Controlling weight aboard

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It’s always the same old story: when you are equipping and provisioning your boat, following the exhaustive and essential list of provisions and various equipment to the letter, you can’t bring yourself to get out the scales. Weighing everything you are preparing to embark aboard – no thanks! Very few of us would be inclined to leave on the quay a few nice Burgundies, the tins of ‘confit de canard’ from Castelnaudary, the full Rhythm and Blues of the glorious 30s CD box set, or even the batteries for the electric bicycles and Aunt Lucie's bottle of vintage calvados. Of course you would delight the first person hanging around the pontoons watching you mockingly, keeping an eye on everything you can't get into your lockers and cupboards. Actually, you wouldn’t envisage for a moment dismantling the recently installed cool box or air conditioning system and taking it back to the chandlers in exchange for a box of spare blocks which in any case weighs the same. No, envisaging the pastis without ice cubes, or warm beer, is honestly not compatible with a successful cruise. Yet once everything has been embarked, you are close to, or have even exceeded, the recommended laden displacement. Then you ask yourself the inevitable question – am I safe with all this epicurean paraphernalia aboard? According to the most well-known architects, if you limit the excess weight to 15%, the consequences are less catastrophic aboard our modern multihulls, whose sections are quite beamy, and whose freeboard is greater than on the older models. The margin is still quite large before the risk of digging in the bows. Rather you will suffer from mediocre maneuverability which can lead to missed tacks, poor agility in choppy seas, hard work for the autopilot due to poor balance, or again premature wear of the structure and the parts taking care of the transmission of the power of your sails. Which is quite a lot… But the excess weight produces above all very poor performance in light weather, obliging you to start the engine(s) more often. And more diesel embarked means even more additional weight, with the risk of exceeding the + 15% limit definitively. Our new way of sailing leads us to demand more comfort – to the detriment of performance, of respect for the environment and perhaps even of active safety… So what are the (right) questions to ask oneself, to reach an acceptable compromise? 

If you are not yet owner of your own multihull

A quick analysis of your ‘comfort’ cursor is necessary, before deciding on the model which will suit you. If you can’t do without a dishwasher, a washing machine, the XXL-sized freezer, a TV screen in every cabin, as well as a bound copy of the complete works of William Shakespeare – not to mention the dive bottles and their compressor, it would be best to count on a boat of over 50 feet. Because the good news is that the waterline length can limit the problem - the bigger the boat, the bigger the useful load that it can accept. A ...

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