Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

A forum for discussing topics relating to MacGregor Powersailor Sailboats

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dustoff
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Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by dustoff » Thu Mar 06, 2014 9:22 pm

I would like to pose a question to the forum. (and hopefully some of the Macgregor family might weigh in). If one were to design the perfect hybrid powersailor boat unconstrained by market affordability cost concerns, what would it look like. Would it look much different than the 26m?
I seems to me that none of the more expensive powersailor designs really offer substantial improvement over the Mac/tattoo 26. However, they are also attempting to mold what they design based off of what it marketable. They seem to add costs in fit & finish which they pass on to the consumers, but it doesn't seem to substantially improve the sailing or power performance of the boats.
In my mind the perfect powersailor would be 32 to 38 ft long, 2 staterooms with berths for 8, safely off-shore capable, be able to motor at 26 to 32 knots, max power cruising range of 800 to 1200 NM, and sailing performance no worse than an equivalent length cruising sailboat like an Island packet.
Is such a design physically possible? would it have a retractable weighted keel like the Hake boats with a modified deep V hull form? Sail drive or Volva penta pod mounted low in the hull? Does trailerability force undue design compromises?
Or does the balance of weight, power, and hull form lead you to the rough parameters of the 26M?

Things which are interesting to consider for a Mac 26 owner

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Ixneigh
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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by Ixneigh » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:01 pm

It's going to cost a million.
The problem with this line of discussion is everyone's idea of perfect is different.
My idea of perfect is three feet longer a foot wider and made stronger. That's pretty easy to do.
Someone who trailers won't want a 36 foot boat either.
I think the existing power sailors are pretty much perfect in terms of compromise. For how most people use them they are fine. I wouldn't mind having a bit more heft to mine.
Maybe something more like an etap in construction at a cost of easy launching at marginal ramps.
Ix

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by fishstalker7 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:15 pm

I'll be bold and audacious as a newbie since all three (Tattoo, Hake, and the nation's best Corsair dealership in The Finish Line are all 10 minutes away)...and I'm a newbie...so I can be stupid!!! :o

I'd say it is either a Hake 32' (for sailing capability and interior room) with a 200-250hp motor (?) to drive it faster under power or a Corsair Trimaran 32 (for serious sailing speed/topside room with a 90 hp motor to drive it at hull speed).

Both have trailering capability...though not as easy to set up...more serious strength rigging to deal with...both are shallow draft....both take a true towing vehicle (3/4-1 ton, 4wd if steep, wet ramp (?)).

The Hake 32' is in the 150k range (with normal motor...not the 200-250 hp) and has a good interior...the Corsair is in the 175-200k range (without the 90hp) and has serious sailing speed/deck space for toys with a smaller interior (I have a family of 5).

At 4-8 times the cost...26m or T26 (less 3-4 times cost) wins.

Both are awesome boats, but the 26m/T26 is the best all around for ease of trailering, setup, combination (higher performance boats are less forgiving for families) of sailing/motoring speeds vs cost, draft, and lack of a true tow vehicle need (another 30-60k).

My .02...let the games begin!! 8)

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by Wayne nicol » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:43 pm

I love the idea of a bigger Mac, I too have twofootitus :D :D

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fishstalker7
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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by fishstalker7 » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:45 pm

+ 1...Well said!! Maybe +4-6!! :)

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by mastreb » Thu Mar 06, 2014 10:50 pm

The short answer is yes: The design is constrained by physics, not by price. That said, the 26M is not necessarily the ideal trailerable power sailor.

I'm going to limit my discussion to monohulls because trimarans and catamarans have to be gigantic to be Ocean rated and even then they can be flipped by a wave. I don't consider them to be seaworthy for long term oceangoing. The only way to make them small enough to trailer is to do what Ferrier/Corsair do, and they have no cabin space to speak of.
dustoff wrote:Would it look much different than the 26m?
The lower hull shape cannot vary much from the 26m and still perform well as both a power boat and a sailboat. It must be a semi-planing hull, and it has to be relatively flat aft and relatively v-shaped forward. This is one of the very clever things about the mac: They plow bow down when sailing, so the forward more sailboat shaped hull dominates, and when they plane at speed the bow comes out of the water and the hull shape is dominated by the flatter stern. Also, all boards must come completely out of the water or the boat will not transition to the roll dynamics required for high-speed operation when planing or semi-planing.

The upper hull can look like whatever you want, within architectural constraints.
I seems to me that none of the more expensive powersailor designs really offer substantial improvement over the Mac/tattoo 26. However, they are also attempting to mold what they design based off of what it marketable. They seem to add costs in fit & finish which they pass on to the consumers, but it doesn't seem to substantially improve the sailing or power performance of the boats.
This the quite true: The physics required of a trailerable sailboat make it very difficult to improve performance over a 26m. There are two ways to improve the performance of a boat: Add things that make speed, and remove things that subtract speed. While that sounds obvious, the Mac excels at removing things that subtract speed, like heavy interior furnishings.

To be trailerable, a boat has to be extremely light. At the same time, all sailboats must have enough displacement to loft the necessary sail to reach its hull speed quickly. Imagine lofting full sails without ballast on a Mac: It'll tip over. You have to have the weight below the waterline to balance the power created by the sails. Ultra-light displacement boats alway suffer in pointing to the wind for this reason, and this is the most common complained with trailerable sailboats across the board. MacGregor's innovation of seawater ballast is the best possible compromise, but the boat still doesn't point as well as a full keel boat by any means.

The retractable boards also contribute to this problem. The keel is limited in size, length, and weight in order to accommodate trailerability, which limits its ability to balance sail power and thus limits the amount of sail you can loft. You cannot put a lead bulb in the bottom of the daggerboard because it would cause roll instability when powering.

Seaward/Hake solves this problem my simply making the boats heavy and requiring a hull of a tow beast. Their 32 and 46 are not trailerable, they're transportable by boat movers.
In my mind the perfect powersailor would be 32 to 38 ft long, 2 staterooms with berths for 8
Trailerability limits a boat to a practical maximum of about 32 feet. That's a bit too short for two complete cabins, but you could probably pack eight people into it. It would be tight.
safely off-shore capable
This is not really possible for an ultra-lightweight displacement boat. You need a relatively heavy boat to be seaworthy, as lighter boats have movement characteristic that are exhausting in heavy weather even when they aren't unsafe. Size is also a practical matter: The bigger a boat is, the bigger the seas it can survive. The smaller you are, the more likely it is that a storm can overwhelm a boat. The biggest problem is that the smaller foils below the waterline cannot compete with a full keel in terms of seaworthiness. They don't track straight with a light helm and they remain tender, being tossed about by seas that a full keel boat could ignore. Finally, the flatter stern required for powering increases tenderness and the tendency to broaching in following seas.
be able to motor at 26 to 32 knots, max power cruising range of 800 to 1200 NM
The speed you could make. The range you can't get anywhere close to when "power cruising". A boat of this size is going to consume at least 10 gallons per hour at 25 knots, so you're making 1 gallon per 2.5 nm. This means 1200NM of range requires 480 gallons of fuel, which weighs 2880 lbs: That's somewhere between 25% and 50% of total displacement for a boat like this, and the tankage would be impossible to accommodate with the berthing requirements you've outlined. A practical WOT maximum range would be 250NM. This could be increased to 1250NM at 5 knots.
and sailing performance no worse than an equivalent length cruising sailboat like an Island packet.
Again, these seaworthiness characteristics require a full keel, a deep draft, and a heavy displacement. You won't match them with the compromises required for trailering and powering.
Is such a design physically possible? would it have a retractable weighted keel like the Hake boats with a modified deep V hull form? Sail drive or Volva penta pod mounted low in the hull? Does trailerability force undue design compromises?

Or does the balance of weight, power, and hull form lead you to the rough parameters of the 26M?
It's not possible to make a trailerable power sailor that performs equally as well as a designed-to-purpose sail passagemaker, and yes, the 26M is pretty close to ideal for the purpose. Most changes you make (even a lot of the mods we do) take it farther from ideal.

Now, that's not to say that the 26M is ideal: I'm quite certain that a Gaff rigged boat would make a superior power sailor. The mast can be forward enough and short enough to simply fold down without unstepping to the pulpit while lifting more than sufficient mainsail, which would resolve the biggest rigging issues power-sailors face and the largest cause of injuries on and damage to these boats. Furthermore, the forward weight will help keep the bow down when powering to get on a plane faster. Gaff rigs don't point as well as a bermudan rig, BUT ultralight boats don't point anyway, so you'd do just as well with a gaff on these boats as a bermudan. Furthermore, gaff rigs perform better on all other points of sail, which are the points that these boats sail on. This is a "no downside" design that I'm very interested in.

Dual daggerboards (really leeboards) could be asymmetrically shaped to reduce heel and improve performance, and could be linked by a cable so that they counter-weight one-another, which means that you can make them heavy and still easily move them up and down when tacking. You could even put a weight on deck with a track between them to automatically swap board when you tack: As the weight falls towards the heel, it lowers the leeward board and raises the windward board. Furthermore, while it wouldn't be pretty, you can make these boards longer and you could potentially put weights on them that would be out of water when powering and both boards are up because they're beside the boat not under it. Finally, without a centerboard or daggerboard trunk dominating the interior of the boat, you open up cabin space and open up the interior design possibilities.

Dual props would improve maneuverability and provide redundancy, and allow a larger center rudder more appropriate for the boat size. It would also allow a truly open transom, and even a "tailgate" transom that drops down in port or at anchor to become a swim platform and brow.

Dual ballast tanks located at the port and starboard extents would allow you to (when safe) dump the leeward side ballast to reduce heel and wetted surface. In any kind of seas, weather, or when beating you'd keep both tanks full. But when you're going to be on the same tack for hours in steady weather, you could pump-out the leeward tank and dramatically improve performance. When it comes time to tack, simply open the gate and flood the tank before tacking, and then pump out again once the tack is complete. It's a simple performance optimization that would be available when it's safe to use (and the new 70' MacGregors will do exactly this). Finally, in weather or seas, you'd flood both tanks, increasing displacement, roll resistance, and lowering the center of gravity for better sea-kindliness.

Finally, modern materials like a carbon rig, dyneema stays, and epoxy core hull can reduce weight aloft and improve performance.

So some things can be done, and you may be able to get from a boat that can turn 50% of true wind speed into speed over ground up to about 70%, but you won't get much higher than that and you certainly won't get to an A-Ocean rated passagemaker.

You CAN get to an ocean rated boat if you're willing to give up planing speeds, which is exactly what Seaward/Hake does.

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by bartmac » Fri Mar 07, 2014 12:14 am

Have a look at Imexus 28......its a Mac on steroids.....Volvo duo prop 140?HP 145 may be...and just bigger all around

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by markkuti » Fri Mar 07, 2014 7:28 am


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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by fishstalker7 » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:23 am

That Imexus 28 is sweet!

At 2-3x the price of a new T26 fully kitted out or 4-5x a 26m, the Mac still wins in my book, but if there was one of those in the US right now...I'd have to seriously consider it given a family of 5!

Thanks for sharing!

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by J-- » Fri Mar 07, 2014 3:09 pm

Mastreb,

You are a super nice guy and I really enjoy reading your posts and you seem to have encyclopedic knowledge of the Mac's, but I gotta tell ya, I have to disagree with a lot in this last post!

mastreb wrote:I'm going to limit my discussion to monohulls because trimarans and catamarans have to be gigantic to be Ocean rated and even then they can be flipped by a wave. I don't consider them to be seaworthy for long term oceangoing.
Wait, what? The Gemini's and Lagoon's have been all over the globe, and those guys will tell you that they are more comfortable than a similar sized monohull and are safer because even when flipped they float and are designed to be liveable when inverted. Also, they will tell you they're safer because they aren't hauling 10,000 lbs. of lead trying to pull them straight to the bottom.

mastreb wrote: MacGregor's innovation of seawater ballast is the best possible compromise, but the boat still doesn't point as well as a full keel boat by any means.
You mean it won't track as well, right? Pointing ability usually comes from high aspect rigs and long deep pointy boards/keels. Full keel or 3/4 keels will track well in a straight line, but won't get you to the windward mark in as few a tacks.
mastreb wrote:The retractable boards also contribute to this problem. The keel is limited in size, length, and weight in order to accommodate trailerability, which limits its ability to balance sail power and thus limits the amount of sail you can loft. You cannot put a lead bulb in the bottom of the daggerboard because it would cause roll instability when powering.
mastreb wrote:Trailerability limits a boat to a practical maximum of about 32 feet. That's a bit too short for two complete cabins, but you could probably pack eight people into it. It would be tight.
The only constraint to trailerability is beam, not length. Beam is limited to 8'6" in order to be legally towed on federal highways, and it's less than they in some states. This thing is trailerable, keeping in mind you're gonna need a pretty hefty tow vehicle, like a dually, but it's trailerable:

http://www.containeryachts.com/

And again, it's not the length or weight that sets the limits on pulling it, it's the beam.

mastreb wrote:
safely off-shore capable
This is not really possible for an ultra-lightweight displacement boat. You need a relatively heavy boat to be seaworthy, as lighter boats have movement characteristic that are exhausting in heavy weather even when they aren't unsafe. Size is also a practical matter: The bigger a boat is, the bigger the seas it can survive. The smaller you are, the more likely it is that a storm can overwhelm a boat. The biggest problem is that the smaller foils below the waterline cannot compete with a full keel in terms of seaworthiness. They don't track straight with a light helm and they remain tender, being tossed about by seas that a full keel boat could ignore. Finally, the flatter stern required for powering increases tenderness and the tendency to broaching in following seas.
mastreb wrote:Again, these seaworthiness characteristics require a full keel, a deep draft, and a heavy displacement. You won't match them with the compromises required for trailering and powering.
So, I think Roger M., Steve Dashew and the Volvo 65 along with my self totally disagree with this. The counter to this is that speed is safety. Getting out of the way of a storm is much safer than trying to weather through it. And no boat can ignore heavy weather, as should no crew. A planing hull like the Volvo Ocean 65 with water ballast and multiple water tight bulkheads is infinitely safer offshore due to it's positive bouyancy and it's ability to close off a damaged section of hull and to hustle away from weather rather than trying to slog through it.


I'll be honest, I'm going to skip the powering parts, because I consider engines to be a nessecary evil and can't wait to shut them off.
mastreb wrote:Gaff rigs don't point as well as a bermudan rig, BUT ultralight boats don't point anyway, so you'd do just as well with a gaff on these boats as a bermudan. Furthermore, gaff rigs perform better on all other points of sail, which are the points that these boats sail on. This is a "no downside" design that I'm very interested in.
Again, this isn't correct. First, a fin keel with a long thin rudder will out point a boat with a full keel. Think about it this way, two 24 ft. sailboats, a Moore 24 and a Pacific Seacraft Dana 24. Who will get to the windward mark first? The Moore, hands down. The Dana is going to maintain more forward momentum in a chop because of the increased displacement, but will not be able to point as high into the wind. Gaff rigs are also less efficient and generate less power due to the shape of the sail and the fact that the spars interrupt airflow over the sail surface. Gaffs were used back when sail cloth was much heavier and more leverage was needed to control and lift the sails. Lightweight sail cloth has made them a thing of the past.
mastreb wrote:Dual daggerboards (really leeboards) could be asymmetrically shaped to reduce heel and improve performance, and could be linked by a cable so that they counter-weight one-another, which means that you can make them heavy and still easily move them up and down when tacking. You could even put a weight on deck with a track between them to automatically swap board when you tack: As the weight falls towards the heel, it lowers the leeward board and raises the windward board. Furthermore, while it wouldn't be pretty, you can make these boards longer and you could potentially put weights on them that would be out of water when powering and both boards are up because they're beside the boat not under it. Finally, without a centerboard or daggerboard trunk dominating the interior of the boat, you open up cabin space and open up the interior design possibilities.

Dual ballast tanks located at the port and starboard extents would allow you to (when safe) dump the leeward side ballast to reduce heel and wetted surface. In any kind of seas, weather, or when beating you'd keep both tanks full. But when you're going to be on the same tack for hours in steady weather, you could pump-out the leeward tank and dramatically improve performance. When it comes time to tack, simply open the gate and flood the tank before tacking, and then pump out again once the tack is complete. It's a simple performance optimization that would be available when it's safe to use (and the new 70' MacGregors will do exactly this). Finally, in weather or seas, you'd flood both tanks, increasing displacement, roll resistance, and lowering the center of gravity for better sea-kindliness.
[/quote]

This seems to be a take on the canting keel designs of the newer Open series boats. I think that for boats less than $1M, dual dagger boards with moveable water ballast would accomplish the same goal. Naturally, these boards would be angled such that as the boat heeled they would get deeper and more vertical.

Like Formula 1 technology that trickles down to cars, the extreme race boats that have been coming out in the last few years will trickle down to production craft, as is evidenced by the new Mac 70. The idea though that the lead sleds of yesteryear are safer offshore just isn't true. You can't tell me that a boat that will sink is safer than a boat that won't. There is no way you can convince me that a boat like an Island Packet is safer than an Etap (even though Etap did go out of business).

What I'd like to see Tattoo build wouldn't really be trailerable, but a 42+ foot boat, with a plumb bow and a wide flat aft, with dual retractable rudders and canted dagger boards, not lee boards though. I'd want water ballast and positive flotation, and for it to be beachable. I would also love to have a kick up out board underneath the table in the cockpit, so no unsightly motor is hanging off the transom. I'm really bad at estimating, but I would think a 110hp would be able to drive a boat like that at 20 knots with the ballast drained. The idea being, like you said, to dump ballast and run if things got hairy. I'd also like intergrated pads for a large radar arch, as a big mount for davits and bimini and solar panels.

I was really supposed to be working today, but this is much more interesting.

I'm ready.....flame away!

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by Erik Hardtle » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:18 pm

The BIGGER MAC... done.

http://www.powersail.co.nz/index.html

Image

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by Wayne nicol » Fri Mar 07, 2014 6:30 pm

beautiful boats- very neat- but i would still want something easily trailerable.

i really like gaffs, and have read a lot on them- but am no expert by any means.- and admittedly a lot of my love is plain ol simple ol'fashioned saltiness!!

i saw some tests where they sailed the same hull with a bunch of different rigs- they did move the mast around to suit each sail plan etc, and the gaff did out perform the bemuda hands down on all points except close hauled, and it was the same for the balanced lug and sprit- i think. but the gaff was by far the best performer.
and so as mastreb says- our ol'tubs dont point as well for whatever reason, and i certinally love messin' around tacking back and forth, but if my family is aboard, i can sneak in a few tacks, but then the look... and then the iron genny gets fired up!! :(
so a gaff would suit me perfectly too!!--- and would a gaff on the macgregor point any worse than the bermudan- considering the boats other short comings?? :?: :?:

thanks
wayne

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by JotaErre » Fri Mar 07, 2014 8:28 pm

I know several interesting boats that meet the requirements... although none of them is trailerable.

In the 70's, a boat designer called Ian Anderson penned a sailboat (I think it was a 32 footer, but I'm not sure about that) with a Z-drive engine-transmission and retractable flaps in the stern. The flaps could come out to allow the boat to plane under power or remain inside the hull for sailing. It could reach 20 knots with a 140 HP engine. Only a handful were built.

In Spain, also in the 70's, Xavier Soler designed a sailboat (35 feet) with a "bubble injection" system in the hull (similar to the "Prairie-Masker system used by U.S. Navy destroyers and frigates). The objective was to reduce hull friction against the water and thus, increase speed under power. It worker, but it was quite expensive to produce, so it remained a one-off.

About year 2000, a Spanish boat maker built the Circa 29. It was basically a more luxurious version of the MacGregor. It used the same water ballast system, but it was larger, with a better appointed interior and a 90 HP outboard engine. It was offered for about ten years, but I don't know how many were actually built. I sailed with one of them once, and I liked it... the problem was that it was fairly expensive.

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by J-- » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:42 pm

I haven't seen that study on the different rigs, but I'd really like to see it as with modern sail cloth and light weight flexible battens I'd have a hard they me believing that's the case.

But then again, what's that old saying? "Gentlemen don't sail to weather"

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Re: Imagine A Powersailor design unconstrained by cost

Post by Wayne nicol » Fri Mar 07, 2014 9:47 pm

i was trying to find it again, they sailed around a triangular course- same guy sailing all the rigs- if i remember rightly- and i seem to think it was with modern materials- i need to look thru my favorites
wayne

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