Live aboard to Sail Away, Part 6

Part 6:
Live aboard to Sail Away
The forces and stress on systems are not linearly proportional to the size of the boat. It has to do with the fact that forces are the square of the area exposed. So larger sails require drastically more force to manage than their smaller cousins. As a healthy individual, I figured that 46' of boat with proper support would be the largest that I could manage. A boat this size may have 1000 square feet of sail area and may require power winches or oversized manual winches. While shopping for boats I found that 40' or larger boats provided the space and storage that I felt I needed.

A low freeboard was also a consideration in shopping for a boat. The freeboard (the hight of the hull above the water line) also impacts the forces on a boat as it add to the surface that is exposed to the wind. Center cockpit boats have higher freeboard than aft cockpit boats, however, these boats also provide much more usable space below for their size. A 40' center cockpit boat will have usable space below that is equal to a 42' aft cockpit boat and they typically have great aft cabins. Nevertheless, I find the smaller center cockpit boats unattractive. It is my opinion that these boat are not “good looking” until they are 46' or more in length. As you can imagine, I ended up with an aft cockpit boat. The lower freeboard provides easy transit from the dinghy to the boat and back; however, in the open water these boats tend to take on more ocean water above decks.

As a result of the additional ocean water on the decks, you must examine the cockpit combing to be sure it is sufficient to deflect water that will wash aboard over the low tow rails away from the cockpit. You must also be sure that the water collecting on the deck will flow quickly off the boat. Many boats have large gaps in the toe rail to drain the decks; others have drains in the deck or through the toe rails.