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How deep does the V hull need to be to be comfortable?

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How deep does the V hull need to be to be comfortable?

Old 11-02-2019, 01:32 PM
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Default How deep does the V hull need to be to be comfortable?

Hoping to "finally" get my first (and probably my last) boat sometime next year. As to be expected, I've been agonizing for years over the right boat for my purpose. I'd appreciate any input and/or suggestions.

Starting 10 years ago, I had hoped to buy a trawler and do the IC to Florida and beyond (the snowbird thing) when I retired in 2019. I immersed myself in all things trawler, diesel, ICW and Bahamas. Then, five years ago, health issues threw a wrench into all that. Looks like it just isn't going to happen. Plan B, hopefully, is to buy something about 30', that if need be, can be single handed (?) I'm not a fisherman so those requirements are not an issue. I once read that "a soft, fast ride with no pounding or nose diving will go a lot further to make cruising fun, safe and comfortable than a huge salon and galley". I subscribe to that philosophy. Since I will be limited to staying local, the idea was to be able to take the grandkids on a whale watch or take the family to Cape Cod and islands from Plymouth, MA. as often as possible during the short boating season here. If and when things get snotty, I want the most capable boat I can to offset my deficiency--lack of experience

After countless false starts and change of hearts, I "think" a Blackfin 29' convertible will be my best compromise. A Blackfin 29 convertible would be fast, safe and wouldn't pound. I love the looks of it---it is a purpose built boat---reminds me of my old Jeep from years ago. The grandkids would love the flybridge. It's a short 3 steps to the flybridge for young as well as older passengers. The weight is down nice and low but the side decks are narrow (I have a balance problem still---hopefully it will diminish with more time), fitting a generator (for AC and heat) has reportedly been a very tight squeeze and there is no inside helm. The lack of lower controls may be a problem for single handing? Having no real world experience, I'm guessing at most of this stuff.

Alternatively, if one can be found and shipped reasonably, I like the 34 Tollycraft sedan (1972-1980). Both the Tolly and the Blackfin have the engines outside of the passenger spaces which I like for several reasons. The Tolly was well built (as is the Blackfin) has wide side decks for safety and has a lower helm. The windows are huge (wife gets claustrophobia otherwise) but it is a bigger climb to the flybridge, don't know much about V drive reliability/issues and the deadrise is 16* vs 22* for the Blackfin.

Having no experience as a captain, only a passenger on small boats that pounded pretty bad in a chop, the Blackfin seems the best way to go. No one wants to spend hours of getting pounded on the ride home because I had to go slow or not to go at all because I would have to go slow. The Blackfin is my first choice, despite the narrow side decks, but the Tolly keeps calling to me for two reasons: I don't know how good or bad the ride would be and I think it's because it reminds me of all the years I spent dreaming about a trawler--which is now out of the question.

Is there a big difference in the ride between the two with 22 degrees deadrise on an 11,000 lb, 29 foot boat vs 16 degrees on a 15,000 lb, 34 foot boat?

Thus far, it looks like the 29 Blackfin FB, the 29 Phoenix FB or the Bertram 30 FB (18.5 deadrise and 16,500 lbs) should satisfy my needs/wants? I'm thinking I shouldn't narrow the list to just one boat because it could take a long time to find the best version of that particular boat at a price I'd be willing to pay. That 33 Bertram Flybridge Sport Cruiser looks pretty good, too but now the climb to the flybridge is getting to be more than I think would be best for the majority of passengers--they are either very young or just young at heart.

Thanks for any insight, tips or suggestions!
Old 11-02-2019, 03:14 PM
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Way too many variables just to go on dead rise - weight, centre of buoyancy, centre of gravity, design of bow, design of chines all play a part.
One of the very best riding boats I ever went on had a very fine entry that flattened out to only about 10 degrees at the stern. The chines were round. The price to pay for the superb ride though was a lot of water coming over the stern quarters.
Also where you sit in the boat plays a big part in your perception of the ride, and even listening to others’ experiences is not necessarily accurate as everyone has a different idea dependent on what other boats they have experience of.
Also you have to ask yourself how much ride matters to you compared to other features - if you tend to use your boat in relatively calm conditions, it won’t matter as much as other features that make to boat good to use.
Ultimately the only way to answer your question to your satisfaction is to get out on the boats yourself.
Old 11-02-2019, 03:21 PM
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Let me explain...
There is too much. Let me sum up...
Old 11-02-2019, 03:24 PM
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Deep V's are big time rollers at slow speeds and on the hook.
Old 11-02-2019, 07:35 PM
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u need 2 hulls......big Leopard cat or similar
Old 11-02-2019, 08:24 PM
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There are a couple of Blackfin 29, Phoenix 29 and Bertram 28 in my marina. Those are big boats under 30’, not easy to handle singlehanded, Try to imagine that, stop your boat halfway while backing into your slip, jumping out the bridge to get the spring line(s), climb up to bridge to finish the back-in, come down to secure the stern lines, and then walk the gunnel to the front for the bow lines, hopefully at that moment the wind and current do not push your bow into your neighbor’s boat... Being there done that on a 30’ express on a windy day, no fun at all. It would be more difficult on a flybridge.
So, if you are not planning overnight often on your boat, I would suggest you to look at downeast style like Albin 28, a great boat for your area. If you need more speed, then OB powered walkaround like Grady white Marlin or a Wellcraft Coastal 290. The later two will be easier to sell when the time comes.
Once I was drift fishing near a BF 29, there were one guy fished at the stern, one guy on the bridge and for some reason the outriggers was out on that BF. Later on a big sporty ran pass us around 30 yards away. It’s waves rocked my boat pretty bad but I saw the outrigger on that BF dipped the water and the captain almost fell out of the bridge. You really need to ride on one and decide yourself.
Good luck.

Old 11-02-2019, 08:28 PM
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I agree on the cat vs monohull. With the Mono--I have always liked the Blackfin. A comment--you can add shifters in the cockpit and control the rudders with an auto pilot jog stick--so you can dock from the cockpit no big issues. there are other ways of line handling where you lead the bow and springs aft--held in cam cleats, and just step onto the dock with all 3 lines in hand. So setup for single handling can be done with almost any boat of that size. (bigger is just a bit more complex and $$, but also possible.

The cat will give an equal or better ride, and be more stable at low speeds.

Don't let life pass you by, making decisions...just do it now---none of us get any younger--and I'm 83.
Old 11-02-2019, 08:35 PM
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My observation, people are a lot less prone to sea sickness on a cat boat. Deep V hulls require bigger horsepower and burn more fuel and are more tender on the drift.
Old 11-02-2019, 08:39 PM
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Ask yourself what type of conditions you plan to boat in and then find an appropriate boat for those conditions. If you are commercial fisherman and need to fish everyday then a downeast capable of barreling through 6 footers makes sense. If you are a recreational boater not planning on having to bop through anything more than 2-3's then a deep vee cabin.pilothouse/express style makes sense. I'd steer clear of a flybridge style. Who is going to hang out up there up with you when everyone wants to be down on the deck or in the salon?
Old 11-02-2019, 08:48 PM
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maybe not possible, but a full keel down east is super popular nowadays, certainly not speed demons but hell of a great ride
Old 11-02-2019, 08:52 PM
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I think you want a downeast hull, sharp entry in the front, flat in the back to eliminate the deep V roll and rocking. You don't seem like you need a go fast Deep V hull at the back
Old 11-02-2019, 08:52 PM
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Take a demo ride in a cat it is amazing and will surprise you. The test ride I went on the demo driver accendently launched it off a wave and we all braced for the hard landing that never came. Wanted to get a cat but they are hard to find used in the price range and size I was looking. I just bought this year our first boat. I was starting to get afraid that my arthritis would start acting up again and desided to pull the trigger while I can enjoy it.
Old 11-02-2019, 10:38 PM
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Thanks to everyone for the input. I genuinely appreciate it. Over the years, I thought I had made up my mind countless times on which boat I had to have. I guess I'm not the first to do so. I've lusted for the Albin 36 Express (cutest boat I've ever seen ---see Albin 36 Salty Dog on YouTube) , the Albin 32+2 as well as the 28 and 31. I really like some of the old Chris Craft Commander cabin cruisers despite the tendency of their owners to keep 50 year old engines in them. They just have a look that I like and were well built and suitable for a couple of days on the Vineyard. At another point, I was certain the displacement hulls of the Glacier Bay catamarans would do the trick. The toilet adjacent to the bed was, for some reason, a problem? Then I fell in love with downeast boats of various makes and sizes. Seaworthy and a pleasure just to look at but they are not inexpensive---or at least they weren't when I was looking. The value proposition was such that I could buy a different style boat for significantly less and use the difference to pay for a lot of fuel---I am retired after all From there, I moved on to the sport fishing boats. Sea kindly, well built and enough enthusiasts that refit their boats mechanically that with a little diligence, I should be able to find one in good shape.

If it were up to me, I would be happy with just about anything---I just need to get out of the house and on the water. The problem for us with the express boats is they don't provide a bright and airy cabin with big windows, a comfy place out of the wind and the cold and the noise. The word "cave" was used to describe the salon in an express boat. So, in order to get the salon my most important passenger wants, I'm guessing I need a sedan type boat. Due to the age (vintage) of the boats I'd be looking at, the initial build quality as well as the ongoing maintenance is important. Which brings me back to something like the Tolly 34 I mentioned or a sportfish with a flybridge. One is more comfortable (homey) and the other is more seaworthy. I presume the latter is the better choice for an inexperienced captain.

As for the flybridge, I guess people either use them religiously or not at all. Never having been on one, I don't know which way it will go for myself but I just thought the grandkids would like to ride up there. I know I would if I were still a kid. As far as a second set of controls down in the cockpit, that was something I had wanted to look in to. I saw it on a lot of the boats used for crabbing. Being twin engine'd, I assume one could just center the rudders before leaving the bridge and then just use throttle and shift from the cockpit---no steering wheel ? I am guessing it would be similar to driving my zero turn lawnmower--no steering wheel, just left and right throttle?

In the end, years have passed and I am still not sufficiently recovered to undertake any of this. So I read and try to enjoy the agony of indecision. I am hoping next year (I say that every year) I will be ready to safely take my family out on the water. So thank you again for sharing your insights gleaned over the years.
Old 11-02-2019, 11:15 PM
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What is your budget? I've been looking for one of these 31' Chris, they are around if you are patient. This one has new engines, a lot of cosmetic issues, but structurally and mechanically sound. I've spent time in one in weather and at anchor, good ride. Find one like this with third driving station, and you will be the envy of the harbor. The one I just bought has 500-hours on the engines, and did not cost what any of the boats you list cost.
Old 11-02-2019, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by caper View Post
Deep V's are big time rollers at slow speeds and on the hook.
Yes they are and they do it without warning too. What you think may not be a bad roll can toss you to the deck if you aren't aware that it might happen. I'll take the nice safe ride anyday.

Old 11-03-2019, 01:13 AM
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Older blackfin 29 with diesels - very noisy / very smoky in my experience. Not the kind of boat for nice slow cruising with family - more of a hard core fishing boat designed to run through chop and fish.

Old 11-03-2019, 04:47 AM
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I run a Glacier Bay 2680 pilothouse out of Falmouth. I think it is perfect for the waters around Cape Cod and the Vineyard (I do wish I could cruise a little faster). It's smaller than what you are looking for but checks off a lot of your boxes. We seat 5 people comfortably in the pilothouse. The cabin is small but we overnight as a couple. We have never found the head location to be a problem.

A 31-34' boat is big for a first time boater especially if you are running it single-handed. You will be spending serious money for a slip and maintenance on any of the boats you mentioned especially an older boat. So it is just not the purchase price but the cost of ownership.
Old 11-03-2019, 06:18 AM
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:22 AM
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I have never ridden a CAT but my current boat and previous boats are both DEEP Vs. The ride is ALOT smother and nicer in deep v hulls. It does roll when anchored for bottom fish. See boats in signature.
Old 11-03-2019, 08:01 AM
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wow---so much good advice. Thank you, all.

Clinker-just curious, what make and size boat were you referring to?

I was obsessed with power catamarans for quite a while. I thought they ticked most of the boxes. Unfortunately, the only ones I found which were "approved" by all family members were seriously out of my $50K price range. I remember finding a Glacier Bay 2690 (with the Alaskan enclosure) and thinking it would be perfect until the head was vetoed?! Maybe it's time to take another look.

30West--what a coincidence. Until this last go around of indecision, the 31 Chris Craft of that era was my favorite boat. I actually called on one up in Maine. I thought I could park it in the yard till I was ready to launch. The old timer I spoke with was at the hospital visiting his son, who had been in a car accident. The boat was sold but he told me he loved the boat and , despite my trying to let him off the phone so he could visit his son, he chatted for over a half hour! He told me he absolutely loved that boat---"an old fashioned cabin cruiser" he called it but that, should I get one, I absolutely needed to put trim tabs on it. He said it was an amazing transformation---from a guy who had been boating for many decades. He said the addition of the tabs was like transforming that particular boat "from a Volkswagen to a race car". He repeated that a couple of time. However, I am more concerned with safety rather than speed. I don't know how the boat handles in a seaway. Have you had yours out in bad weather? Agreed, the price is right and there are many fresh water boats available to be shipped. Maybe it's time to take another look So many many boats to love and I can only pick one

As far as the Blackfin rolling, I had been going off of Pascoe's entry: The ride is exactly what you'd expect it to be: very smooth in a chop, and very sea kindly in the big rollers. However, and this is a big however, her low profile with a very low center of gravity, and big block V-8's down low, the motion of this boat at rest in a sea is really something else. She's balanced in the center and rolls about her central axis. That can make her a bit less steady at the far end of the cockpit, but up on the bridge -- well, there just ain't none of that whip-snap rolling action a-tall. Very, very nice.

Granted, this is just one man's opinion. That's why I sought advice from you guys, as well. I had resigned myself to the premise that I would just be using the boat as a means to get from point A to point B. No anchoring out, no trolling, no fishing and the only place I'd be going hull speed would be in protected waters, marinas, etc. I had not allowed for other boat traffic. Thanks for pointing that one out, TDL. For my top priority this time around, I had convinced myself that an inferior (inexperienced) captain should choose a superior rough water boat. I was concerned---maybe overly so?---that I would be returning from somewhere with family aboard and the seas would kick up and I would be soiling myself all the way home.

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