[alberg30] CCA Design Suitabilty for Cruising (very long)

Forhan, Thomas Thomas.Forhan at mail.house.gov
Thu Dec 9 09:14:47 PST 1999

From: "Forhan, Thomas" <Thomas.Forhan at mail.house.gov>

> -----Original Message-----
> From:	George Dinwiddie [SMTP:gdinwiddie at min.net]
> Sent:	Wednesday, December 08, 1999 2:19 PM
> To:	alberg30 at onelist.com
> Subject:	RE: [alberg30] CCA Design Suitabilty for Cruising (very
> long)
> From: "George Dinwiddie" <gdinwiddie at min.net>
> Tom,
> I don't see the reference to the Alberg 30 in the quote, but
> presume that the A30 qualifies as a CCA design.  I'm also
> neither a naval architect nor a student of boat design.  In
> fact, the A30 is the only keelboat I've owned or extensively
> sailed.  With that disclaimer, I'll toss in my $0.02 worth.
> Ignorance has never prevented me from stating my opinion. ;-)
> > In my mind CCA
> > boats are appropriate for certain people but are not good
> > boats for the average person including
> > many of the people who buy them for price or appearance
> > reasons.
> I'm not sure who this "average person" is.  If you're looking
> at the general population as a whole, the average person wants
> nothing to do with boats.  If looking at the boating population,
> it seems the average person wants a power boat.  Looking at the
> sailing population, the average person chooses a trailerable
> daysailor.  Restricting our population to keelboaters, judging
> by what I see on the Chesapeake Bay, the average person likes
> a Hunter or Catalina or Beneteau.  The average Alberg 30 owner
> seems to like the Alberg 30, else they would have sold it for
> another design.
> Discussing the strengths and weaknesses of a design and
> comparing designs is certainly worthwhile, but making overall
> ratings of merit is the stuff of flamewars.  The way I see
> it, all boats are a compromise.  One person may highly value
> a boat that is very stable and performs well in extremely
> light air.  Another may prefer a boat that is beautiful to
> the point that the heart sings when you spot it under sail.
> This latter individual would probably prefer a boat with
> excellent light-air performance, all other things being
> equal.  But all other things are never equal.  There is no
> free lunch.
> > Short waterlines length does a lot of things, the most
> > obvious being it makes a boat slow. [snip] The CCA boats
> > were often designed to pull the bow wave forward and stern
> > wave aft as the boat's heeled. [snip] It
> > means that to get speed you are constantly sailing with
> > larger heel
> > angles than you would on a more modern design.
> Certainly the A30 likes to sail with about 15 degrees of
> heel.  She can tolerate quite a bit more.  Since the wind
> is never constant, it's tempting to choose sail area such
> that the optimum heel is reached in the lulls and the
> boat is overpowered in the gusts.  At least, that's what
> I tend to do.  My wife prefers less heel and always
> suggests the working jib and reefed main. ;-)
> Perhaps I'm just immature, but I like that feeling of
> power when the boat bows to the wind.  I don't object
> to tweaking sails to keep the rail out of the water.
> And I think that the A30 behaves gracefully when abused
> with too much sail for conditions.
> > We know from testing and empirical observation
> > that in reality this longer sailing length does not work as well as
> > designing a boat that has its displacement spread out over a
> > longer static waterline.
> Sailboats have long been surpassed as an efficient and fast
> means of transportation.  If you want to get somewhere quickly,
> take an airplane.  If you're racing boat for boat, a faster
> design will get you there quickly.  Of course, people don't
> generally race different designs boat for boat.  If you're
> racing one-design, you get speed by bottom preparation, not
> by lengthening the waterline.  If you're racing under a handicap
> rule, the differences between boat designs is theoretically
> factored out.  Then you're back to the 'rule-beating' that
> was deplored by the poster in the CCA designs.
> This is not to say that boat speed is not important.  It's
> always nicer to have the speed available.  It's just that
> speed is not the primary reason for going sailing in the
> first place.  For me, the pleasure of the journey means
> far more.  That's one reason I don't have a Cigarette boat.
> > The result is fairly large amounts of
> > leeway. (It's not hard to observe this. Sail up
> > to the stern of CCA era boats on a on a modern design. Set your
> > course parallel to the CCA boat and sight an object on shore.
> > As you watch the amount of leeway
> > becomes pretty apparent. [snip]
> > These CCA era keelboats really slide a lot.
> > [snip] As a weekender in confined waters, It matters a
> > lot of me.
> I've got a friend with an Ericson 26.  I helped him bring the
> boat home when he first got it.  It has a wing keel and tacks
> through about 75 degrees.  I find it amazing.  A hydrodynamic
> keel design can provide lift to hold the boat to windward.
> Certainly the keel of the Alberg 30 is not designed for lift.
> On my boat, it's not even symmetrical.
> Still, I find myself often pointing as well as, or even better,
> than some modern boats.  Many of these are just not being
> sailed well.  Many are also deficient in design.  Often, wing
> keels were put on as a marketing ploy rather than as a result
> of careful design.
> I used to sail up and down the South River when we first got
> the boat.  (Now, we're more likely to motor in close quarters.)
> Leeway was not a significant problem; clumsy sailhandling
> during tacking was the biggest problem.  I guess I'm saying that
> the Alberg 30 points well enough for me.
> > Semantics aside, when you look at many of the popular
> > production boats of the era, the water line was often
> > 75% of the LOA
> > and then the forefoot would be cut away further and the
> > rudder post raked to the point that
> > there is relatively little keel length. [snip] In my mind there is
> > nothing worse than a fin keel with a
> > rudder attached it have few of the advantages of either
> > full or fin
> > keels and all of the disadvantages. Today people tend to
> > refer to these as full keels they are not. In
> > my experience they neither tracked like a genuine full
> > keel nor had
> > the maneuverability or lightness of control of a detached
> > rudder. They had more weather helm and
> > the rudder being closer to the center rotation created more
> > resistance for the amount of turning accomplished. I find
> > that these boats are more tiring to steer.
> Yes, a keel with a cutaway forefoot tracks less than a full
> keel and has less maneuverability than a fin keel.  Or, you
> could say that it has more maneuverability than a full keel
> and tracks better than a fin keel.  It's a compromise.
> Certainly, weather helm is caused by a number of factors
> besides the keel design.  In any event, the A30 can be
> balanced such that the boat is very easy to steer.  In
> fact, I often am able to let go of the tiller for brief
> periods while I tend to a line.
> In the bargain, I get a boat that is rarely perturbed
> by a grounding on sand or mud.  The rudder is protected
> by the keel.  The boat can usually be kedged off easily.
> And picking up a crab-pot is a very rare occurrence.
> > "The short waterlines result in more pitching. This too
> > is easily
> > observable watching a mixed fleet of boats going to windward.
> > I have never liked the CCA boats in a chop.
> I have never liked the chop, anyway.  Certainly a boat
> with long overhangs will "hobby-horse" more than a boat
> with a plumb bow and reverse transom.  My advice is to
> ease the rig until you get enough power.
> > 	"I really do not like the typical rigs on a CCA boats
> > which heavily
> > depended on huge jibs for drive in anything below moderate
> > winds. The boats were designed for
> > 170% to 180% genoas on boats with very big foretriangles. After
> > watching the sail size on CCA boats in the bay, I concede
> > that they seem to be getting by with
> > smaller, maybe 140 % to 150% genoas but they require
> > these sails in
> > winds that I can comfortably sail with my less than 110%
> > lapper. They rigs were short and the
> > spars very heavy. This resulted in a further reduction
> > in stability
> > and the overly stiff spar eliminates being able use the mast
> > as a tool for sail shaping.
> Is a smaller jib an advantage?  Is a larger main an advantage?
> Is a catboat therefore superior to a sloop?  I don't understand
> this complaint.  Certainly a stiff, short mast is better for
> heavy weather than for light air.  And, you have to use something
> other than mast bend for shaping the main.  There are ways.
> (How does a shorter rig reduce stability?)
> > "Then there is the weight issue. In and of itself weight does
> > nothing good for a boat. Many of these boats were heavy in
> > ways that really did not help comfort, or
> > carrying capacity, or stability, or strength.
> I would say that heaviness often was the result of less-sophisticated
> FRP construction techniques.  Builders figured "more is better" when
> adding glass and resin.  Today, builders calculate the stresses very
> precisely and use techniques such as preimpregnation and vacuum-bagging
> to enable them to reduce the amount of resin.  This results in a
> boat that is exactly strong enough.  Or, perhaps not.  There have
> been some prominent failures in ocean racing boats in recent years.
> I've never heard of an Alberg 30 hull falling apart while underway.
> And these hulls can be maintained by unsophisticated owners (like me).
> > 	"I have always found CCA Boats wet when compared to more modern
> > designs.
> Compared to which modern designs?  I've seen some very wet modern
> boats.  I've also seen some center cockpit boat that wouldn't take
> water in the cockpit with a garden hose.
> > Much of the hardware of the day was inferior to modern gear and
> > some like reel winches are just plain dangerous. (Want to feel my broken
> ribs?)
> I wouldn't have a reel winch.  But I've also had some modern gear
> fail in short order, such as the Harken cam cleats I installed
> on the traveler a few years ago.
> > "Then there is the economics of older boats. No matter
> > what you do to one it will only be worth so much.
> > [snip] In the most extreme case one fellow
> > described the changes that he (and prior owners) made to his boat. He
> > described changing the rig to a
> > carbon spar (Taller and double spreader), all new standing and
> > running rigging, all new deck hardware, new sails, repairs to
> > the deck and topsides where "time had
> > taken its toll", Awlgripping the topsides and deck, modern
> > electronics, replacing an atomic 4 with a diesel, replacing
> > the pressure alcohol stove with a propane stove,
> > refinishing the interior including replacing a rotted
> > bulkhead, new
> > wiring and plumbing, and replacing the cushions.
> > [snip] But even a reasonably good boat from this era
> > can be very expensive to own.
> Much of this is basic maintenance and has little to do with
> the design of the boat.  These things don't come cheap whether
> you buy them one at a time, or all at once with a new boat.
> One at a time is easier on my budget.  Then, there's
> depreciation.  Every time my boat has been sold, the price
> was roughly the same, about $18K.  Granted, that's in
> smaller and smaller dollars due to inflation.  But I doubt
> that'll happen if you buy a new boat today.
> Maintenance is part of the joy of boat ownership.  If you
> can't or won't do your own maintenance, buying new and
> trading early may make more sense.  It won't be cheaper,
> though.  If you want cheaper, charter a boat; don't buy
> one.  You'll miss out on the ownership aspects, but the
> maintenance will be someone else's problem.
> As for making major changes such as a radically different
> rig, I think that's silly.  If you want a tall rig, don't
> buy a boat designed for a short rig.  Get the boat you
> want.  As in a marriage, you can't expect to easily make
> major changes.
> > "I guess the bottom line to me is a very subjective
> > thing. I like to
> > sail. There are a lot of days with winds less than 8 knots
> > where I like to sail, or days with over ten
> > knots winds in the gusts but something less in the five
> > knot range
> > in the gaps. I can easily sail in these winds and be fine. If
> > I owned a CCA era boat, I would not sail.
> > Its that simple to me. There are creeks and tight areas
> > that I think nothing of beating out of.
> In less than 8 knots, I'm more likely to take the Sunfish
> out for a quick sail than the Alberg.  Then, for a quick
> sail, I'm more likely to take the Sunfish, anyway.  I don't
> use the Alberg for daysailing in tight areas.  I anchor in
> tight creeks rather than sail in them.
> I use it a lot for weekending.  I also use it for a week
> each fall.  I'm not afraid to sail in heavy air, especially
> if I can crack off the wind a bit.  I've had some wonderful
> sail in 35 knots, with Gail and me double-handing the boat.
> I find the Alberg 30 handles reasonably well in a wide
> variety of conditions with a two-person crew.  There are
> modern boats that really need a larger crew and might not
> go out in winds over 20 knots.
> So, it's different long-splices for different boats.  It's
> hard to defend a comparison against something so nebulous
> as "modern boats."  There's a great variety in those modern
> boats and none of them have *all* of the virtues ascribed to
> the lot of them in that post.  No matter.  I'm happy.
>  - George
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