The big issue with a lot of possible VolksCruisers is that there a bit challenged where displacement is concerned. Here’s an example…
One of my favorite small cruising boats is the Balboa 26 designed by Lyle Hess. It’s small, shoal draft, seaworthy and has a considerable amount of room/livability for its size. The problem is that while you can shoehorn all the needful stuff into a boat with a displacement of 3,600 pounds it’s just not designed to carry the needful stuff’s weight. A fact which will adversely affect the boats performance. It’s a displacement issue.
Now, here’s another Hess design that might look familiar…
Hess’s 26-foot Falmouth Cutter
is a whole different story. While it’s the same size in terms of length it’s on a whole different playing field with a displacement of 12,000 pounds. Fact is, the amount of ballast in the Falmouth Cutter (3,708 pounds) is greater than the entire displacement of the Balboa 26 (3,600 pounds). Suffice to say that the Falmouth Cutter will happily carry all your needful stuff.
The downside, and yes there’s always a downside, is that the cost of a boat is mostly based on its weight/displacement which is why the boat cost differential is so great between the two boats.
Since I’m on a roll, here’s another Hess design, the Balboa 27/8.2
, that you might want to check out. As it’s a foot longer than the Balboa 26, a few inches beamier with 1300 pounds more displacement which makes it a much better VolksCruiser choice than the Balboa 26 when all things are added up.
When looking for and comparing boats it’s important to factor in the displacement to the mix especially with boats in the 30-foot and under variety. My experience tells me that the Goldielocks zone for displacement on a cruising sailboat for a couple is going to be somewhere between 7,000 and 12,000 pounds. For a quick reference our CAL 34 has a displacement of 9,500 pounds and works just fine.
Next up we’ll finish my check list and what I may have left out…