There’s No Excuse For Pounding

"Morgan’s Cloud" drives to windward in Denmark Strait. We had 5 days of 20 to 30 knot head winds on this passage between Greenland and Iceland. The Cloud loved it and never pounded—we hung on.

Are voyaging sailors considered curmudgeons when many new boat designs start to worry them? If so, I guess I’m there; in fact, I guess I’ve been there for a while.

Some time ago I sailed on an expensive modern boat from the drawing table of a famous designer and the yard of a reputable builder. Now let’s see if I can put this kindly. She really did not sail very well, tended to root (nose dive) and to top it off pounded so badly when going to windward, even in benign conditions, that we feared the electronics would jump off their mountings.

There is truly no excuse to launch a boat that bad for people to cruise in, but I think I know how it happened. It started with the marketing people who said "OK we need a nice wide stern to get a huge cabin into, and then we need a big salon, guest cabins, many heads…No don’t make the bow too pointy, we need to put stuff up there. Oh yes, make sure the sections are nice and U-shaped so we can get a lot of tankage and equipment under the floor boards."

So if you are in the market for an offshore sailboat, put sailing comfort, speed and safety first and interior a long, long way last.

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Oguz Kunak

Could not agree more. I have a Frers Swan 40, 1996. 22,000 lb displacement. Just came back home from a 85 NM windward passage from a Greek island back to Turkey. Winds ranged from 20 knots to 30. Always upwind. When we got hungry, I went below decks to cook pasta and left the boat on the autopilot, B&G, original one from yard. No pounding. We even had a quick coffee, too.

Andy Pidsley

I am a relatively new sailor in the SW of the Uk and I am always amused by comments like ‘don’t go to windward’. Where we are the wind always seems to be forward of the beam or if it’s behind us it is so weak that you are hardly moving.