in my signature to help you get the most out of your time here. It has tips on searching sailnet, writing a good post, etc..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Boat design is new for me. But I do understand structures.

The displacement was calculated using software I wrote. It provides info about displacement, center of buoyancy, stability, etc..

I knew when I posted the question that it was going to be a trigger. Nevertheless, I was hoping to gain some practical insight from experienced sailors over the two types of hulls as opposed to just blindly relying on theory. Since this is the Sailboat Design and Construction forum, I thought that someone might be able to provide some discussion over the pros and cons of having a hybrid hull. I imagine it's been tried before. But I'd rather not re-invent the wheel if it doesn't work well.
 

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stats: LWL: 33.5', LOA: 37', Displacement: 13500, Beam (waterline): 9.7', Beam:11.5', Sloop rigged.
These numbers indicate a relatively slender boat by today's standards, and clearly on the light side for a 37' cruising boat. Depending on the sections she could be a very nice upwind boat despite being perhaps a bit tender.. However without info on keel configuration, ballast ratio and hull form all of that is simply guessing.

For offshore work my fear would be the stress (mental and mechanical) of travelling rather quickly in large seas. Such boats require constant attention to steering through the waves to avoid piling into the back of a wave you're travelling faster than. Not a recipe for a comfortable ride in a storm. We have a fair bit of experience with a (smaller) planing hull and can assure you that no autohelm or windvane is going to keep such a boat upright in a seaway (I know - you're thinking "what about Open 60s?" - but you're not talking that kind of league)

A skinny lightweight boat such as you describe also will not have significant storage for stores, gear, safety equipment etc that a heavier vessel will.. another consideration for longer passages.

The fast vs slow debate has been going on for ages.. all have their proponents for all their own reasons.

But I do have to add that setting out on a self designed boat built through self designed software is a daring proposition - one I'd give a few years' trials before setting out for keeps.

Nevertheless, best of luck!
 

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At 9.7 beam and 13,500 pounds, it's not going to plane with anything but say 1000 hp of motor (too lazy to do the math), and that's if it's a planing hull shape.
Getting up on a plane is both shape and sheer driving force. At 9.7 it can't carry the sail needed to provide the HP to get it up. At least not and stand up to the wind it takes to get the HP.

Catamaran's manage the extra sail a non-serious racing mono hull (read Volvo quality) simply can't stand up to. My little bitty 33.5 footer carries 780 sq ft, more than a lot of 40 footers and all down low with 14 ft of boom and only 47 off the water in a square top main and screecher on a traveler like track forward, riding on two hulls that are 9:1 length to width, pointy as get out with 4 ft max beam per hull back aft and only draw 18 inches. It's like two lasers with a cross beam.

No need to re-invent the wheel by writing software to show that, it's in many a good book. Try David Kerr, Charles Kanter explains it well but is lazy at math like me.
My D/L is up in the mid 20's depending on what sails I'm flying- you want to plane you have to get to at least that, and still have a flat fat bottom to ride it out on.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
The displacement is just a first-order swag based on some similar light-weight designs. The original sketches where around 19000 displacement when I stumbled across an article about the Didi 38 which apparently uses something close to a semi-displacement hull. It supposedly achieved some pretty decent speed. Personally, I am really not all that interested in getting beat up by my boat or have to continually chase the helm, so I'll probably go back to a regular round bottom. I just wanted to explore all my options.

I would love to find some good books on practical design. But the local book stores don't stock any boating books beyond some picture albums. I found several interesting books on Amazon which I'll order in the near future.

I'm not worried about the software. Hydrostatics is rather straight-forward. I verified it using known hull shapes to check to see that the results matched. I'll continue to crosscheck it along the way. Hydrodynamics on the other hand is a little tougher.

Yes, I know I'm a newb to this at this stage, but I don't go into something like this without a lot of research before becoming committed. It's all on paper at this stage. FYI: You want pucker factor? Try test flying something you built.

Question: Is beam normally measured at the waterline? 99% of the definitions I've read state that beam is measured at the widest part of the boat's structure. The waterline beam measure makes much more engineering sense. Which is correct?
 

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As far as beam goes, you will need and want both widths. Waterline for the displacement part, overall for the storage part.

If I had my druthers, I would go with a semi planing, but that is me. All have plus's and minus's in there abilities.

marty
 

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Question: Is beam normally measured at the waterline? 99% of the definitions I've read state that beam is measured at the widest part of the boat's structure. The waterline beam measure makes much more engineering sense. Which is correct?
Beam stated in brochures etc is pretty much always max beam.. waterline beam is useful to determine hydrodynamic properties of the hull form, and the difference between BWL and BMAX gives one an idea of the flare of the hull design.

Yours is an interesting project and I wish you the best.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yep, this is going to be a fun project indeed. I mostly do this stuff for the challenge of doing something new.

I have the hull defined on a 3d modeling program using NURB splines so I can do all sorts of hull shapes rather quickly. The program I wrote can import the model and do the static stability stuff in less than a minute. Unfortunately, it can't do the math for modeling a boat on plane.
 

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The problem I see is that the boat isn't really wide enough to take advantage of a planing design, which generally requires a wide flat hull form, at least aft... and at 13,500 lbs., the boat is going to be relatively light in terms of displacement. Unless the boat is made of fairly lightweight, high-tech composites, IMHO, the boat is going to be relatively tender too, but that really depends on the exact hull form, keel design, ballast percentage, etc.... so without more information, you can't really say how it will perform.

The Dudley Dix designs are fairly decent ones from all I've seen... and if he's at 19,000 for his 38' design, I think that a 37' design that is only 13,500 is pretty light.

Good luck, have fun, and keep us posted.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The keel design hasn't been addressed yet. I will most likely go with with a typical trapezoid keel shape with a bulb on the end. The bulb-on-a-stick keels scare me. They look rather fragile. The target draft is 5 to 6 feet.
 

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If you want a planing hull, get a bass boat with a pair of 150 hp Johnsons. If you plan to sail anywhere but in bays and lakes, stay with a displacement hull with a high angle of vanishing stability.
 

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I would like to apologize in advance but much of this was cut and pasted from articles that I had written for other purposes and so may not perfectly fit the thread. I hope that it still may prove helpful to the discussion.

Displacement vs Planning vs semi-displacement boats

To begin with this is potentially a very interesting topic that has gotten partially derailed and misdirected by what appears to be a semantics problem contained within the way that premise of the question is being asked. I do not mean this to be critical of INetRoadKill. At some point in our lives we all have accidentally misspoken and/or we all have started out somewhere, not precisely understanding the terminology that we may be using. My point is that I think INetRoadKill probably misspoke when he chose the term ‘planning’ for his question.
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To clarify, a planning boat requires very specific set of design parameters that are directed towards minimizing drag, developing an underbody that provides dynamic lift to the hull at speeds approaching and in excess of the theoretical hull speed, minimizing weight, and maximizing the power to weight (sail area/disp) and in the end this produces a boat that is capable of very high speeds but at a price. The original post included some basic ‘numbers’ for a proposed ‘planning’ boat that were well outside of range for a planning boat.
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More realistically a planning boat would have numbers closer to: LOA= 32 feet, LWL=30.5 feet, Draft=7 feet, Beam Max= 10 feet, Displacement 3,775 lbs (that’s not a typo), and Sail Area (100% jib)= 700 square feet (and would look like a Melges 32 whose numbers from memory are pretty close to these).
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Cutting to the chase, boats like these are almost always single purpose race boats. There is no point in discussing the potential of planning boats like these in the context of being used as an offshore cruiser, especially in terms of tracking or motion comfort.
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But fortunately the choice is not simply between displacement and planning boats. As mentioned above there is a third type referred to as a ‘semi-displacement’ or ‘semi-planning’ that has become increasingly popular as a type form and which, when designed properly, potentially offers tremendous advantages over traditional heavy displacement types on almost all counts.
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It is here that I respectfully disagree with the majority of the comments made above. Properly designed a semi-displacement boat offers the opportunity for greater seaworthiness, ease of handling, motion comfort, performance and carrying capacity for its displacement than pretty much any other typeform.
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Of course I need to point out that there are two underlined, very key qualifying phases in that last statement; ‘properly designed’ and ‘for its displacement’. First of all, designing properly designing a semi-displacement boat with all of the attributes that I mention takes a lot more skill than designing a more traditional heavy displacement boat. I’ll get to that in a minute, but in many ways it’s the second phrase that is more important to the discussion so I will start there.
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While within the sailing culture we tend to think of length as ‘the size of a boat’, more than any other single parameter, it is displacement that truly best describes the size of a boat. Because we tend to think of length as the size of the boat, there is a tendency to use terms like heavy or light displacement which of course is relative to length. But to me, especially as one is contemplating designing or buying a specific boat for a specific purpose, in almost all ways thinking of a boat as short or long for its displacement provides a more useful way of thinking of this issue.
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I say this because I believe that ideally designing or buying a boat is a step by step process that starts with defining the problem that you are trying to solve. In designing a boat, the problem is defined by the sailing venue, anticipated crew, and the nature of the sailing anticipated. Obviously taste, and style factor in, but that is another story, related more to psychology than to this discussion.
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If you are to start with the length of voyaging that you intend to do, and consider the necessities plus the level of comfort that the proposed crew will require, you pretty quickly can make a good guess at a rule of thumb for the displacement that is required per person. Historically you used to see a rule of thumb of 2 ½ to 5 (sometimes quoted as 6) long tons per person (which roughly translates to 5,700 to 11,000 lbs per person. Modern offshore cruisers will often push that number a bit higher. And so if we decide that we have two-crew and, if, for the sake of example, we decide that they need minimally 3 tons each, we end up with a boat in the general neighborhood of the 13,500 lb displacement range that INetRoadKill is proposing.
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If at this point we begin to think about comparing a boat with a longer waterline to shorter boat that has an equal weight of roughly 13,500 lbs, within reason and with reasonably similar weight distributions, the longer the boat, the better its seaworthiness, motion comfort, ease of handling, motion comfort carrying capacity, performance and so on. We can go through the reasons for that one by one but in the interest of time, I suggest that you do a search for other discussions on these topics.
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But as I said to achieve these admirable traits in a longer boat requires more design skill, especially when the goal is to produce a semi-planning type hull. Modern semi-planning hulls have their centers of buoyancy and gravity a bit further aft than on more traditional boats and have more beam than traditional boats. Off hand this would seemingly promote a boat that changed trim with heel angle (going bow down) and would seemingly have more form stability and therefore a less comfortable motion.
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Here is where careful hull modeling comes into play. Careful modeling of the hull at various heel angles can minimize if not eliminate changes in for and aft trim. If you can visualize a cone sitting horizontally in the water and you rolled that cone about its axis, it would not change trim fore and aft. Obviously, a boat is not a cone shape, but if the heeled hull is carefully modeled so that the proportion of buoyancy aft relative forward of the center of gravity remains the same at all reasonable heel angles, the boat will not change trim due to heel. This series of calculations takes time and skill,
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When we talk about motion comfort there is a tendency to focus on form stability as it relates to beam, and historically long boats for their weight (lighter weight boats) tended to have proportionately more form stability than more traditional heavy displacement cruisers. It was that proportionately greater form stability that gave light boats their bad rep motion comfort wise. Despite the oft quoted ‘common wisdom’ to the contrary, in and of itself, except possibly in the case of heave, weight does nothing good for motion comfort. (Even in the case of heave, increased weight may only act to shift the motion out of phase which can in some cases actually result in decreased motion comfort). When you really analyze the factors that control motion comfort the big factors are dampening, the rate of change in buoyancy (and therefore stability) with changes in direction, weight distribution as it relates to rotational inertia.
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And so, if the semi-planning boat is carefully designed with these factors in mind, then the boat will not beat up its crew, but again that requires careful design and engineering to achieve.

Lastly like anything else in the design of a boat, the keel design is a part of a bigger system. There are pluses and minuses to both the IOR era 'Trapazoidal keel', some of the later small area keels and the 'bulb on a stick' as you call it. Again all can be equally sturdy, but obviously some keel forms are easier to engineer than other.

A couple other comments on the comments above; the Didi 38 is not especially light weight for its length. This is a very nice design optimized for amatuer, one-off construction, but it is not especially light. As a point of comparison, my own boat is a 38 footer with a design weight of 10,600 lbs. This was a boat that was specifically designed as a cruising boat, albeit a bit spartan one. The structural system was engineered for the abuses of being offshore for long periods of time. Much of the weight savings came from the design of the structural system, minimal liners, light weight interior components, small fuel capacity which is just one part of the spiral cycling that light weight breeds other weight savings. My boat was sailed in from South Africa and sisterships have done all kinds of offshore passages. I would favorably compare her motion comfort to any other 10,600 lb boat that I have ever sailed. But that's another story.

By the way, restricting to a 5 to 6 foot draft is a serious motion comfort/ seaworthiness compromise on a boat the size that you are proposing.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I was reading "Elements of yacht design" and it was suggesting that the displacement for a 38' boat should be around 19,000lbs with a draft of 8' or so. That seems a bit high. There was a comment that American designs tended to be too light. It's easy to add weight, but I'm thinking 19K is a bit much. A deep draft is fine too, but I'm wondering how far you can push this before you run into trouble entering your favorite vacation harbor destination. I understand that a deeper draft is going to make it difficult or impossible to visit shallow reefs or sail up river to a getaway spot. But I'm leaning in favor of sea kindly vs. the 'all terrain' shoal draft.
 

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19,000 lbs for a 38 foot boat has been grossly overweight for decades now. Are you sure that you read that right since 19,000 lbs is about the right displacement for a modern 38 foot waterline boat? Similarly 8 foot draft is about right for a 38 foot waterline boat but wildly excessive for a 39 footer.

And while 8 foot draft is nice for seaworthiness, seakindliness, performance and overall stability, especially if you plan to spend a lot of time offshore, it is way too deep to be convenient for a cruising boat in many, if not most venues.

Jeff
 

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InetRoadkill

One of my favorite quotes:
Professionals built the Titanic, armatures built Noah’s Ark.

You might be the one that comes up with the next innovation……Go for it.

My two cents………. Cruising = storage = weight
 

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I think that cruising=storage=weight is a very important consideration to determining how big a boat you need. Nothing determines the 'size' (and overall cost) of the boat better than its displacement. But to put cruising=storage= weight in perspective with current yacht design thinking, to size a boat, you start out by determining out how much weight that you need to support the crew size that you plan to cruise with, and then use a moderate displacement to length ratio (say 150 to 170) to determine the right waterline length from which you then figure out how long the resultant boat turns out to be.

This is somewhat backward from more traditional methods which started out by deciding on the length of the boat and then craming as much weight as possible onto that length. We now know that all things being relatively equal, within reasonable limits, the longer of two equal displacement boats, will generally offer better motion comfort, seaworthiness, ease of handling, and performance.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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The apparently lighter L/D shouldn't have any impact on the amount of damage done in one of your braile landings. Perhaps I can explain it this way, if we look at the numbers in the example above, a modern boat with a 38 foot waterline and 19,000 lb displacement would have an L/D of around 155, which would certainly seem a bit light for a cruising boat by traditional standards. A modern boat with these numbers would probably be a little over 41 feet long.

If we compare that to a moderate 41 foot cruising design of 30 or so years ago, which would typically have a similar displacement but a waterline length around 32 to 33 feet, the older design would have a L/D= 230 (Tartan 41) to 260 (Valiant 40), which would be right in the middle of what was considered moderate at the time. Given that we have the same displacement and the same length, there is no reason to think that the modern design would automatically be any weaker than the traditional design even though it had a lower L/D since that low L/D is derived from a proportionately longer waterline rather than being a relatively lighter boat.

Jeff
 
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