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Arch enemy?

TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I love an arch, in brick. And in stone.

I've yet to see an arch on a boat I loved but the sleeker arches that are part of the design look best to my eye. The ones added on resemble pipe staging or scaffolding.

Seems like a lot of ado just to hang a few gizmos. The gizmo exception would be solar panels. I'm a huge fan of those because they limit engines running in my anchorages. Whatever it takes to get those mounted to keep refrigeration running, I'm all for. :)

I think we need better panel mounting on new boats that could be retrofitted to older boats that need constant charging. Better yet, new panel design that fits nicely on the average sailboat.
 
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Likes: dLj
Jan 6, 2006
2,256
Beneteau 423 Mt. Sinai, NY
Am having an arch custom made this winter..... It will support my solar panels and hold my dinghy. Also it will be the aft support to my bimini.
 

dLj

Mar 23, 2017
660
Hunter 30 Snug Harbor, Lake Champlain
Arches work quite well to get solar panels away from as much shadowing as reasonable on a sail boat. That is the main reason we ever built an arch for a retrofit on a sailboat. Once going up, other things fit nicely also, but the primary reason we would build arches were for solar panels...

I quite agree they are pretty ugly. Although we used to do some attempts at making them more attractive with nice looking metal work. Can't say how successful we were...

dj
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,171
Starwind 27 Barnegat, NJ
I love an arch, in brick. And in stone.
That's actually a great point. Arches are wonderful architectural elements. I can't think of any reason why a beautiful arch wouldn't be welcome over the cockpit of a boat! When I look at the interior cabin of a sailboat, I love to see a graceful ceiling in the shape of an arch. Shade is such an important element on a cruising sailboat, especially in the tropics. I think an arched cover is a huge attraction. Aside from all the gear and attachments that people have to put an arch to work, I think an arched cover over a cockpit is great-looking. Perhaps it is the complexity of all the attachments that makes some people recoil. I can understand that. OTOH, I do admire people whom have the ambition to cruise and make their boat a self-sufficient home. For that reason, I actually applaud the boats that are fitted to those lengths to provide the intended service!
 
Dec 20, 2009
614
Hunter 466 Bremerton
I love the arch. A previous boat I had the traveler right at the companionway...awkward and unsafe in my opinion. The arch provides end boom sheeting, full width and easily accessible traveler control, bimini attach points, safety tether anchor points, prevents injury should the boom fail for any reason, frees up the cockpit providing excellent mobility especially in the event of a MOB recovery via the stern walk thru (and not having to contend with an aft mounted traveler on mainsheet attach point). As the owner of my fourth sailboat, previous shipyard GM and new vessel construction manager I must live with my " lack of sailing knowledge and comprehension of boat design (and build quality)..." That is so depressing. Reminds me of the pros and cons of bow thrusters (yes, I have one) and comparisons of wood and fiberglass for ease of maintenance, dacron sails instead of canvas, aluminum masts instead of wood, GPS instead of sextant, VHF radio instead of wireless or nothing, radar or not, hot and cold pressure water, flush toilets instead of the "head", chartplotters instead of paper charts (used tons of those to and from the Persian gulf as ship's navigator on a carrier and did celestial nav). If I were to race competitively I would get a performance oriented boat but being 68 with shoulder replacement scheduled in three weeks I will use every advantage I can get. I do not bemoan those who love to race or their fast boats so why cast doubt on those who like the arch. Let's not devolve into the powerboat vs sailboat discussions. I admire the J boats, TP 52s, Melges, Olsons and like the cruising boats as I own. And when I bought the boat 16 years ago I still had four children at home two with of my boys up to 6'6" and over three hundred pounds so a smaller boat was not appropriate. I lpve this forum, sailboats, and sailing.
 
Feb 21, 2013
236
Hunter 46 Point Richmond, CA
Great addition to the naval architecture.:plus:

Cruising amenities abound.
1) Place for bimini to attach.
2) Boom traveler out of way
3) Instruments are heads up, mounted on them.
4) Cockpit lighting and speaker mounts.
Ditto and I a place to install traveler and main sheet cam cleats and dinghy davit extension support braces.
 
Oct 19, 2017
5,295
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
Some interesting perspectives here.
Sailing today is a purely aesthetic sport. That, of course, means different things to different people. The beauty of a well drawn classic wooden boat is a vision of wonder, but so is the elegance of simple utilitarianism. I love all of the above, including the traditional and historical, but personally, I strive for self-sufficiency and independence balanced with a sense of beauty around me.
I plan to put an arch on my 19' boat to support solar panels. I want to be able to sail on long weekends to remote areas and maintain nav lights (anchor light, mostly) and an electric auxiliary motor.

If history is an acceptable arguement for the legitimacy of an idea and its aesthetic appeal, the first arches, I ever saw, weren't an answer to a marketing problem, or to make a boat's cockpit more comfortable. It was in the late 70's and they were not design features by some naval architect; they were aftermarket superstructure to support radar, and later, wind generators, on boats fully intent on world cruising. That makes a lot of sense to me and certainly does not offend my eye.

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
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TomY

Alden Forum Moderator
Jun 22, 2004
1,940
Alden 38' Challenger yawl Rockport Harbor
I think an arched cover is a huge attraction. Aside from all the gear and attachments that people have to put an arch to work, I think an arched cover over a cockpit is great-looking. Perhaps it is the complexity of all the attachments that makes some people recoil. I can understand that.
My minds eye tells me, you might be on to something above. I too enjoy an arched cover or awning. Maybe an incorporated (permenant) arch could be extended to serve as bimini and panel(?).
 
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Likes: Will Gilmore
Nov 21, 2007
262
Beneteau Oceanis 34 Tacoma, WA
Maybe an incorporated (permenant) arch could be extended to serve as bimini and panel(?).
I would have loved to have had an arch incorporated into our bimini! I asked the people who did our canvas work... "Nope! We don't do that", and "Nope", they didn't know anyone who could build an arch. Yeah, right. An arch would have been a perfect solution for our boat. I'm still looking, still unsuccessfully. I'd better stop...
 
Nov 26, 2008
1,900
Endeavour 42 Cruisin
There is a mix of discussion about 2 different types of arches here.

The arch in the OP is the type Hunter has installed as part of the design over the cockpit with integrated traveller.

The second is over the stern to hold solar panels, dinghy davits etc

Very different functionalities.
 
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Likes: DaveJ
Oct 19, 2017
5,295
O'Day 19 Littleton, NH
There is a mix of discussion about 2 different types of arches here.

The arch in the OP is the type Hunter has installed as part of the design over the cockpit with integrated traveller.

The second is over the stern to hold solar panels, dinghy davits etc

Very different functionalities.
So, you see an aesthetic difference between those two arches? Is one more useful than the other, more appropriate? Does a traveler, instrument arch degrade the sailing performance more or less than the stern mounted solar panel arch?

-Will (Dragonfly)
 
Apr 8, 2010
1,178
Ericson Yachts Olson 34 Portland OR
So, you see an aesthetic difference between those two arches? Is one more useful than the other, more appropriate? Does a traveler, instrument arch degrade the sailing performance more or less than the stern mounted solar panel arch?

-Will (Dragonfly)
Aesthetics are indeed a separate issue. My objection is only to putting the mainsheet system in an inconvenient place for actual sailing. While it could be argued that the arch mounting moves it back, a good thing, the traveler system is compromised and a new "problem" is created where the arch has to be tall enough to let crew move around without head injuries. That height then requires a certain (high) position for the boom, usually raising it from an optimal position for sailing and general access to running rigging.

The solution to not having usable slab reefing capabilities is then to have in-mast furling -- and all the complication and risk of failure that goes into that. I have day sailed and done deliveries on boats with in-mast furling. It's enviable when it works, but the friction is very undesirable and then there is the inherent compromise in sail shape and square footage.
All this added expense and complication of gear came into being to help sell sail boats to non sailors. :(

Having said all that (and angered at least one insecure poster in this thread) IF.... I were building boats nowadays, I would indeed sell what the customers are willing to pay for. :)
Building boats was never a philanthropic occupation, and trying to make a living off of a "determined to leave the dock and go sailing" niche of an already niche-sized customer base just does not pay the bills.

About the only ameliorating factor to stern-mounted arches I have seen on boats that have left out club to go "blue water" is some air flow conflict to adjudicate between the solar array and the ability of the wind vane to see smooth air flow. Sometimes, between the loading of the arch with gear and the presence of large dodger enclosures, they rely completely on electric/hydraulic autopilots.

It's always going to be about Choices and Options... and Priorities !!
:cool:
 
Mar 3, 2003
678
Hunter 356 Grand Rivers
I like my arch on my Hunter 356. The traveler is out of the way, it held part of my cradle when my mast was down for the trip from KY Lake to Mobile - both ways while wintering in Florida 2013-14. It is an attachment point for my Bimini and enclosure. I use my generator full time, so power consumption while moving is not a concern but now am considering adding solar and a stern arch extension for high dinghy Davits. I am 72 and have always had my air floor Avon on the foredeck but am looking at buying a double floor aluminum rib so we can keep dry feet and want an easier way to launch it since it’s 40% heavier and I’m much older than when we commissioned the boat in 2003. While docked, I’ll keep the dink on the foredeck and continue entering from the stern walkthrough, but while cruising, I’ll use the rear Davit system and tow most of the time. The arch was a relatively new feature in 2003, but has gained much wider acceptance over the years.

As to roller furling, I’ve just this week replaced my sails with North 3DI Nordac cruising sails. These are molded to the correct airfoil shape for the roller furled main and jib. Haven’t sailed but one time in very light winds, but looking forward to incredible sails and the increased performance that will come with them. I had me bad experience with my old baggy blown out Dacron sails getting stuck in the mast, but it was not a safety concern - only getting the sail back out to take it down and replace - which I should have done a year earlier. Most roller furling problems are self induced by improper understanding of how to set halyard tension and boom angle.

I also have sailed “blue water boats” and I’ll take mine over what I’ve sailed both for comfort and style. Actually, my Hunter 356 was more comfortable on a 50 hour similar trip across the GOM then a previous trip on a Cabo Rico 38. My interior volume and comfort was much much better tHan the Cabo Rico and the sea ride was also less rolly. Add my full enclosure and HVAC with the generator and I wasn’t wet, healed over at 15-20 degrees and very warm. Nothing wrong with a CaboRico as it’s a great boat, but I like mine better.
 
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Apr 8, 2011
138
Hunter 36 Intrepid Deale, MD
I do not race, so this review is from that perspective. Bought my first sailboat with an arch 18 mos ago, and I have to say I'm thrilled compared to the other non-arched boats I've owned. No more traveler in the way in the cockpit, the solar panel is invisible and free of shadow most of the time, and the boom can never drop onto anyone's head. While a folding wheel will never give back as much space as a folded up tiller, I do find the tradeoff with the traveler being out of the way makes up for it. And I don't mind missing the more direct connection I had with the mainsheet since the traveler is so easy to play right from behind the wheel. I also really like my roller furling main, which definitely takes some fiddling to understand how all the pieces work together (boom angle, topping lift or rigid vang, halyard tension, outhaul, etc), but for ease of use and reefing its awesome.
 
Oct 26, 2008
4,171
Starwind 27 Barnegat, NJ
All this added expense and complication of gear came into being to help sell sail boats to non sailors. :(
Where you go wrong is that this statement is just nonsense.

"The lack of sailing knowledge and comprehension of boat design (and build quality) among so many is kind of depressing, tho."

This was another statement that indicated that you don't have a clew.

I think there has been ample evidence among the real sailors in this group whom choose an arch based on their knowledge. (I don't include myself because I don't have an arch over my cockpit). You should probably give up while you're behind. :cool:
 
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Likes: Bill19233
Jan 22, 2008
525
Hunter 340 Baytown TX
Wow, the people in this photo have no idea how inconvenienced and compromised they are with that complicated and misplaced mainsheet and traveler. And it's kind of scary in that shallow cockpit, too.
20170415_145024.jpg


Me and probably a lot of other "non sailors" as you call them, bought their boats fully aware of and because of the limitations of that boat, with the intention to use it within those limitations. If someone with a very narrow idea of what exact parameters make a true sailboat doesn't like my boat, I'm not losing any sleep. I'm going to keep on having fun sailing on the bay.
The variety of sailors and boats out there and the ways and places to enjoy them is a remarkable thing, not something to be criticized. And I guess I'm secure enough to admit I did not know of nor ever heard the word "ameliorating" before now. Yeah, I had to look it up.
 
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Jun 19, 2013
874
Oday 28 Traverse City
... inconvenient place for actual sailing. While it could be argued that the arch mounting moves it back, a good thing, the traveler system is compromised and a new "problem" is created where the arch has to be tall enough to let crew move around without head injuries. That height then requires a certain (high) position for the boom, usually raising it from an optimal position for sailing and general access to running rigging.
...
I may be misunderstanding the situation, but I know few big boat booms that are so low as to require ducking. But I am only 5'9". From what I recall on stepping aboard a hunter with arch, is that the arch was fairly low and I would suspect the boom was not raised significantly to meet that installation. HOWEVER, I don't recall what the mainsheet purchase was, so is that the design factor pushing a boom extraordinarily up???
The other drawback questioned in this thread that I havne't seen answered, is that the arch needs to be stout enough to handle the mainsheet forces, both vertical and sidewayz....If not it may be possible to simply oversheet the arch right off the boat.

My opinion is I like the idea, and further like the look of hunters forward swept arch versus other renditions of stern mounted additions or the fiberglass versions...