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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
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    Default bigger vs wider

    Hi all,

    First time boat builder (soon, hopefully). I am looking at two different plans from two different (excellent) companies. The are both for a small cabin cruiser-type boat with sails (eventually). One of the plans is an 18' - 6" offering with a 7' - 10" beam. The other is 19' - 3" length with a 7' - 1" beam. Having not ever sailed solo yet, which would be the better or more stable boat? The longer, leaner one, or the shorter, wider one?

    I know I am showing a lot of my greenness with this question, but I don't want to spend so much time on a project without at least doing some digging on this. I've always heard that longer meant it would better withstand storms, and such... but it seems like not much shorter but wider might be the better choice.

    Thanks for the input. It'll be at least a year and a half before I can get started, but I'd like to get the plans soon and start getting my workshop set up for the build.

    Mark

  2. #2
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Hi and welcome to the forum.

    It's hard to answer your question as the shape and dimensions of the waterplane give more of a clue than the OA dimensions. Then weight and presence of any ballast also have to be factored in.
    What are the two candidate designs?
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  3. #3
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Glen-L Tango (18'-6") and the Bruce Roberts Roberts 19 (19'-3")
    http://www.glen-l.com/designs/sailboat/tango.html
    http://www.bruceroberts.com/public/HTML/R19.htm

  4. #4
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Two totally different boats. The GlenL looks to be a bit of a tub, the R19 nicer and probably a more comfortable sea boat. Both should have adequate stability.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  5. #5
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    Default

    I would expect the Roberts boat to be much more agreeable on the water. The proportions are more to proven standards. There's a Roberts boat offered for free on the west coast if it hasn't gone yet.
    -Dave

  6. #6
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    St. Louis, MO
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Hi Mark and also welcome to the forum.
    There are many here on the forum who can help you refine your choice of plan, all the way up to naval architects like Nick. I have nothing to offer on that front in comparison but I can speak as an amateur builder about the importance of taking time to make your choice of plan. I know that I fell in and out of love with particular designs numerous times before I chose one to build. For me it took a while coming over as a fiberglass keelboat sailor to get a feel for what I was looking for and balance how I imagined using the boat. You may well be way past this phase of the plan-choosing process but if not, throw out any questions and you'll get some good advice here.

    Do you have a particular place in mind to sail your future boat? That can be a good place to start to determine if a design will suit your needs.

    Good luck!

    Mike
    Last edited by Mike J; 01-12-2018 at 08:10 PM.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    I wouldn't use stability as my prime consideration in choosing a design. There are many other factors that effect comfort and ease of use.

  8. #8
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    Jun 2013
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    The Roberts looks like a boat that will sail OK, and in my limited experience watching them they do.

    The Glen L looks like a boat that will sail slowly downwind as long as the breeze stays moderate, and that's about it.

    Another option that is similar to the Roberts but has the beam of the Glen is the Caribou 20. The company of Frank Pelin, who designed it, is an old NZ firm so not well known in the US, but they did well at a time when NZ designers led the world. The Pelins I've known look conservative but have always managed to go faster and sail better than they look. The greater beam gives them good stability while the finer bows allows them to still sail well. This combination can cause weather helm when heeled but the only C20 I used to know was an impressive little high-wind performer.

    Description here

  9. #9
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    In my humble opinion, longer and narrower will be a better boat for general all round performance. That is if both boats have simular displacement and underbody shapes. Tough question without seeing the lines!
    However, I am familiar with Glen L designs and would choose the other longer narrower boat.
    Jay
    Last edited by Jay Greer; 01-13-2018 at 02:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    In my humble opinion, longer and narrower will be a better boat for general all round performance. That is if both boats have simular displacement and underbody shapes. I would still choose the longer design for all round performance. Tough question without seeing the lines!
    However, I am familiar with Glen L designs and so would choose the other longer narrower boat.
    Jay
    Follow the links in post #3 for photos of the boats.
    It really is quite difficult to build an ugly wooden boat.

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  11. #11
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Hi, and welcome.
    Of those two, the Roberts is certainly nicer to my eye.

    More info would be good, as others have said, including preferred construction method. Are those two sort of plywood stitch and glue? If that's your method (and it may be the fastest) then disregard the following very pretty boat... Eun Na Mara by Iain Oughtred. There are a couple of builds here on the forum, and this one I pulled up just now. http://cargocollective.com/rolandpoltock/EUN-NA-MARA

    The bad news is, it would probably take me anywhere from five to ten years to build a Eun Na Mara, so maybe the Roberts is a good compromise.

    Mike
    "near it, a small whale-boat, painted red and blue, the delight of the king's old age."

  12. #12
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    +1 for long and skinny (says I building a very short fat heavy boat).

  13. #13
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    The Glen-L would be a simpler build for a beginner, but the Roberts would be the better boat.
    The Glen-L is a simple boat built from sheet plywood and the Roberts is a round hull design, more difficult to build.
    I was born on a wooden boat that I built myself.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    In a different vein: Apart from the joy of doing it, there is little reason to build a boat like this anymore. There are hundreds or thousands of mostly identical used boats already available for a song, all around the country. And, those boats will almost always come complete with sails, motors, trailers, cockpit cushions, anchors, lights, running rigging, safety gear, electronics and most everything else one would commonly need for a weekend jaunt. One could not ever build - and equip - one's own clone of these boats for anything close to a similar price. Typically the difference is many thousands of dollars.
    And, you could be sailing next week, instead of waiting a year and a half just to start building - which could easily take years itself.

    Want to build a boat? "Build the dinghy first" is the common advice. Try that. Then build a nice sailing dinghy, rowboat, kayak, etc. Then another and so on. The whole time you could also be sailing . . . .

    Of course, if your lifelong goal is to build a boat like this, then ignore the above and have fun!

  15. #15
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Boats in this size range are small boats - trying to pack too many features and to much accommodation into a 19' boat is a fools errand.

    Consider a more up-to-date design such as the Belhaven 19 by Graham Byrnes.

    http://bandbyachtdesigns.com/belhaven/

    Note that the B&B Belhaven 19 design is 700 pounds lighter than the lighter of the two you mentioned (boat materials cost by the pound ).

    Good luck,

  16. #16
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    One of the great things about this forum is the wide field of experience to draw upon for advice. One of the downsides is that those advisers inadvertently muddy the waters by tossing out their favourites as designs to be considered. Some feel it necessary to denigrate your choices along the way, and that is both impolite and sad. Read them all, then separate the wheat from the chaff as it pertains to your ambition, and carry on.

    DGentry's comment about building the dinghy first is good advice that I would urge you to follow. The cost in time and materials is not excessive and the lessons to be learned are valuable. If it goes well and you retain your confidence in your skills after it is finished, I think that you can step up to the larger boat directly without an incremental approach, but that is just my opinion. If you are not satisfied with the results, build a small open sailing dinghy to hone your skills - again, not excessive in time & cost.

    Now to answer your question: I think that the Bruce Roberts design will be the better-performing boat. The Glen-L design will be easier and faster to build and will be a better, roomier 'family-puttering-around' boat, but the Roberts design will probably be faster on the water and have an easier motion in a seaway. Their initial stability curves will probably be quite similar despite the difference in beam, but I expect the ultimate stability (the white-knuckle range of stability) of the Roberts design will be better than the Glen-L design. I also expect that the Roberts design will be capable of staying out in stronger winds and rougher waters than the Glen-L design. The downside of this encouragement to the Roberts design is that it will take longer to build. If there are published estimates of hours required to build the boat, as a first-time builder, double them. Stay focused and disciplined in your build efforts - it is estimated that 50% of all home builds longer than six months remain unfinished due to the builder losing interest in the project. And work safely - my usual urging to my clients (pro and amateur) is "make sure that you finish your day with as many fingers as you started with". Pay attention to the warnings about the chemicals such as epoxies that you use, too.

    Good luck with your decision, and with the build of whichever you choose.
    Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    I do think there are better stock plans available for a small cruiser and first time builder. I would suggest looking at Reuel Parker's plans. Also Dudley Dix has a Cape Cutter 19 that might be better. Iain Oughtred's designs are probably a little more difficult to build, but he has two or three options in this size range. All of these will be better performing, more comfortable, and not too much harder to build than the glen-l design, and likely about the same as the Roberts design.

    In general, the advice to build a small boat first is good advice, but I would say you should buy a used small boat and start sailing (forget it being wood) while building one. Its likely to take 3 or 4 years to build the boat, you should get some experience sailing in the meantime.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: bigger vs wider

    Quote Originally Posted by peb View Post
    I do think there are better stock plans available for a small cruiser and first time builder. ...

    In general, the advice to build a small boat first is good advice, but I would say you should buy a used small boat and start sailing (forget it being wood) while building one. Its likely to take 3 or 4 years to build the boat, you should get some experience sailing in the meantime.
    +1 ... especially to the buy a used boat and start (try) sailing

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