Five Ways That Bad Boats Happen

Prismatic
Don't panic, you don't have to do the math to read this post.

Wander through any marina or row through any mooring field (or popular anchorage) with an experienced eye and you will see a lot of scary things:

  • Hulls that will pound horribly going up wind, both motor boats and sailboats.
  • Motor boats that burn two or even three times more fuel than they should to move a given tonnage through the water at a given speed.
  • Sailboats that need way more sail area than they should to sail well.
  • Sailboats that are just plain slow.
  • Sailboats that need huge rudders, and often two of them, to be even remotely controllable.

That’s just a few of the things I see. The list of naval architecture sins could fill pages but, enough, you get the idea. A person could be forgiven for thinking that boat hull design must be some kind of poorly understood black art where coming up with a good hull is a matter of pure luck. After all, what other factor can explain the number of truly terrible hull designs that assault the senses at every turn?

But, in fact, the fundamentals of good hull design have been well known for years and the majority of naval architects know these fundamentals. So how do all the bad boats we see come to be?

I thought it would be useful to this book to look at that on the theory that if we can understand how bad hull designs happen, our readers will be better equipped to avoid bad hulls when boat shopping.

So, let’s dive in to the dark and terrifying world where bad boats are spawned.

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  1. The Right Way to Buy a Boat…And The Wrong Way
  2. Is It a Need or a Want?
  3. Buying a Boat—A Different Way To Think About Price
  4. Buying a Cruising Boat—Five Tips for The Half-Assed Option
  5. Are Refits Worth It?
  6. Buying a Boat—Never Say Never
  7. Five Ways That Bad Boats Happen
  8. The Two Biggest Lies Yacht Brokers Tell
  9. Learn From The Designers
  10. You May Need a Bigger Boat Than You Think
  11. Sail Area: Overlap, Multihulls, And Racing Rules
  12. 8 Tips For a Good Voyaging Boat Interior Arrangement
  13. Of Cockpits, Wheelhouses And Engine Rooms
  14. Cockpits—Part 1, Safe and Seamanlike
  15. Cockpits—Part 2, Visibility and Ergonomics
  16. Offshore Sailboat Winches, Selection and Positioning
  17. Choosing a Cruising Boat—Shelter
  18. Choosing A Cruising Boat—Shade and Ventilation
  19. Pitfalls to Avoid When Buying a New Voyaging Boat
  20. Cyclical Loading: Why Offshore Sailing Is So Hard On A Boat
  21. Cycle Loading—8 Tips for Boat and Gear Purchases
  22. Characteristics of Boat Building Materials
  23. Impact Resistance—How Hull Materials Respond to Impacts
  24. Impact Resistance—Two Collision Scenarios
  25. Hull Materials, Which Is Best?
  26. The Five Things We Need to Check When Buying a Boat
  27. Six Warnings About Buying Fibreglass Boats
  28. Buying a Fibreglass Boat—Hiring a Surveyor and Managing the Survey
  29. What We Need to Know About Moisture Meters and Wet Fibreglass Laminate
  30. Offshore Sailboat Keel Types
  31. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 1, How We Shopped For Our First Cruising Sailboat
  32. US$30,000 Starter Cruiser—Part 2, The Boat We Bought
  33. Q&A, What’s the Maximum Sailboat Size For a Couple?
  34. At What Age should You Stop Sailing And Buy a Motorboat?
  35. A Motorsailer For Offshore Voyaging?

John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

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