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When I think of "modern" I think of boats that were built at least this century! I don't think boats designed in the '80s can be considered modern, although cruising design does seem to evolve slower than racing designs. I used to race on a late '80s Davidson 40, and at the time everything about it was state of the art. Recently I found myself tied up next to that same boat, and it looked downright ancient! Everything about it was completely obsolete. It certainly wouldn't stand a chance against it's modern day equivalent!

At 10 years old my boat definitely qualifies as modern, although it is already 2 generations out of date. The subsequent designs have changed esthetically, but overall hull designs are still pretty similar. There have been a few innovations since my boat was built, but whether they were improvements or not could be debated. Even after going to boat shows and looking at new boats we come away perfectly happy with what we have, and in many ways preferring it.

Now, if we are talking about dream boats...there are plenty of high end monohull cruising boats that I could drool over. We only see a tiny fraction of the offerings put out by boutique builders around the world. One day I would love to go to the Duesseldorf Boat Show!

If I had stupid money to spend on a boat, there is one modern cruising boat that comes to mind...a Gunboat! Imagine a comfortable cruising catamaran that can sail at over 20kts! Yes please!


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I saw this boat at anchor and stopped by to ask what it was. JPK 38 fast cruiser. They are now making a 45ft version.



JPK has done extremely well with their double-handed boats winning their classes in the Fastest race the last ten years.

I really like the cabin top. It's contemporary but not the low cut sliver of windows that most Euro boats have. Love the twin tiller and how much cockpit room there is at anchor. Only thing I'm not a fan of is the line galley.
 

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While my boat is from this century, it's still out of date in many ways. The new trend to carry beam all the way to the transom, creates a fast boat, as well as an extraordinarily large cockpit for size (aft staterooms too).

I'm certain many don't need to actually own a more modern boat, to have some knowledge or experience to share. We, for example, have bareboated these 2- 3 yr old pizza pie shaped boats, but don't own one. I've sailed on modern Jeanneaues and Benneteaus. Fast and comfortable monos, but built to compete economically. Not all build quality of the most modern versions is as good as older generations, IMO. Still, great fun boats.
 

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After 10 years i still like my boat. At 20 years old now i don't know if it could be called “modern” anymore. Things I like:
  • sails well and is easy to balance
  • doesn't need a lot of heel to do it
  • comfort under sail and port
  • systems are laid out well and are reasonably easy to work on.
  • has a full queen aft berth with a real mattress (a huge plus)
  • good tankage and storage
  • fold down helm seat and easy access swim ladder which is a huge plus if you are going cruise and come/go while on anchor/mooring

Sailboats for cruisers are more than boats to sail.
 

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I like the Norseboat 215 cabin model.

Unstayed carbon fibre mast, sleeping accomodations, bimini. Big thing for me is the boat is designed to be rowed. No outboard, or inboard required. Although I can't imagine rowing it more than a few miles would be a lot of fun. This would be for Coastal Cruising only. The mid size 17.5 ft norseboat has cruised the Northwest Passage.

Here are articles from Practical Sailor and Cruising World.
NorseBoat 21.5 Open and Cornish Crabber’s Adventure Series: Big Fun In Small Packages
 

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S/V Interlude, PSC31
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Sorry, I can't contribute, but there are not any.
I absolutely love watching the evolution of sailboats built for speed (currently following the Vendee Globe race and can't wait for the Americas Cup) and also the changes to improve livability (was at the last Annapolis Boat Show 2019) but must say that I agree with Capta's post. It has been noted that Pacific Seacraft has been making the same designs for up to 40 years with evolution within the design parameters but relatively unchanged for as their statement says,

"Pacific Seacraft Yachts are built for the seas. The basics of the design have stayed the same because the demands of the seas haven't changed"

WIB Crealock, the architect and also a cruiser himself, designed the first of the line for himself and not a price point or demographic. All of his subsequent designs over the next 20 years simply were evolutions of the same design.

Crealock.jpg



Now if you consider the number of centuries folks have been sailing then heck anything in the last 100 years might be considered 'modern'!

clearly biased and respectfully submitted,
Interlude
 

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The basics of the design have stayed the same because the demands of the seas haven't changed"
But the materials and engineering have advanced dramatically. These allow designs that meet the same demands in better ways. Otherwise, those Vendee Globe boats, and other extreme condition racing designs, wouldn't last a day.

Compare a state of the art 1978 design (the Crealock era) for this race (then the Whitbread RTW) with a 2020 design (now the Ocean Race):

Mark


 

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My take away.... engineering seems to have been asleep until recently.
Looks like smarter designs than the last century.
 

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My take away.... engineering seems to have been asleep until recently.
Looks like smarter designs than the last century.
Well....let's see...FG construction around mid-century, reliable auxiliary second half of century, extruded aluminum also around the half century mark, synthetic material for sheets, halyards, lines, sails, etc. on-going since last half of century, use of carbon fiber and kevlar (which the newer PSC's make use of) last couple decades, improved electronics and navigational assists on-going since last half of century (remember when Loran was the cat's meow!?), foiling boats (not cruisers) in the last decade. I did start with the disclaimer that I LOVE the changes in boat technology for racers just as automotive technology has evolved, but the Vendee Globe boats are purpose built and are NOT modern cruising designs. The Volvo Race uses advanced design, also not cruisers, and ALL of the boats are identical so it is the crew that wins, not the boat. These are ALL built for speed, not living aboard or cruising. I LOVE the creature comforts on the latest recreational designs, not sure they translate into being more seaworthy, hopefully not unseaworthy or they would never be used. Finally beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, no right answers there, but if you do not turn around to look at your boat when you leave her, you will end up having an affair and getting yet again another girlfriend to sail. There are also many more modern designs than my wife of 42 years and I certainly appreciate them, but as far as she-kindly and she-worthy, there are no modern designs I would choose. Ditto for the boat. :)
 

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My point was that what Crealock considered basic design elements that never change because the sea never changes, is historically incorrect. Yes, if one chooses to build a boat using old engineering, old materials, and old techniques, then one should stay with an old design meant to take advantage of them.

FWIW, Crealock's designs were radically different than those from preceding generations that also were designed for the same unchanged sea demands. The difference is he had access to new materials, techniques, and engineering, and took advantage of that.



 

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My point was that what Crealock considered basic design elements that never change because the sea never changes, is historically incorrect. Yes, if one chooses to build a boat using old engineering, old materials, and old techniques, then one should stay with an old design meant to take advantage of them.

FWIW, Crealock's designs were radically different than those from preceding generations that also were designed for the same unchanged sea demands. The difference is he had access to new materials, techniques, and engineering, and took advantage of that.



Recreational.... ie non commercial vessels are in a world apart.
Carbon fiber is a 21st century material I believe... but alum and extrusions are 20th century technology.
There may have been development of fiber glass full manufacture and maybe stronger laminates... same for sail materials.
There may have been more computer aided design/engineering in the last 20 years.
Has fluid dynamics engineering changed from the 90s?
Seems to me that MOST of the difference is aesthetics... not all... but most. Just a guess.

Take the wide stern pizza slice shaped hulls. What did engineers learn in the last 20 years to now promote this hull form? Were / are designers in a rut and not being creative? If so why?

Perhaps there is a strong element of tradition... if it ain't broke don't fix it thinking... is the sailing community (cruising) resistant to design changes?
 

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I have met other people that like that boat but for the life of me I can't see why. I find it to be absolutely Hideous. Definitely different strokes for different folks. I like the more modern open transom, twin wheel, wide beam carried well aft, hard chine boats. I doubt that one of those is in my future but I could see myself buying a new Astus trimaran.
Not just hideous, but Hideous! With a capital H. Ouch. Does this mean you won't be attending the launch party?:unsure:
 

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Recreational.... ie non commercial vessels are in a world apart.
Carbon fiber is a 21st century material I believe... but alum and extrusions are 20th century technology.
There may have been development of fiber glass full manufacture and maybe stronger laminates... same for sail materials.
There may have been more computer aided design/engineering in the last 20 years.
Has fluid dynamics engineering changed from the 90s?
Seems to me that MOST of the difference is aesthetics... not all... but most. Just a guess.

Take the wide stern pizza slice shaped hulls. What did engineers learn in the last 20 years to now promote this hull form? Were / are designers in a rut and not being creative? If so why?
Perhaps there is a strong element of tradition... if it ain't broke don't fix it thinking... is the sailing community (cruising) resistant to design changes?
While the sea has not changed, our scientific understanding of the sea and its impact on yacht design has changed enormously. Ignoring the advances in science and technology of yacht design is akin to saying, "the sun and the moon have not changed so why do we need electronic navigation?", or "light has not changed so why would anyone want to use electric lamps vs kerosene lamps, or LED's vs incandescent bulbs?" .

In my lifetime there has been enormous advances in understanding the science behind yacht design science, boat building materials, and the design tools used by designers. These advances have allowed tremendous improvements in the motion comfort, ease of handling, seaworthiness, and performance of modern cruising boats, The design tools have allowed the types of sophisticated analysis that was almost impossible before the computers ability to perform the types of complex evaluations that are critical to validating the science and incorporating the science into practical applications. There is hardly an aspect of boat design and building which have not benefitted greatly from these more sophisticated design tools and better technologies. Even when it appears that the materials are virtually the same as back in the 'good old days'; they are not. Take something like simple 'polyester resin reinforced fiberglass fabric'. The resin used in modern boats have much greater ductility and resistance to fatigue than the resins used until the 1990's The resin is mixed with a greater precision. The resin to cloth ratios are carefully controlled to produce stronger, stiffer, less fatigue and puncture prone laminate. The fiberglass itself has longer fibers with less defects in the surface of the individual fibers, and cloth handling has improved so that the reinforcing is substantially stronger, and further contributes to being stiffer, less fatigue and puncture prone laminate. In the 21st century, manufacturers have come to understand the role of non-directional fabrics in the loss of initial strength of the original laminate and non-directional fabric's role in accelerating the loss of strength of the laminate over time. As a result modern boat laminate greatly reduce proportion of non-directional fabric within the laminate. The net result is hulls that are way stronger, stiffer, and more durable than boats built before the 21st century. The improvement has been progressive but has the curve has bent dramatically towards the better in recent years.

But the improved science, design tools, and materials have changed boats in ways that very tangible. Take motion comfort for example. While the basics of motion comfort were reasonably well known in the period leading up to the 1970's, designers did not understand the extent to which damping, roll and pitch moments of inertia, and the sudden vs progressively shifting of the buoyancy distribution played a controlling role in determining motion comfort until sometime in the early 1990's. But even as the there was a increased understanding about the controlling role of these factors, without computer modeling it would have been very difficult to produce hull forms, keels and rigs which effectively utilized the information

The science would have directed designers towards the 'pizza slice' hull forms to improve motion comfort and performance, but before computer modeling, it would have been very difficult to produce modern hull forms that did not change trim, and balance with heel angle. Below is a plot of a modern hull pizza slice hull showing the hull shape and dynamic loads on the hull. You can see that at a roughly 15 degree heel angle the forces are reasonably balanced, suggesting that unlike earlier and more traditional forms. the hull of this boat is not adding to weather helm and is helping the boat to track straighter.
italia-immersed Hall 11-98-05

The same science that was used to improve hull forms and rig proportions, now explains why the cylindrical cross sections on favored by Crealock tended to roll excessively and have an uncomfortable motion in a chop compared to boats that had finer bows, more bearing in the stern, and more elliptical hull sections. So while the adage that the sea has not changed, is right, using our knowledge and better design tools to improve motion comfort has come along way. And is only just another example of the thousands of small and larger improvements in newer boats.

Lunch over...I really want to discuss the main topic, I don't have time right now.

Respectfully,
Jeff
 

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For me a "modern" boat is one that I can't afford. Personally if i could afford one, if I went with fiberglass, I'd look at a Sirius yacht, or a second best - Outbound yachts. If i went metal I'd look towards something like a Garcia Exploration or a Kanter yacht.
 

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But the materials and engineering have advanced dramatically. These allow designs that meet the same demands in better ways. Otherwise, those Vendee Globe boats, and other extreme condition racing designs, wouldn't last a day.

Compare a state of the art 1978 design (the Crealock era) for this race (then the Whitbread RTW) with a 2020 design (now the Ocean Race):

Mark


One more thing- I will add this image. This image is of the 'Disque d Or' that was designed for the same owner 8 years after the 'Disque d Or in the photo above (and which eventually became 'Maiden'.)
137696

The later Disque D Or was ten feet shorter, took 2/3's of the crew to sail, the crew described her as being way more forgiving to sail and cut days off the passage time of the earlier namesake.

Jeff
 

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While the sea has not changed, our scientific understanding of the sea and its impact on yacht design has changed enormously. Ignoring the advances in science and technology of yacht design is akin to saying, "the sun and the moon have not changed so why do we need electronic navigation?", or "light has not changed so why would anyone want to use electric lamps vs kerosene lamps, or LED's vs incandescent bulbs?" .

In my lifetime there has been enormous advances in understanding the science behind yacht design science, boat building materials, and the design tools used by designers. These advances have allowed tremendous improvements in the motion comfort, ease of handling, seaworthiness, and performance of modern cruising boats, The design tools have allowed the types of sophisticated analysis that was almost impossible before the computers ability to perform the types of complex evaluations that are critical to validating the science and incorporating the science into practical applications. There is hardly an aspect of boat design and building which have not benefitted greatly from these more sophisticated design tools and better technologies. Even when it appears that the materials are virtually the same as back in the 'good old days'; they are not. Take something like simple 'polyester resin reinforced fiberglass fabric'. The resin used in modern boats have much greater ductility and resistance to fatigue than the resins used until the 1990's The resin is mixed with a greater precision. The resin to cloth ratios are carefully controlled to produce stronger, stiffer, less fatigue and puncture prone laminate. The fiberglass itself has longer fibers with less defects in the surface of the individual fibers, and cloth handling has improved so that the reinforcing is substantially stronger, and further contributes to being stiffer, less fatigue and puncture prone laminate. In the 21st century, manufacturers have come to understand the role of non-directional fabrics in the loss of initial strength of the original laminate and non-directional fabric's role in accelerating the loss of strength of the laminate over time. As a result modern boat laminate greatly reduce proportion of non-directional fabric within the laminate. The net result is hulls that are way stronger, stiffer, and more durable than boats built before the 21st century. The improvement has been progressive but has the curve has bent dramatically towards the better in recent years.

But the improved science, design tools, and materials have changed boats in ways that very tangible. Take motion comfort for example. While the basics of motion comfort were reasonably well known in the period leading up to the 1970's, designers did not understand the extent to which damping, roll and pitch moments of inertia, and the sudden vs progressively shifting of the buoyancy distribution played a controlling role in determining motion comfort until sometime in the early 1990's. But even as the there was a increased understanding about the controlling role of these factors, without computer modeling it would have been very difficult to produce hull forms, keels and rigs which effectively utilized the information

The science would have directed designers towards the 'pizza slice' hull forms to improve motion comfort and performance, but before computer modeling, it would have been very difficult to produce modern hull forms that did not change trim, and balance with heel angle. Below is a plot of a modern hull pizza slice hull showing the hull shape and dynamic loads on the hull. You can see that at a roughly 15 degree heel angle the forces are reasonably balanced, suggesting that unlike earlier and more traditional forms. the hull of this boat is not adding to weather helm and is helping the boat to track straighter.
italia-immersed Hall 11-98-05

The same science that was used to improve hull forms and rig proportions, now explains why the cylindrical cross sections on favored by Crealock tended to roll excessively and have an uncomfortable motion in a chop compared to boats that had finer bows, more bearing in the stern, and more elliptical hull sections. So while the adage that the sea has not changed, is right, using our knowledge and better design tools to improve motion comfort has come along way. And is only just another example of the thousands of small and larger improvements in newer boats.

Lunch over...I really want to discuss the main topic, I don't have time right now.

Respectfully,
Jeff
Thank you! My point is not that engineering has advanced but more WHEN were those advances taking place. Personal computers became available in the mid 80s.... CAD appeared by the mid 80s. I would have assumed that the impact of these powerful tools began with CAD. If this marks modern... and it is directly related to computers I would place the modern era in the 90s. The analysis used for fluid dynamic problems must have greatly benefited from the enormous power of computers and this perhaps enabled designers to "test" hull form performance virtually. I think this is evident in the race boats which use foils for example... and may have led to pizza designs... which as has been mentioned provided improved interiors as well as improved performance.
 

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Thank you! My point is not that engineering has advanced but more WHEN were those advances taking place. Personal computers became available in the mid 80s.... CAD appeared by the mid 80s. I would have assumed that the impact of these powerful tools began with CAD. If this marks modern... and it is directly related to computers I would place the modern era in the 90s. The analysis used for fluid dynamic problems must have greatly benefited from the enormous power of computers and this perhaps enabled designers to "test" hull form performance virtually. I think this is evident in the race boats which use foils for example... and may have led to pizza designs... which as has been mentioned provided improved interiors as well as improved performance.
I can see CAD being a game changer for designers, drawing electronically, but I wonder how good those early programs were. Computers were still very primitive by today's standards, and the CAD programs were probably still early in their development stages. I suspect the even bigger game changers would have been the development of computer simulations to test hull designs without having to build scale models and physically test them in tanks. That kind of software would have needed far more processing power than CAD, and likely would have been beyond the capabilities of early desktop computers. I can still remember watching videos about race boat development in the '90s where they were tank testing hulls and using wind tunnels for sails. More powerful 21st century computers made that kind of testing unnecessary. I wonder how much computer prediction modeling drastically accelerated design progress and reduced costs.

Perhaps JeffH can recall when that transition happened in his industry.

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I can see CAD being a game changer for designers, drawing electronically, but I wonder how good those early programs were. Computers were still very primitive by today's standards, and the CAD programs were probably still early in their development stages. I suspect the even bigger game changers would have been the development of computer simulations to test hull designs without having to build scale models and physically test them in tanks. That kind of software would have needed far more processing power than CAD, and likely would have been beyond the capabilities of early desktop computers. I can still remember watching videos about race boat development in the '90s where they were tank testing hulls and using wind tunnels for sails. More powerful 21st century computers made that kind of testing unnecessary. I wonder how much computer prediction modeling drastically accelerated design progress and reduced costs.

Perhaps JeffH can recall when that transition happened in his industry.

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YES! CAD at first was basically a drafting tool... But it quickly evolved to include databases and 3D objects. As PCs became more powerful they could handle memory hungry programs. But engineering schools for example used larger computers than "desk tops" and had serious computing power which could do 3D modeling and time motion modeling. Buildings are static... while boats are subject to dynamics forces of wind and waves... which is much more demanding than the loads a typical building experiences.
 

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Thank you! My point is not that engineering has advanced but more WHEN were those advances taking place. Personal computers became available in the mid 80s.... CAD appeared by the mid 80s. I would have assumed that the impact of these powerful tools began with CAD. If this marks modern... and it is directly related to computers I would place the modern era in the 90s. The analysis used for fluid dynamic problems must have greatly benefited from the enormous power of computers and this perhaps enabled designers to "test" hull form performance virtually. I think this is evident in the race boats which use foils for example... and may have led to pizza designs... which as has been mentioned provided improved interiors as well as improved performance.
The improvements have been evolutionary rather then revolutionary. (That was my point in posting the picture in post #56) Before the 1970's, it could take a 3-4 fast designers weeks to generate a stability curve for a single design and it would not be terribly accurate since it did not include the impact in stability that resulted from changes in trim. The first reasonably successful Velocity Prediction Program (VPP) came out of the work of Jerry Milgram and George Hazen at some point in the early 1970's and filtered into the yacht design world at some point in the early 1980's

But the computers of the day were slow and so the analysis results were not especially detailed, granular or accurate. I remember hearing that a mini-computer could be set up to run and would run over night and into the next day, but could produce stability curves and a VP. That seemed miraculous.

Since then there has been a vast amount of research on developing more accurate calculation methods and validating the data produced. (Validation in this case is comparing real world measured values to computer simulated values, and incrementally improving the accuracy of the computer simulations.) The research has certainly looked a being able to quantify performance oriented characteristics such as lift to drag, and load paths for real world forces. But it also has looked a motion as well. The ability to quickly compare the impact on motion from perhaps moving a battery bank or making the stern a little fuller is a pretty recent tool (I would think less than 5-10 or so years) and can be done in minutes and not days on a laptop computer, so the designer can tweak to their hearts out, until they have the best design that they are willing to keep looking for.

But its not just about computers since there are other non-computer driven innovations. As these newer boats, within a boat's normal usable service range, have greatly increased stability and reduced drag (as compared to similar displacement older designs) , sail plans have gotten much more efficient allowing smaller sails to accomplish the same thing as larger sails and in turn be much easier to handle across a much wider wind range. Better sail handling gear has added to the making sail handling easier as well.

In other words, there is no one point in time that there was a sudden change, and it is not one single thing that suddenly changed, it has been a slow and steady improvement, incremental improvement to hundreds of smaller components that make up a boat.

I will add this one last example. You and I sail boats that are roughly the same age, and while the hull forms are very different and your boat is nearly 50% heavier than mine, the rigs are very similar. Our fractional rigs were state of the art rigs in the 1980's for performance cruising boats. Compared to modern fractional rigged performance cruising boats, they were pretty small fraction (7/8 or so) rigs as compared to 15/16th or 16/17th rigs of today. So what changed? When our boats were designed, performance cruising boats only used panel-cut broad seemed Dacron sails. There was a limit to the aspect ratio before leech stretch made those sails ineffective, That meant that there was a limit to the aspect ratio of both the mainsail and jib, and as the foot of the mainsail became bigger, and the foot of the jib became smaller on a fractional rig, the luff of the jib became smaller relative to the height of the mainsail.

At some point better stress mapping in the sails allowed the fiber orientation to be rotated on panel cut dacron so that there was less leech stretch and that allowed the jib's aspect ratio to increase and the fraction to get bigger. At the same time small improvements in the fabric itself reduced stretch so the forestay crept further up the mast. Then cruising laminates came on the scene and once again the aspect ratios increased. That increased aspect ratio required more stability, and coincidentally stability was increasing during this same period as well. And in combination these changes produced boats that were wildly easier to sail, much more forgiving in changing conditions, cheaper to own, faster, and so on. And that is just one small slice of the myriad changes going on behind our collective backs.

Jeff
 
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