Design - upwind performance

The old time advice for a boat was to buy something heavy because the ride would be more comfortable. I was crossing to Hawaii with a friend who had a Rafiki 37 - a heavy displacement double ender with green marble countertops and a curved dinette - his wife loved them. As Hurricane Alma swept towards us, I sailed close-hauled North towards colder water. After two days I was far enough away from the hurricane center that I only experienced moderate winds and 12 foot swells. My friend couldn’t get his marble sinked double ender to sail close hauled in that wind. He was swamped by a breaking wave over the stern that tore the clothes off his back and would have drowned him if he hadn’t clung to the Edson rail at the wheel.

My boat sails to windward through rough weather. It responds to the swells like a duck - it goes over the waves not through them.

I only had to hand steer once during a gale in following seas. The boat is well balanced and light on its feet and the wind vane had no problems steering upwind between the big swells in gale force winds.

By the way the cost of a boat is directly proportional to its weight. A boat by the same builder that is twice as heavy will cost twice as much. And it will cost twice as much to maintain. A well built boat today costs $25 a pound. In 1974 when mine was built, the dollar bought five times as much, so it cost $5 a pound. Take this into consideration when looking at older boats. You want to find out what it would have cost in current dollars. If it works out to be less than $25 a pound, it probably has been built cheaply. There are some light displacement boats built in the US that are not designed to be taken offshore. You can probably get away with an Ocean crossing but you aren’t going to make your spouse happy, and you will probably be looking to trade it, real soon. In the Caribbean, some yacht charter companies buy these inexpensive roomy boats yet trade then after three years because they are worn out.