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Thread: Great Design Features in Boats

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    Default Great Design Features in Boats

    Idling away some time here and thought it might be interesting to start a discussion about what makes good boats good--not a discussion about specific boats (though I'm sure they'll come in as examples), but rather a discussion about what design features work really well, and for what purpose(s). I imagine this might be the kind of thread where people without much direct experience might learn what's really important to look for in a design, based on feedback from others who have come to that knowledge through long experience.

    I'll start by aiming a few comments at sail & oar cruising boats, my particular little corner of the wooden boat world. Here's some things (beyond the obvious of "sail decently, row well") that I have really learned to appreciate:

    1. Ability to be quickly and easily righted from a capsize by a single person. How to do that is a big complicated topic but the ability itself is essential however you manage it.

    2. A centerboard trunk whose top rises well above the level of water aboard after a capsize.

    3. A cockpit that allows unrestricted movement for the helmsman to change sides at each tack--no centerboard to step over, and ideally no low boom to duck under. This is crucial, because it's a maneuver that will be repeated thousands of times. I will no longer accept a boat where it's even slightly awkward or unpleasant.

    4. A variety of comfortable seating options for the helmsman--good on long passages. Passengers, too, I suppose, if you're not solo most of the time like I tend to be.

    5. One feature I lucked into with my Alaska that I REALLY like is this: After capsizing and recovering, all the water aboard is trapped on the opposite side of the boat from the person righting the boat (i.e. in a capsize to port, I am on the starboard side during recovery--and the water is on the port side). The drains that allow the water to level out inside are small (1" diameter PVC tubes), so it takes a long time for water to level out--which means that water stays on the port side plenty long enough to counterbalance my weight as I climb in over the starboard gunwale. I have never heard of a designer doing this on purpose, and I wasn't smart enough to do it intentionally, but it sure works. I highly recommend it.

    6. Limited free surface area so that the boat remains stable when filled with water. Again, my Alaska really does well here.

    7. A rig that allows fast transitions between sailing and rowing. I don't see how a lugsail of some kind can be outdone here, but go ahead and offer other ideas if you have them.

    8. A means to sleep aboard comfortably, ideally on a platform that is below the boat's metacentric height which (if I understand the idea correctly) means the weight of the sleeper will add to the boat's stability and make sleeping on a platform comfortable. To me, it's worth it being out of the bilge.

    9. Lack of floorboards for easy access to the hull for sponging/bailing.

    10. A pivoting centerboard, not a daggerboard or leeboards.

    11. Rudder whose cheeks and blades are completely out of the water when raised.

    12. A tiller that can be quickly and easily removed (NOT the bolt & nut through tiller and rudder cheeks that I am using now).

    13. Ability to perform well with a minimum of fancy expensive hardware. Lashings and soft shackles are nice.

    14. At least one stowage area convenient to the helm--NOT a compartment with a small bulkhead hatch, but something that will keep stuff out of the rain and spray, but will still be easy to access from the helm. My Alaska has a small aft deck, which is a nice place to tuck things away.

    15. Proper rowing ergonomics. Again, my Alaska shines here in a way I had not anticipated--using the same oarlocks, you can row normally (facing the stern) from one thwart, and also move to the next thwart and row facing the bow. A nice little feature for rowing in tight spots.

    OK, not really in any kind of order yet, but those are some of the things I find really important in a sail & oar boat after thousands of miles aboard.

    Any other thoughts and ideas?

    What makes other kinds of boats good?

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-18-2018 at 12:42 AM.
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Probaly not exactly what you are thinking of, and maybe I just missed this my whole life while everyone else knew about them, but the drop-down internal windows that seem to be native to the northwest ?

    I love these things. Simple simple simple yet effective. Gives you total airflow when they are down but don't take up any space, don't stick out in the way, don't have any hardware to speak of, they just work so well with so little effort, I luvs 'em.

    Given all that, I guess they wouldn't work very well in sailboats. But for power, shazaam !

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    I think I can imagine what you mean. Seems like they'd be equally good for a sailboat cabin too, eh?

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Seems like they'd be equally good for a sailboat cabin too, eh?
    A motorsailer maybe. You need enough space below the window for the frame to drop into. Most sailboat cabins are pretty low to the deck, and underneath there are bunks or sinks or other paraphernalia.

    Maybe that's why I never saw them before, a new stinkpotter here

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Idling away some time here and thought it might be interesting to start a discussion about what makes good boats good--not a discussion about specific boats (though I'm sure they'll come in as examples), but rather a discussion about what design features work really well, and for what purpose(s). I imagine this might be the kind of thread where people without much direct experience might learn what's really important to look for in a design, based on feedback from others who have come to that knowledge through long experience.

    I'll start by aiming a few comments at sail & oar cruising boats, my particular little corner of the wooden boat world. Here's some things (beyond the obvious of "sail decently, row well") that I have really learned to appreciate:

    1. Ability to be quickly and easily righted from a capsize by a single person. How to do that is a big complicated topic but the ability itself is essential however you manage it.

    2. A centerboard trunk whose top rises well above the level of water aboard after a capsize.

    3. A cockpit that allows unrestricted movement for the helmsman to change sides at each tack--no centerboard to step over, and ideally no low boom to duck under. This is crucial, because it's a maneuver that will be repeated thousands of times. I will no longer accept a boat where it's even slightly awkward or unpleasant.

    4. A variety of comfortable seating options for the helmsman--good on long passages. Passengers, too, I suppose, if you're not solo most of the time like I tend to be.

    5. One feature I lucked into with my Alaska that I REALLY like is this: After capsizing and recovering, all the water aboard is trapped on the opposite side of the boat from the person righting the boat (i.e. in a capsize to port, I am on the starboard side during recovery--and the water is on the port side). The drains that allow the water to level out inside are small (1" diameter PVC tubes), so it takes a long time for water to level out--which means that water stays on the port side plenty long enough to counterbalance my weight as I climb in over the starboard gunwale. I have never heard of a designer doing this on purpose, and I wasn't smart enough to do it intentionally, but it sure works. I highly recommend it.

    6. Limited free surface area so that the boat remains stable when filled with water. Again, my Alaska really does well here.

    7. A rig that allows fast transitions between sailing and rowing. I don't see how a lugsail of some kind can be outdone here, but go ahead and offer other ideas if you have them.

    8. A means to sleep aboard comfortably, ideally on a platform that is below the boat's metacentric height which (if I understand the idea correctly) means the weight of the sleeper will add to the boat's stability and make sleeping on a platform comfortable. To me, it's worth it being out of the bilge.

    9. Lack of floorboards for easy access to the hull for sponging/bailing.

    10. A pivoting centerboard, not a daggerboard or leeboards.

    11. Rudder whose cheeks and blades are completely out of the water when raised.

    12. A tiller that can be quickly and easily removed (NOT the bolt & nut through tiller and rudder cheeks that I am using now).

    13. Ability to perform well with a minimum of fancy expensive hardware. Lashings and soft shackles are nice.

    14. At least one stowage area convenient to the helm--NOT a compartment with a small bulkhead hatch, but something that will keep stuff out of the rain and spray, but will still be easy to access from the helm. My Alaska has a small aft deck, which is a nice place to tuck things away.

    15. Proper rowing ergonomics. Again, my Alaska shines here in a way I had not anticipated--using the same oarlocks, you can row normally (facing the stern) from one thwart, and also move to the next thwart and row facing the bow. A nice little feature for rowing in tight spots.

    OK, not really in any kind of order yet, but those are some of the things I find really important in a sail & oar boat after thousands of miles aboard.

    Any other thoughts and ideas?

    What makes other kinds of boats good?

    Tom
    great idea for a thread. Would love some pictures of Alaska especially point five which I think I understand but a picture would confirm.

    After many years dinghy racing and experimenting with proas and a sailing canoe I am wanting to dinghy cruise so my thoughts are not backed up with experience. As a family we are moving to a part of the U.K. more suitable to dinghy cruise so this topic is of great interest. I am unlikely to build and likely to buy and old Gull dinghy

    1) Good keel and bilge runners to hauling up a beach
    2) Foredeck with good bulwark to keep seas out
    3) Righting lines
    4) Grab handles in thwart for getting back on board after capsize
    5) The Dinghy Cruising Association in the U.K. recommendation is one foot of length per stone of crew weight. This leads to a boat of a size and usually weight that can easily be handled ashore and righted if capsized. Clearly there are exceptions but outside the U.K. people seam to cruise in much bigger boats. My be a geography thing. My preference would be to have a light boat and mainly daysail in different places. In other countries you can probably sail for days in the same location and still be in the wild.
    6) Comfortable sit in and on side benches, again a cultural difference I see many American boats with no side benches and people sitting on the sole of the boat.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Ability to easily and readily step and unstep mast(s) afloat.
    Ability to hoist and drop sail without going forward (in ketch/ yawl rigged boats)
    Ability to instantly drop the biggest sail
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Adding to: "1. Ability to be quickly and easily righted from a capsize by a single person. How to do that is a big complicated topic but the ability itself is essential however you manage it."

    The ability to re-enter without assistance after a capsize and righting. A very important topic in my opinion.

    The ability to right, re-enter and immediately sail away without bailing. Important when off a lee shore or possibly in traffic.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Great thread starter. Reading point number 2 and 3, regarding the center board and center board trunk, these desirable features seem to be mutually exclusive. A picture would probably explain how these 2 desirable features can be accomplished.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Great topic, yet before even getting a boat, having a realistic and thorough understanding of how, when and where you'll enjoy it is pretty paramount, including costs and maintenence needs. For many, and I think this is quite fortunate for the general population as a starting point for that understanding, a plastic kayak or canoe thrown atop the car can give the greatest flexibility and pleasure for the time and dollar.
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Now this is something I'll remember! Thanks!Moe

    5. One feature I lucked into with my Alaska that I REALLY like is this: After capsizing and recovering, all the water aboard is trapped on the opposite side of the boat from the person righting the boat (i.e. in a capsize to port, I am on the starboard side during recovery--and the water is on the port side). The drains that allow the water to level out inside are small (1" diameter PVC tubes), so it takes a long time for water to level out--which means that water stays on the port side plenty long enough to counterbalance my weight as I climb in over the starboard gunwale. I have never heard of a designer doing this on purpose, and I wasn't smart enough to do it intentionally, but it sure works. I highly recommend it.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Arlc View Post
    Great thread starter. Reading point number 2 and 3, regarding the center board and center board trunk, these desirable features seem to be mutually exclusive. A picture would probably explain how these 2 desirable features can be accomplished.
    Not necessarily mutually exclusive--one design that does it very well is Ross Lillistone's Phoenix III design, where the centerboard case does not intrude into the cockpit at all, and you can move easily from one side bench to the other:

    DSCF8287.jpg

    This is the boat that taught me not to tolerate a boat with a centerboard in the way.

    And yet, the forward part of the case rises well above thwart level) (the aft part of the case is under the central thwart), meaning the opening in the case is very high up out of the water--and not at all in the way for tacking. That shape also gives a lot more area to the board which seems to help windward performance. And more bury in the case, so perhaps stronger?

    Here's a photo where you can see the forward part of the centerboard case, and how high it goes:

    DSCF7999.jpg

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-18-2018 at 05:45 PM.
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by rbgarr View Post
    Great topic, yet before even getting a boat, having a realistic and thorough understanding of how, when and where you'll enjoy it is pretty paramount, including costs and maintenence needs. For many, and I think this is quite fortunate for the general population as a starting point for that understanding, a plastic kayak or canoe thrown atop the car can give the greatest flexibility and pleasure for the time and dollar.
    And a skin-on-frame will make that plastic kayak feel like a real pig! (Both while paddling and while loading).

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    great idea for a thread. Would love some pictures of Alaska especially point five which I think I understand but a picture would confirm.
    Sure. The Alaska design has built-in thwarts which I built water-tight. The centerboard case runs between them, essentially dividing the center of the boat in half and trapping water on the low side after re-righting:

    DSCN2678.jpg

    The center area is where the sheer sweeps lowest and all the water gets scooped up on re-righting. Not only does having the center section divided to trap water counterbalance the boat for re-boarding, but all those thwarts and centerboard case also really limit the free surface area of the water you take on, which makes the boat VERY stable after re-righting even though it takes on a good amount of water, which is a fantastic safety feature as well.

    Tom
    Last edited by WI-Tom; 11-18-2018 at 05:59 PM.
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Rice View Post
    Adding to: "1. Ability to be quickly and easily righted from a capsize by a single person. How to do that is a big complicated topic but the ability itself is essential however you manage it."

    The ability to re-enter without assistance after a capsize and righting. A very important topic in my opinion.

    The ability to right, re-enter and immediately sail away without bailing. Important when off a lee shore or possibly in traffic.
    Yep, thanks for pointing that out, Howard. It's crucial, especially re-boarding easily. Low freeboard helps here, but you do need to be confident that you can re-board in your particular boat. That'll vary quite a bit by person as well as by design.

    The system you devised for Southern Cross might be worth explaining here?

    My Alaska is low enough that I don't (yet) need a system or gadget to get back aboard.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    5) The Dinghy Cruising Association in the U.K. recommendation is one foot of length per stone of crew weight. This leads to a boat of a size and usually weight that can easily be handled ashore and righted if capsized. Clearly there are exceptions but outside the U.K. people seam to cruise in much bigger boats. My be a geography thing. My preference would be to have a light boat and mainly daysail in different places. In other countries you can probably sail for days in the same location and still be in the wild.
    Interesting that their recommendation is based on length--my weight (15 stone right now) puts me right in the running for solo cruising the Phoenix III, but well "undersized" for my 18' Alaska, which has pretty much the same interior volume from what I can tell. I would have thought volume or displacement would be a better way to predict how much boat you can handle. I am certainly comfortable sailing alone, including capsize recovery, in the Alaska.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Fuller View Post
    Ability to easily and readily step and unstep mast(s) afloat.
    Ability to hoist and drop sail without going forward (in ketch/ yawl rigged boats)
    Ability to instantly drop the biggest sail
    Ben,

    I agree on the mast, and the "instant drop" feature. But I've been reluctant to lead the halyard back to the helm because I really don't like lines running around the boat.

    Also, when I hoist a lugsail, I typically use one hand to lift the yard (at the proper angle) while taking the slack out of the halyard with the other, until I can't reach the yard anymore as it goes up. That keeps the yard in control much better--by the time I let go of the yard, it's getting to be almost high enough that it takes on the proper heel-down angle.

    What's it like to hoist from the helm? Doesn't the tip of the yard hang down and bang around until the sail is almost completely hoisted? It seems like it'd be a very messy process, but I have never tried it myself. I haven't found that it's much trouble to go forward to hoist and drop the sail.

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    I'll add one more essential feature (for me) for now: smoothly functioning uphaul/downhaul lines for the kick-up rudder. No more hanging over the transom trying to push down a rudder before sailing!

    Tom
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post

    8. A means to sleep aboard comfortably, ideally on a platform that is below the boat's metacentric height which (if I understand the idea correctly) means the weight of the sleeper will add to the boat's stability and make sleeping on a platform comfortable. To me, it's worth it being out of the bilge.

    9. Lack of floorboards for easy access to the hull for sponging/bailing.

    Tom
    Tom,

    I have to take issue with an assumption in point number 8. The metacentre is the point where the (moving) vector from the changing centre of buoyancy intersects with the boat's vertical centreline as the boat heels. The metacentric height is the distance between that point and the centre of gravity. Adding weight below the metacentre will not necessarily add to stability. In fact, only if the weight is added below the centre of gravity will stability be enhanced, as that will increase the metacentric height. Weight added above the centre of gravity but below the metacentric height will decrease the stability, as the metacentric height will be decreased. As to your point about a sleeping platform, if it is above the centre of gravity, it will, in my experience, be less comfortable than a point below that centre. That is because the hull rotates around the centre of gravity as it heels, not the metacentre. Above that roll centre, it’s a little like being on top of a metronome. Below it, it is more like being in a hammock.

    As for point number 9, I would say it depends on the climate you sail in most of the time. Here on our rainy coast, floorboards in an open boat keep you above rainwater swilling about on the bottom while you are sailing and don’t have time to stop and bail and sponge. They also make a good sleeping platform, see my response to point #8. If those floorboards are easily removable, keeping the boat clean is not an issue.
    Last edited by AJZimm; 11-18-2018 at 07:00 PM. Reason: Correct an error in explanation
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    12. A tiller that can be quickly and easily removed (NOT the bolt & nut through tiller and rudder cheeks that I am using now).

    Back in the 1960's my brothers, Dad and I built a Jack Holt designed Enterprise dinghy from a Bell Woodworking kit (beautiful mahogany ply and timber). The tiller went through a hole in the transom and into a fitted space between the rudder cheeks. It was retained by a large brass cotter pin of about 1/4" diameter and 3-4" long that passed through the rudder head and tiller. The retaining tension could easily be adjusted by slightly bending one side of the cotter pin. The "eye" of the pin was big enough to get a good grip on and it was tethered to the rudder head with a short piece of string. Quick and easy to use, never came adrift and never lost.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Ben,

    I agree on the mast, and the "instant drop" feature. But I've been reluctant to lead the halyard back to the helm because I really don't like lines running around the boat.

    Also, when I hoist a lugsail, I typically use one hand to lift the yard (at the proper angle) while taking the slack out of the halyard with the other, until I can't reach the yard anymore as it goes up. That keeps the yard in control much better--by the time I let go of the yard, it's getting to be almost high enough that it takes on the proper heel-down angle.

    What's it like to hoist from the helm? Doesn't the tip of the yard hang down and bang around until the sail is almost completely hoisted? It seems like it'd be a very messy process, but I have never tried it myself. I haven't found that it's much trouble to go forward to hoist and drop the sail.

    Tom
    What I do is run the halyard (and downhaul) to cam cleats on the underside of my forward fixed thwart, which I can reach from the center thwart. with a tiller extension i can steer from the central thwart when i am single handing. in setting sail. mizzen gets set. boat stays head to wind and i can pull from behind the forward thwart and handle the yard. The lines are high enough so anchor, dry bag etc. can go under the halyard/ downhaul. What i really like about this is the ability to blow the halyard after i climb aboard in a capsize w/o having to go forward. It also makes adjusting luff tension easy.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Tom,

    As for point number 9, I would say it depends on the climate you sail in most of the time. Here on our rainy coast, floorboards in an open boat keep you above rainwater swilling about on the bottom while you are sailing and don’t have time to stop and bail and sponge. They also make a good sleeping platform, see my response to point #8. If those floorboards are easily removable, keeping the boat clean is not an issue.
    When setting up the floor boards on RAN TAN we have three. One either side of the cb trunk and one aft. There is a frame bay just aft of the center thwart with no floor board which makes bailing easy. I could also fit an anderson bailer in it and may do some time. This system a copy of what was done on the delaware tuckups and hikers of the late 19th century.
    Ben Fuller
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Sure. The Alaska design has built-in thwarts which I built water-tight. The centerboard case runs between them, essentially dividing the center of the boat in half and trapping water on the low side after re-righting:

    DSCN2678.jpg

    The center area is where the sheer sweeps lowest and all the water gets scooped up on re-righting. Not only does having the center section divided to trap water counterbalance the boat for re-boarding, but all those thwarts and centerboard case also really limit the free surface area of the water you take on, which makes the boat VERY stable after re-righting even though it takes on a good amount of water, which is a fantastic safety feature as well.

    Tom
    Thanks for the pictures, looks well thought out, reducing the free surface effect sounds a good idea. I presume the areas are all linked, you mentioned pvc tube, so you can pump / bail from one location.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    Interesting that their recommendation is based on length--my weight (15 stone right now) puts me right in the running for solo cruising the Phoenix III, but well "undersized" for my 18' Alaska, which has pretty much the same interior volume from what I can tell. I would have thought volume or displacement would be a better way to predict how much boat you can handle. I am certainly comfortable sailing alone, including capsize recovery, in the Alaska.

    Tom
    the one stone per foot dates back to an old dinghy cruising book and is an easy to apply quick rule of thumb. There are many factors that could be considered from crew ability to sail area and many more.

    Playing about with the factors in here is very interesting

    http://smallcraftadvisor.com/old_roo...t/test-002.htm

    And here also

    https://nsc.ca/web2/library/tools/ke...cs-calculator/

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by WI-Tom View Post
    I'll add one more essential feature (for me) for now: smoothly functioning uphaul/downhaul lines for the kick-up rudder. No more hanging over the transom trying to push down a rudder before sailing!

    Tom
    I have long admired the simplicity and effectiveness of the Topper rudder, no strings goes up and down under positive control with one hand, simply brilliant.
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    two dozen posts in and no one has mentioned cup holders
    my faith in this forum is flagging
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    A good place to stow the oars when sailing and stow the rig when rowing.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Is this just for open boats? I will go for dorade vents, or any other vent that allows good air flow but keeps the water out, for those that might like a wee cabin.

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by skaraborgcraft View Post
    Is this just for open boats? I will go for dorade vents, or any other vent that allows good air flow but keeps the water out, for those that might like a wee cabin.
    Tom?

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    two dozen posts in and no one has mentioned cup holders
    my faith in this forum is flagging
    Just drink out of the bottle. I promise I don’t have cooties. Anymore.

    Peace,
    Robert

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by tink View Post
    Thanks for the pictures, looks well thought out, reducing the free surface effect sounds a good idea. I presume the areas are all linked, you mentioned pvc tube, so you can pump / bail from one location.
    Yep, linked with 1" diameter PVC tube. You can just see one of the tube openings in the port side of the aft bulkhead, just to port of the mast step/box there.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    two dozen posts in and no one has mentioned cup holders
    my faith in this forum is flagging
    Well, since I'm not using the ketch mizzen in my Alaska, the mast step/box in the rear thwart is just the right size to hold a 1-liter water bottle. So, I have that covered!

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by FF View Post
    Tom?
    Any boat is good--my post was about sail & oar boats because that's my main interest. But different design features are important for different kinds of boats. I say bring 'em all on! Just maybe say what kind of boat and what kind of sailing (or motoring) the feature is good for, and why.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by P.I. Stazzer-Newt View Post
    I have long admired the simplicity and effectiveness of the Topper rudder, no strings goes up and down under positive control with one hand, simply brilliant.
    Details? I have no idea what a Topper rudder is.

    There's also the Michael Storer cassette-type rudder which seems very popular with those who use it. I just happen to like traditional kick-up rudders.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    Quote Originally Posted by AJZimm View Post
    Tom,

    I have to take issue with an assumption in point number 8. The metacentre is the point where the (moving) vector from the changing centre of buoyancy intersects with the boat's vertical centreline as the boat heels. The metacentric height is the distance between that point and the centre of gravity. Adding weight below the metacentre will not necessarily add to stability. In fact, only if the weight is added below the centre of gravity will stability be enhanced, as that will increase the metacentric height. Weight added above the centre of gravity but below the metacentric height will decrease the stability, as the metacentric height will be decreased. As to your point about a sleeping platform, if it is above the centre of gravity, it will, in my experience, be less comfortable than a point below that centre. That is because the hull rotates around the centre of gravity as it heels, not the metacentre. Above that roll centre, it’s a little like being on top of a metronome. Below it, it is more like being in a hammock.

    As for point number 9, I would say it depends on the climate you sail in most of the time. Here on our rainy coast, floorboards in an open boat keep you above rainwater swilling about on the bottom while you are sailing and don’t have time to stop and bail and sponge. They also make a good sleeping platform, see my response to point #8. If those floorboards are easily removable, keeping the boat clean is not an issue.
    Alex,

    no doubt I got some things confused. Actually, the inspiration for this were some discussions here about platforms. You and the PNW sail & oar guys seem to have much more negative ideas about platforms than I do. I can't figure out if that's because the Phoenix III platform is so well-placed that it avoids stability issues, or just because I anchor in MUCH more sheltered areas (typically just a couple of feet from shore). Probably the latter is a big part of why platforms work for me.

    As for floorboards--WHAT? Are you telling me you don't bail and sponge while sailing? I do. All the time. Which reminds me of ANOTHER essential design feature for my next post.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Great Design Features in Boats

    OK, can't believe I missed this essential design feature--more of an after-build mod, perhaps, but crucial:

    Self-steering of some kind. I'll post details of the system I use here later this week--total cost is less than $1, no fancy hardware needed, reliable, and has no need to adjust tension or engage/disengage the system. Steer by hand when you want to, let the $.59 autopilot take over at any moment whenever you want.

    This may be the best mod a solo cruiser can make.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

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