Cruising Boats Evolve
As we were putting together our annual Preview of New Monohulls for 2016, it struck us just how new and different many of the new cruising boats are that will be presented to the public this fall at the boat shows. The times are certainly changing.
Many of the new designs have plumb bows with small sprits or extending sprits for flying asymmetrical spinnakers. Many have nearly flat transoms that fold down to reveal wide boarding platforms. Some larger boats have dinghy garages behind these folding transoms where a RIB can be stowed securely while the boat is underway.
Sheer lines have become flatter and flatter over the years and gone, pretty much, are those springy sheer lines that we used to associate with yachts. Topsides have become higher and higher above the waterline to increase hull volume and cabin houses have been lowered and rounded off to give the whole hull a sleek and streamline appearance.
Big square hull ports are now pretty much standard in new boats and the design trend to blocky rectangular shapes takes this innovation and turns it into a bold statement. In doing so, the windows also introduce new light sources and new views for those in the cabins.
Twin wheels have been around for a while and we’re seeing them now in boats in the 30 foot range. Modern boats are so beamy aft that you need twin wheels to eliminate the obstacle of a 12-foot single wheel across the cockpit. Twin wheels open the path to the stern platform and allow the helmsman to steer from a comfortable leeward position or from the vantage point of the weather deck.
Twin rudders are becoming more and more common. The reason for this lies again in the beaminess of the after sections of modern designs, the aft areas where builders like to include large quarter cabins. When such beamy boats heel, a centerline rudder gradually lifts out of the water and starts to cavitate making the boat hard to steer. Twin rudders always have one of the two buried nicely in the brine where it can steer the boat. And, when running downwind with twin rudders, the boat feels like it is on rails and steers like a well balanced sports car.
Hard chines made their debut in the cruising fleet a few years ago and are now commonplace. While chines look like they may have evolved from the high performance designs used in events like the Volvo Ocean Race, they really have more to do with styling and internal volume than sailing performance.
The latest crop of cruisers have long waterlines, fin keels, twin rudders and wide beams all of which combine to produce boats that are seriously faster than cruising boats of a generation ago. We have more internal volume, we have easier access on and off the boat, we have huge cockpits for lounging and entertaining and room below equal to many small apartments. Our new boats are floating condos … condos that have great water views, can sail at eight knots all day long and carry us across oceans in comfort and style.
Cruising boats have evolved to better suit our needs and what’s not to like about that?