We’ve been inundated with year end paperwork made more difficult this year by a change in taxation rules – or maybe not – by the mavens in Washington DC. In between bouts of document reading, signing, and notarization, there has been little time for what we really love, until last night (late we should add). As a run up to New Year’s Eve we decided to get into bed early, which ended up being 000 hours. With tonight’s festivities looming large, this might be considered foolish. However, in the midst of searching for a specific photograph a friend needed, we came across a collection, which put the last few years into perspective, and we could not help but stop, study, and repeat. And then we thought, maybe SetSailors might be similarly inclined, which lead to this epistle on wave piercing.
We learned long ago, the hard way, that passages made uphill tend to define one’s view of ocean cruising, even if their occurrence is rare (which is usually not the case). A yacht that is uncomfortable when pushing its way against mother nature stays at anchor or in the marina, waiting for the ideal weather window with which to mitigate unpleasantness. The perfect weather window being somewhat illusory, in the end, plans change, excuses are found, dreams die.
But if you can softly slice your way through the waves the crew’s view of the world changes. There is less hesitation, the choice of where to voyage becomes more adventurous, the fun factor increases exponentially.
There are many aspects of yacht design and construction which enhance or detract from the cruising experience. But of all of them, the ability to make your sway against the wind and seas, is, in our opinion, paramount.
No amount of interior volume, no system, no layout, nothing compares to getting this mix right.
When you labor at yacht design and construction there are many pressure brought to bare from the outside “experts’”. You need to do this or that to satisfy the “market’ which is usually a code for volume at the expense of everything else. It looks good on paper, in the marina, and in the boat shows. If you have not been exposed to the sea and its moods, this may make sense.
Which brings us to the photos in this post. These were taken during sea trials for the FPB 83, Wind Horse, and FPB 64 Avatar. In both cases the boats are running at the high end of their speed range, showing off for Ivor Wilkin’s camera.
The penetration of the wave, with such moderate change in longitudinal trim, gives a hint of just how comfortable one can be with the right set of hydrostatic parameters.
If you think us overly compulsive on this subject, we plead guilty as charged.
Of course in yacht design there is no free lunch. If you really want to be comfortable, there are tradeoffs, and Poseidon’s demands have to be met. Weight and its distribution must be carefully engineered, and the resulting polar moments, longitudinal stability, and water plane/longitudinal center of buoyancy relationships, balanced with care.
Where you work, relax, keep watch, and play need to remain close to the pitch axis. And the high volume configuration, that seems so popular, must be forsaken. In return you get to see the world, adventure comfortably, minimize costs, and maximize options. Does this work as a business model? We’ll leave that debate to others. For us, there is no alternative. We want to be comfortable and secure, to look forward to and enjoy our passages, and to experience as many distant horizons as possible.
Which leads us to the point of all this. We are resolved to continue to challenge conventional wisdom and the status quo, to concentrate on what we know works – lean, efficient, and super comfortable passage making machines – and to avoid the pitfalls that befall the desk bound in the field of yachting, even though we fall into that category ourselves at this point in our lives. We are resolved not to give up the dream.
We have rain mixed with snow, the mountains behind our office are capped in white, while the light plays on the textures of the Sonora desert. We advise against feeling compassion for our recent loss. If one has to be land bound, this is not a bad place for it. And who knows what the future holds.