May 1, 2012

blogger - Gin Palace

Seems every previous generation likes to call most of the recent more modern looking yachts as Gin Palaces.  It is a term which usually means that the boat is just a luxurious harbour house, good to stay in the marina, and rarely leave the docks unless the sea is flat calm.  But are recent models so much Gin Palaces.
Surely no!
Recent models have evolved more the concept of design and functionality, and many modern yachts although looking bulkier offer more of this then ever.  Try to move from aft to the side decks, or going up a flybridge and you see how easier it is with the latest models, even in high seas. On the other part try to do this previous to late nineties sub fifty feet yachts, and one will see that clever steps integrated in design, safety railing, and bulwarks are less user friendly. 
Intelligent space use has always been important, and sometimes even if you look at a boat from the seventies you find very clever solutions.
So where does the extra space in modern boats come from?  Surely engines have become smaller, and so generators, and boats have become wider, higher, and fuller with less flared bow nowadays.  To give an example a Volvo 500hp is for example half the size of a GM of the same power coming from the eighties or nineties, and weighing more or less fifty per cent the weight.
Sure some of this will make performance issues but to call yachts with these changes Gin Palaces is a bit out of place.  Hulls have also evolved, and in order to accommodate the extra beam the deep Vee is replaced by a modified shape with a sharp entry and medium deadrise aft.  The deep Vee of plus twenty degrees deadrise is still unbeatable in rough water but at a minus thirty knots cruise, this more modern hull medium shape which pays a price for its wide beam is usually more comfortable and drinks less fuel too.
Some builders those following a bit more tradition will be more keen to call the latest designs Gin Palaces, or Harbour Houses, but if you are not convinced a sea trial in a bit of moderate chop can always give some real answers.   

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